David L. Hatton’s “Muse”

David L. Hatton is a man I greatly admire. Though I’ve never met him in person, we’ve spoken on the phone and texts and emails and we even pray for each other. I’ve read most of what he’s written. We endorse his other books on our resource page and have created a video from one of his poems on this post.

I was very excited when his novel “Muse” was released. I ordered some paperback copies, one to keep and a few to give away, and got the kindle version to start reading immediately. In one week I had finished reading the whole book! 

From the first plot surprise until the end of the story, the reader is in for an entertaining ride, but not only that. It is also educational and inspirational.

It’s educational in the way it espouses a rationale for the wholesomeness of a body-friendly mindset. As a Christian, I especially appreciated the way typical attitudes of Christians toward the body are challenged throughout the story. Darren, the protagonist, especially struggles through this new type of thinking which proves to be far better than the prudishness he had formerly known. I don’t want to give any spoilers, suffice to say that there are plenty of twists, turns, and surprises to keep the read interesting and enjoyable.

It’s not just an education of seeing the body as the greatest work of art, but there are also many truths espoused about how a good church should function. There are examples of shortcomings of the church as we know it today, as well as glimpses of more God-honoring expressions of how church can be “done.”

Click image to view on Amazon

“Muse” does not lack in the inspiration department. Through heartbreaks, setbacks, and overcoming obstacles for victory, your soul will enjoy Darren’s journey. Through the entire book, his commitment to keeping God at the forefront of his mind through constant prayer is both admirable and attractive. If you aren’t already praying without ceasing (1 Thes 5:17), after seeing how this young man, Darren operates his daily life, you will want to take up his practice of including the Lord in all things.

I very much enjoyed the teaching in Hatton’s “Meeting at the River.” In “Muse” the naked truth is presented a bit differently and in several real world scenarios. I greatly appreciated this real life application as it’s entirely relatable.

Again, without giving away too much of the plot, the emotional factor in these true to life realities can hit very close to home for some. I’ve met several Christian naturists who espouse the same kind of body-friendliness that Hatton describes, which just so happen to go very much against the grain of what is commonly accepted in Christian circles, so they have had major blow back in their lives as a result. “Muse” is no exception to these possibilities, as it paints its fictional picture for us.

That’s exactly the last aspect I’d like to highlight. In this book, the characters wrestle with those typical knee jerk reactions to nudity that are so prevalent, but then they see another perspective and it starts to make sense to them. That journey is one that I hope will encourage readers that have already worked through these issues. Then also, I believe it will be a great resource for those who have never considered such ideas to see the body in a new light.

Here are a few notable quotes from the book (thanks Arid Lasso for the images):

Just Thinking About the Gardener

This is a short little thought by our friend who goes by Figleaf:

Was Jesus really nude when Mary mistook Him for a gardener after His resurrection (John 20:15)?

Many in the Christian Naturist world would unabashedly sound a firm “Absolutely!”  This conclusion is usually based on the fact that Jesus’ burial clothes were left folded in the tomb (John 20:6-7), and the historical fact that many common laborers of the time would often work unclothed to preserve their very limited wardrobe.

On the other hand, I have sometimes taken a more hesitant approach in my studies of nudity in the bible.  In our naturist efforts to give common social nudity the credit it deserves, it would be easy to make an “absolute” out of just a “probable but not definite” scenario.  Or, taking it one step further, it would NOT be to our advantage to take such a scenario from a “just plausible” stance to “probable” or “absolute.”   These are three very different degrees of a presented reality.

With this particular scene of Jesus as a potential gardener, I have always put this in the “probable” category for the same reasons mentioned above.  However, I have not put it in the “absolute” category for the following reasons:

It is possible that the clothing left behind in the tomb was not a complete listing and that Jesus retained a piece not mentioned in that verse.

It is possible that an angel could have provided Jesus with a resurrection robe?

That was my thought on the matter until last Sunday when I heard a very interesting sermon on this particular scene in scripture.  It definitely did not mention nudity, but it did give me evidence that I can now move my thoughts on Jesus’ nudity from “probable” to “absolutely.”

The preacher went on to say that it wasn’t an accident that Jesus was being mentioned as a possible gardener.  This is a picture of the last Adam restoring what the first Adam left undone.  Adam lost his job as gardener and was kicked out of the garden.  And now Jesus, the last Adam, comes out of the ground (cave/tomb) just as the first Adam came out of the ground!  The first Adam also returned to the ground when he died.

The preacher went on to say, “ It was Jesus’ way of saying Eden is back!” And we all know that when Adam was tending the Garden, he and Eve were naked and not ashamed (Genesis 2:25).  Jesus was obviously re-establishing how it was in the beginning – naked gardening included.  For me, this moved my thinking of Jesus as a nude gardener from “probable” to “Absolutely!”  And now the Garden of Eden life is available to us all once again.


Phil’s comments:

Whether it’s probable or whether it’s absolutely, the fact is, in those days nudity was more commonplace and not a big deal. Gardeners often worked naked, so it’s not a stretch to think that Jesus was mistaken as a result. Jesus was likely naked in multiple key moments in his life: His birth, His baptism, washing His disciple’s feet, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. I really like Figleaf’s statement quoting the insightful preacher: “Eden is back!” One of my favorite verses is on our homepage and that’s Revelation 21:5 where Jesus says, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Let’s rejoice in the fact that the old is gone and the new has come.

Why “Aching for Eden”?

Around this time, a year ago, we put out a post called “The Year of the Locust” which explained how 2020 was for us a good year. “Aching for Eden” is a phrase in a song which was embedded on that post. I thought it would be good to expand on this idea and show why we called the blog Aching for Eden.

As I thought about this post, I went back to the homepage and saw what I had written a year and a half ago, when we launched this site. We had no idea at the time if anyone would read it. We’ve been blown away by the response by our dear readers and friends. Now I am working on a book whose working title is “Surprised Into Freedom: The effortless obliteration of lust and body shame.”

When I saw what I wrote on the homepage, I decided to edit and expand it to the following:

Does your heart ache for the restoration of all things? Can we return to the innocence of Eden in our lives today? Many believe we can’t and any pursuit of this in our fallen state would be in vain. They would rather make Genesis 3 their starting place instead of Genesis 1 and 2. We are far from perfect, however, we do not want that to get in the way of a deep and rich relationship with our Lord. We not only believe God can restore the years the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25), but He has done just that in our own lives. This blog is a testimony to that wonderful place of living not in Adam, but in Christ.

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

REVELATION 21:5 (ESV)

Recently, we read all of Joel 2 again, and see now why the author of the song mentions the phrase “aching for Eden.” You have to go back from verse 25 to Joel 2:3 (NIV): “Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste— nothing escapes them.” There is a lot of poetically depressing language in this chapter foretelling the day of the Lord. Yet, with this, there is still some hope. Is it too hard to imagine that we can exchange God’s judgment for His favor? There are hints that He may relent (v. 14), especially if we rend our heart, not our garments (v. 13).

