Thursday, May 13, 2010

Write me on your skin

So... I'm thinking about getting a tattoo - rather, thinking about getting two of them.

At nearly 41 I know this is a crazy thing. The last time the thought passed my mind I was about 27 and wanted to get a full-back Celtic knotted triangle symbolizing the Trinity. Not sure if it was the $1200 or the three six-hour sessions in the tattoo artist chair that turned me off...

With age comes realism. I'm still looking for something spiritual, but not quite as huge.

Twenty years ago (that is SO hard to believe) one my my favorite bands, The 77s, wrote the song "Tattoo." The main refrain says "If you say I'm written on your soul, then write me on your skin." Just awesome - it's sort of 80s/90s, but take a listen to it and anything by Mike Roe you can put your hands on.

Speaking of hands - the theological dimension I'm leaning towards came from a project I was working on that communicated the merging of spirit with human effort. The phrases "Spirit of God" and "Human Hands" combine to mean a lot to me personally - guided by God's spirit, we are agents of change and transformation.

So to be really cool, it has to be in a biblical language. Right? The Hebrew for spirit/breath of God (as in Genesis 1:2) is Ruach Elohim. Human hands is Yadayim Adam. Here's the image...

Anyone want to contribute to these puppies being inked around my biceps?

The whole project leads to a few bigger questions. What theological/spiritual concept moves you deeply enough to consider adding to your "bodily testimony?" What would prevent you from doing so? Do you think there is any comparison of such tattoos to religious identifiers of old and not-so-old (tonsure, collars, tunics, saffron robes, kirpan, etc.)?


Steve Thorngate said...

Fear of needles would keep me from getting a tattoo. Also: fear of being mocked for it, like the young pastor in this video: .

But the real reason I'm commenting is to agree that anything recorded by Mike Roe is worth a listen. Especially the Lost Dogs and the solo stuff, but the 77s as well. He was never much for writing lyrics, but his singing and playing deserve a far bigger audience.

Gregg Brekke said...


You completely called me on trying to be cool like the pastor in the video. (lol)

It's been in my head for a long time - maybe not as overt as on the forearm though. While not as impressive as a GnR skull or Celtic knot, I think the other muscleheads at the gym will be intrigued. :)

Concur on Mike Roe. I like some stuff better than others, though don't dislike any. The 77s' progressive neo-alt/punk of the mid-80s (Ping Pong over the Abyss, etc.) was pretty influential for me as a meandering high schooler.

As an overall musician, there are few better. He's also a REALLY NICE guy in person.