Not long ago, my wife had a conversation/debate on what her newest tattoo meant. First, let me explain what the tattoo is. It is a Pentecost dove done like a flame, with the word ARSON in a graffiti font along the side of it.
OK, if you know your basic stories from the bible, the Pentecost being one of them. When my wife asked a group of ladies what they thought her tattoo meant, she got many answers about how her faith was diminishing and she was headed for hell. Or, they didn’t see the dove at all, or that she was promoting being an arson, illegally setting fires. Now, being an arson does sometimes imply an illegal act, however, the definition itself does not. To purposefully set fires. If I go camping and make a fire to cook on, don’t I then become an arson?
Well, take a look at the Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came to set a fire within the souls of the people, to encourage spirituality, to promote miracles, and worship to God. The people were then able to speak in tongues not known to them.
Acts 2:1-12 (New International Version)
1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.
5Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11(both Jews and converts to Judaism Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
I think what has frustrated me the most is that out of all of the explanations as to what these “Christians” thought her tattoo means, no one…NOT ONE “Christian” person got it right. The person who did get it right was an atheist who grew up Catholic. I’m not going to presume I know it all, or know all of the stories and their significance in the Bible. I’m not going to say I teach myself everyday, however, this is something that has shaped spirituality and I try to learn as much as I can. It’s a simple story. We read about the Pentecost in Acts and references are made a few times within the New Testament. The way I feel is that if I’m going to profess my belief of God, the Son, and Holy Ghost, then I should try to learn about what it means to walk this line of faith. But, here we are, a body of believers who leave it up to a preacher, study leader, priest, etc. to tell us the stories as if we’re a bunch of babes sucking on a nipple.
I know many people of different religious backgrounds, which many of them know their beliefs inside and out. Some of them even know the Bible I use as my guide better than me. To be forthright, as a believer, I think we all should strive to know more about the God we worship. We should seek Him in everything we do and not hold judgments for someone else’s belief system, how they look, or what they do and by learning the bible, we can see these examples over and over.