Sunday, August 13, 2006

There's a New Poll

Vote - it matters. And then explain your vote here.

Originally posted: 8.13.07


dan g said...

Will they really care either way?

A said...

It isn't like there is any shred of connection there. The sentiment hasn't exactly been sentimental with all that has transpired. You are who you are, and that includes a hole in your ear lobe and ink on your arm. Seeing those things first hand probably won't turn anyone against you that wasn't already.

On the other hand, there isn't really any reason to twist the knife or rub their noses in the dookie. With nothing in the hole in your ear lobe and a long sleeved shirt (it'll probably be cool enough there for it) they won't have any ammunition to further any negative vibe. No easy way to say smugly, "we knew he was a freak all along."

How's that for falling off the on either side?

Anonymous said...

It's probably foolish to comment not knowing the background here, but then I've always been a damn fool, so what's one more thing?

I believe that Romans chapter 14 is instructive here (particularly verses 17-23); although, you'd probably have to read it with emphasis on the spirit in which it was written rather than the literal content. For instance, you might read verse 15 as, "If your brother is distressed because of 'your bling and tats', you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your 'bling and tats' destroy your brother for whom Christ died."

And, of course, Ambrose Bierce advises us, "speak when you are angry, and you will make the best speech you will ever regret."

Having discussed all that, I say you should go with your tattoo and ear ring in full view. I agree with "a" (at least before he got all wobbly ;-) ) that the people who care about you won't be bothered by your adornments, and why should you be concerned by the people who are offended (it's not your church anymore anyway, right?)? As for Romans 14, it's a two-edged sword that cuts both ways, is it not?

There are people in this world who only assess people by what they see with their eyes (they only comprehend the veriest good and the veriest evil)--they are to be viewed with a modicum of pity and compassion because of their limitations, but I don't know that anything is well-served by acquiescing to their prejudices. They need to move from the milk to the meat already. Furthermore, I don't know that anything is served by a person as straight-forward and honest as you pretending to abide by conventions and share aesthetics with which you do not agree. The Lord calls us to honesty in all of our dealings (is this not so?), and a man is judged by what's in his heart and head (dang it!), not necessarily by what's on his hide.

As for any ensuing conflict, it's probably inevitable--might as well get it out of the way. Pretending that there is no conflict only ensures that there is never a resolution, and sometimes an ax needs to be buried...even if it's in somebody's head (let's do keep in mind that I gave a clear and accurate confession of my nature in the first line of this comment ;-) ).

Besides, that ear ring, as I recall, is so tiny, nobody's likely to notice it anyway. If they're the kind of people I think they are, they'll probably get after you about needing a hair-cut instead. ;-)

That's my admittedly dubious two cents.


A said...

Matthew, you crack me up.

Ron said...

Why stop there... I can get you guys T-shirts that read...

"Jesus love me... The rest of you He's not too sure about."

Anonymous said...

Well, I didn't mean to sound all snotty and insufferable, but there does come a point when trying to accomodate others' beliefs when one just has to draw a line in the sand and say, "this is who I am: if you don't like it, tough-noogies."

If the folks in question are going to get bent out of shape by an unassuming tattoo and a tiny, little ear ring, then they are likely impossible to please anyway.

Robb, if you are resolved in your own mind that your bling and tat are acceptable before the Lord, then it should be as acceptable where you are going as it is here. Be who you are.


A said...


A said...

BTW, I completely agree.

Jbhart said...

I say wear it. Who cares. I think A is right that those who don't like you will only use it to fuel their fire of disdain. Those who care that much about the metal in your ear just decrease their life span. So, there is another reason to wear it. Just kidding. Sort of.

klasieprof said...

I think the poll is slanted by the wording. Biased Poll questions=not good response.
By saying "piss 'em off"...its assuming that I don't you want too??
I say..because I try and be as upfront as I can..Yes, wear it, as you wear it now..all the time? then yes. But..NOT a big ole' GAGE (although William would love that)..just what you DO already.

and DUDE...screw that needing LONG shirt stuff!! I say...HEAT WAVE till CHRISTMAS...or...
.is that "the holidays?"

Robb said...

