Today we are interviewing our friend Chris, aka Mudwalker.
Question: Can you briefly tell us how you got into naturism?
Answer: Around 2010-2011, I got really serious about conventional modesty. As a teenager of 15-16 years old, I was struggling with the usual surges and urges that come with adolescence, and I felt like some of it was the fault of the young women in my youth group. They just weren’t covering up enough! So, in 2012, I decided to load up on biblical ammunition to lob at them to force them to cover up… but there wasn’t any. That drove me to look outside the Bible for the best way to live with clothes, and the evidence spoke for itself… so, I became a naturist!
Question: What does the name Mudwalker mean to you?
Answer: It means I walk where others daren’t tread… even though what I’m doing isn’t actually a big deal! It’s a symbol of my willingness to explore things that are taboo and assumed to be bad but actually turn out to be harmless or even healthy in the end. When I get interested in a subject, I study it as extensively as I know how and reach an informed conclusion. Then, if it seems fine, I start dabbling. That’s what happened with going barefoot in the woods and also with naturism.
It’s also a symbol of our natural place on the Earth, directly interfacing with the environment instead of divorcing ourselves from it.
Question: Have your beliefs created any problems for you? If so, how did you navigate them?
Answer: My acceptance of naturism definitely threw some sparks up with my parents. It almost ended my dating relationship with the woman who would become my wife. But we all worked through it together, and here we are. My relationships with my parents and my wife are all amazing now, and they all agree now that naturism is at least not harmful or immoral.
My family and I moved to a new church recently to get away from an aging, declining, toxic church environment, and I met with the new church’s staff to let them know that number one, I’m an outspoken naturist, number two, given time, I will bring this up to people in the church, and number three, this may spark some controversy. I told the pastors that I wanted them to make an informed decision on our membership, and they did. We are now members. I didn’t know how it would go, but in the end, they were very welcoming!
Question: What would you want non-naturists to know about this practice?
Answer: I’d say that it’s nothing like the mainstream secular or evangelical cultures think. Contrary to the conventional assumptions (and they are assumptions), humans of all ages (yes, even Americans) can tolerate social nudity without losing their minds or their sexual purity. The first time I went to a naturist resort, I saw a beautiful woman across the way, and her body was everything the conventional view of modesty had taught me to fear. But she was just a person to me in that moment, and I went back to reading my book. I was shocked how normal it all was, how easy it is to adjust to a nude environment, and how safe a resort visit is for women and children.
Question: What’s on your naturist bucket list?
Answer: I haven’t written it out before, so this probably isn’t a comprehensive list, but here are some of the big ones!
I want to visit Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park and Sunsport Gardens because I hear such wonderful things about their policies, cultures and facilities.
I want to hunt naked. I feel like making a clean kill naked would be a really spiritual experience.
I want to debate a prominent Christian in a public, moderated debate someday when I have the credentials to attract the big fish. Naturism doesn’t get the attention it deserves on the debate stage – I intend to change that.
I want to participate in (or start!) a World Naked Bike Ride in Baton Rouge.
I want to start putting on nude events in the Baton Rouge area for young people, featuring activities like Ultimate Frisbee, barbeque, swimming, volleyball, and party games. I love my local nudist campground, but I want games! I want to move. (And I also don’t want to drive 1.5 hours to get my kit off. Lol!)
I want to facilitate a naked cold plunge event.
I want to go on a naked camping jaunt into the wilderness with just a canoe and a backpack and no clothes.
Things I’ve crossed off my list: visiting Cypress Cove and participating in a World Naked Bike Ride.
Mudwalker’s Extra Bit!
If you’d like to connect with me on social media, I have two Facebook groups! One is “Young Naturists Baton Rouge.” Once we get enough local naturists connected, we can start doing fun in-person events. The other is “Mudwalkers,” which is focused on the rewilding aspect of Mudwalkers. The two groups are specialized: Young Naturists Baton Rouge” is naturist-focused, and Mudwalkers is focused on rewilding.
Bonus: Chris also has a youtube channel with great content. Check out Mudwalkers on youtube. Here’s one example:
We are starting out this post with a video that shows what can happened when naturism gets misunderstood. The following video includes nudity. If you’re on this site, that shouldn’t bother you, but if it does, I’ll include the transcript after my comments and reaction to the video below.
In the video, Dan asks a great question that would naturally bring more questions to the surface that perhaps have never been considered before by those who are misunderstanding. However, I want to focus my comments on the story Dan told. This story is so sad to me. I get it! A little too much. I admire a couple of things about Dan in this regard. Number one, he is absolutely honest about who and what he is. This obviously has come up to bite him and others that have had similar experiences. That’s why it’s a bit of a risk to be that upfront with everyone. In this case, the church lost a great volunteer using his gifts for the good of those in the church. It’s so sad that a, well, at least we know it to be an unwarranted worry would prevent a believer from sharing his abilities with others. The second thing I appreciate about Dan is his apparent lack of resentment towards those who made this decision on his regard. I’m sure he’s probably had to work out his frustration and anger towards these people who are simply trying to do what they think is best, even though they are mistaken. I did not detect any ill will towards these leaders on Dan’s part, and that is admirable.
For us, we haven’t taken that risk yet of coming out to the whole world as it relates to our naturist beliefs and activities. We have to be careful still as I’m certain our livelihood would suffer as a result of being “outed.” This story is a prime example of the reigning attitudes that prevail against such beliefs. It’s another tale from another friend. We’ve heard many “horror” stories from other friends about how they have been misunderstood and treated unfairly as a result of their firm convictions. However, most of them look in the rearview mirror, and see the Lord’s hand bringing beauty from those ashes as only he can.
Is it dishonest to omit every detail of your life with every person? I think it depends person you person and case by case. But no one walks up to all strangers and says for example, “Oh, hey, I love playing pickleball on the weekends! In case you needed to know!” Well, that’s a poor example as pickleballers can be even more evangelistic about their hobby as are passionate CrossFit people! Your choice of sport versus a nudist lifestyle may be an apples and oranges comparison, but the point is not everyone needs to know everything. And in this case, not everyone is ready to know everything.
