Get nekkid for Jesus?

IN THE beginning was the word of God and God never said anything about brassieres or boxer shorts. Thus was born Natura, America’s first Christian nudist camp.

After two years of biblical debate over Adam and Eve and their fig leaves and whether or not nudity is sinful, a 67-year-old Quaker grandfather is preparing to open a modern-day Garden of Eden 40 miles north of Tampa, Florida.

So… yeah. I don’t know what to think about this. The Lutheran fundemental in me screams “Heresy!” but… is that doctrine or just cultural mores talking?

If it’s not sexual (some would argue that’s impossible, but the founders say it is) and not lustful (ditto)… is it sin?

And even if it’s not sinful… is it even a good idea? Or is it just the thing our over-sexualized culture needs?

Discuss below 😉

Christians strip to build a new Eden

26 Responses to “Get nekkid for Jesus?”

  • jen Says:

    First impression:
    a bit unusual…but, whatever.

    Then I read about the poor young boys with no way to hide their natural reactions to seeing women in their birthday suits, and I just felt sad. I can only imagine how awful that would be. Why would you inflict that on your children? How can it not be sexual to an adolescent male of female? 67 year old quaker grandpas aren’t really the issue.

    Not up my alley…but some people really don’t feel like they are themselves unless they are naked. I’ve known a few nudists…perfect for them. I personally like to have the option of hiding myself in shame if I want to. 🙂

  • jen Says:

    oops. I meant to say male or female (not male of female). dang typos! I guess all males are of females in a sense. Ok, freudian slip!

  • Patsy Says:

    Hey Jen!

    Now your neighbor can become a Christian!

  • Patsy Says:

    “There is absolutely no relationship between nudity and sex.�

    Maybe he’s legally blind.

    Even though they were naked in the Garden, sin became part of our nature through Adam and will be until we see Him face to face. Being a Christian doesn’t magically erase all it’s effects and put us back into a Garden state (unless the Lord calls you to move to New Jersey).

    Maybe there are some men and women out there who have been completely freed of baal in our culture – but if so, they’ve probably already been living in an isolated commune as it is.

  • stevievan Says:

    Wow…now I’ve seen it all.

    Got to think about this one. “Flee Youthful Lusts” is the first thing that comes to mind. Guess I’m just an old fart fundamentalist…

    And I bet these guys are from California…ok, gotta read the link.

  • Amy Says:

    Wow! (Insert long pause…) After the initial shock of reading Christian and Nudist Camp in the same sentence has worn off, I guess I can’t say that being naked (just for the sake of not wearing clothes) is sinful, but I think I will stick with the apostle Paul on this one – “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.”

  • jen Says:

    Naked Bible study at our house on Monday! Just kidding. I really liked Patsy’s comment:

    “Maybe there are some men and women out there who have been completely freed of baal in our culture – but if so, they’ve probably already been living in an isolated commune as it is.”

    Is that the answer though? Isolate yourself to free yourself? Nudify yourself to free yourself? I know Patsy was kidding, but it made me think…the more I digest, the more I think it is less possible.

    But Naked Bible study would still be ok with me as long as no one sat on any of my furniture, I got to wear clothes and a blindfold too! Oh yeah, earplugs. And, yes…then we could invite my neighbor over.

    And Nick…way to get some comments again! Post about nekkidness. I’m going to try that.

  • Nick Says:

    Naked bible study? Seeing Bob and Mark naked is not high on my list of priorities 😉

    As I wrestled with the issue I saw that it may be possible, but very difficult for people in our culture to attain. In the times of Jesus where the poor frequently were naked and public baths were the norm, this would be much less so.

    Jesus washed the disciples feet, then put his clothes/robe back on (John 13:12). His nakedness (or semi-nakedness) was not for recreation as would be the case at a resort, but for teaching.

    How would the modern church be different if we had the guts to wash each others feet… naked? How would our relationships change if we had nothing (literally) to hide?

    Is our association of nakedness and sexuality a product of original sin (as Patsy said) or of a deep rooted cultural bias?

  • Patsy Says:

    Where do you get that Jesus was naked when He washed their feet?

  • Nick Says:

    John 13:4 NIV
    …so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.

    John 13:12 NIV
    When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.

