Today we are interviewing our friend Chris, aka Mudwalker.
Question: Can you briefly tell us how you got into naturism?
Answer: Around 2010-2011, I got really serious about conventional modesty. As a teenager of 15-16 years old, I was struggling with the usual surges and urges that come with adolescence, and I felt like some of it was the fault of the young women in my youth group. They just weren’t covering up enough! So, in 2012, I decided to load up on biblical ammunition to lob at them to force them to cover up… but there wasn’t any. That drove me to look outside the Bible for the best way to live with clothes, and the evidence spoke for itself… so, I became a naturist!
Question: What does the name Mudwalker mean to you?
Answer: It means I walk where others daren’t tread… even though what I’m doing isn’t actually a big deal! It’s a symbol of my willingness to explore things that are taboo and assumed to be bad but actually turn out to be harmless or even healthy in the end. When I get interested in a subject, I study it as extensively as I know how and reach an informed conclusion. Then, if it seems fine, I start dabbling. That’s what happened with going barefoot in the woods and also with naturism.
It’s also a symbol of our natural place on the Earth, directly interfacing with the environment instead of divorcing ourselves from it.
Question: Have your beliefs created any problems for you? If so, how did you navigate them?
Answer: My acceptance of naturism definitely threw some sparks up with my parents. It almost ended my dating relationship with the woman who would become my wife. But we all worked through it together, and here we are. My relationships with my parents and my wife are all amazing now, and they all agree now that naturism is at least not harmful or immoral.
My family and I moved to a new church recently to get away from an aging, declining, toxic church environment, and I met with the new church’s staff to let them know that number one, I’m an outspoken naturist, number two, given time, I will bring this up to people in the church, and number three, this may spark some controversy. I told the pastors that I wanted them to make an informed decision on our membership, and they did. We are now members. I didn’t know how it would go, but in the end, they were very welcoming!
Question: What would you want non-naturists to know about this practice?
Answer: I’d say that it’s nothing like the mainstream secular or evangelical cultures think. Contrary to the conventional assumptions (and they are assumptions), humans of all ages (yes, even Americans) can tolerate social nudity without losing their minds or their sexual purity. The first time I went to a naturist resort, I saw a beautiful woman across the way, and her body was everything the conventional view of modesty had taught me to fear. But she was just a person to me in that moment, and I went back to reading my book. I was shocked how normal it all was, how easy it is to adjust to a nude environment, and how safe a resort visit is for women and children.
Question: What’s on your naturist bucket list?
Answer: I haven’t written it out before, so this probably isn’t a comprehensive list, but here are some of the big ones!
I want to visit Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park and Sunsport Gardens because I hear such wonderful things about their policies, cultures and facilities.
I want to hunt naked. I feel like making a clean kill naked would be a really spiritual experience.
I want to debate a prominent Christian in a public, moderated debate someday when I have the credentials to attract the big fish. Naturism doesn’t get the attention it deserves on the debate stage – I intend to change that.
I want to participate in (or start!) a World Naked Bike Ride in Baton Rouge.
I want to start putting on nude events in the Baton Rouge area for young people, featuring activities like Ultimate Frisbee, barbeque, swimming, volleyball, and party games. I love my local nudist campground, but I want games! I want to move. (And I also don’t want to drive 1.5 hours to get my kit off. Lol!)
I want to facilitate a naked cold plunge event.
I want to go on a naked camping jaunt into the wilderness with just a canoe and a backpack and no clothes.
Things I’ve crossed off my list: visiting Cypress Cove and participating in a World Naked Bike Ride.
Mudwalker’s Extra Bit!
If you’d like to connect with me on social media, I have two Facebook groups! One is “Young Naturists Baton Rouge.” Once we get enough local naturists connected, we can start doing fun in-person events. The other is “Mudwalkers,” which is focused on the rewilding aspect of Mudwalkers. The two groups are specialized: Young Naturists Baton Rouge” is naturist-focused, and Mudwalkers is focused on rewilding.
Bonus: Chris also has a youtube channel with great content. Check out Mudwalkers on youtube. Here’s one example:
Dave Carlson and our friends at www.naturist-christians.org have put together a beautifully designed and helpful online booklet on the subject of Christian naturism. It’s concise and has many great pictures to support the excellent content.
You can and should read the whole thing for yourself, but here are some of my favorite parts and my reaction to them.
They start out with a very brief history of naturism to say what it is and what it isn’t. I like this line that says, “Most historical references to naturism point to its beginning in Germany during the 1930’s. We believe naturism is much, much older– as in since day six of creation. Humans were originally created to live naked and without shame.”
