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!)
Another common objection to Christian naturism is that seeing a nude woman will provoke lust and cause a man to sin. Case in point: Bathsheba and David. Bathsheba really gets a bad rap, but really, David is the one at fault. After all, Bathsheba was just taking a bath. She was doing what people did in those days. David had a view of people’s rooftops and he watched, and what he did was the sin. Seeing isn’t the sin. Looking with intent or desire, and coveting what is not yours (lust) is. Public bathing was a common sight, whether a rooftop or river or creek. Witnessing a person bathing can be perfectly innocent. Coveting, adultery, and murder (as in the case of David) are clear violations against God’s commandments.
As Chad Thompson wrote on page 90 of his book, That Famous Fig Leaf:
The story of David and Bathsheba is often referenced as a biblical admonition of nudity, as if Bathsheba was tempting David by bathing in the courtyard. Yet every other woman in Jerusalem did the same thing. Whether male or female, rich or poor, outdoor bathing was universal to the ancient cultures of both Egypt and Israel. The second chapter of Exodus even recounts Pharaoh’s daughter bathing in the open river while Jewish commoners walk about. Women participating in the culturally natural phenomenon of open bathing was not anything King David wasn’t used to seeing on a daily basis. What led him to rape his neighbor’s wife was not her public bath, but the evil in his own heart. Furthermore, if Bathsheba had committed any sin by exposing her body in public, it would seem odd that Nathan made her the “innocent lamb” in his story.
Watch this video to see a surprising but true example of public nudity that was church sanctioned:
For more studies on baptism practices of the early church read this short paper here.
Watch the other videos currently available in the Objections series on this playlist.
I remember having the talk. No not that talk, the one about fig leaves and God making clothes for Adam and Eve. I was in kindergarten. I went to a friend’s house and we took our clothes off to play. I don’t know who suggested that activity, but it was probably me. I did suggest that we take our naked play outside. So we climbed out the window in his room and played in the grass out back behind his apartment complex. There was nothing inappropriate, other than breaking social convention, that is. It was all fun and games until his mom caught us, then it was game over!
That’s what brought on the talk. His mom told my parents what we had done, and my parents took me home and sat me down. They told me I can’t be doing that kind of thing, and went on to lecture me about how God clothed Adam and Eve, and we need to be clothed now at all times. The inner nudist in me started to die and shame started taking its place.
It would be half a lifetime later that I would revisit what my well-intentioned parents taught me that day. I had never really pondered God’s question to Adam and Eve, “Who said you were naked?” I never thought much about clothes being an invention of humans (with some help or suggestions from a certain serpent). I was duped like all of humanity. I exchanged the truth of God for a lie. It’s time to reclaim the truth. That’s what this video is about…
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.
This is an incredible guest re-post from our personal friend, Matthew Neal of “The Biblical Naturist.” (See the original post here.) Matthew’s blog has so much great content presented as an honest evaluation under the strictest rules of interpretation demonstrates that God’s Word actually supports the naturist perspective of the human body and permits naturist practices. He has graciously given us his permission to re-blog this article here.
Why would a God-fearing, Bible-believing, Christ-following Christian choose to be a naturist?
I suppose all sorts of reasons might pop into someone’s mind if they were of the opinion that biblical Christianity and naturism were incompatible. I also suppose that all of those reasons would amount to—in one way or another—discounting one or all of the descriptions given in the question posed above.
In other words, I suspect that most would assume that if a person chose to be a naturist, they would only do so if they were NOT genuinely God-fearing, Bible-believing, and/or Christ-following!
So, are professing Christians who practice naturism really only deceiving themselves when they claim to still fear God and believe the Bible? Can they be real Christians at all? Are they really harboring evil desires or secret sins that are being expressed outwardly through the acceptance and practice of social nudity?
Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself. And—for the record—I do consider myself a God-fearing, Bible-believing Christ-follower. Do I have a hidden and sinful motivation for being a naturist?
The Apostle Paul made and interesting statement in Gal. 1:10… “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (NIV)
Some people must have accused Paul of preaching the Gospel in order to gain the accolades of people. Paul responds—in so many words— “You’ve got to be kidding!” If I was looking for applause, I’d do it some other way!” Or as Eugene Peterson phrased it in The Message,“If my goal was popularity, I wouldn’t bother being Christ’s slave.”
Well, I can relate to that sentiment! I would put it this way:
I would NOT be a naturist if…
… I were only trying to gain the approval of people.
Trust me. I’ve endured more criticism, faced more condemnation, and suffered more intentionally personal and hurtful attacks as a result of my becoming a naturist than anything I’ve ever done in my life! If I was motivated by a desire to be popular or make people like me, this is a stupid way to do it. I’m not that dumb. An over-inflated ego is not my motivation.
