D.H. Jonathan’s Books

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

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

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

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

And later this excerpt:

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

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

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

Click on the book covers to view on Amazon:

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

Transcript of video:

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

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

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

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

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

When Naturism Gets Misunderstood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Here is the transcript for the video:

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

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

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

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

The Treasure Trove of Fig Leaf Forum

I’d like to devote a post to the treasure trove that is Fig Leaf Forum. Long time Christian naturists will be familiar with this resource. Newcomers need to become aware of it! I suggest everyone sign up for free access to the archives right now if you haven’t already.

From 1994 to 2014 Fig Leaf Forum published 700 newsletters that still hold relevance today. The archive, therefore, is a gold mine of information and encouragement for anyone exploring Christian naturism or nudism. Editor and publisher John Kundert has provided an invaluable resource for free to all who would simply write in to request access.

There is plenty to read on the site without signing up, but after signing up you have more to read than you’ll have time available. You can really dig through the weeds and get a lot of your questions answered.

One of my favorite of resources on the site (after signing up) is “Apologia.” It’s a robust 136 pages itself! In the introduction of this downloadable pdf are the following descriptive words:

What’s presented here is the result of many hours of prayerful reflection and careful research into the Bible. The questions and objections in this apologia are very typical of what most Christian critics think of nakedness and nudism. We should never run from hard questions, but instead should seek good answers. Challenging questions and objections like these provide us with opportunities to think through the reasons why nudism is important to us. This process gives us a chance to emphasize the realities and dismiss the falsehoods.

It’s hoped that this collection of questions, objections and responses will provide an introduction to the naturist idea and movement, and describe it from a Christian point of view. It’s also hoped that it will challenge the thinking of skeptic and enthusiast alike, perhaps showing both some new and different perspectives.

It’s truly a blessing to have this resource and the table of contents in which you can go directly to the question or objection you’d like to study. I should mention that the whole archive is keyword searchable! When you log in you can launch LISA to begin an exploration. LISA (Linked Searchable Archive) offers a better way to read and search Fig Leaf Forum’s vast newsletter back issue collection. 

I’d like to end with one of the samples of what you’ll find on the site reproduced here, since it’s public anyway. Go here to read on their site and perhaps even save a printable and foldable version of this tract. What follows is some of the text from this introductory piece…


“Who told you that you were naked?” That’s what God asked Adam in Genesis 3.11. If you’re a Bible-believing Christian who cares about the source of your beliefs, you would do well to ask yourself that very same question. Who told you what you currently believe about being naked?

Did you know that there are lots of Christians who are also social nudists? That might seem like a startling claim, but it’s true. Christian nudists number in the thousands and are located all over North America and in many other parts of the world. If you belong to a large church congregation in the United States or Canada, there’s a very good chance that you have nudists within it.

Just what is nudism, anyway? Nudism (also called naturism) is the practice of going without clothing in social settings (generally in mixed-gender groups of all ages) in the belief that doing so is beneficial. Governed by strict behavioral boundaries, a defining characteristic of genuine social nudism is that it’s purposefully chaste.

Why would a Christian want to be a nudist? Nudism offers numerous benefits to physical, mental and spiritual health. For starters, it simply feels good! Being unclothed when the weather is warm is very comfortable, and once you’ve gone swimming or been in a hot tub without a swimsuit, you’ll never want to wear one again! On a deeper level, social nudism offers a unique feeling of closeness and trust unavailable in usual settings. It helps participants overcome poor body image. It offers children and teens a way to avoid unnatural and often unhealthy curiosities about the body. It affirms and reinforces the fact that there’s nothing shameful about the way God made us. It offers a tangible way for believers to embrace God’s view of the human body. In fact, it gives us an opportunity to literally be God’s image bearers! Last but certainly not least, it offers common ground for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with unbelieving nudists willing to receive it.

