Tuesday, November 24, 2009

If They Did Tattoos in Church Like This, I Might Just Go...

MILL CREEK, Wash. - Church is probably the last place you'd think to get a tattoo, but a pastor in Mill Creek is getting his message out - one tattoo at a time.

A Sunday sermon at the Gold Creek Community Church in Mill Creek features something very unique.

On stage with the pastor is a tattoo artist and a member of the congregation, Erica Armendariz, sits quietly as he adds another tattoo to her arm.

"The one you don't want to put on yourself is the '666' right?" the Rev. Dan Kellogg asks the church-goers.

This is one way Kellogg gets his message across to his followers.

It's part of a six-week series called "Permanent Ink." Kellogg says the purpose is to find things in life that should be permanent and other things that should be removed.

Some churches considering tattooing a desecration of the body. But Kellogg disagrees with that.

"Even though it's a little edgy - and in fact some churches would say it's wrong to get a tattoo - we don't take that position at all," he says.

"We actually believe that this represents something that we can apply, something popular in our culture, that we can apply some spiritual truth to."

On this Sunday, Armendariz is on stage getting more artwork added to what she calls her "spiritual sleeve," a mural of religious tattoos across her arm.

"It's a constant reminder every day I wake up to it," she says. "It's something that constantly keeps it in the back of my head that I need to be the best person that I can be."

"Some people have thought through what they want permanently on their body, and what we want to talk about is what you want permanently on your soul too," the pastor says.

Kellogg says he's neither encouraging nor discouraging tattoos, but it's a powerful message and a unique way to get it across.

He didn't get a tattoo but had the word "FOUND" airbrushed on to his arm - and that's part of his next message.

As part of his message last week, Pastor Kellogg had some people remove their old tattoos - representing things they wanted out of their life.