I admire Dan and others that are total open books and can live that freely, but I also don’t want to belittle those that cannot yet be that free (and I am in that boat). My friend Matthew Neal has made the point many times that if you are generally perceived as being a godly man of integrity with strong morals, raising a good family, for example, then that may certainly be the truth of who you are, and people believe that about you and your reputation. (Believe me, I get that reputation isn’t everything!) Now suppose you are found out to be a nudist, with all the snap judgments made about this segment of the population. Would the truth of the earlier statement suddenly be rendered false? Would it cease being true with this added tidbit of information? To many, sadly, they would begin to believe a lie about you without having any real understanding on the issues at play or the people involved. It’s in some cases better that the partial truth be shared only with those who are trusted confidants, so that whole truth continue to be believed instead of lies and unmerited accusations.
I call for compassion for naturists in both camps, whether in some sort of “closet” out of necessity and for those who are fully “out” and dealing with some of the fallout. One of the best things about naturism is its ability to teach you to be more accepting of others and less judgmental overall. The world could use a little bit more of these attributes, could it not?
Oh, by the way, have you played pickleball yet? It’s really fun and a great workout! It’s even great to play nude when you have that option.
Here is the transcript for the video:
We went to a church that was really big on participation They wanted people to volunteer in some area over another. And my talent, and it’s been this way since I was a kid, was babies. They call me the baby whisperer, you know, and I’m drawn to babies and they’re drawn to me. You know, we make faces that each other even in the grocery store. People I don’t know, I’m standing in line behind somebody. They’ve got a baby in the car seat. Baby may be upset, and I make a funny face and the baby will stop crying and look at me. And by the time we get to the checkout counter, the baby’s laughing at me. I think it’s because I’m funny looking.
But so I volunteered for the church nursery, and I worked in the main campus of the nursery and then when we had it, we built a satellite campus. My wife and I were the nursery, but, you know, she was kind of there. She recognizes, you know, I’m the baby person, and she was kind of the assistant. But when the ministers– you know, they pulled me aside one day and talk to me about not posting on Facebook, about modeling. Because they agree it is not sinful, but they were getting questions from the people, the parents or whatever that made them uncomfortable. So they didn’t want me to really talk about it. And then when I started trying to promote my second book on Facebook, which was called “Life Models,” they just finally just asked me not to volunteer anymore.
So, yeah, it’s, there’s still a stigma attached to nudity. Just because and it’s societal. It’s not biblical, you know, and, you know, part of me wants to make just just make them ask one question. And even if it’s just once always naked, why did the soldiers think you was a prophet?
There’s an obvious answer. They might not like the answer that is so obvious. But but because that obvious answer leads to more questions and and then that kind of blows their view of the body out of the water. I think so.
Dave Carlson and our friends at www.naturist-christians.org have put together a beautifully designed and helpful online booklet on the subject of Christian naturism. It’s concise and has many great pictures to support the excellent content.
You can and should read the whole thing for yourself, but here are some of my favorite parts and my reaction to them.
They start out with a very brief history of naturism to say what it is and what it isn’t. I like this line that says, “Most historical references to naturism point to its beginning in Germany during the 1930’s. We believe naturism is much, much older– as in since day six of creation. Humans were originally created to live naked and without shame.”
We like to call our state of undress as being “as created” or “as intended.” Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “If God had meant for us to be naked, we’d have been born that way.” Well he did. Job declared in chapter 1, verse 21, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.” It’s God’s idea. He does not make mistakes. In fact, this booklet points out that, “The Trinity called this arrangement ‘very good.”
On what it is and isn’t, Dave points out that, “Naturism has a long history of being beneficial to physical, mental, and spiritual well being. It advocates for body positivity and the freedom to enjoy appropriate settings while naked. Naturism is NOT about exhibitionism, sexuality, swinging, swapping partners, pornography, pedophilia, or being sexually provocative.” Right out of the gate, these assertions are made boldly to counter the knee-jerk reactions that people can make when hearing about these ideas for the first time. Sure anything can be corrupted by those who don’t hold to the true convictions, but this truth has been proven millions of times over. This is a great quote: “Naturism is not magical. But over a century of experiences by millions of people supports the idea that simple, non-sexual nudity- both alone and in social settings- can do wonders for damaged psyches.” The booklet goes through these benefits in a systematic way.
Much later in the booklet, the admission is made that, “We understand your skepticism. Most of us doubted all this was possible until we experienced it for ourselves. For naturists, being is believing.” I love that. I have often said that, “Seeing is believing.” But I may have to change that now to, “Being is believing.” You can argue with ideas and Scriptural interpretations all day long. But it’s hard to argue with experience. And yet, it’s vital to understand something such as this. We’ve seen firsthand this claim to be the reality: “Until you’ve experienced it, it isn’t easy to image how freeing taking off your mask can be. People now see you as you really are. You see them as they are. Suddenly you realize how normal and alike you are to everyone else you are on equal footing with others. You instantly reconnect to your humanity, and it only takes a few minutes to understand it’s acceptable to be you, just like you are, in that very moment.” It truly is for everyone and everyone would be better for having fully understood these concepts through personal experience.
The subtitle of this work is “How Naturist Values are in Harmony with God’s Will for Christian Living.” So this reconciling of naturism with Christian faith is both introduced and explored. Entire books have been written on this. The booklet serves as a primer to whet one’s appetite for further exploration and dare I say experimentation. Helpful tips are suggested, such as starting doing regular things nude in your own home. We have certainly put these ideas to the test to see if they were God-honoring and an enhancement to our faith, which comes first, of course.
