Why “Aching for Eden”?

Around this time, a year ago, we put out a post called “The Year of the Locust” which explained how 2020 was for us a good year. “Aching for Eden” is a phrase in a song which was embedded on that post. I thought it would be good to expand on this idea and show why we called the blog Aching for Eden.

As I thought about this post, I went back to the homepage and saw what I had written a year and a half ago, when we launched this site. We had no idea at the time if anyone would read it. We’ve been blown away by the response by our dear readers and friends. Now I am working on a book whose working title is “Surprised Into Freedom: The effortless obliteration of lust and body shame.”

When I saw what I wrote on the homepage, I decided to edit and expand it to the following:

Does your heart ache for the restoration of all things? Can we return to the innocence of Eden in our lives today? Many believe we can’t and any pursuit of this in our fallen state would be in vain. They would rather make Genesis 3 their starting place instead of Genesis 1 and 2. We are far from perfect, however, we do not want that to get in the way of a deep and rich relationship with our Lord. We not only believe God can restore the years the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25), but He has done just that in our own lives. This blog is a testimony to that wonderful place of living not in Adam, but in Christ.

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

REVELATION 21:5 (ESV)

Recently, we read all of Joel 2 again, and see now why the author of the song mentions the phrase “aching for Eden.” You have to go back from verse 25 to Joel 2:3 (NIV): “Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste— nothing escapes them.” There is a lot of poetically depressing language in this chapter foretelling the day of the Lord. Yet, with this, there is still some hope. Is it too hard to imagine that we can exchange God’s judgment for His favor? There are hints that He may relent (v. 14), especially if we rend our heart, not our garments (v. 13).

This passage means a lot to us, because through the rending of our hearts (not our garments) we’ve become like new. Often when Scripture speaks of “new” it’s a sense of “new and improved” or “better than the last.” Our lives certainly got an “upgrade” since embracing naturism. It’s caused us to better our lives in other areas as well, many of them spiritual in nature. The brokenness of the previous versions of both me and my wife has been restored and made new. We may not be able to restore Eden in its totality in this fallen world, but we are so much closer than we were for 20 years of our life together before our change.

Jesus’ prayer was “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10 NIV) This may not mean that we are to walk around naked, as we may in heaven some day. It means much more than this. And yet, we tend to rob God of his power because we haven’t rended our own hearts and embraced His power like we should. Naturism may not be for everyone, but refusing to be a “new and better” version of ourselves is not recommended. God wants his sons and daughters to prophesy in the Spirit (Joel 2:28). He wants to save everyone who calls on Him (Joel 2:32). This includes the issues of lust and body shame. Those are bondages that entrap so many Christians today in epidemic proportions. Many ultimately think (or act) as if the best we can do is deal with and manage these two issues on a daily basis. That’s not God’s intent. He wants to save and rescue completely. He’s waiting for us to rend our hearts. It’s really that simple!

I don’t know how much of this is connecting with you, dear reader. I hope some of this is making sense. We live in the Kingdom of the now and not yet. We are living between two trees. The tree of life that was will be reinstated at the end of time. As we wait for that day, we should make the best of it. We must not throw our hands up in defeat and hope for a better day, when lust will be no more and where we can be naked without shame like in the beginning. If we have a drinking problem, we don’t wait to fix it. If we have a lying problem, we don’t give up hope of overcoming that sin before the end. Why do we think we can do nothing but lust at the sight of flesh? Why must we hate our bodies until they are glorified?

One answer is we have an enemy who hates the image of God and those who bear it. He is hell-bent on deceiving the whole world with his distorted views (Revelation 12:9; John 8:44). He deceives well-intentioned people by masquerading as an angel of light (2 Corinthian 11:14). Sadly, we are making his job easy. Many will remain in bondage without ever experiencing God’s powerful redemption in their lives in these areas.

This is why we are “aching for Eden.” Call it impatience. Call it “immanetizing the eschaton.” We don’t want to wait for a future restoration, when it can be a present reality. It’s impossible for us to want anything but God’s favor, because we’ve lived under His judgment for a long time, and we can attest that His goodness is so much better. We rended our hearts and He is repaying the years the locusts had eaten. I know Hebrews 6:4-6 NIV is talking about salvation, and not about any specific issue individually, but the principle still applies: “those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age” should not eschew these blessings right now in exchange for a future grace. Grace is for today. Hope is for the present, or it’s not hope at all. We see salvation from sin as something accomplished in Jesus, where our faith is credited as righteousness. But then we act as though deliverance from bondage to lust or body shame is next to impossible this side of heaven. Why the double-mindedness?

May the words of Romans 8:19-26 NIV give us confidence and peace of mind, as we join with all creation in “aching for Eden.”

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.

To this text, we say Amen or “let it be so.”

“GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY”

“GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY”
How Has Naturism Motivated You To Better Health?

By Figleaf

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!

Quotes from Kindle

A reader of this blog who goes by Arid Lasso has been creating these memes out of reading that he is doing. The books he is citing in these are books we have also recommended on our own resources page. I will share some of these a few of my own comments about the quotes. These and future memes our friend will create will also be featured in a collection on our memes page.

I think the first part of this quote would go unchallenged by most. Yes, we should view others incarnationally as sacred embodiments of God’s image, physical temples for His Holy Spirt, fleshly expressions of souls Christ died for. This bit gets mostly affirmed by the majority of Christians. But then the second part of the quote becomes unthinkable to the very people who embrace the first part. If the first part is true, then it should liberate us both from prudery’s impure thinking about the unclad human body and from pornography’s misuse of human nudity for self-gratification. So where is the disconnect? It’s an if then statement. If this is true, then this also is logically true. However, there is a cognitive dissonance in the porno-prudish mindset. Once that is broken, the logic flows and the liberation occurs.

This reaffirms what I was just saying. The logic has to be solid. The “inborn” response to nudity as bad is a mental glitch whose neural pathways must be remapped. This is what happened with me, and the former lie I had believed so long vanished for good. Reject that very body taboo and there is no need to defend a lie any longer. Everything changes, and our response to nudity does not cause uncontrollable lusts, but instead praise of the Creator and love for a fellow image bearer.

Our search must be a search for the truth. There can only be one truth if it is indeed truth. Our enemy is described in John 8:44 (NIV) this way: “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Contrast that with a verse just a few verses prior to this: “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 NIV)

When you look, it’s so easy to see the devastating effects of this form of thinking that is the default way of thinking. Religiously reinforced. While my main bondage was porn and lust, my wife’s bondage was body shame. We both needed deliverance. A redeemed view of the body as the image of God changed us both. These types of bondages in others are now so apparent to us, and it saddens us that, like in our case, years will be wasted without a liberating knowledge of the truth. There is freedom for those brave enough to seek it.

This is what happened to me. Purity culture may have had the best of intentions, but we instead have reaped the consequences of such training and conditioning. The attempts to curb impure thoughts through hyper modesty and covering up have been tried and found wanting. To say they’ve failed at restoring one’s sexual brokenness is an understatement. You say there has to be a better way. I say there is!

This quote is especially fitting at Christmas time, which is around the time you’re reading this if you follow the blog every week. Our Lord was made flesh and dwelt among us. The idea that flesh is bad and spirit is good is a gnostic heresy. While we can give mental ascent to this statement, and agree the heresy is wrong, we miss the fact that we live as though it is true. We decry heresy in one breath and embrace the heresy’s claim in actuality. Spirit good, body bad never ends well. Which is why Satan planted that idea from the very start.

This is one of those arguments that “textiles” don’t know how to handle. That exception and that of doctors and nurses really ought to have the whole house of cards come crashing down. Mrs. Phil delved into this type of reasoning of making exceptions to a non-existent rule in this article entitled, “It should be that easy!

I’m more and more convinced that legalists do not know they are legalists. I see legalism everywhere and those who hold legalistic views are often oblivious to that fact. Can well-intentioned individuals trying to honor God and please Him be in such grave error by doing so that it’s actually rebellion? I believe they not only can but do. They may do so unwittingly or because they learned to do it. That was pretty much my experience. I just finished Watchman Nee’s classic book, “The Normal Christian Life.” It is an amazing work and in it he says Romans 6 is about freedom from sin, and Romans 7 is about freedom from the Law. He argues that deliverance from sin is not enough, but that we also need deliverance from the Law. This is a light bulb type of revelation that many need to internalize!