This passage means a lot to us, because through the rending of our hearts (not our garments) we’ve become like new. Often when Scripture speaks of “new” it’s a sense of “new and improved” or “better than the last.” Our lives certainly got an “upgrade” since embracing naturism. It’s caused us to better our lives in other areas as well, many of them spiritual in nature. The brokenness of the previous versions of both me and my wife has been restored and made new. We may not be able to restore Eden in its totality in this fallen world, but we are so much closer than we were for 20 years of our life together before our change.

Jesus’ prayer was “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10 NIV) This may not mean that we are to walk around naked, as we may in heaven some day. It means much more than this. And yet, we tend to rob God of his power because we haven’t rended our own hearts and embraced His power like we should. Naturism may not be for everyone, but refusing to be a “new and better” version of ourselves is not recommended. God wants his sons and daughters to prophesy in the Spirit (Joel 2:28). He wants to save everyone who calls on Him (Joel 2:32). This includes the issues of lust and body shame. Those are bondages that entrap so many Christians today in epidemic proportions. Many ultimately think (or act) as if the best we can do is deal with and manage these two issues on a daily basis. That’s not God’s intent. He wants to save and rescue completely. He’s waiting for us to rend our hearts. It’s really that simple!

I don’t know how much of this is connecting with you, dear reader. I hope some of this is making sense. We live in the Kingdom of the now and not yet. We are living between two trees. The tree of life that was will be reinstated at the end of time. As we wait for that day, we should make the best of it. We must not throw our hands up in defeat and hope for a better day, when lust will be no more and where we can be naked without shame like in the beginning. If we have a drinking problem, we don’t wait to fix it. If we have a lying problem, we don’t give up hope of overcoming that sin before the end. Why do we think we can do nothing but lust at the sight of flesh? Why must we hate our bodies until they are glorified?

One answer is we have an enemy who hates the image of God and those who bear it. He is hell-bent on deceiving the whole world with his distorted views (Revelation 12:9; John 8:44). He deceives well-intentioned people by masquerading as an angel of light (2 Corinthian 11:14). Sadly, we are making his job easy. Many will remain in bondage without ever experiencing God’s powerful redemption in their lives in these areas.

This is why we are “aching for Eden.” Call it impatience. Call it “immanetizing the eschaton.” We don’t want to wait for a future restoration, when it can be a present reality. It’s impossible for us to want anything but God’s favor, because we’ve lived under His judgment for a long time, and we can attest that His goodness is so much better. We rended our hearts and He is repaying the years the locusts had eaten. I know Hebrews 6:4-6 NIV is talking about salvation, and not about any specific issue individually, but the principle still applies: “those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age” should not eschew these blessings right now in exchange for a future grace. Grace is for today. Hope is for the present, or it’s not hope at all. We see salvation from sin as something accomplished in Jesus, where our faith is credited as righteousness. But then we act as though deliverance from bondage to lust or body shame is next to impossible this side of heaven. Why the double-mindedness?

May the words of Romans 8:19-26 NIV give us confidence and peace of mind, as we join with all creation in “aching for Eden.”

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.

To this text, we say Amen or “let it be so.”

Quotes from Kindle

A reader of this blog who goes by Arid Lasso has been creating these memes out of reading that he is doing. The books he is citing in these are books we have also recommended on our own resources page. I will share some of these a few of my own comments about the quotes. These and future memes our friend will create will also be featured in a collection on our memes page.

I think the first part of this quote would go unchallenged by most. Yes, we should view others incarnationally as sacred embodiments of God’s image, physical temples for His Holy Spirt, fleshly expressions of souls Christ died for. This bit gets mostly affirmed by the majority of Christians. But then the second part of the quote becomes unthinkable to the very people who embrace the first part. If the first part is true, then it should liberate us both from prudery’s impure thinking about the unclad human body and from pornography’s misuse of human nudity for self-gratification. So where is the disconnect? It’s an if then statement. If this is true, then this also is logically true. However, there is a cognitive dissonance in the porno-prudish mindset. Once that is broken, the logic flows and the liberation occurs.

This reaffirms what I was just saying. The logic has to be solid. The “inborn” response to nudity as bad is a mental glitch whose neural pathways must be remapped. This is what happened with me, and the former lie I had believed so long vanished for good. Reject that very body taboo and there is no need to defend a lie any longer. Everything changes, and our response to nudity does not cause uncontrollable lusts, but instead praise of the Creator and love for a fellow image bearer.

Our search must be a search for the truth. There can only be one truth if it is indeed truth. Our enemy is described in John 8:44 (NIV) this way: “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Contrast that with a verse just a few verses prior to this: “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 NIV)

When you look, it’s so easy to see the devastating effects of this form of thinking that is the default way of thinking. Religiously reinforced. While my main bondage was porn and lust, my wife’s bondage was body shame. We both needed deliverance. A redeemed view of the body as the image of God changed us both. These types of bondages in others are now so apparent to us, and it saddens us that, like in our case, years will be wasted without a liberating knowledge of the truth. There is freedom for those brave enough to seek it.

This is what happened to me. Purity culture may have had the best of intentions, but we instead have reaped the consequences of such training and conditioning. The attempts to curb impure thoughts through hyper modesty and covering up have been tried and found wanting. To say they’ve failed at restoring one’s sexual brokenness is an understatement. You say there has to be a better way. I say there is!

This quote is especially fitting at Christmas time, which is around the time you’re reading this if you follow the blog every week. Our Lord was made flesh and dwelt among us. The idea that flesh is bad and spirit is good is a gnostic heresy. While we can give mental ascent to this statement, and agree the heresy is wrong, we miss the fact that we live as though it is true. We decry heresy in one breath and embrace the heresy’s claim in actuality. Spirit good, body bad never ends well. Which is why Satan planted that idea from the very start.

This is one of those arguments that “textiles” don’t know how to handle. That exception and that of doctors and nurses really ought to have the whole house of cards come crashing down. Mrs. Phil delved into this type of reasoning of making exceptions to a non-existent rule in this article entitled, “It should be that easy!

I’m more and more convinced that legalists do not know they are legalists. I see legalism everywhere and those who hold legalistic views are often oblivious to that fact. Can well-intentioned individuals trying to honor God and please Him be in such grave error by doing so that it’s actually rebellion? I believe they not only can but do. They may do so unwittingly or because they learned to do it. That was pretty much my experience. I just finished Watchman Nee’s classic book, “The Normal Christian Life.” It is an amazing work and in it he says Romans 6 is about freedom from sin, and Romans 7 is about freedom from the Law. He argues that deliverance from sin is not enough, but that we also need deliverance from the Law. This is a light bulb type of revelation that many need to internalize!