Of course, that’s not the only motivation that people may have presumed to be in my heart; there are other motivations that I have been accused of as well. I can tell you that in each case, if they had been true of me, they would not have led me to embrace naturism.
I would NOT be a naturist if…
… I were actually a voyeur, eager only to see more naked flesh.
Voyeurs do not do “their thing” publicly or openly. It is a secret fetish. To be sure, when I was still struggling with pornography, I did lots of voyeuristic things in private or with my computer… never openly, though. The last thing I ever wanted to do was to openly admit that I wanted to look at naked women for the sake of sexual arousal. If that were still my motivation, I still wouldn’t admit it… and I certainly wouldn’t ever ask my wife to accompany me to a naturist resort just so I could ogle the other women there!
Here’s the really interesting thing… when I have been at naturist resorts, the women are indeed pleasant to see, and I do appreciate their God-given beauty, but I can assure you that I’m not fantasizing about them or acting out in any way in response to the sight. I have not had any problem with spontaneous arousal, nor has it given me any sort of adrenaline rush.
Oddly enough, when you realize that you actually do have permission before God to see a naked body, it rather loses its mystique and emotional power in your life. It literally becomes somewhat mundanely and simply “human.” That’s certainly what I experienced!
And another thing… now that I am no longer indulging in pornography, I see a lot less nudity than I did before! Becoming a naturist actually had a role in the death of my interest in porn. To me, that’s a tremendous blessing from God!
I would NOT be a naturist if…
… I were an exhibitionist.
Wow! What a horrid thought!
First of all, I’m nothing special to look at. Secondly, I take no particular pleasure in being seen… naked or otherwise. I just don’t mind being seen naked. I don’t care what you think of my body. I certainly have nothing to prove with the “size” of my “manhood” (trust me… nothing much could be “proved” by it anyway!). I have no desire to shock anyone with my nudity. I have no desire to offend anyone with my freedom to be nude.
However, I don’t believe for a second that seeing the unclothed human body (mine or anyone else’s) is any sort of danger to anyone. We let our kids play with dogs, don’t we? Sure, dogs are not naked because they have coats of fur, but the coats are conveniently designed to not cover their genitals. The male penis (and scrotum) is in full few. The female vulva (and nipples!) are there for all to see. No harm done to innocent children. For crying out loud, that’s how we look at them and say, “Oh, that’s a boy-dog!” Why should we think any differently about human genitalia?
I don’t need you or anyone else to see me. It certainly won’t hurt you to, though. I don’t make a big deal out of it and I don’t want anyone else to, either.
I would NOT be a naturist if…
… I were sexually perverse.
I am sexually satisfied with my wife. I do not have an overactive sex drive. I am not looking for “greener pastures.” I have no interest in more exotic “positions” or experiences. I have NO interest in swapping partners (aka “swinging”) with other couples. I have zero sexual interest in men. I’m about as plain and straight as they come. If anything, I could wish that my wife and I “recovered” a little quicker so that we could enjoy our own sexual relationship more frequently! In other words, I’m not looking for anything “new,” I’d be happy to be up for a little bit more “old!”
Naturism is simply not about sexual conquests or titillation. Some may indeed pursue it for that reason, but I have no patience for such people and I count them a threat to the spiritual, emotional, and sexual purity that can be experienced in naturism.
I would NOT be a naturist if…
… I were a pedophile.
This is without a doubt the accusation that has been the most hurtful… especially when it came from extended family members.
I am not a pedophile. I love and protect my children. I love and protect others’ children. I have absolutely no compassion for those who would abuse children for their own sexual indulgence. I have never in my life experienced even one moment of temptation to think about my own children or any other children that way.
And for sure, if that were my motivation, I would never share my interests in naturism with family members.
That’s enough about that one. I’d better stop before I really lose my cool…
I would NOT be a naturist if…
… I didn’t believe the Bible with all my heart.
That might be surprising, but it’s true. I believe the Bible is our only trustworthy source for moral absolutes. The opinions of men and the mores of society are not reliable. In fact, they reliably lead us away from moral truth.
Consequently, I searched the Scriptures diligently and thoroughly to determine if God had established any sort of moral requirements regarding clothing. I was committed to honestly discover if He ever condemned nudity or commanded that we always keep our bodies covered. I studied the Bible to discern what God’s attitude is towards my body, irrespective of my state of attire.
To my surprise (given my upbringing, I never would have guessed it!), the condemnation of nudity, the requirement of clothing, and divine disapproval of the naked human form were all missing in God’s Word! These are all man-contrived ideas! And as such, they do not deserve my loyalty. Instead, they deserve my active rejection (Col. 2:20-23).
