Minister’s Musings: Tattoo You?

My generation, the baby boomers born from 1945-1965, are known for their tradition-breaking radicalism. Among the traditions we broke was tattooing. We are the least
tattooed generation of adults alive today. Almost all of our fathers wore mementos of
World War II on their skin. To us, tattoos were passé. Peace-loving hippies painted
their bodies with flowers that would easily wash off. The generations following us, Gen-
X and Millennials, male and female, adorn their bodies with permanent declarations of
who they are and what is important. These tattoos are done with careful discernment
more often than on a drunken shore leave. People for years have used body
marking to signify religious truth and tribal allegiance. It is one of the norms of human

In January our Worship and RE theme will be the free and responsible search for truth
and meaning. Meaning is everywhere. As a transcendentalist, I resonate with Emerson’s
proclamation, “Nature is scripture writ large.” Yet I also believe that scripture is
inscribed on the bodies of many UUs. If you have a tattoo with a meaning you would love
to share, please send a photo of it to me at In January I will
project them on a screen in front of the church and discuss their meaning. You can
remain anonymous if you fear public speaking as much as I fear being poked
repeatedly with a needle. However, I hope that some of you would be willing to
publicly share why your tattoos are important to you.
Rev. Charlie


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