We hated our washing machine from the very first day we bought it over seven years ago. It frustrated my wife intensely, which caused me to dislike it very much also. After all, “if Mama ain’t happy – then nobody’s happy!” After my wife’s disabilities increased and I had to take over the laundry, I begin to literally hate this machine that would never seem to work like I wanted it to. It would tangle clothes, go off balance, and often sit and go into “sensing mode” for no apparent reason. From the very first day I began to curse that machine calling it all kinds of derogatory names and even kicking it and pounding on it with my fists! I’m really not a violent guy, but this was a bit of a phobia I had towards it – for seven long years!
Recently, after a really frustrating day with the dang thing, I finally had it and was going to get a new one. This one was going to the junkyard – that is until I looked at the prices of new ones! Yikes! Even the cheap ones are expensive! Ok, now I’m looking with a new mindset of perhaps living with this monster of a machine a bit longer.
I don’t know if it was the Holy Spirit or just me in desperation, but a thought came to my mind. John, you’re cursing this machine all this time. Why don’t you try blessing it? Quickly recognizing the biblical truth before me, I right then and there repented for cursing my washing machine and started to call it blessed out loud. I even declared it to be part of the Kingdom of Jesus and is therefore blessed in my household!
Well, wouldn’t you know it – shortly thereafter the Lord opened my eyes to what was wrong with it and how it could be fixed. I say, “opened my eyes” because I literally was blind to a simple method of making it work correctly. I’m a mechanical kind of guy. I should have recognized the problem easily, but I believe my cursing it literally blinded me to the obvious – and blessing it literally opened my eyes to changing this machine from a monster to a very pleasant and useful piece of equipment.
Shortly thereafter, I began to ponder about how this cursing thing had affected my life in various ways. Naturally, I began to review my journey out of lust and pornography into Christian Naturism – and the similarities began popping up all over the place.
I was constantly cursing my body.
My body was a monster – rarely acting the way I wanted it to. Always going off balance and getting tangled up in stuff it shouldn’t.
Just as I would kick and beat on the washing machine, I would abuse my body by looking at porn and doing destructive things with it. It was the same love/hate relationship I had with the washing machine. I had one and had to use it for better or worse.
Just like having a phobia about that washing machine, I would look at my body as evil and corrupt and must be dealt with very harshly.
I also began to see how many woman could hate their body and call it cursed – hoping to get rid of it and upgrade to a new model!
It wasn’t until I fully realized that my body is blessed because it is the Image of God that I began to be “repaired” and now my body works properly. I call it blessed and it exists in a blessed environment in the Kingdom of Jesus. My being nude is no longer going off balance with lewd. My nudity is no longer tangled up in the spin cycle of the world. The lie that my body is cursed has been washed away! I am clean, whole, and functioning very nicely without clothes. Who needs a washing machine anyway!
Many people have become aware of nudism or naturism in recent years. They have lots of questions about it, and many objections, but there are two objections that I see over and over; the words vary, but the common “threads” run like this:
•Our religion or laws or founding documents forbid it.
•It’s just a prelude or excuse for sexual activity.
The first objection can be answered by study, logic and reasoning. But the second one is harder to dismiss since it’s many people’s life experience.
Can humans in fact be naked together with other humans without always doing or thinking about sex? Even asking the question seems foolish to many people. Many men who have yet to experience nudism wonder how we nudists control that semi-involuntary bodily reaction known as erection. But as many nudists have discovered, we can be naked together with no more arousal or wish to do sex than if we were at work, or a concert, or any social gathering.
How do we do this?
Before I became a naturist or nudist (the terms are interchangeable but have slightly different connotations), I developed a simple reconditioning program for myself. At first I wasn’t sure this program would change my thoughts about nudity, but it did. Now it’s time — long past time, maybe! — to tell others how they also can change thought patterns that seem to be unchangeable.
By restudying our sacred texts, seeking out non-erotic nude imagery, and going naked by ourselves and with others, we can break societal mindsets and recondition our minds and bodies to experience nakedness not as erotic or shameful but as normal.
Restudy our sacred texts
In late 2000, one evening as I was browsing the Internet, I stumbled onto a Christian Naturist web page.
Despite my Evangelical Christian upbringing, nudity had fascinated me from at least my teen years on. I must confess that that evening, not for the first time, I was browsing for nude photography, not pornography but nudist and naturist photos. As I searched, I felt as usual a mixture of thrill at doing something “forbidden” and shame at going against what Christian leaders had continuously emphasized, that to like nakedness was to be “immodest” and to “fall into lust.” So it stunned me to learn that some Christians believed it was okay to be naked among other naked people. But I found a statement of faith on this Christian Naturist web page that, in every detail except one, matched what I had been taught and personally believed about the Trinity and the Bible and the Christian way. Therefore I had to accept these people, naked or not, as brothers and sisters in Jesus. “Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God…” (I John 4:2)
The one detail in their statement that didn’t match what I had been conditioned to think was that they believed nudity was good, non-erotic and normal.