    From the IVP commentary:
    Having taken off his outer garment (himation), Jesus was left with his tunic (chiton), a shorter garment like a long undershirt. Slaves would be so dressed to serve a meal (cf. Lk 12:37; 17:8). Jesus tied a linen cloth around his waist with which to dry their feet, obviously not what one would expect a master to do. A Jewish text says this is something a Gentile slave could be required to do, but not a Jewish slave (Mekilta on Ex 21:2, citing Lev 25:39, 46). On the other hand, footwashing is something wives did for their husbands, children for their parents, and disciples for their teachers (b. Berakot 7b; cf. Barrett 1978:440). A level of intimacy is involved in these cases, unlike when Gentile slaves would do the washing. In Jesus’ case, there is an obvious reversal of roles with his disciples. The one into whose hands the Father had given all (13:3) now takes his disciples’ feet into his hands to wash them (cf. Augustine In John 55.6).

    So while Jesus isn’t technically naked here, he doesn’t seem to have the same hang-ups we’d have in a similar situation.

  • jen Says:

    But it wouldn’t bother you to see the rest of us and my neighbor? 🙂

    John 13:4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

    Not to split hairs here, but I’m not sure your scripture reference validates the argument for a Christian nudist community or even getting naked with other Christians for educational purposes in the modern church. I always took Jesus’ disrobing as a practical measure as to not make a mess out of very loosely draped clothing. There were a lot of feet to wash, and it was a messy job. I know what I look like after I give my two little boys a bath! I have always imagined that Jesus kept some sort of undergarment or smaller bit of clothing on while this was done. Yes, one could say that the removal of his robe was also a sign of humility and a preview of the humiliating way that he would die, but no one else “took off their outer clothing” as a response to his. (should they have?)

    Another pondering…
    Can we presume that Jesus was washing women & men’s feet? To your earlier comparison, can we presume that public baths were generally co-ed?

    I would not hesitate to wash a sister’s feet while wearing a 2 piece bathing suit. I’m not sure if I would wash a brother’s.

  • Patsy Says:

    I think the point was that Jesus was dressed as a slave – a servant. And the culture was WAAAAAY different – illicit sexual behavior was done in isolated places. There were no victoria secret billboards violating every peron’s mind and soul. Maybe nakedness was more common as a human condition, not eye candy?

    Still people lusted and practiced sexual immorality… There’s myriad verses addressing it

    I think the guy is looney.

  • bloggin’ my noggin’ » Says:

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  • Nick Says:

    I think Jesus’s disrobing was deeply symbolic of his becoming a servant. Reading the commentary on the earlier reference indicated John uses different Greek words for ‘took off’ in this case to help tie it to his later death and ressurection. John seemed to feel it deeply symbolic.

    The co-ed isssue is a probably the deal killer. Mary was at the scourging/cross, but was she in the room that night?

    Apparently some early adult Christians were baptised naked but there’s debate around that as well.

    On the public bath issue: It appears most public baths at the time were not co-ed and those that were… had issues due to the mixing of genders. Wikipedia article

    Having been in men’s locker rooms throughtout my life there certainly is nothing sexual (to a straight guy) about a bunch of sweaty, dirty, naked guys. So Jesus (semi) naked in front of his disciples isn’t that crazy to ponder, and certainly isn’t a proof text for Chrisitan nudism.

    In the end I guess I got a bit taken in by some of the propaganda around the issue and didn’t check my facts. Not that I ever really thought there was anything new to be found here. I was just a bit surprised my by knee-jerk reaction and wanted to dig a bit deeper and see how other’s weighed in… not to mention I knew it’d be a lively debate!

    The phrase I’ve been hearing in my thoughts lately is “bondage disguised as freedom” which may be the Spirit talking and may well sum up the whole matter. Seeking ‘freedom’ in anything other than Christ alone is folly. Getting nekkid does not make you more spiritual, although the willingness to strip bare (figuratively) and humble yourself in service is certainly an admirable trait in the Kingdom of God.

    I do think though as a culture we have a much greater aversion to nudity than those of Jesus’ time would. Christian nudism probably isn’t the answer to that problem though…

    In the end, I suspect the Natura folks are just a bunch of nudists who want their own place to hang out.