Those in the church that would accuse Christian naturists of false teaching, are actually the ones guilty of promoting and perpetuating false teaching. Many are afraid to even broach the subject. More and more people are speaking out against the purity culture message, but they stop short of the full application of their new reasoning. They reject the blame game, and take responsibility for their own lust, but continue to be squeamish when it comes to nudity. Again, this gnostic heresy that gets played out in our modern times is the root of all that dehumanizes. Those humans who bear God’s image (and that’s all of us) are a blend of flesh and spirit that is complexly and perfectly intertwined. We cannot separate the two. What is done in the flesh is also done in the spirit. And what is done in the spirit is also done in the flesh. Can we be whole persons? Can we maintain purity in both aspects of Imago Dei: body and soul? Not likely if we persist in an attitude that holds as “bad” what God made as “very good.” Let’s stop avoiding the real issues, and stop trying to “cover up” the problem!

Way too much privacy!

I recall a time when I played sports in school. There was a communal shower with no separations or stalls between shower heads. In college the showers had a column with four shower heads in either direction, so you are facing another teammate as you get clean after a sweaty practice or game.

Those times are long gone. Now there is way too much privacy. More recently I remember going to a church camp where there were private stalls for showers, a curtain to hide behind and another area as a buffer to change in with a second curtain AND a sign out front to show that it’s occupied. This includes several layers of protection from having any amount of flesh being seen by another person. The newest generations are obsessed with privacy. How is that working out for us as a society?

Chad W. Thompson spends the bulk of a chapter (chapter 3) in his book “That Famous Fig Leaf.” noting that:

The circumstances in which nudity can occur outside of a sexual context are becoming more and more elusive, as is indicated by the disposition of many adolescents and millennials towards communal showers. Yet bodies that are, at least partially, exposed for the purpose of sensual gratification are everywhere. We live in a culture whose inhabitants spend billions of dollars a year to see each other naked on Internet sites and in pornographic films, yet are often uncomfortable changing in front of each other in locker rooms or even being seen in a swimsuit on the beach. This is due to either bodily insecurity, or fear of being sexually objectified. Could it be that we have so profoundly fused the image of the exposed body with sexual gratification that there is no context left for it to be laid bare without evoking either shame or arousal?

Thompson’s work is well-researched as he quotes various other author’s books and articles of interest. This excerpt is especially enlightening: 

A 2009 article from The Oregonian, “Shower Together at School? No Way, Dude,” observed: It’s a rare student who showers after sports or gym classes these days. A quick dab of deodorant and a dousing of cologne or perfume, and it’s on to the next class . . . Communal showers—the awkward rite of passage into puberty—are a thing of the past. In fact, Oregon schools haven’t required showers for at least a decade. The same is true nationally.77 The New York Times, in a 1996 article “Students Still Sweat, They Just Don’t Shower,” wrote: Students across the United States have abandoned school showers, and their attitudes seem to be much the same whether they live in inner-city high-rises, on suburban cul-de-sacs or in far-flung little towns in cornfield country.78 The article goes on to quote student after student listing all the reasons they would never shower, or change clothes, in front of their same-gender classmates. “You don’t want to get made fun of,”79 stated one fifteen-year-old boy. “. . . you don’t feel very good about yourself,”80 said an overweight student who used to race to the locker rooms after class so that he’d be done showering before the other boys arrived. “You never know who’s looking at you,”81 said an eighteen-year-old female from Illinois. Quotes from these students’ teachers only further illustrate the fact that students are changing the way they change. “These guys don’t want to undress in front of each other,” said a high school teacher in suburban Chicago. “I just don’t get it. When I started in ’74, nobody even thought about things like this. The whole thing is just hard for me to accept.”82 An Illinois football coach said “These guys would play a two-and-a-half-hour game, and then they’d just want to go home, all muddy, so they could have their privacy. Used to be, when you get sweaty and stinky, you wanted to take a shower.”83 Also mentioned in the Times article is a boys’ tennis team that practices mornings before school at the community racquet club, just a few blocks from the high school. “But rather than shower at the club, many of the boys get picked up by their parents and driven back home to shower, and then return to school.”84 The article goes on to say: A generation ago, when most schools mandated showers, a teacher would typically monitor students and hand out towels, making sure that proper hygiene was observed. In schools with pools, students were sometimes required to swim naked, and teachers would conduct inspections for cleanliness that schools today would not dare allow, whether because of greater respect for children or greater fear of lawsuits.85 Mass contempt for public showers seems, to many, to be something which emerged only in recent history. Yet when the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to file a lawsuit in federal court over a mandatory shower policy in Pennsylvania, the lawyer who worked the case was overwhelmed by correspondence from adults who supported him. “People remembered their own humiliation. I myself remember moving from my little country school to the city school, and being mortified about having to take showers. But in those days, you did what the schools said, you did what the teachers said.”86 

And later he goes on to say:

According to the New York Times: Modesty among young people today seems, in some ways, out of step in a culture that sells and celebrates the uncovered body in advertisements, on television and in movies. But some health and physical education experts contend that many students withdraw precisely because of the overload of erotic images—so many perfectly toned bodies cannot help but leave ordinary mortals feeling a bit inadequate.89 In a more recent Times article, “Men’s Locker Room Designers Take Pity on Naked Millennials,” Choire Sicha reports on the emerging demand for nudity-free locker rooms. Sicha describes the fear which drives men to slide their underwear on under their towels: “Each day, thousands upon thousands of men in locker rooms nationwide struggle to put on their underwear while still covered chastely in shower towels, like horrible breathless arthropods molting into something tender-skinned. They writhe, still moist, into fresh clothes.”90 Bryan Dunkelberger of S3 Design, an architecture firm that designs locker rooms, told Sicha: In the last 20 years, maybe 25 years, there’s a huge cultural shift in people that ultimately affects gyms . . . Old-timers, guys that are 60-plus, have no problem with a gang shower and whatever. The Gen X-ers are a little bit more sensitive to what they’re spending and what they’re expecting. And the millennials, these are the special children. They expect all the amenities. They grew up in families that had Y.M.C.A. or country club memberships. They expect certain things. Privacy, they expect.91 Mark Joseph Stern, writing for Slate.com, commented on Sicha’s article, “While older men generally remain comfortable being undressed among others, younger ones insist on maximum privacy, pining for a way to strip, shower, and change clothes without even a flash of nudity.”92 Why is there such aversion to nudity among millennials? In the article “Nothing to See Here: A History of Showers in Sports,” ESPN sports writer David Fleming describes the sociological constructs that converge when clothes come off, most of which are far more pronounced today than in the age of the boomers: When stinky teammates strip down to their most vulnerable state, it conjures, for some, a range of emotions: their most awkward memories (middle school gym class), deepest insecurities (size), purest symbolism (baptism) and most ignorant defense mechanisms (homophobia).93

The normalization of nudity can do wonders for the fear and insecurity of so many. Yet, the opportunity for nudity in a non-erotic context is a rarity. What is also mind boggling and perhaps the subject of another article altogether is the rise and commonplace of sexting among the same people who would have trouble changing in public among their own sex. The sexting is often done without a face in the photos, so that the headless body can’t be traced back to the person. There is more confidence this way, but really it is a lack of confidence to not include ones face. A headless photo of the body — how much more dehumanizing can one be?

The naturist experience stands in stark contrast to all of this (do you see what I did there?). Their photos are evidence. Naturist photos are like anyone else’s vacation photos, except for the fact that they are naked. Some people ask why naturists take and share their photos? I would ask why non-naturists take and share their photos? They want others to share in the experience of where they were and what they were doing. Those who know them will live vicariously through their trip to Disney through the record of photo ops. For naturists, it’s the exact same. They took a trip, not to Disney, but to natural hot springs, for example, and maybe you should add it to your bucket list. Their smiles are always huge as naturists are often at peace and joyful about what they are doing. They aren’t ashamed of their bodies or having their heads attached to them. Doesn’t this sound like a more wholesome and healthy way of being? I think so.

In a world that is way too private, naturists in essence have not much need of it. I grew up with privacy at a premium. The ability to be so matter a fact now with nudity is a blessing in many ways. I’m no longer repressed under a body shame taboo. Nakedness isn’t mysterious, and the body isn’t a source of lust like I once thought it was. It just is a body, and more importantly it’s a somebody.

Just the other day, my wife and I went over to some naturist friend’s house for the day. As we arrived we were greeted by a naked man. After going inside, we were told we could also get comfortable if we wanted to. That’s what we did. We ate together, played games, and eventually took to the hot tub on the porch and had a wonderful time and great conversation. None of this had any sexual connotation or anything I would call indecent. Quite the contrary. It was a sweet time of fellowship. When it was time to head home, we changed back into our street clothes and left. No shame. No insecurity. Just comfortable and intimate (not in the sense that some would interpret intimacy). 

