Tom Russell - Heritage Christian Counseling Ministries Archive July 2013

Topic for June 27th and July 4, 2013: The Involved Father

The Involved Father. Click Here to view the documents that were featured on-air.

Topic for July 11th and 18th 2013:  Tattoos

Nearly One - Third of People With Tattoos Regret Getting One: Study
From The Huffington Post / By Amanda L. Chan

Nearly a third of people with tattoos regret getting one, according to a small new survey out of the United Kingdom.

The survey findings, presented at the annual meeting of the British Association of Dermatologists, showed that men were more likely to have tattoo regret than women.

Tattoo regret was also three times more likely among men if they got their tattoo before reaching age 16, according to the survey. Meanwhile, the demographic least likely to regret a tattoo was women who got their tattoo after age 21.

But even though tattoo regret was relatively common among the study participants, not even half of those with tattoo regret said that they would get it, or them, removed, the researchers found.

"From our research we found that many of the people we questioned regretted their tattoo/s, therefore we'd encourage members of the public to have a 'cooling' off period or to seriously think about what effects getting a tattoo may have on their lives in the future," study researcher Dr. Caroline Owen, a consultant dermatologist for the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said in a statement.

The survey included 580 responses (53 percent men, 47 percent women) from people ages 16 and older (half of them were older than age 40), who had visible tattoos and visited the dermatology department East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust over a six-month period.

The study participants were asked about when they got their tattoos, by whom, whether they liked it still and whether they wished they could have it removed. The researchers found that nearly half -- 45 percent -- of the study participants got their tattoo while in young adulthood, between ages 18 and 25.

Tattoos that were on the upper part of the body were the most likely to be regretted, the survey said.

In 2006, Northwestern University researchers conducted a study of 500 people ages 18 to 50 and found that about 25 percent of them had tattoo regret, with 17 percent actually thinking about having their tattoo or tattoos removed.

"These data indicate there is a sizeable population of persons interested in tattoo removal, and that supports ongoing research on pigment composition, labeling and removal methods," the researcher of that study, Dr. Anne E. Laumann, associate professor of dermatology at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a statement.

According to the Mayo Clinic, tattoo removal can be completed either by surgery, laser surgery or dermabrasion -- and should never be attempted on your own. Possible health risks of having a tattoo removed include infection, discoloration of the skin and/or scarring.

"In the hands of an untrained individual, a laser can cause scars, burns, scars and other forms of damage to the skin and underlying tissue," Allen Falkner, who is the owner of Fade Fast Laser Tattoo Removal, told LiveScience. "However, if the machines are operated by qualified and trained technicians working under the supervision of a medical director, the procedure is actually quite safe."

LiveScience also reported that tattoo removal can be quite expensive, costing as much as 10 or 20 times more than the actual tattoo cost.

Tattoo: The Mark of Regret
From Dial-the-Truth Ministries / By Terry Watkins

Plastic Surgeon Tolbert S. Wilkinson, of San Antonio, Texas, who has removed tattoos warns:
"If people only realized how difficult it is to remove a tattoo, understood how costly and how painful tattoo removal is, and recognized that society as a whole still views tattoos as a stigma, maybe they would think seriously before getting one.  Laser removal costs a minimum of $7,000.00 (national average) per tattoo, and takes at least 10 to 15 treatments, spread out over two or more years. Even with this treatment, the tattoo is still visible."

Tattoo author Laura Reybold, writes that ". . .an ever rising number of people are so unhappy with their tattoos that they are willing to pay anything to have them removed."

"Yet an ever rising number of people are so unhappy with their tattoos that they are willing to pay anything to have them removed. Tattoo removal laser surgery is becoming big business for the dermatologists who perform it."  (Laura Reybold, Everything you need to know about the dangers of tattooing and body piercing, p. 30)

We receieved the following email shortly after we published this article on the web.  (Used with permission).

"I've just completed reading your article on tattooing and the truth of it all deeply troubled me. I am a Christian, and like most I've back-slidden several times throughout my life. During one of these times, I recieved two tattoos.

One is a "tribal" band on my left arm, though it doesn't fully circle the whole upper-arm. The other is on my right shoulder, the letters "MSC" in cursive writing signifying the names of my best friend, his wife, and their little daughter. Even though I love my friend and his family, I deeply regret getting their initials tattooed onto my body. Moreover, I seriously and gravely regret with all my heart getting my other tattoo (the tribal band on my left arm).

Being a few years older now (29 and married) there is not a day that goes by that I don't regret getting these tattoos. When I dress, I'm forced to see them in the mirror. When I shower I'm forced to see them.

What makes matters worse, is that I knew all along that it is was wrong. I justified it with a back-slidden mind by thinking such things as "God only considers the heart and mind", "physical sins don't compare to spiritual sins", and so on, and so on. With my depraved and back-slidden mind, I justified an abomination to God Himself, who instructs us through His divine law not to print any marks on our bodies (Leviticus 19:28). If this is the law that will be used to rightly judge the world, how much more should we as Christians observe and uphold it?

The woman doing my first tattoo (the tribal band) had to stop several times for mysterious reasons. She was visibly shaken and could not concentrate. She kept saying, "man, I need a break." Though It wasn't for my sake, I hid the pain very well and tuned it out for the most part--but this woman could not wait to get me out of that chair. She claimed that she drank quite a bit the night before (I was getting the tattoo on a saturday afternoon), and this seemed to be the most logical reason that she was having such a tough time. I can't help but wonder, however, if there was more to it. Even then my diminished discernment was working, and I sensed a spiritual conflict taking place. When the woman had finished, she made a disturbing remark that will foever echo in mind, "there ya go, you're no longer a virgin." Of course, she spoke not of physical sexuality, but of spiritual defilement against God in the form of marking my flesh. Now I was "one of the gang", one of the "cool people", and one of the rebels who shakes their fist at the law of God.

