David L. Hatton is a man I greatly admire. Though I’ve never met him in person, we’ve spoken on the phone and texts and emails and we even pray for each other. I’ve read most of what he’s written. We endorse his other books on our resource page and have created a video from one of his poems on this post.
I was very excited when his novel “Muse” was released. I ordered some paperback copies, one to keep and a few to give away, and got the kindle version to start reading immediately. In one week I had finished reading the whole book!
From the first plot surprise until the end of the story, the reader is in for an entertaining ride, but not only that. It is also educational and inspirational.
It’s educational in the way it espouses a rationale for the wholesomeness of a body-friendly mindset. As a Christian, I especially appreciated the way typical attitudes of Christians toward the body are challenged throughout the story. Darren, the protagonist, especially struggles through this new type of thinking which proves to be far better than the prudishness he had formerly known. I don’t want to give any spoilers, suffice to say that there are plenty of twists, turns, and surprises to keep the read interesting and enjoyable.
It’s not just an education of seeing the body as the greatest work of art, but there are also many truths espoused about how a good church should function. There are examples of shortcomings of the church as we know it today, as well as glimpses of more God-honoring expressions of how church can be “done.”
“Muse” does not lack in the inspiration department. Through heartbreaks, setbacks, and overcoming obstacles for victory, your soul will enjoy Darren’s journey. Through the entire book, his commitment to keeping God at the forefront of his mind through constant prayer is both admirable and attractive. If you aren’t already praying without ceasing (1 Thes 5:17), after seeing how this young man, Darren operates his daily life, you will want to take up his practice of including the Lord in all things.
I very much enjoyed the teaching in Hatton’s “Meeting at the River.” In “Muse” the naked truth is presented a bit differently and in several real world scenarios. I greatly appreciated this real life application as it’s entirely relatable.
Again, without giving away too much of the plot, the emotional factor in these true to life realities can hit very close to home for some. I’ve met several Christian naturists who espouse the same kind of body-friendliness that Hatton describes, which just so happen to go very much against the grain of what is commonly accepted in Christian circles, so they have had major blow back in their lives as a result. “Muse” is no exception to these possibilities, as it paints its fictional picture for us.
That’s exactly the last aspect I’d like to highlight. In this book, the characters wrestle with those typical knee jerk reactions to nudity that are so prevalent, but then they see another perspective and it starts to make sense to them. That journey is one that I hope will encourage readers that have already worked through these issues. Then also, I believe it will be a great resource for those who have never considered such ideas to see the body in a new light.
Here are a few notable quotes from the book (thanks Arid Lasso for the images):
Around this time, a year ago, we put out a post called “The Year of the Locust” which explained how 2020 was for us a good year. “Aching for Eden” is a phrase in a song which was embedded on that post. I thought it would be good to expand on this idea and show why we called the blog Aching for Eden.
As I thought about this post, I went back to the homepage and saw what I had written a year and a half ago, when we launched this site. We had no idea at the time if anyone would read it. We’ve been blown away by the response by our dear readers and friends. Now I am working on a book whose working title is “Surprised Into Freedom: The effortless obliteration of lust and body shame.”
When I saw what I wrote on the homepage, I decided to edit and expand it to the following:
Does your heart ache for the restoration of all things? Can we return to the innocence of Eden in our lives today? Many believe we can’t and any pursuit of this in our fallen state would be in vain. They would rather make Genesis 3 their starting place instead of Genesis 1 and 2. We are far from perfect, however, we do not want that to get in the way of a deep and rich relationship with our Lord. We not only believe God can restore the years the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25), but He has done just that in our own lives. This blog is a testimony to that wonderful place of living not in Adam, but in Christ.
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
REVELATION 21:5 (ESV)
Recently, we read all of Joel 2 again, and see now why the author of the song mentions the phrase “aching for Eden.” You have to go back from verse 25 to Joel 2:3 (NIV): “Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste— nothing escapes them.” There is a lot of poetically depressing language in this chapter foretelling the day of the Lord. Yet, with this, there is still some hope. Is it too hard to imagine that we can exchange God’s judgment for His favor? There are hints that He may relent (v. 14), especially if we rend our heart, not our garments (v. 13).
This passage means a lot to us, because through the rending of our hearts (not our garments) we’ve become like new. Often when Scripture speaks of “new” it’s a sense of “new and improved” or “better than the last.” Our lives certainly got an “upgrade” since embracing naturism. It’s caused us to better our lives in other areas as well, many of them spiritual in nature. The brokenness of the previous versions of both me and my wife has been restored and made new. We may not be able to restore Eden in its totality in this fallen world, but we are so much closer than we were for 20 years of our life together before our change.
Jesus’ prayer was “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10 NIV) This may not mean that we are to walk around naked, as we may in heaven some day. It means much more than this. And yet, we tend to rob God of his power because we haven’t rended our own hearts and embraced His power like we should. Naturism may not be for everyone, but refusing to be a “new and better” version of ourselves is not recommended. God wants his sons and daughters to prophesy in the Spirit (Joel 2:28). He wants to save everyone who calls on Him (Joel 2:32). This includes the issues of lust and body shame. Those are bondages that entrap so many Christians today in epidemic proportions. Many ultimately think (or act) as if the best we can do is deal with and manage these two issues on a daily basis. That’s not God’s intent. He wants to save and rescue completely. He’s waiting for us to rend our hearts. It’s really that simple!
I don’t know how much of this is connecting with you, dear reader. I hope some of this is making sense. We live in the Kingdom of the now and not yet. We are living between two trees. The tree of life that was will be reinstated at the end of time. As we wait for that day, we should make the best of it. We must not throw our hands up in defeat and hope for a better day, when lust will be no more and where we can be naked without shame like in the beginning. If we have a drinking problem, we don’t wait to fix it. If we have a lying problem, we don’t give up hope of overcoming that sin before the end. Why do we think we can do nothing but lust at the sight of flesh? Why must we hate our bodies until they are glorified?