We like to call our state of undress as being “as created” or “as intended.” Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “If God had meant for us to be naked, we’d have been born that way.” Well he did. Job declared in chapter 1, verse 21, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.” It’s God’s idea. He does not make mistakes. In fact, this booklet points out that, “The Trinity called this arrangement ‘very good.”
On what it is and isn’t, Dave points out that, “Naturism has a long history of being beneficial to physical, mental, and spiritual well being. It advocates for body positivity and the freedom to enjoy appropriate settings while naked. Naturism is NOT about exhibitionism, sexuality, swinging, swapping partners, pornography, pedophilia, or being sexually provocative.” Right out of the gate, these assertions are made boldly to counter the knee-jerk reactions that people can make when hearing about these ideas for the first time. Sure anything can be corrupted by those who don’t hold to the true convictions, but this truth has been proven millions of times over. This is a great quote: “Naturism is not magical. But over a century of experiences by millions of people supports the idea that simple, non-sexual nudity- both alone and in social settings- can do wonders for damaged psyches.” The booklet goes through these benefits in a systematic way.
Much later in the booklet, the admission is made that, “We understand your skepticism. Most of us doubted all this was possible until we experienced it for ourselves. For naturists, being is believing.” I love that. I have often said that, “Seeing is believing.” But I may have to change that now to, “Being is believing.” You can argue with ideas and Scriptural interpretations all day long. But it’s hard to argue with experience. And yet, it’s vital to understand something such as this. We’ve seen firsthand this claim to be the reality: “Until you’ve experienced it, it isn’t easy to image how freeing taking off your mask can be. People now see you as you really are. You see them as they are. Suddenly you realize how normal and alike you are to everyone else you are on equal footing with others. You instantly reconnect to your humanity, and it only takes a few minutes to understand it’s acceptable to be you, just like you are, in that very moment.” It truly is for everyone and everyone would be better for having fully understood these concepts through personal experience.
The subtitle of this work is “How Naturist Values are in Harmony with God’s Will for Christian Living.” So this reconciling of naturism with Christian faith is both introduced and explored. Entire books have been written on this. The booklet serves as a primer to whet one’s appetite for further exploration and dare I say experimentation. Helpful tips are suggested, such as starting doing regular things nude in your own home. We have certainly put these ideas to the test to see if they were God-honoring and an enhancement to our faith, which comes first, of course.
The case is made logically and, “The inescapable conclusion is, God is not offended or shocked by your bare body. If you are offended or alarmed by seeing a naked body (especially your own), perhaps examining exactly why you feel that way is in order. Adopting a healthier perspective about the human body will benefit you physically, mentally, and spiritually.” Naturists know how great this body freedom is. They’ve escaped the gnostic heresy that is still alive and well today. They love to include others in the same freedom they so much enjoy. So don’t take our word it, try it out for yourself and you be the judge!
“One of naturism’s greatest features is recognition of the dignity of the human body in and of itself. This applies to all bodies without regard to weight, surgical scars, the presence of visible medical devices, or impairment requiring wheelchairs or other mobility equipment.” This is one of the many things I love about naturism. The world desperately needs this perspective. It’s called “Imago Dei” (the image of God) and it is the way it’s always supposed to be.
Again, the booklet is a great resource and a quick read. I suggest you read it for yourself. Another great part of the piece is a couple of pages on more resources to explore for further study. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this blog, Aching for Eden, listed first in the websites section! Well, you’re already here. Check out some of the others now.
If we want to know God’s desire and intention for the human race, the truth is to be found in our creation. And that’s found in Genesis 1-2. In those chapters, we find that the first man and woman placed by God in a Garden Paradise called Eden.
Paradise lasts, it turns out, for only two chapters… but there is much to learn there before sin tainted creation. Eden is what God made us for. And that explains the longings that we have to “return” there.
Among the other perfect elements of life in Eden, Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect relationships. God Himself exists in the eternal and perfect communion of the Trinity, and our capacity for relationship is one of the ways that we bear His likeness.Therefore, I am focusing our attention on relationships in this post.
There were three essential relationships which the first human beings experienced in Eden. All three were part of God’s intention and design; all three were in evidence before the Fall, and all three were damaged by the Fall.
The three relationships were:
Their relationship with God.
Their relationship with their spouse.
Their relationship with themselves.
By God’s design, all three of these relationships were perfect because they were exactly as God intended them to be.
Relationship with God: They were created in God’s image and likeness, and they obeyed Him as their Lord. (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:16)
As God’s crowning creation, the man and the woman were especially honored to be made in His image, and they alone were given the opportunity to obey or disobey God. They alone were expected to live with God in perpetual volitional obedience. While they did so, their relationship with Him was perfect and unhindered.