And that’s just the difference. Where some are not comfortable dressing in a locker room amongst those of their same gender, others are completely in their element hanging out (literally) in their own skin in mixed company. I’ve been on both sides of that spectrum. I know what both those feelings are like. I have no desire of going back to how I was before. I strongly believe that the uninhibited version of myself is the more sane, mentally and emotionally healthy, and well-rounded individual. One experience is fraught with anxiety and hang-ups; the other replete with ultimate relaxation and relational bliss. For me, it’s an obvious choice. You CAN have too much privacy. 


Source:

Chad W. Thompson, That famous fig leaf : uncovering the holiness of our bodies (Cascade Books, 2019), 28-32.

Quoted in Thompson:

77. Owen, “Shower Together,” para. 3.

78. Johnson, “Students Still Sweat,” para. 5.

79. Johnson, “Students Still Sweat,” para. 23. 

80. Johnson, “Students Still Sweat,” para. 25. 

81. Johnson, “Students Still Sweat,” para. 27. 

82. Johnson, “Students Still Sweat,” para. 9. 

83. Johnson, “Students Still Sweat,” para. 30. 

84. Johnson, “Students Still Sweat,” para. 28. 

85. Johnson, “Students Still Sweat,” para. 8. 

86. Johnson, “Students Still Sweat,” para. 14. 

89. Johnson, “Students Still Sweat,” para. 16–17. 

90. Sicha, “Men’s Locker Room,” para. 4. 

91. Sicha, “Men’s Locker Room,” para. 5. 

92. Stern, “If You Are Not Comfortable,” para. 1. 

93. Fleming, “Nothing to See,” para. 3.

Owen, Wendy. “Shower Together at School? No Way, Dude.” The Oregonian Extra (July 22, 2009). http://blog.oregonlive.com/oregonianextra/2009/07/shower_together_at_school_no_w.html.

Johnson, Dirk. “Students Still Sweat, They Just Don’t Shower.” The New York Times (April 22, 1996). http://www.nytimes.com/1996/04/22/us/students-still-sweat-they-just-don-t-shower.html.

Sicha, Choire. “Men’s Locker Room Designers Take Pity on Naked Millennials.” The New York Times (December 3, 2015). http://www.nytimes.com/2015 /12/04/fashion/mens-style/mens-locker-room-designers-take-pity-on-naked-millennials.html?hpw&rref=fashion&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0.

Stern, Mark Joseph. “If You Are Not Comfortable Being Naked Around Other People, You Are Not an Adult.” Outward. http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2015/12/03/locker_room_nudity_is_healthy_and_normal_fear_of_it_is_irrational.html.

Fleming, David. “Nothing to See Here: A History of Showers in Sports.” ESPN The Magazine (July 8, 2014). http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/11169006/nfl-showers-hostile-environment-michael-sam-espn-magazine.

Jesus is Better than Porn

This is a thorough book review of Jesus is Better than Porn: How I Confessed my Addiction to My Wife and Found a New Life” by Hugh Houston.

There is much to like in this book. I really appreciate the brother’s heart and the way he writes and much of what he says. Coming at this from a freedom that came drastically and is sustained without an effort (much through the influence of Christian naturism and the philosophies behind it), we disagree in the approach of eliminating the power of porn. We agree on the problem, yet differ on the solution. Read his quotations in quotes and my comments in italics to see the points of agreement versus the areas of disagreement.

“I chose to write this using a pen name in order to share my most intimate thoughts while maintaining my privacy. My wife and I have been missionaries for most of our adult lives. We have four adult children.”

I get this. In fact, I use some anonymity on this site as well. However, I have the naturism point of view that immediately would not be understood by the vast majority of Christians. I long for the day when I can be totally open about this. “Hugh” isn’t a naturist. If I had been truly delivered from porn aside from naturism, I’d tell the masses in my own name. That never happened for me without the catalyst of naturism. Now I can share principles of Imago Dei with others who would not listen to me if they knew about my naturism, but I shouldn’t shy away from speaking openly about being delivered from porn. So I don’t fully understand why this brother should use a pseudonym. He probably doesn’t want to scandalize those he ministered to for many years.

“A few years later I went away to college, where I ended up studying theology and preparing to become a missionary. I fell in love with a wonderful Christian woman who is still my wife to this day. Like many guys, I thought having a wife and a healthy sexual relationship with her would cure my desire to look at porn. I was dead wrong.”

I identify with this. I too thought being married would solve everything.

“After binging episodes, before I turned off the computer, I would make sure to wipe my search history clean and erase all of the cookies from my browser. Then I would vow to myself and to God that this was the last time I would ever look at porn. This happened dozens, if not hundreds, of times. Each time I promised God and myself that I wanted out of this predicament, vowing that this time I would try harder and this time I really meant it. I now know that the worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. It’s been said that porn is a lot like throwing yourself off a cliff. You get a great rush all the way down, right until you smash into the rocks below. Who in their right mind would throw themselves off a cliff for the thrill of the fall?”

Again, I’ve had the same experience and feelings. This is good writing.

“What is porn anyway and why is it so bad? In Matthew 5, Jesus discusses murder, adultery, divorce, etc. In each of these situations the great sin which separates us from God is the fact that we have turned a human being, made in his image, into an object of anger, scorn, lust, etc. God is love. As his children he wants us to love everyone. It’s impossible to live for God while transforming his children (our brothers and sisters) into mere objects. This is why pornography is so hideous. To lust after another person degrades and devalues another human being as a “thing” to be used for our own personal self-gratification. Pornography is dehumanization at the most intimate level of our being. That’s why it’s so ugly. And in the end we dehumanize ourselves in the process.”

No issue here. Full agreement and I’m glad he phrases the situation this way.

“I know that I should have confessed my sin to a friend or to someone at church. But I was the pastor. I was the one everyone looked up to, who taught everyone how to do what was good and right. How could I confess my hypocrisy? That fear kept me quiet. My dark, dirty secret was like an albatross around my neck.”

Again, I can relate. I did confess to some people and to my wife. I used to be a “good boy” with a bad secret. Now I know I’m a “bad boy” with a great secret. We don’t have to remain “bad.”

“Renewing your desire for God’s help is not a one-time event. It has to be a continual process, one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time.”

This is where we start to differ. For me, it was a one time decision to see the world and others differently that changed everything. Phrases like “that’s someone’s daughter” didn’t do it for me. It was rejecting lies that we are all visual and can’t help ourselves, and Imago Dei (image of God) that caused me to respect and honor all people with a renewed mind, and the resulting remapped neural pathways.

“I never stopped to consider how many people live just fine without sex. No one can live without water and we all have to eat to survive. Sex is a wonderful blessing from God intended to bring a husband and a wife closer together, but anyone can survive without it. We won’t burst if we go too long without sex, nor will we shrivel up and die.”

Yes! Reject that lie.

“What helped me understand how this desire works was imagining a person who tries to quench their thirst with seawater. They can drink until they pop, but they will only get thirstier. Saltwater can never quench anyone’s thirst; in the same way, the more a person looks at porn in an attempt to fulfill their need for intimacy, the needier they become. Worldly desires can never be satisfied, they always crave more and more and more. John D. Rockefeller started Standard Oil and was America’s first billionaire. When a reporter asked him, “How much money is enough?” He responded, “Just a little bit more.” …It’s an endless battle, like pouring water into a bottomless pit or using gasoline in an effort to drown out a fire.

I was in that endless battle and was told it’s every man’s battle. I believed them, and so that was my frame of reference and in turn my reality. I was conditioned to respond that way. Now, I like to say that it will be a battle as long as you think it will be.

“Motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar urged people to get rid of “stinking thinking”. Well, there is nothing worse than a carnal mind using other people for its own selfish ends. The best way I know of to push all of those immoral images from my brain is to replace them with thoughts which are pure, true, noble, admirable, and excellent. Our primary battleground in the war against this plague (or any other undesirable practice), lies in what we decide to think about, what we allow to occupy the space between our ears.”

This is partly what I’m saying. A change in thinking is vital, and that’s the literal meaning of the word “repentance” anyway. The main difference would probably be another lie that “nude is lewd.” He says “immoral images,” and he’s speaking of pornography which has a sexual and enticing bent. When you begin to see the body as “very good” like God does, porn loses its allure. I have no desire for it any longer, and even a fully naked body won’t cause me to be tempted or stumble, because I see them differently, not as a purely sexual object, but as a whole person.

“My best strategy (really the only strategy that works) is to avoid every impure thought and to stay as far away from the slippery slope as possible.”