The Bible actually mentions nakedness quite often. If you carefully study the passages that talk about physical nakedness and pay close attention to the context in which they’re found, you’ll discover that it’s never described as being inherently shameful or inherently sinful. After all, we were created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1.27), “naked” and “not ashamed” (Genesis 2.25). And God declared all this “very good” (Genesis 1.31). After Adam and Eve sinned, they made loincloths for themselves out of fig leaves (Genesis 3.7). That seems like an odd thing for a husband and wife to do, don’t you think? In Genesis 3.11 God asked, “Who told you that you were naked?” Question: According to the Bible, who else had talked to Adam or Eve in the Garden besides God? Answer: the serpent, also called the devil or Satan (Genesis 3.1, Revelation 12.9). Just as Satan had lied to Adam and Eve about what would happen if they ate the forbidden fruit, he also lied to them about the goodness of their God-given nakedness. Adam and Eve believed Satan when he told them to hide the way God had made them, and to fear their nakedness (Genesis 3.7,10). They should never have listened to Satan’s lies about their nakedness … and neither should we!

(Please visit Fig Leaf Forum to read the rest of this tract at figleafforum.com. I can’t recommend this site enough!)

Talking about beating lust (the right way!)

The following is an imagined conversation with a non-naturist that doesn’t ever mention naturism. It does, however, assume the lessons that are available to be learned rapidly through the tenets of Christian naturism. In fact, here is a downloadable pdf without any branding or credit given that you can use with non-naturist friends if they aren’t ready to hear about naturism.

Person: I’m going to have to leave soon. I’ve got an accountability group to get to.

Me: Why do you need an accountability group?

Person: Well, you know, every man’s battle?

Me: I’m a man, but I don’t think you should group every man as being in the same type of battle.

Person: Fine, it’s about lust and struggles with pornography, and the group helps us to not do that stuff that most guys deal with regularly.

Me: Oh, we’ll circle back to that, but I’m curious, is it working?

Person: Um, sometimes, I mean I have days and sometimes even months of victory at a time, but then inevitably I fall off the wagon again.

Me: Thanks for being honest. Are you always honest in your group?

Person: For the most part. I guess sometimes we answer only the questions asked and avoid telling the whole truth. The shame we feel helps motivate us. We all struggle with it, so when one person shared their defeat, it’s not as bad when I share mine. But then sometimes it gives me ideas of new ways I can be tempted like the other guys!

Me: That doesn’t sound very promising. And shame should never ever be your motivator. Aside from the support and encouragement, it seems like you all need a breakthrough!

Person: We do! That’s why I said it’s every man’s battle. Don’t you have the same struggle?

Me: Thankfully, no. I used to, but not anymore. Not ever.

Person: How long has it been since you looked at porn?

Me: Is that how we are measuring victory? Avoidance of any visual stimuli?

Person: Well, yeah. Temptation is all around us. If I can avoid seeing something, I won’t fall into temptation! You know, ‘cuz all men are visual.

Me: There you go again with “all men!” What you see is not as important as how you see what you see.

Person: I’m not following you.

Me: OK, so if you see a woman, let’s say, do you automatically lust after her?

Person: It depends whether or not she’s hot or not.

Me: So if you determine that she is attractive, let’s use that word instead, you automatically desire her in a sexual way?

Person: Well, yeah. I have a pulse. All the guys I know are like that! And even the preacher talks about his wife as being “smokin’ hot!”

Me: OK, that’s messed up. Hey, I’m not trying to be holier than thou. In fact, I get it, I used to be the same way. 

Person: You’re saying you’re not anymore? And YOU’RE being honest?

Me: I don’t want to objectify anyone. I’d rather die than objectify another human being, even my wife.

Person: Not even your wife? You have to be attracted to her!

Me: I am.

Person: Well, what’s the difference? 

Me: Terms like “hot” or “ugly” are offensive and demeaning. A person is so much more than the sum or arrangement of their parts. They aren’t a piece of meat. They are an individual, made in the image of God, and worthy of love and respect.

Person: Yeah, I know that! But if they are attractive, or good looking, I can’t help myself, you know?

Me: I don’t. Remember when I said it’s about how you see? I see others as God sees them. Everyone has their own beauty, in their own way, no matter how society has conditioned us to see them.

Person: Conditioned? What are you saying? Some people are just not as beautiful as others. If you don’t acknowledge that, you’re just crazy.