Relationship with Their Spouse: They experienced true “one-flesh” unionwith each other. (Genesis 2:24)
Just as each person of the Godhead exists in perfect union and relationship with the other persons of the Godhead, so the man and the woman were designed by God to live in perfect union with one another. Before the Fall, this relationship was mutually giving, loving, and unselfish.
Relationship with Themselves: They knew no shame. (Genesis 2:25)
Both Adam and Eve were completely at peace with who they were. There was no need to hide either physically (they were naked) or emotionally (without shame). They were exactly as God made them and intended them to be, and it was enough. There was no sense of any kind that they needed to be more, less, or different than what and who they were. Shame is not and never was God’s desire for His highest creation. Before the fall, Adam and Eve were each in perfect relationship with themselves for they were utterly without shame.
Damaged by the Fall
All three relationships listed above were severely damaged by the sin of Adam and Eve. This damage was evident in the actions of Adam and Eve immediately thereafter.
Relationship with God: When God approached them, Adam and Eve hid themselves from the presence of God. (Genesis 3:8-9)
Adam and Eve no longer felt free to be in God’s presence; instead, they felt fear. Furthermore, their understanding of God was skewed so that they were now deluded into believing or hoping that if they hid among the trees, He would not know where they were.
Relationship with Their Spouse: Love and trust were lost. (Genesis 2:12-13)
Adam and Eve were no longer unified. When tempted, Eve chose not to believe what her husband had told her and follow his guidance for her. Eve was then party to Adam’s Fall. When confronted about his own sin, Adam chose to blame rather than to fulfill his own responsibility as husband to love and protect his wife.
Relationship with Themselves: They were ashamed of their bodies. (Genesis 3:7)
Adam and Eve no longer accepted how God had made them. They now considered parts of their own bodies to be less than good, and they felt exposed and vulnerable. In their effort to hide their own sense of inadequacy, they sought protection from external coverings.
The Longing Remains
Man still longs for the peace with God that he was made for.
Adam’s perfect relationship with God was damaged, but deep in his soul, there was still a yearning to know and walk in peace with his Creator. The fact that perfection was lost does not change the fact that we were made for that relationship. God also desires that we walk with Him. That is why He sent Christ Jesus to take away our sin and restore us to our relationship with the Father.
This side of heaven, we will never know a perfect relationship with the Father like Adam did before the Fall, but we still long for it, and we are called to pursue an ever deepening relationship with Him here and now.
Man and Wife still long to be united in perfect love with one another.
A man still longs to have the be fully one in body and soul with his wife, and a woman still longs to give herself fully to a man who will love, cherish, and protect her. Neither will see complete fulfillment of that desire in the fallen state, but they can and should pursue the ideal.
We can experience tastes of that unity when we love with God’s love and give ourselves as fully as we are able to our spouses. Even in our fallen state, there is no more fulfilling human relationship that we can experience than the one between husband and wife when each fully gives themselves in unselfish love.
We all have a deep longing to be completely and transparently accepted exactly as we are.
So much of our lives we spend seeking approval and/or affirmation. We are constantly aware of our own inadequacies and failures. Hiding or covering our imperfections are perpetual motivations. We want to feel good about ourselves, and we want others to accept us as well.
Children – and adults – are most free and “alive” when they know for sure that they are truly “ok” exactly as they are. They shy away from contexts where they are judged, and they blossom and shine in a context of complete acceptance. This kind of acceptance is what we were made for. Indeed, the Bible calls it, “naked and unashamed.”
Notice that I didn’t say that we should pursue “naked and unashamed.” Everyone knows that since we’re fallen, there’s no way we can ever get any taste of “naked and unashamed” in this life, right?
We will never experience the fullness of pre-fall unity with our Heavenly Father in our fallen state…but that sure doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue an ever deepening relationship with Him.
We will never experience the fullness of pre-fall unity with our spouses in our fallen state… but that sure doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make any effort to give ourselves fully to the one God has given to us.
We will never experience the fullness of pre-fall innocence and purity in our fallen state…but that sure doesn’t mean that we should never even attempt to live “naked and unashamed.”
Can anyone show me in the Bible where God has forbidden such a pursuit?
God’s pre-fall ideals for humanity are His post-fall ideals for humanity. God never changed His mind about them. He understands that we are dust and that we are fallen; He knows that we won’t fully attain the ideals until after we are fully and ultimately redeemed, but He still wants us to pursue His ideals here and now. His grace is greater than our inability to get all the way there, so we have absolutely no reason to hold back.