    It’s been a fun conversation though 😉

  • jen Says:

    I think if you want to free yourself with God…and it involves removing your clothes…do it! Who doesn’t pray naked once in a while!?! Totally different thing.

    I love this topic!

    Great jorb Nick. 🙂

  • DarjeelinGirl » Blog Archive » Start a Resolution Says:

    […] That would be better for the guy over here. Try again. […]

  • bloggin’ my noggin’ » Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture Says:

    […] Had a lively debate on Nick’s blog over the last couple of days over the Get nekkid for Jesus post…Which opened up this ’sex in our culture’ discussion on and offline. This topic, specifically relating to post-feminism has been on my mind lately (especially after speaking at the Women in Art class @ the U of M). […]

  • jON pERES Says:

    i’d like to back up a smidge if we could.
    nick, you said,”Is our association of nakedness and sexuality a product of original sin (as Patsy said) or of a deep rooted cultural bias?” – i would say both.
    and patsy said, “…the culture was WAAAAAY different – illicit sexual behavior was done in isolated places. There were no victoria secret billboards violating every peron’s mind and soul.” – let us not forget that theirs was a culture that had temple prostitues. wrap your head around that. temple prostitutes. these people were naked and having sex in front of each other on a regular basis. they had orgies all the time for crying out loud. it was just something you did. i can’t say i ever recall even being invited to an orgy or even hearing about a real one that was going on anywhere, ever.

    all this being said, the question that remains for me, posed to you 3 if you’re still there, is – ‘whether or not there is any sort of possibility that people can be naked together and not commit adultery.’
    now, before we rush to answers, i think it important to realize that simply because i may not have the strength for it, i should not rush to judgement of others who perhaps according to deep examinations of their hearts before the holy spirit have found no prick in their consciences about it. should i presume upon another’s freedom and say that because it is not right for me that i know for a fact that god cannot give anyone that type of freedom? even if it is for his glory? jen, be honest. if there was a nudist bible study (an honest to goodness bible study) and your bible study going on, which one do you think your neighbor would attend? should this person who obviously has no qualms about it not be able to be accepted as they are? if that is who they really are, i say yes.

  • Patsy Says:

    Those are good points, Jon. But I wonder how much exposure the Jews HAD to HAVE to the temple prostitutes. They weren’t Jewish temple prostitutes.

    On the one hand, the gal caught in adultery implies that sexual sin was rampant – not just her deeds, but also the mysogeny that the *man* was not held responsible. So it was probably as common then as today.

    On the other hand, in the Jewish culture, public nakedness was considered abnormal and usually associated with demons – see the demon possessed man in Luke 8:26ff, as well as Acts 19:15-17, and the condemnation of pagan practices through out the whole bible.

    There is another question, though, that’s bugging me about all this. Whether or not it is possible in this culture or appropriate at all, WHY do people WANT to be naked among others?

  • jen Says:

    My neighbor is a super-nice guy. We’re all great friends. He is not a Christian, we end up talking about spiritual things from time to time…but, with all that said, how do I know that it is not a sexual thing for him? It probably isn’t, but it might be? And we cannot presume that he likes being naked around others just because he does it by himself all the time. His wife jokes about it. That being said…I think I will go back to my original position. If people want to do it…and they are completely pure about it…fine, but it seems highly unlikely that it would remain pure for everyone all the time. Back to everyting being permissible…but advisable?

    To your last question, I think you might have to be a nudist to know the answer. I sort of understand being naked just by yourself for the sake of being naked and not caring…but around others gets a little tricky.

  • jON pERES Says:

    jen, patsy, i thank you both. deeply. i never know when i leave a respose somewhere if people are going to either a) take me seriously, or b) even respond at all. so once again, thank you both.

    patsy – i’ve been thinking about it from my own perspective and what i would be thinking if i was going to come to a place where i felt that kind of comfort being naked in a pure way. and for me, it would be about vulnerability. ultimate vulnerability. and if you’ll be honest with me, i think for you that is more an issue than the sex. i’m not positive, but i would think that it’s not even the thought of possibly causing a brother to stumble that is your greatest thought here. i’m just spit balling here, but i would assume that your number one reaction to this is just how uncomfortable it would be to have your naked body out there where it can be judged.
    i’ve been in church for almost my entire existence and i’ve been married for near 10 years and i know how men and women really feel about their bodies. so to have it out there and hoping to be able to feel absolutely accepted is way more fear causing and an inhibitor. in fact. i’m willing to bet that as you allowed yourself to contemplate the idea for just a split second before shutting off the image and screaming, “ludicrous!”, sex didn’t even cross your mind. it was more about just not wanting to be naked in front of others. for fear of them seeing you as you truly are and their judgement. at least, that’s how it would be for me.

