I used to think the human body when undressed was lewd, obscene, and shameful. Nakedness was linked to sexuality in my mind.
I used to think Scripture condemned nudity after the fall.
I used to think that nudity is only OK in the context of marriage and it’s for your spouse’s eyes only.
I used to make exceptions in this black and white thinking when it comes to doctors and other professions that are used to non-sexual nudity.
I used to become aroused when I would see nudity in movies or entertainment, or worse when I would seek it out online. I was not “exposed” to non-sexual nudity.
Nudity used to be a perpetual stumbling block to me. Every woman was a temptation.
I used to believe that lust was every man’s battle. It seemed impossible to “cure.”
I used to be ashamed of my habits and compulsiveness. This secret sin was a millstone around my neck. I confessed to a few people, but nothing the best-selling Christian books recommended would help.
I used to think nudism was a form of pornography.
I used to think Christian naturists must be perverts trying to justify all sorts of evil intentions.
I, like so many other Christians, was ignorant of any sort of Theology of the Body.
I used to believe that God made clothes and mandated them for moral reasons.
I used to ignore the many instances of co-ed public nudity that took place in Bible times.
I never wondered how people knew who was circumcised in Bible times. How did this “private” state cause people to judge each other?
I used to see the world through shallow eyes. While at times I resisted these trends, in essence I still agreed with the overly sexualized culture as to what beauty standards should be.
I used to long for the freedom and oneness with God and his creation that Christian naturists professed, but could not fathom that being Christian and a naturist could be reconciled with my faith.
I used to know people need the hope and love of Jesus, and that I could be an example of a sinner saved by grace, but I lived in a bubble and was hardly ever around unchurched people. I knew the need to “be a witness,” but lacked the opportunity to do so.
I used to believe “purity culture’s” definition of “modesty” should be taught and embraced. I placed blame for temptation on others instead of taking responsibility for myself.
I now see the human body as the pinnacle of God’s creation, made very good from the start, and worthy of honor and respect.
I now have studied this topic and cannot find any prohibition in Scripture.
I now see nudity as one of the purest forms of the invisible image of God made visible.
I now see those exempt are actually on to something, and instead the rules I used to abide by are not ideal. Nakedness need not be purely sexual.
I now am only ever aroused by my wife. I absolutely love this change, and obviously, so does my wife! I now hate seeing anything that is suggestive or objectifying.
Nudity is no longer a stumbling block and there is no longer any temptation. Praise God!!!
I now know that’s a lie, and Jesus is powerful enough to redeem and heal this and any impurity.
I am now proud to say that by God’s grace I am healthy and whole and completely free from the problems that plagued me. It saddens me greatly to see so many men without hope of true victory.
I now know nudism is the antitheses of porn.
I now know Christian naturists are the complete opposite of those wrong assumptions.
I now see Theology of the Body as extremely valuable for any believer and sorely lacking in Christendom.
I now know that Adam and Eve invented clothes and were influenced by the serpent to do so.
I now see these instances everywhere (prophets, even Jesus) and baptisms through the 4th century.
I have now researched Greco-Roman co-ed bathhouses and gymnasiums (the word gymno meaning bare or naked).
I now see all human beings as beautifully and wonderfully created in the image of God. I am repelled by judgmental attitudes and take a stand against body shame of any form.
I now know my faith is intact and congruent with who I am. Christian naturism has enhanced my relationship with God and others in many amazing ways. I was just too scared to see it due to my conditioning.
I now see that the church has such a negative connotation among many people. And yet, those who would never darken the door of a church are open to spiritual conversations, especially when they see a Christian who breaks the mold.
I now see that form of “modesty” being far from the original intent and one that oppresses and can even be a source of pride. One can be modest totally naked and likewise immodest with clothes on.
These are my thoughts. Instead of living with regrets, I have not only hope for the future, but also joy in the present.
Instead of living with regrets, I have not only hope for the future, but also joy in the present.
While mine is a male perspective, I find it very useful to feature a women’s perspective. Mrs. Phil has shared this point of view in her articles. For this post, I also wanted to include some words from a naturist lady friend of ours. Her opinions are insightful as well, and worth repeating here in conclusion:
Before: I used to think the body was sexual and had to be covered up.
After: now I’ve realized that the body just is a body. It’s my earthly covering and it’s glorious. Nudity doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be sexual!
Before: I used to think women looked better than me. That I never measured up, that I’m not as pretty as, not as skinny as, etc. Trying to look perfect is just exhausting!
After: After going to my 1st Naturist resort, I realized that all well-endowed women have breasts that hang like bananas or like grapes on a vine (Why do we even say the word sag? It’s so negative.) I realized I’m not the only one with cellulite and imperfections. I am still beautiful even if I’m overweight, have cellulite and a little too much cushion!
This one is very personal to me and touches my heart!
Before: I believed that it was okay for a man to be shirtless but not acceptable for a woman to be topless because of the thought that breasts are sexual and need to be covered unless breastfeeding.
After: I realized that we both have nipples and that our (women’s) breasts are just plumper and prettier! LOL
Europe really has this right because they have topless beaches. Why should I not be allowed to be topless at a beach when a man is topless too? We have the same nipples but just because my breasts are bigger it’s not allowed?!?
Before: I tend to only wear makeup when going to a special event. Usually I’m barefaced with just lipstick and blush. Lipstick makes me happy!
I could never compete with or look as *pretty* as someone with a lot of eye makeup. Obviously, a canvas with lots of colors and designs is looked upon more favorably than a canvas with two splashes of color.
After: After going to Naturist resorts, I found more women who embraced their natural beauty like me. It’s very refreshing to be around women like me! We were all on the same playing field, not that it’s a competition and I’m not comparing myself to others. It’s nice just to see the real person, not the fancy makeup! To see their natural beauty!
Before: In the textile world, I’m considered chunky and never get asked out.
After: At a Naturist resort, people get to see my natural beauty and my glowing personality. People want to be around me and think I’m attractive! (I’m not tooting my own horn, but sharing my experience. I believe God made us beautiful and I celebrate and acknowledge that!)
As we have stated in the About Us section of this blog, we unfortunately have to be very careful about our identities when it comes to naturism, because of our current employment. We are both employed in places that would get the absolute wrong impression if it were to come out that we are naturists, and we would certainly lose our jobs over it. Hopefully one day soon we will be able to be open about it with everyone, but that is not possible under the current circumstances. That said, we understand the risk and are unapologetically practicing our beliefs. If we were ever “outed,” this is a prepared statement that I would want to make available to whomever it may concern:
We understand there may be information circulating about us, and we would like to set the record straight to minimize rumors and misinformation as much as possible. Some years ago, we made a drastic change in our family. The change was in essence how we view the human body. At a much deeper level, it’s a change in how we view ourselves and others as embodied souls that represent and make up the image of God. As Christians, we have always maintained that people are made in God’s image (imago Dei), but we haven’t really understood all that this powerful concept entails. When we fail to comprehend it in its fullness, we all suffer as a result. There is so much brokenness all around us— we don’t need statistics to prove that point. We need renewed minds and a heart to live as God intended from the start.
It’s very much related to a topic Pope John Paul II explored and deemed as “The Theology of the Body.” He was one of the few theologians to broach this subject, though many others are also writing about it now. We have studied, prayed, read, prayed some more, and then have had the courage to practice the theory and move to an experiential knowledge confirming the theoretical to be true as we have lived it out.
This journey has done wonders for our spiritual life and our relationship with God, with each other, and with everyone else (fellow image bearers). We enjoyed a good and healthy family life and marriage before making these changes, but have never been closer since changing our mind on how God views us, and how we are to view each other.
Surely some will be scandalized by this news. Our good name and reputation may take a hit. However, we assure you that no moral failure has taken place. In fact, we are more attuned to and saddened by the daily true moral failure within the church, especially among those claiming to be champions of morality. We see many problems that have their root in how the body is viewed (as lewd, obscene, and shameful) as an attack of the enemy that started in the garden of Eden and has continued down through history. Satan viciously attacks this issue because he hates the image of God and wants to keep people (unbelievers and believers) in all sorts of bondage.
The culture we live in tends to over-sexualize the body. Christians tend to run in the opposite direction for fear of being sucked in, but that repression can create an unhealthy obsession with the sexuality it aims to suppress. We find problems with both those views, and while they seem like polar opposites, they operate from similar frames of mind. We have demystified the body so that we see it as God does: the pinnacle of creation, worthy of respect and honor, not to be made an idol or a stumbling block (lust is a man’s responsibility regardless of anyone’s dress or even lack of dress).
What this means is that in our freedom (Romans 14) we can be in non-sexual nude settings without falling into lust or sin of any kind. We can enjoy God and his creation in nature without the need for clothing. If you’ve ever skinny dipped, that’s the feeling we attain whenever it’s possible.
We have met some incredible like-minded people. Many of them are current and former pastors and even seminary professors. We have met people that have come from even stricter conservative upbringings than our own. For instance Amish couples, who having embraced body positivity, have gone from one extreme to the other, but have found such a joy in the Lord in the process. This is true of every Christian naturist we’ve met; they radiate the joy of the Lord. They have not only bared their bodies, but also their souls, as our conversations have “naturally” gone to such deep levels of vulnerability, which is extremely rare in regular instances. We have had such sweet times of fellowship and have worshipped together. We realize it’s hard to understand, but the truth is there has not been a hint of sexual immorality in these places. We’ve found the public pool to be a place of more heightened sexuality.
