David L. Hatton’s “Muse”

David L. Hatton is a man I greatly admire. Though I’ve never met him in person, we’ve spoken on the phone and texts and emails and we even pray for each other. I’ve read most of what he’s written. We endorse his other books on our resource page and have created a video from one of his poems on this post.

I was very excited when his novel “Muse” was released. I ordered some paperback copies, one to keep and a few to give away, and got the kindle version to start reading immediately. In one week I had finished reading the whole book! 

From the first plot surprise until the end of the story, the reader is in for an entertaining ride, but not only that. It is also educational and inspirational.

It’s educational in the way it espouses a rationale for the wholesomeness of a body-friendly mindset. As a Christian, I especially appreciated the way typical attitudes of Christians toward the body are challenged throughout the story. Darren, the protagonist, especially struggles through this new type of thinking which proves to be far better than the prudishness he had formerly known. I don’t want to give any spoilers, suffice to say that there are plenty of twists, turns, and surprises to keep the read interesting and enjoyable.

It’s not just an education of seeing the body as the greatest work of art, but there are also many truths espoused about how a good church should function. There are examples of shortcomings of the church as we know it today, as well as glimpses of more God-honoring expressions of how church can be “done.”

Click image to view on Amazon

“Muse” does not lack in the inspiration department. Through heartbreaks, setbacks, and overcoming obstacles for victory, your soul will enjoy Darren’s journey. Through the entire book, his commitment to keeping God at the forefront of his mind through constant prayer is both admirable and attractive. If you aren’t already praying without ceasing (1 Thes 5:17), after seeing how this young man, Darren operates his daily life, you will want to take up his practice of including the Lord in all things.

I very much enjoyed the teaching in Hatton’s “Meeting at the River.” In “Muse” the naked truth is presented a bit differently and in several real world scenarios. I greatly appreciated this real life application as it’s entirely relatable.

Again, without giving away too much of the plot, the emotional factor in these true to life realities can hit very close to home for some. I’ve met several Christian naturists who espouse the same kind of body-friendliness that Hatton describes, which just so happen to go very much against the grain of what is commonly accepted in Christian circles, so they have had major blow back in their lives as a result. “Muse” is no exception to these possibilities, as it paints its fictional picture for us.

That’s exactly the last aspect I’d like to highlight. In this book, the characters wrestle with those typical knee jerk reactions to nudity that are so prevalent, but then they see another perspective and it starts to make sense to them. That journey is one that I hope will encourage readers that have already worked through these issues. Then also, I believe it will be a great resource for those who have never considered such ideas to see the body in a new light.

Here are a few notable quotes from the book (thanks Arid Lasso for the images):

“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!

And you’re STILL trying to tell me…

We have a friend who has created some memes that are funny, but insightful and thought provoking. He let us use them in this post as well as in a collection on our own memes page.

Below I’ve combined these memes with some commentary from Fig Leaf Forum:

No one believes that God would ask one of His faithful servants to sin, and yet here He asks Isaiah to remove all his clothing for a period of three years. Actually, in this passage voluntary nakedness is commanded and involuntary nakedness is prophesied. When God asked His prophet to undress, Isaiah did so willingly and without shame. But notice that it was to be a sign to the Egyptians and Cushites that one day soon they would be led away in a state of shameful nakedness as captives. It was a common practice in those days to strip prisoners in order to humiliate them. This is another example of nakedness resulting from deprivation, which [is a whole different issue addressed elsewhere]. (Editor FLF #2)

Here again a prophet voluntarily strips off his clothes in the service of his God. No sin or shame is attributed to Saul for this action. In fact, Saul’s actions are instantly recognized as those of a prophet of God. Perhaps this was not so uncommon in those days! (Editor FLF #2)

Here was a man doing common work who for practical reasons took off his clothes. The thing is, since their boat was close enough for Jesus to see and talk to the fisherman, one must assume that others, including women and children, might also have witnessed such conduct from time to time. After all, in more primitive times bodies of water like lakes and rivers were commonly used for bathing or for laundry and often served as the source for drinking water. It is not unreasonable to suggest that women and children were often present at the shoreline, nor is it unreasonable to suggest that Peter’s behavior was not unusual for people doing hard and dirty work. (Editor FLF #2)

