Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Why Question

I was having lunch with family a few days ago. At the table straight ahead of me a man sat down with an evil-looking face tattooed on the back of his bald head. I have lived in India for many years, and I immediately recognized that familiar face. Thousands of trucks in India have that painted on the differential as a superstitious way to ward off accidents.

With that face staring at me. I kid you not, I felt physically nauseated for a moment.


As that quickly passed, I asked myself “Why would he do that?”

For cosmetic reasons? Was it a belief that somehow that tattoo enhances his appearance?

Or was it a drunken, spur-of-the-moment decision that movies like Hangover Part II tell us can happen. How drunk would you have to be, and for how long, to get a tattoo that size on your head?

Was it a part of a spiritual ritual? A contract with the devil? Was he imprinting the face of an intimate aquaintance on his body?

Was it simply his individuality showing through, a signature that says, “This is who I am?” Was it like Julia Roberts smile or San Francisco Giant closer Brian Wilson’s beard, or my feeling most “myself” in jeans and a t-shirt?

Maybe it was none of these. Maybe the tattoo was really cool, but I am just an old fogey stuck in the past?

Or did the face communicate his inner landscape? Maybe his experience of life culminates in that tattoo.

Last night at a coffee house I heard a girl read a poem. It expressed her inner landscape. The moving verses were of her growing up, and revealed the pain of being abused by her mother’s husband and her mom seeming not to care. “Why didn’t you help me?” It encapsulated her life experience and ended triumphantly with her tearful declaration, “I forgive you. I love you.”

If that leering tattooed face was an expression of a man’s inner life, then what was the emotion it expressed? Anger? Fear? Intimidation? Rebellion? Loneliness? The look of the face seemed to rule out the more positive emotions like hope.

I wanted to talk to the man. Just wanted to be kind and loving to him in some way, but I didn’t get a chance.

So… why the tattoo?

I’d have to get to know him to find that out.

"The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.”
Lamentations 3:19-22 (New Living Translation)

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Quotes of Note ... The Invisible World

“Spiritual warfare is learning to recognize the strategies, refusing to cooperate with them, and aggressively cutting off the schemes of the devil in Jesus’ name.” Dean Sherman

“those who protest that God cannot exist because there is too much evil evident in life… Evil exists; therefore, the Creator does not. That is categorically stated… If evil exists, one must assume that good exists in order to know the difference. If good exists, one must assume that a moral law exists by which to measure good and evil. But if a moral law exists, must not one posit an ultimate source of moral law, or at least an objective basis for a moral law? By an objective basis, I mean something that is transcendingly true at all times, regardless of whether I believed it or not.” Ravi Zacharias

“But the Devil is no big threat to God’s purposes; he is not even remotely comparable in power. He has been given a limited time before his final judgment to try to prove his case, just as all other moral beings who have chosen to live in rebellion against heaven.” W.A. Pratney

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I've served as a life-long missionary in Samoa, the Pacific region, India, and now in Pennsylvania. The Christian faith is reasonable and works in real life. It is true to the facts. Hope you enjoy some of the thoughts. I appreciate feedback.

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