Me: I’m sorry, but you seem a bit obsessed about a person’s physical appearance. That’s what our culture and world does. The standards of beauty that marketers push are not even real, let alone attainable.

Person: I know that, but I just like the girl next door type. Not magazine perfect, but not unattractive.

Me: What if your own wife was disfigured in an accident? Would you be able to look past her scars and see the person you love?

Person: Well, yeah. Absolutely. But I don’t have that relationship with other women, so I can’t promise that with someone I don’t even know.

Me: Why not? Why not see beauty and value in everyone, and reject the notion that only your type is deserving of admiration.

Person: Ah, so you admit that you admire others. You say you don’t lust after them, but you admire their beauty!

Me: I admire that tree over in the distance too. Or the sunrise this morning.

Person: We’re not talking about creation! We’re talking about people.

Me: Are people not the pinnacle of God’s creation? 

Person: OK, yeah, but it’s different.

Me: Is it?

Person: It’s apples and oranges. And it’s forbidden fruit! So when we fall and let our minds wander and do what they do, we have to go confess it to a group of guys and try harder next time. 

Me: Sounds like a vicious cycle.

Person: It is! 

Me: Could it be that you’ve believed a lie?

Person: A lie? What lie?

Me: Well, from what you’ve described, I’ve noticed several lies. That all men are visual and can’t help but react in a sexual arousal manner. That it’s every man’s struggle that can’t be overcome easily. That you have to try harder and have accountability to be pure. All lies. And if you agree with them and believe them, they will continue to control you. 

Person: So what’s the answer?

Me: The truth will make you free (John 8:32). Reject the lies, live as though the truth is actually true, and enjoy the life abundant that Jesus offers and his finished work on the cross secures for you. It’s not by your own power, but by his life in you.

Person: I believe in Jesus, but I don’t see how I can use his power to overcome such urges.

Me: He’s given you a new heart and a new nature. It’s about truth and identity. The new you doesn’t even desire porn, right? It’s not the innocent beauty of the body as the crown of creation. It’s a distortion that objectifies and sexualized what God made very good. You feel trapped and drawn to that which you don’t even want. So agree with the truth, and it loses that power over you. You don’t want that; it’s revolting to you in your new nature. You have no desire or appetite for it. 

Person: That is true. I don’t want it, but I indulge and then feel guilty almost immediately.

Me: The command not to murder my brother is easy to keep because I don’t want to commit murder. This is the same now. I don’t want to objectify another human being made in God’s image, so when I see visual stimuli, it doesn’t faze or tempt me. I move on. The battle is in the heart and the mind. That’s what Jesus was saying. We need to renew our mind and heart. He’s done it for you already. Stop believing the lies!

Person: So you really don’t have this problem?

Me: I used to, but it has vanished and for good! There is no struggle any longer. I don’t need software or anything. It’s like a former alcoholic going down the liquor aisle at the grocery store. If he’s really free, he can do that and not have any trouble.

Person: And your relationship with your wife is better now?

Me: It’s amazing! That’s where arousal is supposed to come from- relationship, not visual. To limit to the visual, seeing or avoiding seeing stuff is to forget about the power of our imagination, anyway. Can a blind man lust? We don’t have to see anything to lust. And when we see something, we don’t have to lust. Arousal based on relationship was God’s original design, and it’s much better and more powerful. Everything else is a distortion and fantasy.

Person: Well, you’ve certainly given me a lot to think about! 

Me: And you better get to your accountability group!

Person: I think I’m too late for that. And I’m just not feeling it now. Would you wanna talk to my guys next week maybe?

Two Sexual Advantages of Christian Naturism

Special thanks to Figleaf for this guest post.

I can hear it now – “Whoa! Christian naturism is a non-sexual experience so don’t go there and make it sexual!”

And I agree wholeheartedly with that statement, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. But just because it is a non-sexual experience doesn’t mean we are no longer sexual beings. And from a male point of view I’d like to share two advantages I’ve discovered that I never even considered as possible.

