Why Does Jesus’ Humanity Matter – To Naturists?

Most Christians have at least some vague idea about why Jesus’ humanity matters to them, at least in terms of their salvation and redemption, but even they don’t have a clue about its implications for their attitudes towards the human body. As a result, wherever Christianity has spread, cultures that had little need or use for clothing have been “textilized”, naturists are often discriminated against, and naturism may even be criminalized.

Why does it matter? It matters because our ethical and moral standards come either from the Bible (God), or from our culture, and where our cultural ethical and morals standards deviate from the Bible (God), we can’t have it both ways. Keep in mind that our laws are derived from our culture, not the other way around. Case in point; “Same-sex marriage“, in the US, didn’t become legal until it had become more-or-less “culturally-acceptable“. That is only one example of where our cultural ethical and moral standards have deviated significantly from the Bible (God). Many countries, and/or their political subdivisions, have “anti-nudity” laws, not because it is forbidden in the Bible (by God), but because it is culturally-unacceptable. How did it get that way?

There is a huge theological-disconnect between what the Bible says and teaches about our bodies and what Christians believe about our bodies. Beginning all the way back in Genesis 2, Christians have perverted what the Bible says to fit their own narrative, their own cultural-qualms:

And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.(Genesis 2:25); This statement does not idealize nudity, but shows why humans must wear clothes. With the Fall came a tragic loss of innocence (together with the resulting shame). When people’s minds are enlightened by the Gospel, they understand their moral frailty and practice customs of dress that shield them against sexual temptation. (from the New Geneva Study Bible)

When prominent Bible scholars begin their interpretation of the Bible that deeply in their “culturalhole“, it is highly-unlikely that they will begin to fill that “hole” with Bible truth, at least with regards to nudity. I don’t find that application in that passage, or for that matter, anywhere else in the Bible. It was based on what was “culturallyacceptable” to the commentator.

Moving forward through Genesis 3, the first seven verses recount the Fall, Adam and Eve’s subsequent shame, and their attempt to hide their shame behind “fig leaves“. Who, or what, were they hiding from? They were hiding from God (v. 8), but can a person hide their shame with “fig leaves“? People have been trying to hide their shame with “fig leaves” ever since.

God asked an amazing question in Genesis 3:11; “Who told you that you were naked…?” Where did this amazing new knowledge come from? “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” Did the “fruit” impart that new knowledge? Not likely, because the “fruit” is not a “Who“. That “Who” can only point to the Serpent, Satan, the Deceiver, the Father of lies. Who else would have been interested in perverting God’s image in mankind? Certainly not God. He called His image-bearers “very good” (Genesis 1:31). It is notable that God didn’t join-in in condemning their as-created (naked) bodies.

Why did God make “tunics of skin” for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21)? The typical answer would be “to cover their nakedness“, but was that really the reason? God had already seen them naked (He created them that way) and promised a remedy for their shame (Genesis 3:15), so who were they going to hide from? In the intervening-verses, Genesis 3:14-19, God has cursed the Serpent, Eve, Adam, and finally the ground. The curse on the ground included “thorns and thistles” (v. 18), things that can tear and damage their skin. What if the “thorns and thistles” was the real reason God gave them clothes? That would make sense, based on the context, because they were still the only two people on the planet, they were a couple (Genesis 2:23-24) with the command to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28), AND, they were being evicted from the Garden (3:23-24). God created the first PPC (Personal Protective Clothing). God also never “commanded” them to wear that clothing, and didn’t command anyone to wear clothing until He prescribed the Priest’s garments in Exodus 28, which were made in Exodus 39:1-31.

How many pastors would allow themselves to be consecrated as God told Moses to consecrate Aaron and his sons (Exodus 29:4-9; 40:12-15)? They were stripped-naked, washed with water, and clothed from the bare-skin up – in public

So where does Jesus fit-in?

Jesus, as Creator-God, was the designer and architect of our human-bodies (John 1:1-4). He created, from the dust of the ground, the first two “prototypes” of our human-bodies, and He created them male and female (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7). That we have gender-distinctive body-parts is no accident, and certainly nothing to be ashamed of. It was part of the plan, which included “be fruitful and multiply“, sexual reproduction, (Genesis 1:28). Mankind was created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), which, in and of itself, bequeaths the human-body with incredible dignity. That man is God’s image-bearer is reiterated in Genesis 9:6, when God proscribed murder and prescribed capitol-punishment for murder. That is why all human-life is precious and any form of murder is wrong.

