Myths of the Naked Body

The following is a repost from a friend named Randy. Used with permission.

In the West, particularly in the United States, society has been convinced over time to accept several myths about naked bodies as truths. The acceptance of these myths as truth has lead to a myriad of issues, but those issues are another discussion. Most of these myths are derived from well meaning members of the Christian church over the last couple of centuries. Like the well meaning Pharisees of Jesus’ time who used man made rules to try to keep from breaking the commandments, many Christian use these myths the same way — as truths to try to keep themselves and others from sinning. Some of these myths are loosely based on scripture others are just based on speculation.

Myth One

Naked Bodies are Not Natural. This one is largely based on tradition. They reason and argue that clothing and covering the body is the way it has always been. Many go so far as to believe that clothing is what separates us from the animals and is the beginning of a “civilized” society. After all, you never hear of anyone in “civilized” society growing up naked. It only happens with “those savages,” “those naked savages.” Yet, after man was created, naked by the way, “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31 NAS95). “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25 NAS95). God never changed his mind.

“If people were meant to be nude, they would have been born this way.” — Oscar Wilde

But that has not stopped the Church from pushing the second myth.

Myth Two

Naked Bodies were/are Commanded to be Hidden by God. Many people look at the passage in Genesis where God provides skins to Adam and Eve as proof that God wants clothed humans. In reality, Adam and Eve started it, not God. They are the ones who created clothing for themselves. They are the ones who invented clothing. “They sewed fig leaves together and they made themselves loin coverings”(Genesis 3:7 NAS95).

They sewed leaves together, who does that? In our current age hunters and snipers come to mind first. Why did they cover themselves? Were they hiding from other people? Who, since only they existed? From each other? From the animals? Maybe from the serpent? Or from God? Up until this point they had walked naked with God in the Garden. Now, Adam and Eve have made camouflage and are actively hiding from God. But, why? Why did they decide that they needed to hide from God? Again, these questions need more exploration, but now is not the time.

As the story progresses God asks the question, “Who told you that you were naked?” Reading between the lines we can expand the question, “Naked? I never said anything about you being naked. Who told you that you were naked?” In the book Uncovering the Image, Bob Horrocks points out that this question God did not, even as Adam and Eve had covered themselves, see their nakedness as a problem.

Yet, God does provide our first parents with skins of animals, surely that means we are to cover ourselves at all times. Paul Bowman postulates:

“It is reasonable to believe that if God had actually condemned nakedness he would have told Adam that, because he had sinned, he was no longer free to be naked and unashamed of his body, After all, God did decree several consequences of the sin they committed.” (Nakedness and the Bible)

Bowman goes on to point out that immediately following God giving them skins, he banishes them from Eden, and sets a guard so they cannot return. Why garments of animals skins outside the garden? We must look at one of the consequences of their sin:

“cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”” (Genesis 3:17–19 ESV)

It appears to me that this wasn’t and act to cover their sinful flesh but another of God’s acts of love toward his beloved creation, partial protection from the environment that was cursed because of them. There is also the belief in many circles that the animal skins were a foreshadowing of the shedding of Christs blood for our sins. Bowman also rightfully points out, If God had given Adam and Eve clothes intended to conceal their bodies — new and improved clothes at that — it would have been a ratification of their efforts to conceal their sin! It is unthinkable that God would ever reward sin, or even reward any efforts made to conceal the results of sinful behavior.”

Myth Three

Naked Bodies are Aways Sexual. Really? We are born naked, not sexual and Job says we return naked, not sexual. Bathing is typically done naked and is normally not sexual. Physical exams and surgery are at least partially if not totally naked, and definitely not sexual. Additionally, throughout the history of the world there have been many naked societies. If naked bodies were always sexual those societies would not have been able to exist because of twenty-four-hour-a-day sexual activities. Our western culture has driven and continues to drive the sexualization of the naked body. “Actually, the loin cloth on an otherwise naked body does call direct attention to the covered area, and it would therefore very likely create titillation by its removal in a sexual situation. On the other hand, observations of daily Life among naked tribes indicate the sight of genitalia in Nude society is not in itself erotic”, Aileen Goodson. “Complete nudity in itself is not erotic. It becomes so only when preceded by or contrasted to a state of dress. In this limited context then, all clothes become somewhat immoral, if we define immorality as inciting sexual interest. Habitual nakedness may indeed be capable of elevating man to a higher mental plane…” Dr. Marylnn J. Horn, “The Second Skin: An Interdisciplinary Study of Clothing”. Dr. Horn goes on to say, “It is the undressing, not the being nude, that is sexually arousing, because it leads the viewer to the association of a sexually intimate experience.”

Myth Four

Naked Bodies are Obscene or “Gross I don’t want to see that.” If humans are created in the image of God then this statement are a spit in the face of our creator. “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”, (unfortunately, I have misplaced the reference for this quote). Our society is currently in a body image crisis. We see it in the way we treat our bodies from eating disorders to body modifications. Liz Egger laments, “As a naturist myself I find it astonishing that a religion can worship a particular deity yet regard its most miraculous creation – the human body – as obscene and wicked and so shameful that it should be hidden from view.” David Hatton rightly opines, “When people teach that the human body is dirty or obscene, it creates fertile ground for pornography. This is why porn addiction is so strong in our society, even among Christians. Our culture is inundated with a sexualized view of the body. I’m sorry to say that the church has been a key player in spreading that idea.” We need throw off the obscene view of our naked bodies and return to a healthy view of the naked human our form. We were created in the image of God, with penises, scrotums and a broader shoulders or with vulvas, vaginas wider hips and larger breasts. Beautifully made in our differences and similarities.

Myth Five

Naked Bodies Harm Children. Let’s be clear upfront. We are discussing NONSEXUAL nakedness. We have already pointed out that not all Nakedness is sexual.

There are not enough studies on the effects of exposing children to nonsexual nudity. Most of the child development experts, e.g. Dr. Spock, Dr. Brothers, and Dr. Dodson to name a few, have laid out the arguments against exposure to nakedness without any studies to back them up let alone justify their conjecture and opinions. Dennis C. Craig and Dr. William Sparks engaged in a five year study to explore how exposure to nudity affects children. Here are their own conclusions:

“The experts seem to agree that a child should not be overstimulated sexually. Since we consider that wise, we raise a few questions: Is it more detrimental to emotional growth to spend “all ones waking hours” attempting to see the hidden bodies of others than to be raised in a physically open family situation where nudity is taken for granted? Is it not possible that the child who casually learns about other people’s bodies has more time to spend on studies and other pursuits?”