Roadblocks to Eden
We were created for Eden. If we are honest with ourselves, we will see that we still long for it on all counts, even though we have built and maintain false roadblocks to getting there:
We tell ourselves that if we really draw close to God, we will have to lose or give up something. We trade what is to be found in God for what little comfort we can find in the pursuit of our own ways.
We tell ourselves that if we really open up to another person, we will get hurt by them. We embrace the predictability of emotional and/or physical isolation to protect against the threat of pain.
We tell ourselves that if we really attempt to be naked, we will only know shame. We choose the safety of hiding behind clothing in a vain attempt to thwart shame.
In all cases, the tradeoff is tragically misguided. All we really do is promote the false notion that our fallen state is unredeemable. We accept being less than truly human. We miss out on what God made us for.
Most everyone will rightly tell us to lay aside the first two roadblocks, but precious few will ever encourage anyone to lay aside the third. Most, it seems, will vehemently forbid any attempt to “return to Eden”… but on that point only! There is no logical or biblical defense for that distinction. To be consistent, we must either forbid all three pursuits, or encourage all three.
Welcome to Eden!
I invite you to Eden!
Yes, God blocked the entrance to the physical Garden Paradise in Genesis 3:22-24, but His clearly stated purpose for doing so was so that the man and woman would not partake of the Tree of Life and live forever physically! It was not a declaration that their longings for the relationships of Eden could not be pursued!
Instead, God gave the promise of a Savior (Genesis 3:15 the “seed of the woman”), and that Savior became the One by whom we could once again live forever! Even that human desire is still ultimately God’s will for us… just not in our unredeemed state!
Lay aside the roadblocks. All of them.
Give up anything that keeps you from pursuing your relationship with God.
Give up emotional and physical isolation from your spouse and others.
Give up your confidence in clothing and shed your shame.
Welcome to the freedom of being completely human… the way God meant for you to be.
Linda: There’s someone I know that doesn’t like it at all!
Mike: We live 365 naked. I mean, we’re able to be nude pretty much all the time at home. We have enough property to do that. But if I got to go to Wal-Mart, I need to go get some groceries periodically or I want to do certain things that require clothing. We either need to get those clothes on and go do our thing because you automatically get hot.
The Lord’s made you to enjoy the breeze. To enjoy this, you start putting clothes on and restrict all that. I find myself getting hot immediately, so I either need to get on the motorcycle and start riding or get in the car or go someplace and enjoy it. But a lot of restraints, you know, I mean, the seatbelt starts pulling on your shirt. You know, shorts don’t feel so good, you know, and sometimes so I mean, it’s just not good. God got it right!
God got it right!
Mike: My goodness gracious, man. Some of the actresses and actors need to put some groceries on because they are anorexic. So the body image thing was huge. I mean, it’s just ridiculous.
Linda: But once you get that, once you experience that, then that changes, that changes everything.
Mike: So anybody watching this that’s had cosmetic surgery of some sort– because the world has provoked you to do that, which is fine. Don’t feel that that is not okay in a naturism realm. What I’m trying to get at is when you’re in a naturism venue or with others or with others, or even on the cruise ship. That is, so many people don’t have augmentations or those type of things because they’ve learned to accept their body as Christ made them. If somebody has had a cosmetic surgery of some sort, that’s no big deal because there’s lots of it.
But what I’m trying to get at is it’s like if you’re going to Wal-Mart, as I say, this weekend. Everybody you see at Wal-Mart, if they were all naked, that’s what naturism is about. It doesn’t matter. Does not matter.
Linda: An you’re not looked at for that reason, too, you know, in society you would be. With clothing on that. you’d be like, “Okay. Okay.” But here, nobody… It doesn’t matter, you know?
Editor’s note: This great article is a repost used with permission. See the original post by clicking here.
My two main passions in life are my Christian faith (done in the Anglican way) and Naturism; and I love to find the spaces and places where those two things intersect. Most people would think that Naturism and Christianity are polar opposites, but they are not; they intersect more often than most people including both naturists and Christians would expect.
Christianity and bodies
Many people think that Christianity is a mainly spiritual way of living. I don’t think it is. Of all the religions that I know of Christianity is the most grounded and body centred religion. Christianity starts (as does Judaism and Islam) in the Garden of Eden with a naked man and a naked woman. Christianity develops radically differently from the other two Abrahamic religions, because if we skip some thousands of years ahead we have the New Adam, Jesus coming naked into the world in a human body just like everyone of us. Theologians call this the Incarnation, God becomes flesh. An early Christian school of thought felt that God could not possibly be contaminated by becoming flesh, their belief was that the physical world was evil and the spiritual world was good. They believed in a dualistic world. Early on this doctrine was rejected by the fathers of the Christian religion, they held that God created the world as one, both physical and spiritual and it was all good, after all, God said it was. To this day orthodox Christian doctrine is that God’s creation including us humans and our bodies are very good.
