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Answers to your questions about life, religion and the Bible

Pastors get some of the darndest, most interesting questions from people in their churches and people they meet. Here are a few that I’ve gotten over the years and recently via email since this column started.

Father Paul; Does the Bible say anything about tattoos? Lots of my friends are getting them.

— Robin

Yes, the Bible does speak to the issue of tattoos. Leviticus 19:28 says, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord”

This law of God for the ancient Jews in the Old Testament concerned the common practice in that day of mutilating or marking the body in mourning for the death of a loved one. In more modern times (since Jesus)the New Testament teaches that a Christian’s body belongs not to himself, but to God. Romans 12: 1 says: “offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.” The idea is that we do not own our bodies to do with as we please. Additionally, the Bible says in I Corinthians 6: 19 - 20 for us to honor God through our bodies since they are the temple (dwelling place) of the Holy Spirit of God.

In short, our bodies are not meant to be used as billboards for the world’s messages or for graffiti. I know it is tough to swim against the modern tattoo tide. I saw a recent article that said nearly 30 percent of people between 20 and 40 either have a tattoo or plan to get one. If you are absolutely determined to get a tattoo, may I suggest it say “Jesus Is Lord.”

Father Paul: I am getting discouraged with going to church. I’ve been going for 10 years now and have probably heard 500 sermons. Truth is I can’t remember a single one of them. Aren’t I wasting my time?

— Richard

I’ve been married to Judy for over 40 years now. During that time she has probably cooked between 4,000 and 6,000 meals for me. Truth is, I don’t remember very many of them, but I keep showing up at the table anyway! Why? Because my body needs food, and I know that her meals nourish me and give me the strength and health I need to do the things that I have to do. (Besides, she is one GOOD cook.)

In the same way, your “spirit man” needs food...good, healthy spiritual food...the Word of God, presented regularly by a Godly pastor. If my wife hadn’t given me those meals I’d be physically dead today. Likewise, if I hadn’t gone to church for the past 40 plus years, I’d be spiritually dead today. God’s word teaches that your “spirit man” is more important than your “physical man.” There are a lot more good things happening to you at church than you can ever imagine. Go to church!

Father Paul: What do Charismatic Christians believe?

— Shelly

I don’t especially like spiritual labels. They tend to separate the Body of Christ...the church, which is directly contrary to Jesus’ prayer for unity among believers in John 17. Also, my space here is very limited. Briefly, the charismatic “stream” is one of the three major streams of the Christian Church today. The others two being liturgical/sacramental and evangelical. Approximately 25 percent of the planet’s 1.5 billion Christians consider themselves charismatics.

Very simply, charismatics believe that anything that commonly happened in the New Testament era (especially in the Book of Acts) can and does still happen today. This would include things like miracles, signs and wonders, healings, prophetic utterances, and speaking in tongues to name just a few.

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