“The experts warn about the terrible guilts and frustrations which will develop in a child exposed to nudity… We found normal childhood problems of adjustment, but we also found a group of adults seemingly satisfied with themselves, and very willing to raise their children as they were raised, with nakedness as part of their every day lives.”

“We were told that when children saw their parents nude , they would be overstimulated… But when we spoke to the adults who grew up in a nudist environment, we were told that it was more stimulating for them to goto a regular beach, where everyone wore suits, however small, than to play volleyball or sun at a nudist park where everyone wore nothing…”

“Without previous studies on which to base their conclusions, the experts told us that children, especially during the years from nine to thirteen, should not be allowed to see their parents nude because it would be harmful to them. It seems clear to us, now, after five years of study that this unfounded bias and conjecture has been very misleading. But, more than that, it has caused real harm to more than one generation of American children.”

“We live in a time when the human anatomy is examined, extolled, studied, and lectured about, and at the very same moment is also exploited, ridiculed, and excluded from social acceptance. We insult ourselves by calling our bodies obscene, pornographic, lewd, base, dirty, immoral, or evil, and in so doing deny the basic truth of our own existence. Our anatomy is us— and it is none of those terrible things.”

“There are some families who have learned what Margaret Mead and others were trying to tell us about the need for understanding our natures and not hating our physiology. These singular adults have created in their children individuals more resistant to the negativism of our modern society. They seem at ease with the rigors of living together in a society dependent, sours is, on our ability to relate to one another with love and understanding.”

“What we learned was that the viewing of the unclothed human body , far from being destructive to the psyche, seems to be either benign and totally harmless or to actually provide positive benefits to the individual involved.”

—Dennis Craig Smith and Dr. William Sparks, Growing Up Without Shame.

There are a few, very few, other studies out there that have taken on this issue and similarly concluded that nakedness harming children is in fact a myth and that exposure to real human bodies in a nonsexual setting can potentially be beneficial.

“The existence in so many places of the tendency toward nudity is not a testimony to the fallenness of man. It is rather a testimony of the original condition of man … The inner desire to be naked and unashamed is a longing to get back to our original perfection.” — Philo Thelos

Definitions of Christian Naturism

Words have meaning. With language, it quickly becomes important to define your terms. It’s likely we used the same words, but have completely differing takes on what those identical words mean. Then we land into some trouble.

But which definitions are correct? What about when definitions differ? I suggest you look for the commonalities in the multiple submissions. No definition is perfect, but they help us with understanding.

All of that said, I’d like to attempt to define Christian Naturism today. It’s not naturalism, and it’s not bird watching. It’s naturism and from the perspective of a Christian living a vibrant faith in action. I should say first of all, that for me, Christian comes first, and naturist second. I’m a Christian who happens to be a naturist.

Someone asked on social media what people’s definition of Christian Naturism was. I didn’t have anything tucked away. I haven’t really read any authoritative dictionary entry type of definition for this growing group of the population. But I thought about it and quickly penned something and hit submit. That’s what I will submit to you today, along with those submissions of some of my online friends.

I said:

To me, Christian Naturism is the viable notion that one can restore the innocence of Eden as best as is possible in this fallen world until all things are made new. This is true especially in regard to our bodies, created “very good” (not dirty or obscene in and of them selves, even in a “naked and unashamed” state. People’s inherent value is much more than skin deep, so naturism paves a way for seeing yourself and others as God sees, and elevates the concept of Imago Dei (the image of God) to new and greater heights. Often the past experiences of judging others or viewing them as a source of temptation vanish under the newly held convictions. The freedom afforded is worth celebrating and holding onto with passion and grace.

A friend who has the gift of brevity said:

We would say we are simply Christians without the human additives…these being clothes 😜

Another said:

God has created us and called it “good.” Sin has marred our view of that creation He called “good” and felt the need to hide from Him. If we accept that we are redeemed through Christ and His sacrifice, we no longer need to hide. If we keep our focus on Him and not the view of the world that sees nakedness only in the context of sexual sin, we recognize that we can enjoy the freedom that He originally called “good.”

This friend had another interesting perspective:

God made us with the plan based on the garden. Man had all he needed provided by God. It was a simple life with everything supplied by Him. No need for selfishness, greed or having to compete with each other. Just to take care of all things in the garden. In other words love God, walk with Him, and love His creation. Just as Jesus said when asked which was the greatest commandment!

Along those lines, this friend said:

To me, nudity is a tool. Jesus said the greatest commandment was love God with all our heart, and the second was to love our neighbor as ourself. I think nudity is a tool to actively put those two commandments into action. The state of nakedness increases and demonstrates humility and increases our openness towards our fellow man.

I also think it is a tool that helps us examine the traditions of our fathers and opens us to question if those traditions come from God and lead us towards God, or not.

The friend that originally asked the question said this:

We were created in the image of God and any shamefullness associated to our naked bodies is a result of flawed cultural learnings, misinterpreted Bible verses, and misdefined terms like modesty.

Another friend added this element:

Christian naturists have allowed the blood of Christ to circumcise our hearts. Putting to the death the sinful nature, we step out in faith and transform ourselves into little children in terms of how we see the body, just as Christ himself orders us to do in Matthew 18.

This friend had more to say:

Y’all are a lot more concise than I will probably be, as this is a question that deserves some concentrated thought… I may not have time to respond again in a timely manner so you’ll get the disorganized version: Christian Naturism is the recognition that God’s pronouncement on His naked creation as “very good,” was not based upon his creation’s perception, but on truth (as it is impossible for Him to lie or be in error). It was His intent that the Imago Dei (the image of God) should be revealed, and that in so doing we would know Him. He has revealed Himself through what has been made but reveals the very image of Himself through our bodies, both male and female. Satan, who hates God and His image, inspired Adam and Eve to cover that image, and specifically those parts through which we have the power to recreate that image. Those parts are the most potent symbol of His relationship to His bride. In our rejection of God, inspired by Satan, we fell under a curse: however God’s son Jesus Christ has redeemed us from that curse so that we no longer follow the flesh (our sinful nature, which we received when we chose to live by our own knowledge of good and evil) but the Spirit of God which He causes to dwell within us. He has transformed us, by the renewing of our minds. To the pure, all things are pure. In Naturism we as Christians are able to appear before him naked, humble, honest, and pure.