 

“God could not have been able to become man if he had not first made man in his own image.” – Herman Bavinck

 

That Jesus took on flesh (John 1:14), became a human, a man, bequeaths the human-body with even more incredible dignity.

Jesus, as male, a man, had the same gender-distinctive body-parts all males have, so men, don’t be ashamed of what is between your legs, because Jesus had one too. If hadn’t had a penis, He couldn’t have been circumcised (Luke 2:21). He also couldn’t have been the “Son of David” (2 Samuel 7:12–16; Matthew 1:1; Mark 10:46-48), “The King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2; 27:37) or the “last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45).

Jesus was born into a time, place and culture, a culture that hadn’t embraced “bodyshame” (God hadn’t legislated it either), as we have, so He, who was perfect, had no reason to be ashamed of His body. So what did His culture look like?

God, in His law, commanded many ceremonial washings (baths) which observant Jews were obligated to do regularly (including every time a couple had sex, after a woman’s period, or a baby was born)…

There was no running water…

There were no indoor private restrooms or bathrooms…

Most homes only had one or two rooms…

Clothes were handmade and expensive…

There were no clothes washers or dryers…

People wore clothes when necessary and convenient…

Clothes and bodies were washed in any available place, river, lake or public pool…

Farmers, common laborers, fishermen and slaves often worked naked when it was warm, or they were doing dirty work, to preserve what little clothing they had…

The Greeks had built gymnasiums throughout the territories they ruled for physical training, sports and education… (The root word “gymnos” means “naked”)

After the Greeks, the Romans built public bath-houses throughout much of their territory. Everyone bathed and socialized nude…

The Romans crucified their prisoners naked and in public…

Jesus:

Born naked (all babies are born naked)…

Experienced normal puberty…

Baptized naked (mikvah)…

Washed His disciple’s feet naked…

Crucified naked…

Left the tomb naked…

As a carpenter, He probably frequently worked naked…

Did many other things naked which are not recorded in the Gospels, because He fully-kept the Law…

Once Jesus left home to begin His public ministry, He was essentially-homeless;  

As they were going along the road,  someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.”  And Jesus said to him,  “The foxes have holes and the birds of the  air  have  nests, but  the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Luke 9:57-58)

Nobody batted an eye when they saw someone naked in public, because it was normal!

Most Christians would object to this scenario, claiming that it was a “clothed-society”, which it was, but the difference is that it wasn’t a “compulsively-clothed-society”. Nudity, even public-nudity, was no big deal, because everyone was nude in public when necessary. Naturists would have felt at home in that environment.

Surely, if God was incensed by “public nudity”, when Jesus walked the earth would have been the ideal time to crack-down on it, but He didn’t. If wearing clothes became a “moral imperative” after the Fall, God must have not gotten that “memo”. Even though the Apostle Paul was the most widely-traveled of the Apostles, and wrote over half of the New Testament, God didn’t clue him into it either, because there is nothing in the Pauline Epistles about not participating in the Greek gymnasiums or Roman bathes. That leads me to wonder where some people get their interpretations from…

After His crucifixion, Jesus was raised back from the dead – bodily. There was obvious-continuity between His pre-crucifixion body and His resurrection-body, as the marks of His torture and crucifixion were still evident and visible. Since He had left His grave-wrappings behind, He emerged from the Tomb the same way He was crucified – naked. He was still fully-human, and He still ate and drank.

At His ascension, Jesus did NOT leave His human-body behind. He ascended-bodily, taking our flesh and blood back with Him to Heaven, where He is the eternal God-Man. As God, He is NOT constrained by time, space and place, but as Man, He has many of the same constraints as we do.

A Christian’s hope for eternity is NOT as a disembodied-spirit living forever with God, but as a fully-embodied human-being living forever with God. While our spirits leave our bodies behind at death, in the resurrection, our spirits rejoin our resurrected-body as one unified-person, fully-human in every respect.

