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Friday, December 7, 2007

Jesus and the Beast, Part One: TATTOOS

This is where I begin to scratch the surface of the gems from the book of Revelation. And scratch I must.

The theory went via mum, dad, and the many churches, that if one is comfortable being inked, one is more likely to be comfortable with "the mark of the Beast" tattooed, or otherwise, on one's forehead or hand (Rev. 14:9-10). Theories about the mark of the Beast range from your SSN to barcodes to computer chips.

There's moi, coming out of Christianity like a bat out of hell's labyrinth. My former understanding was that tattoos and piercings (even earrings) were throwbacks to paganism and representative of nazism or a big-brother regime. My parents and churches took the Holocaust quite seriously ... right down to the forced tattoos.

I escaped the confines of my nerd-for-jesus status with the wind at my back. I finally understood that the fundamentalist tradition of taking all/parts of the bible more or less literally was total hocus-pocus and unfortunately misaligned. I was in my 20's without a single piercing or tattoo, surrounded by people with enough to tatts and studs to feed a small nation of platypuses. There I was. Unmarked. Looking for ways to let loose and seriously rebel.

Call me noncommittal. I have yet to partake in the phenomenon of either needle. I never got past a half-assed decision as to what my first tattoo would be.

I work in a place where people come in from the 'burbs looking for a walking art gallery of tattoos. I've disappointed a few customers.

One day I was pressed on the matter:
"So, what would you have for a tattoo if you had to choose?"

"I guess I've kind of considered an infinity symbol right here," pointing to the flesh under the left arm near the female mammary glands.

"No!" the guest commanded. "That would be totally cliche. Any other ideas?"

What do they want from me?!? "Insert-your-name" inked into my flesh above my hooha?

This week I came across a delicious article in the Mpls STrib. It's a little expose on how corporations incorporate (pun) the use of tattoos by not only advertising, "See! Cool people with tattoos buy our stuff," but also by tattooing actual consumers of their products with their company logo.
Mark of the beast? Heck, why not!?

I knew tattoos had seen better days when the jesus-freaks started inking themselves with any and all symbols of christianity. Check-out cutie Jay Bakker! If Tammy Faye's kid can have tattoos (and to play fair, he seems on the verge of non-christian enlightenment), why shouldn't I get them... lots and lots of pagan markings?

Since this blog is in part meant to give you lots of hottie pictures of Jesus, I've inserted a link to a religious tattoo site with plenty of pretty pictures. Here's jesus in prayer! Here's jesus in pain! Here's jesus on someone's ass!

We've all seen plenty of fishies on cars and ankles. Consider this: the above mentioned site was kind enough to admit that the Fish was originally a "purely decorative" pagan sign. They even provide a catholic encyclopedic run-down on the meaning of fish in christian symbolism. They fail to mention the gory details. According to the sometimes-quite-reliable Barbara G. Walker, the "purely decorative" pagan symbol of the Fish at one time represented the female sexual organs, a version of the Yoni.

I can't tell you how many times I've bit my tongue (Psalm 19:14) to keep from asking, "So, what are you trying to tell me with that cute little fish... that you celebrate female sexual power... or that you subscribe to the christianized version of suppressing female sexual power?"

My Hypothetical Tattoos-On-Jesus List: WWJT (what would jesus tattoo?)

back: the buddha
chest: a rich man trying to enter heaven, or a needle with a camel passing through its eye
forehead: an open lotus or a third eye... hard to say
hand: XXXX Days & Nights, or each day scawled individually
arm: "MOM" in a heart
neck:"too be continued" or a full-body infinity symbol crossing at his navel

... because he's coming again.

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