Tattoos are one of those subjects not all people of faith agree on. The Bible says, “‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord'” (Lev. 19:28 HCSB). While that sounds cut and dried, is it? Pastor Richard Lindsay-Bignell was featured on Trib Live News as a pastor who also works as a tattoo artist. He promotes tattoo as symbols of faith. For him it is a blend of his love of ministry and his passion for art.
United Church of Christ
Rev. Lindsay-Bignell is the pastor of two United Church congregations. He admits they are one of the most liberal denominations, and as pastor he encourages acceptance of all members – even those with tattoos. He not only promotes acceptance, he has inked more than 25 members of his congregation.
Brother’s Keeper Ink
While the tattoos mentioned in Leviticus are linked to witchcraft, Lindsay-Bignell specializes in religious symbol and memorial tattooing. As a tattoo artist operating under Brother’s Keeper Ink he looks at it as an opportunity for outreach.
“I think it’s a good way to contact people who might not be that involved in the church and help people celebrate Christ.” – Rev. Lindsay-Bignell via Trib Live
Lindsay-Bignell’s interest in ministry started about 15 years ago after he reconnected with a childhood friend, the Rev. Alice Lindsay-Bignell. The two talked about her vocation while they dated, and he felt a call to the ministry. Until that point, his education had centered on art, so he switched gears and attended the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 2009.
Passion for art and faith expressed in ink
Lindsay-Bignell’s passion for tattoos ignited when he met a tattoo artist who attended his wife’s church, the First United Church of Christ in Millvale. The two often discussed art and tattoos and Linsay-Bignell enrolled in the Tattoo Learning Center in Schenectady, N.Y. Once certified he talked about his new craft with church members. Some believed tattoos go against what the Bible teaches, but supported him anyway.
“The way I see it, if I’m doing tattoos of symbols of Christ, there’s nothing demonic about that.” – Rev. Lindsay-Bignell via Trib Live
Are tattoos okay or not for Christians?
Pastor Lindsay-Bignell has done 25 tattoos for members of his congregation and others. He sets up shop in his churches or in people’s homes. His tattoos include Christian symbols like crosses, angel wings, and praying hands. His wife has said she thinks tattoos can help people “reconnect with their spirituality.”
Lindsay-Bignell typically doesn’t charge for his tattoos, but he will accept payment if it is offered. Any money he receives is put toward supplies. His goal is to eventually open a Christian tattoo shop that will also be used for Bible study and fellowship.