The case is made logically and, “The inescapable conclusion is, God is not offended or shocked by your bare body. If you are offended or alarmed by seeing a naked body (especially your own), perhaps examining exactly why you feel that way is in order. Adopting a healthier perspective about the human body will benefit you physically, mentally, and spiritually.” Naturists know how great this body freedom is. They’ve escaped the gnostic heresy that is still alive and well today. They love to include others in the same freedom they so much enjoy. So don’t take our word it, try it out for yourself and you be the judge!
“One of naturism’s greatest features is recognition of the dignity of the human body in and of itself. This applies to all bodies without regard to weight, surgical scars, the presence of visible medical devices, or impairment requiring wheelchairs or other mobility equipment.” This is one of the many things I love about naturism. The world desperately needs this perspective. It’s called “Imago Dei” (the image of God) and it is the way it’s always supposed to be.
Again, the booklet is a great resource and a quick read. I suggest you read it for yourself. Another great part of the piece is a couple of pages on more resources to explore for further study. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this blog, Aching for Eden, listed first in the websites section! Well, you’re already here. Check out some of the others now.
Fair warning: today’s video interview obviously contains nudity. Dan is a personal friend who has been an art model for 37 years. It’s been great to see Dan in person on many occasions as he travels through our area. He is an author and has some other interesting and unique experiences which we will be showcasing here on the blog. So be sure to subscribe, so you don’t miss it. Without wasting any more time, here’s your introduction to Dan.
My name’s Dan Hawkins. I got into naturism really young. I grew up in a, going to a Pentecostal church. We were only, I mean, we were only naked to shower and bathe and change in and out of swim swimsuits. But even as a child, that little moment when I got the swimsuit off felt so much better than having it on. And I was like, “Why do I have to wear this when we’re swimming? Why can’t we just skinny dip? And I remember seeing a painting in a book one time of just people skinny dipping. And I thought, that looks more fun than swimming with bathing suits on.
So as a teenager, I found like a place at night to go and just take a walk with nothing on, where I wouldn’t be seen. So when I went away to college, I was 18 and I found out that they drew nude models in their drawing classes. And I immediately just wanted to do it.
The models got paid $5 an hour, which was better than minimum wage back then, you know. You know, $15 for 3 hours. Sounded good to me when I was 18, in 1984.
I modeled for the first session; it was on Election Day, Reagan and Mondale. So a lot of people stayed home to watch the election returns. So there were only two women who showed up to draw that night, which, you know, made it easier on me not having a whole bunch of people drawing me.
I modeled again. Well that class had 20 something people in it. So it was a big change and I was really nervous to start having that many people. But by the time the class was over, I was comfortable and it was like, I want to do it again! So you know, it’s a job that I still do regularly. And that was 37 years ago.
I did find an ad at the back of one of those Gazette newspapers for a nudist resort out east of Dallas. And I lived in Fort Worth. And so I drove out there and visited. It was called the Ponderosa Ranch, and visited the resort for the first time and loved it.
I thought, this is, these are my people, so I’m going to keep on doing this. My current wife and I have been married for 23 years. And you know, she enjoys it. She comes out with me. I mean, she’s not as big a nut about it as I am, but she comes out with me and enjoys it. I just like being able to relax without the covering. Talking with other people, without their covering.
Because the clothes we wear are almost like a mask. You come out to a resort, and when everybody’s naked together, the person you’re talking to, you don’t know them. They could be the CEO of a major company. They could be a fast food worker. You don’t know because that sign that denotes who they are in the outside world, the clothes that they wear isn’t there. It’s just them as a person. And it’s just me as a person. And you get little more meaningful conversations that way. Even if somebody you’ve never met and, you know, you make friends faster here than you do in the outside world.
37 years. I don’t know. There’s a lot! 10 to 15 years we’ve been carrying cell phones with cameras in them. So I’ve been getting a lot of them, a lot more photographs of drawings of me. That’s not the case in the when I was 18 and through my twenties, I don’t have many, I don’t have any drawings and I don’t have any pictures of the drawings. I don’t know. I wish I did because, you know, it’d be interesting to see how artists saw me when I was younger. Because I was I was pretty skinny back then. I was like 140 pounds or less, you know, the same height I am now. I was a skinny kid when I started out doing it.
If we want to know God’s desire and intention for the human race, the truth is to be found in our creation. And that’s found in Genesis 1-2. In those chapters, we find that the first man and woman placed by God in a Garden Paradise called Eden.
Paradise lasts, it turns out, for only two chapters… but there is much to learn there before sin tainted creation. Eden is what God made us for. And that explains the longings that we have to “return” there.
Among the other perfect elements of life in Eden, Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect relationships. God Himself exists in the eternal and perfect communion of the Trinity, and our capacity for relationship is one of the ways that we bear His likeness.Therefore, I am focusing our attention on relationships in this post.
There were three essential relationships which the first human beings experienced in Eden. All three were part of God’s intention and design; all three were in evidence before the Fall, and all three were damaged by the Fall.
The three relationships were:
Their relationship with God.
Their relationship with their spouse.
Their relationship with themselves.
By God’s design, all three of these relationships were perfect because they were exactly as God intended them to be.
Relationship with God: They were created in God’s image and likeness, and they obeyed Him as their Lord. (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:16)
As God’s crowning creation, the man and the woman were especially honored to be made in His image, and they alone were given the opportunity to obey or disobey God. They alone were expected to live with God in perpetual volitional obedience. While they did so, their relationship with Him was perfect and unhindered.
Relationship with Their Spouse: They experienced true “one-flesh” unionwith each other. (Genesis 2:24)
Just as each person of the Godhead exists in perfect union and relationship with the other persons of the Godhead, so the man and the woman were designed by God to live in perfect union with one another. Before the Fall, this relationship was mutually giving, loving, and unselfish.