Those in the church that would accuse Christian naturists of false teaching, are actually the ones guilty of promoting and perpetuating false teaching. Many are afraid to even broach the subject. More and more people are speaking out against the purity culture message, but they stop short of the full application of their new reasoning. They reject the blame game, and take responsibility for their own lust, but continue to be squeamish when it comes to nudity. Again, this gnostic heresy that gets played out in our modern times is the root of all that dehumanizes. Those humans who bear God’s image (and that’s all of us) are a blend of flesh and spirit that is complexly and perfectly intertwined. We cannot separate the two. What is done in the flesh is also done in the spirit. And what is done in the spirit is also done in the flesh. Can we be whole persons? Can we maintain purity in both aspects of Imago Dei: body and soul? Not likely if we persist in an attitude that holds as “bad” what God made as “very good.” Let’s stop avoiding the real issues, and stop trying to “cover up” the problem!

And you’re STILL trying to tell me…

We have a friend who has created some memes that are funny, but insightful and thought provoking. He let us use them in this post as well as in a collection on our own memes page.

Below I’ve combined these memes with some commentary from Fig Leaf Forum:

No one believes that God would ask one of His faithful servants to sin, and yet here He asks Isaiah to remove all his clothing for a period of three years. Actually, in this passage voluntary nakedness is commanded and involuntary nakedness is prophesied. When God asked His prophet to undress, Isaiah did so willingly and without shame. But notice that it was to be a sign to the Egyptians and Cushites that one day soon they would be led away in a state of shameful nakedness as captives. It was a common practice in those days to strip prisoners in order to humiliate them. This is another example of nakedness resulting from deprivation, which [is a whole different issue addressed elsewhere]. (Editor FLF #2)

Here again a prophet voluntarily strips off his clothes in the service of his God. No sin or shame is attributed to Saul for this action. In fact, Saul’s actions are instantly recognized as those of a prophet of God. Perhaps this was not so uncommon in those days! (Editor FLF #2)

Here was a man doing common work who for practical reasons took off his clothes. The thing is, since their boat was close enough for Jesus to see and talk to the fisherman, one must assume that others, including women and children, might also have witnessed such conduct from time to time. After all, in more primitive times bodies of water like lakes and rivers were commonly used for bathing or for laundry and often served as the source for drinking water. It is not unreasonable to suggest that women and children were often present at the shoreline, nor is it unreasonable to suggest that Peter’s behavior was not unusual for people doing hard and dirty work. (Editor FLF #2)

Regarding Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, in John 13:4 the plural use of the word “garments” indicates more than one. This plural translation is repeated in most versions of the Bible. You stated [in FLF #37] that the Greek word himation meant only one garment was removed by Jesus. Regardless whether one or more garments were removed, I believe Jesus was fully naked here at the foot washing event and afterwards. John says He “took a towel, and girded himself.” If He was clothed in any way, surely He would have draped the towel over one arm or shoulder. This may be an assumption on my part, but surely it is a logical and probable one. In John 20:27, Jesus asks doubting Thomas to “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side.” Thomas had to actually touch and feel the flesh and body of Jesus. The Bible does not record that any clothes had to be removed for this to be done! Surely, if Jesus was clothed, the fact that He had to remove his clothing would have been recorded in this Scripture passage. It was not mentioned. Yes, Jesus could have had all the clothes He wanted, but He did not wear them. In the foot washing incident of John 13, what better way could there have been to teach His followers true humility and humbleness than for Jesus to divest Himself of all manmade trappings (clothes)? The event loses any forceful impact if He was clothed in any garment! (Doug from Australia in FLF #43)

Remember when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem? What did the multitudes do? They cast their garments upon the “foal of an ass” that He rode upon [MATTHEW 21.7], and also upon the path (road) that He traveled [MATTHEW 21.8]. It appears that at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem there might have been a bunch of “nekkid” followers, joyful that the Kingdom of God had finally come. Many will try to tell you that they cast only their extra garments aside, and thus were not completely nude. Israelites (and particularly the followers of Jesus) were, as a rule, extremely poor. Many were beggars, and it seems unlikely that they had the extra clothing necessary to cast just certain garments aside during the triumphal procession into Jerusalem. Did those who had a large wardrobe available at home tell the Master, “Wait a minute while we go home to get some extra garments to cast aside during Your triumphal procession?” Did the rich who had the extra clothing available to cast aside at that time share them with those who only had a single garment?It’s quite likely that some of the worshipers at the triumphal entry were nude during at least part of the procession. None of my Bibles quote Jesus as saying anything like, “Get your clothes back on, you ‘nekkid’ rotten sinners.” This would have been the perfect opportunity for God to have included in His Word this little bit of information regarding simple nudity, if it’s true as so many tell us that being clothed is so critical to righteousness. Was Jesus so caught up in the moment that He forgot to give us that teaching? Could it have been that Jesus might have accepted the casting aside of His follower’s garments as a symbol of casting aside the world in favor of the Kingdom of God? Could this same casting aside of a symbol of the world (garments) be the reason why so many nudists claim to feel closer to God while nude? (Bill in California FLF #71)

In this passage, Micah was mourning because God’s people had been in sin and God finally declared judgement on them. The word for “naked” in this passage is again “arom.” This passage gives less context than the Isaiah passage for one to assume that Micah would have been fully nude (because being only in one’s undergarments was considered a type of being “nude” back then, and Micah was merely mourning), but it is still mentioned nonetheless, and so is included here. (Adrian from Ohio FLF Dec 19, 2010)

“Blind Bartemeaus is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. The thing that catches my eye in this story is Bart’s casting aside his cloak. As many have stated, it was not customary for people to wear underwear in those days. If any did, it would have been the rich. Bartemeaus is obviously not rich. He casts aside his garment and walks to Jesus naked. Jesus does not comment on this at all, but instead asks what Bartemeaus wants. Bart wants his sight and Jesus gives it to him.”I may be stretching things a bit, but to me, we all have to come to Jesus naked. We have to come to Him with nothing hidden, nothing held back. We must come to God is such a way that we are open completely and ready to receive the gift of grace that is offered. For those of us who enjoy naturism, this takes on a whole new meaning. I started my re-interest in naturism precisely because I felt God calling me to come to Him without reservation. I followed in the footsteps of Bartemeaus. When asked what I wanted, I replied to know Him better. I still do.” (Stephen FLF November 10, 2005)


So there you have it! Several different memes from both the Old and New Testaments. And you’re still trying to tell me…?

Two Simple Questions

This concise and to the point article was written by our good friends at www.nakedandunashamed.org.

As a pastor my goal every week was to attempt to make the complex simple. As a simple guy myself I felt that I had a better grasp of Bible doctrine if I found ways to put it into simple terms. I know, many pastors pride themselves on being able to wax eloquent every week, but that was just not my style.