Then you aren’t free or healed or fully transformed. If you are, there aren’t slippery slopes. No matter what the visual stimuli (not that I seek out anything that is sexual in nature) you can control your thoughts. If you are free, you don’t have to work hard to avoid temptation, because you aren’t tempted by that any longer. I’m more likely to be tempted by too many brownies, and need to work on renewing my mind when it comes to over-eating like l have with my issues of lust. 

“Filthy or impure thoughts cannot be toyed with. Only a fool tries to see how close he can get to the edge of the slippery slope before sliding down all the way to the bottom.”

Avoidance and hyper-vigilance keeps us weak and susceptible. Facing even full nudity with zero issues is the most obvious sign of victory I can think of. I use this example a lot because it makes so much sense- a former alcoholic should be able to be around alcohol and be okay with it for them to be really delivered.

“zero tolerance policy.”

I hate porn. Jesus is better. I don’t see simple nudity as porn. I may stumble upon something that is pornographic by accident, but it has no power over me, because I have respect and honor for God’s image bearers.

“Crisp boundaries will mean eliminating most TV shows these days, as well as most movies. You will want to dwell on things that are edifying and beneficial.”

No problem with what’s edifying and beneficial, but it’s weakness to be so scared of seeing flesh! Maybe there is something beneficial to see in a show that shows nudity! You can’t watch Schindler’s List without issues? (Extreme example, I know.)

“[Otherwise you] will never find freedom.”

This isn’t freedom! It’s a tragic existence and a bondage of another kind.

“In the past, I would allow myself the “luxury” of looking when women were technically “clothed”. In reality, there are at least two things wrong with this kind of thinking: I was still lusting by ogling women’s bodies and degrading them as mere sex objects. One thing leads to another, and I’d soon find myself at the bottom of a slippery slope.”

I’m glad he used quotes for the word “luxury.” I agree with this bit about objectifying. When one’s thinking is pornified, it doesn’t matter if someone is “clothed” or not, seen or from memory or imagination. Your thought life dictates your behavior, and if you don’t change how you think, your responses will never change. This slippery slope business reminds me of my friend’s great allegory called “The Chain” – https://mychainsaregone.org/the-chain/  

“The only way to develop clean and healthy thoughts is to ruthlessly eliminate every impure thought. This means changing the channel on the TV and turning off the computer or my smartphone whenever I’m feeling vulnerable to lust.”

Just don’t be vulnerable to lust. It’s a self imposed chain you keep on when you can easily take it off. See link on previous comment in case you skipped over it!

“not looking back a second time when a woman catches my eye.”

Or try loving the person as a human being, as God does. It’s very hard if not impossible to love and lust at the very same time. (One caveat is that even married men who love their wives can even lust and objectify them. In those moments, they are operating more out of lust than in love and problems will arise.)

“Perhaps I will modify these boundaries someday, but for now, I know they are my lifeline. These guardrails are my friends who protect me from the slippery slope of doom. I ignore them at my own peril.”

No, no, no! Jesus is your lifeline. Look at your own book’s title. Imago Dei is his intent. You don’t need friends or any of these boundaries, and you don’t need a struggle or fear of falling again! This makes me so sad.

“Randy Alcorn puts it this way: “When it comes to sexual temptation, it pays to be a coward. He who hesitates (and rationalizes) is lost. He who runs, lives.”

What a terrible quote! Be a coward? That’s your advice? What low expectations! What a low view of the Savior’s power to renew your mind and make you truly new. These are said with good intentions and a motivation to be strong, but it reinforces weakness. 

I know I’ll be accused of rationalizing, but it took courage to get to this place. I’ll always choose courage of convictions over cowardice and fear (which are not from God).

“This strategy of quickly and ruthlessly throwing certain thoughts in the trash and instantly replacing them with beautiful, worthwhile ideas has served me well.”

Porn is meant to sexualize and titillate. But even the actor of porn is a person, made in the image of God, worthy of honor and respect on that basis alone. What if you saw them in a new light? They are a beautiful creation of God, the pinnacle of his creation. What’s his or her story? How did they end up in pornography? What if instead of using them as an object for your own pleasure, seeing them as filthy and obscene, and feeling guilty for even seeing them, what if you prayed for them and loved them as a human? Would this not change the whole dynamic? Of course this is probably not your attitude if you are seeking it out. Get to this point so if you accidentally were to come across something of the like, it’s an automatic impulse to move on, and not a dangerous situation.

“…it seemed like it was an endless task, and sometimes, it felt like I would never make it.”

I’ve felt that way too, but it shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be like that.

“Joseph Frascella, director of the division of clinical neuroscience at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) wrote in Time Magazine: “Addictions are repetitive behaviors in the face of negative consequences, the desire to continue something you know is bad for you.” The Science Of Addiction, Michael D. Lemonick. Time. New York: Jul 16, 2007. Vol. 170, Iss. 3; pg. 42”

It’s been debated if porn is addicting in and of itself. It’s like a drug. It’s effects can be more powerful even. But I’ve come to see it more as a compulsion than an addiction. I did have addictive tendencies, for sure, but treat the compulsion, and it all goes away and practically instantaneously. Let God do that work in you, regardless of your own willpower, strength, or efforts.

“In my own dark, confused, and self-justifying mind, what I was looking at didn’t even qualify as pornography. Porn was something far more perverted and degrading. My excuse was, I had only been looking at pictures of women without their clothes on. Didn’t God make women beautiful? Wasn’t God the one who created and designed men to be attracted to the opposite sex? What I was doing wasn’t really so bad, was it? Later, when I finally worked up the courage to confess my sin to my wife, she saw things much differently. She said that I had betrayed her with hundreds, if not thousands of women. It felt as if I had invited these women into our home and had sexual relations with them. It made her feel unloved, unworthy and rejected. I had never even stopped to consider such an idea, but when she said it, I knew that she was right.”

I believe Jesus would call a spade a spade and to lust after other women is adultery of the heart. But I also believe in chaste nudity, where the ability to fellowship nude with other like-minded people without feelings of lust can be a beneficial experience for both husband and wife and not be sin. Crazy? Perhaps in your thinking. Before, yes I broke my wife’s heart many times over by committing adultery of the heart with many women I treated as objects. That is different than naturism, which is not the same as porn and doesn’t have the same goal. My wife is with me on this because it’s true! We are closer than ever, and it set her free from her own body issues as well!

“…sin will take you further than you want to go, cost you more than you want to pay, and keep you longer than you want to stay…. Change may not be easy, but it is a thousand times better than the alternative!”

Change IS easy. And there’s a whole other alternative which is far better than the options you suggest.

“Too often I saw porn as my friend, my source of comfort, rather than as my enemy.”

The porn industry and the objectification of humans made in the image of God, and the devil who hates Imago Dei is the true enemy, not the people caught up in it. The serpent must be the one who told Adam and Eve they were naked (see Genesis 3:11).

“Today I can say that I don’t want to eat worms ever again. I want to be free. I want to fly!”

You can! There is no wanting to. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. A butterfly can’t go back to being a worm when it has truly been transformed through metamorphosis!

“Bad habits are a curse; good habits are a blessing. In order to live the life I wanted to live, I needed to unlearn my bad ways of acting and begin to develop good habits. This required time and effort on my part, but the benefits made it all worthwhile. Just like learning to ride a bike, the person who wants to learn a new sport or acquire a new habit will fail. Slips and falls are to be expected. All that’s needed is to get right back up and go back to doing what is good and true and healthy.”

This is pretty good, but with the effortless solution I suggest, slip ups are not expected.

“…I found my journal to be helpful.”

Cumbersome and not needed.

“Triggers are everywhere. We live in a sex-saturated society. I had to prepare for temptations to pop up in unusual places, and always be ready to say a quick and decisive ‘NO!’”

If you develop a new mindset, saying “no” is a breeze.

“I had to remain focused and maintain my mind in ‘battle mode’ in order to make good choices quickly and easily.”

I was so tired of “battle mode.” It’s so much better to just leave the battlefield!

“If we don’t plan ahead, act intentionally, and respect these limits, we are doomed to fail. We will fail every time. We can lament afterward that we didn’t really want to do what we did, but because we made the decision to cross the line, down the slippery slope we went.”

Or you can opt for true freedom and have success every time!

“The only way for change to take place in my life is for me to take responsibility. I have to recognize that I am not a victim. I’m in charge. It is up to me to learn from past mistakes, ask for help, make a plan and move forward to carry out that plan. And do all of this of course, with prayer and help from above.”