Relationship with Themselves: They knew no shame. (Genesis 2:25)
Both Adam and Eve were completely at peace with who they were. There was no need to hide either physically (they were naked) or emotionally (without shame). They were exactly as God made them and intended them to be, and it was enough. There was no sense of any kind that they needed to be more, less, or different than what and who they were. Shame is not and never was God’s desire for His highest creation. Before the fall, Adam and Eve were each in perfect relationship with themselves for they were utterly without shame.
Damaged by the Fall
All three relationships listed above were severely damaged by the sin of Adam and Eve. This damage was evident in the actions of Adam and Eve immediately thereafter.
Relationship with God: When God approached them, Adam and Eve hid themselves from the presence of God. (Genesis 3:8-9)
Adam and Eve no longer felt free to be in God’s presence; instead, they felt fear. Furthermore, their understanding of God was skewed so that they were now deluded into believing or hoping that if they hid among the trees, He would not know where they were.
Relationship with Their Spouse: Love and trust were lost. (Genesis 2:12-13)
Adam and Eve were no longer unified. When tempted, Eve chose not to believe what her husband had told her and follow his guidance for her. Eve was then party to Adam’s Fall. When confronted about his own sin, Adam chose to blame rather than to fulfill his own responsibility as husband to love and protect his wife.
Relationship with Themselves: They were ashamed of their bodies. (Genesis 3:7)
Adam and Eve no longer accepted how God had made them. They now considered parts of their own bodies to be less than good, and they felt exposed and vulnerable. In their effort to hide their own sense of inadequacy, they sought protection from external coverings.
The Longing Remains
Man still longs for the peace with God that he was made for.
Adam’s perfect relationship with God was damaged, but deep in his soul, there was still a yearning to know and walk in peace with his Creator. The fact that perfection was lost does not change the fact that we were made for that relationship. God also desires that we walk with Him. That is why He sent Christ Jesus to take away our sin and restore us to our relationship with the Father.
This side of heaven, we will never know a perfect relationship with the Father like Adam did before the Fall, but we still long for it, and we are called to pursue an ever deepening relationship with Him here and now.
Man and Wife still long to be united in perfect love with one another.
A man still longs to have the be fully one in body and soul with his wife, and a woman still longs to give herself fully to a man who will love, cherish, and protect her. Neither will see complete fulfillment of that desire in the fallen state, but they can and should pursue the ideal.
We can experience tastes of that unity when we love with God’s love and give ourselves as fully as we are able to our spouses. Even in our fallen state, there is no more fulfilling human relationship that we can experience than the one between husband and wife when each fully gives themselves in unselfish love.
We all have a deep longing to be completely and transparently accepted exactly as we are.
So much of our lives we spend seeking approval and/or affirmation. We are constantly aware of our own inadequacies and failures. Hiding or covering our imperfections are perpetual motivations. We want to feel good about ourselves, and we want others to accept us as well.
Children – and adults – are most free and “alive” when they know for sure that they are truly “ok” exactly as they are. They shy away from contexts where they are judged, and they blossom and shine in a context of complete acceptance. This kind of acceptance is what we were made for. Indeed, the Bible calls it, “naked and unashamed.”
Notice that I didn’t say that we should pursue “naked and unashamed.” Everyone knows that since we’re fallen, there’s no way we can ever get any taste of “naked and unashamed” in this life, right?
We will never experience the fullness of pre-fall unity with our Heavenly Father in our fallen state…but that sure doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue an ever deepening relationship with Him.
We will never experience the fullness of pre-fall unity with our spouses in our fallen state… but that sure doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make any effort to give ourselves fully to the one God has given to us.
We will never experience the fullness of pre-fall innocence and purity in our fallen state…but that sure doesn’t mean that we should never even attempt to live “naked and unashamed.”
Can anyone show me in the Bible where God has forbidden such a pursuit?
God’s pre-fall ideals for humanity are His post-fall ideals for humanity. God never changed His mind about them. He understands that we are dust and that we are fallen; He knows that we won’t fully attain the ideals until after we are fully and ultimately redeemed, but He still wants us to pursue His ideals here and now. His grace is greater than our inability to get all the way there, so we have absolutely no reason to hold back.
Roadblocks to Eden
We were created for Eden. If we are honest with ourselves, we will see that we still long for it on all counts, even though we have built and maintain false roadblocks to getting there:
We tell ourselves that if we really draw close to God, we will have to lose or give up something. We trade what is to be found in God for what little comfort we can find in the pursuit of our own ways.
We tell ourselves that if we really open up to another person, we will get hurt by them. We embrace the predictability of emotional and/or physical isolation to protect against the threat of pain.
We tell ourselves that if we really attempt to be naked, we will only know shame. We choose the safety of hiding behind clothing in a vain attempt to thwart shame.
In all cases, the tradeoff is tragically misguided. All we really do is promote the false notion that our fallen state is unredeemable. We accept being less than truly human. We miss out on what God made us for.
Most everyone will rightly tell us to lay aside the first two roadblocks, but precious few will ever encourage anyone to lay aside the third. Most, it seems, will vehemently forbid any attempt to “return to Eden”… but on that point only! There is no logical or biblical defense for that distinction. To be consistent, we must either forbid all three pursuits, or encourage all three.
Welcome to Eden!
I invite you to Eden!
Yes, God blocked the entrance to the physical Garden Paradise in Genesis 3:22-24, but His clearly stated purpose for doing so was so that the man and woman would not partake of the Tree of Life and live forever physically! It was not a declaration that their longings for the relationships of Eden could not be pursued!
Instead, God gave the promise of a Savior (Genesis 3:15 the “seed of the woman”), and that Savior became the One by whom we could once again live forever! Even that human desire is still ultimately God’s will for us… just not in our unredeemed state!
Lay aside the roadblocks. All of them.
Give up anything that keeps you from pursuing your relationship with God.
Give up emotional and physical isolation from your spouse and others.
Give up your confidence in clothing and shed your shame.
Welcome to the freedom of being completely human… the way God meant for you to be.