“A person has no-less human-dignity, “wearing nothing but a grin”, au naturel, than they do when wearing the “finery of royalty”. The “finery of royalty” only denotes “social-status”, not the person’s inherent-dignity.” – Steve

Final thoughts…

As a Christian, and a Naturist, as I study the Bible, I am often appalled at how knowledgeable Bible scholars, teachers and preachers pervert what the Bible says to support their own cultural qualms and whims. The Bible is supposed to be our “Gold Standard”, the lens through which we see and evaluate our culture, NOT the other way around. We must never evaluate and interpret the Bible through the lens of our own, fallen culture, but that is what far too many Christians do.

If you want to get a real “eye-full” of what God thinks concerning our bodies and sexuality, read the Song of Solomon. If it was illustrated, it would be at least X-rated, if not XXX-rated. Yes, it is that graphic, which means that it is graphic enough to make many “good Christians” blush, and yes, it IS in the Bible.

I am naked and unashamed in Christ!
Steve

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It Is All About The Title…

Most Americans, and particularly Christians, have a very strong “modesty-ethic“. From a very young age, children are taught that there are certain parts of their bodies which must NOT be seen by anyone of the opposite sex. Those “boy-parts” and “girl-parts” are often called “privates“.

This brief essay isn’t about “body-shame“, because I have already covered that topic. Instead, it is about those “exceptions” to that rule, because we all know that there are certain “acceptable-exceptions“.

The first “exception” is parents, but only to a point. While a mother may see her girls naked virtually anytime, even after they are grown up and go out on their own, a father may only see his girls naked until they reach a certain age…often first grade. A father may see his sons naked off and on until they are likewise out of the nest, while their mother may never see them naked after they hit puberty. What is interesting to me is that both parents were “allowed” to see their children naked when they were quite young, but the rules changed beyond a certain age. Same parents and same children, but different rules…what is wrong with this picture? For the record, neither of my parents saw me naked after I hit puberty…

The next notable “exception” is baby-sitters – FEMALE babysitters, that is. It appears that it acceptable for parents to delegate their “exception” to a babysitter, but only if the babysitter is a girl. The same is NOT true with MALE babysitters. Is babysitting considered to be “preparation for motherhood“?

Another notable “exception” is teachers…that is, as long as they are FEMALE. Are teachers considered “surrogate-parents“? That seems to be the case for elementary school teachers. Male teachers are frequent in the upper grades, but NOT in elementary school. That profession is dominated by women. A female teacher is allowed to take either little “Suzie” or little “Johnny” to the restroom, but heaven-forbid allowing a male teacher to take either to the restroom. Don’t men have what it takes to be good elementary school teachers? Sorry, but men have the “wrong plumbing“. Men can’t be “surrogate-mothers“…

Do you see some common threads here?
Another notable “exception” is one’s spouse…husband or wife. It is almost universally accepted that it is okay to be naked in their presence. I say “almost“, because pastors and marriage counselors see an occasional couple who have not, even after a year or more, consummated their marriage, because one of the spouses hasn’t been able to bring himself/herself to get undressed in the presence of the other, even to consummate the marriage. Failure or refusal to consummate the marriage is against God’s Word, and an extreme case of prudishness. A person’s spouse should be the one person they can be most comfortable with. In some states, inability or failure to consummate a marriage is adequate grounds for an annulment.

The final notable “exception” is medical care-providers, doctors and nurses, and by extension, certain medical technologists are also “exceptions” to the rule. What amazes me is that we not only pay them to tell us to disrobe, but we do so more or less willingly. It is a “given” that a person must check their “modesty” at the door of a health-care facility, particularly at a hospital. While some think nothing of going to an opposite-gender health-care provider even for “intimate” exams, there are some who absolutely refuse to be seen by anyone of the opposite gender.

I used to be in the latter category, and my rants and raves in a “Physical Exam” forum were legendary. I absolutely hated being seen by an opposite-gender health-care provider, and was that way for over fifty years. My own attitudes have changed significantly in the last few years.

What would cause a “modest” lady, who wouldn’t be caught dead even being seen in only her underwear by any man other than her husband, to allow herself to be examined by a male doctor? What would cause a “modest” man, who likewise wouldn’t be caught dead being seen in only his underwear by any other woman other than his wife, to allow himself to be examined nude during a head-to-toe skin exam by a female doctor?

Why these “exceptions”?
I believe this health-care provider “exception” may be prompted by how we perceive doctors and nurses, and I believe that it is a combination of:

1) We perceive doctors to have a certain “authority” over us, because they have a TITLEdoctor.

2) We perceive nurses to also have a certain “authority” over us, because they have a TITLEnurse.