So I got out my old complete concordance and looked up every Bible passage containing the words “naked” or “nakedness”. Reading these verses, I slowly realized that none of them condemned nudity in all circumstances. Two passages in Exodus forbid nudity for priests performing priestly services. But balancing these passages are the stories of King Saul, King David, and the prophet Isaiah all going naked with God’s approval and even God’s explicit command to Isaiah.
A little further study revealed that Jesus Himself was naked at several key points in His ministry. At His birth, of course; but by Jewish tradition He would also have been naked at His baptism. The Gospel of John details how He took off all His clothes to wash the disciples’ feet at the Last Supper. The Roman soldiers took off all His clothes to crucify Him; they had no interest in preserving the “dignity” of a condemned criminal. And by the Gospel accounts, it’s likely He walked out of the Garden Tomb clothed only in His resurrected flesh.
There are other Bible passages that mention nudity, but nowhere is there any condemnation. All the teachings the churches have developed are based on interpretations, commentaries and assumptions. Change the assumptions, and the whole “religious” prohibition falls like a house of cards.
So much for the conventional Judeo-Christian teachings on nudity. While I cannot speak about the Koran, the Vedas or the sacred texts of other major religions, I suspect that there are no broad condemnations of simple nudity in them either, or none that would hold up against proper exegesis.
This is the first step in Breaking Naked: to restudy our most foundational writings without assumptions and with good scholarship to find out what they say, and especially what they don’t say, about nakedness.
Seek non-erotic nude imagery
The other major objection against nudism is that humankind, especially men, are supposedly hardwired to see all nakedness as inescapably erotic. But the testimony of artists, medical professionals and nudists themselves is that they soon became so accustomed to nudity that they don’t see it as particularly sexy. As I continued to study and dialogue with nudists online, I saw that there were three possibilities: they were either lying, or in denial about their reactions, or telling the “naked” truth. If they were telling the truth, then instead of being hardwired, all our typical responses to seeing another naked human, particularly one of the opposite sex, must have been conditioned into us, perhaps when we were too young to understand the conditioning process.
So, before going to a naturist event, I decided to see if I could recondition myself.
I began to seek out naturist and art websites that featured photographs of naked people in non-erotic settings, such as doing housework or hiking in nature. But my search was different now. Before, there had always been the mix of thrill and shame I have described; but now I intended to bypass these reactions and see nudity as normal, not shameful or erotic. If my body became aroused, I neither encouraged its response nor denied it. And I refused to self-pleasure while I looked, or afterwards. I do not believe masturbation is necessarily wrong or harmful, yet I knew that then it would have reinforced the cultural mindset I intended to break.
In less than a month, I could look at nude images for more than an hour with no physical arousal and no more intent to self-pleasure than if I were at a church fellowship dinner. I was surprised at how easy it was to break the mindset I had had drummed into me. I began to believe this was how God intended for us to live.
And this is the second step in Breaking Naked: to retrain our minds to see nudity as normal. Once we are thoroughly convinced of this, our emotions and physical reactions follow.
Free our bodies
While I was retraining my mind in this way, I also began to retrain my body by going naked in my home. Our society has conditioned us to believe that our bodies are so sensitive to air on our unclothed skin that men will become erect and women moisten at its touch. But this too is a conditioned reaction, and I soon found that I had no more physical reaction to nudity than to being clothed. In fact, clothing, especially if it were tight around my groin, made me more aware of my penis and testicles than nakedness!
Once late at night, I went to the outdoor swimming pool in my apartment building and swam both clothed and (briefly) nude. I found that I greatly preferred the smoothness of nudity. But because I feared discovery, I couldn’t relax into the experience as I hoped to.
By now I was entirely comfortable with being naked and seeing images of nudity in privacy. One more question remained in my mind: Could I be as comfortable around others? Were nudists indeed as matter-of-fact in their activities as they presented online? There was only one way to find out.
I found a naturist group that met every month at a local athletic club, and secured an invitation to attend their next club swim.
It was as comfortable and free as I had been led to expect. From the first, there was neither discomfort nor arousal at being naked among other naked men, women and children. And my first real skinny-dip was life-changing! I no longer felt like a collection of body parts with some parts destined to be forever hidden. I was one body. Before the evening ended I was encouraging other first-timers as if I were myself a nudist veteran.
That evening, when I brought my reconditioning to the outer world, was the final step in Breaking Naked.
The Reconditioning Program
So it is not only possible but easy, by studying texts, looking at nude imagery, and going naked by ourselves and with others, to break the mindset that most of us have suffered most of our lives.
This is my program to Break Naked:
•Restudy your sacred texts.
•Seek out non-erotic nude imagery.
•Free your body, first at home, then in social settings.
I cannot tell you how long to expect this reconditioning program to take. It may take months or years of focused study, or it may just go “click” in an instant. Yet I sense that if many humans, not even a majority but a “critical mass” of us, transform our fear of nakedness into joy, we will be well on our way to heal ourselves, our society and our worlds.
So take as long as you need. There’s no set timetable to break our clothes-minded patterns and stand free at last.