One answer is we have an enemy who hates the image of God and those who bear it. He is hell-bent on deceiving the whole world with his distorted views (Revelation 12:9; John 8:44). He deceives well-intentioned people by masquerading as an angel of light (2 Corinthian 11:14). Sadly, we are making his job easy. Many will remain in bondage without ever experiencing God’s powerful redemption in their lives in these areas.
This is why we are “aching for Eden.” Call it impatience. Call it “immanetizing the eschaton.” We don’t want to wait for a future restoration, when it can be a present reality. It’s impossible for us to want anything but God’s favor, because we’ve lived under His judgment for a long time, and we can attest that His goodness is so much better. We rended our hearts and He is repaying the years the locusts had eaten. I know Hebrews 6:4-6 NIV is talking about salvation, and not about any specific issue individually, but the principle still applies: “those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit,who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age” should not eschew these blessings right now in exchange for a future grace. Grace is for today. Hope is for the present, or it’s not hope at all. We see salvation from sin as something accomplished in Jesus, where our faith is credited as righteousness. But then we act as though deliverance from bondage to lust or body shame is next to impossible this side of heaven. Why the double-mindedness?
May the words of Romans 8:19-26 NIV give us confidence and peace of mind, as we join with all creation in “aching for Eden.”
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
“GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY” How Has Naturism Motivated You To Better Health?
Often as we mature in our Christian walk we discover that some of our beloved scriptures take on a new meaning for us. The deeper understanding that comes with that process is always a benefit for the child of Father God.
The title of this article comes from 1 Corinthians 6:20, “for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” That scripture (in my pre-naturist days) admonished me to not lust or act sexually lewd along with a host of other “thou shalt nots”. It was a verse that often reminded me of my failures rather than carrying a positive connotation.
After becoming a Christian naturist it took on a whole new meaning as I learned the joy of viewing my body as the image of God. I began to look at my body as a special gift that I get to live in with the Spirit of Jesus. That privilege allowed me to enjoy the freedom of my body in a whole new perspective and environment along with a wonderful social network of other naturists. Hiking, fishing, swimming, lounging, worshiping, and a variety of other healthy activities are now part of glorifying God in my body while revealing His image as He originally intended. What a blessing!
But I’m discovering even more of what this verse can mean. For over thirty years I have been a health conscious person. My wife and I have dedicated ourselves to a natural and spiritual pathway for health and healing in our bodies. Much of this mindset was birthed with the onset of my wife’s diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. I began to really enjoy studying all of the wonderful ways the human body functions internally, and how all of the natural supplements, herbs, and therapy can bring health along with good exercise.
It was during my first couple of visits to a Naturist resort that my health consciousness was once again kicked up a notch or two. While enjoying those socially nude days I discovered what poor posture I had. For the first time I was able to take some outdoor selfies while fully nude. Those photos presented a much more natural view of myself as I discovered my posture was slouched with rounded shoulders, a swayed back, and extended belly! On top of that, just a quick glance at a couple of other really healthy guys with excellent posture showed me that improvement was possible and greatly needed.
Now I hear some naturists say, “but you’re beautiful just the way you are!” Of course I am! But that doesn’t negate the need or desire for improvement. I still want to be the best version of me that I possibly can be – spirit, soul, AND body.
I still want to be the best version of me that I possibly can be – spirit, soul, AND body.
As good as all that sounds, it was really just all about ME. I just don’t like sickness and disease and all the grief it can bring. That’s good motivation and has reaped many rewards in spite of the fact that we live in corruptible aging bodies that go haywire every now and then. But then again, I’m discovering there’s more to be grasped from this verse – especially the part about “glorify God.”
It seems I’m coming to a place in my life where I have a different motivation for being as healthy as I possibly can, and that reason is simply to GLORIFY GOD! I know that I can’t keep every disease or infirmity out of my body. I know that I won’t be able to avoid every type of accident that could injure and disable my body. But I keep coming around to the thought that if I am able, then I should do all I possibly can to bring health to my body – not just for me – but for Him and His visible image that I live in for all the world to see!
So I’m beginning to dig a little deeper by paying more attention to what I eat, how I exercise, and what new nutritional and therapeutic information I can apply to my life. It takes a bit more time and focus, but I find it a particular joy now that I’m doing it, not only for me, but for my Father as I live in the Kingdom of Jesus as His image. It’s actually kind of fun!
A reader of this blog who goes by Arid Lasso has been creating these memes out of reading that he is doing. The books he is citing in these are books we have also recommended on our own resources page. I will share some of these a few of my own comments about the quotes. These and future memes our friend will create will also be featured in a collection on our memes page.
I think the first part of this quote would go unchallenged by most. Yes, we should view others incarnationally as sacred embodiments of God’s image, physical temples for His Holy Spirt, fleshly expressions of souls Christ died for. This bit gets mostly affirmed by the majority of Christians. But then the second part of the quote becomes unthinkable to the very people who embrace the first part. If the first part is true, then it should liberate us both from prudery’s impure thinking about the unclad human body and from pornography’s misuse of human nudity for self-gratification. So where is the disconnect? It’s an if then statement. If this is true, then this also is logically true. However, there is a cognitive dissonance in the porno-prudish mindset. Once that is broken, the logic flows and the liberation occurs.
This reaffirms what I was just saying. The logic has to be solid. The “inborn” response to nudity as bad is a mental glitch whose neural pathways must be remapped. This is what happened with me, and the former lie I had believed so long vanished for good. Reject that very body taboo and there is no need to defend a lie any longer. Everything changes, and our response to nudity does not cause uncontrollable lusts, but instead praise of the Creator and love for a fellow image bearer.
Our search must be a search for the truth. There can only be one truth if it is indeed truth. Our enemy is described in John 8:44 (NIV) this way: “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Contrast that with a verse just a few verses prior to this: “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 NIV)
When you look, it’s so easy to see the devastating effects of this form of thinking that is the default way of thinking. Religiously reinforced. While my main bondage was porn and lust, my wife’s bondage was body shame. We both needed deliverance. A redeemed view of the body as the image of God changed us both. These types of bondages in others are now so apparent to us, and it saddens us that, like in our case, years will be wasted without a liberating knowledge of the truth. There is freedom for those brave enough to seek it.