There is generally only one area of sexuality that is discussed in Christian naturism and that is deliverance from pornography and lust. While this is a huge step into freedom from a terrible bondage, there is definitely much more to consider. Since there are already many discussions and testimonies of deliverance from pornography and lust I won’t go into that area in this article, but will address two additional sexual advantages of Christian naturism.

First, is the amazing fact and experience of discovering how easy it is to now be able to control sexual desires. Pre-Christian naturism was the usual swirl of being carried along the torrent of passions without any hope of realizing they can be turned off or delayed when necessary. Yes, sexual passion and it’s human fulfillment is also a very good thing created by Father God – and I think He was in a very nifty mood that day! But even as a married Christian I still didn’t understand that my desires could be controlled (turned off – delayed) without frustration.

I remember one time as a new Christian, in my early thirties, when a pastor told me that a husband could lust after his own wife. I was shocked! I just couldn’t believe that to be true, and It was a real puzzle to me for many years. Now I understand that he meant it could easily go beyond desire to a self-gratification that uses his wife as a means to an end. Pope John Paul II addresses this issue in his book Love and Responsibility.

The blessing of Christian naturism and its associated biblical teachings have put this in proper perspective and application. The desired effect of controlling inappropriate sexual desires has become wonderfully simple in application. If any person arouses any type of sexual desire, the TRUTH is what sets me free from that. I can quickly tell myself the truth is that the human being I am looking at is the very Image of God (Genesis 1:27) and NOT for my self-gratification. I quickly elevate the scene from the worldy to the heavenly, and sexual desire is quickly shut down.

The second advantage is tied to the first. Because I can look upon a nude human being as the Image of God, I can then be in a mixed social setting without sexual desire. The experience of social nudity with mixed genders and ages actually becomes very idyllic and Eden-like. This experience has what I call a “holy joy” attached to it, and it is so awe-inspiring and wonderful that we would never want to ruin it by injecting sexual desire into the scene. It would be like throwing a bucket of paint on Michelangelo’s statue of David, or taking a hammer to Rodin’s sculpture, The Kiss . It would just horribly ruin something beautiful, just as sexual desire would ruin social Christian naturism. I discovered there is now a built-in aversion to mixing sexual desire with social nudity. What a joy!

The naked human body of all ages and genders is pure, holy, and good. It is a very privileged blessing to be able to enjoy it as God intended without the self-gratification of sexual desire. Therefore in fulfillment of the command to “love one another” we find an additional built-in desire of Christian naturists to preclude using one another to fulfill sexual desires.

It is stated in 1 Corinthians 6:20 – For you were bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. Happily, Christian naturists have learned the value of not only glorifying God in our own bodies, but also the glorifying of God in how we view the bodies of others.

Fixation & Identity

The word “fixation” is defined as “an obsessive interest in or feeling about someone or something.” I suppose we can be fixated on a lot of different things or even people. The term comes from the subject on which we fix our eyes. What we not only gaze upon, but what we fix our eyes on, keeping them locked on will become our fixation.

Jesus talked about the importance of the eyes. In the sermon on the mount in Matthew 6:22-23 (KJV) he said, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” What our eyes, and even or especially our mind’s eye focuses on makes all the difference.

Many who claim to be Christians have a struggle with lust and lustful thoughts and/or temptation to seek out pornography. To try and combat these urges, they will try to avoid the sight of any flesh so as to not engage in this struggle. It becomes an exercise of avoidance. There are many problems with this approach. Among them is the simple fact that you can lust after a clothed person or use your imagination to entertain sexual thoughts just as easily. You don’t need to actually see something for a habit such as sexual lust to become your fixation.

Identity is another topic altogether, but it’s an important key in conquering this particular sin habit and any other. This has been my experience. As long as I have a fixation on the wrong thing or with the wrong motive, I’ll never stop struggling. If I rest in my identity in Christ and his finished work on the cross and who I am in him, I won’t have to struggle.