Regarding Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, in John 13:4 the plural use of the word “garments” indicates more than one. This plural translation is repeated in most versions of the Bible. You stated [in FLF #37] that the Greek word himation meant only one garment was removed by Jesus. Regardless whether one or more garments were removed, I believe Jesus was fully naked here at the foot washing event and afterwards. John says He “took a towel, and girded himself.” If He was clothed in any way, surely He would have draped the towel over one arm or shoulder. This may be an assumption on my part, but surely it is a logical and probable one. In John 20:27, Jesus asks doubting Thomas to “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side.” Thomas had to actually touch and feel the flesh and body of Jesus. The Bible does not record that any clothes had to be removed for this to be done! Surely, if Jesus was clothed, the fact that He had to remove his clothing would have been recorded in this Scripture passage. It was not mentioned. Yes, Jesus could have had all the clothes He wanted, but He did not wear them. In the foot washing incident of John 13, what better way could there have been to teach His followers true humility and humbleness than for Jesus to divest Himself of all manmade trappings (clothes)? The event loses any forceful impact if He was clothed in any garment! (Doug from Australia in FLF #43)

Remember when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem? What did the multitudes do? They cast their garments upon the “foal of an ass” that He rode upon [MATTHEW 21.7], and also upon the path (road) that He traveled [MATTHEW 21.8]. It appears that at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem there might have been a bunch of “nekkid” followers, joyful that the Kingdom of God had finally come. Many will try to tell you that they cast only their extra garments aside, and thus were not completely nude. Israelites (and particularly the followers of Jesus) were, as a rule, extremely poor. Many were beggars, and it seems unlikely that they had the extra clothing necessary to cast just certain garments aside during the triumphal procession into Jerusalem. Did those who had a large wardrobe available at home tell the Master, “Wait a minute while we go home to get some extra garments to cast aside during Your triumphal procession?” Did the rich who had the extra clothing available to cast aside at that time share them with those who only had a single garment?It’s quite likely that some of the worshipers at the triumphal entry were nude during at least part of the procession. None of my Bibles quote Jesus as saying anything like, “Get your clothes back on, you ‘nekkid’ rotten sinners.” This would have been the perfect opportunity for God to have included in His Word this little bit of information regarding simple nudity, if it’s true as so many tell us that being clothed is so critical to righteousness. Was Jesus so caught up in the moment that He forgot to give us that teaching? Could it have been that Jesus might have accepted the casting aside of His follower’s garments as a symbol of casting aside the world in favor of the Kingdom of God? Could this same casting aside of a symbol of the world (garments) be the reason why so many nudists claim to feel closer to God while nude? (Bill in California FLF #71)

In this passage, Micah was mourning because God’s people had been in sin and God finally declared judgement on them. The word for “naked” in this passage is again “arom.” This passage gives less context than the Isaiah passage for one to assume that Micah would have been fully nude (because being only in one’s undergarments was considered a type of being “nude” back then, and Micah was merely mourning), but it is still mentioned nonetheless, and so is included here. (Adrian from Ohio FLF Dec 19, 2010)

“Blind Bartemeaus is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. The thing that catches my eye in this story is Bart’s casting aside his cloak. As many have stated, it was not customary for people to wear underwear in those days. If any did, it would have been the rich. Bartemeaus is obviously not rich. He casts aside his garment and walks to Jesus naked. Jesus does not comment on this at all, but instead asks what Bartemeaus wants. Bart wants his sight and Jesus gives it to him.”I may be stretching things a bit, but to me, we all have to come to Jesus naked. We have to come to Him with nothing hidden, nothing held back. We must come to God is such a way that we are open completely and ready to receive the gift of grace that is offered. For those of us who enjoy naturism, this takes on a whole new meaning. I started my re-interest in naturism precisely because I felt God calling me to come to Him without reservation. I followed in the footsteps of Bartemeaus. When asked what I wanted, I replied to know Him better. I still do.” (Stephen FLF November 10, 2005)


So there you have it! Several different memes from both the Old and New Testaments. And you’re still trying to tell me…?

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.

Two Simple Questions

This concise and to the point article was written by our good friends at www.nakedandunashamed.org.

As a pastor my goal every week was to attempt to make the complex simple. As a simple guy myself I felt that I had a better grasp of Bible doctrine if I found ways to put it into simple terms. I know, many pastors pride themselves on being able to wax eloquent every week, but that was just not my style.