This is what happened to me. Purity culture may have had the best of intentions, but we instead have reaped the consequences of such training and conditioning. The attempts to curb impure thoughts through hyper modesty and covering up have been tried and found wanting. To say they’ve failed at restoring one’s sexual brokenness is an understatement. You say there has to be a better way. I say there is!
This quote is especially fitting at Christmas time, which is around the time you’re reading this if you follow the blog every week. Our Lord was made flesh and dwelt among us. The idea that flesh is bad and spirit is good is a gnostic heresy. While we can give mental ascent to this statement, and agree the heresy is wrong, we miss the fact that we live as though it is true. We decry heresy in one breath and embrace the heresy’s claim in actuality. Spirit good, body bad never ends well. Which is why Satan planted that idea from the very start.
This is one of those arguments that “textiles” don’t know how to handle. That exception and that of doctors and nurses really ought to have the whole house of cards come crashing down. Mrs. Phil delved into this type of reasoning of making exceptions to a non-existent rule in this article entitled, “It should be that easy!“
I’m more and more convinced that legalists do not know they are legalists. I see legalism everywhere and those who hold legalistic views are often oblivious to that fact. Can well-intentioned individuals trying to honor God and please Him be in such grave error by doing so that it’s actually rebellion? I believe they not only can but do. They may do so unwittingly or because they learned to do it. That was pretty much my experience. I just finished Watchman Nee’s classic book, “The Normal Christian Life.” It is an amazing work and in it he says Romans 6 is about freedom from sin, and Romans 7 is about freedom from the Law. He argues that deliverance from sin is not enough, but that we also need deliverance from the Law. This is a light bulb type of revelation that many need to internalize!
Those in the church that would accuse Christian naturists of false teaching, are actually the ones guilty of promoting and perpetuating false teaching. Many are afraid to even broach the subject. More and more people are speaking out against the purity culture message, but they stop short of the full application of their new reasoning. They reject the blame game, and take responsibility for their own lust, but continue to be squeamish when it comes to nudity. Again, this gnostic heresy that gets played out in our modern times is the root of all that dehumanizes. Those humans who bear God’s image (and that’s all of us) are a blend of flesh and spirit that is complexly and perfectly intertwined. We cannot separate the two. What is done in the flesh is also done in the spirit. And what is done in the spirit is also done in the flesh. Can we be whole persons? Can we maintain purity in both aspects of Imago Dei: body and soul? Not likely if we persist in an attitude that holds as “bad” what God made as “very good.” Let’s stop avoiding the real issues, and stop trying to “cover up” the problem!
Fear has been something I’ve always struggled with. I almost always go to the worst case scenario. As a mom that only increased. From the moment I found out I was pregnant with my firstborn, fear was part of my parenting style. This season in the world has been full of fear. It’s one of Satan’s most effective weapons. Believers and unbelievers alike fall prey to it. At the beginning of the chaos, I lived full of fear! I was downright crazy! I’m not proud of it. I liked the saying, “prepare for the worst, hope for the best.” I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad philosophy, but I was using it try and justify my fear. It’s smart and even Biblical to prepare for hard times, both physically and spiritually. Proverbs 6:6-8 says, “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.” (NLT) We see in Scripture times where the Lord warned of coming famine. What did the people do then? They prepared and stored up for the times when food would be scarce. There is wisdom in preparation.
Matthew 25:1-12 gives us this parable on being prepared, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’” (NASB)
When fear sets, there are 3 ways we can react. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. You can freeze, flee or fight. I honestly think there is a time for each of these. I don’t think freezing in some scenarios makes you weak. Sometimes in dangerous moments, not moving can save your life. I don’t think fleeing some scenarios makes you a coward. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to walk (or run) away. In some scenarios, freezing or fleeing are wise decisions. I’ve had several conversations that could have developed into tell-all conversations, but in those moments I evaluated who I was talking to and either out of fear, or with wisdom, made the decision to freeze or flee and redirect the path the conversation was on.
As for fighting, there are definitely scenarios where fighting is the wisest thing to do to push back the fear. This blog was started because Phil and I wanted to keep a record of our experiences. Fairly quickly we decided we also wanted to be able to share it to help people understand our reasoning and to share our research. Initially it may have been out of fear, but it turned into something we were preparing for. We are so grateful that we have this blog for that purpose, but we are also blown away and humbled that the Lord has used it to help others as well. It’s an honor to be used in this way!
At the beginning of this journey there was a lot of fear. Fear of being nude in front of others, fear of others finding out, fear of how this was really going to affect our family, and so much more. Over time though, that fear has turned into peace that what we are doing is not condemned by God, and our confidence in His goodness and blessings has grown immensely. This summer I was again struggling with the fear of being found out. At the Christian Naturist gathering I was speaking to one of the men about my fears and he showed me the “Nail to the Cross Prayer”. He walked me through it and it was one of the most spiritual moments of my life. If you are not familiar with it, here are the steps.
Father, I bless my spirit to be prominent over my body and soul.
Father, I nail (thought, feeling, spirit, etc) to the Cross.
Father, I break all agreements, known and unknown, that I have made with (thought, feeling, spirit, etc.) and I repent of joining with (thought, feeling, spirit, etc.).
Father, I ask that you send (thought, feeling, spirit, etc.) away from me.
Father, what do you have to give me in place of (thought, feeling, spirit, etc.)?
Listen to the Father to see what He has to give you to replace the thought, feeling, spirit, etc.
I seal (what the Father told me) in my spirit.
When I did this prayer I nailed fear to the cross and replaced it with joy.
Here are some Scriptures that have helped me deal with fear.