3) It all goes back to who had “authority” over us when we were young…our PARENTS, and they have TITLESfather and mother.

4) Parents, because they have that “authority“, also have the privilege of delegating their “authority” to others, such as baby-sitters, teachers and health-care providers.

Our role…
As adults, we have “authority” over our own bodies, and I believe that we do a “cost-versus benefit” analysis, even if it is subconsciously. Once we get past the marriage-nudity hurdle, our only “exception” is health-care providers, but we must be convinced that the “cost“…nudity, is worth the “benefit“…health-care. Thus, if we want or need a certain kind of health-care which requires nudity, we will “allow” that “exception” to certain health-care providers.

Examples…
I have ongoing urinary-tract issues, which require both frequent monitoring and occasional treatment, so I “allow” my urologists to see, examine, and occasionally treat me. I also have a history of skin-cancer, so it is very prudent for me to get examined by a dermatologist regularly. If I were to hesitate, something might get out of hand, and become full-blown skin-cancer…the nasty kind. My “benefit“…good health-care…is worth the “cost“…occasional nudity.

I also need to mention that all of my health-care providers genuinely care about me and my health and treat me with the utmost of respect. On the scales, the “benefit” is great, and the “cost” is small.

Final thoughts…
I believe that if we have to grant “exceptions” to our “modesty-rules” based on the person’s TITLE, we have the wrong concept of MODESTY. We have equated clothing with MODESTY, and certain garments are more MODEST than others, but that is patently-false. MODESTY is about DEMEANOR, not whether a person is clothed or not. We have also placed a false SHAME on certain body-parts, which is also patently-false, because God created ALL of our parts.

What we do with some of those body-parts may need to be hidden from public-view, namely having sex and using the restroom, but even then, neither the parts nor what we do with them is shameful. Those are simply “private” actions.

Once I got past that false notion of clothes-based “modesty“, I have been able to dress up or completely-undress based on the place and situation without any concern about whether I was “modest“. When I got to a health-care appointment, I am often far less concerned about my “modesty” than the care-provider is.

I spent two days with about two-dozen other naturists, and even though none of them wore any more than a grin, they were entirely-modest. I was also around another couple of hundred other naturists on and off during that weekend, but I didn’t see anyone behaving “immodestly“, even though they were also not wearing much more than a grin.

I have also spent many “mental-health” days at Cypress Cove, and even though I have gotten to know quite a few people at the Cove, there are always people who I don’t know. As a result, I have been “seen” by hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people, most of whom were also nude. I have even led Cypress Cove Bible Fellowship clothes-free. We are just human-beings, so there is nothing “weird” or “strange” about any of us. I enjoy being clothes-free.

A grin is the only “clothes” you need!

Have You Done It For Jesus?

As I have been going through an extended, informal study on LOVE, I am struck by how little I actually know about love, and its implications in my own life. We all like to be “in love“, but there is way more to LOVE than warm and fuzzy feelings. Love without action is hollow and meaningless. Until we learn to DO, we aren’t really LOVING.

This particular study was precipitated by one of the recent daily devotionals in Our Daily Bread, which I read every night before hitting the sheets. This is a “boots on the ground” application of “Love your neighbor as yourself“. We honor Him who IS love when we love others as He loves us.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:31-40)

Does verse 40, “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ ” get your attention? It should, and I pray that it will before you finish reading this piece.

I was hungry…
Food is necessary for life, but there are far too many people, even here in the US, who go without sufficient food to eat. Even if they have a roof over their head, they may not have enough to eat. Where can the homeless go for a good meal? Do you support a local food-kitchen? Do you contribute to a local food-bank? How about supporting a local homeless-shelter or rescue-mission? They feed the homeless.

I was thirsty…
Most of us take clean, drinkable water for granted, but not everyone has this luxury. Most of us can go to our fridge, where we have a wide variety of things to drink, when we are thirsty, but not everyone has this luxury. How many times have you given someone something to drink who didn’t have the resources to get one themselves?

About thirty years ago, I was responsible for a project in a remote location. We were twenty miles from nowhere, and the nearest water of any kind was a quarter of a mile away. It was easy enough to go around the corner of the building to relieve ourselves, but we were in the desert with nothing to drink. Fortunately my per diem enabled me to buy a cooler, which I stocked it with ice and cold drinks every day, or my crew would have gone without something to drink. Fueled by plentiful cold drinks, my crew finished the project in eight days, two days ahead of schedule, and I learned a valuable lesson. When you treat people like you really care about them, they are far more willing to put their hands to the task at hand.