When my focus was on not having sexual thoughts toward women in general, I would keep having sexual thoughts. That was my focus and my failure. When I transferred my focus, my failure vanished. Now I focus on the person, and there are no longer any sexual thoughts that come into play. I used to believe those thoughts were normal, expected, and unavoidable. That was a lie. But you will live and operate as though the lie is true as long as that is your fixation. Change your fixation, and you change the outcome. Now my fixation is Christ and it’s to honor my wife and our relationship as the sole means of my arousal. As a result, nothing else is tempting in that regard. I don’t want anything else. I can see lots of bodies, clothed or not, and I look beyond the skin and into the heart of the person, with a platonic sort of love and respect for them.

I used to be someone who objectified others by trying not to. Now I’m someone who is confident in who I am, and who I am not. My new identity comes into play, and I am a firm believer living in the power of Christ. As long as I tried in my own strength to do good, I couldn’t do it. But instead, I now rest in Christ’s ability to change me to be good (not do good, but be a good tree that bears good fruit), and it becomes easy to do so. I am not one to objectify or dehumanize another person. That’s not in my new nature to do. Our Lord was fully human, and he did not objectify others, but rather loved them, seeing past their outer exterior. When the woman caught in adultery was brought before Jesus, she was most likely naked. He didn’t avert his gaze, or bounce his eyes, or cover her up or anything like that. He looked into her eyes and he became her fixation. He helped her in a way that only he could and one she would never have imagined. 

It’s not hard to avoid lustful fixations any longer, because it’s automatically part of my new nature. It’s eating from the Tree of Life and not resorting to the old Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I don’t have to work hard on breathing or concentrate on my next breath. It’s second nature to me. Likewise, so is this new posture to not sexualize others. I don’t have to worry about impure thoughts or motives, because it’s not who I am anymore.

I’m reminded of an old Petra song I had on CD. So I listened again and heard the lyrics afresh:

It’s a God Fixation
A singleness of heart, an undistracted mind
It’s a God Fixation
Addiction of a different kind

I kind of love that!

The author of Hebrews reminds us in Hebrews 12:2 to fix our eyes on Jesus. Then it speaks of his identity calling him the author and the perfecter of our faith. In Matthew 14:30 when Peter was walking on the water, he was looking at Jesus. When he looked elsewhere, at the wind and the waves, he began to sink. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, not looking to another to satisfy our deepest needs. He alone is sufficient. If and when he becomes our sole focus, the rest of whatever it is we want to change about ourselves will fall into place. We have to trust him. To turn to idols (and that’s what everything else is) will result in failure because it’s a lack of trust in him and his saving grace. Make him your pursuit, rest in his strength and not your own, and your new fixation will become your new identity. Let to old be gone! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV): “…if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

A Washing Machine Revelation

By John Figleaf

We hated our washing machine from the very first day we bought it over seven years ago. It frustrated my wife intensely, which caused me to dislike it very much also. After all, “if Mama ain’t happy – then nobody’s happy!” After my wife’s disabilities increased and I had to take over the laundry, I begin to literally hate this machine that would never seem to work like I wanted it to. It would tangle clothes, go off balance, and often sit and go into “sensing mode” for no apparent reason. From the very first day I began to curse that machine calling it all kinds of derogatory names and even kicking it and pounding on it with my fists! I’m really not a violent guy, but this was a bit of a phobia I had towards it – for seven long years!

Recently, after a really frustrating day with the dang thing, I finally had it and was going to get a new one. This one was going to the junkyard – that is until I looked at the prices of new ones! Yikes! Even the cheap ones are expensive! Ok, now I’m looking with a new mindset of perhaps living with this monster of a machine a bit longer.

I don’t know if it was the Holy Spirit or just me in desperation, but a thought came to my mind. John, you’re cursing this machine all this time. Why don’t you try blessing it? Quickly recognizing the biblical truth before me, I right then and there repented for cursing my washing machine and started to call it blessed out loud. I even declared it to be part of the Kingdom of Jesus and is therefore blessed in my household!

Well, wouldn’t you know it – shortly thereafter the Lord opened my eyes to what was wrong with it and how it could be fixed. I say, “opened my eyes” because I literally was blind to a simple method of making it work correctly. I’m a mechanical kind of guy. I should have recognized the problem easily, but I believe my cursing it literally blinded me to the obvious – and blessing it literally opened my eyes to changing this machine from a monster to a very pleasant and useful piece of equipment.