Psalm 34:4-5, “I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.” (NLT)
Psalm 46:1-3, “God is our refuge and strength, A very ready help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth shakes and the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.” (NASB)
John 14:26-27, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you.Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful.” (NASB)
Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
I have discovered that fear no longer has the hold on me that it did before. I always want what is best for my kids, but I’ve come to realize that I only have so much control over what happens to them. I can’t be with them 24/7, and honestly, even if I was, I’m still not going to be able to stop every bad or hard thing from happening to them. I always want to be able to control the narrative surrounding our journey in naturism, but I know that that too is out of our hands. The Lord is in charge of our lives and ultimately it is His will that will be done. I know that God wants good things for my kids, even when they have to go through hard things.
I know that God may use some hard things in our lives to bring about His plan. We’ve known several families who were confronted about naturism and went through very rough times in their lives because of it, but through their stories, I know that God used those times to bring blessing. We can worry and be afraid, or we can prepare and be ready for the roads the Lord will lead us down. When we are prepared for where the Lord wants to lead us and prepared for the attacks of Satan, we don’t have to fear them. In fact, it’s in some of those times that we get to experience an intimacy with the Lord that only comes through hard times and eventually the joy of the Lord. James 1:2-4 “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (MSG)
1 Peter 3:15 says, “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” (NLT)
The hope I have is found in Christ. It’s found in the love and sacrifice of giving His life for mine (and yours). It’s found in the miracle and majesty of an empty tomb. It’s found in the daily patience and forgiveness of a gracious Savior. It’s found in the hope and assurance of everlasting life when my time on earth is over. It’s found in the knowledge of Psalm 91:2-4, “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” (NLT)
We have a friend who has created some memes that are funny, but insightful and thought provoking. He let us use them in this post as well as in a collection on our own memes page.
Below I’ve combined these memes with some commentary from Fig Leaf Forum:
No one believes that God would ask one of His faithful servants to sin, and yet here He asks Isaiah to remove all his clothing for a period of three years. Actually, in this passage voluntary nakedness is commanded and involuntary nakedness is prophesied. When God asked His prophet to undress, Isaiah did so willingly and without shame. But notice that it was to be a sign to the Egyptians and Cushites that one day soon they would be led away in a state of shameful nakedness as captives. It was a common practice in those days to strip prisoners in order to humiliate them. This is another example of nakedness resulting from deprivation, which [is a whole different issue addressed elsewhere]. (Editor FLF #2)
Here again a prophet voluntarily strips off his clothes in the service of his God. No sin or shame is attributed to Saul for this action. In fact, Saul’s actions are instantly recognized as those of a prophet of God. Perhaps this was not so uncommon in those days! (Editor FLF #2)
Here was a man doing common work who for practical reasons took off his clothes. The thing is, since their boat was close enough for Jesus to see and talk to the fisherman, one must assume that others, including women and children, might also have witnessed such conduct from time to time. After all, in more primitive times bodies of water like lakes and rivers were commonly used for bathing or for laundry and often served as the source for drinking water. It is not unreasonable to suggest that women and children were often present at the shoreline, nor is it unreasonable to suggest that Peter’s behavior was not unusual for people doing hard and dirty work. (Editor FLF #2)
Regarding Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, in John 13:4 the plural use of the word “garments” indicates more than one. This plural translation is repeated in most versions of the Bible. You stated [in FLF #37] that the Greek word himation meant only one garment was removed by Jesus. Regardless whether one or more garments were removed, I believe Jesus was fully naked here at the foot washing event and afterwards. John says He “took a towel, and girded himself.” If He was clothed in any way, surely He would have draped the towel over one arm or shoulder. This may be an assumption on my part, but surely it is a logical and probable one. In John 20:27, Jesus asks doubting Thomas to “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side.” Thomas had to actually touch and feel the flesh and body of Jesus. The Bible does not record that any clothes had to be removed for this to be done! Surely, if Jesus was clothed, the fact that He had to remove his clothing would have been recorded in this Scripture passage. It was not mentioned. Yes, Jesus could have had all the clothes He wanted, but He did not wear them. In the foot washing incident of John 13, what better way could there have been to teach His followers true humility and humbleness than for Jesus to divest Himself of all manmade trappings (clothes)? The event loses any forceful impact if He was clothed in any garment! (Doug from Australia in FLF #43)
Remember when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem? What did the multitudes do? They cast their garments upon the “foal of an ass” that He rode upon [MATTHEW 21.7], and also upon the path (road) that He traveled [MATTHEW 21.8]. It appears that at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem there might have been a bunch of “nekkid” followers, joyful that the Kingdom of God had finally come. Many will try to tell you that they cast only their extra garments aside, and thus were not completely nude. Israelites (and particularly the followers of Jesus) were, as a rule, extremely poor. Many were beggars, and it seems unlikely that they had the extra clothing necessary to cast just certain garments aside during the triumphal procession into Jerusalem. Did those who had a large wardrobe available at home tell the Master, “Wait a minute while we go home to get some extra garments to cast aside during Your triumphal procession?” Did the rich who had the extra clothing available to cast aside at that time share them with those who only had a single garment?It’s quite likely that some of the worshipers at the triumphal entry were nude during at least part of the procession. None of my Bibles quote Jesus as saying anything like, “Get your clothes back on, you ‘nekkid’ rotten sinners.” This would have been the perfect opportunity for God to have included in His Word this little bit of information regarding simple nudity, if it’s true as so many tell us that being clothed is so critical to righteousness. Was Jesus so caught up in the moment that He forgot to give us that teaching? Could it have been that Jesus might have accepted the casting aside of His follower’s garments as a symbol of casting aside the world in favor of the Kingdom of God? Could this same casting aside of a symbol of the world (garments) be the reason why so many nudists claim to feel closer to God while nude? (Bill in California FLF #71)
In this passage, Micah was mourning because God’s people had been in sin and God finally declared judgement on them. The word for “naked” in this passage is again “arom.” This passage gives less context than the Isaiah passage for one to assume that Micah would have been fully nude (because being only in one’s undergarments was considered a type of being “nude” back then, and Micah was merely mourning), but it is still mentioned nonetheless, and so is included here. (Adrian from Ohio FLF Dec 19, 2010)
“Blind Bartemeaus is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. The thing that catches my eye in this story is Bart’s casting aside his cloak. As many have stated, it was not customary for people to wear underwear in those days. If any did, it would have been the rich. Bartemeaus is obviously not rich. He casts aside his garment and walks to Jesus naked. Jesus does not comment on this at all, but instead asks what Bartemeaus wants. Bart wants his sight and Jesus gives it to him.”I may be stretching things a bit, but to me, we all have to come to Jesus naked. We have to come to Him with nothing hidden, nothing held back. We must come to God is such a way that we are open completely and ready to receive the gift of grace that is offered. For those of us who enjoy naturism, this takes on a whole new meaning. I started my re-interest in naturism precisely because I felt God calling me to come to Him without reservation. I followed in the footsteps of Bartemeaus. When asked what I wanted, I replied to know Him better. I still do.” (Stephen FLF November 10, 2005)
So there you have it! Several different memes from both the Old and New Testaments. And you’re still trying to tell me…?