It’s true that it’s our own fault and no one else. But this is backwards. It’s help from above and not our own strength that causes the change that makes us free.

“I discovered that in [my wife’s] mind my involvement with pornography was if I had had an affair or worse yet, multiple affairs. I had betrayed her and abandoned her to be with other women whom I found much more attractive and desirable. She was nothing to me. I loved them. That’s not at all how I felt. I wanted to break free from the pull of my addiction. I desired the real love and intimacy, which only she could give me, but how could she trust me again?”

She felt like that because it is that. It’s not like that. It is adultery.

“Those first weeks and months after I told her were extremely difficult for both of us.”

Sorry it took that long! I had similar experiences the first times (multiple) that I had come clean with my wife. That is until a permanent fix took place. Then it was a matter of days.

“I was the definition of a hypocrite. I professed that I wanted to live for God and proclaimed that I believed in pure living and respecting women. I had never made a pass at another woman or kissed another woman, so I did not see myself as a hypocrite. In my confused, muddled thinking, I had compartmentalized my sin. I did not realize that pornography was like radiation, contaminating every corner of my life.”

Same.

“In my mind, I was a good, godly man, a good father, and a caring, faithful husband—I just had this problem in one area of my life. I had erected a wall of lies around this behavior. This allowed me to lust after women in my mind and yet hold on to the belief that I was one of the ‘good guys’ because I had not reached out to another woman on a physical level… I was lost in denial. Treating a human being as an object for one’s own sexual satisfaction is a monstrosity. When I convinced myself that looking at pictures didn’t hurt anyone, I was only deceiving myself. How was I able to brainwash myself into believing that my fascination with pornography did not qualify as betrayal and adultery? Because this is what I wanted to believe. I had to close my eyes to the truth in order to live with myself.”

Excellent comments and very true.

“A friend of mine sat down to examine how pornography had affected his life and discovered he had broken all 10 of the 10 commandments; the sins connected to porn addiction seem to cover them all! Take a look at this list: You shall not have any gods before me.–I set up pornography as a “god”. You shall not make for yourself idols.-Pornography was a big idol for me. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.-I denied God in my heart and thought that he did not care about my sin. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.–Those impure images were in my head every day. Honor your father and mother.–To my shame, I searched for porn in their house. You shall not murder (or hate)-I’ve been hateful in my thoughts and actions. You shall not commit adultery.-Pornography by its very nature means betrayal. Jesus said, “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5: 28). You shall not steal.–I looked at what was not mine and stole from others. You shall not give false testimony.–I lied time after time to cover my tracks. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house or wife.–The definition of porn.”

Wow. Me too. This is good to consider and lament.

“in spite of the fact that society and the media bombard us with the idea that the human body is beautiful and should be admired and that sex between two consenting adults is healthy and normal, these guys still know first-hand something has gone haywire.”

It’s God’s idea that the human body is beautiful and should be admired. Sex is meant to be beautiful within the confines of relationship. Others are not to be objects for sex. You describe the pornified view Hollywood and the media sell and you in essence agree with them. The naked truth which sets you free to love people as image bearers and praise God for his creation is a new and wholesome mindset.

“What breaks my heart is that, as the weeks and months go by, I see these guys come and proclaim their eagerness to begin anew. They come and post: ‘One day clean!’ ‘Two days with no porn.’ ‘One week with no porn and no masturbation’. There are threads where everyone commits to 30 days clean or 100 days clean. And everyone rejoices when a fellow struggler actually reaches one of these milestones. But more common is the guy who remained clean for a week or two, or maybe even three, and then says: ‘I slipped. Back to square one.’ It’s so terribly tragic!

Breaks my heart too. And it’s so needless!

“Just getting up and determining to try harder next time will not be enough—it will never work. Trust me. I know from experience, and I’m guessing you do, too! That’s why it’s necessary to take the time to think about and write down what some would term a ‘battle plan’. Meaning, that you need ‘to plan your work and work your plan’.

I agree with the first part, but then you suggest to do what you just admitted doesn’t work.

“What steps do you need to take today, tomorrow and the next day in order to reach your goal?”

Just one: change your mind.

“She is beautiful and I am attracted to her body, thus I become stimulated.”

That’s a conditioned response and learned behavior. It’s a lie and needs to be unlearned.

“Your battle plan might look something like this…”

Here is the start of the very cumbersome plan of not necessarily bad things, but things that aren’t really needed to change your mind about people and the body.

“Permanent changes will not take place overnight. Have you heard how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Recovery is that way. It’s necessary to take small steps day by day, always with an eye on the finish line.”

Permanent change can come overnight and in one step!

“So here I am, fighting to stay clean, just for today, with His help!”

Don’t fight to stay clean! Be clean. A fight or struggle means you haven’t been freed from bondage with a redeemed view of the body.

“What makes a temptation tempting? I’ve mulled this over in my head over the past twelve years. Why am I not tempted to smoke a cigarette or to drink a beer? I see those things and I don’t give them a second thought. Some people struggle for years to give up these habits. The difference lies in the desire. I am only tempted by the things I desire. I believe we create, or at least we permit our own temptations.”

Pretty good insight here. James chapter 1 says temptation comes from our own lusts. For me, it all boils down to this. Temptation used to be everywhere. Now, temptation is nowhere (at least in regard to lust). 

Today I can’t tell you I’m no longer tempted in the area of lust, but the degree to which I am tempted has diminished dramatically.

So sad. It should be eradicated entirely.

“It’s time for all of us to wake up and get RE-programmed feet, eyes, and brains. Today’s the day to begin teaching our feet the dance of life, not death!”

Agreed, but how? Not through man-made tactics and strategies.

“I assume that if Bathsheba was taking a bath on her rooftop, this was a common thing to do in those days. Wouldn’t David know he might just “happen” to see someone? David already had several wives. Why in the world did David’s feet take him up to the roof and why did his eyes spot the naked lady? How long and hard did David stare at this bathing beauty? And of course, that’s just the start of this story. David wasn’t content to simply be a voyeur. He sent someone to find out about her. How long did that take? Wasn’t there enough time for David to stop and think and come to his senses? And even when he discovered she was a married woman, married to a man David knew and respected, he took that next step and sent messengers to fetch Bathsheba.”

Right, it was pre-meditated coveting, not Bashsheba’s doing. Also right that it was a common thing in those days. That didn’t stop David from sinning, but simple nudity in bathing, exercise, and daily work, was commonplace. Nudity wasn’t the taboo that it is today.

“But just as the alcoholic needs to face up to where his problem might eventually lead him, the wise person will wake up and realize that to toy around with lust is like playing with fire. Which means getting burned is a very real possibility! Ouch!”

Yes, and as you’ve said, the desire needs to be eliminated- that’s when an alcoholic person is free, when they can go down the liquor aisle with no issue- not before.

Note: there is a nice section about lies we believe in this book. I mostly agree with that section which is worth the read if you get the book for yourself. I also had noted that I admired and respected the humility with which this section of the book was written. There are some great quotes that I’d love to include, but you can read it for yourself if you are interested. 

“What is the key for you and me to finally escape the prison of habitual sins? We need to find our peace, happiness, and fulfillment in Jesus.”

I’d add “and see others as He sees them.”

“Can I live a life without lust? Only when I believe that all my needs are being met by the One who knows me the best and loves me the most.”

And when you respect the dignity of others as made in His image.

“What might seem innocent will quickly lead to a house that is infested with the ghosts and demons of addiction. Before you know it, the house can quickly lose its light and once again become horribly haunted, dark and dismal. Such is the enslaving nature of this and all addictions.”

The problem with this analogy is the hypervigilance required to guard against anything that would bring it all back. I don’t feel that at all.

“I have worked hard to free myself of these ghosts.”

I’m glad, but I’m even more glad that after working hard to no avail, I stopped working and let the Jesus you see as better do the finished work for me.

“That’s why a “zero tolerance” rule is the only way to fight them off.”

Could you be in a naturist park, a nude beach, or an art class with no issues? Could you worship nude with other believers of like mind? I can and so do thousands of other believers.

“It’s hard work to break loose, but every day it gets a little easier, even though the temptations still drop by and knock on the door when you least expect them. Drive the “ghosts and demons” away today and you will find that freedom lies just around the corner.”

You’re so close, but in my opinion (and similar experiences), you haven’t found true freedom yet.

“We are all “in progress”. I’m still dealing with a variety of sins (selfishness, pride, lust, anger, laziness—all mixed up in varying proportions). But the Lord is here beside me to help me. I have brothers and sisters in Christ, fellow-strugglers who can encourage me and point me in the right direction.”