Christianity and nudity
Some things to think about: In chapter 3 of the book of Genesis, at the start of the Bible shortly after God had created Adam and Eve we are told that God was walking about the Garden at the time of the evening breeze. What do you think God was wearing, while he was enjoying the evening breeze on his skin? It seems inconceivable to me that He was anything but naked. And the angel who drove Adam and Eve from the Garden? What was he wearing?
There are some strands of Christianity which hold that what one believes is the most important thing, for many Christianity is all about what is going on in your head. For me Christianity is primarily about worshipping God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, and the only thing which we can use to worship God are our bodies. We use our bodily senses, and we use the postures and gestures of our bodies as well as our voices to worship God.
With our five bodily organs and senses (eyes to see, ears to hear, noses to smell, mouths to taste, and hands to feel) we experience the transcendent and immanent nature of God. We look at stained glass windows, the beautiful vestments which the clergy are wearing, the rich silverware and crystal glass used for celebrating the holy communion. We hear the organ and the choir singing and chanting, we smell the incense wafting up the nave aisle and around the altar, we taste the body and blood of Christ in the communion, and we use our fingers to feel the texture of the Bible, prayer book and hymnal in our hands.
We use our bodies while worshiping; we stand to sing the hymns, kneel to pray, sit to listen to the lessons from Scripture. We make the sign of the cross over our heads and hearts at the mention of the Trinity, we bow our heads on hearing Jesus’ name, and genuflect at the altar.
The Naked Jesus
Next let’s consider the four pivotal moments in the earthly ministry of Jesus,
Jesus’ crucifixion and
As mentioned above, like each one of us, Jesus came into this world naked. This is so obvious it barely needs stating, but it is an important theological fact. Jesus was a naked body at the very start of his life, just like us.
At first when we think of it, that Jesus was naked at his baptism seems surprising. A very early Christian text called the Apostolic Tradition, presumed to have been written by Hippolytus of Rome some time before 235AD, gives instructions on many aspects of Christian life and ritual including baptism in Chapter 21.
So a very early Christian explains how early baptisms were done and it is very clear that they were to be done naked, and being an early apostolic source means they were following the custom passed down from Jesus.
Many artworks portray Jesus being baptized naked, for example the centre piece in the dome of the Arian Baptistry in Ravenna, Italy.
Another is from the monastery at Daphni, near Athens, Greece.
Other artwork depicts naked baptisms, for example, The Appearance of Christ to the People by Alexander Ivanov (1806–1858), in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.
The Baptism of Christ, by Cornelis van Haarlem in the State Art Gallery in Karlsruhe, Germany.
The Baptism of Christ by Maarten van Heemskerck in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
That Jesus was naked at his crucifixion is not controversial, the Bible says as much, Matthew 27:27 -35 details how the Roman soldiers stripped Jesus of his clothes and then divided his clothes among them by throwing dice. And much the same account is given in Mark 15:24, and Luke 23:34. In John 19:23 the soldiers take his clothes (in Greek his ἱμάτια) and then removed his tunic (χιτών in Greek, which was the garment worn next to the skin). There can be no doubt that Jesus was left naked at this point.
Art also points to this truth: Michaelangelo’s Crucifixion in the Convent of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito, Florence, Italy, make the point very beautifully.
The idea that Jesus was naked at his resurrection is more controversial. But if one takes the words of the bible at their face value it seems that Jesus would have walked out of the tomb naked, after all the grave clothes he was buried in were folded and left in the tomb.
It becomes more obvious that he was naked when we look at the Fourth Gospel account of the resurrection (John 20:15) Mary Magdalene saw Jesus outside the tomb but did not recognize him and thought him to be the gardener. Why did she think he was the gardener? Various authors have suggested that because clothes were expensive people doing outdoor work worked naked so as not to ruin their clothes. We know that Peter worked as a fisherman on his boat naked (John 21:7). Another more convincing reason that Jesus was seen as a naked gardener is because Jesus is the New Adam (see Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:20-23). And of course Adam was the first naked inhabitant of the Garden of Eden.
The Resurrection of Christ by Peter Paul Rubens in the Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium.
The Apostles’ Creed, one of the foundational and universal creeds of Christianity states: “I believe in … the resurrection of the body” Some people think that the body in whose resurrection we believe in is Jesus’ body. But this not the full truth, the body being referred to in the Apostles’ creed is our own body. See for example the words of the Catechism in the Anglican Prayer Book 1989:
What do we mean by the resurrection of the body? We mean that God will raise us from death in the fulness of our being, that we may live with Christ in the communion of the saints.