I recall a time when I played sports in school. There was a communal shower with no separations or stalls between shower heads. In college the showers had a column with four shower heads in either direction, so you are facing another teammate as you get clean after a sweaty practice or game.
Those times are long gone. Now there is way too much privacy. More recently I remember going to a church camp where there were private stalls for showers, a curtain to hide behind and another area as a buffer to change in with a second curtain AND a sign out front to show that it’s occupied. This includes several layers of protection from having any amount of flesh being seen by another person. The newest generations are obsessed with privacy. How is that working out for us as a society?
Chad W. Thompson spends the bulk of a chapter (chapter 3) in his book “That Famous Fig Leaf.” noting that:
The circumstances in which nudity can occur outside of a sexual context are becoming more and more elusive, as is indicated by the disposition of many adolescents and millennials towards communal showers. Yet bodies that are, at least partially, exposed for the purpose of sensual gratification are everywhere. We live in a culture whose inhabitants spend billions of dollars a year to see each other naked on Internet sites and in pornographic films, yet are often uncomfortable changing in front of each other in locker rooms or even being seen in a swimsuit on the beach. This is due to either bodily insecurity, or fear of being sexually objectified. Could it be that we have so profoundly fused the image of the exposed body with sexual gratification that there is no context left for it to be laid bare without evoking either shame or arousal?
Thompson’s work is well-researched as he quotes various other author’s books and articles of interest. This excerpt is especially enlightening:
A 2009 article from The Oregonian, “Shower Together at School? No Way, Dude,” observed: It’s a rare student who showers after sports or gym classes these days. A quick dab of deodorant and a dousing of cologne or perfume, and it’s on to the next class . . . Communal showers—the awkward rite of passage into puberty—are a thing of the past. In fact, Oregon schools haven’t required showers for at least a decade. The same is true nationally.77 The New York Times, in a 1996 article “Students Still Sweat, They Just Don’t Shower,” wrote: Students across the United States have abandoned school showers, and their attitudes seem to be much the same whether they live in inner-city high-rises, on suburban cul-de-sacs or in far-flung little towns in cornfield country.78 The article goes on to quote student after student listing all the reasons they would never shower, or change clothes, in front of their same-gender classmates. “You don’t want to get made fun of,”79 stated one fifteen-year-old boy. “. . . you don’t feel very good about yourself,”80 said an overweight student who used to race to the locker rooms after class so that he’d be done showering before the other boys arrived. “You never know who’s looking at you,”81 said an eighteen-year-old female from Illinois. Quotes from these students’ teachers only further illustrate the fact that students are changing the way they change. “These guys don’t want to undress in front of each other,” said a high school teacher in suburban Chicago. “I just don’t get it. When I started in ’74, nobody even thought about things like this. The whole thing is just hard for me to accept.”82 An Illinois football coach said “These guys would play a two-and-a-half-hour game, and then they’d just want to go home, all muddy, so they could have their privacy. Used to be, when you get sweaty and stinky, you wanted to take a shower.”83Also mentioned in the Times article is a boys’ tennis team that practices mornings before school at the community racquet club, just a few blocks from the high school. “But rather than shower at the club, many of the boys get picked up by their parents and driven back home to shower, and then return to school.”84 The article goes on to say: A generation ago, when most schools mandated showers, a teacher would typically monitor students and hand out towels, making sure that proper hygiene was observed. In schools with pools, students were sometimes required to swim naked, and teachers would conduct inspections for cleanliness that schools today would not dare allow, whether because of greater respect for children or greater fear of lawsuits.85 Mass contempt for public showers seems, to many, to be something which emerged only in recent history. Yet when the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to file a lawsuit in federal court over a mandatory shower policy in Pennsylvania, the lawyer who worked the case was overwhelmed by correspondence from adults who supported him. “People remembered their own humiliation. I myself remember moving from my little country school to the city school, and being mortified about having to take showers. But in those days, you did what the schools said, you did what the teachers said.”86
And later he goes on to say:
According to the New York Times: Modesty among young people today seems, in some ways, out of step in a culture that sells and celebrates the uncovered body in advertisements, on television and in movies. But some health and physical education experts contend that many students withdraw precisely because of the overload of erotic images—so many perfectly toned bodies cannot help but leave ordinary mortals feeling a bit inadequate.89 In a more recent Times article, “Men’s Locker Room Designers Take Pity on Naked Millennials,” Choire Sicha reports on the emerging demand for nudity-free locker rooms. Sicha describes the fear which drives men to slide their underwear on under their towels: “Each day, thousands upon thousands of men in locker rooms nationwide struggle to put on their underwear while still covered chastely in shower towels, like horrible breathless arthropods molting into something tender-skinned. They writhe, still moist, into fresh clothes.”90Bryan Dunkelberger of S3 Design, an architecture firm that designs locker rooms, told Sicha: In the last 20 years, maybe 25 years, there’s a huge cultural shift in people that ultimately affects gyms . . . Old-timers, guys that are 60-plus, have no problem with a gang shower and whatever. The Gen X-ers are a little bit more sensitive to what they’re spending and what they’re expecting. And the millennials, these are the special children. They expect all the amenities. They grew up in families that had Y.M.C.A. or country club memberships. They expect certain things. Privacy, they expect.91 Mark Joseph Stern, writing for Slate.com, commented on Sicha’s article, “While older men generally remain comfortable being undressed among others, younger ones insist on maximum privacy, pining for a way to strip, shower, and change clothes without even a flash of nudity.”92 Why is there such aversion to nudity among millennials? In the article “Nothing to See Here: A History of Showers in Sports,” ESPN sports writer David Fleming describes the sociological constructs that converge when clothes come off, most of which are far more pronounced today than in the age of the boomers: When stinky teammates strip down to their most vulnerable state, it conjures, for some, a range of emotions: their most awkward memories (middle school gym class), deepest insecurities (size), purest symbolism (baptism) and most ignorant defense mechanisms (homophobia).93
The normalization of nudity can do wonders for the fear and insecurity of so many. Yet, the opportunity for nudity in a non-erotic context is a rarity. What is also mind boggling and perhaps the subject of another article altogether is the rise and commonplace of sexting among the same people who would have trouble changing in public among their own sex. The sexting is often done without a face in the photos, so that the headless body can’t be traced back to the person. There is more confidence this way, but really it is a lack of confidence to not include ones face. A headless photo of the body — how much more dehumanizing can one be?