I have a friend who has a fear of flying, so she thumbs her nose at it by deliberately flying. I have another friend who has a fear of public speaking, and he deals with it by joining Toastmasters. I spent most of my life hiding my body because I was ashamed of it. As a young teenager, I quickly learned that I had nothing down there to be proud of. It took me decades to learn I had nothing to be ashamed of, either. Like my friends, I chose to spit in the eye of what I feared. I chose to accept my body and stop hiding it. To deliberately let it be seen (without offending someone or violating the law).
Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing, is the very thing that will set you free.
So many have been wounded—myself included—by a view of the body “that has the smell of brimstone all over it,” to quote my friend Draco.
Pastor David L Hatton tells a story of a blind man who was sitting on the sidewalk with his hat turned up at his feet and a sign that read I’M BLIND. PLEASE HELP. A few people had put something in his hat, but most just passed on by. A man who worked in public relations came by, turned the sign over, and wrote a new message on it. Later, he came back by and the hat was full of money! What he had written gave those who read it a new perspective: IT’S SPRING, AND I CAN’T SEE IT.
The problem I had, and so many of us still have is this:
My body is beautiful, and I can’t see it.
As though some miraculous metamorphosis has transformed our perspective (see Romans 12:2), we need to see the human body the way God sees it: naked and unashamed, the pinnacle of his creative genius.
Thousands of people have defeated their body shame demons. They have come to see themselves through God’s eyes. And they are doing it through the prism of naturism.
Most detractors are good church-going people who think they are honoring God by condemning those who live as naturists. In some ways, prudery has been elevated to the value of scripture, and that’s a slap in the face of the very Creator whom they try to serve!
What’s ungodly is listening to the enemy of our souls when he tells us to be ashamed of the image of God that we bear. Let the words of a poem I wrote a couple of years ago speak to you:
The Imago Dei (The Image of God)
A man and woman—naked— once in a gardenstood Created in God’s image, He called it ‘very good!’
Fashioned for a purpose, one infinite in worth: to replicate God’s image through miracle of birth.
Then comes the great deceiver who so wants to be God, and have the gift He’d given these creatures made from sod.
He saw the Imago Dei they clearly represent and hated with a passion everything it meant.
What happened next is epic. A tree, its fruit, a lie: “You’ll be like God! Here; eat it. You surely will not die!”
Then once the bite was taken, dressed only in their skin, they heard, “…and put some clothes on! Your nakedness is sin!!”
How prudishly we’re living in our ‘enlightenment’, while foolishly retaining that gnostic excrement
so readily accepted by hearts that went astray when moral independence was birthed that fateful day.
As mankind swallowed fully a fallen angel’s plan, Godly wisdom faded from the heart of man.
We should actually be ashamed of being ashamed! As Mr. Larry has stated: How is it possible for the human body, which was created in the image of God, to be offensive to anybody? Satan would love to see God’s greatest creation be considered offensive.
What’s ungodly is objectifying certain body parts, and thereby separating the body from the soul that owns it.
What’s ungodly is teaching our children that the mere sight of naked humanity is sin. In doing so we have helped our great enemy create a culture that is steeped in pornographic filth.
What’s ungodly is the prudish mindset that gives pornography its power!
Study the Scriptures regarding this, asking God the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to His truth. Many are finding that these bodies are still fearfully and wonderfully made. Because of Christ’s redemptive work, our bondage to sin has been broken. We no longer have to believe the lie. We can replace it with the truth. We can once again be naked and unashamed.
Love comforteth like sunshine after rain, But Lust’s effect is tempest after sun; Love’s gentle spring doth always fresh remain, Lust’s winter comes ere summer half be done; Love surfeits not, Lust like a glutton dies; Love is all truth, Lust full of forged lies. Venus and Adonis by William Shakespeare
So, can a blind man lust?
When we think of lust, we almost immediately think of the eyes. And that brings up beauty, sex, adultery and pornography.
Several years ago, a pastor would drive 90 miles to my house for prayer counseling because he was dealing with an addiction to pornography. He’d heard from friends of the successes we had witnessed through our Theophostic Prayer Ministry practice and desired to be healed from his addiction.
People use addictions to sex, alcohol, food, drugs, smoking, body-modification and even work–anything to numb the emotional pain in their souls. Addiction to pornography is a pain management problem that manifests as a fixation with false intimacy. It is the pain–and the source of that pain–that must be healed. Often times through traditional counseling, one addiction is removed only to be replaced by another one. This pattern repeats until the person has a socially-acceptable addiction like “hard worker” (read: workaholic).
This pastor, however, wanted to really be set free from his addiction and not simply transfer it to something else. So instead of focusing on the fruit of his pain-inducing beliefs (the pornography fixation), we looked beneath the surface to allow the true causes of his pain-medicating behavior to unfold. Like most folks, this was a methodology foreign, yet familiar to him.
We rarely think about this process of natural association, yet perform it constantly. Just as we never think about our internal organs until one of them “cries out,” we also do not think about the how or why we make the decisions that we do, or have the emotional responses we do to external stimuli.
