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Discover the meaning: tattoos

Q&A w/ Susan Shinkle

Describe your tattoo(s).
My tattoo is on my right foot. It says, “Philipp. 2:14-16″ with stars around it. Most of the stars are small and black. Three are big with coloring (orange, purple, green). I decided on “Philipp.” instead of “Phil.” because it flowed better with the stars. I wasn’t going to get color at first, but it looked so plain and needed something. Orange and purple are my favorite colors. Green just looked good with it.

What is the significance of your tattoo?
The verses say: “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life — in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.”

In about eighth or ninth grade, an intern pastor in my youth group spoke a message on this passage. I never forgot it. It woke up my faith and spoke to me. We are to shine for Christ in this world if we are Christians and in the end, it is way better than being a “star” as in, a celebrity. I wanted to shine for Christ. Plus, I had always loved stars since I was young. It was the part of creation that connected me to God. It definitely had a part in making this message stick with me.

Why did you decide to get one?

I decided to get it because I never wanted to forget that sermon. I am reminded of it every day I wake up and see my tattoo. It seemed fitting.

As a Christian, did you face any opposition from family or friends about getting a tattoo? How did you respond to that?

My parents, especially my mom, was not too thrilled about me getting it. Both my older sisters have tattoos so that helped. They and my friends supported me. I am not a spontaneous person by any means. They all knew I had thought about it for a while and thought of the all the pros and cons. I was surprised how well it was taken though. I wondered if it also had to do with just the times we live in. It is way more accepted today.

How do you think it represents your faith or who you are as a Christian?
Many people see it and ask about it. It has been a way to share my favorite verses with Christians and a part of my story with non-Christians. I am proud of it. For speech class, my personal testimony speech was centered around it.

Q&A w/ Nate Hood

Describe your tattoo(s).

I have three tattoos and they are all on my arms. My first tattoo is a cross overshadowing a red heart with the letters l-o-v-e in the four corners of the cross. It is located on my left wrist. My second tattoo is a hand with a treble clef and underneath it in cursive it says, “He is proven through song,” and it is located on my left bicep. My third tattoo is a sword with the word “Gonzo” at the hilt of it and a fist at the blunt end. This tattoo is on the inside of my right arm.

What is the significance behind your tattoo?

My first tattoo means that the heart of life is love and all love pours out from my Man, Jesus Christ. My second tattoo is actually based off of a quote by a writer named Kurt Vonnegut and means that the only proof I need for the existence of God is music. And my third tattoo is the symbol of a journalist named Hunter Thompson and, long story short, it means 1. Love without reason, 2. Give without question and 3. Always speak the truth.

Why did you decide to get one?

I decided to get tattoos because I wanted to use my body and my creativity to share what I believe. I figured I had a lot of skin that was completely blank and that there was no better way to fill it than with tributes to the Truth.

As a Christian, did you face any opposition from family or friends about getting a
tattoo? How did you respond to that?

I did face opposition about getting a tattoo, especially from my family. They were preoccupied with the permanence of the tattoos and initially didn’t see the good that would come from the ink nor the intentions I had in getting them. They did eventually come around and learned to love my work.

How do you think it represents your faith or who you are as a Christian?
I think it represents my faith perfectly. It shows that I’m proud of my beliefs and that I will openly flaunt my faith in God because of the certainty I have of its truth.

Q&A w/ Eric Rose

Describe your tattoo(s).

Originally it was an old design explaining the Holy Trinity, my brother Devin is an artist and added to it. It has 12 spikes for the 12 tribes of Israel, the symbol for Doves, crosses, two Latin phrases; Sola Fide (faith alone) and Memento Mori (remember we all must die) and the verse Jeremiah 15:19-21.

What is the significance behind your tattoo?
It’s a statement of my faith and an explanation of the Holy Trinity, and it’s a family thing.

Why did you decide to get one?

My brothers both got the same one and for my 18th birthday my parents paid for me to get it, and my dad got it too. So all of the guys in our immediate family have it; it’s kind of a cool thing that we all share.

As a Christian, did you face any opposition from family or friends about getting a tattoo? How did you respond to that?

Not really. I try not to associate with anyone that ignorant. Any time I’ve been faced with opposition it’s been pretty minimal. The way I see it is that Jesus has forgiven me for terrible things in my life, I think he will be OK with me having the Father, Son and Holy Spirit on me. I think as Americans we are (or should be) past getting offended about tattoos and piercings. It’s sad that Christians are looked at as TERRIBLE examples of Jesus Christ’s level of understanding and accepting. Christians are usually ignorant and the culture is usually understanding and accepting. It’s supposed to be the other way around.

How do you think it represents your faith or who you are as a Christian?

I think we should wear our faith on us; we usually don’t. I always have mine out there and I’m totally OK with explaining it when people ask. I actually told the guy who put it on me about its significance and my faith.

This post was written by:

- who has written 18 posts on The Sojourn.

Feature Editor. Nicole transferred to IWU in the spring of 2010 from Purdue University. She is the Features Editor and a junior majoring in public relations with a business management concentration. Her plans after graduation include pursuing a career in hotel and tourism management. She has worked for the Sojourn since her first semester here with two years experience as an editor on her high school yearbook staff. Her hobbies include living, laughing, loving and writing about all of those divine moments. Nicole desires the characteristics of the woman in Proverbs 31:25: "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." She desires strength and dignity so strong in the Lord that she can live fully alive in the moment, with a heart full of joy and confidence as she looks ahead in wonder to God's plan.

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