Still struggle with lust? I thought this book was about doing away with that.

See other book reviews here.

Top Ten Reasons to Become a Christian Comfortablist

This clever and insightful article comes from our friend, Jason. You may recall him from this interview post we did with him. He is also instrumental in the writing of the scripts for our “Objections” series of videos. He’s a good friend and encouragement to us, and we’re so glad he submitted this piece…

Top Ten Reasons to Become a Christian Comfortablist

  1. It’s literally how God made you.
  2. Less Laundry.
  3. Teaches Body Acceptance.
  4. Teaches Humility.
  5. Teaches Vulnerability.
  6. Reminds You that You’re Human.
  7. Helps You Sleep Better.
  8. Makes You Heathier.
  9. Helps De-Stress.
  10. Promotes the Gospel.

What’s a Christian Comfortablist?

It’s like a Christian naturist/nudist, but instead of being naked all the time and/or hating to wear clothes, the mindset is this: clothing is mostly unnecessary. It’s not necessary for “modesty.” It’s not necessary to hide any particular body parts. Clothing is decorative and/or functional. If there’s no good reason to wear it, for example, anytime a person is swimming or sitting in water, then a comfortablist doesn’t wear it.

  1. It’s literally how God made you. God hand-sculpted Adam’s and Eve’s naked bodies from the clay and breathed into them the breath of life. Had He wanted us to be furry or walk on all fours so that our breasts and genitals were obscured, wouldn’t He have done so? By observation, we can see that God wanted our upright bodies with visible genitals to be seen by each other.
  2. A comfortablist is going to have less laundry to wash, dry, fold and store. If desired, bras and underwear can be eliminated from the wardrobe. Resources of space and electricity can be maximized.
  3. Being around other naked people help us realize that our bodies are similar, yet different and come in all shapes and and shades.
  4. For those of us who do not enjoy being seen naked, humbling ourselves and submitting to being seen is a righteous act.
  5. And this leads into vulnerability. When we take away the barriers of clothing, our human status tends to go with it. It’s easier to be truthful and open about your thoughts and beliefs when clothes-free.
  6. Wearing nothing on our skin reminds us that we are a created being – it grounds us – connects us to our roots as living, breathing, feeling beings.
  7. With no restrictions binding you or making you a great place for breeding germs, sleeping nude is also good for genital and reproductive health.
  8. Sunlight is known as the best disinfectant there is. Allowing your skin to make full us of sun and air lets your body soak up vitamins and can also clear up skin blemishes.
  9. Some would say there’s nothing like coming home from work and taking off a tight bra. Why not just take it all off? De-clothing as a ritual is a great way to relax and unwind and tell your body that it can breathe more freely.
  10. In the New Testament, we are called the Body of Christ. Our nude bodies testify of creation and of the truths of fruitfulness and community. Just as the body is made up of many interconnected parts, so is the church meant to be. Owning our humanity – our naked selves – is to testify that Jesus Christ has defeated the Curse and is building His Kingdom with and through us.

So there you have it. Do it for yourself. Do it for Jesus. Try living in your skin when it feels comfortable and see just how great it feels!

I used to…

I used to think the human body when undressed was lewd, obscene, and shameful. Nakedness was linked to sexuality in my mind.

I used to think Scripture condemned nudity after the fall.

I used to think that nudity is only OK in the context of marriage and it’s for your spouse’s eyes only.

I used to make exceptions in this black and white thinking when it comes to doctors and other professions that are used to non-sexual nudity.

I used to become aroused when I would see nudity in movies or entertainment, or worse when I would seek it out online. I was not “exposed” to non-sexual nudity.

Nudity used to be a perpetual stumbling block to me. Every woman was a temptation.

I used to believe that lust was every man’s battle. It seemed impossible to “cure.”

I used to be ashamed of my habits and compulsiveness. This secret sin was a millstone around my neck. I confessed to a few people, but nothing the best-selling Christian books recommended would help.

I used to think nudism was a form of pornography.

I used to think Christian naturists must be perverts trying to justify all sorts of evil intentions.

I, like so many other Christians, was ignorant of any sort of Theology of the Body.

I used to believe that God made clothes and mandated them for moral reasons.

I used to ignore the many instances of co-ed public nudity that took place in Bible times.

I never wondered how people knew who was circumcised in Bible times. How did this “private” state cause people to judge each other?

I used to see the world through shallow eyes. While at times I resisted these trends, in essence I still agreed with the overly sexualized culture as to what beauty standards should be.

I used to long for the freedom and oneness with God and his creation that Christian naturists professed, but could not fathom that being Christian and a naturist could be reconciled with my faith.

I used to know people need the hope and love of Jesus, and that I could be an example of a sinner saved by grace, but I lived in a bubble and was hardly ever around unchurched people. I knew the need to “be a witness,” but lacked the opportunity to do so.

I used to believe “purity culture’s” definition of “modesty” should be taught and embraced. I placed blame for temptation on others instead of taking responsibility for myself.

I now see the human body as the pinnacle of God’s creation, made very good from the start, and worthy of honor and respect.

I now have studied this topic and cannot find any prohibition in Scripture.

I now see nudity as one of the purest forms of the invisible image of God made visible.

I now see those exempt are actually on to something, and instead the rules I used to abide by are not ideal. Nakedness need not be purely sexual.

I now am only ever aroused by my wife. I absolutely love this change, and obviously, so does my wife! I now hate seeing anything that is suggestive or objectifying.

Nudity is no longer a stumbling block and there is no longer any temptation. Praise God!!!

I now know that’s a lie, and Jesus is powerful enough to redeem and heal this and any impurity.

I am now proud to say that by God’s grace I am healthy and whole and completely free from the problems that plagued me. It saddens me greatly to see so many men without hope of true victory.

I now know nudism is the antitheses of porn.

I now know Christian naturists are the complete opposite of those wrong assumptions.

I now see Theology of the Body as extremely valuable for any believer and sorely lacking in Christendom.

I now know that Adam and Eve invented clothes and were influenced by the serpent to do so.

I now see these instances everywhere (prophets, even Jesus) and baptisms through the 4th century.

I have now researched Greco-Roman co-ed bathhouses and gymnasiums (the word gymno meaning bare or naked).

I now see all human beings as beautifully and wonderfully created in the image of God. I am repelled by judgmental attitudes and take a stand against body shame of any form.

I now know my faith is intact and congruent with who I am. Christian naturism has enhanced my relationship with God and others in many amazing ways. I was just too scared to see it due to my conditioning.

I now see that the church has such a negative connotation among many people. And yet, those who would never darken the door of a church are open to spiritual conversations, especially when they see a Christian who breaks the mold.

I now see that form of “modesty” being far from the original intent and one that oppresses and can even be a source of pride. One can be modest totally naked and likewise immodest with clothes on.

These are my thoughts. Instead of living with regrets, I have not only hope for the future, but also joy in the present.

Instead of living with regrets, I have not only hope for the future, but also joy in the present.

While mine is a male perspective, I find it very useful to feature a women’s perspective. Mrs. Phil has shared this point of view in her articles. For this post, I also wanted to include some words from a naturist lady friend of ours. Her opinions are insightful as well, and worth repeating here in conclusion:


Before: I used to think the body was sexual and had to be covered up.  

After: now I’ve realized that the body just is a body. It’s my earthly covering and it’s glorious. Nudity doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be sexual!

Before: I used to think women looked better than me. That I never measured up, that I’m not as pretty as, not as skinny as, etc. Trying to look perfect is just exhausting!  

After: After going to my 1st Naturist resort, I realized that all well-endowed women have breasts that hang like bananas or like grapes on a vine (Why do we even say the word sag? It’s so negative.) I realized I’m not the only one with cellulite and imperfections. I am still beautiful even if I’m overweight, have cellulite and a little too much cushion!

This one is very personal to me and touches my heart!

Before: I believed that it was okay for a man to be shirtless but not acceptable for a woman to be topless because of the thought that breasts are sexual and need to be covered unless breastfeeding.

After: I realized that we both have nipples and that our (women’s) breasts are just plumper and prettier! LOL

Europe really has this right because they have topless beaches. Why should I not be allowed to be topless at a beach when a man is topless too? We have the same nipples but just because my breasts are bigger it’s not allowed?!?

An observation…  

Before: I tend to only wear makeup when going to a special event. Usually I’m barefaced with just lipstick and blush.  Lipstick makes me happy!  

I could never compete with or look as *pretty* as someone with a lot of eye makeup. Obviously, a canvas with lots of colors and designs is looked upon more favorably than a canvas with two splashes of color.