Recently I decided to see if we could do the same thing when looking at the subject of biblical naturism and here is what I came up with. It really boils down to two simple questions. The first question we must ask is how does God view the naked body…what is His view on the subject? By the way, that should be the basis for discovery on any doctrine. What is God’s view on grace? What is God’s view on forgiveness? What is God’s view on the Law? As far as I am concerned, the best place to find out what God’s view on a given subject is the Word of God…the Bible.

So, what is God’s view of the naked body or the body in general?

  • Psalm 139:14 – I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
  • Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee…
  • Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
  • Genesis 2:25 – And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
  • Genesis 1:31 – And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:23 – And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

In a nutshell, God’s view of us and our naked bodies is that they are:

  1. wonderful
  2. formed by His hand
  3. made in His image
  4. nothing to be ashamed of
  5. very good
  6. that no part of the body is less beautiful than any other part

Now, we get to the second question…does your view of the naked body match God’s view? Does your pastor’s view of the naked body match God’s view? Does my church’s view of the naked body match God’s view?

If it doesn’t, one of the views need to change so that they match. I am going to recommend that you not demand that God change His view, I am going to recommend that you get in line with God and His view.

I hope that this little exercise also helps with any discussion opportunities that may arise in the future. It’s the perfect question to ask…does your view of the body match God’s view?

Baptism and Nudity

A topic of much debate in Christendom (sadly) is baptism. The method or mode, the purpose, the people doing the baptizing, all of these are discussed at length. Is it immersion? It is sprinkling? Is it for infants or believers above the age of accountability? This article will not address any of these issues. What is never spoken about, hardly, is the fact that baptisms in the early church were performed in the nude. Is this is a shock to you? Keep reading…

At my own church, there is a sign by the baptistry that expresses the need for a robe to be worn over one’s clothes. This, especially for the females, will be the most modest approach and will not cause others to stumble in their thinking (is the general, though faulty, idea behind this). Church is not the place for a wet T-shirt contest, I get that! That would certainly not be appropriate. However, when I saw this sign, I immediately wondered how those in the church would react if they knew that ancient baptisms were performed devoid of any coverings at all! Candidates for baptism would strip off all of their clothes and jewelry to enter the waters naked and unashamed, and in mixed company. It was not scandalous like it would be today. It was just the way it was.

At some point prudery took over, and the art that portrayed these true facts about baptism got censored. See the tragic defacing of these historical pieces:

This should be proof enough that this was indeed the practice. However, should you need more convincing, you’re at the right place!

For the first 400 years in the Church, baptism was a nude practice. This was the pattern of the Jewish mikveh ritual before it was a Christian rite. Bathing outdoors was commonplace, so this was not offensive as it would be today. To quote Lightfoot in “Horae Hebraicae Talmuducae,” he acknowledges that: “Every person baptized must dip his whole body, now stripped and made naked, at one dipping. And wheresoever in the Law washing of the body is mentioned, it means nothing else than the washing of the whole body.”1

Robert Robinson wrote a 580 page book called “The History of Baptism” in 1817. In it he speaks of Jesus’ nakedness when he washed his disciples feet:

In regard to the nakedness of Jesus just now observed, it should be recollected, that, however shocking it may appear to English manners, and how rude and indecent soever it would be justly reckoned her to imitate the custom of introducing naked into publick company, yet in the ancient eastern world it was far otherwise, and at this day all over Italy, in places sacred and profane, statues, pictures, vases, and books exhibit such sights, and nobody is offended.2

He goes on to say:

Let it be observed, next, that the primitive Christians baptized naked. Nothing is easier than to give proof of this by quotations from the authentick writings of the men who administered baptism, and who certainly know in what way they themselves performed it. There is no ancient historical fact better authenticated than this. The evidence doth not go on the meaning of the single word naked; for then a reader might suspect allegory; but on many facts reported, and many reasons assigned for the practice.3

Furthermore, the symbolism of the sacrament takes on a richer meaning when it is practiced as it was intended.

Cyril of Jerusalem (313–386) brings significance to the naked portion of this ceremony in this way: “You put off your clothes, which is an emblem of putting off the old man with his deeds; and being thus divested, you stood naked, imitating Christ, that was naked upon the cross, who by his nakedness spoiled principalities and powers, publicly triumphing over them in the cross.” He adds, “‘Immediately, then, upon entering, you removed your tunics. Having stripped, you were naked. … Marvellous! You were naked in the sight of all, and were not ashamed.'”4

Of the Bishop of Jerusalem’s reliable account, William Tefler says, “Part of this heritage was no doubt a tradition of doctrine, and in particular of norms of baptismal catechizes. For all the freshness with which Cyril handles his matter, in catechetical lecturing, we may judge that he is guided by church tradition, when we note how impervious he is to the contemporary theological disturbances.”5

Theodore of Mopsuestia (c. 400) later added, “Adam was naked at the beginning, and unashamed. This is why your clothing must be taken off as baptism restores right relation to God.” He also said, “You draw near to the holy baptism and before all you take off your garments. As in the beginning when Adam was naked and was in nothing ashamed of himself…”6

St. Hippolytus, presbyter of Rome (c. 215), said that total nudity was required. The rule ordered, “let no one go down to the water having any alien object with them,” and directs women to remove even their jewelry and the combs from their hair.” And also these instructions:

“When they come to the water, the water shall be pure and flowing… Then they shall take off all their clothes. The children shall be baptized first. … After this, the men will be baptized. Finally, the women, after they have unbound their hair and removed their jewelry. No one shall take any foreign object with themselves down into the water…. Then, after these things, the bishop passes each of them on nude to the elder who stands at the water. They shall stand in the water naked. A deacon, likewise, will go down with them into the water.”

After being immersed three separate times, 

“when they have come up out of the water, they shall be anointed by the elder with the Oil of Thanksgiving, saying, ‘I anoint you with holy oil in the name of Jesus Christ.’ And so each one drying himself with a towel they shall now put on their clothes, and after let them be together in the assembly.”7

John the Deacon, writing around AD500, notices something similar. “They are commanded to go in naked, even down to their feet, so that [they may show that] they have put off the earthly garments of mortality. The church has ordained these things for many years with watchful care, even though the old books may not reveal traces of them.”8

Michael P. Wilson suggests that, “We should resist any suggestion that nakedness is being employed lightly. It is a costly word to express a costly truth. The saints of God shall, on the last day, be unashamed before their God as were Adam and Eve prior to the Fall. At baptism, though we do not completely and immediately escape the ravages of sin, we do at least enter into the secure promise of God. Further, just as at the eucharist we enact a foretaste of the heavenly banquet, so too, in naked baptism, we enact in a symbolic washing from head to foot a foretaste of the restoration of the innocence, shamelessness and joy that is only for those who find themselves in the presence of God and without sin.”9

Why have modern scholars ignored this evidence? Why did the pendulum swing so far in the other prudish direction? The influence of Plato and Gnosticism, especially with the desert fathers may have something to do with it. However, that is a topic for another blog post.