If I didn’t believe the Bible was my only moral guide for life—if I thought that societal (or even religious) norms were to be my guiding standards in life—then I most certainly would not be a naturist.
But I do believe the Bible with all my heart. So… I really can be a naturist… and… a God-fearing, Bible-believing, Christ-following… Christian.
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.
This article comes to us via our friends at www.nakedandunashamed.org. We’ve condensed it, but we would encourage you to read the whole thing, especially the personal story at the beginning of the article, which we have omitted from this version. After their story, our friends conclude the following reasons for why they continue to promote naturism:
So, why do we keep promoting biblical naturism knowing that well-meaning Christians can turn on you and accuse you of terrible things that are not true? We’re going to give you a few of the reasons that we continue to actively promote biblical naturism.
1. Because the Bible tells us that God created us naked and not ashamed and called it “very good”.
God doesn’t do anything by accident so if He created us naked then He did it because that’s how He wanted us. We can accurately infer that He did so to display His highest creation, His most valued of all that He created…the one creation on the planet that He made in His own image. When you read further into the account, after the first sin, you will see that God asks Adam and Eve who told thee, also inferring that Satan is the one to convince them to cover their naked bodies and hide themselves in fear. We also find nowhere in scripture that God ever changed His mind, in fact what we do find is that God is the same yesterday, today and forever and that God never changes. Well, if God wanted them naked and Satan convinced them to cover, then I am going to promote the ideal that God wanted not the lie that Satan promotes.
2. Because we want people to not suffer the addiction to pornography that so many Christians seem to suffer from.
If the only time we are naked is for sex, then we create a situation where as soon as we see someone naked, we have a sexual response. If nakedness is common and nonsexual then we immediately begin to desexualize nudity. There is so much more about defeating porn addiction on the MyChainsAreGone.org website that we highly recommend reading through the site and implementing a naturist lifestyle as God’s method of defeating a sexual view of the body. Remember that Adam and Eve were naked in the garden and not for sexual purposes, but for gardening.
3. Because we do not want people to view the body as a dirty, sexual, shameful thing to be covered and hidden like it is some sort of evil. God created the body…in His image, it is a beautiful thing.
He put it on display just as He did the animals, the trees, the mountains and the rest of His creation. He even left fur off of us so that we could be viewed in our entirety…Imago Dei…God’s image in us. It doesn’t sound like God views us as a dirty thing that needs covered…maybe we had better begin viewing God’s creation the way He does, not the way the world, Hollywood and Satan does.
4. Because right is right no matter who opposes it and wrong is wrong no matter who promotes it.
In this politically correct, censored world that we live in it is extremely hard to take a stand against the mainstream. You can be de-platformed today just because you believe in real science and medicine. In the Christian world, you can be de-platformed just as quickly if you actually take the Bible as it is written. Well, just because the majority is against it does not make it wrong. Just because it is misunderstood does not make it wrong. In fact, quite the opposite is typically true. If the majority is against it, then you can almost be assured that it’s right. When I was growing up my father had a rule, that if the majority were doing something then we weren’t. If the majority was against something, then it was a pretty good idea to do it. He said that there were exceptions to the rule, but as a rule the majority were wrong.
So, someone has to take the unpopular, but biblically accurate view and promote it. Someone has to take the unpopular, but scientifically and medically accurate view and promote it. Someone has to take a stand for Truth! Well, we decided a long time ago that as for me and my house…we will serve the Lord. That has certainly been an unpopular choice occasionally, but it has also been well worth it, with many rewards from God for doing so.
We will not allow those who criticize us for believing the Bible and for taking God at His Word to stop us from promoting His Word and His way. There are simply too many benefits from living as God intended to let others intimidate us. We promote living as God intended so that others may enjoy those same benefits. We promote living as God intended in the same way we promote salvation by grace rather than works, the same way we promote creation over evolution, the same way we promote faith over fear. We promote a godly view of the body because it’s simply the right thing to do and because it’s the Truth.
5. Because of all of the physical and mental health benefits that are derived from spending as much time as possible naked and not ashamed.