And this friend added this:

I’m am nude in imitation of Christ, who died on the cross naked in complete innocence. By dying the death promised Adam, he has opened the gates of Eden and access to the Tree of Life to all who receive him. I seek the communion with God, my spouse, my body, and with nature which Adam and Eve had before the fall.

“Nude to follow the naked Christ.” -Saint Jerome and Saint Francis

There could be much more that could be said. This is just a very small cross-section. It’s a fairly short post, but let’s all add to it. Put your definition in the comments and we’ll all learn from each other!

Black’s Beach Hang Glider

How I went from a circumspect life to running around in my backyard in the nude.

This is a guest post, and a wonderful story from a new online friend, Chuck Douglas.

I believe our cultural and/or religious inculcation to avoid nudity or being seen nude, or seeing others nude, runs very deep for most people. Overcoming that, assuming one wishes to, isn’t quick or easy and even if we wish to, still isn’t easy. Most people are raised to believe that being nude is only about sex or bathing or maybe at the doctor’s office so social nudity runs against a lifetime of training for most of us. My parents were Mennonites-turned-Baptists and I was raised accordingly. Sex or nudity was a nearly forbidden topic and surely those people who were nudists could only be perverts. Because I was raised so strictly — movie theaters were places of sin and I never entered one until I was about age 17 — that I should develop a predilection for naturism seemed unlikely.

My interest in naturism did happen to begin in a rather unlikely way. Growing up under my parent’s strict rules I happily left home at 19 to embrace fun in whatever form would give me a rush. I had no taste for drugs and not much for booze, adrenaline was much better and legal.  About a month after leaving home I bought a motorcycle and went motocross racing and later became deeply involved in the new sport of hang gliding.  When I was young I’d give most things a go, dangerous or not.

Long about 1974 or ’75 I was at Torrey Pines State Park in San Diego to fly my hang glider. I was an early adopter of the sport of hang gliding and Torrey with its 400ft cliffs facing into the ocean breeze was a great place to fly. Below the cliffs was the well-known Black’s Beach, then an unofficial nude beach. I’d known since high school that there was a nude beach way down there below us but I had little thought to explore the possibilities.

A bit after taking flight from the top of Torrey Pines, the wind slacked, and my hang glider lost enough altitude that I couldn’t land back on top of the cliff. Black’s Beach here I come! Now, I still hadn’t really thought about the reality of landing on a nude beach, just the details of landing on a crowded beach.  As I cruised in for a landing a number of people moved aside for me.  I landed, put down my hang glider, and some guy stark naked walked up to me and said “Those things are far out! How much do they cost?!” I replied, “Doesn’t look like you can even afford a bathing suit let alone a hang glider!” He laughed and asked more questions. Then a very attractive young woman, totally nude >gulp<, walked over smiling and started asking questions about hang gliding.  Hang gliding was new back then so it always attracted some attention when you flew and the location of a nude beach was no exception. More naked people gathered around the glider talking and asking questions as I set about folding up my glider.  To say I was distracted by all the naked women around me would be an understatement. Up to that moment at age 23, I’d never seen another naked woman in person apart from my wife.  I was enough of a gentleman to try not to stare but it was tough not to grab more glances than I should.  But people were so polite, so friendly and a few suggested I shuck off my clothes and join their beach party. Perfect strangers invited me to their beach party! I grew up in California and no beach I’d ever been to was as friendly as that one. I noticed after a bit, too, that there was no “rocket in my pocket” as I might have expected. How can you be around so many naked people of the opposite sex and not be aroused? Had I been overwhelmed and struck impotent by a nude beach? It was puzzlement and my first inkling that nudism isn’t about sex.

Normally, packing up a hang glider back then was a 5-minute job but I took about 45 minutes that day do to the many distractions. The cliff path is a bit of a challenge anyway and I wasn’t anxious to start that trek. Carrying an 18ft long, 35lb hang glider doubled the effort.  Someone kindly offered me a cold soda.  More conversations and more trying not to stare.

I came away feeling that the nude beach scene was something special, something I’d like to try again.  I was a risk taker so to me it was one more risk, less dangerous than flying from a 400ft cliff. A couple of days later I went back to Black’s Beach sans hang glider and hiked the long, sketchy path down the cliff to the beach.  I found a reasonable spot on the sand not too close to anyone else and threw down a beach towel, took a gulp of air, and took off all my clothes. Suddenly everyone on the beach stopped what they were doing and looked at me laughing and pointing! Okay, no, no they didn’t. No one noticed one more naked person on the beach. Turns out there was nothing more amazing about my body than anyone else’s body, nor anything uglier or weirder. I was and am pleasantly average.

I knew, lacking sunscreen or shade, I couldn’t stay long on the beach. I hadn’t planned well.  I lay out there for about 40 minutes, going in the ocean once, fully afraid that I’d be grabbed by a shark or an orca and the news would be screaming “Conservative Christian Man Killed By Orca At NUDE Beach!” Everyone I knew, my wife, parents, friends, and pastors, would KNOW what I’d done! I’d been nude in public. I’d watched naked coeds from the university nearby play volleyball. Worse, total strangers had seen my willy! Horrors! No sharks or orcas grabbed me, though, so once I relaxed a bit more it felt wonderful to be in the water. Out of the water, I got dressed for the rather arduous trek back up the cliffs. I had much to think about the rest of the day and indeed, over the next 35 years or so.

I really wanted to get involved in visiting a nude beach again but the woman I was married to back then absolutely refused to consider it. Subject not open for discussion. I pushed naturism out of my mind for the next three decades or so aside from an occasional nighttime skinny dip in my own swimming pool. When I found myself single again in 2000 and living in Arizona, I decided to at least work on getting some tan on my white body, and shape up a bit to be presentable as a single person. I worked outdoors a lot so I had a nice “farmer suntan” with a brown face and arms and a pasty white body. I begin laying nude in the walled backyard of my new home getting a bit of an all-over tan.  I connected with a local naturist group but that never really went anywhere.Time moves on and recently the bug to be nude again struck me, in part because I’m now married to a lovely woman who is at least willing to be naked on our patio and in our backyard. We are talking about visiting a nude beach or resort on vacation next year and I’m very hopeful about that. I’ve been mostly nude around the house during the late summer and in the backyard, too. Our backyard is semi-private and on the days our next-door neighbors work, I’m more or less free to lay out nude or water plants around the yard. I may even mow the yard naked one of these days. It’s a long way, 47 years, since my unexpected airborne arrival at Black’s Beach and yet I feel like the fun part of the journey is just beginning and this time with my lovely wife’s support.

