Continuing our series of interviews, today Bob Horrocks joins us to answer questions pertaining to Christian naturism. Bob is an online friend who lives “across the pond,” so we unfortunately haven’t had the privilege of meeting in person.
Q: Could you briefly tell us your profession, and how you came to be a naturist?
A: My name is Bob Horrocks and I have been an ordained Anglican minister since 1982. I am currently serving as a pioneer, mission-focused Chaplain to the island of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands off the North-East coast of Africa which although having their own government comes under the jurisdiction of Spain. I’ve been here for nearly four years now. I became a naturist around 2005 after finding myself on a beach on holiday which unknowingly turned out to be a naturist beach. I was lying on the beach with my wife when a man walked past naked. I nudged my wife who was deeply engrossed in a book and seemed disinterested. After looking around I realised everyone else I could see had no clothes on either. Wanting to go for a swim I decided, “when in Rome do as the Romans do” and stripped off my costume. I walked rapidly across the beach and into the sea up to my waist, no matter how cold it was. The experience was fine. I enjoyed swimming around and realised that nobody was watching or bothering and life on the beach was normal except for no clothes. I sauntered back to my towel, dried off “au naturel” in the sunshine, and later went for another more relaxed swim. Later in the holiday I did the same on another beach. It was an amazing relaxed and freeing experience but as a Christian minister should I have been doing this? I went back to studying the Bible afresh with newly opened eyes and quickly discovered that God was fine with us being naked. The issues of shame that had been instilled in me since childhood were simply products of culture and not issues of Christian living according to the Bible.
Q: Why do you think people see Christian AND naturist as an oxymoron?
A: Most Christians in western culture have been brought up in a culture which has historically come to view the body as something to be hidden away under clothes. Nakedness has been equated to sexual expression and a culture of shame has grown up around the naked human body. Christians have been partly responsible for this in their attempts to control people’s sexual expression and thereby actually increasing the sexualisation of the human body. Clothing actually does nothing to supress lust and often accentuates it. Christians have fallen into the trap of equating nakedness with sin alongside a culture which uses intimately revealing clothing and nakedness to entice and seduce. Such a heady combination has created an unhealthy and unbiblical attitude to the human body.
Q: You imply in your book that you are a Christian before you are a naturist. Would you care to elaborate?
A: Whatever labels we or others place upon ourselves the key is what comes first and foremost in our lives. “Who are we?” is the real question here and I can say that first and foremost I am a Christian. My identity is in Christ and with Christ, everything else is secondary. Christian is the noun which describes me and other additions are simply adjectives describing the type of Christian I am. I can therefore say that I am a naturist Christian. That can be elaborated in order of importance in additional ways such that I could say that I am an Anglican, Evangelical, Charismatic, Naturist Christian and so on.
Q: What are some ways you would say naturism has enhanced your faith?
A: Naturism has been a revealing experience in many ways. It has helped me to see further beyond the cultured blinkers of both church and society revealing more of the real focus of our faith in Christ. My studies of the Bible have enabled me to strip away the accumulated layers which have hidden some of the truth and theology of the Scriptures. Being naked in nature has been somewhat of an “Eden” experience walking naked with God in the garden. Spiritually it has awakened my senses to the beauty of God’s creation and His image reflected in our own bodies.
Q: What would you say to someone who is having trouble reconciling naturism with Christianity?
A: Read your Bibles with an openness to God’s Holy Spirit to see what God is actually telling us. God is the one who brought all things into being and created us “naked and unashamed”. God is the one who pointed to the author of sin when he asked Adam and Eve, “Who told you that you were naked?” In our bodies we reflect the very image of God. To hide away that image and to equate it as being sinful is a blasphemous action which calls into question any sense of God’s perfection.
For a more detailed analysis read my book “Uncovering the Image” by Bob Horrocks.
Click on the image to download a free pdf:
Or buy a hard copy via Amazon.
Note from Phil O. and The Mrs: We recommend Bob’s book!