    jen – let’s look at the statement from paul that you referenced. “Everything is permissibleâ€�—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissibleâ€�—but not everything is constructive.

    i always had the impression that the point of this verse was to stress the counter points of freedom. and it is. yet, this has always overshadowed the first statement paul makes which, with my upbringing, strikes me as more radical than the second. everything is permissible.
    he is saying it as a true statement. everything is permissible.

    EVERYTHING IS PERMISSIBLE. yet, of course, not everything is beneficial. but i don’t think there’s an absolute ‘permissible’, meaning to say a list of what ‘is permissible’ and ‘isn’t permissible’ in terms of physical actions. i believe that is something we each have to work out with the lord. we’re a body, right? body parts have totally different functions, look differently, and even have completely different functions. if you interviewed an eye about what his role as a member of the body is and then asked the hand, you would walk away assuming one of them was way off. they didn’t look the same, they didn’t even do the same things! yet the eye cannot say to the hand, “i have no need of you!”
    if it is not beneficial for me, then it deserves no place in my life. does that mean that it has no place in someone else’s life? really? can i actually presume to make that case? i mean, i read the article and think the guy sounds a little crispy, but i think it highly dangerous when we as the church would like to sit in judgement of others who indulge in actions NOT spoken directly against in scripture. and if this man and those who would CHOOSE to participate can truly do it in a way where they ALL have true peace in the spirit, i can’t say that it is a bad thing.

    would i participate? probably not. maybe. but that’s my choice. just because a member of the body is different than me shouldn’t make me feel threatened that either he needs to conform to me or i to him in order for both of us to feel secure in being part of the body. whether or not i would join him in the use of his freedom, i am definitely all for him using it to it’s fullest. “…to his own master he stands or falls.”

    sorry about all this ruckus, nick. you’ve been an excellent host. i love dr pepper! how did you know?

    much love.

  • jen Says:

    I think we agree on this. I guess I meant to say that it doesn’t really say you CAN’T be naked together…but it would not work for me and most people I know. I’m probably the most comfortable and happy in my skin as I have ever been, and would still like to keep it covered up most of the time.

    Maybe that should be my new year’s resolution. Be naked more often. Sorry if that was too much info, Nick. I know you’ve been nailing me on that lately. I’ll try to be less info’y.

  • jON pERES Says:

    less info’y? probably just me, but i’m a big fan of info. the more transparent and honest the better as far as i’m concerned.

    for me, this whole issue, the more i’ve thought about it, is not at all about sex or even nudity. MY reaction is about our freedom and the extent to which we can and should be allowed to use it.

    i have a hard time with anything other than the holy spirit speaking directly to an individual limiting a person’s use of their freedom. as long as we agree with the ones doing the opressing, of course we wonder, “what’s the big deal?” but what happens when we find ourselves on the other end of the opression?

    for example, this whole “national security” business. while i am concerned about the safety of my family, am i really ready to give up true freedom and privacy for the sake of “freedom”, so called? maybe W is not a person who would take advantage of this type of system, but what happens if someone who is not friendly towards christians gains control of a system where phones can be monitored and property searched and people jailed on a moment’s whim? sorry. i’m not for it.

    freedom is a god given gift whether we like what people do with it or not and i will celebrate this gift and use the portion that has been given to me for god’s glory regardless of the rest of the world. and i will do my best to not limit it for others as this is how i would have them do unto me.

  • jen Says:

    And thus he openeth the can of worms…

    (I have no other response right now.)

  • Beautiful Feet Says:

    Prior to the fall from grace in the garden of Eden, people could be trusted being together in the nude because they were innocent. Once Adam and Eve partook of sin, nudity then became an issue and the potential for corruption was manifested. Are there people who can be entrusted being in a nudist community and innocent of ulterior motive (including sensation seeking headline grabbers)? Let your own conscience be your guide and direct your ways.

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