Thinking Cap #41 - Ear rings, nose rings and tongue studs

What used to be a form of beauty enhancement for the ladies has become a major problem for most Christian families. When I grew up, only girls wore necklaces and ear rings. Way back then, just one ear ring per ear was considered sufficient. Then the boys started with the necklaces. Several churches made a big issue of it. When ear rings began to show up in the male species, it was greeted with horror. But, it was easy to combat because it was often just one ear ring and was a statement being made by the homosexual community. But, then straight (I hesitate to use the word normal, as that indicates a statement of what "should be") males began to show up with ear rings.

All of a sudden we have proliferation of ear rings ("What you only have six rings in that ear, I'm sure you can squeeze another one in right up there near the top!") in male and female. Not content to be average and seeking to push the envelope we have started drilling holes in our noses, in our lips, our eyelids, our tongues and I shudder to think where else. What's a parent to do? What's a Christian parent to do? What should a responsible teen or young Christian adult consider before falling in line with this trend.

We could cite medical alerts warning of the danger of making unnatural holes in the body (for example a June 1999 report from the famed Mayo Clinic). But, that just begs the real issue and question at hand.

Consider two issues with me on this topic.

1. First, it would be beneficial to get a Biblical level-set. While there is no "commandment" saying "Thou shalt not pierce thy ear," and "Boys shalt not wear ear rings," the Bible does share with us the normative behavior for Gods children. From that we can make four statements.

  1. Ear rings were only worn by the women among Gods people.

    In Isaiah 3:17-20, the daughters of Zion are said to wear earrings. Ezekiel 16:12 pictures Israel as a beautiful wife who is the object of God's love. He is heard saying, "I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears." Again portraying Israel as a beautiful woman betrothed to God, Hosea 2:13 says "She decked herself with her earrings and her jewels."

  2. Israel picked up bad habits from the Egyptians (those opposed to God).

In Exodus 32, the people of Israel sank into idolatry while they waited for Moses to bring down the law of God from Mt. Sinai. Aaron supervised building the golden calf for Israel to worship, a form of idolatry learned in Egypt. They had picked up other bad habits from the Egyptians. While the men of Israel had not stooped to the point of wearing earrings, their sons had! The young men of Israel had been influenced by a heathen society to wear what pertained to women. When Aaron wanted gold, he told them to "Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me." (verse 2). So that no remembrance of the perversions learned in Egypt might remain, Moses burned the golden calf, ground the remains into powder, put it in water, and made Israel drink it (verse 20).

c. Israel picked up bad habits from the Canaanites

In Genesis 33, Jacob's family had been drawn to the ways of the Canaanite city Shalem. While Jacob built an altar to the Lord, his children were attracted to heathen ways. The result was that Jacob's daughter Dinah was defiled, her brothers killed the Canaanites, and they took the spoil of the city. In Genesis 35:24, Israel was to give up the spoil of the city Shalem. They were commanded to put away strange gods, be clean, and change garments. This tells us that they possessed Canaanite idols, Canaanite perversions, and ungodly Canaanite garments, for their response was to give Jacob the idols and their earrings, and he buried them under the oak. Where did they get their earrings? >From the Canaanite men they killed in Shalem.

d. Gideon prevented Israel from picking up bad habits at Succoth

In Judges 8, after Gideon's three hundred men had defeated the Midianite army, he sent them out to the carnage of the battlefield to remove gold from the enemy dead and give it to him. The dead could be identified by earrings. The Israelites, the children of the promise, had no earrings; their enemies, referred to as Ishmaelites, who were not the children of the promise, had earrings. Verse 24 tells us, "For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites." All these earrings were to be brought to Gideon, so there would be no temptation for the men of Israel to wear them. The lesson to be learned is that male heirs to the promises of God did not wear earrings, while males of those who are not heirs to the promises of God did wear earrings.

I can find no reference to the gratuitous piercing of the nose, lips and other sundry body parts by Gods children anywhere in the Bible. Unless of course you want to put your ear against the door post and drive a large nail through it to show that you have voluntarily become the slave of another person.

What should we learn from these Old testament lessons which are given for our instruction? I believe that it would be safe to say that Christian men would not wear ear rings. Nor, would Gods children be drilling holes in their noses, tongues, eyelids, lips, belly buttons etc. for the purpose of ornaments.

2. Secondly, it would be prudent to consider the cultural direction. We see a cultural attraction to body piercing, fantasy murder games, and suicidally depressing music. In the non-Christian culture, there are have been two ideologies vying for the hearts of man.


Rationalism seeks order, self-control and community solidarity. There is a conformity favoring the group over the individual. They were convinced they could control nature and even reshape society by their rationalistic ideologies and scientific knowledge.


On the other hand, the Experiential valued extreme experiences. They sought places of danger and extreme excitement. They use drugs and alcohol to experience a sense of freedom and enlightenment.


While Rationalism held sway during the first half of this century, the Experiential has grabbed our culture in the last forty years. Many people today attempt to give themselves a meaningful life by trying to break out of all restrictions, including those of the moral law. They seek the thrill of transgression and going against society, including whatever mom and dad would prefer. They cultivate every extreme. They even embrace pain, mutilating themselves to make a fashion statement, and purposefully cultivate despair. This is the way of "creative" folks in the art world and academia. It can be found everywhere in the mass-produced youth culture the goths, punks, death metalheads, and Colorado's trench coat mafia.


For them there are no boundaries. The boundary between fantasy and reality is only another line to break. Thus ten years from now, today's culture will be considered tame, and rational people will be asking, "How can it get any worse?"


Christ of course is neither "Rationalism" or "Experiential." Christianity inspires neither the unemotional logic of Rationalism, nor the irrational break all bonds of the Experiential. Christianity values both the group and the individual, offering both form, freedom, truth and joy.


Why would a Christian man or woman wish to be associated with the mindset or practices of either of these groups, which are clearly contrary to Christ.


Many have assumed that cutting Christianity out of our culture makes us more advanced. The irony is that instead we have become more primitive. We are back to wearing bones in our noses, mutilating our bodies, cowering before sun gods, and throwing ourselves into frenzies (check out the mosh pits)


"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor 6:17-18)

Pleasant Thinking,
Kent Haralson


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