Recently I decided to see if we could do the same thing when looking at the subject of biblical naturism and here is what I came up with. It really boils down to two simple questions. The first question we must ask is how does God view the naked body…what is His view on the subject? By the way, that should be the basis for discovery on any doctrine. What is God’s view on grace? What is God’s view on forgiveness? What is God’s view on the Law? As far as I am concerned, the best place to find out what God’s view on a given subject is the Word of God…the Bible.

So, what is God’s view of the naked body or the body in general?

  • Psalm 139:14 – I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
  • Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee…
  • Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
  • Genesis 2:25 – And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
  • Genesis 1:31 – And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:23 – And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

In a nutshell, God’s view of us and our naked bodies is that they are:

  1. wonderful
  2. formed by His hand
  3. made in His image
  4. nothing to be ashamed of
  5. very good
  6. that no part of the body is less beautiful than any other part

Now, we get to the second question…does your view of the naked body match God’s view? Does your pastor’s view of the naked body match God’s view? Does my church’s view of the naked body match God’s view?

If it doesn’t, one of the views need to change so that they match. I am going to recommend that you not demand that God change His view, I am going to recommend that you get in line with God and His view.

I hope that this little exercise also helps with any discussion opportunities that may arise in the future. It’s the perfect question to ask…does your view of the body match God’s view?

Unpresentable Parts?

If you ask a Bible scholar what 1 Corinthians 12 is about, they are bound to answer something having to do with the analogy of the body as it relates to unity in the Church. That is the undeniable context of this verse in question today. This blog is not Church unity, although that is a topic near to my own heart. It’s a blog about Christian naturism. Sadly, some have used verses 22-23 as an objection against the views of Christian naturists. This is a classic example of proof texting and taking verses out of their clear context.

In fact, those who would say Christian naturists are in error and as a result, you must break fellowship with them, they who maintain this position are in direct violation of the greater message of 1 Corinthians 12. Christian naturists are part (and I’d add a vital part) of the body of Christ, and not to be amputated. There must be no division between Christians with naturist freedom versus other Christians. We are not to say of another believer, “I have no need of you.” In an attempt to project prudish and repressive views onto others, believers attack other believers who hold different convictions and in so doing they commit the sin of divisiveness.

However, that is not the point of this post. Context aside, what is meant by the phrase “unpresentable parts”? That’s what our new video dives into in great detail. Watch the video and the script will be provided at the bottom. I would have to conclude, from all of this, that this verse is no reason to abandon the amazing Eden-like freedom of Christian naturism.

1 Corinthians 12:22-25:

“The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater care, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.” 

Like many passages in the New Testament, this one is actually a metaphor for unity in the church and for how each person plays a unique part in the makeup of the body of Christ. 

However, as these verses have been wrongly used to shame our physical bodies, let us dig into the idea that some parts of our bodies are “unpresentable.” What do we think these parts are? Our 21st century western perspective would jump to the conclusion that the passage must be speaking of breasts and genitals. 

If we lived in another place or time, however, we might think our ankles or our ears, or even our eyes were “unpresentable,” while having no concern with exposing the entirety of the remainder of our bodies!

The Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary informs us that the phrase “less presentable members” refers to “those limbs which we conceal from sight in accordance with custom, but in the exposure of which there would be no indecency.” 

Heinrich Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament explains that Paul was referring primarily to the inner organs, (the intestines, the brain, the heart) but allows for a reference to the delicate external organs (ears, eyes, genitals) as well. 

Modern pietists might “strain at a gnat,” or hunt for a needle in this haystack to proof-text the idea that some body parts are worse than others, but in this search, they’ll only find acres of hay.

Our true focus should be that God has called the entire body: good [see Genesis 1:31]. 

What, then, does “unpresentable” mean? If one is going out in a sand storm, it is smart to cover one’s face. It is “unpresentable” to the environmental conditions at the time. If you are going into a very cold environment, you will want to cover all of your exposed flesh. In that situation, it is “less presentable.” Our brains, our hearts, our lungs— to each of these, God has given more honor by enclosing them within our bodies. They are “unpresentable,” but “more honorable.” 

It is only our culture, feeding on customs and the passage of time, that has wrongly concluded that our genitalia or areolae are dishonorable and exist in a state of continuous shame.