As for me, I believe that some time after my death, at the time of the General Resurrection, my body will receive new life and my naked body of meat and bones, flesh and blood will be resurrected “in the fulness of my being” in some mysterious way which I don’t pretend to fully understand.
What about naturism?
The official definition of naturism is:
a way of life in harmony with nature characterised by the practice of communal nudity with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment
The two great commandments of religion, reiterated by Jesus are:
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.
Some parallels can be drawn between these two ideas: I take a panentheistic view of God, that is to say God is in everything, (as opposed to pantheistic view, which is the idea that everything is God), So loving God and loving (or being in harmony with) nature are similar ideas. Naturism asks us respect others, Jesus demands we love our neighbours. Naturism expect that we respect ourselves; Jesus makes the assumption that we love ourselves enough already. And while self-regard is built into us, we do know that many people have great trouble with self esteem and body shame, so in this case I do think that naturism has something to add.
Classic naturism as developed by the early fathers of Naturism (the Durville brothers, Adolf Koch, Hans Suren, Dr. Heinrich Pudor and Richard Ungewitter to name a few) emphasised physical fitness, sunlight, and fresh-air bathing, and then adding the nudist philosophy, contributing to mental and psychological fitness, good health, and an improved moral-life view. These ideas align closely with the Christian ideals of spiritual, physical and mental and social health, engendered by faith, prayer, and worship.
Worshipping God, while being naked is a truly wonderful and awesome experience, meaning an experience in which one feels real wonder and awe at both God’s creation around you and the transcendent nature of a loving God, who is completely other, sacred and holy: One feels completely in this world but not of this world. On our KZN Naturist Association weekends away I lead a service of Morning Prayer on the Sunday morning of the weekend, usually in a beautiful natural spot, next to a stream or under some trees. It is a service of prayer, scripture and sometimes singing, which many of our members find deeply rewarding. I recommend naked Christian worship to everyone.
Continuing the series of new videos from Aching for Eden Productions, here’s part 1 of an amazing true story.
WARNING: This post contains nudity. If this offends you, skip the video and just read the transcript. Hopefully if you are on this site, the sight of simply nudity is ok, or you’re reconditioning your mind to see the innocence in it.
And here’s the transcript:
We were at a business meeting in a friend of ours’ home, and after the meeting was over we were sitting around just drinking coffee and visiting and having a great time. And the lady of the house, she kind of like embarrassed looking and hesitant. And she says, “I need to ask you for a favor.” And she says, “You’re a pastor, right?” “Well, yeah, of course, yes.” She says, “I really need you to help me. My sister and her husband and their family are nudists.” And she kind of she kind of whispered it like like it was a bad word, you know, nudists. “And I need you to help me talk them out of it.” And we kind of looked at each other like it was kind of funny, you know?
But I said, “Oh, absolutely, I’m in, but give me a week so I can get some ammo. We need to do a Bible study, find out what the Bible says so that we have some ammo for them.” I said, “I don’t want to just wing it.” “We’ll straighten them up!” And so we drove home that night.
We kind of joked about it on the way home, you know, because we had about an hour and a half drive home. And it was just it was one of those odd things.
We started looking up every verse on naked or nude or anything to do with that subject. We already knew ahead of time we could not use anything with Adam and Eve, so we kind of just glossed over that right away. But suddenly, everywhere we looked was positive.
You know, we’ve got King Saul was naked with the prophets, which meant that when they assumed he was a prophet because he was naked, well, then the prophets had to have been naked. So that that didn’t fit the narrative. So we kind of threw that aside.
And then it was, you know, King David and Isaiah under the command of the Lord for three years naked. And just in case you were wondering how naked, naked and barefoot!
And then there was, I mean, just over and over again throughout the Old Testament. So we were like, okay, well, that’s because that was Old Testament. So let’s look at the New Testament. And then you find, you know, Peter naked while fishing. And rather than being reprimanded by Christ or straightened up, it just mentioned it like it was just in passing.
And then we find out that Jesus, you know, it says that he took off his robe to wash the apostles’ feet at the Last Supper. And I’m thinking, “Hmm, that not doesn’t fit.” Peter doesn’t fit in.
And then you find that the Bible tells us that at the triumphal entry that they took their clothes off and laid them in the way for Jesus to ride the donkey. Everywhere, Old Testament, New Testament, nothing fit. We couldn’t find any.
If you would pull Leviticus 18 out of context, well then you could use it. But we make a habit of not doing that. We look at the Bible from a legitimate standpoint, not make it say what we want it to.