That’s exactly the point. Once your mind is renewed (Romans 12:1-2) and not conformed to the pattern of this world, we can restore the innocence of the garden of Eden. You may think this is not possible this side of heaven, but I assure you that it is. And you wouldn’t take that stance if a habitual liar was convicted to renew his mind on the issue of lying to live a more truthful life on earth as he awaits heaven. You wouldn’t say that’s not possible, once a liar, always a liar. Why not then with the issues of the body?
There is much more biblical and historical research that goes into the Christian naturist philosophy, but that is what we have embraced and we cannot fathom going back to how we once were before this change. We are much better versions of ourselves as a result of this change in thinking, which has affected so many other areas in good ways as well. There is too much to try and articulate in one statement as it is the subject of entire books. It is, however, healthy and wholesome, and the opposite of what you might think, especially if you, being conditioned by society, have tied nudity to sex in your mind and thinking.
We see it as our mission:
to help those in the church find body positivity and body acceptance for those plagued by poor self-image issues
to help men see that lust is not an unconquerable struggle, even though man-made attempt to curb it will always fail
to help other naturists see a good example of what Christians should be like (perhaps different than what they are accustomed to or the perception they have in their minds)
to help other Christian naturists or those interested in reconciling this practice with their faith
We love the Lord and we love you as we do everybody made in His image. We would welcome any and all questions. We would just ask that you do not judge, criticize, or condemn what you do not understand without first trying to see things (as unbiased as possible) from another perspective.
We have this one meme on our memes page, and while we aren’t sure who to credit, some clever individual wrote this though-provoking piece:
Is nudism healthy?
Allow me [to] try to argue the alternative:
Nudism isn’t healthy.
People should be ashamed, embarrassed, and afraid to be and to look as God made them.
God must hate us to have made us this way.
Nor should we tolerate or respect what other people look like.
Especially if they’re overweight, of a different race, too old or too young, or just plain ugly.
People like that should be forced to cover themselves up at all times so we don’t have to look at them.
Young attractive people deserve to be sexually harassed and assaulted if they’re not sufficiently covered up.
Them not covering themselves up enough causes other to be uncontrollably sexually irresponsible. So they have it coming to them.
We should fight our children’s natural instincts to be free of the restrictions of clothing and want to feel the sun, wind, and water unbroken across their bodies.
Sensuality and feeling good about yourself is sexual and we rightfully should be screwed up about how we view our genders and sexuality.
We must condition ourselves to be totally compulsive about being dressed so we stay dressed even when we’re alone in the privacy of our own homes, so we can never be comfortable bathing if others are around
…so we’ll properly fear going to a doctor because we don’t want them to see our bodies
…and so we’ll feel appropriately insecure about ourselves and our bodies around our families, with our friend, and in our intimate relationships.
Yuck! How about instead we just realize that what people call “nudism’ really is just how we’d feel by default if we weren’t so screwed up otherwise.
My reaction to this is that we need to flip the script. There are so many misconceptions about naturism in general, and Christian naturism specifically. Christian naturists are Christians. Christians who aren’t naturists have a lot more in common with Christian naturists than they might believe at first (once they figure out what “naturist” means!). There is more common ground than there are differences. And the differences are not obscene or wrong in any way when you understand the motivation behind it.
In negotiations it’s understood that the goal is to get the other party to a “yes.” However, sometimes the best approach is to first get to “no,” before it’s time for a yes. That’s kind of what I hope to do in this following section. Please help me flesh this idea out in the comments to add to what I have.
For those opposed to the practice of Christian naturists, I would ask:
Do you think lust is a good thing?
Christian naturists do NOT think lust is a good thing. They also do not equate nudity with sex. The normalization of nudity doing non-sexual things like gardening or mowing or painting desexualizes nudity and more importantly desexualizes the mind. We live in a “pornified” culture and the conditioning is strong, but naturists have broken that link between simple nudity and sex. Lustful thinking cannot easily reconcile this separation, it’s hard to fathom unless you’ve broken that connection in the mind (search the blog for renewed mind to see more on this.). Thinking otherwise is a projection of a mind that still agrees with our culture. Hook up culture is an extreme that cheapens the body down to a tool separated from the whole person. Prudishness (and body taboo) is the other extreme that Christians often take on to avoid being “like the world.” Both extremes have a low view and deem the body as hyper-sexual and obscene in many cases. Christian naturists have a high view of bodies as a “very good” creation of God.
Do you think Christians should be sexually immoral?
Christian naturists believe in maintaining sexual integrity at all times. They hate porn or anything that objectifies people and their bodies. They lament that many of the problems that exist today come ultimately from an ungodly view of the body: fornication, adultery, divorce, rape, unwanted pregnancy and abortion, prostitution, human trafficking, pedophilia, gender dysphoria, and everything in between.
Do you think there is any sin that Jesus can’t help you overcome?
Christian naturists believe that God’s power is enough to make both men and women mature in their faith. To many, they cannot fathom the thought that we could be in a large group of naked people without lusting. Many blame their objectifying thoughts on the revealing clothing of others and say it’s their fault that they can’t handle their thoughts. Lust becomes this ever-present, always needing to be avoided issue. We don’t do that with any other sin! We don’t think Jesus can’t help us overcoming a lying problem, but we act as if lust is a whole different thing and pure thinking depends on several other factors out of our control. Christian naturists reject that notion and live differently.
When someone is in bondage to a certain sin, do you think they should remain that way forever?
This is a bit like the last question. For me, I was in bondage for 20 years. The purity culture I grew up with failed me and the tactics to undo lustful thinking were woefully inadequate. Naturism served as a catalyst to get me to see others as God sees them, and by so doing extending them the respect and dignity that comes with being made in God’s image. Humans are the pinnacle of God’s creation, and not to be objectified for selfish gain.
One quick story that encapsulates all I’ve been saying here would be using the movie Titanic. I remember my youth minister asking in a sermon why they had to put those nude scenes in what would otherwise be a good movie. This made me want to see those scenes, actually. And I saw those scenes over and over. We owned the VHS tape and I would fast forward to watch that scene with Kate Winslet. And then feeling guilty and full of shame, I’d rewind it to “get rid of the evidence.” My mind wasn’t redeemed. Once my wife was watching and noticed it wasn’t where she had left it, so she knew what I was up to. Just the other day, my wife and teenage boy were watching this movie as research for a school project (streaming, not VHS!). It came to that scene and my wife, acting on old impulses (before embracing naturism) instinctually thought to fast forward or have him look away. He is now used to seeing us walk around the house nude. He knows what our bodies look like. He told her in that moment sensing her internal struggle, “Mom, they’re just boobs. Not a big deal.” I wish I had the maturity of my 14 year old son when I was an immature 20 year old newlywed husband! See the difference! I was obsessed with watching this scene over and over, and it’s nothing to him, because my wife has been brave enough and confident enough to overcome body shame and prudishness in our home. Normalizing non-sexual nudity is the best way to porn-proof your children.
Do you believe that it’s good to oppress women by making them cover themselves entirely so lustful men won’t be tempted?
Christian naturists are so saddened by this and do not see the logic behind it. If it worked, those who live with the most strict of dress codes would be the purest among us. That is simply not the case! I’ve met several Christian naturists that come from mennonite and even amish backgrounds. They are so much happier and free as naturists, and they attest that in the strict conservative setting lewd behavior is quite prevalent and always in secret.
Do you see the hyper-sexualization of culture getting better with time?
I don’t really. It’s always been bad ever since the beginning. Points 12-17 of our “Personal Manifesto of a Christian Naturist” deals with how Satan has violently attacked humans on this point since the fall in Genesis 3. He is the “who” of “Who said you were naked?” and he hates the image of God. Everything that is not God’s “very good” ideal is a distortion of his will.
Does God usually change his mind completely from one chapter to the next? If God declared all things to be good, very good, when did he change his mind?
Maybe we don’t have to flip the script at all. We have to recover the original script. The script was flipped in Genesis 3, and that’s why we are in so much trouble. We just need to flip it back and recover the innocence of Eden. It really is that simple! And it really is possible (see Revelation 21:5).
Sound off in the comments if you have more to add. I’ll add a few more in the first comment! Thanks for reading.
Did you see this? Stop what you are doing and watch this video summary…
As a Christian in the Midwest, I’m saddened greatly by the attitudes of this preacher, Stewart-Allen Clark, from First General Baptist Church in Malden, Missouri. The cringe factor is strong here as this church leader spewed his diatribe for 22 minutes. This wasn’t an off the cuff tangent; these were prepared remarks that he thought somehow his congregation needed to hear. He was talking from his notes, and had a slideshow complete with pictures to go along with each point in his message!
I’m glad this went viral and backfired. In an era of virtue signaling that sometimes can be unfounded, this actually IS an outrage. I’m glad he’s on leave and getting counseling. I’m not being judgmental, I actually empathize with the guy in some small way. I do hope and pray that counseling helps him, although I’m not so sure it will- more on that in a minute. This pastor being accused (and rightly so) of sexism is a tragic reflection on how conservative evangelical churches tend to approach the subject of sex. It’s no wonder the unchurched has a bad taste in their mouth of what they perceive it means to be a Christian today. The most appalling part is that it is not an uncommon stance he took in many conservative Christian circles. I’m standing up to say loudly, “WE AREN’T ALL LIKE THAT!” Thankfully there were those in that congregation that would not give their “Amen” to his crazy rhetoric. Praise God, the leadership apparently issued a statement stating that all people are made in the image of God and “should be valued for that reason.” although I can’t find that currently on their website.
The pastor also issues an apology where he assures people that he has secured an accountability partner who he is meeting regularly. This to me is a tell tell sign that he has a huge lust problem. No surprise there after hearing his mindset loud and clear! In his mind, and he said it many times, “He can’t help himself!” Well, allow me to speak on behalf of the many men who believe maturity is attainable and say, YES YOU CAN! AND YOU SHOULD!