I’d like to devote a post to the treasure trove that is Fig Leaf Forum. Long time Christian naturists will be familiar with this resource. Newcomers need to become aware of it! I suggest everyone sign up for free access to the archives right now if you haven’t already.
From 1994 to 2014 Fig Leaf Forum published 700 newsletters that still hold relevance today. The archive, therefore, is a gold mine of information and encouragement for anyone exploring Christian naturism or nudism. Editor and publisher John Kundert has provided an invaluable resource for free to all who would simply write in to request access.
There is plenty to read on the site without signing up, but after signing up you have more to read than you’ll have time available. You can really dig through the weeds and get a lot of your questions answered.
One of my favorite of resources on the site (after signing up) is “Apologia.” It’s a robust 136 pages itself! In the introduction of this downloadable pdf are the following descriptive words:
What’s presented here is the result of many hours of prayerful reflection and careful research into the Bible. The questions and objections in this apologia are very typical of what most Christian critics think of nakedness and nudism. We should never run from hard questions, but instead should seek good answers. Challenging questions and objections like these provide us with opportunities to think through the reasons why nudism is important to us. This process gives us a chance to emphasize the realities and dismiss the falsehoods.
It’s hoped that this collection of questions, objections and responses will provide an introduction to the naturist idea and movement, and describe it from a Christian point of view. It’s also hoped that it will challenge the thinking of skeptic and enthusiast alike, perhaps showing both some new and different perspectives.
It’s truly a blessing to have this resource and the table of contents in which you can go directly to the question or objection you’d like to study. I should mention that the whole archive is keyword searchable! When you log in you can launch LISA to begin an exploration. LISA (Linked Searchable Archive) offers a better way to read and search Fig Leaf Forum’s vast newsletter back issue collection.
I’d like to end with one of the samples of what you’ll find on the site reproduced here, since it’s public anyway. Go here to read on their site and perhaps even save a printable and foldable version of this tract. What follows is some of the text from this introductory piece…
“Who told you that you were naked?” That’s what God asked Adam in Genesis 3.11. If you’re a Bible-believing Christian who cares about the source of your beliefs, you would do well to ask yourself that very same question. Who told you what you currently believe about being naked?
Did you know that there are lots of Christians who are also social nudists? That might seem like a startling claim, but it’s true. Christian nudists number in the thousands and are located all over North America and in many other parts of the world. If you belong to a large church congregation in the United States or Canada, there’s a very good chance that you have nudists within it.
Just what is nudism, anyway? Nudism (also called naturism) is the practice of going without clothing in social settings (generally in mixed-gender groups of all ages) in the belief that doing so is beneficial. Governed by strict behavioral boundaries, a defining characteristic of genuine social nudism is that it’s purposefully chaste.
Why would a Christian want to be a nudist? Nudism offers numerous benefits to physical, mental and spiritual health. For starters, it simply feels good! Being unclothed when the weather is warm is very comfortable, and once you’ve gone swimming or been in a hot tub without a swimsuit, you’ll never want to wear one again! On a deeper level, social nudism offers a unique feeling of closeness and trust unavailable in usual settings. It helps participants overcome poor body image. It offers children and teens a way to avoid unnatural and often unhealthy curiosities about the body. It affirms and reinforces the fact that there’s nothing shameful about the way God made us. It offers a tangible way for believers to embrace God’s view of the human body. In fact, it gives us an opportunity to literally be God’s image bearers! Last but certainly not least, it offers common ground for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with unbelieving nudists willing to receive it.
The Bible actually mentions nakedness quite often. If you carefully study the passages that talk about physical nakedness and pay close attention to the context in which they’re found, you’ll discover that it’s never described as being inherently shameful or inherently sinful. After all, we were created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1.27), “naked” and “not ashamed” (Genesis 2.25). And God declared all this “very good” (Genesis 1.31). After Adam and Eve sinned, they made loincloths for themselves out of fig leaves (Genesis 3.7). That seems like an odd thing for a husband and wife to do, don’t you think? In Genesis 3.11 God asked, “Who told you that you were naked?” Question: According to the Bible, who else had talked to Adam or Eve in the Garden besides God? Answer: the serpent, also called the devil or Satan (Genesis 3.1, Revelation 12.9). Just as Satan had lied to Adam and Eve about what would happen if they ate the forbidden fruit, he also lied to them about the goodness of their God-given nakedness. Adam and Eve believed Satan when he told them to hide the way God had made them, and to fear their nakedness (Genesis 3.7,10). They should never have listened to Satan’s lies about their nakedness … and neither should we!
(Please visit Fig Leaf Forum to read the rest of this tract at figleafforum.com. I can’t recommend this site enough!)
Linda: There’s someone I know that doesn’t like it at all!
Mike: We live 365 naked. I mean, we’re able to be nude pretty much all the time at home. We have enough property to do that. But if I got to go to Wal-Mart, I need to go get some groceries periodically or I want to do certain things that require clothing. We either need to get those clothes on and go do our thing because you automatically get hot.
The Lord’s made you to enjoy the breeze. To enjoy this, you start putting clothes on and restrict all that. I find myself getting hot immediately, so I either need to get on the motorcycle and start riding or get in the car or go someplace and enjoy it. But a lot of restraints, you know, I mean, the seatbelt starts pulling on your shirt. You know, shorts don’t feel so good, you know, and sometimes so I mean, it’s just not good. God got it right!
God got it right!
Mike: My goodness gracious, man. Some of the actresses and actors need to put some groceries on because they are anorexic. So the body image thing was huge. I mean, it’s just ridiculous.
Linda: But once you get that, once you experience that, then that changes, that changes everything.
Mike: So anybody watching this that’s had cosmetic surgery of some sort– because the world has provoked you to do that, which is fine. Don’t feel that that is not okay in a naturism realm. What I’m trying to get at is when you’re in a naturism venue or with others or with others, or even on the cruise ship. That is, so many people don’t have augmentations or those type of things because they’ve learned to accept their body as Christ made them. If somebody has had a cosmetic surgery of some sort, that’s no big deal because there’s lots of it.