In a brilliant book Meeting at the River, part allegory and part autobiography, David Hatton depicts a scene of a group of people of all ages having a baptism service at the river’s edge which then results in bathing and skinny dipping, without a shred of indecency. An elder from the group, the ancient in this vision, comes over to the protagonist who is observing all of this in disbelief. Much of the book is their conversation, which includes these key sentences:

“We came here today to find if you are ready to be healed.” “Healed?” “Delivered from the wall dividing your mind for so long,” he explained. “On one side is a false ‘knowledge,’ a gnosis present since childhood. It tells you that the naked body is an object of indecency and sexual lust. Ever since you arrived here, that portion of your mind resists what has been displayed before your eyes. You were raised to reject it by the obscene view of God’s image learned in your upbringing. This false view of the body has been passed from one generation to the next with a zeal that rivals devotion to Christ Himself. It is the womb from which even more defiling imaginations are conceived and given birth.

“On the other side of that wall, your mind sees these unclothed families in the same way you observe nakedness in caring for mothers or for the sick. Your dismay at watching our baptism ritual came from the defiled side of your thinking. But the side informed by your long years of working with the naked body [as a labor and delivery nurse] began to wish this scene to be just as it seemed—a time of innocent fellowship. Only one of these two perceptions is true, and you already know which one it is.”

…These precious fleshly bodies of your brothers and sisters in Christ are just what they are, and nothing more. Only deceitful imaginations paint them otherwise.10

Whereas a nude baptism in any given church today would prove scandalous, it is not because the bodies are lewd or obscene in and of themselves. It is because our minds are. I had a friend recently say to me, “Isn’t it interesting how the Renewed Mind shows you that thinking on the beauty of the human body is “pure, true, noble, admirable, and excellent?” I’d have to agree with him. Having lived most of my life where the sight of a nude baptism would be a cause for stumbling and bring on all sort of impure thoughts, I never want to go back to that way of thinking! Now, to witness such a nude baptism ceremony would be a joy, because of the joyous occasion of baptism and the purity of heart on display. Nothing more. Nothing less.


1 “Baptism,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, I,1., p. 415.

2 Robert Robinson, The History of Baptism (From the Press of Lincoln & Edmands, 1817), p. 93.

3 Ibid., p. 94.

4 Bettenson, Henry, ed., The Later Christian Fathers: A Selection from the Writings of the Fathers from St. Cyril of Jerusalem to St. Leo the Great. (London: Oxford University Press) p. 42-44.

5 Cyril of Jerusalem, Saint,” Encyclopedia Britannica Micropedia (15th Ed.). I, 3., p. 61.

6 Quoted in Carnal Knowing—Female Nakedness and Religious Meaning in the Christian West, Margaret R. Miles, Beacon Press, Boston, 1989, p. 33-34.

7 Dix, Rev. Gregory, ed., The Treatise on The Apostolic Tradition of St. Hippolytus of Rome, Bishop and Martyr. (Ridgefield, Connecticut: Morehouse Publishing) p.33-38.

8 Quoted in Carnal Knowing—Female Nakedness and Religious Meaning in the Christian West, Margaret R. Miles, Beacon Press, Boston, 1989, p. 33-34.

9 Michael P. Wilson, “Nakedness, Bodiliness and the New Creation.” https://cnfellowship.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/wilson-2006-modern-believing-2002-reworked.pdf.

10 David L. Hatton, Meeting at the River – A Tale of Naked Truth (David L. Hatton; 2nd edition (August 8, 2013), p. 50

Unpresentable Parts?

If you ask a Bible scholar what 1 Corinthians 12 is about, they are bound to answer something having to do with the analogy of the body as it relates to unity in the Church. That is the undeniable context of this verse in question today. This blog is not Church unity, although that is a topic near to my own heart. It’s a blog about Christian naturism. Sadly, some have used verses 22-23 as an objection against the views of Christian naturists. This is a classic example of proof texting and taking verses out of their clear context.

In fact, those who would say Christian naturists are in error and as a result, you must break fellowship with them, they who maintain this position are in direct violation of the greater message of 1 Corinthians 12. Christian naturists are part (and I’d add a vital part) of the body of Christ, and not to be amputated. There must be no division between Christians with naturist freedom versus other Christians. We are not to say of another believer, “I have no need of you.” In an attempt to project prudish and repressive views onto others, believers attack other believers who hold different convictions and in so doing they commit the sin of divisiveness.

However, that is not the point of this post. Context aside, what is meant by the phrase “unpresentable parts”? That’s what our new video dives into in great detail. Watch the video and the script will be provided at the bottom. I would have to conclude, from all of this, that this verse is no reason to abandon the amazing Eden-like freedom of Christian naturism.

1 Corinthians 12:22-25:

“The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater care, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.” 

Like many passages in the New Testament, this one is actually a metaphor for unity in the church and for how each person plays a unique part in the makeup of the body of Christ. 

However, as these verses have been wrongly used to shame our physical bodies, let us dig into the idea that some parts of our bodies are “unpresentable.” What do we think these parts are? Our 21st century western perspective would jump to the conclusion that the passage must be speaking of breasts and genitals. 

If we lived in another place or time, however, we might think our ankles or our ears, or even our eyes were “unpresentable,” while having no concern with exposing the entirety of the remainder of our bodies!

The Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary informs us that the phrase “less presentable members” refers to “those limbs which we conceal from sight in accordance with custom, but in the exposure of which there would be no indecency.” 

Heinrich Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament explains that Paul was referring primarily to the inner organs, (the intestines, the brain, the heart) but allows for a reference to the delicate external organs (ears, eyes, genitals) as well. 

Modern pietists might “strain at a gnat,” or hunt for a needle in this haystack to proof-text the idea that some body parts are worse than others, but in this search, they’ll only find acres of hay.

Our true focus should be that God has called the entire body: good [see Genesis 1:31]. 

What, then, does “unpresentable” mean? If one is going out in a sand storm, it is smart to cover one’s face. It is “unpresentable” to the environmental conditions at the time. If you are going into a very cold environment, you will want to cover all of your exposed flesh. In that situation, it is “less presentable.” Our brains, our hearts, our lungs— to each of these, God has given more honor by enclosing them within our bodies. They are “unpresentable,” but “more honorable.” 

It is only our culture, feeding on customs and the passage of time, that has wrongly concluded that our genitalia or areolae are dishonorable and exist in a state of continuous shame.

