Observations and Such

I have been researching lately. Working on compiling some backdrop and information about the "Why's," to the way I live and what I do for a living. Through out it all, I can't help but notice the rise in hatred towards my Faith. And I call it my Faith for the simple reason that is what it is. But to the outside reader I would have to refer to it as "Religion." Because to the outside reader, that is usually what it is known as.

About a week ago I began researching Scripture references from the Bible that seem to gravitate around the taboo subject of Tattoos and Faith. I also dove into watching some videos both on YouTube and Vimeo. After about three or four hours of watching and reading, I had to put the computer away. I became extremely overwhelmed with information. I will not state that it is all good, nor is it all bad. It is just information for the project I am working on.

For the most part I became kind of irritated with what I was taking in. Lines after Lines of "Biblical" justification on why the writers opinion was in fact "Truth," and not opinion. Video after video of arguments both Pro and Anti Tattoo. Along with personal opinion told to listeners as "Fact." For me, I could not wrap my mind around most of them. I tried to see it from the standpoint that they had taken on it. but I could not grasp it. For the most part, while I was reading and watching or listening, I could not help but notice that almost all of the opinions being given, or the "facts" that were being presented, were based on what I have been calling Punchline Scriptures. Wordings, or sentences, or phrases that have been taken out of context to be used to support the opinion or belief of ones self. This happens all of the time in the world. Both Secular, and Biblical studies seem to use this technique to justify the "Why's" on whether or not they believe or do not believe.

Now I am not trying to take the conversation in a wrong direction. I do in fact believe that there are phrases, and sentences and wording in Scripture that are to be taken as they are written. But more times than not I am seeing the justification scripture being misused. A lot of times there is so much more around that one line that needed to be taken into account. There is so much more to the overall story that needed to be read and taken into account, to make said line of scripture understandable. 

Another thing I see that has become trendy lately seems to be the image of an upside down cross. It has become a normal fixture in Artwork and Tattoos. So I was interested in finding out why this was. Just a few years back, it became trendy again to add Swastikas back into Artworks as well. But before you could get all bent out of shape, you would have to research the persons reason for the use. Most of the time, Swastikas to my understanding are symbols of peace, well being and luck. It just so happens that negative meanings came about because of the Nazi Adoption of it, and I believe a lot of people do not know the other meaning.

So as I looked around and heard some commentary about the more frequent upside down crosses appearance, I came to find out a broken down, simplified meaning. They say it is used to represent the term, "I am unworthy." I actually found it rather interesting when I came across one young persons blog that had the simple image of a standard blackened straight cross, upside down, and a small write up underneath it. It read something like "This is not an Anti Religious symbol, It means that I am unworthy. Peter was hung on an upside down cross and he said it was because he was unworthy. So get a life you Judgmental @$$%*!&."

Now if I may offer an insight about the matter. I can see the idea of an upside down cross being a symbol of "unworthiness." But to my understanding of the story of the Apostle Peter's death, Peter was a direct follower of Jesus. After Jesus was put to death, Peter struggled to understand most of what had happened. Why he followed him, and how was he going to live now. Then once he came to understanding it all, he began to build, and teach, and love other as his Faith told him too. Like many of the other Apostles, Peter was beaten, spit on, laughed at, ignored, thrown out of towns, rejected, and overall discredited by many. He was thrown in prison on many different accounts, simply for not listening to authority when they told him to shut his mouth and stop talking about Jesus. The final time in prison was when we find the idea of the upside down cross. Peter, like apostles before him, was sentenced to death. But to my understanding, (and I apologize for my ignorance,) Peter was the only one who was sent to Crucifixion. So with the understanding of the Faith he had in Jesus. And the importance of Why and How he died, Peter opted for a cross that was upside down. Because he deemed himself "Unworthy" to die in the same manor as Jesus. He knew he was not even on the same level as Jesus was.

So Peter's upside down cross was his Choice to show honor to Jesus and not be put to death in the same manor. He was openly testifying that he is "Unworthy" to die in the same way Jesus did. Because by Faith, Jesus was the last to put to Death for Sin (as instructed in religious law of the old testament,) and return to show there is life after (physical) death, and through belief in Him and this sacrifice, we too could live with Him.

Now to anyone that uses the upside down cross in their Artwork, Tattoos, or any other thing in their life. It will come to no surprise that many people look at it as a disrespect to their Faith beliefs. As most likely did Eastern Religions when Hitler took on the symbol of the Swastika and perverted it for his own reasons.

The cross serves as a symbol of sacrifice to Christian belief. And when it is turned upside down it comes across disrespectful. Even if the meaning of "Unworthiness" is added to the picture. I believe flipping anything upside down, be it religious symbols, flags, logos, whatever it is, will always come across strongly, and most of the time will come across disrespectful. If that is the Goal, then it will be achieved. But if there is a deeper meaning that one attaches to it, let it be known openly. But there will most likely be backlash from the radicals. I do not in anyway condone the backlash. Just be prepared for those who forgot how to love first.

To finish this write up off, I would like to refer to something I recently read in the book; "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller. Don was sitting in on some classes on a college campus in Oregon, when he made friends with some other Christian Believers. Christianity was frowned upon on this canvas by the way. During an annual weekend festival thrown on the campus, Don, along with the crew of five other believers set up a homemade confessional. They dressed as monks, and set up a sign that said "Confessional." But there mission was not to take confessions from students. Their mission was to give them. They were going to apologize to all of those willing to step inside the booth, for previous things like the Crusades, and Most Televangalism, and stuff like that. After a while, they actually had some interested students take part. As they entered, they saw one of them sitting there in a monk outfit. They would ask, "So you wanna have me confess my sins I guess huh?" To which they heard a polite "No." then after a few confusing moments, they would state something like this;

" I want to confess to you. I want to tell you that I have Failed. I have failed you, and many other by not representing Jesus as I should. I am called to serve and to Love others first, before myself, but I tend to put my own agenda and my own schedule first instead. I also would like to apologize on behalf of all of those before me. Those who claim to be a Christian and a follower of Jesus, but as well have used this belief to back their own agendas, and their own ways of life. Using Scripture to justify their actions, as well as their judgmental ways. Using their version of Jesus to back their Ministry. I too have unfortunately done this to some extent. And I was to say I am sorry. "

In a world where we squish everything down into snippets of 150 characters or less, we lose focus on the whole story sometimes. We shouldn't be quick to slam the Scriptures into the faces of those around us. Be it follower of Jesus or not. Scripture did not say, "Go around and tell everyone the wrong they are doing, and then tell them to get right with Jesus." From my understanding it says, Love God first and foremost, and thank him for all he does. Then, Love everyone else as you would love yourself. Serve them and their needs, and you will be satisfied. You will then be serving God.

Whether you use Punchline Scriptures for your own justified lifestyle, or you use images of upside down crosses to testify your unworthiness to be a believer, I am still going to do my best to love ya! And I am sorry I have not been doing this in the first place.