Shortly thereafter, I began to ponder about how this cursing thing had affected my life in various ways. Naturally, I began to review my journey out of lust and pornography into Christian Naturism – and the similarities began popping up all over the place.

  • I was constantly cursing my body.
  • My body was a monster – rarely acting the way I wanted it to. Always going off balance and getting tangled up in stuff it shouldn’t.
  • Just as I would kick and beat on the washing machine, I would abuse my body by looking at porn and doing destructive things with it. It was the same love/hate relationship I had with the washing machine. I had one and had to use it for better or worse.
  • Just like having a phobia about that washing machine, I would look at my body as evil and corrupt and must be dealt with very harshly.
  • I also began to see how many woman could hate their body and call it cursed – hoping to get rid of it and upgrade to a new model!

It wasn’t until I fully realized that my body is blessed because it is the Image of God that I began to be “repaired” and now my body works properly. I call it blessed and it exists in a blessed environment in the Kingdom of Jesus. My being nude is no longer going off balance with lewd. My nudity is no longer tangled up in the spin cycle of the world. The lie that my body is cursed has been washed away! I am clean, whole, and functioning very nicely without clothes. Who needs a washing machine anyway!

Breaking Naked (by Jochanaan)

This is a guest post from our friend Jochanaan’s blog. Reposted with permission. Check out the original post and the rest of his blog here.

Reconditioning Our View of Nudity

Many people have become aware of nudism or naturism in recent years. They have lots of questions about it, and many objections, but there are two objections that I see over and over; the words vary, but the common “threads” run like this:

•Our religion or laws or founding documents forbid it.

•It’s just a prelude or excuse for sexual activity. 

The first objection can be answered by study, logic and reasoning. But the second one is harder to dismiss since it’s many people’s life experience. 

Can humans in fact be naked together with other humans without always doing or thinking about sex? Even asking the question seems foolish to many people. Many men who have yet to experience nudism wonder how we nudists control that semi-involuntary bodily reaction known as erection. But as many nudists have discovered, we can be naked together with no more arousal or wish to do sex than if we were at work, or a concert, or any social gathering.

How do we do this?

Before I became a naturist or nudist (the terms are interchangeable but have slightly different connotations), I developed a simple reconditioning program for myself. At first I wasn’t sure this program would change my thoughts about nudity, but it did. Now it’s time — long past time, maybe! — to tell others how they also can change thought patterns that seem to be unchangeable. 

By restudying our sacred texts, seeking out non-erotic nude imagery, and going naked by ourselves and with others, we can break societal mindsets and recondition our minds and bodies to experience nakedness not as erotic or shameful but as normal.

Restudy our sacred texts

In late 2000, one evening as I was browsing the Internet, I stumbled onto a Christian Naturist web page.

Despite my Evangelical Christian upbringing, nudity had fascinated me from at least my teen years on. I must confess that that evening, not for the first time, I was browsing for nude photography, not pornography but nudist and naturist photos. As I searched, I felt as usual a mixture of thrill at doing something “forbidden” and shame at going against what Christian leaders had continuously emphasized, that to like nakedness was to be “immodest” and to “fall into lust.” So it stunned me to learn that some Christians believed it was okay to be naked among other naked people. But I found a statement of faith on this Christian Naturist web page that, in every detail except one, matched what I had been taught and personally believed about the Trinity and the Bible and the Christian way. Therefore I had to accept these people, naked or not, as brothers and sisters in Jesus. “Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God…” (I John 4:2)

The one detail in their statement that didn’t match what I had been conditioned to think was that they believed nudity was good, non-erotic and normal.

So I got out my old complete concordance and looked up every Bible passage containing the words “naked” or “nakedness”. Reading these verses, I slowly realized that none of them condemned nudity in all circumstances. Two passages in Exodus forbid nudity for priests performing priestly services. But balancing these passages are the stories of King Saul, King David, and the prophet Isaiah all going naked with God’s approval and even God’s explicit command to Isaiah.

