Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Tattooed Jesus {Book Review}

The Tattooed Jesus by Kevin Swanson

As a busy, pregnant, homeschooling mom of several children, finding time to read a quality, wholesome book is not always on the top of my list. Reading has always been important but I certainly have not been able to snuggle under my covers at night with a good book as much as I used to pre-kids! This scenario hadn't happened in a while, not until I started reading The Tattooed Jesus by Kevin Swanson. Once beginning this book, for several nights, I would be in a different room than my husband, captivated by the book and then go running to find him and share with him a life changing thought, fact or experience that the author had shared! This book is challenging, convicting and powerfully relevant in today's culture.




Christians are too easily ruined by philosophy and vain deceit after the tradition of men (Col. 2:8), because they are not discerning of bad ideas and bad cultural devices. Kevin Swanson addresses such varying topics as major motion pictures, popular music, country music, eastern medicine, tattoos, computer games, horror literature, fantasy, sports, super heroes, Contemporary Christian Music, Hip Hop, Thomas Kinkade, Harry Potter, Jack Bauer, Sesame Street, and the Hunger Games. - See more at: https://generationswithvision.com/Store/2014/10/the-tattooed-jesus/#sthash.k8fQnD3a.dpuf
Christians are too easily ruined by philosophy and vain deceit after the tradition of men (Col. 2:8), because they are not discerning of bad ideas and bad cultural devices. Kevin Swanson addresses such varying topics as major motion pictures, popular music, country music, eastern medicine, tattoos, computer games, horror literature, fantasy, sports, super heroes, Contemporary Christian Music, Hip Hop, Thomas Kinkade, Harry Potter, Jack Bauer, Sesame Street, and the Hunger Games.
Paperback. 167 Pages.
- See more at: https://generationswithvision.com/Store/2014/10/the-tattooed-jesus/#sthash.k8fQnD3a.dpuf
In The Tattooed Jesus,  Kevin Swanson addresses such varying topics as major motion pictures, popular music, country music, eastern medicine, tattoos, computer games, horror literature, fantasy, sports, super heroes, Contemporary Christian Music, Hip Hop, Thomas Kinkade, Harry Potter, Jack Bauer, Sesame Street, and the Hunger Games. 

What do these ever so popular cultural norms have to do with our faith? Is it wrong to allow ourselves or our children to become involved with these expressions of art and entertainment? To some it may seem extreme to place Harry Potter and Thomas Kinkade on the same level but, after reading this book, I felt that Swanson drew a clear distinction about what is biblical and appropriate for Christians in this day and age. 
Christians are too easily ruined by philosophy and vain deceit after the tradition of men (Col. 2:8), because they are not discerning of bad ideas and bad cultural devices. Kevin Swanson addresses such varying topics as major motion pictures, popular music, country music, eastern medicine, tattoos, computer games, horror literature, fantasy, sports, super heroes, Contemporary Christian Music, Hip Hop, Thomas Kinkade, Harry Potter, Jack Bauer, Sesame Street, and the Hunger Games.
Paperback. 167 Pages.
- See more at: https://generationswithvision.com/Store/2014/10/the-tattooed-jesus/#sthash.k8fQnD3a.dpuf

Christians are too easily ruined by philosophy and vain deceit after the tradition of men (Col. 2:8), because they are not discerning of bad ideas and bad cultural devices. Kevin Swanson addresses such varying topics as major motion pictures, popular music, country music, eastern medicine, tattoos, computer games, horror literature, fantasy, sports, super heroes, Contemporary Christian Music, Hip Hop, Thomas Kinkade, Harry Potter, Jack Bauer, Sesame Street, and the Hunger Games.
Paperback. 167 Pages.
- See more at: https://generationswithvision.com/Store/2014/10/the-tattooed-jesus/#sthash.k8fQnD3a.dpuf


The most relevant chapter for me was: Wise Discernment for Music in Home and Church. This chapter not only confirmed my most recent convictions such as what I shared in my post,  Why Hillsong Music is Not Played in My Home, but it brought to light WHY I have been struggling so long with modern Christian music. It opened my eyes and even convicted me of some of the music that I do listen to. 

This book showed me that as Christians we are always going to be faced with the culture. We have to be vigilant and aware of what is going on around us and we can't just take everything in stride and hope it all works out for the best. When I first began having convictions about secular music as a Christian I began listening to Christian rock, hardcore and punk. At least it was Christian right? No. 

Then, a few years later I was convicted of that music and got rid of all my albums and left the lifestyle and friends I had created for myself through those genres. Then about 12 years ago, I got caught up in another form of "worship" that was not biblical but based on emotion and New Age techniques. Finally, I was convicted of that. And then, through prayer and what was brought up in this book, I was convicted of even more! We are constantly being changed and transformed as we continue on in our relationship with Jesus (Romans 12:2). 

As Christians, we can never say that we have reached our goal but we always need to be changing so that we line up with the Word of God and His precepts and seeing that the culture isn't what changes us!