Everything that ever happens in our lives is brought into our souls through our marvelous senses and processed and categorized. It is considered and compared to thousands of “files” from past memory pictures and emotional happenings and then it is acted upon. It happens so fast that it is nearly imperceptible — unless you take the time to ponder it.
Which brings me to our subject: lust.
Lust by itself is not, in fact, a bad word. It is a neutral word that is absolutely synonymous with the word “covet” and the word “desire.” The reason I want to slow down and define it is for us to realize the gravity with which we use words. Even in the English language, lust does not mean “see.” It does not mean recognize. It does not mean appreciate. It does not mean despise.It means hunger, crave, intend to possess.
Depending on the context, lust can mean earnestly desire or it can mean wrongfully desire.
And [Jesus] said to them, “I have earnestly lusted to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. (Luke 22:15 ESV)
But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Jesus speaking in Matthew 5:28 ESV)
Yes, exactly the same word. Each context determines whether it is “good” lust or “bad” lust. When we are lazy with language, we end up degrading words and their meanings. Remember the Ten Commandments? The last one? You shall not Covet? It is just as accurate to read it You Shall Not Lust…after another man’s wife or possessions.
Is there such a thing as good lust? Perhaps for our ears, the word “desire” sounds more pleasant. Either way, they’re the same word in the original tongue. Scripture offers encouragement for positive desires and prohibitions for negatives ones. Each type is based on the context of the desire.
In summary, Paul writes in Galatians 5:16: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the lustsof the flesh.” In turn, what we will do is gratify the lusts of the spirit.
What about the blind man? If men are so damnably stimulated by sight, then by definition a blind person could never commit this sin. Yet, instead of facing the truth that wrongful lust is a matter of the heart, we have gone to the drastic measure of making rules and restrictions of the strictest sort, thinking perhaps that forced blindness is the answer.
The truth is that a blind man can lust and covet wrongfully any of the things or persons that a sighted man or woman can. It is not the physical attributes that endanger us. It is the evil intentions of our hearts. Wrongful lust requires intent to possess.
What Do a Pufferfish and a Bikini Have in Common?
Do you suffer from “felt board Christianity?” If so, it can seem like the Bible is a simplistic bunch of stories with generalized rules for life. “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth” it has been called. Do you want to go deeper? At some point, I think we all do. We have to peel back the layers and dive in.
Everything Jesus is trying to teach us about the Christian life begins in the heart.
We defined what lust is and what lust is not, so now let’s talk about how the word has been redefined and dumbed down. Large swaths of Christianity presently equate the recognition of beauty in our gender differences as wrongful lust. And because of this lowering of the bar, new concepts have been added in to compensate for the change of definition.
Sight itself has become the bogeyman.
Everywhere we look (no pun intended), it seems there are things and people to see (and I guess that means danger!). When we pop our heads up, we hear this refrain of warning: Men are visually stimulated. Heads down, men. Look away!
It’s the subject of radio programs and talk shows: Men are visually stimulated. Volumes have been written around the postulate that men are visually stimulated. I wonder how many millions and millions of dollars are changing hands based on this mantra that men are visually stimulated?
Perhaps we should follow the money. Pornographers and anti-pornographers all benefit financially by continuing to chant this mantra, but never utter this secret truth: women are visually stimulated, too. Simple biology tells us that human beings have senses. One of those is sight. Placing visual stimulation in our targets as the problem only creates a missed opportunity for success and creates a vicious, vicious cycle of shame. Relationships suffer and real problems go unsolved.
The combination of the visual stimulation mantra and the watered down definition of lust have been well crafted into a deadly recipe. The visual stimulation lie wrongly makes women responsible for the conduct of male human beings and takes volitional control completely out of the picture. Men have a responsibility to control their thoughts and their actions. Our self-control problems are not the responsibility of the the fairer sex.
This idea that men are mere predatory animals bound to their wild inhibitions and bursting at the seams with wrongful desire is childish and foolish. And I propose that pointing to visual stimulation is the wrong place to conclude a discussion about lust. Stimulation is a bogeyman because stimuli will always exist. We have applied the wrong labels to the way our bodies react. Stimulation is not sin.
The real test of a man (or a woman) is how she learns to respond to that stimulus.
People have tried for ages to remove sin by removing the potential for temptation. In this case, the common strategy is to consider that if men are visually stimulated, the stimuli must be removed. Except, stimulus is not the cause of wrongful lust, is it? Stimulation is only a sensation, placed by God in our very real, very flesh-and-blood bodies. This strategy will fail.
We’re alive. We feel. We see. We smell and taste. We sense. We respond because we’re alive.
Let’s make this real.
Close your eyes and step outside into the breeze. [It’s ok, you can come right back.] Feel that tickle as the air move across the delicate hairs on your skin? It’s stimulating. Walk into the kitchen when someone you love is baking bread. Take in a deep whiff. Smell that? It’s stimulating. Feel the seat beneath you. Press your foot into the floor. Your sense of touch is being stimulated.