The naturist experience stands in stark contrast to all of this (do you see what I did there?). Their photos are evidence. Naturist photos are like anyone else’s vacation photos, except for the fact that they are naked. Some people ask why naturists take and share their photos? I would ask why non-naturists take and share their photos? They want others to share in the experience of where they were and what they were doing. Those who know them will live vicariously through their trip to Disney through the record of photo ops. For naturists, it’s the exact same. They took a trip, not to Disney, but to natural hot springs, for example, and maybe you should add it to your bucket list. Their smiles are always huge as naturists are often at peace and joyful about what they are doing. They aren’t ashamed of their bodies or having their heads attached to them. Doesn’t this sound like a more wholesome and healthy way of being? I think so.
In a world that is way too private, naturists in essence have not much need of it. I grew up with privacy at a premium. The ability to be so matter a fact now with nudity is a blessing in many ways. I’m no longer repressed under a body shame taboo. Nakedness isn’t mysterious, and the body isn’t a source of lust like I once thought it was. It just is a body, and more importantly it’s a somebody.
Just the other day, my wife and I went over to some naturist friend’s house for the day. As we arrived we were greeted by a naked man. After going inside, we were told we could also get comfortable if we wanted to. That’s what we did. We ate together, played games, and eventually took to the hot tub on the porch and had a wonderful time and great conversation. None of this had any sexual connotation or anything I would call indecent. Quite the contrary. It was a sweet time of fellowship. When it was time to head home, we changed back into our street clothes and left. No shame. No insecurity. Just comfortable and intimate (not in the sense that some would interpret intimacy).
And that’s just the difference. Where some are not comfortable dressing in a locker room amongst those of their same gender, others are completely in their element hanging out (literally) in their own skin in mixed company. I’ve been on both sides of that spectrum. I know what both those feelings are like. I have no desire of going back to how I was before. I strongly believe that the uninhibited version of myself is the more sane, mentally and emotionally healthy, and well-rounded individual. One experience is fraught with anxiety and hang-ups; the other replete with ultimate relaxation and relational bliss. For me, it’s an obvious choice. You CAN have too much privacy.
Chad W. Thompson, That famous fig leaf : uncovering the holiness of our bodies (Cascade Books, 2019), 28-32.
Sicha, Choire. “Men’s Locker Room Designers Take Pity on Naked Millennials.” The New York Times (December 3, 2015). http://www.nytimes.com/2015 /12/04/fashion/mens-style/mens-locker-room-designers-take-pity-on-naked-millennials.html?hpw&rref=fashion&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region®ion=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0.
As a pastor my goal every week was to attempt to make the complex simple. As a simple guy myself I felt that I had a better grasp of Bible doctrine if I found ways to put it into simple terms. I know, many pastors pride themselves on being able to wax eloquent every week, but that was just not my style.
Recently I decided to see if we could do the same thing when looking at the subject of biblical naturism and here is what I came up with. It really boils down to two simple questions. The first question we must ask is how does God view the naked body…what is His view on the subject? By the way, that should be the basis for discovery on any doctrine. What is God’s view on grace? What is God’s view on forgiveness? What is God’s view on the Law? As far as I am concerned, the best place to find out what God’s view on a given subject is the Word of God…the Bible.
So, what is God’s view of the naked body or the body in general?
Psalm 139:14 – I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee…
Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 2:25 – And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Genesis 1:31 – And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.
1 Corinthians 12:23 – And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
In a nutshell, God’s view of us and our naked bodies is that they are:
formed by His hand
made in His image
nothing to be ashamed of
that no part of the body is less beautiful than any other part
Now, we get to the second question…does your view of the naked body match God’s view? Does your pastor’s view of the naked body match God’s view? Does my church’s view of the naked body match God’s view?
If it doesn’t, one of the views need to change so that they match. I am going to recommend that you not demand that God change His view, I am going to recommend that you get in line with God and His view.
I hope that this little exercise also helps with any discussion opportunities that may arise in the future. It’s the perfect question to ask…does your view of the body match God’s view?