Then in his public apology he says he, “made insensitive remarks about women and made statements deemed unbiblical.” No, they aren’t deemed unbiblical. They ARE unbiblical. There’s a lot that was dreadfully wrong with this guy’s ideas. (I think he forgot how to spell misogyny in his apology.) I see this blog as an anti-virus to his type of thinking. Some of the things I write on this blog seem to be very critical of the church. I mean them to be critical of THE TEACHING and unfounded “facts” that are rampant in many churches, which in turn are contrary to God’s heart, as so evident in this example. He is not alone. He is parroting what has been written in some of the best selling Christian books on marriage! This is one example of many, and just the most recent one that has gone viral. I’m deeply troubled by the repercussions of a perhaps well-intentioned, yet highly ineffective and even toxic “purity culture.” I’m over the artificial modesty standards that do nothing to change hearts that are depraved. Even so, I’m hopeful because there is a better way, and it’s not out of reach as many would have you believe. The solution is a surprising one indeed, unconventional to say the least. But first, let’s analyze what this preacher felt he needed to share with these church goers.
I won’t go through all of the insensitive and demeaning comments you saw in the video. Suffice to say his misogynistic and nonsensical Scripture twisting frankly promotes abusive behavior. He outright body shames women calling them fat and ugly from the pulpit! He’s aware that he is no model himself, but claims that doesn’t matter because it’s men who are visually stimulated.
1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV): “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Apparently this verse and the often misinterpreted (though not in this case) “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1 KJV) is missing out of the preacher’s Bible.
He speaks authoritatively as though all men would agree with his general statements, especially that every man wants a trophy wife on his arm. Umm, I don’t. His insistence that Melania Trump is the most epic trophy wife of all time (and featuring a “sexy” picture of her in his slideshow) displays an unhealthy infatuation in his own heart.
Jesus also placed the responsibility for lust in the proper realm of the man’s own heart. He never suggested that women are responsible for their husband’s behavior, or that they need to protect them from their own impure thoughts, as if that were actually possible! This is simply an abdication of personal responsibility and a cop out for the man. We would do well to look at women through the eyes of Jesus, without lustful intent (Matthew 5:28), and see the whole person. Jesus was not tempted by the prostitutes he ate with. In fact, he was counter-cultural and revolutionary in how he interacted with women.
Jesus was not tempted by the prostitutes he ate with. In fact, he was counter-cultural and revolutionary in how he interacted with women.
Is this preacher pro anorexia and bulimia? Does he enjoy causing more body image problems in women than they already have heaped upon them by impossible standards of what’s culturally seen as “beautiful?” In his eyes, they are just participation trophies.
Makeup was a slide in his presentation and the punchline of some terrible jokes. He extols the virtues of these artificial adornments while Scripture’s teaching runs contrary to his conclusions (see 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and 1 Peter 3:3-4).
Over and over he chided that he (meaning every man) is gonna look, so you (wife) better look good so he (your husband) looks at you and not [forced to look] at “some hottie” on a screen. Umm, your husband is going to want to look at you regardless of your presentation if he loves you and doesn’t subscribe to these lies that say he can’t help but lust when he sees someone who is attractive. This crazy notion of helplessness also forgets the basic fact that men have imaginations and memories. Averting the eyes physically does nothing to the eyes of our heart. A whole renewal of the mind is needed (Romans 12:1-2) which is also counter cultural in that it is not conforming to the pattern of this world. Lust is not overcome by avoidance or trying harder, but rather by true repentance which literally means having a change of mind.
Obligation and duty sex is not intimacy, but rather a relationship killer. He quotes and misinterprets half of the verse in 1 Corinthians 7:4 and downplays the role of the husband and the obvious principle of mutual submission. On page 46 of Our Bodies Tell God’s Story Christopher West point out that in his Theology of the Body John Paul II concludes that a man commits adultery in the heart not only by looking lustfully at a woman he is not married to “but precisely because he looks in this way at a woman. Even if he were to look in this way at . . . his wife, he would commit the same adultery ‘in the heart.’” We cannot respond the way our “pornified” culture does. We are to be different. Instead of lusting after our wives and using them for selfish gratification, we should give ourselves up for them in service, as Christ did for his bride, the church. And let me tell you, it’s such a joy to be free of the shame and guilt that has ridden this purity culture.
I’m far from perfect myself. I was a bit like this guy in some ways. I’ve invoked the so-called “72 hour rule” in my house in the past. I’ve had my fair share of sexual brokenness and porn addiction, as you can read about on this blog. My point is restoration and wholeness is possible, and I am a living proof.
Some of the many comments from all walks of life on this youtube video are very telling:
The awful thing is. He’s not a comedian. He’s not telling an “edgy” joke. He’s giving people what he believes to be sound advice. 🤦🏾♀️
He’s projecting his pervyness. Men like this are just looking to have their grotesqueness validated.
WoW the fact this isn’t satire and men like this exist
on todays segment of ”What object am I?”, I guess I’m a participation trophy
Ah, the famous bible passage: “If thy right eye offend thee, blame your wife”
All I can say is this is probable cause to search all his devices.
This dude makes my skin crawl bruh. Actually physically cringing. I just feel so awfully bad for all the women in that church that had to suffer through this extremely shameful sermon
This was common to hear growing up in church. It’s nothing new to me. 🤷🏽♀️
The irony is – is that the Bible says the opposite to what he says, he says women should wear makeup and dress well, yet the Bible says the adornment should be the heart and not the outward appearance.
I’m not religious but when i read or heard about jesus talking, I dont imagine that he would be fat shaming married women.
I’m not even religious and this feels like blasphemy to what God’s really about
This is why people are leaving the church
It’s said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
It’s said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I find this to have some truth, as those seen as attractive to one person, are not found attractive to another. Proverbs 5:18 says to “Rejoice in the wife of your youth.” My wife doesn’t look like the 19 year old I married (Yes, we were so young!). But she’s the wife of my youth. I happen to think she is better looking now, aging like fine wine. The years have taken a toll on her body after 4 kids, but I don’t care about any of that. She’s still the same person I married. No, let me back out of that, she’s a better version of who I married, because now we have 20 years of shared experiences, memories, true intimacy and relationship equity that makes her number one in my book, regardless of anything that could happen to her body. If she had a double mastectomy (extreme example of a body change) I wouldn’t love her any less. It’s preposterous to think that someone would be that shallow. I tell her all the time that she is the standard by which all beauty is measured. But then she asks, “What if I put on weight?” Then the standard changes. It conforms to whatever you are. It’s not even based on and shouldn’t be based on appearance. She is truly beautiful both inside and out, and is the only one who gets my motor going. I tell her, “You’re my favorite everything.” No matter what category is being “measured,” she’s my favorite. This is, to me, a more favorable view than what’s being regurgitated in this trophy wife sermon!
I had the great misfortune of watching all 22 minutes of this nonsense. My blood was boiling and my neck got tired of my head shaking!
Reagan Williams posted it on her Facebook page which put the minister in hot water. I pulled a few direct quotes that didn’t make the edited video shown above:
At the 4:22 minute mark, he said “You can call it juvenile, you can call it immature, you can call it sexist, whatever you want to, but here’s another secret you need to know: Ladies, it’s the way God made us, it’s the way we are.”
Yes, I’m calling it juvenile and immature and sexist, even! I’ll address the immaturity shortly. It sure does sound like he’s heard these accusations before and is disregarding them. That’s a tactic to face disagreement head on and attempt to dissuade it. It didn’t work this time! He is clearly justifying the behavior by claiming God made him like that. Way to throw God under the bus! How convenient is that? I’m really sick of this lie and the damage it creates in its wake. It makes a mockery of our faith giving all Christians a bad rap.
At 7:22, “What’s the difference between a man’s girlfriend and his wife? About 60 pounds. Well, maybe so. How important is this? Let me tell you something. I have a friend. He has put a divorce weight on his wife. That’s how important this is.”
An abysmal joke! Why are people in church laughing at it? And to threaten divorce on this sort of thing? How is that pastoral in the slightest way possible? No wonder he doesn’t do marital counseling anymore. He never should have in the first place.
It continues at 9:49 with him saying of his poor wife, that “One of her favorite expressions is ‘Food never tastes as good as skinny feels.’”
I doubt that’s really her favorite expression. Maybe you’ve manipulated her into saying that it is. So sad. I feel terrible for her.
At 14:35 he makes the mistake of quoting the Bible, which renders his whole message unbiblical and forces him to retract the sacred words he just read. The verse he read is Proverbs 31:30. The verse reads, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” This contradicts everything he’d been saying, so he quickly makes the point again that men still are gonna look, so you need to look good for him! Ridiculous.
At 17:13 “It’s just the way it is. So every man has this need and here’s the deal. We can’t help it. Women spell affection T-A-L-K and men spell it S-E-X.” At 19:20 “We are not lust monsters. Chase you around the bedroom every night. We can’t help ourselves. God made us this way… It’s the main reason he married you.”
Again, the deflection is projection. The reason I know, is because I, too, used to buy into some of these ideas. And I was pretty much a lust monster. It was easy, because it was expected and a given. It’s not. The way out is as easy as rejecting that notion as false. Yes, God gave us a sex drive, and my mine is high, but it doesn’t have to dominate me. Search this blog for “lust” and see many articles about how it doesn’t have to be a problem. It’s definitely not a problem God cannot restore and redeem!