Oh, look, a person! Any person. Maybe it’s a woman. Maybe it’s a man. What are they wearing? What color are their eyes? Are they tall, short, brown, pale, thin, sturdy? Observe their facial expression and posture.
This is the Imago Dei. The Image of God. It really doesn’t matter what they look like, what they wear or what they’re doing–your vision is being stimulated by the greatest of God’s Creation: a human being.
Don’t turn away. God wants us to see–and be seen–by each other.
This is why Jesus, rather than condemning our bodies, constantly brings us back to the heart.* But that is not all He did. He gave us the KEY to overcome wrongful lusting and coveting!
The pastor I spoke of was healed by this key: He learned to see the truth. Jesus renewed his mind–changed the way he thinks–in regard to the goodness of the body and set him free from the lies that had led him to seek out false intimacy as pain management. He is still free of pornography today, and that addiction did not shift to something else.
As we continue, here are some points to ponder:
God made our bodies, both male and female. They are good. Gen 2:25
Modesty is an attitude, not a dress code.
Lust comes forth from the heart and is the responsibility of the luster.
To the pure, all things are pure. Titus 1:15
A weaker brother does not have strong opinions; that’s how we know he’s weak.
We are to grow the weak to maturity, not leave them to stagnation.
Uncomfortable truth may not feel good at first, but eventually we feel its freedom.
Truth does not equal American Culture or even Christian traditions.
Cultures change, yet Truth remains. And it sets us free.
As I have learned to come to my senses on what lust actually means–that it is a heart-directed, neutral term–it has freed my mind to focus on people as whole individuals, rather than divide them, body and soul.
Freedom to walk in the spirit enables us to follow Christ wherever He leads.
Have you embraced this truth? Do you see people as whole, or does that idea cause fear? If so, what stops you from really seeing others, body and soul?*Yes, I realize Jesus once said tear out your eye and cut off your hand. That was metaphor, friends. metaphor. Remember, we’re going beyond the felt board.
In our search for the truth of an issue, it is not unusual for one spouse to discover it before the other one does. If that truth calls into question a long held tradition or something we were taught by someone we trusted (or even cherished), it’s only reasonable to expect some resistance when sharing your new-found understanding. I have dealt with this in my own mind, not wanting to let go of some things I’ve held tightly for years, while finding it difficult to ignore the truth that is being revealed. Consider this from Frantz Fanon, psychiatrist:
“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When presented with evidence against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create an extremely uncomfortable feeling called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit that core belief.”
Regarding naturism, for spouses who truly believe IT’S A SIN, we should be proud of them for refusing to participate. That is the first hurdle many Christians have to jump, but many never do. It’s not comfortable to jump hurdles, and without sufficient motivation most will never try. Some may step right up, jump in, and love it, while others require spending significant time reading, studying, and praying, before coming to the understanding that simple nudity is not sinful. (The reason for the nudity may well be sinful but that’s a different issue.) Having reached this point doesn’t mean one is ready to book their next vacation to a nude beach, but it is a major hurdle to have cleared. For most Christians, determining what God thinks about something is the most important task of all.
The IT’S A SIN mindset can easily be a cop out, too. Hanging that sign on your door and refusing to discuss it further is perhaps a form of cowardice, or worse: a form of dishonesty. We already know what God thinks about that. Challenging a lifetime of teaching is not easy. There has to be a real desire for understanding before we are willing to sacrifice tradition upon the altar of truth.
Having settled the IT’S A SIN argument, one then begins addressing the second most important question: WHAT WILL OTHER PEOPLE THINK!? This can be a very lonely time because it’s so personal, and requires one to become deliberately vulnerable! We know God already knows, and we can trust Him to treat us lovingly, but we’ve learned the hard way that people are not always so kind—particularly those closest to us! This is when husbands and wives must love as God loves, being persistently kind and caring. There’s no better time for living the Golden Rule. This isn’t a battle to be waged, but a heart to be won!
Perhaps we err in rushing to convince someone to embrace what we now see clearly. We present passage after passage as evidence, and show the results of word studies that reveal what certain Hebrew words really meant in the context and times in which they were written. We can easily move from that to speculation as to how it all should apply to us now. With all the reading, studying, talking and praying perhaps we need to slow down and take stock. Here’s what I’m sure of:
God made Adam & Eve naked and they all liked it. Then after the fall Adam & Eve didn’t like it anymore. The ‘liked it’ choice came from a Godly mind, and the ‘didn’t like it’ choice came from a corrupted mind.
Christ’s redeeming work did more than pay our sin debt, He freed us from our bondage to sin and its corruption! He was called the second Adam for a reason!
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Once our minds are renewed, we start seeing the naked body with the mindset Paul encouraged in Philippians 4:8: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Almost everyone loves the old hymn – Amazing Grace. The melody and words easily flow from the memory banks of our mind and out of our mouth with deep warm affection. “I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind but now I see.” We understand that verse to mean we were at one time spiritually blind to the truth of the gospel – blinded by the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4). But in the last couple of years I’ve discovered the reverse can also be true in a very positive way. What I once could see – now I am blind to it!
