my new tat
Friday February 24th 2006, 3:01 pm
Filed under: faith, personal

ok,here it is, my new tattoo. it’s on my left arm, up by the shoulder.

right before i left for hawaii (which was the first two weeks of my sabbatical), jeannie said to me, “you’re not going to surprise me and come home with a new tattoo, are you?” i said, “of course not!” i hadn’t even thought of it. but — dang it! — she put the idea in my head! and a few days later as i was walking along the beach, watching the sunset, meditating on rebirth and how this sabbatical was (i hoped, at that point) going to rejuvenate me in a significant way (which, in hindsight, it did), and the concept of a phoenix popped into my head. also popping into my head was the idea of how cool it would be to ‘mark’ my sabbatical as a turning point by getting a phoenix tattoo! the phoenix is a mythical bird that symbolizes rebirth. when the phoenix dies (you can see this in one of the harry potter movies!), it spontaneously combusts, and is then reborn out of the flames.

a couple days later i had a chat with jeannie about it on the phone, and we agreed to both think about it. on the next chat, we agreed it would be a good ’stake in the ground’ for me — an ebeneezer, as it were. i got a recommendation on a good tat place in lahaina, and visited their shop. i saw a few phoenix designs, but none were perfect. i found one, though, that had a great design (the top 2/3 of my tattoo) that i liked, but i really wanted the flames. the artist and i worked together to drop the tail feathers of the bird, and substitute flames. and the night before i came home, i spent 45 minutes gritting my teeth and intermittantly holding my breath, erecting the ebeneezer.

this is my third tattoo, and all of them have significant spiritual meaning for me. the other two are clearly christian symbols (both celtic: one a knot that symbolizes the trinity, and the other ‘the cross of saint patrick’ with words from patrick’s prayer written around it — ‘before me, behind me, beneath me, within me’, identifying my connection to christ). this one is not an overt christian symbol, but is no less about my faith. it symbolizes my belief and constant desire that god desires to, and is, constantly remaking me, transforming me into the person he wants me to be. it is a symbol of great hope for me, and a reminder to me of my commitment to enter willingly into the (sometimes painful) transforming process of life in the way of jesus.

8 Comments so far
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dude, that is awesome! very cool.

Comment by patrick 02.24.06 @ 4:42 pm

i lovelovelove the idea of a phoenix when it comes to rebirth/transformation/etc… beauty from ashes… i thought about getting one myself actually, i’ve just never found a design i like :(

Comment by kara 02.24.06 @ 4:44 pm

Despite all my piercings, I have yet to take the tattoo leap. However, as I have pondered it, the “phoenix” was the image that kept coming to me as my symbol of choice.

Your phoenix is beautiful. And -such- an ebeneezer!

Comment by renee 02.24.06 @ 7:13 pm

I love the new tattoo. I have one and keep considering another…but after the artwork of the one I have I won’t be happy unless I go back to Nashville (where I got mine a few years ago) and get it done there!

Comment by Deneice 02.24.06 @ 10:19 pm

Ok, that was beautiful. I think you should admit something though…this is really just a long explanation to hide the fact that you got this in memory of Phoenix from X-men 3, isn’t it? ;)

Comment by jen }i{ 02.26.06 @ 12:04 am

Regarding the Phoenix not being an explicitly Christian symbol, it’s not, but I believe St. Clement of Rome does cite it as an example of resurrection in the natural world in his first epistle.

Comment by Everett 02.27.06 @ 3:46 pm

interesting - thanks, everett

Comment by marko 02.27.06 @ 4:20 pm

A friend just mentioned this post. I’ve been in youth ministry 20 years. Been unemployed seven months… previously with Billy Graham in Canada as youth ministries manager coast to coast… fighting major battles on my own - raising the spiritual climate in cities without a full team and spending too much time away from my family….

anyway, over the last three years I have had a few significant visions and dreams concerning angels, birds of fire, burning castles that needed to come down, golden dragons, armies of young warriors rebuilding ancient ruins….

But one vision comes to mind. And it’s because a friend was just sharing his recent vision with me (lead singer of We’ve both had the same vision. Desolate desert valley. Giant bird on fire flying into the valley. Everything being ignited in yellow, red, orange, blue, green flames and everything coming to life…. trees bursting from the desert floor etc. All out of Isaiah 41-58. Not fruit trees, all trees of protection, shelter… cities being rebuilt, ancient ruins being restored.

Your tattoo is all about a double-ministry. Elijah went up in the fiery chariot and Elisha was given a double portion to carry on. For us, the double portion is not about going twice as far, it’s about going in two directions simultaneously… back into the church and out into the gutters of the world. The church needs reviving with righteousness and the world needs releasing with justice. It’s about prayer and proclamation. 24-7 prayer is clearing the foundation of the temple, its time to proclaim theocity - the city of God. Anyway, this is what I’ve been blogging about for a year… from theocity to lovelocity.

I have phoenix like friends who accompany me in my kingdom walkabout (Hebrews 1:7, Psalm 104).

Comment by kbartha 03.15.06 @ 1:54 pm

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