A Word About the Author

This short post is to explain a bit about how we arrived at the names we use on this site and online. I’m working on a book which will most likely be released under the name Phillip Oak. Here is a short piece that may become Appendix I in the book.


Phillip Oak is a pseudonym as the ideas in this book can be so easily misconstrued. The author longs for the day, if it ever comes, when attitudes toward the body change in a more wholesome way. Repentance and renewal is needed for this to happen, as it has in his own life and that of his wife.

As they branched out together into new territory, the tragic need for a moniker came up right away. He chose a random name, not his own, Phil. A location to meet up with others, and hence share his real name was provided in Oklahoma, so his online handle became Phil Okie along with the email ok_phil80@mail.com (which you are free to write). When moving to a social network that was more friendly toward these ideas, he changed his profile name to Phil Okay. Someone quickly pointed out that he liked the play on words in that name, as if you “feel ok” especially in your own skin. A happy accident, but true nonetheless.

When the blog Aching For Eden was started, the names selected were simply Phil O. and Mrs. Phil. For the book, however, a stronger and more full name felt needed, one with deeper meaning.

Philip the evangelist is a New Testament character to both admire and emulate. He was one of the first seven deacons, chosen to serve because they were “full of faith and the Holy Spirit“ (Acts 6:5). His dependence on the Spirit led to a fruitful ministry in Samaria (Acts 8:5-8). His most notable encounter was with the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-40. He explained the Scriptures in a clearer way in the light of Christ, which resulted in an immediate baptism with this prominent official from a far away land. Like that Philip, this Phillip also wants to depend on the Spirit and help to open up eyes toward the end of a clearer understanding of Scripture in the light of Christ’s finished work on the cross. It is in his power that we should desire to operate and like Philip in Acts, later be carried to our next assignment.

Oak, as a surname, carries a strong symbolism as well. Isaiah 61 is a powerful chapter that Jesus reads in the hometown synagogue in Nazareth in Luke 4:16-30. He starts his ministry by laying out his mission, which includes proclaiming liberty to the captives. As the bondages of lust and body shame have once tormented the author of this book and his wife, through Jesus, their broken hearts have been healed and they’ve  both been surprised into freedom. This is very much good news! Now they want to continue Christ’s ministry on earth, opening the eyes of those blinded in the same ways. 

Later, Isaiah promises beauty for ashes, oil of gladness instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead of a faint spirit. These are pleasant realities after overcoming such captivity and choosing liberty instead. Then verse 3 continues saying, “…that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3 ESV) It’s this Christian couple’s great desire to glorify the Lord as an oak of righteousness and to see a forest of the same emerge. 

The oak tree also happens to have some of the deepest roots. When other trees bend and break during storms the mighty oak often remains standing tall, for it is deeply rooted. It’s in this rootedness of what the Bible actually says, not what our culture has taken it to mean, that they aim to withstand the storms of the negative bias of cultural religious taboos. Their own thinking had to change, and grow deep roots in the truth of the word of God alone, not the tradition of men.

Something else, something absolutely beautiful also comes to mind when thinking about this passage. The oaks of righteousness stand in stark contrast to the Asherah poles and other markers erected to false gods. What used to be meant as instruments of wickedness, are now used for righteousness (see Romans 6). Once slaves to sin, we can now be servants of righteousness. Unwanted sexual lust and poor body image are two deadly forms of idolatry, that at their very core end up worshipping created things instead of the creator (Romans 1:25). It is to exchange the truth of God for a lie. For Phillip Oak and Mrs. Phil, this will not be so. Not ever again! And for you, dear reader, may you have the same life changing experience. May the words of John 8:32 be true for you, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32 KJV) 


(AS A BONUS, HERE’S A SNEAK PEAK OF A POSSIBLE BOOK COVER.)

Are They Compatible?

The following is a review of the booklet “Naturism and Christianity: Are They Compatible?” by Karen Gorham and Dave Leal. The authors start with a great question which is simply, “Can Christians be naturists?” I’m glad they asked this question and had the courage to do so, especially since they are biblical scholars. I have not seen many touch the topic even with the proverbial ten foot pole. Gorham and Leal approach the topic from a scholarly point of view, lending, I suppose, an extra dose of credence to their findings. 

I like the second question even better when they ask, “Might it even be the case that Christians ought to be naturists?” They go on to say, “Our primary purpose in writing this booklet has been to investigate the extent to which naturism is consistent with Christian faith. However, in the course of the investigation we will see reasons why Christians might be more than just tolerant of naturism, but might actually see something of positive value in it.” I would unapologetically place myself within the confines of that claim. I don’t need to read the rest of the booklet to investigate it any further, but most of Christendom should. The claim would sound insane to many friends of mine within the faith.

The second section is a brief history of naturism because, as stated, it’s largely unknown in Christian circles. While not exhaustive, it’s a welcome addition to this “investigation.” It then goes into a brief but fair treatment of the meaning of “nakedness” in Scripture and in Christian tradition. There are several great nuggets in these sections, such as these: 

“Christian historian Roy Bowen Ward notes that ‘Christian morality did not originally preclude nudity… There is a tendency to read history backward and assume that early Christians thought the same way mainstream Christians do today. We attribute the present to the past.’” (page 11)

“For the first several centuries of Christianity, it was the custom to baptize men, women and children together nude… the accounts are numerous and detailed.” (page 11)

“The negative attitude to physical nakedness grew out of a mixture of Christinity and a legalistic tendency within traditional Judaism.” (page 11)

“In 4th century Antioch, as in many late classical cities, nudity had remained a fact of life.” (page 12)

“The new sensibility to the body and to nudity demonstrates a change in the collective imagination of the ancient world. Late Roman codes of upper-class dress made the social status of their wearers more blatant than ever before. In doing so, they carefully sheathed the body itself. Emperors no longer showed their power by posing in the nude… high born or low, emperor or beggar, all were formed from the self-same stuff.” (pages 12-13)

We see how things were, and how they slowly began to change.