But what I’m trying to get at is it’s like if you’re going to Wal-Mart, as I say, this weekend. Everybody you see at Wal-Mart, if they were all naked, that’s what naturism is about. It doesn’t matter. Does not matter.
Linda: An you’re not looked at for that reason, too, you know, in society you would be. With clothing on that. you’d be like, “Okay. Okay.” But here, nobody… It doesn’t matter, you know?
Is it ok to be nude when you are married in front of your own spouse? Yes? I agree. Should there be any shame there? No? Agreed again. That’s why I think Adam and Eve (a married couple) should not have felt ashamed of their bodies to cover themselves with fig leaves. It was not God’s idea. The text says they were afraid, not ashamed (Genesis 3:10). We project our own shame onto them. The text does say that the pre fall state was that they were naked and unashamed (Genesis 2:25). All of a sudden it’s shameful for a married couple to see themselves? Might they have been listening to the serpent who hates God’s image (Genesis 3:11)? Could he be the “who” of “who said you were naked?“ God was never ashamed of their nakedness. He seemed more upset that they covered themselves with fig leaves. Jesus would later curse the fig tree (Matthew 21; Mark 11). A coincidence? Maybe so. Maybe not.
When is nudity ok?
At the doctor’s office? I agree. You reason that they can maintain a professional and respectful demeanor when viewing your nakedness while checking on your health and wellness. Then I would simply ask why we can’t all hold that same respect toward another person? Do we need training and credentials to be respectful? A piece of paper makes a difference? Or do we simply need to unlearn some social conditioning?
When is nudity ok?
In the changing room at a gym? Well, sure. Most changing rooms in the United States, at least, are not co-ed. Even then, many are too ashamed of their bodies to be uncovered in front of those of their own gender. Gang showers are practically a thing of the past and privacy is the new normal. For more on this point, read, “Way too much privacy!” on this blog.
When is nudity ok?
Maybe it’s good to ask what nudity was ok? This piece from The Biblical Naturist answers that question and links to several other sites such as this one to back up its claims. The main point is that in Greek and Roman times (when the New Testament was written), while clothing was normal, so was nudity in certain places like the river, or the bath houses, or the gymnasium. In fact, the word gym comes from the Greek word for nude. There were religious prude types back then too, but culturally in Jesus’ day, even in Jerusalem, non-sexual nudity in mixed company was not a big deal, like it is today.
When is nudity ok?
Let’s continue asking when it was ok. In Bible times, work was often done in the naked state, which makes sense if clothing (before the industrial clothing industry) was extremely expensive. Why mess up your only garment (in many cases) while working? In Scripture, we see this mostly in the case of Peter fishing (John 21:7) and Jesus post-resurrection, being mistaken for a naked gardener.
When is nudity ok?
Let’s come back to today’s times. How about on TV and entertainment? Is that ok? You may say no, and yet you may still indulge. You rationalize that it’s how culture is today, and you can’t escape it. Then you may feel guilty about it. For me, since I was pretty sheltered, any glimpses of flesh on movies and such was a thrill and a temptation. Since I equated nudity with sex, I’d have an immediate sense of arousal and could not just view it in a natural way. It was like I was doing something wrong something bad and needed to repent. There is a lot of legalism around what a Christian should or should not watch. It does come down to one’s own conviction and freedom or lack thereof. How you view the body is key. Is it a dirty and obscene source of temptation and forbidden fruit? Or is it the image of God and the crowning glory of his creation? To see it as such changes everything. The prudish view degrades the individual and calls bad or evil what God created as “very good” (Genesis 1:31). This body bad/ spirit good talk sounds like gnostic heresy to me!
When is nudity ok?
What about museums and art? What about sculptures? I recall a fountain outside of a Cheesecake Factory restaurant. My mom had us take a family photo in front of it. There were nude figures all over the fountain. This was before I had told her we were naturists. My wife and I looked at each other, both sensing the irony of the situation. My mom was oblivious.
A friend wrote this on social media the other day: “This statue is on a street in Las Vegas, and you can see families passing it all day. No one cares. No one is offended. No one is upset that women and children can see it. Yet if it were revealed that it is a live person doing a “human statue” all of a sudden it would be obscene and vulgar. It’s almost as if people tacitly say that the human body is not obscene, just actual humans.” A real double-standard!
Michelangelo’s ceiling of the Sistine chapel is worth studying. It’s a brilliant piece that then was censored and restored as nudity was banned and then reinstated. He is quoted as saying, “What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?”
When is nudity ok?
For Skinny dipping? Absolutely! Most people have had a skinny dipping experience. Whether they thought they were rebelling at the time or were fine with it. That amazing feeling you had, you can have all the time by embracing the way we were made and the way we will go from this life (Job 1:21)! Given enough privacy, most owners of hot tubs have probably soaked in the nude. This is my theory anyway. When my non-naturist friends talk about their pools with privacy, they say things like “You’re welcome anytime, but you may want to call ahead before you come.” The idea of skinny dipping is fairly normal. It’s the mixed company that presents a problem for the same people who like it otherwise. I say we just shed our hang ups about clothing and our insecurities as well as our soggy bathing suits.
When is nudity ok?
Bathing and showering? Yep. Sadly, these are some of the only moments people are ever nude. This and during sexual relations, which is why nudity is so sexualized. This is part of the problem today with clothing compulsion.
When is nudity ok?
Sleeping naked? Some might agree or disagree or wish they could agree. Sleeping naked is great and has certain health benefits. The pajama manufactures will never tell you this, but I wouldn’t expect them to. When asked to write some advice to newlyweds, we just say “Sleep naked.” A pastor friend heard us say that, and wished he could, except what about the children coming in? They’d see us naked! We shrugged and instantly were saddened by how dreadfully scared everyone is by the prospect of being seen in such a vulnerable state.
