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2003 PE Report


Americans find comfort in ‘nesting,’ but connecting is another matter (December 22, 2002)

Viewer discretion advised: Reality-based programs stoop to new low (December 15, 2002)

A/G among fastest growing faith groups (December 8, 2002)

Christians play crucial role in foster care (November 24, 2002)

A/G churches remember with outreaches (November 17, 2002)

Elderly face added woes from credit card debt (November 10, 2002)

PE Kidz News from BGMC (October 27, 2002)

Cyber-evangelists find innovative ways to share gospel (October 20, 2002)

Risks, stigma accompany wearing of tattoos (October 13, 2002)

Women lead on-campus ministries (September 29, 2002)

Tobacco, alcohol, gambling industries find underage Internet client base (September 22, 2002)

Marijuana, cocaine have abusive company: Ecstasy, meth and prescription painkillers (September 15, 2002)

September 11: A day that changed American Christians forever (September 8, 2002)

Congress, courts clash over Internet filtering issue (August 25, 2002)

People with disabilities bless churches (August 18, 2002)

Short-term youth binges can result in long-term habit (August 11, 2002)

Christians aim to preserve traditional marriage (July 28, 2002)

Payback time: Christian volunteers motivated to give back to community (July 21, 2002)

Urban training centers minister
to ever-growing population
(July 14, 2002)

E-mail rumors dupe multitudes, hurt credibility (June 30, 2002)

Not so innocent: PG-13 films increasingly push sex, language limits (June 23, 2002)

Skipping church: Why are some Americans staying home on Sunday? (June 16, 2002)

Fudge fellowship: Pastor's wife treats tavern clientele (June 9, 2002)

Persevering nomadic church finally reaches promised land (May 26, 2002)

Tragedy brings A/G church, community closer to God (May 19, 2002)

Couples find God's calling in adopting, raising children (May 12, 2002)

A/G chaplain ministers to women in maximum-security prison (April 28, 2002)

Youth center offers alternative to teens (April 21, 2002)

A week without television (April 14, 2002)

Technological know-how aids San Jose church outreach (March 31, 2002)

Cincinnati racial reconciliation brings inner peace to inner city (March 24, 2002)

District's fund-raising efforts aid pastors planting churches (March 17, 2002)

GED program an effective ministry (March 10, 2002)

Building relationshipis at heart of women's ministries outreach (February 24, 2002)

Single-minded devotion: Unmarried ranks offer ministry opportunities (February 17, 2002)

Bethany College honors black minister pioneer (February 10, 2002)

A/G quarterback wins Unitas Award (January 27, 2002)

Camp Melody plants song of love in boys' hearts (January 20, 2002)

Pastor breaks giving record after 10 days atop billboard (January 13, 2002)


2001 News Digest stories


2000 News Digest stories

 

Risks, stigma accompany wearing of tattoos

By Kirk Noonan (October 13, 2002)

Tattoos have eked their way into America’s mainstream culture and have become suddenly fashionable. Once criminals, circus performers and sailors were the typical candidates to have their skin inked. Now professional athletes, musicians, Hollywood celebrities, teens and 20-somethings eagerly sport tattoos.

An estimated 20 million Americans have tattoos. In the past 20 years, the number of tattoo parlors in the United States has grown from a little more than 300 to in excess of 4,000. Tattooing is also one of the fastest growing retail businesses in America. Although tattoos are trendy, they remain fraught with hazards ranging from disease to regret. Despite the risks, many young people are getting tattooed — and some say it has everything to do with their faith.

"Some non-Christians have preconceived ideas of what Christians should act and look like," says Cornelius*, 29, a sales associate who has two tattoos and lives in the Midwest. "I come at those kinds of people from a different angle and that leads to conversations about God. If anything, my tattoos are witnessing tools."

Assemblies of God missionary Luis Carrera, who has three tattoos that he received while in prison before he became a Christian, says the markings send the wrong message and are a prime example of Christians following rather than leading.

"Tattoos are a reflection of rebellion in society," says Carrera, 46. "As Christians we shouldn’t let society make an impact on us; we should make an impact on society."

According to a study from the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center, youths who get tattoos are more likely than their peers to smoke cigarettes or marijuana, go on drinking binges, have premarital sex, engage in serious fights, join gangs, skip school and receive poor grades.

"People who get tattoos tend to be involved in high-risk behaviors," explains URMC pediatrician Timothy Roberts. "[Teens] with tattoos are often the kids who get into trouble as adolescents."

Cornelius wanted a tattoo when he turned 18. But out of respect for his Christian parents he decided not to obtain one until he moved out on his own. Yet even after he left his parents’ home, he felt uneasy and waited until age 26 to have a cross tattooed onto his shoulder.

"Getting a tattoo is not something you think about for a month and go do," says Cornelius. "It’s going to be on your body for the rest of your life."

When a teen seeks counsel about whether to be tattooed, Scott Bruegman, 31, an A/G pastor who has ministered to teens for seven years, engages the teen in conversation, urging the youth to imagine the future.

"I ask them what they think their children will think of their tattoo," says Bruegman, who is starting a youth church in a Denver suburb. "After we discuss those possibilities I point them to the Bible and encourage them to talk to their parents and spend a lot of time thinking and praying about it."

The American Academy of Dermatology predicts that half of those who get tattooed will regret their decision at some point. But regret is only one of the drawbacks commonly associated with being tattooed.

A person can contract different strains of hepatitis or human immuno-deficiency virus if sterile equipment and application procedures are not strictly used and followed. Last year University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center research revealed that people who received a tattoo in a commercial tattoo parlor were nine times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C than people who did not have a tattoo.

The risks can be financial, too. In the marketplace, some employers are leery of hiring those who have visible tattoos. Another cost is when a person’s regret over having a tattoo moves them to having it removed. Besides being painful, tattoo removal can cost several thousand dollars.

It’s been three years since Cornelius was first tattooed and he says he has no regrets and has suffered no ill side effects or financial setbacks. "God is more concerned about the condition of my soul than the color on my skin," he says.

Carrera has a different take.

"I want to be a reflection of the One who has transformed my life," he says. "As Christians we should be trying to identify ourselves with Christ rather than with the trends of our culture."

*Name has been changed

 

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