So everything we found didn’t fit the agenda, which really threw me for a loop as a pastor, frankly, because we’d been taught our whole entire educational system as a pastor and the church growing up naked, equal sex and naked equals bad, right? Well, that’s not what the Bible said. Not at all.
So we go back. You can tell she’s wanting to bring the subject up. Right? So I said to her, I said, “You’re going to want to sit down. Because what we found was not what we expected.” And they both were like, “Really?” Boom, sit down. We’re at the kitchen table. And I had, I brought a printout of all the verses with me. So I kind of slid the printout over and I said, this is all of the verses in the Bible that specifically referred to just simple nonsexual nudity.
And she’s like, “Wow, that’s a lot of verses.” I said, “Yeah, and they’re all pro non-sexual nudity. This is not good news for you. This is bad news for you. These are all verses that are pro body acceptance.”
God made us in his image, not ashamed and called it very good. And so we went through each verse at a time and answered all the questions. And she says at the end, she says, “Well, what do we do about this?” Which was, it’s a really good question.
And Kim says, you wanna tell him what you said? In our house, we believe if God says it. No. If God is for it, we’re for it. And if God is against it, we’re against it.
And so my mouth fell open because I hadn’t, I actually hadn’t asked the question, what do we do about it? Right? I just studied it. Couldn’t help them any. And she’s like, “Well, if God is for it, we’re for it.” And I went. [speechless] Because what do you do with that? Right?
And so a couple of weeks later… (I didn’t say it wouldn’t be hard.) [laughing] But if God is for it, we believe the Bible. Right. That’s the bottom line, isn’t it? Is we believe the Bible is the word of God. And if God is for it, we’re for it.
So we’re Jim and Kim and been naturists for 20 plus years.
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!”
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!
I have a friend who has a fear of flying, so she thumbs her nose at it by deliberately flying. I have another friend who has a fear of public speaking, and he deals with it by joining Toastmasters. I spent most of my life hiding my body because I was ashamed of it. As a young teenager, I quickly learned that I had nothing down there to be proud of. It took me decades to learn I had nothing to be ashamed of, either. Like my friends, I chose to spit in the eye of what I feared. I chose to accept my body and stop hiding it. To deliberately let it be seen (without offending someone or violating the law).
Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing, is the very thing that will set you free.
So many have been wounded—myself included—by a view of the body “that has the smell of brimstone all over it,” to quote my friend Draco.
Pastor David L Hatton tells a story of a blind man who was sitting on the sidewalk with his hat turned up at his feet and a sign that read I’M BLIND. PLEASE HELP. A few people had put something in his hat, but most just passed on by. A man who worked in public relations came by, turned the sign over, and wrote a new message on it. Later, he came back by and the hat was full of money! What he had written gave those who read it a new perspective: IT’S SPRING, AND I CAN’T SEE IT.
The problem I had, and so many of us still have is this:
My body is beautiful, and I can’t see it.
As though some miraculous metamorphosis has transformed our perspective (see Romans 12:2), we need to see the human body the way God sees it: naked and unashamed, the pinnacle of his creative genius.
Thousands of people have defeated their body shame demons. They have come to see themselves through God’s eyes. And they are doing it through the prism of naturism.
Most detractors are good church-going people who think they are honoring God by condemning those who live as naturists. In some ways, prudery has been elevated to the value of scripture, and that’s a slap in the face of the very Creator whom they try to serve!
What’s ungodly is listening to the enemy of our souls when he tells us to be ashamed of the image of God that we bear. Let the words of a poem I wrote a couple of years ago speak to you:
The Imago Dei (The Image of God)
A man and woman—naked— once in a gardenstood Created in God’s image, He called it ‘very good!’
Fashioned for a purpose, one infinite in worth: to replicate God’s image through miracle of birth.
Then comes the great deceiver who so wants to be God, and have the gift He’d given these creatures made from sod.
He saw the Imago Dei they clearly represent and hated with a passion everything it meant.
What happened next is epic. A tree, its fruit, a lie: “You’ll be like God! Here; eat it. You surely will not die!”
Then once the bite was taken, dressed only in their skin, they heard, “…and put some clothes on! Your nakedness is sin!!”
How prudishly we’re living in our ‘enlightenment’, while foolishly retaining that gnostic excrement
so readily accepted by hearts that went astray when moral independence was birthed that fateful day.
As mankind swallowed fully a fallen angel’s plan, Godly wisdom faded from the heart of man.
We should actually be ashamed of being ashamed! As Mr. Larry has stated: How is it possible for the human body, which was created in the image of God, to be offensive to anybody? Satan would love to see God’s greatest creation be considered offensive.