After: After going to Naturist resorts, I found more women who embraced their natural beauty like me. It’s very refreshing to be around women like me! We were all on the same playing field, not that it’s a competition and I’m not comparing myself to others. It’s nice just to see the real person, not the fancy makeup! To see their natural beauty!

Before: In the textile world, I’m considered chunky and never get asked out.

After: At a Naturist resort, people get to see my natural beauty and my glowing personality. People want to be around me and think I’m attractive! (I’m not tooting my own horn, but sharing my experience. I believe God made us beautiful and I celebrate and acknowledge that!)

Flip the Script

We have this one meme on our memes page, and while we aren’t sure who to credit, some clever individual wrote this though-provoking piece:


Is nudism healthy?

Allow me [to] try to argue the alternative:

Nudism isn’t healthy.

People should be ashamed, embarrassed, and afraid to be and to look as God made them.

God must hate us to have made us this way.

Nor should we tolerate or respect what other people look like.

Especially if they’re overweight, of a different race, too old or too young, or just plain ugly.

People like that should be forced to cover themselves up at all times so we don’t have to look at them.

Young attractive people deserve to be sexually harassed and assaulted if they’re not sufficiently covered up.

Them not covering themselves up enough causes other to be uncontrollably sexually irresponsible. So they have it coming to them.

We should fight our children’s natural instincts to be free of the restrictions of clothing and want to feel the sun, wind, and water unbroken across their bodies.

Sensuality and feeling good about yourself is sexual and we rightfully should be screwed up about how we view our genders and sexuality.

We must condition ourselves to be totally compulsive about being dressed so we stay dressed even when we’re alone in the privacy of our own homes, so we can never be comfortable bathing if others are around

…so we’ll properly fear going to a doctor because we don’t want them to see our bodies

…and so we’ll feel appropriately insecure about ourselves and our bodies around our families, with our friend, and in our intimate relationships.

Yuck! How about instead we just realize that what people call “nudism’ really is just how we’d feel by default if we weren’t so screwed up otherwise.


My reaction to this is that we need to flip the script. There are so many misconceptions about naturism in general, and Christian naturism specifically. Christian naturists are Christians. Christians who aren’t naturists have a lot more in common with Christian naturists than they might believe at first (once they figure out what “naturist” means!). There is more common ground than there are differences. And the differences are not obscene or wrong in any way when you understand the motivation behind it.

In negotiations it’s understood that the goal is to get the other party to a “yes.” However, sometimes the best approach is to first get to “no,” before it’s time for a yes. That’s kind of what I hope to do in this following section. Please help me flesh this idea out in the comments to add to what I have.

For those opposed to the practice of Christian naturists, I would ask:

Do you think lust is a good thing?

Christian naturists do NOT think lust is a good thing. They also do not equate nudity with sex. The normalization of nudity doing non-sexual things like gardening or mowing or painting desexualizes nudity and more importantly desexualizes the mind. We live in a “pornified” culture and the conditioning is strong, but naturists have broken that link between simple nudity and sex. Lustful thinking cannot easily reconcile this separation, it’s hard to fathom unless you’ve broken that connection in the mind (search the blog for renewed mind to see more on this.). Thinking otherwise is a projection of a mind that still agrees with our culture. Hook up culture is an extreme that cheapens the body down to a tool separated from the whole person. Prudishness (and body taboo) is the other extreme that Christians often take on to avoid being “like the world.” Both extremes have a low view and deem the body as hyper-sexual and obscene in many cases. Christian naturists have a high view of bodies as a “very good” creation of God.

Do you think Christians should be sexually immoral?

Christian naturists believe in maintaining sexual integrity at all times. They hate porn or anything that objectifies people and their bodies. They lament that many of the problems that exist today come ultimately from an ungodly view of the body: fornication, adultery, divorce, rape, unwanted pregnancy and abortion, prostitution, human trafficking, pedophilia, gender dysphoria, and everything in between.

Do you think there is any sin that Jesus can’t help you overcome?

Christian naturists believe that God’s power is enough to make both men and women mature in their faith. To many, they cannot fathom the thought that we could be in a large group of naked people without lusting. Many blame their objectifying thoughts on the revealing clothing of others and say it’s their fault that they can’t handle their thoughts. Lust becomes this ever-present, always needing to be avoided issue. We don’t do that with any other sin! We don’t think Jesus can’t help us overcoming a lying problem, but we act as if lust is a whole different thing and pure thinking depends on several other factors out of our control. Christian naturists reject that notion and live differently.

When someone is in bondage to a certain sin, do you think they should remain that way forever?

This is a bit like the last question. For me, I was in bondage for 20 years. The purity culture I grew up with failed me and the tactics to undo lustful thinking were woefully inadequate. Naturism served as a catalyst to get me to see others as God sees them, and by so doing extending them the respect and dignity that comes with being made in God’s image. Humans are the pinnacle of God’s creation, and not to be objectified for selfish gain.

One quick story that encapsulates all I’ve been saying here would be using the movie Titanic. I remember my youth minister asking in a sermon why they had to put those nude scenes in what would otherwise be a good movie. This made me want to see those scenes, actually. And I saw those scenes over and over. We owned the VHS tape and I would fast forward to watch that scene with Kate Winslet. And then feeling guilty and full of shame, I’d rewind it to “get rid of the evidence.” My mind wasn’t redeemed. Once my wife was watching and noticed it wasn’t where she had left it, so she knew what I was up to. Just the other day, my wife and teenage boy were watching this movie as research for a school project (streaming, not VHS!). It came to that scene and my wife, acting on old impulses (before embracing naturism) instinctually thought to fast forward or have him look away. He is now used to seeing us walk around the house nude. He knows what our bodies look like. He told her in that moment sensing her internal struggle, “Mom, they’re just boobs. Not a big deal.” I wish I had the maturity of my 14 year old son when I was an immature 20 year old newlywed husband! See the difference! I was obsessed with watching this scene over and over, and it’s nothing to him, because my wife has been brave enough and confident enough to overcome body shame and prudishness in our home. Normalizing non-sexual nudity is the best way to porn-proof your children.

Do you believe that it’s good to oppress women by making them cover themselves entirely so lustful men won’t be tempted?

Christian naturists are so saddened by this and do not see the logic behind it. If it worked, those who live with the most strict of dress codes would be the purest among us. That is simply not the case! I’ve met several Christian naturists that come from mennonite and even amish backgrounds. They are so much happier and free as naturists, and they attest that in the strict conservative setting lewd behavior is quite prevalent and always in secret.

Do you see the hyper-sexualization of culture getting better with time?

I don’t really. It’s always been bad ever since the beginning. Points 12-17 of our “Personal Manifesto of a Christian Naturist” deals with how Satan has violently attacked humans on this point since the fall in Genesis 3. He is the “who” of “Who said you were naked?” and he hates the image of God. Everything that is not God’s “very good” ideal is a distortion of his will.

Does God usually change his mind completely from one chapter to the next? If God declared all things to be good, very good, when did he change his mind?

Maybe we don’t have to flip the script at all. We have to recover the original script. The script was flipped in Genesis 3, and that’s why we are in so much trouble. We just need to flip it back and recover the innocence of Eden. It really is that simple! And it really is possible (see Revelation 21:5).


Sound off in the comments if you have more to add. I’ll add a few more in the first comment! Thanks for reading.

But what if…

I remember growing up one of the most awesome book series to read was the “Choose your own adventure” books. For those of you who may not know what I’m talking about, I’ll explain. You would begin the book like normal, but a few pages in you were given 2 choices. If you chose #1 you would turn to page 15, if you chose #2 you would turn to page 36 and the story would continue from there depending on what you chose. You were given choices throughout the book so you could read the book over and over and get somewhat different stories every time. If you didn’t like where you ended up, you could go back and pick something different. It was so much fun!

Unfortunately in life we rarely, if ever, get to go back and take a different path if we don’t like where we’ve ended up. If we do have the opportunity, there are usually consequences that we have to deal with from choosing wrong in the first place. I am a processor in my thinking, almost to a fault. I like to over analyze the situation to death and sometimes think so long about something that the opportunity passes me by and I end up kicking myself for not making a decision quicker. 

Unfortunately in life we rarely, if ever, get to go back and take a different path if we don’t like where we’ve ended up.

One of the hardest decisions I have ever been faced with was the decision on how to handle the information Phil shared with me about naturism. As you may have read in our first post he presented me with 3 options:

  1. Forbid him from participating in any way.
  2. Allow him to participate, but not participate myself.
  3. Go on this adventure with him (he didn’t word it that way).