A topic of much debate in Christendom (sadly) is baptism. The method or mode, the purpose, the people doing the baptizing, all of these are discussed at length. Is it immersion? It is sprinkling? Is it for infants or believers above the age of accountability? This article will not address any of these issues. What is never spoken about, hardly, is the fact that baptisms in the early church were performed in the nude. Is this is a shock to you? Keep reading…
At my own church, there is a sign by the baptistry that expresses the need for a robe to be worn over one’s clothes. This, especially for the females, will be the most modest approach and will not cause others to stumble in their thinking (is the general, though faulty, idea behind this). Church is not the place for a wet T-shirt contest, I get that! That would certainly not be appropriate. However, when I saw this sign, I immediately wondered how those in the church would react if they knew that ancient baptisms were performed devoid of any coverings at all! Candidates for baptism would strip off all of their clothes and jewelry to enter the waters naked and unashamed, and in mixed company. It was not scandalous like it would be today. It was just the way it was.
At some point prudery took over, and the art that portrayed these true facts about baptism got censored. See the tragic defacing of these historical pieces:
This should be proof enough that this was indeed the practice. However, should you need more convincing, you’re at the right place!
For the first 400 years in the Church, baptism was a nude practice. This was the pattern of the Jewish mikveh ritual before it was a Christian rite. Bathing outdoors was commonplace, so this was not offensive as it would be today. To quote Lightfoot in “Horae Hebraicae Talmuducae,” he acknowledges that: “Every person baptized must dip his whole body, now stripped and made naked, at one dipping. And wheresoever in the Law washing of the body is mentioned, it means nothing else than the washing of the whole body.”1
Robert Robinson wrote a 580 page book called “The History of Baptism” in 1817. In it he speaks of Jesus’ nakedness when he washed his disciples feet:
In regard to the nakedness of Jesus just now observed, it should be recollected, that, however shocking it may appear to English manners, and how rude and indecent soever it would be justly reckoned her to imitate the custom of introducing naked into publick company, yet in the ancient eastern world it was far otherwise, and at this day all over Italy, in places sacred and profane, statues, pictures, vases, and books exhibit such sights, and nobody is offended.2
He goes on to say:
Let it be observed, next, that the primitive Christians baptized naked. Nothing is easier than to give proof of this by quotations from the authentick writings of the men who administered baptism, and who certainly know in what way they themselves performed it. There is no ancient historical fact better authenticated than this. The evidence doth not go on the meaning of the single word naked; for then a reader might suspect allegory; but on many facts reported, and many reasons assigned for the practice.3
Furthermore, the symbolism of the sacrament takes on a richer meaning when it is practiced as it was intended.
Cyril of Jerusalem (313–386) brings significance to the naked portion of this ceremony in this way: “You put off your clothes, which is an emblem of putting off the old man with his deeds; and being thus divested, you stood naked, imitating Christ, that was naked upon the cross, who by his nakedness spoiled principalities and powers, publicly triumphing over them in the cross.” He adds, “‘Immediately, then, upon entering, you removed your tunics. Having stripped, you were naked. … Marvellous! You were naked in the sight of all, and were not ashamed.'”4
Of the Bishop of Jerusalem’s reliable account, William Tefler says, “Part of this heritage was no doubt a tradition of doctrine, and in particular of norms of baptismal catechizes. For all the freshness with which Cyril handles his matter, in catechetical lecturing, we may judge that he is guided by church tradition, when we note how impervious he is to the contemporary theological disturbances.”5
Theodore of Mopsuestia (c. 400) later added, “Adam was naked at the beginning, and unashamed. This is why your clothing must be taken off as baptism restores right relation to God.” He also said, “You draw near to the holy baptism and before all you take off your garments. As in the beginning when Adam was naked and was in nothing ashamed of himself…”6
St. Hippolytus, presbyter of Rome (c. 215), said that total nudity was required. The rule ordered, “let no one go down to the water having any alien object with them,” and directs women to remove even their jewelry and the combs from their hair.” And also these instructions:
“When they come to the water, the water shall be pure and flowing… Then they shall take off all their clothes. The children shall be baptized first. … After this, the men will be baptized. Finally, the women, after they have unbound their hair and removed their jewelry. No one shall take any foreign object with themselves down into the water…. Then, after these things, the bishop passes each of them on nude to the elder who stands at the water. They shall stand in the water naked. A deacon, likewise, will go down with them into the water.”
After being immersed three separate times,
“when they have come up out of the water, they shall be anointed by the elder with the Oil of Thanksgiving, saying, ‘I anoint you with holy oil in the name of Jesus Christ.’ And so each one drying himself with a towel they shall now put on their clothes, and after let them be together in the assembly.”7
John the Deacon, writing around AD500, notices something similar. “They are commanded to go in naked, even down to their feet, so that [they may show that] they have put off the earthly garments of mortality. The church has ordained these things for many years with watchful care, even though the old books may not reveal traces of them.”8
Michael P. Wilson suggests that, “We should resist any suggestion that nakedness is being employed lightly. It is a costly word to express a costly truth. The saints of God shall, on the last day, be unashamed before their God as were Adam and Eve prior to the Fall. At baptism, though we do not completely and immediately escape the ravages of sin, we do at least enter into the secure promise of God. Further, just as at the eucharist we enact a foretaste of the heavenly banquet, so too, in naked baptism, we enact in a symbolic washing from head to foot a foretaste of the restoration of the innocence, shamelessness and joy that is only for those who find themselves in the presence of God and without sin.”9
Why have modern scholars ignored this evidence? Why did the pendulum swing so far in the other prudish direction? The influence of Plato and Gnosticism, especially with the desert fathers may have something to do with it. However, that is a topic for another blog post.
In a brilliant book Meeting at the River, part allegory and part autobiography, David Hatton depicts a scene of a group of people of all ages having a baptism service at the river’s edge which then results in bathing and skinny dipping, without a shred of indecency. An elder from the group, the ancient in this vision, comes over to the protagonist who is observing all of this in disbelief. Much of the book is their conversation, which includes these key sentences:
“We came here today to find if you are ready to be healed.” “Healed?” “Delivered from the wall dividing your mind for so long,”he explained. “On one side is a false ‘knowledge,’ a gnosis present since childhood. It tells you that the naked body is an object of indecency and sexual lust. Ever since you arrived here, that portion of your mind resists what has been displayed before your eyes. You were raised to reject it by the obscene view of God’s image learned in your upbringing. This false view of the body has been passed from one generation to the next with a zeal that rivals devotion to Christ Himself. It is the womb from which even more defiling imaginations are conceived and given birth.