If we continue to pass down faulty information and myths to our children, these meaningless traditions will continue… until someone asks a simple question: why? 

Before we say “because God said so,” or “because the Bible said so,” we should ask the simple question: Really?

The issue is not that our reproductive organs are inherently bad. Sometimes, they just get in the way! When not being exposed to harsh elements or strapped down because of exercise or work, our vulnerable external body parts are just as beautiful and “presentable” as anything else.

The Christian walk provides life and freedom. Next time you have the opportunity to bare your skin to the sunshine, let it beam! God is smiling on all of your created parts.

Sexual Response & Nakedness

This article first appeared on our friend’s site at www.nakedandunashamed.org. It is reposted here with permission.

In general, the assumption amongst the majority of non-naturists is that the sight of another naked human will cause sexual arousal or lust…especially the sight of a naked woman, by a man.

They say that experience is a great teacher and that if you can use other people’s experience that is even better as it can at times lead to wise decisions without having to make your own bad decisions first.

I’d like to take a few minutes with this article to address what I believe is the big lie that Satan has convinced the non-naturist world. He has convinced people that the sight of the beautiful creature that is the human body, made in the very image of our Creator is somehow shameful, sexual and dirty and will cause a sexual response. I can assure you based on firsthand experience and backed by the principles of the Word of God that the opposite is actually the case.

First, a little common sense…anything that is novel will gain attention. If the sight of a naked person is novel, then it is noticed. Anything that is common is ignored. When a person is only naked for a shower or sex, then nakedness is novel and therefore will garner attention and that can be in the form of a sexual response. When nakedness is common and in a nonsexual context often, then suddenly nakedness is no longer novel and it no longer garners a sexual response.

When a person first begins the journey to the Truth as it relates to the naked human form, they are forced to confront all kinds of mental and spiritual training that they have been subjected to that is contrary to the Bible and to experience. They are confronted with the fact that what they’ve been taught might have been wrong and that is a very discomforting emotion.

For example, when I was growing up I was taught “modesty” from I Timothy as meaning dressed from neck to knee for the ladies and long shorts for the guys at a minimum. It’s what I now refer to as our “Sunday Best”. There was no real Bible standard, it was basically whatever the pastor or church taught was modest, that was what the Bible meant. It was making Scripture conform to the pastor/church teaching rather than the other way around. As an adult when I studied the passage and its actual teaching, what I found that the Bible was actually teaching was the exact opposite of “our Sunday Best.” The real concern was that there were poor ladies in the church with literally nothing to wear and rich ladies in the church with their fancy and expensive clothing. The teaching was for the rich ladies to dress more “modest”…an old fashion word meaning humble. Well, the truth is that the most modest attire was to match the very poorest in the congregation. Notice the teaching went on to say not with braided hair, not with jewelry, etc…in other words “modest” or humble. Not the meaning that the church has ascribed to the Bible, but the correct meaning anyway.

Modesty was basically whatever the pastor or church taught was modest.

So, what does our experience tell us that the church isn’t? My wife and I have been biblical, nonsexual naturists for about the last 20 years now and this is the Truth of what we have found.

  1. The commonplace of nonsexual nakedness has led to a desexualizing of our minds and those around us.

We have visited over 20 family friendly naturist resorts across the country and 3 nude beaches and in every case, we have not seen one instance of sexual response at any of the locations we have visited. In fact, what we have found is that the commonplace of nonsexual nudity has eliminated the sexual response based solely on visual stimulation.

  1. We have seen our minds renewed to the point that we used to think the body was shameful, sexual, and dirty…we now see the body as made in God’s image, beautiful and nonsexual in nature.

We no longer view the naked body the way the world views the naked body, we view the naked body as God views it. Isn’t it odd that the church and Hollywood hold to the same belief regarding the body? Living as a naturist has changed that for us. We no longer see the body sexually…we see the body beautiful. All bodies, in fact…tall or short, skinny, or fat, black, or white. You see…when your mind is renewed you begin to see others as God sees them…not as sexual objects, but as beautiful creations of God…made in His very image.

  1. Sexuality becomes more about the relationship than the superficial.

The typical non-naturist is visually motivated. In fact, we are told by good-willed pastors all across the spectrum of denominations that men are visually motivated, so it’s up to the woman to dress modestly to keep the beast at bay. We are told that this problem is “every man’s battle.” I am here to tell you, that is a lie. It is told by Satan to continue the cycle of try, fail and eventually give up trying when it comes to conquering the addiction to pornography.