What’s ungodly is objectifying certain body parts, and thereby separating the body from the soul that owns it.
What’s ungodly is teaching our children that the mere sight of naked humanity is sin. In doing so we have helped our great enemy create a culture that is steeped in pornographic filth.
What’s ungodly is the prudish mindset that gives pornography its power!
Study the Scriptures regarding this, asking God the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to His truth. Many are finding that these bodies are still fearfully and wonderfully made. Because of Christ’s redemptive work, our bondage to sin has been broken. We no longer have to believe the lie. We can replace it with the truth. We can once again be naked and unashamed.
Words have meaning. And as such, much of our communication can become an exercise in semantics if we cannot agree on the definitions of the words being used.
Classical languages use different words to communicate nuance where English only uses one word to express a host of different ideas. I think of the word “love.” In Greek there were four words for love:
Philia – a love found in strong friendships
Eros – an erotic love of passion and intimacy
Storge – a love found in family relationships
Agape – a type of selfless, unconditional love
In English we use the same word to cover the gamut of feelings from “I love my wife” to “I love frozen yogurt.” I sure hope my love for my wife is stronger and different than my love for froyo! Do you begin to see the potential confusion over words that are identical in every way except for context?
So it is with nudity and nakedness. Watch this video to see what I mean. The video text will be printed after.
The word naked is usually used as a descriptive adjective.
One might think of a naked mole rat, which describes a pink, nearly hairless rodent, or the “naked” truth, which is a way of saying that the information shared is unvarnished or without ornamentation. Simply put, we usually think of naked as meaning “without a covering.”
What does the term “nakedness” mean in the Bible?
Most of the passages that speak to nakedness are found in the Old Testament. As such, it is from within the Old Testament pages that most Bible teachers today draw their conclusions about what God thinks about nakedness.
If we really want to know what God’s perspective is towards nudity, it stands to reason that we must correctly understand the words from the Bible and their meanings.
There are three individual words for nakedness in the Old Testament: arowm, eyrom and ervah.
In Genesis 2:25, we are first introduced to arowm, which means “simple and innocent nakedness.”
“The man and his wife were arowm, but they were not ashamed.”
Later, in Genesis 3:7, after the Fall, the word eyrom for “vulnerable nakedness, with a sense of being exposed to harm” is used.
“Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were eyrom; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.”
And finally, after the global flood, in Genesis 9:22 we are exposed to a new word for “active sexual nakedness,” ervah.
“And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the ervah of his father…”
All three of these variants have their basis in the same root Hebrew word, but their biblical usage indicates different shades of meaning. Sadly, in our common language translations, we generally just get one word, “naked,” which, understandably, has led many to develop wrong thoughts on what nakedness is all about!
God never calls arowm or eyrom shameful. There is no Scripture in the Bible that says, “Thou shalt not be naked” or “Nakedness is sinful.” In fact, He used naked circumcision as a visible sign of His Covenant with Abraham and his descendants.
Ervah, on the other hand, is where we see sin joined with nakedness and shame. If what a person was doing in a situation was sinful, or could be the cause of sin, it was ervah.
In the New Testament, the word for naked is gymnos. It means “bare, without clothing” and is the root of the word, “gymnasium.” The gym was a place to exercise in a state of nudity.
Hebrews 4:13 reminds us that in God’s eyes, “No creature is hidden, but all are gymnos…”
Many “grown-up” translations try to “cover up” simple nudity in the Bible, such as when the Apostle Peter was naked and fishing, but interestingly, the International Children’s Bible gets it right!
“…he wrapped his coat around himself. (Peter had taken his clothes off.) Then he jumped into the water.” See John 21:3-7.
What word was used in the Greek for his lack of clothing? Gymnos, of course!
Like ervah above, there are two instances in the New Testament where shame added to nudity produces a negative situation. The greek word aschēmosýnē is usedfor specific situations when nudity is inappropriately sexual or used to shame.
In Romans 1:27, this word is used to describe unnatural sexual activity, and in Revelation 16:15, it is used to implicate the consequences of laziness.
Ultimately, we look to the teaching of our Rabbi, Y’Shua, who teaches us that sin starts in the heart and grows into action.
Nakedness, like other subjects in the Bible, is actually a neutral state. Most people throughout history have known that simple nudity is not sinful. Yet, if we hold faulty definitions, our thoughts, our actions, and our discipleship journey with other believers in the Body of Christ will be affected.
It is wonderful that, as New Covenant believers, we have the ability to focus our hearts on Jesus and experience the innocent, pure nakedness of the Garden.
What wrongs might be righted if the church rediscovered this truth?