If we continue to pass down faulty information and myths to our children, these meaningless traditions will continue… until someone asks a simple question: why? 

Before we say “because God said so,” or “because the Bible said so,” we should ask the simple question: Really?

The issue is not that our reproductive organs are inherently bad. Sometimes, they just get in the way! When not being exposed to harsh elements or strapped down because of exercise or work, our vulnerable external body parts are just as beautiful and “presentable” as anything else.

The Christian walk provides life and freedom. Next time you have the opportunity to bare your skin to the sunshine, let it beam! God is smiling on all of your created parts.

Sexual Response & Nakedness

This article first appeared on our friend’s site at www.nakedandunashamed.org. It is reposted here with permission.

In general, the assumption amongst the majority of non-naturists is that the sight of another naked human will cause sexual arousal or lust…especially the sight of a naked woman, by a man.

They say that experience is a great teacher and that if you can use other people’s experience that is even better as it can at times lead to wise decisions without having to make your own bad decisions first.

I’d like to take a few minutes with this article to address what I believe is the big lie that Satan has convinced the non-naturist world. He has convinced people that the sight of the beautiful creature that is the human body, made in the very image of our Creator is somehow shameful, sexual and dirty and will cause a sexual response. I can assure you based on firsthand experience and backed by the principles of the Word of God that the opposite is actually the case.

First, a little common sense…anything that is novel will gain attention. If the sight of a naked person is novel, then it is noticed. Anything that is common is ignored. When a person is only naked for a shower or sex, then nakedness is novel and therefore will garner attention and that can be in the form of a sexual response. When nakedness is common and in a nonsexual context often, then suddenly nakedness is no longer novel and it no longer garners a sexual response.

When a person first begins the journey to the Truth as it relates to the naked human form, they are forced to confront all kinds of mental and spiritual training that they have been subjected to that is contrary to the Bible and to experience. They are confronted with the fact that what they’ve been taught might have been wrong and that is a very discomforting emotion.

For example, when I was growing up I was taught “modesty” from I Timothy as meaning dressed from neck to knee for the ladies and long shorts for the guys at a minimum. It’s what I now refer to as our “Sunday Best”. There was no real Bible standard, it was basically whatever the pastor or church taught was modest, that was what the Bible meant. It was making Scripture conform to the pastor/church teaching rather than the other way around. As an adult when I studied the passage and its actual teaching, what I found that the Bible was actually teaching was the exact opposite of “our Sunday Best.” The real concern was that there were poor ladies in the church with literally nothing to wear and rich ladies in the church with their fancy and expensive clothing. The teaching was for the rich ladies to dress more “modest”…an old fashion word meaning humble. Well, the truth is that the most modest attire was to match the very poorest in the congregation. Notice the teaching went on to say not with braided hair, not with jewelry, etc…in other words “modest” or humble. Not the meaning that the church has ascribed to the Bible, but the correct meaning anyway.

Modesty was basically whatever the pastor or church taught was modest.

So, what does our experience tell us that the church isn’t? My wife and I have been biblical, nonsexual naturists for about the last 20 years now and this is the Truth of what we have found.

  1. The commonplace of nonsexual nakedness has led to a desexualizing of our minds and those around us.

We have visited over 20 family friendly naturist resorts across the country and 3 nude beaches and in every case, we have not seen one instance of sexual response at any of the locations we have visited. In fact, what we have found is that the commonplace of nonsexual nudity has eliminated the sexual response based solely on visual stimulation.

  1. We have seen our minds renewed to the point that we used to think the body was shameful, sexual, and dirty…we now see the body as made in God’s image, beautiful and nonsexual in nature.

We no longer view the naked body the way the world views the naked body, we view the naked body as God views it. Isn’t it odd that the church and Hollywood hold to the same belief regarding the body? Living as a naturist has changed that for us. We no longer see the body sexually…we see the body beautiful. All bodies, in fact…tall or short, skinny, or fat, black, or white. You see…when your mind is renewed you begin to see others as God sees them…not as sexual objects, but as beautiful creations of God…made in His very image.

  1. Sexuality becomes more about the relationship than the superficial.

The typical non-naturist is visually motivated. In fact, we are told by good-willed pastors all across the spectrum of denominations that men are visually motivated, so it’s up to the woman to dress modestly to keep the beast at bay. We are told that this problem is “every man’s battle.” I am here to tell you, that is a lie. It is told by Satan to continue the cycle of try, fail and eventually give up trying when it comes to conquering the addiction to pornography.

I can tell you that men and women have been programmed to think this way, but that the thinking is contrary to how God sees us and how God wants us to see each other. Addiction to pornography is a matter of incorrect thinking and incorrect thinking can be corrected. When a person experiences the commonplace of nonsexual nakedness…again, I said commonplace…they see naked bodies doing normal everyday things like mowing the lawn, doing the dishes, vacuuming the floors, gardening, taking a walk in the woods, swimming, playing volleyball, etc. and instead of a sexual response they now see the body as just that…a body.

Think with me for a moment…if this is you and you are now used to seeing naked people doing normal everyday things all the time with zero sexual context how does that change your thinking? You are no longer a victim of Pavlov’s experiment…you are a victor because you now see people as God sees them. You now see people as the wonderfully made creation that He intended from the very beginning when He made them naked and not ashamed.

You see what we’ve really done by teaching that the image of God is somehow dirty, shameful and sexual is that we have propagated Satan’s lie, rather than the Truth of God’s Word.

• God is the One who created us naked.

• God is the One who said that there was no shame in it. God is the One who called it “very good.”

• God is the One who questioned “who told thee…so we know He didn’t start the lie…someone else did…Satan did.

So, what about sexual relationships with our mates?

We have found that because of our lack of sexual response to visual stimuli that our sexual relationship has moved from the superficial to an emotional response.

Our sexual relationship is based more on our friendship now. Our sexual desire comes out of our spiritual connection.

Our intimacy has deepened as has our relationship and our lovemaking is now way better than it has ever been.

The fact that we are not visually stimulated by a simple naked body has not reduced our sexual response to each other, it has strengthened our sexual relationship and made it more intimate and more connected.

The fact that there is no sexual response at the sight of others naked has increased our trust of one another and therefore our intimacy.

It’s almost like, when you experience life the way God intended…naked and not ashamed that you find that God was right all along, which means that the standard teaching in the church was wrong all along.

This is disappointing and unsettling in the beginning because what you thought was foundational was wrong and now you wonder what else was I taught that was wrong as well. Do not let that uneasy feeling stop you from living the life that God intended for you, just realize that you now believe what God said and not what man/Satan twisted it into.

Finally Free?

Book Review:

I bought a book by Heath Lambert entitled “Finally Free.” There is much of the book that I enjoyed. I really appreciate his heart and dedication to the Lord. Sadly, I’m finding some of the same advice found in other books I’m critically reviewing, even though Heath says his is different. I will give him this, he does approach this issue a bit differently than most, but as we’ll see, it leaves me wondering if those who follow his advice will actually be “finally free.”