When is nudity ok?
Is it ok for the naked cultures that have been or those still in existence today? Well it certainly is for them! That is, until we come and clothe them. In the Bible clothing the naked is more about helping the poor than it is covering nakedness. Whether we like it or not, it’s been documented many times over, that when clothing was introduced to naked cultures (oftentimes by well-intentioned missionaries) the problems with pornography and sexual temptation were introduced right along with the clothes. We unwittingly imported a body taboo and accompanying shame which brought about devastating consequences. This angered us so much when we read about it and reflected on the “Who said you were naked?” question in Genesis 3. Read more about this in this book.
When is nudity ok?
You say it may be ok in some of these cases. You might concede a few of these but still maintain that it’s wrong in a social nude setting. You are free to believe that, but we’ll have to agree to disagree. We explore the insanity of making exceptions to rules in “It should be that easy!” on this blog. I say it’s ok any time provided that it’s not violating any laws and it’s done with those of a like mind. Perhaps the issue isn’t really the nudity, but rather our mindset toward it.
If you haven’t already, you should watch or read part 1 of this series here. This video contains non-sexual nudity, just as a fair warning. If non-sexual nudity is new to you, maybe watch and you’ll see how non-sexual it is. Otherwise, just read the transcript below:
Jim: We have all of this theoretical knowledge now. We have the Bible on it, but what’s the practical application like? So on Friday we stopped in at Whitetail Resort in Ivor, Virginia. And we paid our day visit fee, checked in at the office and we drove our minivan over to the clubhouse where the indoor pool was.
And I’m looking at her to see if she’s going to get out first. And she’s looking at me to see if I’m going to get out first. And neither one of us could get out of the van. We drove away after paying the stupid fee and spending 10 minutes sitting in the van talking to each other. We drove away without ever getting out of the van. Hmm.
And we were both kind of like, this is stupid. What are we afraid of? And so we talked about it all week long that we would go back the following weekend after the retreat was over. We’d get a room and we’d spend them, you know, that we could get some acclimation time on our own. And, you know, we got undressed in the room, the hotel room kind of thing. And we’re kind of like looking out the window, right To see if, you know, anybody else is out there.
And there were a lot out there. We we remember a lady off to our right was gardening in her garden outside as God intended. And we look over at the basketball courts. There’s a couple of teenagers playing basketball and an older fellow on a riding lawnmower mowing the lawn, an older couple walking their dog. Everything was so normal.
Everything was so normal.
And so we’re standing out on the porch, on the deck outside our hotel room. And it just was like a little mind blowing. That these folks were all naked but doing just normal, everyday things. Which is, which is what we expected but didn’t expect.
We met the most wonderful people that weekend and had the most wonderful time. In fact, at that very resort we’ve met some of the folks that have been 20 year friendships now.
We’re sitting by the pool, their kids are playing and they have a newborn. And so I asked him, I said, “What do you do for a living?” And he says, “Well, I’m a Baptist preacher.”
And the mouth thing again. You could have pushed me over with a feather because I’m sitting here and he goes, “What do you do for a living?” I said, “I’m a Baptist preacher.” It’s like, “Oh, that’s great!’ I’m like, “That is just weird, man.”
Kim: Really great people and friends through the years. They don’t hide anything. I think the friendships are real compared to the normal people who can hide behind their clothing.
It’s just, we’re like family. Everyone, everyone. This whole week!
Jim: Feels like it’s how it’s supposed to be, doesn’t it?
Kim: Yeah. It’s relaxing and just good people, and I enjoy it. Yeah.
Jim: The first. The first visit was tough. That second visit was easy.
Kim: For him. For you. It took me a little bit, but just the people you meet. And once you’re there, it’s great. It’s just… I mean, I’d rather have this kind of vacation any day! The freedom. You almost don’t want to put your clothes back on when go home, you know?
Jim: What do you think about going to the beach? Would you rather go to the beach and wear a swimsuit or go to a nudist beach?
Kim: Oh my gosh. Yeah.
Jim: How about our pool in the backyard? Swimsuit or no?
Editor’s note: This great article is a repost used with permission. See the original post by clicking here.
My two main passions in life are my Christian faith (done in the Anglican way) and Naturism; and I love to find the spaces and places where those two things intersect. Most people would think that Naturism and Christianity are polar opposites, but they are not; they intersect more often than most people including both naturists and Christians would expect.
Christianity and bodies
Many people think that Christianity is a mainly spiritual way of living. I don’t think it is. Of all the religions that I know of Christianity is the most grounded and body centred religion. Christianity starts (as does Judaism and Islam) in the Garden of Eden with a naked man and a naked woman. Christianity develops radically differently from the other two Abrahamic religions, because if we skip some thousands of years ahead we have the New Adam, Jesus coming naked into the world in a human body just like everyone of us. Theologians call this the Incarnation, God becomes flesh. An early Christian school of thought felt that God could not possibly be contaminated by becoming flesh, their belief was that the physical world was evil and the spiritual world was good. They believed in a dualistic world. Early on this doctrine was rejected by the fathers of the Christian religion, they held that God created the world as one, both physical and spiritual and it was all good, after all, God said it was. To this day orthodox Christian doctrine is that God’s creation including us humans and our bodies are very good.
Christianity and nudity
Some things to think about: In chapter 3 of the book of Genesis, at the start of the Bible shortly after God had created Adam and Eve we are told that God was walking about the Garden at the time of the evening breeze. What do you think God was wearing, while he was enjoying the evening breeze on his skin? It seems inconceivable to me that He was anything but naked. And the angel who drove Adam and Eve from the Garden? What was he wearing?
There are some strands of Christianity which hold that what one believes is the most important thing, for many Christianity is all about what is going on in your head. For me Christianity is primarily about worshipping God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, and the only thing which we can use to worship God are our bodies. We use our bodily senses, and we use the postures and gestures of our bodies as well as our voices to worship God.