Satan (the god of this age) and his demons are very adept at blinding humanity to spiritual truths. But his first attack was not to blind, but to have eyes opened! He even bragged to Eve how their opened eyes will make them like God (Genesis 3:4-7). As usual he spoke in half truths – their eyes certainly were opened, but they were not anymore like God than he was.
Adam and Eve’s newly opened eyes revealed to them a new perception of body shame, fear, confusion, and disrupted relationship with each other and Father God. I imagine how in horror they quickly wished they were blind to all of these things once again. Perhaps they would have been better off putting the fig leaves over their eyes instead of their bodies!
And now Adam and Eve’s perceptions of this new reality have been successfully passed down to humanity for centuries and generations. Much of this perception has been focused on one thing Satan hates the most – the naked human body as the image of God. He has successfully influenced culture, society, and the church to reinforce this perception. On one hand he stirs up lust for the human body, and on the other hand he brings shame upon it.
Fortunately the darkness of blinded deception is occasionally pierced by the glorious light of truth. For me, this glorious light of truth came packaged in the surprising wrapping of Christian Naturism. All of the previously viewed books, videos, and blogs under the banner of Naturism have brought a light of truth that has been so bright it has blinded me to the lust and shame of my naked human body and the bodies of others around me.
Yes, I once could see and now I”m blind – and so thankful for what I no longer see when I look at a naked human body. It’s kind of like being back in Eden. With truth I’ve thrown the old serpent out of my garden, and now I enjoy my nudity without shame or lust – just as Father God intended.
Phil’s commentary: Thanks to Figleaf for this beautiful and insightful reflection. I’m so glad to resonate so strongly with your conclusions. I thought I would tack on this YouTube video that David Hatton was kind enough to send to me just today. I thought what Sister Wendy (the art nun) said so eloquently went well with Figleaf’s great word. She says at the end of this short video, “There’s nothing, nothing amiss in any part of the human body… There’s to me something far more salacious about these sort of snickers and criticisms than in just a Christian delight in God’s skill.”
This is a short little thought by our friend who goes by Figleaf:
Was Jesus really nude when Mary mistook Him for a gardener after His resurrection (John 20:15)?
Many in the Christian Naturist world would unabashedly sound a firm “Absolutely!” This conclusion is usually based on the fact that Jesus’ burial clothes were left folded in the tomb (John 20:6-7), and the historical fact that many common laborers of the time would often work unclothed to preserve their very limited wardrobe.
On the other hand, I have sometimes taken a more hesitant approach in my studies of nudity in the bible. In our naturist efforts to give common social nudity the credit it deserves, it would be easy to make an “absolute” out of just a “probable but not definite” scenario. Or, taking it one step further, it would NOT be to our advantage to take such a scenario from a “just plausible” stance to “probable” or “absolute.” These are three very different degrees of a presented reality.
With this particular scene of Jesus as a potential gardener, I have always put this in the “probable” category for the same reasons mentioned above. However, I have not put it in the “absolute” category for the following reasons:
It is possible that the clothing left behind in the tomb was not a complete listing and that Jesus retained a piece not mentioned in that verse.
It is possible that an angel could have provided Jesus with a resurrection robe?
That was my thought on the matter until last Sunday when I heard a very interesting sermon on this particular scene in scripture. It definitely did not mention nudity, but it did give me evidence that I can now move my thoughts on Jesus’ nudity from “probable” to “absolutely.”
The preacher went on to say that it wasn’t an accident that Jesus was being mentioned as a possible gardener. This is a picture of the last Adam restoring what the first Adam left undone. Adam lost his job as gardener and was kicked out of the garden. And now Jesus, the last Adam, comes out of the ground (cave/tomb) just as the first Adam came out of the ground! The first Adam also returned to the ground when he died.
The preacher went on to say, “ It was Jesus’ way of saying Eden is back!” And we all know that when Adam was tending the Garden, he and Eve were naked and not ashamed (Genesis 2:25). Jesus was obviously re-establishing how it was in the beginning – naked gardening included. For me, this moved my thinking of Jesus as a nude gardener from “probable” to “Absolutely!” And now the Garden of Eden life is available to us all once again.
Whether it’s probable or whether it’s absolutely,the fact is, in those days nudity was more commonplace and not a big deal. Gardeners often worked naked, so it’s not a stretch to think that Jesus was mistaken as a result. Jesus was likely naked in multiple key moments in his life: His birth, His baptism, washing His disciple’s feet, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. I really like Figleaf’s statement quoting the insightful preacher: “Eden is back!” One of my favorite verses is on our homepage and that’s Revelation 21:5 where Jesus says, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Let’s rejoice in the fact that the old is gone and the new has come.
“GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY” How Has Naturism Motivated You To Better Health?
Often as we mature in our Christian walk we discover that some of our beloved scriptures take on a new meaning for us. The deeper understanding that comes with that process is always a benefit for the child of Father God.
The title of this article comes from 1 Corinthians 6:20, “for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” That scripture (in my pre-naturist days) admonished me to not lust or act sexually lewd along with a host of other “thou shalt nots”. It was a verse that often reminded me of my failures rather than carrying a positive connotation.