Then there’s an awful story as a conclusion delivered with many dramatic pauses. It’s about a knight that was going to slay a dragon to save a damsel in distress, and got his sword out, but she yelled to him to take this noose and strangle him instead. The dragon dies, “but he doesn’t feel admired. He doesn’t feel adored. He doesn’t feel like he’s done anything because she told him how to do it. Sometimes you just gotta let a man be your knight in shining armor… and sometimes you just gotta stand back and let him do it.”
I don’t throw these terms around very often, but that’s just downright chauvinistic. Are we supposed to feel sorry for him because she told him to do something? For another disturbing article showing how pervasive this type of teaching is, read this shocking piece.
The day I was finishing up this article, I came across a post shared from Alexa Danielle Kolbe. Perfect timing because her writing is so contrasting to that of the oratory skills of Stewar-Allen Clark. She wrote:
“You’ve gained weight” said the doctor at my annual checkup.
I haven’t weighed myself in over a year, but I can tell you things don’t fit the same.
I’ve definitely noticed it.
I see it in pictures.
I see it in videos.
I can feel how my clothes fit differently.
Everything still fits, but it fits differently.
1 Stretch mark has appeared on my abdomen.
I go over in my head all the comments I believe people think of me.
“Wow, she’s packed it on.”
“She’s really let herself go.”
“Look (friend) she’s gained weight!”
I mean, the list goes on in my head.
I believe people think I’m lazy or eat too much. I cry sometimes to my husband thinking over and over in my head these thoughts. Even though they’re not true, I still believe it.
Wow, the mind is super controlling.
We bring ourselves down & judge every inch. We praise other people for having positive body image, but we can’t praise ourselves for just taking a small step.
We are all for others, so why can’t we be for ourselves?
Childbirth, death, gut issues, moving, heartbreak, abuse, diseases, finances, relationship with food, etc. all affect us in some sort of way, & the stress of it all affects the reaction of each body differently.
Our bodies do so much for us. It fights for us, protects us, & can do just about anything as long as the mind & it agree. It’s so beautiful, & we judge it’s capability by its appearance.
I believe this weight gain has been a fighter response for my body. Deaths, moving, career change, & healing my relationship with food from restriction has all been what my body has gone through this past year. With all this people would say “you’re so strong” but my mind thinks all people are saying is “you’ve gained weight.”
I’ve learned most people don’t “let themselves go.”
Most people are just going through something that we have no idea about.
We need to give each other grace.
Darling, you need to give yourself grace.
Gaining weight could be a reflection from the weight life brings.
A good book isn’t defined by its cover, but the life it gives when it’s read.
Someone commented on this post, “Beauty is the Godly characteristics of a woman – in the end its how much Love we gave and freely received – my grandmother used to say what most people judge as “beauty” is only skin deep and will fade with age .. as I’ve grown more mature, that is so true! It’s who you are ; your character that makes for beauty at any age, size, skin tone ect … love is the key. and from it all other beauty traits flow.. kindness, goodness, patience, tolerance for others, grace. We are an eternal beautiful being,in a temporary “ earthsuit” having a temporary journey on earth .. but we are all created by God individually and majestically created .. because he apparently likes variety just look at all the flowers.“
I agree wholeheartedly. And I’m sorry for this unfair treatment.
A new song from The Choir, one of my favorite Christian bands, would convey my sentiments to any lady (daughter of the Most High King) who is hurt by these attitudes:
Never mind, never mind yesterday’s night Step outside, turn your gaze to the sky Feel the morning light never mind yesterday’s lies Please realize you’re even more wondrous in my eyes When the sun shines bright Illuminating your scars I adore the wounded creature you are
Are you troubled by your own reflection? Searching for a friend to trust?
Does it feel like forever won’t be time enough to heal your heart from the deepest cuts? Child, you are love, you have always been loved May one divine kiss be enough to heal your heart from the deepest cuts!
Never dread, never dread tomorrow’s sun Let it come when it comes This glorious night has just begun Never cry tomorrow’s tears Right now in here, shut your eyes, open your ears Listen closely, a spirit stirring song is playing And you’re beautiful, that’s all that I’m saying
Made-made methods have never worked in my experience and that of many others I know. And they won’t ever work, not fully, that is.
I really don’t think the traditional ways of dealing with lust and objectification of women is gonna help this guy. Made-made methods have never worked in my experience and that of many others I know. And they won’t ever work, not fully, that is. Here’s a big twist! While I do own and have taught from many of these best-selling Christian books that are indeed very harmful, how did I break free from the clutches of this toxic view? Simply put, I rejected the lie and I began to see others as God sees them. What served as a catalyst for this redeemed view came from the unlikeliest of places- Christian naturists with their ethical naturist philosophies. This may come as a complete surprise to you and stir up more rage inside you, but hold on a second. I get it! I used to think that family friendly Christian naturists were perverts and pedophiles trying to justify their wrong beliefs. I’ve since learned and also experienced first-hand that the exact opposite is true.
Naturism is freedom and body positivity carried out to its natural extreme. If a mature purity is indeed possible, then when pushed to its limits, that truth should remain true. The respect and dignity with which it approaches everybody is healthy, wholesome, and even godly. Aside from the many physical and emotional health benefits, naturism demystifies so much of what culturally has ensnared us, as evident in the case of our wayward pastor friend. The many resources on this blog help to provide a theological framework of what is a better way, both on paper (theoretical) and in the experiential practice of those beliefs.
There is a hundred year old book on “gymnosophy” by Maruice Parmelee entitled, Nudism in Modern Life. One century ago, this volume made the following observation: “It is true that childbearing is prone to injure the figure. The swelling womb distends the skin of the abdomen, and after delivery has taken place and the abdomen has sunk to its usual size the abdominal skin may remain flabby and wrinkled. Mother’s milk distends the breasts and sucking elongates the nipples, so that after nursing has ceased the breasts are not so firm and may become pendulous. But much of the injury done by childbearing could be averted by a healthier mode of life… In a more humane age men will overlook these physical marks in remembering the valuable service rendered by these women and in honouring them for it.”
Did you catch that word? Humane? The opposite of dehumanizing. Honor over objectification. Love, not lust. Relational and physical intimacy, not marital rape (yes, I said it). I’m advocating for mature purity over artificial modesty and immature excuses.
I’m advocating for mature purity over artificial modesty and immature excuses.
David L. Hatton laments on page 47 his book entitled, Who Said You Were Naked?: “One group of topless women in Mali, upon hearing about the fascination American men have with women’s breasts, fell down rolling with laughter, saying, ‘You mean, men act like babies?’ If these women heard this breast-fascination being religiously taught as intrinsic in men, they might stop laughing and start suspecting its preacher of being a pervert and his religion of being a deception. False doctrine in this area isn’t funny. It’s profoundly sad… My culture had fed me a despicable lie, and that falsehood came most insistently from the same lips that preached God’s Word. Indeed, we really have acted ‘like babies!’– not with a silliness that made bare-breasted women in Mali laugh– but with such utter immaturity that we should be shedding tears.”
Many are starting to see and speak out against this epidemic. However, there are not many solutions given beyond identification of the toxic behaviors. I’m not saying that the philosophy of ethical naturism is the answer, but it was certainly the catalyst for me that eradicated any semblance of these terrible ideas in my own life. Naturism in its pure form (and not the misconceptions of its practice) is antithetical to the attitudes on display in this sermon. They are in agreement with God’s intent at Creation and in the restoration of all things. Innocence can be restored, just as any other sin that twists and distorts a good gift. Seeing yourself and others as made in the image of God is a viable solution to all the ills of society, not on a large scale as not everyone will properly adopt this view (which would be a utopia), but on an individual basis. Imago Dei is the better way. I’ve lived it and it changed everything. It would even change Stewart-Allen Clark if he were brave enough to believe.
We value the woman’s perspective on naturism, which is why we are thrilled to have interviewed our friend, Michelle Miller.She is an online friend that we trust we will soon meet in person. She has a wonderful story, so let’s get right to it!
Q: How did you get into naturism?
A: First of all, I was afraid of being naked my whole life. At the beginning of last year, I began to pray that God would help me love my body. I began to read about body acceptance which led to seeing articles about Christianity and naturism. I was fascinated that people said they were closer to God because of it. This caused me to look up places in my area that I could visit. I called a clothing optional farm and spoke to the owner. She shared her story with me which encouraged me. She also explained that they monitored the guests, explaining that inappropriate behavior was not tolerated and background checks were required. She also explained naturism etiquette which made me feel better. This made me feel safe to try it.
Q: How does it change the way you view yourself, others, and God?
A: How I view myself: After I realized I had always been ashamed of my body, I asked God to forgive me for believing the lies of Satan regarding my body. That was an important step to my healing in releasing those chains. Once I stepped onto the property nude, I literally felt the heaviness fall off of me. I had a deep joy that I had never experienced in my life. I prayed in the woods prostrate in the pine needles. God said He would cause truth to enter every cell of my body from this as in Psalm 51:6. Psalm 51:12- Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation and uphold me with thy free spirit. I feel that this restored my joy that was taken by Satan and that I now have a free spirit because naturism set me free from lies and body shame. I am content and confident with how I look.
How I view others: I was a very accepting person before. But now I am much more accepting of people seeing beyond their outside shell. I have also experienced a deeper love for others. Seeing people naked the first time was a little difficult. But it is just a body. I believe we fear seeing others because of our own fears. When I saw others, I realized in a matter of minutes that they were just bodies. I had anxieties that were built in my mind from society that I overcame.
Q: I know some close to you believe you are in the wrong for being a naturist. What would you want to say to any skeptic?