With our five bodily organs and senses (eyes to see, ears to hear, noses to smell, mouths to taste, and hands to feel) we experience the transcendent and immanent nature of God. We look at stained glass windows, the beautiful vestments which the clergy are wearing, the rich silverware and crystal glass used for celebrating the holy communion. We hear the organ and the choir singing and chanting, we smell the incense wafting up the nave aisle and around the altar, we taste the body and blood of Christ in the communion, and we use our fingers to feel the texture of the Bible, prayer book and hymnal in our hands.
We use our bodies while worshiping; we stand to sing the hymns, kneel to pray, sit to listen to the lessons from Scripture. We make the sign of the cross over our heads and hearts at the mention of the Trinity, we bow our heads on hearing Jesus’ name, and genuflect at the altar.
The Naked Jesus
Next let’s consider the four pivotal moments in the earthly ministry of Jesus,
Jesus’ crucifixion and
As mentioned above, like each one of us, Jesus came into this world naked. This is so obvious it barely needs stating, but it is an important theological fact. Jesus was a naked body at the very start of his life, just like us.
At first when we think of it, that Jesus was naked at his baptism seems surprising. A very early Christian text called the Apostolic Tradition, presumed to have been written by Hippolytus of Rome some time before 235AD, gives instructions on many aspects of Christian life and ritual including baptism in Chapter 21.
So a very early Christian explains how early baptisms were done and it is very clear that they were to be done naked, and being an early apostolic source means they were following the custom passed down from Jesus.
Many artworks portray Jesus being baptized naked, for example the centre piece in the dome of the Arian Baptistry in Ravenna, Italy.
Another is from the monastery at Daphni, near Athens, Greece.
Other artwork depicts naked baptisms, for example, The Appearance of Christ to the People by Alexander Ivanov (1806–1858), in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.
The Baptism of Christ, by Cornelis van Haarlem in the State Art Gallery in Karlsruhe, Germany.
The Baptism of Christ by Maarten van Heemskerck in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
That Jesus was naked at his crucifixion is not controversial, the Bible says as much, Matthew 27:27 -35 details how the Roman soldiers stripped Jesus of his clothes and then divided his clothes among them by throwing dice. And much the same account is given in Mark 15:24, and Luke 23:34. In John 19:23 the soldiers take his clothes (in Greek his ἱμάτια) and then removed his tunic (χιτών in Greek, which was the garment worn next to the skin). There can be no doubt that Jesus was left naked at this point.
Art also points to this truth: Michaelangelo’s Crucifixion in the Convent of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito, Florence, Italy, make the point very beautifully.
The idea that Jesus was naked at his resurrection is more controversial. But if one takes the words of the bible at their face value it seems that Jesus would have walked out of the tomb naked, after all the grave clothes he was buried in were folded and left in the tomb.
It becomes more obvious that he was naked when we look at the Fourth Gospel account of the resurrection (John 20:15) Mary Magdalene saw Jesus outside the tomb but did not recognize him and thought him to be the gardener. Why did she think he was the gardener? Various authors have suggested that because clothes were expensive people doing outdoor work worked naked so as not to ruin their clothes. We know that Peter worked as a fisherman on his boat naked (John 21:7). Another more convincing reason that Jesus was seen as a naked gardener is because Jesus is the New Adam (see Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:20-23). And of course Adam was the first naked inhabitant of the Garden of Eden.
The Resurrection of Christ by Peter Paul Rubens in the Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium.
The Apostles’ Creed, one of the foundational and universal creeds of Christianity states: “I believe in … the resurrection of the body” Some people think that the body in whose resurrection we believe in is Jesus’ body. But this not the full truth, the body being referred to in the Apostles’ creed is our own body. See for example the words of the Catechism in the Anglican Prayer Book 1989:
What do we mean by the resurrection of the body? We mean that God will raise us from death in the fulness of our being, that we may live with Christ in the communion of the saints.
As for me, I believe that some time after my death, at the time of the General Resurrection, my body will receive new life and my naked body of meat and bones, flesh and blood will be resurrected “in the fulness of my being” in some mysterious way which I don’t pretend to fully understand.
What about naturism?
The official definition of naturism is:
a way of life in harmony with nature characterised by the practice of communal nudity with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment
The two great commandments of religion, reiterated by Jesus are:
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.
Some parallels can be drawn between these two ideas: I take a panentheistic view of God, that is to say God is in everything, (as opposed to pantheistic view, which is the idea that everything is God), So loving God and loving (or being in harmony with) nature are similar ideas. Naturism asks us respect others, Jesus demands we love our neighbours. Naturism expect that we respect ourselves; Jesus makes the assumption that we love ourselves enough already. And while self-regard is built into us, we do know that many people have great trouble with self esteem and body shame, so in this case I do think that naturism has something to add.
Classic naturism as developed by the early fathers of Naturism (the Durville brothers, Adolf Koch, Hans Suren, Dr. Heinrich Pudor and Richard Ungewitter to name a few) emphasised physical fitness, sunlight, and fresh-air bathing, and then adding the nudist philosophy, contributing to mental and psychological fitness, good health, and an improved moral-life view. These ideas align closely with the Christian ideals of spiritual, physical and mental and social health, engendered by faith, prayer, and worship.
Worshipping God, while being naked is a truly wonderful and awesome experience, meaning an experience in which one feels real wonder and awe at both God’s creation around you and the transcendent nature of a loving God, who is completely other, sacred and holy: One feels completely in this world but not of this world. On our KZN Naturist Association weekends away I lead a service of Morning Prayer on the Sunday morning of the weekend, usually in a beautiful natural spot, next to a stream or under some trees. It is a service of prayer, scripture and sometimes singing, which many of our members find deeply rewarding. I recommend naked Christian worship to everyone.