I can tell you that men and women have been programmed to think this way, but that the thinking is contrary to how God sees us and how God wants us to see each other. Addiction to pornography is a matter of incorrect thinking and incorrect thinking can be corrected. When a person experiences the commonplace of nonsexual nakedness…again, I said commonplace…they see naked bodies doing normal everyday things like mowing the lawn, doing the dishes, vacuuming the floors, gardening, taking a walk in the woods, swimming, playing volleyball, etc. and instead of a sexual response they now see the body as just that…a body.

Think with me for a moment…if this is you and you are now used to seeing naked people doing normal everyday things all the time with zero sexual context how does that change your thinking? You are no longer a victim of Pavlov’s experiment…you are a victor because you now see people as God sees them. You now see people as the wonderfully made creation that He intended from the very beginning when He made them naked and not ashamed.

You see what we’ve really done by teaching that the image of God is somehow dirty, shameful and sexual is that we have propagated Satan’s lie, rather than the Truth of God’s Word.

• God is the One who created us naked.

• God is the One who said that there was no shame in it. God is the One who called it “very good.”

• God is the One who questioned “who told thee…so we know He didn’t start the lie…someone else did…Satan did.

So, what about sexual relationships with our mates?

We have found that because of our lack of sexual response to visual stimuli that our sexual relationship has moved from the superficial to an emotional response.

Our sexual relationship is based more on our friendship now. Our sexual desire comes out of our spiritual connection.

Our intimacy has deepened as has our relationship and our lovemaking is now way better than it has ever been.

The fact that we are not visually stimulated by a simple naked body has not reduced our sexual response to each other, it has strengthened our sexual relationship and made it more intimate and more connected.

The fact that there is no sexual response at the sight of others naked has increased our trust of one another and therefore our intimacy.

It’s almost like, when you experience life the way God intended…naked and not ashamed that you find that God was right all along, which means that the standard teaching in the church was wrong all along.

This is disappointing and unsettling in the beginning because what you thought was foundational was wrong and now you wonder what else was I taught that was wrong as well. Do not let that uneasy feeling stop you from living the life that God intended for you, just realize that you now believe what God said and not what man/Satan twisted it into.

Reflections on the Journey

It’s been 2 years since the crazy day in October when Phil told me he was a Christian naturist. Lately I’ve been reflecting on all that the last two years have held for us. Looking back, I’m blown away by the transformation that God has done, not only in our individual lives, but also the transformation that has taken place in our marriage, in our family, and in our spiritual lives. God has taken us on quite the spiritual ride!

This morning I was preparing dinner. Baking bread and putting soup in the crockpot. Since I wasn’t cooking bacon, I did all of this nude. I began remembering a time when I was uncomfortable being nude alone! Yes, really! Shortly after our talk in October 2019, Phil encouraged me to try to get comfortable being nude at home. I thought it was so weird! What if someone came to the door?? I remember the first time I opened the blinds in my laundry room and let the sun shine in (we have high windows and I am short so there was no chance anyone would see me). The sun felt so good!

Phil and I were laying in bed a couple nights ago unwinding before sleep. We have an open door policy at our house now. If the door is open or unlocked you are welcome to come in. If it is locked, go away. The other night, Phil and I reflected on what it was like at the beginning. I was terrified to be nude in front of our kids. I was afraid it would scar them for life! I remember sitting in our room in November of 2019 and Phil encouraging me to just go to the kitchen and get a drink while the kids were watching TV in the living room. I remember crying worrying about it. I remember our now 17 year old walking in our room while I was under the blanket and asking, “Are you naked?”. When I responded yes, instead of hugging me good night, he rolled his eyes and huffed and went upstairs. I was devastated! I remember having conversations with each of our boys telling them why we were changing our minds about the body and why we felt it was ok for us to walk around our house nude. They all understood. I remember the slow progress we made with them. Our daughter was still young enough that she didn’t have an issue with it at all. We have come a long way! Our children wander in and out of our room nightly now.- just to chill or to talk. They are no longer phased by our nudity. It’s normal for them. None of them are walking around the house nude, but I consider it a win that they are seeing the body as normal.

They are no longer phased by our nudity. It’s normal for them.