Prior to reading this book I already had some pretty strong convictions. We already don't allow anything that has anything to do with witches or wizards in our home (Leviticus 19:31). Believe me this is a lot harder than it seems. It seems that magic, wizards and witches are everywhere so we are constantly having to monitor what is watched or read in our home. We made a blanket statement first and foremost with our children that they cannot read or watch Harry Potter, Disney, Lord of the Rings, Wizard of Oz, anything Tolkien or anything CS Lewis. That may sound extreme, yes, but most Disney movies have a hint of magic in it so it just seemed safe to say 'no Disney.'  I know it frustrates many family and friends who just want to sit down and watch a seemingly harmless movie with my kids, but this is what my husband and I decided from when my oldest son was two and we are trying to stick to it. As for Tolkien and Lewis, I will address them later!

Believe it or not this author challenged me even beyond where I stand as a Christian now. After reading this book, I found myself cleaning off my bookshelves and movies even further! Then, even after finishing the book several weeks ago, through prayer and Bible reading, I still find myself cleaning my bookshelves of even more books that I am realizing are unbiblical. I believe that it is the Lord that is doing the cleansing, challenging and convicting. 

Some of the realizations even brought me to tears. I am serious. For example, my son has recently fallen in love with the How to Train Your Dragon books and movies. He has read through three of the books this spring. The second one in only a few days! As a mother, I enjoy seeing his love for reading. So when the author mentioned that in the second movie, one of the characters comes out of the closet I was heartbroken. Now, I am torn. The book doesn't have any homosexual characters. The only reason the movie does is because the person who did the voice of this character is a homosexual so he thought it would be funny to ad lib that in there. The producer didn't originally have that line in there, but he did end up allowing it because he thought it was funny and progressive. Uggg. What do I do now? Let him get caught up with the books but say no to the movies? Well. He is certainly not watching that movie now, and I'm up in the air about the books but leaning  more towards no. I hate it, but I have to draw the line somewhere.  

Then there was a statement brought up the author that challenged me personally. He compares modern worship songs to classic hymns and shows how the progressive change is dangerous. The early church would focus more on Psalms in their worship and now we focus on songs that use the words "I," "Me," and "Us," many times more than in traditional songs. Some modern songs are so obviously worldly and unscriptural such as singing about how the world is God's great dance floor or I am climbing a mountain with my hands open wide? What. in. the. world? These lyrics are so absurd for a worship song to Jesus, how did we get this far off track? Well, I certainly didn't like Swanson's answer. It was hard to swallow. 

He says it began with the introduction of Maranatha. What? I love those songs, are you kidding me? I sing them, with my guitar with my children in our homeschool at times. But, as I looked through my Maranatha hymnal I understood what he meant. Mixed in with hymns were cheesy, repetitious, shallow, unbiblical songs that in reality have little meaning. Yikes. But I do agree with him that this mindless style of worship has paved the way for such a twisted form of "praise and worship" found in our society today. 


As soon as someone quotes Tolkien or CS Lewis I cringe. But that is just me. I understand that people can compare the characters in their novels to spiritual or biblical events but I disagree that either of these author's books should be labeled Christian or allowed to be read or viewed by Christian children. Since I take a strong stance against wizards and witches then it should be obvious why I have a problem with Gandolf the wizard in Tolkien's works and the witch in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe Series by CS Lewis. I don't know why so many intellectuals fall into the trap of thinking these writings or movies are acceptable, but it is very common, so I wasn't surprised to see that the author didn't have a problem with them. 

Overall, this was an amazing read that I highly recommend!


Disclaimer: Thank you to Generations with Visions for providing a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All opinions stated here are my own.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I firmly believe in setting up safe guards and having monitoring what our families see and hear but I can't help but wonder if you have gotten caught up in following "rules" instead of relationship with Jesus. I read a lot of what you won't allow and how you dissect E V E R Y T H I N G and instead of feeling lifted up I feel like its more for people to feel not good enough. I am not trying to bring you down or argue but I couldn't help to bring another point of view to the table.

Heather @ Thrift Schooling said...

Thank you so much for your comment! I don't want people to feel condemned or brought down from my posts so thank you for bringing that up. This is a review though on a book that addresses these issues and even though I may have many rules in my home, I personally believe it has come from my relationship with God and book just confirmed those things. This post only shows one side of me and my convictions, feel free to read a glimpse into my thoughts on having a relationship with Jesus here: http://www.thriftymomspot.com/2013/09/relationship-vs-religion.html Thanks for your comment and please visit again!

Audy Old said...

Wonderful. As I read this today I think, wow a like minded family. We have to stand in front of Christ someday and account for how we raised our kids. But also they need to be innocent of evil and protected as much as we can without putting them in a bubble.

good thoughts. thanks

I am sad that Kevin is ok with C.S. Lewis and Towlson. They are horrid books and movies.