As in the last post of this nature, the author’s brief quotations will be bold and in quotation marks, and my comments written in real time as I read the book will be italicized. (A few of my comments have been edited for clarity.)

“Finally Free is not the typical man-centered self-help book that offers the reader shallow teachings and a hopeless future.” p. 1

I hope it’s not. But one look at the table of contents is bringing up some red flags for me.

“I have never met anyone whose life was radically changed by hearing (again) how damaging the pornography industry is and how they desperately need to think differently about it.” p. 12

I would tend to agree here. I believe thinking differently is vital and a key part in changing and having a renewed mind.

“This book is about something much better than pornography. This book is about the amazing power of Jesus Christ to free you from pornography.” p. 12

I would also say that true and lasting freedom comes by the power of the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Also, it is not my work at all. God does it aside from our own effort.

“Eagerness to be clear of pornography expresses itself in two practical ways. First, you pursue accountability. You need help in a struggle that is impossible to fight alone. Accountability entails enlisting other Christians who can help you think about strategies you have not considered, who can actively check up on you, and who will diligently pray for you. Second, eagerly seeking to clear yourself means you pursue radical measures to ensure you have no access to pornography. This enslaving sin is only defeated by drastic measures to cut it off from all angles.” p. 37

Wrong, wrong, wrong! This is just avoidance of the problem, not a solution to eliminating the problem.

“You will never be free from pornography until you acknowledge that in order to change you need the help of God through brothers and sisters in Christ.” p. 46

Is God not enough???

“Ben’s meeting with this group of guys was the only thing he was doing to fight against porn. As important as that is, it’s not enough. In other chapters, you will learn about other strategies that are needed to win the battle.” p. 47

Or more cumbersome man-made strategies that fail to do God’s redemptive work that he alone can do, and do so effortlessly.

“Sadly, this well-intentioned conversation illustrates several defective approaches to accountability.” p. 49

This chapter talks more about the problems with accountability than it does the good kind of accountability, which still, he states that it is not enough in and of itself, even when done correctly!

“God has given more spiritual authority to spiritual leaders.” p. 51

Hmm. Spiritual leaders have been woefully inadequate to quell the problem of porn and lust in the church. They have perpetuated these ideas that are not helping to eradicate the issues at the core.

“…not giving so much detail that it would fuel further temptation.” p. 53

Here he’s saying that in your accountability group you should spare everyone the details of your habits, so as to not tempt anyone else and give them ideas. I see what he’s saying, and I’ve been the victim in this. Guys in my youth group growing up were so surprised I had not masturbated in all my high school years. Their talk finally got me curious once I gained some more independence. However, this is part of the problem with traditional approaches. An honest approach would spare no detail if the resulting outcome is true freedom. It won’t be a temptation any more!

“Accountability oriented around questions and answers can devolve into a cat-and-mouse game in which the struggler provides legally precise answers that are something less than a full and open disclosure of sin. Even when the confession is totally honest, what gets confessed can easily be limited to the question asked… If you’re going to hold people accountable, you should actually hold them accountable.” p. 54-55

True victory is achieved only when there is no need of accountability.

“…true accountability requires an effort to be committed in the long term.” p. 56

No, all that is needed is a one time work of God changing how you view the body and others. It will work for the long haul easily.

“When people get lazy and stop trying, failure is not far behind.” p. 56

This is only if you do the band-aid approach and not true healing. It’s not bare-knuckling and your own will power that will bring success and victory. It’s not striving or trying harder. Change your mind, trust God, see people as made in His image, and the body as a beautiful creation, and watch failure be a thing of the past.

“Frog and Toad quickly realize that if they are ever going to stop eating cookies, they will have to do something to limit their access to them.” p. 59

This analogy is flawed. It supposed cookies are bad in and of themselves. Cookies are good. Porn is bad. While eating too many cookies is bad, just a little porn is still harmful. Bodies are not bad in and of themselves, nor is sex within God’s plan. A better analogy would be cookies that have poison in them and look similar, but are deadly. Porn is a counterfeit of godly sexuality and chaste nudity is porn’s antithesis.

“Many people struggle with pornography because it is so easy for them to get it.” p. 60

While it is easy to access, men struggle because we told them they would. Then we don’t tell them how to lose their appetite for lustful thinking. We don’t teach them to reject lies. All we offer them is sin management without true solutions.

Let me put it another way. Booze is easy to get. If you’re an alcoholic, it never ceases to be easy to access, but one has to learn to hate it and its drunken effects in order to be free of problems. As I write this, my sister in law is celebrating 10 years sober tomorrow. I’m proud of her and that she can go to the grocery store and be just fine.

“…we must act aggressively— every time we are tempted and in every way required to avoid the sin.” p. 61

How about not be tempted in the first place? That sounds to me like a better plan. And yet, it seems unfathomable to so many— like it’s the only sin Jesus can’t heal this side of heaven or something!

“The truth is that you could be all alone in a room filled with pornography and remain pure if you had no desire for it. In fact, this is the long-term goal. You will know you are finally free from pornography when you have full access to it and yet no desire for it. Though you’re not there yet, that’s where you’re headed. And in order to get there, you will need to change the way you think about pornography.” p. 63

This is SO true, and this is what I have been saying! But then what is suggested in the rest of the chapter and book is not the way to achieve this. Not at all.

“You will not have victory over pornography until you first have victory in the battles that come before you look. Foundationally, this battle begins in your heart—with your thinking.” p. 63

So renew your mind on the body and how you view others as the image of God! That’s the heart and mind shift needed and that God does instantly when the switch is flipped. Then, the war is over, let alone the battles.

“If you only attack the outward behavior, the problem will keep returning. You must uproot pornographic lust in your thinking, dealing with what Jesus unveils as the lustful intentions of your heart (Matthew 5: 28).” p. 64

Exactly. But these radical measures don’t do that.

“I can guarantee failure if you wait to begin the fight against porn until you are alone in the dark with your computer.” p. 64

Not if transformation has taken place!

“…there are three radical measures you can take with regard to your thinking.” p. 64

Nope, there’s only one, one time.

“…reach out for help.” p. 65

Repentance is not needed if you are healed, remember scriptures to thank God, you won’t have to reach out for help!

“…you must limit the time you spend alone—” p. 66

Doesn’t sound like freedom, but another type of bondage!

“I realize that after reading this, some of you are freaking out. Reading about these radical measures raises all sorts of objections…” p. 71

No, I’m freaking out because this is bad advice. The “cure” needs to solve problems, not create more problems. Again, this isn’t true healing! They are cumbersome methods of sin management, and unnecessary. 