After becoming a Christian naturist it took on a whole new meaning as I learned the joy of viewing my body as the image of God. I began to look at my body as a special gift that I get to live in with the Spirit of Jesus. That privilege allowed me to enjoy the freedom of my body in a whole new perspective and environment along with a wonderful social network of other naturists. Hiking, fishing, swimming, lounging, worshiping, and a variety of other healthy activities are now part of glorifying God in my body while revealing His image as He originally intended. What a blessing!
But I’m discovering even more of what this verse can mean. For over thirty years I have been a health conscious person. My wife and I have dedicated ourselves to a natural and spiritual pathway for health and healing in our bodies. Much of this mindset was birthed with the onset of my wife’s diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. I began to really enjoy studying all of the wonderful ways the human body functions internally, and how all of the natural supplements, herbs, and therapy can bring health along with good exercise.
It was during my first couple of visits to a Naturist resort that my health consciousness was once again kicked up a notch or two. While enjoying those socially nude days I discovered what poor posture I had. For the first time I was able to take some outdoor selfies while fully nude. Those photos presented a much more natural view of myself as I discovered my posture was slouched with rounded shoulders, a swayed back, and extended belly! On top of that, just a quick glance at a couple of other really healthy guys with excellent posture showed me that improvement was possible and greatly needed.
Now I hear some naturists say, “but you’re beautiful just the way you are!” Of course I am! But that doesn’t negate the need or desire for improvement. I still want to be the best version of me that I possibly can be – spirit, soul, AND body.
I still want to be the best version of me that I possibly can be – spirit, soul, AND body.
As good as all that sounds, it was really just all about ME. I just don’t like sickness and disease and all the grief it can bring. That’s good motivation and has reaped many rewards in spite of the fact that we live in corruptible aging bodies that go haywire every now and then. But then again, I’m discovering there’s more to be grasped from this verse – especially the part about “glorify God.”
It seems I’m coming to a place in my life where I have a different motivation for being as healthy as I possibly can, and that reason is simply to GLORIFY GOD! I know that I can’t keep every disease or infirmity out of my body. I know that I won’t be able to avoid every type of accident that could injure and disable my body. But I keep coming around to the thought that if I am able, then I should do all I possibly can to bring health to my body – not just for me – but for Him and His visible image that I live in for all the world to see!
So I’m beginning to dig a little deeper by paying more attention to what I eat, how I exercise, and what new nutritional and therapeutic information I can apply to my life. It takes a bit more time and focus, but I find it a particular joy now that I’m doing it, not only for me, but for my Father as I live in the Kingdom of Jesus as His image. It’s actually kind of fun!
As a pastor my goal every week was to attempt to make the complex simple. As a simple guy myself I felt that I had a better grasp of Bible doctrine if I found ways to put it into simple terms. I know, many pastors pride themselves on being able to wax eloquent every week, but that was just not my style.
Recently I decided to see if we could do the same thing when looking at the subject of biblical naturism and here is what I came up with. It really boils down to two simple questions. The first question we must ask is how does God view the naked body…what is His view on the subject? By the way, that should be the basis for discovery on any doctrine. What is God’s view on grace? What is God’s view on forgiveness? What is God’s view on the Law? As far as I am concerned, the best place to find out what God’s view on a given subject is the Word of God…the Bible.
So, what is God’s view of the naked body or the body in general?
Psalm 139:14 – I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee…
Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 2:25 – And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Genesis 1:31 – And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.
1 Corinthians 12:23 – And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
In a nutshell, God’s view of us and our naked bodies is that they are:
formed by His hand
made in His image
nothing to be ashamed of
that no part of the body is less beautiful than any other part
Now, we get to the second question…does your view of the naked body match God’s view? Does your pastor’s view of the naked body match God’s view? Does my church’s view of the naked body match God’s view?
If it doesn’t, one of the views need to change so that they match. I am going to recommend that you not demand that God change His view, I am going to recommend that you get in line with God and His view.
I hope that this little exercise also helps with any discussion opportunities that may arise in the future. It’s the perfect question to ask…does your view of the body match God’s view?
In general, the assumption amongst the majority of non-naturists is that the sight of another naked human will cause sexual arousal or lust…especially the sight of a naked woman, by a man.
They say that experience is a great teacher and that if you can use other people’s experience that is even better as it can at times lead to wise decisions without having to make your own bad decisions first.
I’d like to take a few minutes with this article to address what I believe is the big lie that Satan has convinced the non-naturist world. He has convinced people that the sight of the beautiful creature that is the human body, made in the very image of our Creator is somehow shameful, sexual and dirty and will cause a sexual response. I can assure you based on firsthand experience and backed by the principles of the Word of God that the opposite is actually the case.
First, a little common sense…anything that is novel will gain attention. If the sight of a naked person is novel, then it is noticed. Anything that is common is ignored. When a person is only naked for a shower or sex, then nakedness is novel and therefore will garner attention and that can be in the form of a sexual response. When nakedness is common and in a nonsexual context often, then suddenly nakedness is no longer novel and it no longer garners a sexual response.