I am always a little mystified about how the biblical concept of "offending" someone gets lost in translation. We hear "offend" and we think "make some mad" or "do something someone disagrees with." Since we can't "offend" anyone, we are left to live by the whims and preferences of others.

But biblically, to "offend" someone is to make someone stumble. And the way that we do that is by insisting that someone violate their conscience. For instance, if drinking alcohol violates a friend's conscience, it would be wrong for me to buy him a beer. But it is not wrong for me to drink a beer, even in his presence.

Does that distinction make sense? On that basis, I might tick someone off by wearing my "bling" in Michigan, but I seriously doubt I am going to be tempting anyone to get pierced.

Robb said...


I phrased the choice the way I did partly for humar and partly because I figured that would be what you all would be thinking when you voted.


Anonymous said...

Your distinction (and correction) is reasonable and significant. I would say your emphasis on the Biblical sense of "offend" should make your way clear. If you don't believe that your ear ring and tattoo will cause somebody to violate their conscience via emulation and are unconcerned about ticking them off, then it would seem that you are certainly free to wear them openly.

I suppose, out of love if nothing else, you still wouldn't want to provoke somebody to the utter limits of wrath, but I have difficulty imagining somebody who is remotely reasonable with even a trace of love in them would be angered so disproportionately by such a thing.

Of course, my thought now is do they have some sort of official church doctrine against such things? I had assumed not wearing such adornments was more of an unwritten code of conduct and was just expected, but I suppose if it's written down in a church by-law or something that might put a different spin on the situation. Of course, what are they going to do: have you bodily thrown out? Have you arrested? Surely, it's not as serious as that.


Robb said...

Oh Matthew, if only you knew these people ...

klasieprof said...

DANG!! I have been provoked!! I am getting my Nipple Pierced THIS moment, and gonna wear a tank top with a Front Cut out to show it off!! YAHHH BABY.
Yah. It is THAT bad. That's what we were left with when Robb and V left. The verses that have been shoved down my throat forever abut tats and stuff is "hey you dumbasses, don't you know your BODY is a "TEMPLE OF THE HOLY GHOST" which you have of God you are not your own..therefore Don't be puttin no freakery on your body!! NO tatts!! NO multiple Peircings...And if you are a guy, and you Pierce..Do you NOT know that means you are a Fag?" amen
They do have enormous ability to love, somewhat conditionally, but yah...if R showed up with "full" tats...regardless if he were already on the podium and program..SOMETHING would happen to get him off of it.
Halelujah...and lets' sing another verse of Holy HOly HOly,

Amber said...

I saw this woman once with a shirt that read: "I love Jesus. But I like to drink a little."


Dude. The tat and the ring are part of who you are. If they're so closed minded to be judgemental for that, then that's their problem.

You've taught us to be transparent, open and honest about who we are. Maybe you should take your own advice?

Be who you are. That's who we like.

akr said...

knowing your home church...then and now...they've changed and you've changed. If they are offended by you it is going to be over more than just an earring and for some it's not going to be a big deal.

Matthew said...

Wow. That bad, eh?

I'm probably better off not knowing them--they sound horrible.

Well, it was definitely foolish for me to comment then...

I guess I can't really understand the situation because I've always had a "dull-as-dishwater" aesthetic (no tats, no bling, pedestrian clothing--boring) and have thusly never been in conflict with this sort.

I have, though, spent most of my life trying to avoid them--nobody drags you down quite like a sanctimonious schmuck.

Robb, is eschewing that church all together and just meeting with the people who were friendly towards you an option at all? It sounds like you're just going to be shaking the dust off of your sandals anyway, so there's no point in getting your feet dirty in the first place.

Amber--obviously, I am in complete agreement with you.

As for the body being a temple, I've noticed that most temples have tasteful adornments and colorful trim--why should human temples be any different?


A said...

I for one like the "tasteful adornment and colorful trim" analogy. Once again Matthew nails it.

Since they're paying him to speak at the 5000 year anniversary of the church (ok it might only be 200 years or something like that), he probably can't avoid the church. That's really the reason for the question. Former pastor of the place there for an official event. I know you were planning on not wearing it Robb, but hopefully all these comments have at least made you consider going for it!!