A little further study revealed that Jesus Himself was naked at several key points in His ministry. At His birth, of course; but by Jewish tradition He would also have been naked at His baptism. The Gospel of John details how He took off all His clothes to wash the disciples’ feet at the Last Supper. The Roman soldiers took off all His clothes to crucify Him; they had no interest in preserving the “dignity” of a condemned criminal. And by the Gospel accounts, it’s likely He walked out of the Garden Tomb clothed only in His resurrected flesh.

There are other Bible passages that mention nudity, but nowhere is there any condemnation. All the teachings the churches have developed are based on interpretations, commentaries and assumptions. Change the assumptions, and the whole “religious” prohibition falls like a house of cards.

So much for the conventional Judeo-Christian teachings on nudity. While I cannot speak about the Koran, the Vedas or the sacred texts of other major religions, I suspect that there are no broad condemnations of simple nudity in them either, or none that would hold up against proper exegesis. 

This is the first step in Breaking Naked: to restudy our most foundational writings without assumptions and with good scholarship to find out what they say, and especially what they don’t say, about nakedness.

Seek non-erotic nude imagery

The other major objection against nudism is that humankind, especially men, are supposedly hardwired to see all nakedness as inescapably erotic. But the testimony of artists, medical professionals and nudists themselves is that they soon became so accustomed to nudity that they don’t see it as particularly sexy. As I continued to study and dialogue with nudists online, I saw that there were three possibilities: they were either lying, or in denial about their reactions, or telling the “naked” truth. If they were telling the truth, then instead of being hardwired, all our typical responses to seeing another naked human, particularly one of the opposite sex, must have been conditioned into us, perhaps when we were too young to understand the conditioning process.

So, before going to a naturist event, I decided to see if I could recondition myself. 

I began to seek out naturist and art websites that featured photographs of naked people in non-erotic settings, such as doing housework or hiking in nature. But my search was different now. Before, there had always been the mix of thrill and shame I have described; but now I intended to bypass these reactions and see nudity as normal, not shameful or erotic. If my body became aroused, I neither encouraged its response nor denied it. And I refused to self-pleasure while I looked, or afterwards. I do not believe masturbation is necessarily wrong or harmful, yet I knew that then it would have reinforced the cultural mindset I intended to break.

In less than a month, I could look at nude images for more than an hour with no physical arousal and no more intent to self-pleasure than if I were at a church fellowship dinner. I was surprised at how easy it was to break the mindset I had had drummed into me. I began to believe this was how God intended for us to live.

And this is the second step in Breaking Naked: to retrain our minds to see nudity as normal. Once we are thoroughly convinced of this, our emotions and physical reactions follow.

Free our bodies

While I was retraining my mind in this way, I also began to retrain my body by going naked in my home. Our society has conditioned us to believe that our bodies are so sensitive to air on our unclothed skin that men will become erect and women moisten at its touch. But this too is a conditioned reaction, and I soon found that I had no more physical reaction to nudity than to being clothed. In fact, clothing, especially if it were tight around my groin, made me more aware of my penis and testicles than nakedness! 

Once late at night, I went to the outdoor swimming pool in my apartment building and swam both clothed and (briefly) nude. I found that I greatly preferred the smoothness of nudity. But because I feared discovery, I couldn’t relax into the experience as I hoped to.

By now I was entirely comfortable with being naked and seeing images of nudity in privacy. One more question remained in my mind: Could I be as comfortable around others? Were nudists indeed as matter-of-fact in their activities as they presented online? There was only one way to find out. 

I found a naturist group that met every month at a local athletic club, and secured an invitation to attend their next club swim.

It was as comfortable and free as I had been led to expect. From the first, there was neither discomfort nor arousal at being naked among other naked men, women and children. And my first real skinny-dip was life-changing! I no longer felt like a collection of body parts with some parts destined to be forever hidden. I was one body. Before the evening ended I was encouraging other first-timers as if I were myself a nudist veteran.

That evening, when I brought my reconditioning to the outer world, was the final step in Breaking Naked.

The Reconditioning Program 

So it is not only possible but easy, by studying texts, looking at nude imagery, and going naked by ourselves and with others, to break the mindset that most of us have suffered most of our lives.