Study after study has been done in the scientific and medical communities that show there are significant health benefits to being naked. Stress is greatly reduced, vitamin D production goes up dramatically and is shown to reduce the risk of heart attack, strengthen the immune system reducing the severity and longevity of flus and viruses and create an overall sense of euphoria helping both physical and mental health. One study linked the removal of layers of clothing with removing layers of stress. Your skin is the largest organ on the body and benefits from being allowed to breathe…keeping it wrapped up in clothing promotes a swampy, bacteria ridden environment. An article titled Dressed to Kill links tight clothing such as bras and underwear to certain cancers like breast and testicular cancer due to reducing the lymphatic systems ability to drain. Sleeping naked has been shown to improve sleep and help with weight loss. Toxins are removed from the body through the skin and circulation is improved. The list of health and wellness benefits is long and distinguished…it’s almost like God created our bodies to be naked. Here are just a few links to articles showing some of the medical and scientific benefits to being naked:
There are many more articles and studies that can be read on the subject as there is a mountain of evidence to the mental, emotional and physical benefits of being naked.
6. Because God gave us so many illustrations of the common place of nonsexual nakedness in the Bible without His condemnation, some at His leading and some at His command that it is obvious to anyone who takes an honest look at the Bible that nakedness is not sin.
So, we start our view with the fact that God wanted us naked and not ashamed, we continue with the fact that nowhere in the Bible does God condemn nakedness and we end our view with God’s preference on nudity from all of the examples of nudity in scripture.
My father always taught that God teaches through direct command, principle and by example. We cannot find any direct command in scripture regarding simple nonsexual nudity, however we have principle from the fact that God wanted us naked since the beginning of creation and we have tons of examples of nakedness throughout scripture from Creation all the way through the New Testament.
The bottom line for us is that if God is for it then we are for it and if God is against it then we are against it. We decided a long time ago that we would promote a
Godly worldview no matter what anyone else thought. We have kept to that on the mountain and through the valley.
But here’s the real point…what other people have called negative in our life has in the end always turned out positive. The valleys have all led to new mountain tops. We trusted God through the valley, and He has always led us to a new higher mountain. We walked far enough that Satan’s attack faded, and the victory came into view.
Remember, that when you run smack into the devil, at least you know you’re going the right direction!
Onions are terrible! Sounds like something a kid would blurt out definitively. But are onions really terrible? Though it’s the predominant view among children, you certainly find throngs of people who would claim the opposite to be true, that onions are awesome! Diced raw, sautéed, julienned, onions are celebrated by many a trained palate. Perhaps it’s the immaturity of children, or the fact that they haven’t even tried onions, that prevents them from enjoying such a delicacy. And it’s not just onions, but also vegetables such as brussel sprouts that would also demand protest (I may be inclined to agree on that one!).
You may be asking what the point of all of this is. The same way that many children believe and are almost encouraged to perpetuate the opinion that onions are terrible, that statement falls very short of being true, especially across all demographics. I wonder if we do the same with other more important things than food based on spiritual immaturity or popularly held beliefs or traditions of man.
Adam Young is a counselor with a podcast called, “The Place We Find Ourselves.” Episode 59 is part of a powerful series on spiritual warfare. It introduces the concept of making and breaking agreements. I’m convinced that a big part of our story boils down to agreements that we made and maintained until we realized they were a bad deal. Like a bad contract, they are binding until the agreement is terminated. “Onions are terrible!” is an agreement, however it is not one that causes much trouble. My issues with lust, objectification, and porn stemmed from much more nefarious agreements:
As a man, I’m wired to be stimulated visually.
When I see bare skin, the only “natural” response is to be tempted to react sexually, in deed or thought.
This is every man’s battle, so it will be a constant struggle.
Anyone who says he’s conquered lust has to be lying or delusional.
Mrs. Phil (who likes brussel sprouts, by the way) also made some agreements for most of her life. Here are a few of the agreements she had to break:
I’ll never be good enough.
I’m the fat sister.
She (anyone) is so much prettier than me.
Self love is arrogance, and I’m supposed to be humble.
I’m solely responsible for protecting my husband’s purity.
As you can see, these are all statements far more terrible than onions could ever be. How damaging to our relationship with each other, with God, and even with ourselves!
On the surface, many of these agreements appear to be noble (see Colossians 2:23). They are even taught passionately in our evangelical Christian circles. How messed up is this? If our enemy, who despises the image of God, wants to destroy that aspect of our thinking, he’s done a tremendous job, right from the start.
The good news is that our minds can be renewed! We can wage spiritual warfare by breaking those bad agreements and the bondage that comes with them! From one kid who grew to love onions to the next, we can change our minds on any and all ideas that need renewing! That’s true repentance, changing your mind.
That would be the end of my article usually, but I may include one bonus agreement that I entertained years ago, and succumbed to it’s falsehood instead of rejecting, and exchanging it for the truth:
Anyone who calls themselves a Christian naturist is probably a pervert, a pedophile, or at the very least someone who is justifying their sinful nature.
The truth is, I’m none of those things, and I’m writing this article from inside a hot tub at a naturist park. I’m fully convinced this is one of the best places to write!
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.