“Nudity was fairly common in medieval and renaissance society, especially in the public baths and within the family setting. Lawrence Wright observes that ‘The communal tub had…one good reason; the good reason was the physical difficulty of providing hot water. The whole family and their guests would bathe together while the water was hot…Ideas of property were different from ours, the whole household and the guests shared the one and only sleeping apartment and wore no night clothes until the sixteenth century. It was not necessarily rude to be nude.’” (page 14)

A myriad of sources are quoted as careful research paints a picture of the realities of history. Then the booklet transitions into an examination of Naturism. It espouses that, “It is a way of life in which shame and fear of nakedness have no part, but also one in which clothing has a clear function (for protecting against cold, to give just one obvious example).” (page 15)

“The non-naturist sees nudity as almost pornographic, where the naturist sees it as an integrated element of a natural lifestyle.” (page 15)

“…the connection of nakedness and sex, though it may seem inescapable, need not necessarily be so.” (page 17)

“Naturism is clearly very different from the nudity portrayed in magazines, newspapers, video and television. It is not for titillation. Mass nudity is far from erotic. Uncovered genitalia do not lead to an inability to control sexual urges. Nor does clothing prevent rape or assault, or hinder amorous advances. As a naturist once described, ‘There are no orgies, men have no trouble keeping their penises under control, women don’t have to fight off hoards of assailants… Boring isn’t it? But what you find is a greater sense of freedom, more willingness to converse, more willingness to help those in trouble and a greater sense of fun.’” (pages 18-19)

I really identified with certain parts of this section.

“…many naturists have no problem being open about their Christianity with other naturists. However, they cannot be as open about their naturism with other Christians without experiencing or fearing hostility and ostracism.” (page 19)

“Naturists present a kind of acceptance of their bodies not much in evidence in today’s society, but something which is compatible with the Christian faith. A Christian naturist writes, ‘God certainly asks us to accept ourselves and our bodies as he made them. He must wonder at the sense of guilt in his creation turning good into bad, a source of joy into a source of misery.’ Another remarks: ‘It certainly isn’t naturism that I find incompatible with Chrstianity, but shame about our bodies to me sits uneasy with knowing the God whose creation is good beyond measure. God gave us our bodies to live in and to enjoy. He gave us our sexuality too to take delight in. He gave us our intelligence so that we might know how to enjoy and not to abuse both.’” (page 19)

Some other issues like the acceptability of these ideals and body taboo inconsistencies, standards of beauty and others are discussed in the final pages. The mental health benefits are weighed against the neurotic behavior that we call normal today. To that end, I love this quote from Dr G B Barker, consultant psychiatrist at a large London hospital, “I would state dogmatically that if nudity was accepted completely from the earliest age, there would be far less neurotic unhappiness, and less need for vicarious enjoyments of alternatives to sexuality (such as pornography). It is likely also that there would be less promiscuity, because promiscuity is based upon the neurotic inability to find or to form an adult relationship.” (pages 21-22)

In conclusion the authors state that, “There appears, firstly, to be no biblical grounds either for a promotion of social nudity or for placing a complete ban on it. Clearly, though, there is an important distinction to be drawn between physical nakedness and sexual impurity.” (page 23)

“Some naturists say that it is more fitting for a Christian than a non-Christian to be a naturist, given that Christians are new creations living before God, who need not know that shame which gives nakedness such symbolic potency.” (page 24)

“We conclude from this review of the different aspects of nakedness that there is no essential conflict between Christianity and naturism, that there is nothing inherently sinful about the naked body, and that the realization of this is part of what it means to be at ease with oneself, to be healed, to be made whole.” (page 24)

To that I say a big, amen!

About the authors:

Revd Karen Gorham is Priest-in-Charge of St. Paul’s Maidston, having trained at Trinity College, Bristol. Although not herself a naturist, Karen knows and supports many involved in naturism.

Dr Dave Leal is lecturer in Philosophy and Moral Theology at Regent’s Park College, Oxford, and writes on aspects of sexual ethics and Christianity.

Click on the image to find a copy for yourself.

D.H. Jonathan’s Books

This is a review of the naturist fiction novels of D.H. Jonathan. If you read this blog often, you may have already heard of D.H. Jonathan, even if you don’t know it. It’s the pen name of our friend Dan Hawkins, who we have featured a couple of times already. Here’s a video of Dan explaining his books, and then I will share my thoughts. The transcript is included at the bottom, if you don’t want to watch the video which features nudity.

As Dan stated in the video, these aren’t Christian books. However, they have some Christian themes coming through them. They are meant for a wider audience, not just the very small niche that is Christian naturism. I appreciate this approach, to introduce some Christian ideas and concepts in a non-threatening and tactful way. For this reason, there are also some elements in the stories that might make some Christian uncomfortable. Some language. Some eroticism. However, his characters are portrayed as real, and that these things are to be expected. He will be the first to admit that the characters have some wrong ideas about nudity and grow through them as the stories develop. I can commend Dan on this authentic progression.

I’ve read all three novels. I think my favorite is his newest, “The Girl Who Stopped Wearing Clothes.” Here is one section that resonated with me quite a bit:

“Tell me,” Don said, “have you ever heard of Imago Dei?” Adam wasn’t sure he heard him correctly, so he just shook his head no. “It’s Latin for ‘Image of God’. Genesis says that we, human beings, were created in that image of God. When God was almost finished with creation, he called it ‘good’. Then he made us human beings. And he called that ‘very good’. We were made in the image of God, and it was that image that upgraded creation from good to very good. So when we humans call the nude body obscene, call ourselves obscene in fact, we are also calling that image of God obscene. I cannot abide that, especially in this day and age when the Internet has given us an epidemic of pornography.” “Pornography?” “Yes. A pandemic of it.” Adam scratched his head. “You know, a lot of people called Dani’s Stossel episode pornographic.” “And therein lies the problem. When people, and especially those within the church, take a pornographic or sexualized view of the body, they become unable to distinguish between what God has called very good and what Satan has used for lies.” “So you are anti-pornography?” “Oh yes. Absolutely. Pornography is one big lie. It’s addictive and destructive, both of those who make it and those who consume it.” “But you don’t think what I’m trying to do is pornography?” “What is it you’re trying to do?” That was a good question, Adam thought. (page 164)

And later this excerpt:

He took a long pause, looking out at everyone in the makeshift pews. “I’m going to be honest with you. We have a pornography epidemic. And I’m not talking about in the world; I’m talking about within the church. And not just within the church membership. Within the clergy.” He paused again, as if to let what he had just said sink in. “In one survey I’ve seen, 63 percent of pastors confirmed that they are struggling with secret sexual addiction or compulsion, including, but not limited to, the use of pornography. 63 percent. And what does it tell us that 63 percent of the people who are supposed to be guiding us have a problem with pornography? First, what is pornography? What is its essence? Pornography is a lie. A lie from Satan. It lies about how people look, how people act, how one can achieve pleasure with no responsibility, no consequences, no sacrifice, no patience, no kindness, no love. And how do you counter lies?” He paused, and Dani heard a few people mumble “Truth.” “Truth,” the pastor said, holding up a Bible. “Truth. Truth is not found in the rules of society, in legalism. Truth is found here, in the word of God. (page 206)

So you can see here that there are sections with the naked truth being revealed and propped up in stark contrast to the lies we have typically believed. This is done in a way that is both entertaining and inspirational. He pulls from his own experience, mostly in his “Life Models” book, but also asks himself what the characters in all his stories may be feeling. Those raw emotions come through the pages in very real ways that you as the reader can sympathize with and feel.

If you haven’t read anything from D.H. Jonathan, you may want to add him to your reading list!

Click on the book covers to view on Amazon:

For more on Dan, see “Meet Dan Hawkins” and “When Naturism Gets Misunderstood.”

Transcript of video:

I’m an author right under the pen name D. H. Jonathan, which is actually kind of a variation of my real name because I was blessed with two middle names Daniel Hoyt Jonathan Hawkins. So I’m up here names, dates, Jonathan, the first novel is called “The Volunteer.” It’s about a an experiment in public nudity. And it’s kind of an idea I had, you know, modeling for a class and having to get dressed to leave.

I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could just be naked all the time?” So I started turning that idea into a novel and then to draw up more conflict I thought, “Well, what if somebody had to be naked?” Well, that changed the whole the whole idea around. And then the second novel is called “Life Models.”

And I worked on that a lot longer than I worked on “The Volunteer.” It’s fiction. There are some things in it, some just episodes that actually happened. But the whole story is just fictional, made up, and it’s basically a love story between two people who model together for an art class, and that’s how they met. And actually, the genesis of that idea came from watching a movie called “When Harry Met Sally.” And when Harry met Sally there are these scenes that are intercut with the main part of the movie where couples or older couples are sitting on the couch talking about how they met. And I remember the first time I watched it, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if this old couple came on and talked about how they were both naked when they first met?” So that was the genesis of what became “Life Models,” because I started thinking, well, how can I have two people first, me naked and just modeling for our class?

I just went with it. And of course, there’s a lot of of me in that book, a lot more so than “The Volunteer.” They both delve into the faith of the characters, Christianity, but they’re not really Christian novels. I wouldn’t call them faith based novels. I never really considered writing a faith-based novel because I always thought it was like preaching to the choir.

I want to reach a wider audience, and even if I just put a hint of faith or Christianity in it, maybe, maybe somebody will get an idea that, “Hey, you can be a nudist and a Christian at the same time.” Because most people, especially people I’ve gone to church with see them as incompatible, because that’s what we’re taught by society, that naturism and Christianity are two separate things.

Meet Mudwalker

Today we are interviewing our friend Chris, aka Mudwalker.

Question: Can you briefly tell us how you got into naturism?

Answer: Around 2010-2011, I got really serious about conventional modesty. As a teenager of 15-16 years old, I was struggling with the usual surges and urges that come with adolescence, and I felt like some of it was the fault of the young women in my youth group. They just weren’t covering up enough! So, in 2012, I decided to load up on biblical ammunition to lob at them to force them to cover up… but there wasn’t any. That drove me to look outside the Bible for the best way to live with clothes, and the evidence spoke for itself… so, I became a naturist!

Question: What does the name Mudwalker mean to you?

Answer: It means I walk where others daren’t tread… even though what I’m doing isn’t actually a big deal! It’s a symbol of my willingness to explore things that are taboo and assumed to be bad but actually turn out to be harmless or even healthy in the end. When I get interested in a subject, I study it as extensively as I know how and reach an informed conclusion. Then, if it seems fine, I start dabbling. That’s what happened with going barefoot in the woods and also with naturism.

It’s also a symbol of our natural place on the Earth, directly interfacing with the environment instead of divorcing ourselves from it.

Question: Have your beliefs created any problems for you? If so, how did you navigate them?

Answer: My acceptance of naturism definitely threw some sparks up with my parents. It almost ended my dating relationship with the woman who would become my wife. But we all worked through it together, and here we are. My relationships with my parents and my wife are all amazing now, and they all agree now that naturism is at least not harmful or immoral.

My family and I moved to a new church recently to get away from an aging, declining, toxic church environment, and I met with the new church’s staff to let them know that number one, I’m an outspoken naturist, number two, given time, I will bring this up to people in the church, and number three, this may spark some controversy. I told the pastors that I wanted them to make an informed decision on our membership, and they did. We are now members. I didn’t know how it would go, but in the end, they were very welcoming!

Question: What would you want non-naturists to know about this practice?

Answer: I’d say that it’s nothing like the mainstream secular or evangelical cultures think. Contrary to the conventional assumptions (and they are assumptions), humans of all ages (yes, even Americans) can tolerate social nudity without losing their minds or their sexual purity. The first time I went to a naturist resort, I saw a beautiful woman across the way, and her body was everything the conventional view of modesty had taught me to fear. But she was just a person to me in that moment, and I went back to reading my book. I was shocked how normal it all was, how easy it is to adjust to a nude environment, and how safe a resort visit is for women and children.

Question: What’s on your naturist bucket list?

Answer: I haven’t written it out before, so this probably isn’t a comprehensive list, but here are some of the big ones!

I want to visit Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park and Sunsport Gardens because I hear such wonderful things about their policies, cultures and facilities.

I want to hunt naked. I feel like making a clean kill naked would be a really spiritual experience.

I want to debate a prominent Christian in a public, moderated debate someday when I have the credentials to attract the big fish. Naturism doesn’t get the attention it deserves on the debate stage – I intend to change that.

I want to participate in (or start!) a World Naked Bike Ride in Baton Rouge.

I want to start putting on nude events in the Baton Rouge area for young people, featuring activities like Ultimate Frisbee, barbeque, swimming, volleyball, and party games. I love my local nudist campground, but I want games! I want to move. (And I also don’t want to drive 1.5 hours to get my kit off. Lol!)