I was a stranger…
I have already mentioned the homeless, but do we really know how many homeless people there are, even in our own communities? Our governments have sent thousands of soldiers to fight various “wars“, and when some of them return home, they have no “home” to return to. Homeless veterans are a national travesty, because we have stolen their youthful vigor but given them nothing in return. Do you support a local homeless shelter? How about a rescue mission?

Two more categories of the “homeless” are often hidden in the shadows, because we don’t see the women who have fled domestic violence or the girls and women who are facing a crisis pregnancy, alone. There aren’t enough shelters for women who have fled domestic violence, and probably never will be, but every one is one better than nothing. Crisis pregnancy centers provide a valuable service to girls and women who have no other place to go for help during their pregnancy. Those shelters need a steady supply of food, clothing and other supplies just to keep their doors open. Do you support them when you are able?

I was naked…
Have you ever seen anyone wearing threadbare rags for clothes? “I was naked” refers to being so dirt-poor that a person can’t even get the clothes they need to provide them protection from the elements, and has nothing to do with people who choose to live a clothes-free lifestyle. The most basic purpose of clothes IS protection from the elements, which is why God, in the Old Testament, commanded creditors to return a person’s garment, which they had pledged for a debt, before the sun went down, so that person would have something to help them keep warm at night.

Many of us have closets that are overflowing with excess amounts of clothing, but how often do we think of paring back our wardrobe and donating those extra garments to some place, such as a homeless shelter, where someone else could get good use of them? What about donating them to a thrift-store? If a poor person doesn’t even have money for food, how are they going to afford clothes, even at a thrift store?

I was sick…
Hospitals are NOT my favorite places to hang out, but I know one particular hospital far better than I really care to, because I have cared for someone who was sick. There are many ways to care for the sick besides camping out at a hospital. One young lady in my church had major surgery almost immediately after giving birth to their second child, so some of the ladies in the church organized a feeding campaign to both make sure that family was well-fed, and to make sure that someone was there on a regular basis to help with basic housework, etc. After another young lady gave birth to their second child, the ladies got busy making sure that she and her family were also well cared-for. Those are tangible ways of caring for people who can’t care for themselves for whatever reason.

When was the last time you took the time to take someone to a doctor appointment? Were you available to go with someone who had an out-patient surgery?

I was in prison…
Prison ministry is a tough gig, but it can be very rewarding. I don’t know first-hand, but I have heard accounts from people who are involved in prison ministry. Chuch Colson, a political insider under President Nixon, was sent to prison during the Watergate scandal. He had been led to the Lord shortly before he went to prison, and he founded Prison Fellowship after he got out.

What is the common thread?
All of these things have to do with meeting people’s basic needs, and every one of them requires ACTION. These are “boots of the ground” ways of showing love to others who are in need. This isn’t about government welfare or social programs. This is about the people of God caring for those who can’t care for themselves in our own communities.

The typical, and “pious” response response of many Christians is “I will pray for you“, however, when Jesus was faced with over five thousand hungry people, He didn’t just pray for them. He fed them, and it required that His disciples become the agents of feeding them by distributing the food. His disciples couldn’t just sit on their thumbs and expect all that food to distribute itself.

I will pray for you” is far more meaningful to a sick person when you are sitting by their side, whether at their home or in their hospital room. “I will pray for you” is far more meaningful to a hungry person when you have just brought a hot meal to them. “I will pray for you” becomes far more meaningful to a homeless person when you give them a ride to a homeless shelter. “I will pray for you” becomes far more meaningful to someone living on the street when you give them a warm coat to help keep them warm after the sun goes down. “I will pray for you” becomes far more meaningful when it is accompanied by action which helps meet the needs of the person you are trying to serve.

Concluding thoughts…
This catches me also, because, even though I have done some of these things, I could do more. I have untapped resources which I could be using to show God’s love to others. No, this isn’t a “checklist“, but it is a good reminder that I can never repay the debt of love I owe to Him who has given so much love to me. This is more of a “pay it forward” in gratitude for what He has done for me.

Maybe it WILL make a difference if I remember that, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.

How about you? Have you done it for Jesus?

God bless, 

Steve