Its probably no surprise to anyone the title of this post; I get tattoo's and therefore I spend time in the tattoo shop. If you have never been to a tattoo shop you are missing out! There are some crazy people in there; and I mean literally crazy (there are also some amazing people with great hearts in there). Although that is not the focus of this post I had to start it off that way because I think this will become a more common topic I write about.
The main focus of this post is something that has stuck in my mind from my last tattoo sitting.
It was late on a Saturday night and I was sitting in the chair being tattooed. My artist was working on the top angel tattooed on my arm, more my shoulder, and I was talking with a female who was sitting in the room waiting for my artist, Johnny, to finish the tattoo. Johnny loves to tell people that I am a pastor and that he tattoo's me; I think its cool he is stoked on it and I love the guy. Well this lady and I began to talk about church and God and where she is at with Jesus. She told me she went to church when she was young and was super connected. She mentioned that she went to the summer camps and winter camps and it sounded like she enjoyed them in her tone of voice but something happened after high school that caused her to leave the church (we never got to what happened).
So while Johnny and I were talking about how to finish up the bottom of my arm I shared I only want to do "half sleeves" because I preach in the big room at church and don't want to turn people off to Jesus and the hope in Christ because I have tattoo's.
The lady looked at me and said something to the effect of "Its because people will judge you huh?"
That line has stuck in my head the last 4 days and I can't stop thinking about it. Is the church really just known for being a place that judges people? It broke my heart to hear that; I grew up in a church that judged me for being a skateboarder and snowboarder. I was lumped in a category where the majority of the thought is that "those people do drugs" so I just did drugs because I was treated that way. I wonder if something to a similar effect happened to her and caused her to leave the church; maybe I will see her again and find out.
As for me; I have come to the conclusion that I have no desire to get full sleeves on my arms because I do a good deal of overseas missions and tattoo's are not as acceptable overseas as they are in the States.
I would love to hear thoughts, if you have any, of how we, the church, can be a place that lacks condemnation and promotes love and grace because if all we are known for is judgment then we are in trouble.