I remember our first trip to the naturist park in the middle of December. It had snowed the day before and we were praying for the sun to be out. God is so good and the sun was shining and it was a balmy 46 degrees Fahrenheit. The closer we got, the more nervous I became and started to wonder if we were doing the right thing. When we arrived we were met by the nicest man ever! He knew I was nervous and never pressured me to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with. On top of that he was (and is) a Jesus follower and I was so grateful for that! Even though we didn’t see many people that day, I am so grateful for the interaction and conversation we had with that man. I am convinced that the Lord used him to help me! I remember walking along one of the trails that day with nothing but my furry boots on and even with the cold temperature, we stayed on the trail for an hour before retreating to the hot tub. I remember feeling the sun on my whole body for the first time. I will never forget the feeling of freedom and the closeness I felt with God that day!

I will never forget the feeling of freedom and the closeness I felt with God that day!

I remember jumping into the deep end with our naturist marriage retreat and how weirdly natural it felt to be with these fellow believers who also were enjoying letting the bodies God gave us breathe. Those people are amazing parts of my spiritual family now. I remember my first time on the nude beach and how awesome it felt to play in the waves and lay on the sand.

I remember all of the times we have been to the park and all the new friends we have made and all the fun. All the deep spiritual conversations we’ve had and all the encouragement given. When we aren’t there, we long to return.

God took something that was meant for evil (a pornography addiction) and turned it into good using naturism. That’s what God does if we will let him. If we will get out of the way and listen to the Lord, he will open new doors for us. He will show us his love and grace in ways we never could have imagined! I’m so grateful that he had prepared my heart and mind, even when I didn’t know it was happening, to be able to embrace my husband and this journey. Even though I’ve been a Christian since I was 7, God used naturism to start me on a new spiritual path. I was stagnant and stale and really dry bones, but God challenged me in my thinking, starting here and it continues. Are you up for the challenge?

Let Us Err on the Side of Faith

This is written by a personal friend who goes by Okie61. He wrote this short, but profound piece for his family and he was gracious enough to share it with us all.

My Family:

By nature Christians try to err on the side of caution when it comes to doing anything that could offend God or other Christians. When we talk about any concept of covering the human body, most Christians would be even quicker than normal to abandon dialogue and state that ‘erring on the side of caution’ is the only prudent course of action.

But when it comes to depending on the power of Jesus’ blood, isn’t erring on the side of caution also erring on the side of little faith? When considering the power of Christ’s sacrifice to save us, is it wise to err on the side of the argument that judges His perfect gift as being…well…not quite as powerful as Adam’s sin?

God created man and woman with the intent that they walk naked with Him in the cool of the morning. God didn’t do that with a child’s innocence. He authored their perfect life with an intellect we cannot fathom, nor should we question. When God acts, He acts with perfect reason.

God knew man would fail, and God knew that an ultimate sacrifice would be required to forgive man’s sin and restore man to God’s plan. Did God author the sacrifice of His only begotten son so that it would not completely cover Adam’s sin? No. In fact, God used the perfect sacrifice of his only begotten Son so everyone would understand that there was no sacrifice more perfect, more powerful, or more complete. As Christ said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

Sadly, the issue of naturism does cause many Christians to waver in their awe of the power of Jesus’ blood. The worldly view of the naked human form is so steeped into our culture that most Christians mistakenly consider that Christ’s sacrifice falls short of atoning for Adam’s sin. It is Satan’s lie that makes people consider that Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t entirely perfect or complete. Isn’t it an insult to underestimate the power of God? Isn’t that what Peter did when he attempted to walk on the sea to meet Christ? Didn’t that lack of faith by Peter sadden our Savior? Didn’t Christ portray Peter’s lack of faith as a weakness? “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matt. 14:30)

  1. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
  2. Looking unto Jesus the author and FINISHER of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, DESPISING the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Note that Jesus is the author and FINISHER of our faith. He didn’t start it and leave something to be completed later. We are buried in Christ’s death, and we are raised in his resurrection. His blood gives us the power to crucify the lusts that at one time made us sin at seeing the human form— made in His perfect image. Not only does it give us that power, it gives us the responsibility to wash our hearts clean in that sacred blood.

I believe anything less is denying the power of the blood, which washed a wretch like me white as snow. It. Is. Finished.

Your loving dad.