The Importance of Skin

I wanted to share a great excerpt from Hugh Halter’s book, Flesh, about his conversation with a tattoo artist:

“So why do you think people tend to get so many tattoos, Sean? And why is the art of tattooing growing exponentially around the world?” Sean stops the vibrating needle, looks up at me, and says, “Because it’s something permanent etched on someone’s flesh that can’t be stolen, taken away, or corrupted. It’s unique to them, deeply, irrevocably theirs, and represents a story that has formed them or at least means something to them. When someone lets me etch something meaningful into their dermis, that means a lot to me and should mean even more to them. Skin matters a lot.”

Sean’s words are more true than even he knows. What happens to our flesh stays on our flesh. If it’s a scar, it stays. If it’s our natural color, it stays. Our skin is us to others. It’s what they see, and since our skin is able to ben and move, tighten and loosen, it is able to communicate hundreds of unique emotions, feelings, and thoughts. You can’t hide your skin. Most of our nerve endings are in our skin, so what happens to our flesh is usually obvious to someone watching us. We feel the world through our skin, and our flesh is the front door to our emotions. Our flesh is the most vulnerable part of our bodies and oftentimes the reason we get judged, abused, enslaved, or stereotyped. Flesh matters!

Therefore, to have skin is to be human, and that’s why flesh becomes the single most important theological, cosmological, and practical essence of our faith. Here’s why.

God as Spirit intentionally put on skin for us.

This is called the incarnation—a word that means “to take on flesh.”

Halter, H. (2014). Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth, Learning to be Human Like Jesus. Colorado Springs: David C Cook.

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