“You can try to remove porn’s availability. You can eliminate your time alone. Yet you will still seek out porn if you desire it. This is why Jesus and the good news of the gospel is the only sure hope for those who want to be free from porn. Only Jesus has the power to change your heart desires, and he does this as you believe in his forgiving and transforming grace.” p. 72

This contradicts the whole chapter! Again, I agree, it’s only Jesus. It just doesn’t have to be a long journey and his work is done outside of your own effort or involvement! This advice is so ineffective if you are still sick! I think that was Heath’s point, but it’s a caveat that goes contrary to the rest of his content and advice.

“Outward radical measures do not change your desires…” p. 73

Another admission of man-man strategies not working at the heart level.

“These external measures are the first steps of change…” p. 73

In my experience, and that of thousands of other brave and outside the box thinkers, there is only one step. Yes, it’s unconventional, but it makes perfect sense. One of my friends stated, he does not think true victory is achievable aside from the normalization of non-sexual nudity and the mindset that comes from embracing Imago Dei fully. I don’t know that I can go there, but there is nothing like it that works faster or better!

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28: 13). p. 76

I’m including this to highlight Heath’s use of scripture throughout the book. It’s a real positive to this volume. No argument here. Confession is important, first to God, then your spouse if married, then overcome your sin, lose the need for confession, and use your knowledge and testimony to help others!

“Tom made a critical error when he confessed to his wife. After he fessed up, Tom said something foolish before either of us in the room could stop him. He commented that perhaps if she had a more active sexual relationship with him, he would not have been tempted. His wife did not take that very well. Her response was understandable because Tom’s suggestion was selfish and wrong. This kind of statement transfers the responsibility for your sin onto another person. When you sin, you are the one responsible (Mark 7: 21–23). Other people can sin against you, make your life difficult, and entice you to sin, but they can never make you sin. When you sin, it is always your fault, and you should never say or do anything to make it sound like the fault lies elsewhere. If someone did sin against you, it is necessary to bring that up only after you have confessed and taken full responsibility for your own sin (Matthew 7: 1–5).” p. 85

I really appreciate this from Heath. This type of garbage (if I may be so bold) is believed and even taught in many Christian circles. I’m glad Heath recognizes this type of thinking, anticipates the objections, and swiftly refutes them. This is one of the ways this book is different than some others.

“Do you notice something about my effort to quit thinking about my old gray car? It isn’t working. Even though I’m trying really hard to quit thinking about that unpleasant automobile, my efforts are ineffective. Every thought that goes through my mind—though motivated by a desire to quit thinking about the car—only presses the image of it deeper into my mind. I need another strategy. My problem is that I am focusing on the very thing I want to stop thinking about. Instead, I need to start thinking about something else—something different.” p. 90

This is interesting. I submit that you have to reframe how you think about the body and other people. No one is an object. A person is more than the sum of their parts, way more! We know this instinctively, perhaps, but we still dehumanize others all the time. We have to think of human beauty as “very good” like God said at the beginning. We have to think of others as beautiful (not in the shallow ways of the world). We have to love and respect others. Humankind is the pinnacle of God’s creation. When we look through the pornographic mindset we will see temptation. When we see others as God does, temptation is non-existent.

“Jamie grew up in a nominally Christian, conservative home. When he left for college, he was what most would consider a good kid—responsible and hardworking. Jamie wasn’t at college for long before he became involved with a group of young men who introduced him to pornography. Jamie loved it. He had never seen a naked woman before and had certainly never seen sex. Jamie loved porn because it allowed him to enjoy women who, he believed, were prettier than anyone he could ever have a relationship with in real life, all without any fear of rejection. Porn was so easy and so fun that Jamie couldn’t get enough of it. At first he was shy about walking into a store to buy it, but he quickly got over his initial embarrassment. Eventually he placed a huge bookcase in his living room full of nothing but pornographic videos. Any shame he once had about using pornography was now gone… Jamie’s porn collection had grown so large that it now took up almost the entire basement. He would return home from work and descend into the basement to indulge in porn late into the night. He was often late for work because he had no strength to get out of bed after late nights watching actors fornicate on screen. Alyssa wanted out of the marriage. By now, however, she had given birth to twin daughters and was worried about how she could raise a family by herself. She tried fighting for her marriage to no avail. Jamie had moved a bed into the basement and would hardly speak to her. He lost his job and spent all of his time in the basement instead of looking for employment. One afternoon Jamie came upstairs and asked one of his daughters to come into the basement and play. Alyssa took the girls and left. Jamie is now in his sixties. He doesn’t have a job and lives with his elderly father. All he does, day after day, is look at porn. He doesn’t care about work, his ex-wife, or his grown daughters. He is a miserable sight to see. He is unshaven, has missing teeth, smells bad, and wears dirty clothes. Talking to him is nearly impossible, as it seems he doesn’t even know how to have a relationship with a real person anymore. Jamie’s story is a bad one. In fact, you might read this and feel pretty good right now, congratulating yourself that you’re not nearly as bad as he is. You might also be thinking you would never let your problem get so extreme. If so, you are missing the entire point of Proverbs 5.” p. 103

This is a very sad story. I agree with Heath that we should never justify our issues by saying they aren’t as bad as someone else’s. What sticks out to me in this tragic tale is, “He had never seen a naked woman before.” Had non-sexual nudity been normalized for him, instead of growing up sheltered and repressed, this would be a different story. This is why my wife is naked at times around my teenage boys. We believe this is the way to porn-proof them. They know what a real woman looks like, and are learning that there’s just not much of an allure or mystery to a body. It’s just a body. It’s not the big deal that others make it out to be. They are learning to despise pornography for the way it objectifies and creates a false fantasy, and they are seeing real love and commitment in their parent’s example. Where I was once powerless to help them as they grow, now I have the knowledge and experience to share with them and have them be different than their peers.

“I don’t think your wife should fill that role [accountability]. You should treat your wife as your wife. She should be free to treat you as her husband. It is a deadly poison for a marriage when a wife becomes a cop policing her husband’s activity, asking him all kinds of questions, and examining his Internet reports. Your wife needs to know you have a faithful accountability partner doing those things so she can have peace of mind as she focuses her energy on being married to you.” p. 104

No, she needs peace of mind knowing that she can trust you without any accountability! Trust me, this is better. I’ve had accountability partners, and against Heath’s advice, I’ve had my wife fill that role. I actually had her give me a chip for every month I’d been “good.” She could usually tell when I was lying or when I’d “fall off the wagon.” Now I don’t need any accountability or any software, and we are loving life and each other like never before.


As stated, much of Heath’s book was enjoyable and good. These would be parts where I took issue. The differences are glaring. My experience flies in the face of the radical measures Heath suggests, in exchange for an even more radical measure, but just one. That said, Zondervan would probably not publish my book!