I want to facilitate a naked cold plunge event.

I want to go on a naked camping jaunt into the wilderness with just a canoe and a backpack and no clothes.

Things I’ve crossed off my list: visiting Cypress Cove and participating in a World Naked Bike Ride.

Mudwalker’s Extra Bit!

If you’d like to connect with me on social media, I have two Facebook groups! One is “Young Naturists Baton Rouge.” Once we get enough local naturists connected, we can start doing fun in-person events. The other is “Mudwalkers,” which is focused on the rewilding aspect of Mudwalkers. The two groups are specialized: Young Naturists Baton Rouge” is naturist-focused, and Mudwalkers is focused on rewilding.

Bonus: Chris also has a youtube channel with great content. Check out Mudwalkers on youtube. Here’s one example:

When Naturism Gets Misunderstood

We are starting out this post with a video that shows what can happened when naturism gets misunderstood. The following video includes nudity. If you’re on this site, that shouldn’t bother you, but if it does, I’ll include the transcript after my comments and reaction to the video below.

In the video, Dan asks a great question that would naturally bring more questions to the surface that perhaps have never been considered before by those who are misunderstanding. However, I want to focus my comments on the story Dan told. This story is so sad to me. I get it! A little too much. I admire a couple of things about Dan in this regard. Number one, he is absolutely honest about who and what he is. This obviously has come up to bite him and others that have had similar experiences. That’s why it’s a bit of a risk to be that upfront with everyone. In this case, the church lost a great volunteer using his gifts for the good of those in the church. It’s so sad that a, well, at least we know it to be an unwarranted worry would prevent a believer from sharing his abilities with others. The second thing I appreciate about Dan is his apparent lack of resentment towards those who made this decision on his regard. I’m sure he’s probably had to work out his frustration and anger towards these people who are simply trying to do what they think is best, even though they are mistaken. I did not detect any ill will towards these leaders on Dan’s part, and that is admirable.

For us, we haven’t taken that risk yet of coming out to the whole world as it relates to our naturist beliefs and activities. We have to be careful still as I’m certain our livelihood would suffer as a result of being “outed.” This story is a prime example of the reigning attitudes that prevail against such beliefs. It’s another tale from another friend. We’ve heard many “horror” stories from other friends about how they have been misunderstood and treated unfairly as a result of their firm convictions. However, most of them look in the rearview mirror, and see the Lord’s hand bringing beauty from those ashes as only he can.

Is it dishonest to omit every detail of your life with every person? I think it depends person you person and case by case. But no one walks up to all strangers and says for example, “Oh, hey, I love playing pickleball on the weekends! In case you needed to know!” Well, that’s a poor example as pickleballers can be even more evangelistic about their hobby as are passionate CrossFit people! Your choice of sport versus a nudist lifestyle may be an apples and oranges comparison, but the point is not everyone needs to know everything. And in this case, not everyone is ready to know everything. 

I admire Dan and others that are total open books and can live that freely, but I also don’t want to belittle those that cannot yet be that free (and I am in that boat). My friend Matthew Neal has made the point many times that if you are generally perceived as being a godly man of integrity with strong morals, raising a good family, for example, then that may certainly be the truth of who you are, and people believe that about you and your reputation. (Believe me, I get that reputation isn’t everything!) Now suppose you are found out to be a nudist, with all the snap judgments made about this segment of the population. Would the truth of the earlier statement suddenly be rendered false? Would it cease being true with this added tidbit of information? To many, sadly, they would begin to believe a lie about you without having any real understanding on the issues at play or the people involved. It’s in some cases better that the partial truth be shared only with those who are trusted confidants, so that whole truth continue to be believed instead of lies and unmerited accusations. 

I call for compassion for naturists in both camps, whether in some sort of “closet” out of necessity and for those who are fully “out” and dealing with some of the fallout. One of the best things about naturism is its ability to teach you to be more accepting of others and less judgmental overall. The world could use a little bit more of these attributes, could it not?

Oh, by the way, have you played pickleball yet? It’s really fun and a great workout! It’s even great to play nude when you have that option.


Here is the transcript for the video:

We went to a church that was really big on participation They wanted people to volunteer in some area over another. And my talent, and it’s been this way since I was a kid, was babies. They call me the baby whisperer, you know, and I’m drawn to babies and they’re drawn to me. You know, we make faces that each other even in the grocery store. People I don’t know, I’m standing in line behind somebody. They’ve got a baby in the car seat. Baby may be upset, and I make a funny face and the baby will stop crying and look at me. And by the time we get to the checkout counter, the baby’s laughing at me. I think it’s because I’m funny looking.

But so I volunteered for the church nursery, and I worked in the main campus of the nursery and then when we had it, we built a satellite campus. My wife and I were the nursery, but, you know, she was kind of there. She recognizes, you know, I’m the baby person, and she was kind of the assistant. But when the ministers– you know, they pulled me aside one day and talk to me about not posting on Facebook, about modeling. Because they agree it is not sinful, but they were getting questions from the people, the parents or whatever that made them uncomfortable. So they didn’t want me to really talk about it. And then when I started trying to promote my second book on Facebook, which was called “Life Models,” they just finally just asked me not to volunteer anymore.

So, yeah, it’s, there’s still a stigma attached to nudity. Just because and it’s societal. It’s not biblical, you know, and, you know, part of me wants to make just just make them ask one question. And even if it’s just once always naked, why did the soldiers think you was a prophet?

There’s an obvious answer. They might not like the answer that is so obvious. But but because that obvious answer leads to more questions and and then that kind of blows their view of the body out of the water. I think so.

Who Told You That You Were Naked?

Dave Carlson and our friends at www.naturist-christians.org have put together a beautifully designed and helpful online booklet on the subject of Christian naturism. It’s concise and has many great pictures to support the excellent content.

You can and should read the whole thing for yourself, but here are some of my favorite parts and my reaction to them.

They start out with a very brief history of naturism to say what it is and what it isn’t. I like this line that says, “Most historical references to naturism point to its beginning in Germany during the 1930’s. We believe naturism is much, much older– as in since day six of creation. Humans were originally created to live naked and without shame.”

We like to call our state of undress as being “as created” or “as intended.” Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “If God had meant for us to be naked, we’d have been born that way.” Well he did. Job declared in chapter 1, verse 21, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.” It’s God’s idea. He does not make mistakes. In fact, this booklet points out that, “The Trinity called this arrangement ‘very good.”