During my time of processing I considered many “what ifs.”  What if he is just doing this to justify seeing naked women? What if this really is a sin in the eyes of God? What if someone finds out? What if he loses his job? What if our church kicks us out? What if our families disown us? What if our children hate us? And the list could go on and on!!!

Once we discussed all of these questions at length and were able to come up with answers for most of them I was able to make the decision that the thought of Christian naturism was ok by me. When I was coming to grips with what that meant for me practically a whole new set of “what ifs” came up. What if I’m fatter than everyone else? What if it’s super awkward for me but Phil is ok? What if Phil is not ok (if you know what I mean)? What if people stare at me? What if no one likes me? What if it’s horrible? That list could go on and on too!

Discussing those reservations, the only answer we came up with was that we weren’t going to know the answers until we tried it. So we did! After jumping in and experiencing many naturist group activities and just going to a park near us, I have the answers to those questions. 

-What if I’m fatter than everyone else?

Sometimes I am and sometimes I’m not. But you know what’s awesome? NO ONE CARES WHAT I LOOK LIKE!!!!

-What if it’s super awkward for me, but Phil’s ok? What if Phil is not ok?

There are moments where it’s been awkward, especially the first couple times, but that’s normal. Doing something new is always awkward, even fully clothed. Phil has never had any issues and neither have I. 

-What if people stare at me?

Never once has anyone looked long enough to make me feel uncomfortable. 

-What if no one likes me?

I have met the nicest people! So far everyone seems to think I’m ok. 

-What if it’s horrible?

Trust me, it’s not!

There are still many what if questions that come up from time to time and we try to figure those out as they come. In thinking back, some of those have been difficult and some of them have been reflective. What if I had forbidden Phil from participating? What if I’d allowed it but refused to entertain the thought for myself? I am confident that our marriage and relationship would not be as strong as it is now, and our relationship with the Lord would not be as solid.

During the last 9 months as we have written this blog, we have had many men reach out to us asking how they can encourage their wives. Here are the questions I would ask them:

  • What if it’s not as bad as you think it’s going to be?
  • What if no one cares what you look like and loves you in spite of all the flaws YOU see?
  • What if your relationship with your husband could be stronger and more intimate (not just physically) than you could have ever hoped?
  • What if you actually feel more confident nude? (I know you don’t think that’s possible, but trust me, with first hand knowledge, it is!)
  • What if you actually really enjoy it once you get past the little bit of awkwardness?
  • What if you miss out on the best friends you would ever have?
  • What if you let your own insecurities get the better of you?
  • What if it’s nothing like the fears you have in your mind?
  • What if it’s one of the best things that ever happened to you?

Consider these questions and then choose your own adventure!

Normal vs. Natural

One of the criticisms of naturism is that it is not normal. The argument goes something like this, “It’s not normal behavior to go around without clothes on. It’s not what normal people do.” This is somewhat true, that is, in our culture. Some cultures would venture to say that it’s not normal to have clothes on, but that is for another article. We will focus this post strictly on our Western modern cultural landscape.

The truth is, nudity, especially social nudity is not normal. That is why nudists and naturist are on a mission to “normalize nudity.” The various hashtags abound on social media in efforts to sway public opinion.

My argument for this post is that it’s ok to be different. Normal is oftentimes boring, and sometimes just plain wrong. Booker T. Washington is credited as saying, “A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right, and evil doesn’t become good just because it’s accepted by a majority.” I love that quote and it goes to show that “normal” is popular, and popular, though widely accepted, isn’t always best.

That’s why I want to introduce a better question. I don’t want to ask if ditching clothes is or isn’t normal. I want to ask of the two sides (clothing compulsive vs. clothing optional), which is more natural? We know textiles win the debate about which is normal. Although, it’s funny how many normal people, really like to get “comfortable” when they have sufficient privacy. It’s comical to me how during the pandemic and the onslaught of zoom calls, how normal the joke about not wearing any pants flowed!

But which is more natural? This is where naturists excel. Both words naturist and natural share the same root word as they are tied to nature. Normal people do generally like the call to nature, and all things organic, but they draw a line before going all crazy hippie like the abnormal naturist contingency. (I realize not all naturists are hippies or crazy.) In fact, we tend to break many of the stereotypes and certainly prove to be a wide cross section of society at large.

It’s been said that humans are the only “animal” that wears clothes. It’s true, some people dress up their pets. (And that’s all sorts of weird!) It’s also true that we don’t have fur to cover us. Animal kind is definitely very natural in the sense that they are free to roam without any artificial coverings or costumes about them. And yet, we don’t see a dog and say, look a naked dog. We just call it dog. When you stop and think about it, hiding yourself under layers and layers of clothing is unnatural. It may be normal, but it is not natural, especially in certain instances, say work, sport, swimming. The ancients knew this, and we have all but forgotten it… sadly.

Naturism is not the “sensible” option for the masses, those that perpetuate this unnatural body taboo. However, which perspective is more healthy and should be considered normal? I imagine this humorous exchange between a “normal” person and a “natural” person or naturist:

“Normal” person: “Are you seeing this??? That woman is stark naked!!!”

“Natural/Naturist” person: “Who that? Oh, that’s Jessica! Her husband is Ronnie. They live in…”

This makes me chuckle because there is such a contrast between the two perspectives! Expanding on this and thinking a bit more deeply on the matter would “uncover” these differences as well:

Normal men see a clothed woman, and imagine her naked, wishing they could see her body.

Natural/Naturist men see a naked woman and imagine who the person inside the body is, wishing to know her story.

Normal men obsess about the body. 

Natural/Naturist men aren’t phased by it.

A normal dad might yell at his kids if they walk in on him in the bathroom, “What’s wrong with you??? Get out of here!”

A natural/naturist dad would greet them with a smile and probably a funny one liner like, “Top of the morning to you!” in a funny voice. OK, maybe that’s just me!

Yes, naturists usually have a great sense of humor and like to have a good time. That can lead to being a bit weird. But, personally, having lived both a normal existence and a couple awesome years more natural as a naturist, I’d hang up my normal hat for good if I needed to. 

If it’s normal to follow Hollywood and Madison Avenue’s lead in objectifying and dehumanizing women, and if it’s normal for Christian men to outwardly buck at this cultural norm, but inwardly be so overcome by lust, going along with the culture, then I don’t want to be normal. I’d rather be natural and see all people as made in the image of God and worthy of respect and dignity.

If it’s normal to wear a soggy bathing suit when swimming, then I don’t want to be normal. I’d rather be natural and feel the sensation of water all over my body, and be able to air dry and soak in the sun without any hindrance.

If it’s normal to hide our bodies and genitalia from our children, thinking it’s immodest and obscene and teaching them the same, then I don’t want to be normal. I’d rather be natural and show them what real bodies look like, and teach them that it’s ok not to have super model figures. I’d rather porn-proof my boys this way, satisfying their curiosity and making commonplace nudity the norm, so the allure of pornography loses its power entirely. I’d rather my daughter grow up confident, accepting her body as it is, and loving herself for who she is.

If it’s normal to make snap judgments about others on the basis of their appearance, then I don’t want to be normal. I’d rather converse and get to know the whole person and base my judgments off of that discovery!

There’s a great post on the nudeandhappy.com blog. I especially appreciated this part, “Psychologically, it’s not always [easy] to be seen as the weirdo… Let’s face it though. There are millions of nudists around the world. You have dozens of naturism federation and associations that promote wholesome, simple and social nudity. You are NOT a weirdo. I actually believe that the textiles who find the naked body disgusting or harmful are the weirdos, but this is my point of view.” Well, it’s mine too!

I think the point is clear. Normal is easy, and it’s overrated. Many years ago, Arby’s (say what you want about them) had a clever slogan – “Different is good.” Standing out is better than fitting in. The gain from conforming to cultural, social, and religious norms if not worth the pain of the twisted view of the body which results from these standards. The body is wrongly deemed improper, lewd, and obscene in and of itself, ignoring entirely the embodied soul’s actions which can be good or bad. People are ultimately responsible with what they do with their bodies. Evil can occur whether one is clothed or naked, just as good can be accomplished in both states.

The question boils down to whether you like the normal (status quo) way things are in the world today. I don’t. I’m quite annoyed with things as I look out at the world (a divine discontentment you could say, or a holy dissatisfaction). I’m good in my own little world, but society is not! I’ve heard it said many times now, that if everyone was naked like naturists prefer life, the world would naturally be a happier place. Natural is better, kinder, and more life-giving. Between normal and natural, for me, there’s not question. I’m done being normal!