“On the other side of that wall, your mind sees these unclothed families in the same way you observe nakedness in caring for mothers or for the sick. Your dismay at watching our baptism ritual came from the defiled side of your thinking. But the side informed by your long years of working with the naked body [as a labor and delivery nurse] began to wish this scene to be just as it seemed—a time of innocent fellowship. Only one of these two perceptions is true, and you already know which one it is.”
…These precious fleshly bodies of your brothers and sisters in Christ are just what they are, and nothing more. Only deceitful imaginations paint them otherwise.10
Whereas a nude baptism in any given church today would prove scandalous, it is not because the bodies are lewd or obscene in and of themselves. It is because our minds are. I had a friend recently say to me, “Isn’t it interesting how the Renewed Mind shows you that thinking on the beauty of the human body is “pure, true, noble, admirable, and excellent?” I’d have to agree with him. Having lived most of my life where the sight of a nude baptism would be a cause for stumbling and bring on all sort of impure thoughts, I never want to go back to that way of thinking! Now, to witness such a nude baptism ceremony would be a joy, because of the joyous occasion of baptism and the purity of heart on display. Nothing more. Nothing less.
1 “Baptism,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, I,1., p. 415.
2 Robert Robinson, The History of Baptism (From the Press of Lincoln & Edmands, 1817), p. 93.
3 Ibid., p. 94.
4 Bettenson, Henry, ed., The Later Christian Fathers: A Selection from the Writings of the Fathers from St. Cyril of Jerusalem to St. Leo the Great. (London: Oxford University Press) p. 42-44.
5 Cyril of Jerusalem, Saint,” Encyclopedia Britannica Micropedia (15th Ed.). I, 3., p. 61.
6 Quoted in Carnal Knowing—Female Nakedness and Religious Meaning in the Christian West, Margaret R. Miles, Beacon Press, Boston, 1989, p. 33-34.
7 Dix, Rev. Gregory, ed., The Treatise on The Apostolic Tradition of St. Hippolytus of Rome, Bishop and Martyr. (Ridgefield, Connecticut: Morehouse Publishing) p.33-38.
8 Quoted in Carnal Knowing—Female Nakedness and Religious Meaning in the Christian West, Margaret R. Miles, Beacon Press, Boston, 1989, p. 33-34.
If you ask a Bible scholar what 1 Corinthians 12 is about, they are bound to answer something having to do with the analogy of the body as it relates to unity in the Church. That is the undeniable context of this verse in question today. This blog is not Church unity, although that is a topic near to my own heart. It’s a blog about Christian naturism. Sadly, some have used verses 22-23 as an objection against the views of Christian naturists. This is a classic example of proof texting and taking verses out of their clear context.
In fact, those who would say Christian naturists are in error and as a result, you must break fellowship with them, they who maintain this position are in direct violation of the greater message of 1 Corinthians 12. Christian naturists are part (and I’d add a vital part) of the body of Christ, and not to be amputated. There must be no division between Christians with naturist freedom versus other Christians. We are not to say of another believer, “I have no need of you.” In an attempt to project prudish and repressive views onto others, believers attack other believers who hold different convictions and in so doing they commit the sin of divisiveness.
However, that is not the point of this post. Context aside, what is meant by the phrase “unpresentable parts”? That’s what our new video dives into in great detail. Watch the video and the script will be provided at the bottom. I would have to conclude, from all of this, that this verse is no reason to abandon the amazing Eden-like freedom of Christian naturism.
1 Corinthians 12:22-25:
“The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater care, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.”
Like many passages in the New Testament, this one is actually a metaphor for unity in the church and for how each person plays a unique part in the makeup of the body of Christ.
However, as these verses have been wrongly used to shame our physical bodies, let us dig into the idea that some parts of our bodies are “unpresentable.” What do we think these parts are? Our 21st century western perspective would jump to the conclusion that the passage must be speaking of breasts and genitals.
If we lived in another place or time, however, we might think our ankles or our ears, or even our eyes were “unpresentable,” while having no concern with exposing the entirety of the remainder of our bodies!
The Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary informs us that the phrase “less presentable members” refers to “those limbs which we conceal from sight in accordance with custom, but in the exposure of which there would be no indecency.”
Heinrich Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament explains that Paul was referring primarily to the inner organs, (the intestines, the brain, the heart) but allows for a reference to the delicate external organs (ears, eyes, genitals) as well.
Modern pietists might “strain at a gnat,” or hunt for a needle in this haystack to proof-text the idea that some body parts are worse than others, but in this search, they’ll only find acres of hay.
Our true focus should be that God has called the entire body: good [see Genesis 1:31].
What, then, does “unpresentable” mean? If one is going out in a sand storm, it is smart to cover one’s face. It is “unpresentable” to the environmental conditions at the time. If you are going into a very cold environment, you will want to cover all of your exposed flesh. In that situation, it is “less presentable.” Our brains, our hearts, our lungs— to each of these, God has given more honor by enclosing them within our bodies. They are “unpresentable,” but “more honorable.”
It is only our culture, feeding on customs and the passage of time, that has wrongly concluded that our genitalia or areolae are dishonorable and exist in a state of continuous shame.
If we continue to pass down faulty information and myths to our children, these meaningless traditions will continue… until someone asks a simple question: why?
Before we say “because God said so,” or “because the Bible said so,” we should ask the simple question: Really?
The issue is not that our reproductive organs are inherently bad. Sometimes, they just get in the way! When not being exposed to harsh elements or strapped down because of exercise or work, our vulnerable external body parts are just as beautiful and “presentable” as anything else.
The Christian walk provides life and freedom. Next time you have the opportunity to bare your skin to the sunshine, let it beam! God is smiling on all of your created parts.