A: I explain that in my life I have sincerely desired to follow God. He is the one who showed me this path. God brought verses to my mind that very first day I was nude in nature. I have experienced a closeness with God from following Him in naturism. I have also shared that I have met other solid Christians that God has led to this way of living and they all have benefited greatly.
Q: What would be your advice to women who struggle with the thought of participation in this lifestyle or naturist activities?
A: First, ask God to heal you from your negative body image. We were not meant to carry this burden. Ask God to break down any barriers that are in the way and to give you His mind regarding naturism. I would suggest sleeping nude. If able, start by being nude around the house nude. The air feels good on your skin. If you are able, go to a remote place and experience being nude outside. It is exhilarating. You will crave the feeling to do it again. Lastly, if your husband is a naturist and you are not, he struggles with your disapproval. Just try it! I have several good friends that have asked my advice from a woman’s perspective for approaching the subject with their wives and asked me to pray. Two of my friend’s wives have started to join their husband. They are beyond excited that their wives are part of naturism. Even if you have to take baby steps, your husband will be grateful. It will bring you closer together and you will benefit in ways you never thought possible. It is completely transforming! Give it a try. I dare you!
If I led a marriage retreat, what follows is what I would want to say and do. It’s not what I would actually do, but it’s what I would want to try out and see how many lives and marriages would benefit from it.
We would gather in a conference room as is typically done. Then my wife and I would announce we’d be right back to begin and exit briefly. Moments later, we come back and stand in the front of the room, stark naked. Jaws would drop, eyes would be shielded, and tensions would rise immediately. If not thrown out by this point, I would begin to diffuse the situation. Here’s what I would say:
This will be the most unorthodox and possibly life-changing marriage retreat you’ll ever encounter. The most memorable one for sure! In case you haven’t noticed by now, my wife and I, your leaders for this weekend, are completely naked and exposed. And yet you are all still alive! Relax, no one is going to die. Just imagine that we are some painting in a museum or a sculpture, and you’ll be fine, I promise. We will be sharing our story honestly with you which also makes us even more vulnerable than we already are!
Before we do that, can I make a few observations? Normally we separate men and women to talk of sensitive information apart from one another. This is usually done after the ice has been broken with some sort of game. I’d say the ice is broken already, and it hasn’t done much good to be separate to talk about intimate issues in the past, so while we’re being open and transparent, let’s all stay together and talk very frankly with each other.
My wife and I are naked, and we are unashamed, just like Adam and Eve were described in Genesis 2:25. This is why my wife and I like to refer to the very comfortable-for-us state of undress not so much as nude, but rather “as God intended.”
Like Job said in Job 1:21: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return.” Is there a textile industry in heaven? Fashions? Brands? Models? I seriously doubt it! I hope not! So if this is the way we are born, and it’s what heaven will be like, why not start getting ready for it?
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking this was God’s ideal before sin. And now that we are on this side of the fall, it’s all changed, and we can’t regain that innocence. Some might even accuse me of immanentizing the eschaton (look it up!). I mean, Jesus did teach us to pray in Matthew 6 saying, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”! And we all usually try to improve things here on earth, bringing a bit of heaven on earth. That’s not a bad thing. There is enough hell on earth as it is!
You may also be thinking that God invented clothes when he made them skins. But no, Adam and Eve invented clothes when they sewed together fig leaves. God’s skin aprons improved their fig leaf invention, and set them up to have protection and warmth in a new harsh environment outside of Eden. This was an act of grace.
You may think they covered themselves out of shame. You’ve heard this a million times and you agree with that notion. But the text says they hid because they were afraid (Genesis 3:10). Shame is not mentioned, except for the fact that they were naked without shame (Genesis 2:25). They were married. Did they suddenly have to cover up in front of one another? No one else was around! In fact, God asks them in Genesis 3:11, “Who told you that you were naked?” Who is the only other character in the Garden? The serpent– the one who hates the image of God, and has used this type of brokenness to his advantage and our detriment ever since the beginning.
We can do this debate thing and present arguments for all the objections that certainly are rising up in you right now. We can talk about the commonplace of nakedness in Bible times, the euphemisms used in the Bible to denote sexual acts over simple nakedness, the universal practice of nude baptism for centuries, and much much more. Many books have been written on the topic. But I have a greater goal in mind for this moment. This is not why you are here. The fact is, you are married. And if you’re anything like us or most of the Christians I know, there are some common misconceptions about the body as the image of God that you may be believing that are hurting your relationship. These are very serious matters and get overlooked in our churches. Some of you guys are caught up in pornography and feelings of lust as you objectify other women. You know it’s not God-honoring, you don’t even like it, but you don’t know how to stop. It makes your wife feel terrible about herself. Some of you ladies won’t even undress in front of your husbands with the lights on. You are both accosted by baggage that stems from issues regarding your bodies and sexuality. Like gnostic heretics of old, you tend to view the body with a dualistic split, the body as bad and the spirit as good, and you wish you could unify the two so they can be intertwined as a whole and call it good.
Well, you can! And that would be correct. That’s what God did. In Genesis 1:31, after God created woman he called the crowning glory of his creation “very good.” And I don’t think God is one to change his mind on something of such great importance! The godly and holistic approach is to not separate body from the soul, from the whole person. When you separate body from soul, we have a name for that – death. Bodies are not bad in and of themselves. What you do with your body may be wrong, a twisted distortion of what God intended for good. But your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Therefore honor God with your bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
This woman you see before you in all her glory, is beautiful, is she not? Well, she didn’t believe she was for over 20 years of her life! That’s tragic. What’s even more sad is that it’s typical, and it grieves the very heart of God. You are all made in God’s image, imago Dei, and precious to Him, and fearfully and wonderfully made. As for me and my house, we now see beauty in everyone, as we see others as God sees them. We should not take our cues from Hollywood or from a sex-crazed culture with their phony and shallow definition of beauty, or their ideas about sexuality. You are beautiful… full stop! Body acceptance is extremely important, and a spiritual issue in your Creator’s eyes. Be body positive with yourself and others. Be body friendly to yourself. Love yourself, the someBODY who God made you to be. You were bought with a price, and that price was Jesus’ own life (see 1 Corinthians 6:20). Christopher West points out that if you are punched in the face, you don’t make a property damage claim, but rather a personal assault claim. Our bodies are an intrical part of who we are as persons. It’s part of our personhood. When we divorce body from soul, it becomes less important what we do to or with our bodies. I’m convinced and convicted that we have gotten this all wrong. There is a hole in our theology, to quote a friend. We should treat our bodies and other people’s bodies as more sacred. The answer to our struggles is not to reject the body, but to redeem our bodies.
Ladies, some of you are like my wife, who thought that to despise her body was a mark of humility. It’s not. It just isn’t. Humility isn’t hating yourself. It’s thinking rightly about yourself. God said to love your neighbor as yourself. Hating your body isn’t noble and it spits in the face of your maker. You can’t love others well if you don’t love yourself in a holy way.
Our culture tries hard to send my wife and your wife messages all day, every day, on how they need to work hard to be more attractive. The standard is young skinny, airbrushed, and photoshopped models. It’s not even real! An impossible standard, and not true or natural beauty in my opinion. In fact, I tell my wife all the time, “You are the standard by which all beauty is measured.” Does she have stretch marks? Yes, she’s had four babies. That’s beautiful. Does she carry more weight? Have cellulite? Yes, and that’s ok. Even the model is insecure about some body part. We all have the same parts. Some parts are bigger, some are smaller, some sag, others don’t. It doesn’t matter! We are beautiful as the pinnacle of God’s creation and vary in our beauty the way that no two trees are alike. I love that!
What else do you notice? She is not just a collection of body parts. She has a heart. She is my wife and your friend. But if you were to objectify her, reducing her to an object or a piece of meat, that would be demeaning, but typical in our sex-obsessed culture. She doesn’t have to be naked for you to do that! In fact, now that she is and leaves nothing to the imagination, the simple and natural beauty kind of loses its allure to be sexualized doesn’t it?
Plus she’s not up here in any sort of seductive pose or inviting you in with her eyes or expressions or anything. She is simply being, a human being. And you guys, being in a public setting are honoring her, and respecting her and not resorting to any animalistic behavior even though there is a naked woman who is not your wife right in front of you in person. Perhaps if she was a stranger, not a friend, and on a screen, and you were not in public, but in complete privacy, the story would be different. What’s up with that?
My story is that I was addicted to porn. It was a struggle, I thought it would go away when I got married. It didn’t. I was in church leadership and I had this gnawing problem in secret. I tried all the things they say to do, even accountability. But it doesn’t work, none of it does. You can cheat it if your mind is depraved enough. If you don’t address the root of the issue, it’s only better temporarily on the surface. You can brush cobwebs back, but unless you kill the spider, you’ll deal with cobwebs forever. The only thing that works was being made free in Christ. The truth set me free, not for a brief and momentary victory, but a forever change. I don’t think the same way anymore. My mind has been renewed. I can appreciate beauty as a creation of God, an icon of his image, but no longer reducing it down to an idol for self-gratification. Romans 1 describes those with a depraved mind as exchanging the truth of God for a lie, and worshipping and serving created things rather than the Creator. We can’t lust and worship at the same time!
I don’t bounce my eyes when I see a beautiful sunset! I praise God for it. What boggles minds is that I can look upon a clothed or even a naked woman, without lust in my heart. Like a former alcoholic who can walk down the liquor aisle at the super market without any temptation, I have no desire to cheapen God’s gift or disrespect another human being, most importantly my own wife.
We act as though lust is the only sin that Jesus cannot help us overcome this side of heaven. We throw up our hands and say it’s a fallen world, so don’t even try. But we don’t do that with any other sin! We renew our minds and God does the work for us without our help.