When a person first begins the journey to the Truth as it relates to the naked human form, they are forced to confront all kinds of mental and spiritual training that they have been subjected to that is contrary to the Bible and to experience. They are confronted with the fact that what they’ve been taught might have been wrong and that is a very discomforting emotion.
For example, when I was growing up I was taught “modesty” from I Timothy as meaning dressed from neck to knee for the ladies and long shorts for the guys at a minimum. It’s what I now refer to as our “Sunday Best”. There was no real Bible standard, it was basically whatever the pastor or church taught was modest, that was what the Bible meant. It was making Scripture conform to the pastor/church teaching rather than the other way around. As an adult when I studied the passage and its actual teaching, what I found that the Bible was actually teaching was the exact opposite of “our Sunday Best.” The real concern was that there were poor ladies in the church with literally nothing to wear and rich ladies in the church with their fancy and expensive clothing. The teaching was for the rich ladies to dress more “modest”…an old fashion word meaning humble. Well, the truth is that the most modest attire was to match the very poorest in the congregation. Notice the teaching went on to say not with braided hair, not with jewelry, etc…in other words “modest” or humble. Not the meaning that the church has ascribed to the Bible, but the correct meaning anyway.
Modesty was basically whatever the pastor or church taught was modest.
So, what does our experience tell us that the church isn’t? My wife and I have been biblical, nonsexual naturists for about the last 20 years now and this is the Truth of what we have found.
The commonplace of nonsexual nakedness has led to a desexualizing of our minds and those around us.
We have visited over 20 family friendly naturist resorts across the country and 3 nude beaches and in every case, we have not seen one instance of sexual response at any of the locations we have visited. In fact, what we have found is that the commonplace of nonsexual nudity has eliminated the sexual response based solely on visual stimulation.
We have seen our minds renewed to the point that we used to think the body was shameful, sexual, and dirty…we now see the body as made in God’s image, beautiful and nonsexual in nature.
We no longer view the naked body the way the world views the naked body, we view the naked body as God views it. Isn’t it odd that the church and Hollywood hold to the same belief regarding the body? Living as a naturist has changed that for us. We no longer see the body sexually…we see the body beautiful. All bodies, in fact…tall or short, skinny, or fat, black, or white. You see…when your mind is renewed you begin to see others as God sees them…not as sexual objects, but as beautiful creations of God…made in His very image.
Sexuality becomes more about the relationship than the superficial.
The typical non-naturist is visually motivated. In fact, we are told by good-willed pastors all across the spectrum of denominations that men are visually motivated, so it’s up to the woman to dress modestly to keep the beast at bay. We are told that this problem is “every man’s battle.” I am here to tell you, that is a lie. It is told by Satan to continue the cycle of try, fail and eventually give up trying when it comes to conquering the addiction to pornography.
I can tell you that men and women have been programmed to think this way, but that the thinking is contrary to how God sees us and how God wants us to see each other. Addiction to pornography is a matter of incorrect thinking and incorrect thinking can be corrected. When a person experiences the commonplace of nonsexual nakedness…again, I said commonplace…they see naked bodies doing normal everyday things like mowing the lawn, doing the dishes, vacuuming the floors, gardening, taking a walk in the woods, swimming, playing volleyball, etc. and instead of a sexual response they now see the body as just that…a body.
Think with me for a moment…if this is you and you are now used to seeing naked people doing normal everyday things all the time with zero sexual context how does that change your thinking? You are no longer a victim of Pavlov’s experiment…you are a victor because you now see people as God sees them. You now see people as the wonderfully made creation that He intended from the very beginning when He made them naked and not ashamed.
You see what we’ve really done by teaching that the image of God is somehow dirty, shameful and sexual is that we have propagated Satan’s lie, rather than the Truth of God’s Word.
• God is the One who created us naked.
• God is the One who said that there was no shame in it. God is the One who called it “very good.”
• God is the One who questioned “who told thee…so we know He didn’t start the lie…someone else did…Satan did.
So, what about sexual relationships with our mates?
We have found that because of our lack of sexual response to visual stimuli that our sexual relationship has moved from the superficial to an emotional response.
Our sexual relationship is based more on our friendship now. Our sexual desire comes out of our spiritual connection.
Our intimacy has deepened as has our relationship and our lovemaking is now way better than it has ever been.
The fact that we are not visually stimulated by a simple naked body has not reduced our sexual response to each other, it has strengthened our sexual relationship and made it more intimate and more connected.
The fact that there is no sexual response at the sight of others naked has increased our trust of one another and therefore our intimacy.
It’s almost like, when you experience life the way God intended…naked and not ashamed that you find that God was right all along, which means that the standard teaching in the church was wrong all along.
This is disappointing and unsettling in the beginning because what you thought was foundational was wrong and now you wonder what else was I taught that was wrong as well. Do not let that uneasy feeling stop you from living the life that God intended for you, just realize that you now believe what God said and not what man/Satan twisted it into.