I'm still troubled, even knowing that I'm forgiven. My only hope is for the glorification of the body, when the Lord shall raise us uncorruptable. My tattoos stand as constant reminders of my past depravity when I forsook truly walking with God, and only rendered Him lip-service. They will continue to be my marks of shame for the rest of the time appointed. Thank you for your article. Hopefully this message will get out and all the right people will hear it, and save them from the fate of my shame and regret. It would bring great solace to know that another person would read your article and avert my mistakes--which I would take back in a second if only I had the chance. Through my own research, I've drawn all the same conclusions you have concerning tattooing, body modification, and other self-destructive practices.

May the Lord bless you and grant you peace and understanding."

Topic for July 25, 2013: Our Bodies As Our Temple

Our Bodies As Our Temple
Heritage Chrisitan Counseling Ministries / Thomas A. Russell, M.A., M.Ed., PCC/S  

In the New Testament, Paul tells the followers of Jesus Christ that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and as such we are to take care of our bodies and keep them as healthy as we can.  Being obese leads to multiple health risks, we need to realize that as much as it is up to us in our choice and amount of food, drink and exercise, we should strive to avoid becoming overweight.

A downside of obesity and weight loss is when we take it to the opposite extreme and become obsessed with our body image.  Constantly obsessing about exercise, diet and weight loss means we've allowed our bodies to become the center of our lives.  Obsession with weight loss can easily tip over into anorexia or bulimia, having a negative impact on our health.

The Lord wants His children to take excellent care of their bodies since they are the residence of the Holy Spirit.  A strong, healthy body helps us stay in shape so we can better serve God each day.  The Lord wants us to keep our focus on Him and not fall into obsessing about weight gain, weight loss, or food and drink, any of which can become an idol in our lives.

The Heavy Holy:
In a country where nearly 1 of every 3 adults (35.7) is clinically obese, by 2030 nearly 1 out of 2 are expected to be obese (2012 Study in American Journal of Preventive Medicine).  The YMCA, founded in 1844, was dedicated to the development of the whole person, "body, mind and spirit" and Christian diets go back to Charlie Shedd's 1957 bestseller Pray Your Weight Away, which taught that "if our bodies are really temples of the Holy Spirit, we had best get them down to the size God intended."

On a national scale, we churchgoers weigh in as among the heaviest.  A 2006 Purdue University study first broke the news that religious people tend to be heavier than nonreligious with "fundamental Christians" weighing in as the heaviest of all religious groups.  America is becoming a nation of gluttony and obesity and churches are a feeding ground for this problem.

An 18 year Northwestern University study released in 2011 found those who attend youth groups as teenagers were 50 percent more likely to be obese by the time they were 50 than those who didn't.  Pastors' health has likewise declined in the past decade so much so that a number of denominations have formed their own pastor health programs.  In 2007, Duke Divinity School began the Duke Clergy Health Initiative, a $12-million project aimed at improving the health of the United Methodist clergy as well as the "broader health of the congregations and communitites they serve." Last year, the Lilly Foundation committed $45-million to clergy health and renewal.

Beyond Dualism:
The Faith-based health manuals and routines share a simple, biblical belief: God made our bodies so we should care for them.  PraiseMoves cites: I Corinthians 6:19-20 as its foundational verses: "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were brought a price; therefore, honor God with your bodies."

Many in the faith and wellness movement cite the Apostle Paul: "Whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.  Though they offer differing strategies to accomplish this everything from yoga like exercise to power walking to boot camp aerobics to low fat, vegan and/or low carb diets to simple moderation - all teach that God can be glorified by what and how we eat.  The Eden Diet instructs readers to eat as Jesus did, as an "act of worship."

Even when we aspire to better health to better serve God and others, its crucial to remember that God does not require us to be healthy to accomplish His mission on earth.  Exercise and healthy eating will not guarantee a more fruitful ministry.

True Health Comes From Knowing Christ:
Even when we profess belief in Christ it is not enough to "believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we must also confess with our lips."  The psalmist gives us a beautiful portrait in Psalm 103, where he enjoins us to praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits.  His benefits to us are vast and generous.

Health comes as the overflow of loving God and submitting every realm of our lives to him, including loving and tending the God-made bodies He has given us as gifts.

Firm Faith, Fat Body?
Study conducted by author Matthew J. Feinstein found that young adults who regularly attended religious services were 50 percent more likely to become obese by the time they reached middle age.

As the first longitudinal study to examine the development of obesity in the religious, researchers traced 2,433 men and women who were between the ages of 20 to 32 for 18 years.

Attending a religious function at least once a week was defined as high frequency of religious participation.

Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or higher.

Obesity is a major epidemic facing the US population right now.

Feinstein believes that one possible explanation could be that some religious gatherings centered on unhealthy or high calorie meals.

American churches are virtually silent on excess body weight despite a biblical dictate for moderation in all things.

Reported by the Baptist Standard, the pastor encouraged believers to consider exercise and eating healthy as an act of worhip.  "It matters what Christians do to their bodies."

We want to honor God with our bodies.  They are not for our gratification; they are for God's glory."

Church-based intervention programs have shown promising results.