Or you can choose to stay in bondage. You say it will always be a struggle, and it will be. You make extra rules God never imposed to serve as safeguards, and just like with every rule ever made, it gets broken. Thank God for grace and a better way forward!
Now having been surprised into freedom, as this woman’s husband, I’ve committed to her that only she would be responsible for causing me to become aroused. This may vary from person to person, but I determined that I will not masturbate. This amazing woman, who I love and with whom I have a deep relationship, she has a direct role in every one of my sexual responses. I have this not as a rule that I must abide by, and struggle every day to maintain. No, it’s actually a joy to live by that commitment. As I said, that didn’t used to be the case at all. I cheaply would give away my release of personal gratification to many other strangers on screens because of looking lustfully at them. Jesus (in Matthew 5) would call that adultery. I cheated on her. Never in person, but it’s still cheating! I’m done trying to justify it. Jesus was right. It’s not a victimless act! It hurt this woman. It hurt me too. It made me less of a husband, father, and leader. I decided I didn’t want to be an adulterer any longer.
I decided to reject the lies that as men we are wired to be visual and to react sexually (either in thought or deed) whenever I see exposed skin. We have been conditioned by our society and if we are being honest our teaching in the church supports these worldly views, which are dehumanizing at the core. It’s an old gnostic heresy, thought to be done away with, but it’s alive and well in this room today.
Puritan and Victorian attempts at modesty aim to cover up what is deemed a temptation. But the truth is, whatever is covered is automatically objectified. Imagine if we had a body taboo for elbows! We’d suddenly treat elbows as if they were seductive and ask women to cover up their elbows so we could control ourselves. That’s crazy! We can control ourselves without your help. Some of you ladies are well intentioned, but dressing modestly can become a prideful way to try and take the place of Jesus. Jesus doesn’t need your arbitrary dress code standards to make men pure. Only men can control their thoughts. But if we tell men, that every man battles impure thoughts every day, they will battle impure thoughts every day! And then they’ll lose and blame the woman for not dressing appropriately enough to meet some arbitrary standard!
Cultures that commonly expose the breast, have an innocence about it and don’t sexualize it or fantasize about it. It’s a problem in OUR thinking and in OUR conditioning.
The sight of someone (who is naked or clothed) does not cause you to lust. That’s a lie that needs to be completely rejected. By that logic, we would have to conclude that the sight of banks causes greed, or the sight of bakeries causes gluttony. We better take down all the signage and cover those places under a large tarp! Or do our actions regarding their visual stimuli actually matter more than the supposed temptation they produce? James actually says each man is tempted, not by God or anyone other than himself and his own lust (my paraphrase of James 1:12-15).
Bathsheba is often blamed for David’s sin of adultery because she was bathing on the roof in full view of David. This was common. Bathing on the roof or in the river in mixed company was standard operating procedure in those days. David is the guilty party here. He saw and wanted to take what wasn’t his for his own satisfaction. That’s why the prophet Nathan strongly rebuked David and called Bathsheba an innocent lamb (see 2 Samuel 11 and 12).
Guys, some of you need to take a hard look at yourselves, and how you view women. Take note throughout the course of one day, how many times you objectify other women and have thoughts of lust or coveting. Then you need to think about renewing your mind on the whole way you view all of it, the way you are right now with my wife here. You are honoring her and respecting her as made in the image of God and worthy of dignity on the merits of that fact alone. She is my wife, and you are respecting that fact too in my presence and in the presence of your wife. Your wife is beautiful too, but I don’t want her, because she’s yours, and I have all I need right here.
My wife doesn’t have to “put out” enough to “protect” me and help me stay pure. That’s my job. If I was going on a business trip, bless her heart, she’d make sure to have sex with me the night before. She learned this at various marriage retreats. The problem is, that fix (sex not for relationship, but out of duty) is only good for about 20 minutes, if your mind is depraved enough! Now that I’ve renewed my mind, I don’t need “protective” sex to remain pure. And it’s so easy now that I changed the way I think on these things.
I’m sure your minds are blown! I can’t read your minds, but I’m guessing this isn’t what you expected for this marriage retreat. I hope it challenges you to make changes and helps more than any other instruction we could have brought.
Our best advice for any marriage is to start sleeping naked, both of you. It’s incredible! And pajamas are really weird. You’ll have health benefits and feel closer together if you’ll do it. What about the kids? Don’t worry about that. In fact this is one of the best way to porn-proof your kids. I wish we had done this when they were younger.
Hey, I know it was so awkward when we came out here like this. A few people went storming out of here, and I bet this struck a real nerve with them and maybe you too. But as time has gone by, is it a little less awkward? Did you even forget we were naked as you listened to our story? Continuing to talk frankly, if some of you guys with conditioned reactions that immediately equate nudity with sex got tight in the pants at first, I bet by now you’ve relaxed, as the non-sexual brand of nudity has been normalized for you.
You know, if you all chose to get naked right now like we are, without the shame society imprints on us, many untruths would become demystified. There are ideas we hold as true that need to be challenged and then disregarded. I’m sure if we all were undressed, you’d gain a confidence you didn’t know you had, and you’d start to worry less about things that really don’t matter. Our conversation would improve and we’d share deeper insights from the heart with each other. We’d realize how much we hide behind our clothing and our fake personas. We’d be more real and authentic.
This is how God sees us. We don’t have to dress to impress, and nothing we can put on would even accomplish anything to that effect. Hebrews 4:13 says everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account. I love the old hymn: when he shall come with trumpet sound, oh may I then in him be found. Dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.
I would not be doing my job well today if I didn’t share what the Bible says we should clothe ourselves in. It does command us to put on certain clothing:
We are to be clothed in power from on high (Luke 24:49)
Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14)
The perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:53-54
We groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling (2 Corinthians 5:2-4)
All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3:26-27)
Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (Colossians 3:12)
Dress with decency and propriety (1 Timothy 2:9-10)
Let your adornment be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God (1 Peter 5:5)
To her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine line is the righteous acts of the saints (Revelation 19:8)
Notice these are all attributes and are more important to God than any threads we could wear to cover our skin. The clothing we are commanded to wear is symbolic, metaphorical, attitudes, decent qualities, good deeds, virtues, and Christ himself.
This is the true sense of modesty! Modesty really means a holy humility. Modesty is an attitude, not a dress code. David Hatton says, “For centuries, modesty was understood in those same terms, until the Victorian era gave the word a new meaning to match its prudish view of the body. In spite of this altered definition, the older meaning was retained as late as 1828, when Webster’s Dictionary continued to define modesty with no mention of clothing’s ability to produce a modest condition in the way it hid the body.”
Friends, we must not approach the word of God solely from a perspective tainted by cultural bias. The world around us is hyper sex-crazed with their cheap version of sexuailty that is far from God’s ideal based in a loving, committed relationship of marriage. The church often is hyper-prude in it’s ideas and methods for curbing any sort of impurity. Again, Hatton explains, “both views promote an unholy, God-dishonoring treatment of the human body based on exactly the same vain imagination. Prudery hides the body, calling the Creator’s design a lustful indecency. Pornography flaunts it, using prudery’s definition to turn the beauty of God’s handiwork into a stimulus for impure sexual thoughts. Both these ways of treating the body are an unnatural, unrealistic abuse. Though they seem to be opposite, they are conceptually identical. Both are ungodly, and both are based on a dysfunctional view of humanity’s physical embodiment. Wherever a wholesome, godly view of the naked human body is rejected and a shameful, obscene view is embraced, the resultant religious zeal of prudery inevitably plunges a society into the hellish depravity of pornography.”
If we could leave you with a gift that would revolutionize your marriage, bring you closer together, closer to your Creator, and closer to fellow image-bears around you, it’d be a wholesome and godly view of the body. That and a renewed mind. If you trust us and resonate with what we are saying, try it for yourselves. Your body acceptance and confidence will rise to new heights and your temptation for impropriety will vanish overnight. We love the Lord, and we love each of you. It’s up to you if you want to research for yourself the ideas we’ve expounded on today that perhaps have gone against everything you’ve ever heard your whole life. That’s how it was for us, but we studied and prayed and are so glad to have been shown a better way. We pray that you don’t reject it outright, but that you would consider everything we’ve shared, and that ultimately it will bless your lives, your faith, and your marriage and family life.
How has my life changed for the better since adopting this lifestyle? For one, it’s like coming home. It feels like I am the way God made me to be all along. Growing up and through my teens, I skinny dipped, and went out streaking in the woods. Then I came to believe the lie that such activity is childish and slightly deviant. I since have broken that agreement, and am thankful to embrace the naked truth! The other day when walking a trail at our park, I felt so alive and appreciative of God and his blessings (forget the fact that it was only 50 degrees out and I didn’t have a stitch on!).
What else? There’s a lot more. For instance, nudity has become totally and utterly demystified. This paradigm shift breaks the conditioned link between the body and sex, as well as the dualistic view that the soul is good and the body is inherently bad. Relearning for myself that the body and soul are intertwined and made for good has been revolutionary for me. This means I no longer objectify anyone or lust in my heart. Before, it was automatic, and if I was aware of it, then I felt guilt and shame over those thoughts. Simply put, I’m a better person, a better husband, and father. Before, I was powerless to help protect my boys against filling their minds with porn, as so many do. My weak instruction would’ve been “do as I say, not as I do!” But now I’m able to be honest with them and tell of my former struggles and how I’ve been surprised into freedom by changing the way I thought about the body, the image of God, and the renewing of your mind.