This is my program to Break Naked:

•Restudy your sacred texts.

•Seek out non-erotic nude imagery.

•Free your body, first at home, then in social settings.

I cannot tell you how long to expect this reconditioning program to take. It may take months or years of focused study, or it may just go “click” in an instant. Yet I sense that if many humans, not even a majority but a “critical mass” of us, transform our fear of nakedness into joy, we will be well on our way to heal ourselves, our society and our worlds.

So take as long as you need. There’s no set timetable to break our clothes-minded patterns and stand free at last.

Celebrating…

Hello friends and dear readers. Today is just a quick note to celebrate two items.

The first, and the better of the two, is that today is Phil and Mrs. Phil’s wedding anniversary. 22 years ago, two high school sweethearts stood at the altar and made vows that they intended to keep for the rest of their lives. We are so blessed to be happier together now more than ever in our lives. We never would’ve imagined that we would be naturists, but we feel it’s what the Lord wanted for us. Exactly 2 years ago, we renewed our vows on Blind Creek beach as our first nude beach experience.

Tomorrow we are participating in our very first nude 5k. Naturism has been a huge blessing for us. It helped cure Phil’s problems with lust and porn, and helped Mrs. Phil with her body acceptance.

We could never go back to how we were before, nor would we want to!

The second item we are celebrating today is 100 posts on Aching for Eden! If being naturists was something we would have never guessed, being naturist bloggers is even more crazy! It’s also been so rewarding to get to share with all of you what we are learning, and we are humbled that people are reading and finding our posts helpful. We didn’t know if we’d have 5 posts and call it quits or what. We’re still going strong after 100 posts, and we have you to thank for it. Keep reading and sharing this goodness with a world that needs it!

Introducing ReNude.Life

My good friend has recently launched a new resource that has neatly organized and presented some of the most common questions asked by those who are just learning some of the key ideas we believe as Christian naturists. Then, of course, the answer to such questions are explored in context. Body shame and social conditioning is so pervasive that most people view the naked body either through over-sexual eyes or with great distain as if it were lewd or obscene. This new website tackles the questions Bible-believing Christians might ask in a thorough and creative way.

The site was created by our good friend, and it’s related to Aching For Eden in that most of its content first appeared here in our own Objections series of blog posts and videos we helped create. It’s our joy to collaborate with others of a like mind because we believe this is such an important message that needs to get out in whatever way it can.

I also love the metaphor of the butterfly that is featured throughout the navigation of this site. A renewed (or ReNude) view of the body truly is a metamorphosis and the old ways of thinking are gone for good. Behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:18). A caterpillar should not want to stay that way for life. Likewise, a butterfly would never want to go back to being a caterpillar once it could fly. Nor should we once we’ve tasted the blessings of freedom this life and form of thinking offers us. I make this point at length in this post.

So check out ReNude.Life and share it with those who may be interested in taking a hard look at what the Bible actually says about nudity. Here’s what the homepage has to say:

Answer Questions About Nudity in the Bible

Have you ever wondered what the Bible actually has to say about nudity? ReNude Life is designed to answer questions about nudity in the Bible and promote the freedom that comes through knowing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

You might be surprised by what you learn!

What causes the strong cultural bent against simple nudity? Why is it that nakedness is immediately attached to sexuality? And why does “sex sell?” These are common thoughts, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Our culture’s lack of simple nudity understanding leads to many dangers like pornography addiction, sexual abuse and trauma.

For far too long, Christians have adopted the worldly view that naked bodies are shameful. We dutifully layer on clothing and swimming costumes and force nursing mothers to cover up.
As a result, we have drifted along with a world that places being acceptable and inoffensive first. Scripture, however, tells us that we are the Imago Dei, literally made in the Image of God!
We’ve forgotten that God made us “naked and unashamed.” So, how can we be a light instead of accepting the darkness?

Like a caterpillar changing into a butterfly, our hope is that by renu-ing your mind on the topic of biblical nudity, you’ll be able to strip off old ideas and emerge into the ReNude Life!

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

Check it out at www.renude.life today!