Prepared Statement

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

To this end, we have developed a website full of articles and resources at www.achingforeden.com.

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.

I would NOT be a naturist if…

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. 

Matthew Neal