I now see everyone as beautiful and a fellow image bearer. Judgmental attitudes are greatly reduced, as a result. Instead, a healthy (and holy) respect is elevated in the place of judgment. You begin to see the whole person, not just the outward appearance. (Didn’t God say that while man looks at the outward appearance, he sees the heart? Yes, according to 1 Samuel 16, this is a godly trait!)
I did not care for legalism before my change in embracing naturism, but even so, I probably was legalistic in places. Now I really can’t stand either legalism or libertinism, but I feel compassion for other believers who are trapped in this type of bondage. It truly saddens me now, and not just in the area of body positivity. I’ve seen how attitudes against a wholesome theology of the body stem from deep man-made traditions and ignore solid biblical exegesis and historical context.
I have a deeper appreciation for grace than I did before. Far too many Christians accept the grace and love of Jesus, but instinctively hold on to a system of law that has already been fulfilled in Christ. Gratitude for the work done on our behalf, that we could never do on our own is a much better way to live and please God, over a rules-based behavior that stems from unwanted guilt and shame.
I have a keener awareness of the enemy’s schemes and how he deceived the whole world (John 8:44; 1 John 5:19). Since the very beginning, our adversary has viciously attacked the beauty and innocence of the spousal union as God’s ideal. He hates the image of God, and so tries to distort and pervert it however he can.
In the relational arena, I’m more open and honest than ever before, and long for others to enjoy the deep and rich blessings God offers like I do. Because shedding clothes is an act of vulnerability, they are oftentimes not the only things to fall off. Small talk, triteness, and phoniness are likely to vanish from conversations with those of a like mind. Instead, our conversations are with substance and from the heart. Some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet are naturists (Christian or not). I think this is one reason why.
While interacting with those who are not Christians, there is an opportunity to shine a light and to dispel some of the baggage that people associate (in many cases rightly) with this term and those who claim it. With true Christ followers, the fellowship with those brothers and sisters who are free with their bodies in non-sexual social nudity is a thing of beauty. It’s rare to achieve that level of unity in the textile world.
My wife and I have both gained a greater confidence. This is an area I didn’t not lack as much as Mrs. Phil did. When you can be naked around other people and be unashamed, there’s not much you can’t do!
On that note, we are not the most in shape people. Body acceptance has been a huge blessing. Naturists are on a mission to put an end to body shame, and are accepting of all body types. That said, we do see the importance of taking good care of our bodies and want to improve that area for reasons of good health. Our word for this year (see our blog about our words for the past two years here) is “temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16 proclaims that our bodies are the temple of God. This implies so much more than the “don’t drink or smoke” and “get in shape” declarations that often come from this verse. However, there is some good sense in taking care of our bodies as we also care for our souls.
It seems obvious, but this “city boy” is much more appreciative of God’s creation and I feel more drawn to be in His nature He created for us. I have less need for all the extra trappings and materialistic distractions people become obsessed with and need to accumulate and maintain. I focus more on what is important and not on the things that may steal my joy for no reason. I realize how insecure the general population can be, and appreciate knowing and being secure in my identity in God.
These are all very good benefits. What’s not so good? The misinterpretation and undue judgment against Christian naturism is a truly unfortunate reality we have to deal with. My friend Matthew Neal’s words from his blog really resonate with me:
Right now, people perceive of my wife and me as a godly couple who serve the Lord faithfully and are raising a family to love and serve God. This, I trust, is genuinely true. It is not diminished in the least by the fact that we have visited naturist resorts and have no requirement for clothing in our home.
But if those facts were known, the same people who view us as godly now might begin to perceive us as perverse and ungodly people who are damaging our own children and leading them astray—ideas which are patently false.
So by withholding some information, people continue to believe the truth.
By revealing information they are not prepared to comprehend, people would believe a lie.
I genuinely wish I could tell everyone about my beliefs about the body and my practice of naturism. I don’t think there has been any other decision in my life (besides my faith in Christ and my marriage) that have had a more profoundly positive impact on my life. And while I’m constantly alert to opportunities to invest related truth in others’ lives, I’ve determined that—at this point in time—full disclosure would be more of a hindrance to truth than a help to it.
If this got out to the wrong people at this stage in our lives, we would sadly suffer for it. We have several friends who have had to endure various levels of persecution because of this lifestyle that is misunderstood and where intentions are grossly misconstrued. Those friends, like us, have weighed the pros and cons and have come to the conclusion they will not compromise their beliefs due to the ignorance of others.
Speaking of friends, here is what some other friends think is the good stuff when it comes to naturism.
One friend said:
For me it is a self-selected symbol or token of my openness and humility before Him and His will, in preparation of my knowledge that one day I will stand naked before Him at the judgment day, not being able to hide anything from Him, inside or out. In like manner it is also a symbol or token of my love for Him, choosing to shun the influence of shame where God never intended it to be. I choose Him over culture, I choose Him over the masses, and I choose Him over myself. I am one with Him.
We have grown closer to each other and to God. We are more open with each other and with God, we don’t seem to try to hide as much from Him (I know not possible anyway). We have developed deeper, more meaningful relationships with our naturists Christian friends than our textile friends and we believe closer to God because of that. Probably the biggest area is that we have learned to study God’s Word better and deeper for ourselves rather than simply trusting the church’s / pastor’s / professor’s response.
One friend got straight to the point saying:
Connection. Connection to God. Connection to self. Connection to others. Connection to creation.
One friend confessed the following:
Choosing to think and live this way with no shame nude before the Lord ultimately freed me from the last residue of porn deep in my mind, heart and soul and for this I am so thankful to the Lord’s holy light shining on the deep dark part of me in order for it to be expelled permanently. This is part of the nude journey with the Lord that so many believers in Christ are afraid to take, but looking back it was worth the spiritual struggle for this true God and Christ centered freedom.
Another also testified:
I’ve had much less issue with lust, because when you desexualize the nude body, it beautifies God’s original design of being “very good” and frankly, I believe it has created a deeper intimacy with my wife and I due to the fact that in a very tangible way, there’s even LESS between us. We’re better connected as spouses and as followers of Christ!
Lastly, this friend said:
One thing that being nude around others has shown me is that God’s creation is good, and He called it good, not me, and his creation includes me and everyone else around me. God’s creation isn’t just good, it’s also beautiful, and nudity makes me appreciate God’s creation!
We wholeheartedly agree with all of these. We are grateful for our friends who share not only our opinions on the body, but who also have the same conviction to live out those beliefs and model them to others. Having studied, prayed about, experimented, and lived out this lifestyle for a while now, we are fully convinced in our minds that it is God’s will for us. I wish others would be open-minded enough to explore it as honestly as we have.
We often quote and make references to David L. Hatton on this blog. His writings have helped and challenged us both in many ways.
Today, we will feature a wonderful poem of his with added visual elements. I have produced this video with David’s permission with the hopes that it blesses those who see it and would agree with its powerful message, and challenge those who may be startled by its assertions.
To that end, if you would want to share this video with others, please do so! Copy and paste this link where you would like:
A printable PDF file of “Christians and Nakedness” is available here via David L. Hatton.
CHRISTIANS AND NAKEDNESS
Today we are not used to the body when it’s bare, The skin beyond our face and arms beneath the clothes we wear. Untaught to see its beauty, we’ve learned to label “lewd” The “birthday suit” we started with, which God created nude.
It’s true we make exceptions for toddlers full of glee Who run around in pure delight, stark naked, clothing-free. But those who rediscover this liberty so clean Are called, when they come back to it, “perverted and obscene.”
Yet artists, who observe it in models posed unclad, Acknowledge how the human form is beautiful! Not bad! When health-care workers view it, no decency is gone. A patient’s dignity remains when seen with nothing on.
It’s found by missionaries, to naked peoples sent, That “porn” invades a culture’s land to which “our clothing” went. It’s known by skinny-dippers who bathe in sea and sun That recreation in the buff is simply healthy fun.
The church has failed her duty to guard and to proclaim That God’s own image in our flesh is free from body-shame. Instead, the naked body is marketed for lust, Relinquished into sordid hands by pulpits breaking trust.
Are human bodies “sinful” without their textile wraps? Must children have to look for them in pornographic traps? Can’t we who praise our Maker sustain our hungry youth Whose natural curiosity God meant to feast on truth?
False modesty is shameful! It sends the lovely breast Into a realm of carnal thoughts when mothers nurse undressed. It bans the Sistine Chapel, where nudes are plainly shown, And censures Michelangelo for sculpting them in stone.
We’ve grown quite unaccustomed to normal nudity. We even hide ourselves at home from friends and family. Some people hate their bodies, despising God’s design, Embarrassed if they must disrobe and let His glory shine.
Yet most of our ancestors all bathed in open air. They lived and dressed in one-room homes and saw each other bare. We trim for sports and work-outs. Greek athletes did so stripped! And Christians went to Roman baths with just their towels equipped!
The ancients often labored like Peter, in the nude. When prophets preached without a stitch, nobody called it “Rude!” The early church’s converts were naked when baptized. Though Bible scholars know these facts, they’re never advertized!
Have we made better progress in our morality By pushing man-contrived taboos on human nudity? Did God create His likeness to foster sinful lust? Do we confirm the Serpent’s scheme for souls God sheathed in dust?
If we could just recapture the ancient attitude That saw no scandal in a field of gardeners working nude, If we more often witnessed God’s image on display, We might regain a wholesome view of nakedness today.
Continuing our interview series of posts, we talk to our online friend, Greg Cook. We’ve had many good chats with him and he’s been an encouragement in our life. We especially appreciate his vulnerability to answer the question of what it’s like to go it alone when it comes to naturism, which is true of many married men.
