Stepping on Toes

One of the difficult things for Christian women (and men) to navigate is when they disagree on some topic or other. Some can take the disagreement with good will and grace and others will feel offended.

If you have a tattoo or a piercing, and if you feel offended by the posts here on Femina, then I’d like to suggest that you consider something (and I realize this may just cause more offense, but that it not the mission here).

D.L. Moody once said, “If you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one that yelps is the one that got hit.” In other words, if you find yourself getting all riled up inside, maybe you should just pull back for a minute and see why you got hit. If I stepped on your toes, perhaps you had them out in the middle of the aisle? My father-in-law has said, “Hard teaching makes tender hearts; soft teaching makes hard hearts.”If we are unwilling to hear anything but soft words that we agree with, we are likely to become hardened. But if we are willing to be rubbed the wrong way, it can keep our hearts tender.

If you are one of those Christians with tats or piercings, then you had better be able to give a good reason for it! And if you can’t, and if you get all upset if someone differs with you, then I think you should consider if you are way too defensive for no good reason. Surely this is a topic that we should be able to talk about and even differ over.

I mentioned in my first post on this that the burden of proof should lie with the person getting the tats and piercings, not with the person opposed to it. Rather than saying, “Why can’t I?” we should be saying, “Why should I? Give me ten good reasons why I should get a tat or a piercing?”

So no ill will intended toward anyone reading this! If it messed with your hair, consider it done by someone who likes to read the Puritans because they always, always mess mine up with both hands!

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11 thoughts on “Stepping on Toes

  1. But your hair always looks so neat at church! 🙂 The reason that I asked about the old frumpy women and the blue hair is that I think that they have some of the same issues that the young women who do it have. The biggest difference is that they were born in a generation where externalizations of their sins, anxieties, insecurities and fears were different. I think if those old women were young now, they would be the tat women. The younger women are certainly more screwed up as a group, because of the rampant fatherlessness of our age,

    This leads to an even sadder thought. Whatwill the daughters and granddaughters of tat girls do to debase themselves? Thoughts?

  2. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” The original articles are examples of iron-sharpening. What happens when a blade is sharpened? Friction produces heat, sparks will fly, and hopefully, the edge of a blade will be restored so that it will be useful. As Nancy wrote, getting our toes stepped on is cause for considering our own perspective and our own sinful hearts. Being willing to search our own ugly hearts and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance that perhaps it IS our perspective that needs adjustment then restores us to usefulness. Merely holding onto our point of view without reflection renders us dull.

  3. I always thought that the older ladies with blue hair either had a hairdresser that didn’t do a proper rinse (a way to decrease the yellow of gray/white hair) or that their eye sight was dimmed enough that they couldn’t see what color their hair really was after the rinse.
    (RLS-maybe I have totally misread your comment)

  4. As a visitor to this blog I am surprised & alittle disappointed with what is generally being said. I wonder if the simple, basic Biblical principle on all of this is being overshadowed by particulars that lead to the slippery slope of judgement & dissension. It seems to me that idolatry is the sin & basis for caution not the objects of creation, whether it’s nose or belly rings, tatoos or, by extension, clothing, food or wine, etc. I have always understood it’s the intent of the heart that God looks at & it’s my hope that all the statements, questions & comments about this subject would first be filtered through the Biblical understanding of idolatry helping each one of us to be honest before God about the intent of our heart in having nose or belly rings or tatoos or decisions about anyother created thing. May it be His Word we focus on.

  5. Hello, I just wanted to clarify my comment earlier. My problem is not in that there is a discussion or disagreement between two camps on this particular issue, but rather there is no wiggle room for someone to give thoughtful,prayerful consideration regarding tats, naval rings, nose rings etc..and come to a differing biblical conclusion. My offense was taken not for myself but for the lovely women that I know in church who have given such consideration toward this topic and decided to get the nose stud. The gereral thrust of the posts, as I have read them, seems to me to say that if one has one of the above mentioned adornments, they are not really biblical adornments but hellish cultural adornments, they are screaming for help,self deceived or unbiblical in their thinking. I have no problems being “put on the defense” and explain my position biblically…in fact I welcome it, but I would hope that it would be done with charity, understanding and with the knowledge that I can come to a differing conclusion and still be a thoughtful Christian. Everything in our lives needs to be done with purpose and conviction whether it is drinking, piercing or tattooing, removing ALL idols of the heart. I would like to approach a man or woman on this issue giving them the benefit of the doubt that they have put the thought into it. EVERYTHING needs to be done out of a Biblical God-honoring thought pattern. We can fight a culture war and maintain our own identity as Christians even if we have a nose stud.

  6. Nancy, I hope you will not mind me saying-
    Nancy does not need my flattery, to be sure. But to speak honorably where it is due, I just must. I can say from personal experience that Nancy is brave in her words and they come from her love for God. Her lips are full of wisdom. Even if she does not know you, her words will give you wisdom and Godly insight if you hear them. But most of all, her words are full of grace.
    Nancy, Thank you for all the unfashionable hairdos you have given me over the years. You’re one of the best stylist I have ever had, and I am a better women for it. Not to mention I am much less afraid of being un-cool. That alone is worth billions to me. 🙂 Thanks and smooches!

    PS. This has been a great discussion!