On what it is and isn’t, Dave points out that, “Naturism has a long history of being beneficial to physical, mental, and spiritual well being. It advocates for body positivity and the freedom to enjoy appropriate settings while naked. Naturism is NOT about exhibitionism, sexuality, swinging, swapping partners, pornography, pedophilia, or being sexually provocative.” Right out of the gate, these assertions are made boldly to counter the knee-jerk reactions that people can make when hearing about these ideas for the first time. Sure anything can be corrupted by those who don’t hold to the true convictions, but this truth has been proven millions of times over. This is a great quote: “Naturism is not magical. But over a century of experiences by millions of people supports the idea that simple, non-sexual nudity- both alone and in social settings- can do wonders for damaged psyches.” The booklet goes through these benefits in a systematic way.

Much later in the booklet, the admission is made that, “We understand your skepticism. Most of us doubted all this was possible until we experienced it for ourselves. For naturists, being is believing.” I love that. I have often said that, “Seeing is believing.” But I may have to change that now to, “Being is believing.” You can argue with ideas and Scriptural interpretations all day long. But it’s hard to argue with experience. And yet, it’s vital to understand something such as this. We’ve seen firsthand this claim to be the reality: “Until you’ve experienced it, it isn’t easy to image how freeing taking off your mask can be. People now see you as you really are. You see them as they are. Suddenly you realize how normal and alike you are to everyone else you are on equal footing with others. You instantly reconnect to your humanity, and it only takes a few minutes to understand it’s acceptable to be you, just like you are, in that very moment.” It truly is for everyone and everyone would be better for having fully understood these concepts through personal experience.

The subtitle of this work is “How Naturist Values are in Harmony with God’s Will for Christian Living.” So this reconciling of naturism with Christian faith is both introduced and explored. Entire books have been written on this. The booklet serves as a primer to whet one’s appetite for further exploration and dare I say experimentation. Helpful tips are suggested, such as starting doing regular things nude in your own home. We have certainly put these ideas to the test to see if they were God-honoring and an enhancement to our faith, which comes first, of course.

The case is made logically and, “The inescapable conclusion is, God is not offended or shocked by your bare body. If you are offended or alarmed by seeing a naked body (especially your own), perhaps examining exactly why you feel that way is in order. Adopting a healthier perspective about the human body will benefit you physically, mentally, and spiritually.” Naturists know how great this body freedom is. They’ve escaped the gnostic heresy that is still alive and well today. They love to include others in the same freedom they so much enjoy. So don’t take our word it, try it out for yourself and you be the judge!

“One of naturism’s greatest features is recognition of the dignity of the human body in and of itself. This applies to all bodies without regard to weight, surgical scars, the presence of visible medical devices, or impairment requiring wheelchairs or other mobility equipment.” This is one of the many things I love about naturism. The world desperately needs this perspective. It’s called “Imago Dei” (the image of God) and it is the way it’s always supposed to be.

Again, the booklet is a great resource and a quick read. I suggest you read it for yourself. Another great part of the piece is a couple of pages on more resources to explore for further study. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this blog, Aching for Eden, listed first in the websites section! Well, you’re already here. Check out some of the others now.

Meet Dan Hawkins

Fair warning: today’s video interview obviously contains nudity. Dan is a personal friend who has been an art model for 37 years. It’s been great to see Dan in person on many occasions as he travels through our area. He is an author and has some other interesting and unique experiences which we will be showcasing here on the blog. So be sure to subscribe, so you don’t miss it. Without wasting any more time, here’s your introduction to Dan.

My name’s Dan Hawkins. I got into naturism really young. I grew up in a, going to a Pentecostal church. We were only, I mean, we were only naked to shower and bathe and change in and out of swim swimsuits. But even as a child, that little moment when I got the swimsuit off felt so much better than having it on. And I was like, “Why do I have to wear this when we’re swimming? Why can’t we just skinny dip? And I remember seeing a painting in a book one time of just people skinny dipping. And I thought, that looks more fun than swimming with bathing suits on.

So as a teenager, I found like a place at night to go and just take a walk with nothing on, where I wouldn’t be seen. So when I went away to college, I was 18 and I found out that they drew nude models in their drawing classes. And I immediately just wanted to do it.

The models got paid $5 an hour, which was better than minimum wage back then, you know. You know, $15 for 3 hours. Sounded good to me when I was 18, in 1984.

I modeled for the first session; it was on Election Day, Reagan and Mondale. So a lot of people stayed home to watch the election returns. So there were only two women who showed up to draw that night, which, you know, made it easier on me not having a whole bunch of people drawing me.

I modeled again. Well that class had 20 something people in it. So it was a big change and I was really nervous to start having that many people. But by the time the class was over, I was comfortable and it was like, I want to do it again! So you know, it’s a job that I still do regularly. And that was 37 years ago.

I did find an ad at the back of one of those Gazette newspapers for a nudist resort out east of Dallas. And I lived in Fort Worth. And so I drove out there and visited. It was called the Ponderosa Ranch, and visited the resort for the first time and loved it.

I thought, this is, these are my people, so I’m going to keep on doing this. My current wife and I have been married for 23 years. And you know, she enjoys it. She comes out with me. I mean, she’s not as big a nut about it as I am, but she comes out with me and enjoys it. I just like being able to relax without the covering. Talking with other people, without their covering.

Because the clothes we wear are almost like a mask. You come out to a resort, and when everybody’s naked together, the person you’re talking to, you don’t know them. They could be the CEO of a major company. They could be a fast food worker. You don’t know because that sign that denotes who they are in the outside world, the clothes that they wear isn’t there. It’s just them as a person. And it’s just me as a person. And you get little more meaningful conversations that way. Even if somebody you’ve never met and, you know, you make friends faster here than you do in the outside world.

37 years. I don’t know. There’s a lot! 10 to 15 years we’ve been carrying cell phones with cameras in them. So I’ve been getting a lot of them, a lot more photographs of drawings of me. That’s not the case in the when I was 18 and through my twenties, I don’t have many, I don’t have any drawings and I don’t have any pictures of the drawings. I don’t know. I wish I did because, you know, it’d be interesting to see how artists saw me when I was younger. Because I was I was pretty skinny back then. I was like 140 pounds or less, you know, the same height I am now. I was a skinny kid when I started out doing it.