Q: Can you briefly tell us when and how you came to embrace naturism?
A: Briefly? LOL This has been a lifetime journey for me. I actually started thinking about nudity as a young child. My earliest memories are of me looking for the naked people in the stacks of National Geographic magazines my mother had at work. Even at that young age, the idea that people lived nude like that fascinated me. While nudity in our home was a non-issue, no one simply went nude, but the older I grew, the more I explored nudity on my own.
At 10, a friend and I started “streaking” our neighborhood (streaking was a thing then). I also explored the woods nude alone when camping with the Boy Scouts. Later, I explored the woods nude while visiting family that had land, and I started going nude at home when no one else was around. At 14, I started sleeping nude. At 16, when I could drive, I drove around looking for nearby secluded places to be nude.
In my early 20s, the internet went live and with it, I began to explore non-sexual nudity online only to discover naturism.
It never dawned on me that others were like me or that my interest had a name. I knew naturists existed. I just didn’t realize I was one of them.
It took me three years of in-depth research, Bible study, and fervent prayer to finally accept the label because I wanted to do right by God. I wanted to make sure this wasn’t something sinful.
2- Romans 14:23 says that whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. In what ways do you see naturism as more than a preference, recreational activity, or relaxation technique?
Good question. Many people seem unwilling to explore this aspect. As for me, I think I could write a book on the subject.
First, believing naturism to be a mere “preference, recreational activity, or relaxation technique” is a conviction, and as long as that conviction doesn’t go against God’s precepts, it’s valid. Having said that, to me naturism is more than a mere “preference, recreational activity, or relaxation technique.” Since the Lord established naturism as the norm in the Garden, He demonstrated what His will was and whats is best, and He hasn’t changed His mind. Adam and Eve’s sin didn’t change His will or nullify it.
Furthermore, although the common teaching is that we need clothes because of sin, the truth is, we need Jesus because of sin. Clothing doesn’t stop sin at all.
People still lust, still molest, still rape, and more. Jesus Christ restored to us everything that Adam and Eve lost through sin.
All of this is to say that naturism is God’s will and was God’s idea because God established it as the norm in the beginning, and since our sin doesn’t change His mind, we benefit most by living the way He intended. For me, naturism is about agreeing with God about what is good. He was the one who “saw all that he had made and declared it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).
3- Your wife currently does not participate (though we pray she will someday). This is sadly the case for many men for a number of reasons. How do you cope with this reality and how would you encourage others in the same type of situation?
For many years, I coped with it by trying to suppress my own convictions and preferences and live by hers. I went out of my way to try to please her and do everything she asked of me, even at one point trying to give up naturism altogether. Unfortunately, that didn’t work for me because I always found myself slipping back into doing what was actually in my heart to do.
For instance, she’d say, “I don’t want you to be nude in our backyard. Someone might see you.” I’d comply for a while but then start going nude in the backyard whenever she wasn’t around. She’d come home from the store and find me nude and get upset.
I made many promises to not go nude and broke most of them, often going nude behind her back, because my heart wasn’t in it, and I was making promises that went against my own convictions and preferences. When my wife finally got to her wit’s end, she gave me an ultimatum, it’s either naturism, or her – give up naturism, or she’s leaving.
Naturally, I tried even harder to stop being a naturist, stop thinking like one, stop wanting to be nude, stop thinking it’s good, and so on. Unfortunately, I ended up depressed and having to resist suicidal thoughts. Why? In John 8:32, Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” so denying the truth kept me bound up. I was being double-minded, believing nudity is good but trying to live as if it were evil. James 1:8 says, “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways,” and living this way left me very unstable. I actually created a schism in myself, and in Mark 3:25, Jesus said, “A house divided against itself will not stand.” I was basically, and literally, destroying myself.
The depression finally began to lift the moment I began to realize that I was being a hypocrite, saying I believed nudity was good but trying to act as if it were not.
I needed to be true to myself no matter what it cost me. As I reviewed my life, I realized I needed a backbone, as I’d always been a pushover. I needed to be able to say, this is what I believe and if you don’t agree, that’s fine. I prayed fervently about my next step. I felt led to simply accept my convictions and do my best to live by them while at the same time being considerate of her.
As I began to live out my freedom, my wife made more threats to leave, but this time I had a backbone and laid it all on the line. “I am a naturist and I can no longer deny that. If you feel so strongly against it that you feel you have to leave, then you’re free to go. I won’t try to stop you.” Along with this, I reneged on every promise I ever made concerning this issue. I explained that I was wrong to make promises I don’t intend to keep and which go against my own convictions, so the only promise I will keep is the promise to never make such promises again, and instead, I will live by my convictions from now on.
As one might expect, she wasn’t happy to hear any of this, and she wasn’t prepared to deal with it. She didn’t know how to respond and believed that I was saying I would disregard her and do whatever I wanted. That wasn’t the case, because my convictions include being respectful, honorable, and considerate of others.
My new way to cope with this was a game-changer for us both.
It forced me to step up and be a man, to admit this is who and how I am and it’s ok, and it forced her to either learn to accept it or else leave. She chose to stay. Naturism has continued to be a challenge in our relationship, but it’s easier and less confrontational now, as we both know where we stand now and we both know what to expect now.
In sharing my testimony, I hope to “encourage others in the same type of situation” to know what they believe and why and to have a backbone about it. Isaiah 7:9 says, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you won’t stand at all.” Let that sink in. I also encourage you to live out your convictions boldly, fearlessly, and unapologetically. Realize that not everyone will like you or what you stand for. Jesus even warned us, “Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets,” (Luke 6:26). In fact, sometimes those people will be people you know and love as Jesus said, “Your enemies will be right in your own household!” (Matthew 10:36).
Our goal isn’t to please others all of the time but to live lives that please God. As John Lydgate said, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time,” so aim to please God and you won’t go wrong. Just realize that sometimes doing what you want is what pleases God “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).
Continuing our series of interviews, today Bob Horrocks joins us to answer questions pertaining to Christian naturism. Bob is an online friend who lives “across the pond,” so we unfortunately haven’t had the privilege of meeting in person.
Q: Could you briefly tell us your profession, and how you came to be a naturist?
A: My name is Bob Horrocks and I have been an ordained Anglican minister since 1982. I am currently serving as a pioneer, mission-focused Chaplain to the island of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands off the North-East coast of Africa which although having their own government comes under the jurisdiction of Spain. I’ve been here for nearly four years now. I became a naturist around 2005 after finding myself on a beach on holiday which unknowingly turned out to be a naturist beach. I was lying on the beach with my wife when a man walked past naked. I nudged my wife who was deeply engrossed in a book and seemed disinterested. After looking around I realised everyone else I could see had no clothes on either. Wanting to go for a swim I decided, “when in Rome do as the Romans do” and stripped off my costume. I walked rapidly across the beach and into the sea up to my waist, no matter how cold it was. The experience was fine. I enjoyed swimming around and realised that nobody was watching or bothering and life on the beach was normal except for no clothes. I sauntered back to my towel, dried off “au naturel” in the sunshine, and later went for another more relaxed swim. Later in the holiday I did the same on another beach. It was an amazing relaxed and freeing experience but as a Christian minister should I have been doing this? I went back to studying the Bible afresh with newly opened eyes and quickly discovered that God was fine with us being naked. The issues of shame that had been instilled in me since childhood were simply products of culture and not issues of Christian living according to the Bible.
Q: Why do you think people see Christian AND naturist as an oxymoron?
A: Most Christians in western culture have been brought up in a culture which has historically come to view the body as something to be hidden away under clothes. Nakedness has been equated to sexual expression and a culture of shame has grown up around the naked human body. Christians have been partly responsible for this in their attempts to control people’s sexual expression and thereby actually increasing the sexualisation of the human body. Clothing actually does nothing to supress lust and often accentuates it. Christians have fallen into the trap of equating nakedness with sin alongside a culture which uses intimately revealing clothing and nakedness to entice and seduce. Such a heady combination has created an unhealthy and unbiblical attitude to the human body.
Q: You imply in your book that you are a Christian before you are a naturist. Would you care to elaborate?
A: Whatever labels we or others place upon ourselves the key is what comes first and foremost in our lives. “Who are we?” is the real question here and I can say that first and foremost I am a Christian. My identity is in Christ and with Christ, everything else is secondary. Christian is the noun which describes me and other additions are simply adjectives describing the type of Christian I am. I can therefore say that I am a naturist Christian. That can be elaborated in order of importance in additional ways such that I could say that I am an Anglican, Evangelical, Charismatic, Naturist Christian and so on.
Q: What are some ways you would say naturism has enhanced your faith?
A: Naturism has been a revealing experience in many ways. It has helped me to see further beyond the cultured blinkers of both church and society revealing more of the real focus of our faith in Christ. My studies of the Bible have enabled me to strip away the accumulated layers which have hidden some of the truth and theology of the Scriptures. Being naked in nature has been somewhat of an “Eden” experience walking naked with God in the garden. Spiritually it has awakened my senses to the beauty of God’s creation and His image reflected in our own bodies.
Q: What would you say to someone who is having trouble reconciling naturism with Christianity?
A: Read your Bibles with an openness to God’s Holy Spirit to see what God is actually telling us. God is the one who brought all things into being and created us “naked and unashamed”. God is the one who pointed to the author of sin when he asked Adam and Eve, “Who told you that you were naked?” In our bodies we reflect the very image of God. To hide away that image and to equate it as being sinful is a blasphemous action which calls into question any sense of God’s perfection.
For a more detailed analysis read my book “Uncovering the Image” by Bob Horrocks.