Ian Tan
Student Writer

As class work picks up, many students find it increasingly challenging to maintain their restful schedules and spiritual practices. Given their multiplying workload, some may have less time for praying, reading Bible passages or taking wholesome nature walks. It helps to have reminders. This week, sophomore Social Work major Julia Pearson highlights her tattoos serving as spiritual reminders of God’s faithfulness and beautiful chapters in our lives, despite the Biblical taboo attached to them.

1) Can you describe your tattoos and what gave you the idea to get them?

I have six tattoos that all hold some type of spiritual reminder while also representing little benchmarks in my life. Tattoos are my way of expressing myself.

Cross – The cross is a foundation that never runs dry. It’s my reminder that Jesus suffered so I could be whole.

Vine – “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” – John 15:4. Always be grafted to the vine because, without it, you’re nothing.

Rose– I got this for my mom who passed away and for the woman who takes care of me every single day here on earth. Both Moms have such a special place in my heart.

Take heart – “Take heart” is my anthem. Through every trial, I am always reminded that Jesus has already overcome each struggle I have faced and will face.

Our stories – Stories are what connect us together. Always be gentle in the living and choose the story you want to live by. I choose one of hope.

Amitu– This is my biological mom’s name who passed away.

2) From a traditional, Old Testament perspective, people would criticize getting a tattoo citing spiritually unhealthy reasons. What is your take on this?

There are stereotypes with Christians having tattoos and some would go as far in saying it is a sin. I believe it is not. The Levitical law prohibited tattoos, but that was toward the nation of Israel in that context. Do I think God cares about what we get on our body? Yes.  I think that tattoos are a beautiful way to express yourself and you have to have good motivation behind what you want.

3) How do you think some people may use tattoos to reflect their spirituality?

Tattoos that have spiritual meaning serve as reminders for people in their faith journeys. Also, tattoos can be used as gateways for spiritual discussion with people.

4) Do you have plans to get more tattoos, and if so, what are they?

I would like to add one to my arm and probably have a half sleeve. I am not sure what I want right now, but we will see, stay tuned!

5) Where did you get your tattoos?

I have gotten my tattoos in three different states and one in another country. Depending on the season of life I’m in and where I happen to be, that’s where I end up getting a tattoo. My rose was done back home in Ethiopia. My vine was done here in Pennsylvania and my ‘take heart’ tattoo was done in DC.