  7. I’ll happily offer a possible reason for getting a nose stud, tasteful tattoo or any of these other forms of adornment. Assuming right motives, respect of one’s authority, love of God’s temple, and lack of insecurity behind it, I would think the simplest reason would be the same reason for getting your ears pierced: beauty and adornment. I also know those who have taken the Biblical principle of a piercing or adornment being a symbol of submitting, and have chosen to show that they are cheerfully under their authority in that way. I could probably think of a few others, but I am confused as to why I don’t see anyone asking for a valid reason to get one’s ears pierced. After enjoying reading through all of these posts and comments, I just can’t see any huge fundamental difference between getting a nose ring, etc, and getting earrings. I think Hannah nailed it when she pointed out that there is certainly a progression of what is deemed lovely at different times and in different cultures. I wouldn’t want to assume that anything was “universally” considered lovely, simply because it is widely considered lovely. I also wouldn’t want to say that adornments from certain cultures or times are ok, because somehow those cultures or times had the market on the ideal Christian “look”. I would consider a daughter’s request to get a pierced nose, or a floral anklet tattoo as perhaps a step beyond earrings culturally, but honestly they’re all pretty equally common where I’m from. I wouldn’t eschew wearing trousers because it was first done by rebellious women – I would simply make sure that I wear trousers in what I deem to be a God-honoring fashion. Likewise, I wouldn’t eschew more permanent forms of adornment/jewelry such as earrings, noserings, etc, because they were once only worn by rebellious women, but I would seek to wear them in a way that is lovely and consistent with Christian character – I don’t think those things are mutually exclusive. I realize my opinion may not be shared by a majority of readers here, but it doesn’t change the crux of the matter: that these things really fall under the heading of Methods, rather than Principles. I appreciate the Biblical principles outlined here, but I would be cautious not to confuse the Biblical principles with the personal opinions of what they should look like. My husband gave me a chuckle by pointing out that a few generations ago, this blog might have been titled: “Trousers, Ankles and Other Forms of Immodesty”. Likewise, I’m sure we could find (and have, in many of the blog comments here) all manner of varying opinions about whether and how we should wear makeup, jewelry, clothing, and many more issues relating to the body than we could count! But the fact remains that these things ought to be reasoned out from the same Scriptures, and we as fellow saints ought not to assume that a brother or sister didn’t have a valid or good reason to get an adornment, simply because it is against our personal taste. I just can’t see Scripture extending to say that “earrings are fine, nose studs aren’t” or anything of the like. May we grow in beauty as we learn to kindly discuss these things, and seek to adorn our bodies to be lovely expressions appropriate in godly lives!

  8. My entire time of reading those posts about piercing and tattoos… I kept thinking… but what about all the women in church that I see who have to have two-toned dyed and cut hair. How is that any different from the worldliness of a nose ring? Or the family that has to have the newest name brand clothing despite the fact that they are not purchasing any of these things with cash on hand? Or the family that owns a home when it was not the right time or place, and their debt capitulates them to a point of being “house poor”? All of these situations point to an individual and/or family’s need to be “worldly”. To feel comfort in an area that is not so much supplied by God as much as it is to fulfill a desire we have created by some other instigating factor.

    And yet we capitalize on something as miniscule as a nose piercing? I think we could be ten times more prolific in our walk with God and our example to others… and our ability to truly step out and help people… if we became better stewards of our finances. Saying no to the millions of things we think we need every day to satiate our comfort levels. Do I need that 6-week hair salon visit that costs me 60 dollars a pop? Do I need that house that bumps my housing budget spending above 35% of my monthly income? Is that daily/weekly coffee drink really needed? The list goes on.

    Perhaps the beginning question is the right question. How worldly have we become? And… what is the motive behind the decision I am currently pressing on? But perhaps the capitalization on the venue of worldliness through nose piercing is a bit minute.

    That’s my opinion.

  9. Very interesting discussion.

    Yes, earrings and pants on women have become an accepted norm, they are no longer a sign, in and of themselves, as rebellion. But even that does not, in and of itself, make it right. Again, just because something is accepted does not make it right.

    I’m with the Wilson’s on this. I may be an “old fuddy dutty” but if you put a frog in a pot of cold water and turn on the heat, the frog never realizes it’s being boiled. Our culture has been so dumbed down that our Christian culture is that frog in the pot of water. And the heat is slowly being turned up…

    All of the things mentioned, at one time were a sign of rebellion. The world most certainly sees them as a sign of rebellion. That is why, I believe, there are many, many young people with tattoos, piercings, and other signs of self mutilation prominant in our culture today.

    We are called to be set apart from the world. When we look like the world, act like the world, we are the world.

  10. It seems to me that one of the underlying themes I keep coming across in this discussion, and others similar to it, is that things do have meaning and just like our words communicate to others, so does or tone of voice and our body language.

    In the same way our appearance speaks and when somebody gets a tattoo or piercing maybe they end up saying something to those around them that they did not intend and is not necessarily “the intention of their heart” but regardless of that, it does still speak and if there is any chance that their clothes, or hair, or skin choices might say something that dishonors God then it seems to me that they really ought not.

    In a culture such as ours it seems important that we speak in every way we can of the freedom and beauty found in Christ.

    “Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary use words.” St. Francis of Assissi

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