Liberated Christians
PO Box 55045, Phoenix AZ 85078-5045
Promoting Intimacy and Other-Centered Sexuality



COPYRIGHTED 1999 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - MAY BE REPRINTED OR QUOTED FROM ONLY IF CREDIT IS GIVEN LIBERATED CHRISTIANS, MAILING ADDRESS IS SHOWN AND WE ARE SENT A COPY OF PUBLICATION.

NUDITY IS NATURAL AND WHOLESOME

Many people have been brought up taught that nudity is immoral and we should never allow others to see our true bodies. It is alright to titillate with provocative clothing, or tiny beach wear, but not to show the natural beauty of our bodies, especially genitals or women's breasts.

This sense of shame is not inborn: it is learned. Babies have no shame and neither did many early Christians in Biblical times.

Fortunately today there is also a very rapidly growing naturist movement that has learned: "Nude is not lewd"

Nudism promotes a healthy respect and trust with each other and after a few minutes of uncomfortableness when first exposed to this experience it becomes much less sexual and more naturally enjoyable. Nudity can be sexual if consenting persons wish it to be and in appropriate settings, but it is not necessary to progress from nudity to sexual activity. We can learn to respect one another's sensitivities and interests and communicate these to one another.

Naturism is commonly accepted in much of Europe, where it has been shown that sexual attitudes are much more healthy, with less sexual abuse and violence.

Many women worry that their nudity might be mistaken to mean availability. Many men worry that nudity might become too stimulating. However, these fears are mainly fears of the imagination, not the reality of actual experience.

I have visited a number of wonderful clothing optional resorts. In Europe whole resort cities are clothing optional with a great deal of success raising well adjusted children in such a wholesome environment.

We are living in a society in which sexuality is very distorted. The interplay between sexuality and nudity is very confused. In our concern that any attraction has to be carried out sexually, we are repressing healthy sexual attitudes and meaningful loving interpersonal relationships. The blocking of these natural needs leads to strong cravings. This leaves us open to commercial exploiters with sexually titillating material which brings not emotional satisfaction, but only teasing. A healthy respect for our natural bodies, being comfortable being natural and sharing in relationships without the expectation or need to engage in sexual activity, makes the naturist much more fulfilled.

A Teenager's reflection of naturist experience
"If you're like me, you don't say much in front of your friends, do you? Most of the kids I know think getting naked is totally gross. All of the kids want to see somebody else nude. Some of my friends brag about looking at Penthouse magazines when their parents aren't home.

I did tell a couple of guys about going to Paradise Lakes with the Sanibel Naturists, but they thought I was lying. They both said that they would really like to go to a place like that, but never take off their clothes; they just wanted to look. Aaron said that he would give anything to see Holly nude, and Rick spends most of the day in school trying to look up the girl's dresses. Once when I took a shower after gym, all the guys started to make fun of me because of my all-over tan. Most of my friends are very uncomfortable about being seen nude even in the boys' shower. I really feel sorry for these kids; they're so uptight. I guess I should be really thankful that my mom and dad didn't make me ashamed of my body."

God made nothing more beautiful and dignified than the human body, which He especially designed in His own image and likeness. God's own Supreme Beauty is reflected in the human body as well as the soul. Whatever is beautiful in all creation, finds its perfection and fulfillment in the human nude. If God meant for us to go nude, we would have been born that way!

Summary of the benefits of social nudity:

Greater experiential appreciation for the beauty and dignity of the body.

A greater feeling of unity with others, as external fences of clothing are removed.

A greater appreciation for our masculinity and femininity as we become convinced of how good it is to be a man or a woman.

Many people suffer from feelings of not being accepted. Social nudity has proven to be marvelous therapy for this psychological malady.

Unnecessary curiosity about the naked body will be replaced by normal curiosity about differences. The false, puritanical shame ingrained in us by our upbringing is overcome.

Children exposed to social nudity are more likely to grow up with healthy attitudes towards their bodies.

Nudity is healthy because it exposes the whole body to the air and sun, and gives people an added incentive to be fit.

Nudity is more recreative, more joyful, and thus our recreation is more effective. Who truly prefers a bathing suit to a birthday suit?

By being accustomed to nudity we can react maturely to social situations of nudity that used to embarrass us, such as locker rooms, gang showers, hospitals, and modest nudity in cinema and art.

We will not hypocritically admire the nude only in art, but in reality as well.

Theology of Clothing
Many people with different philosophies all claim God's guidance. Some say our bodies are a wonderful creation and showing them in public is proper and beautiful. Others say that our bodies are sinful flesh warring against the soul, the source of lust and impure desires, and therefore ought to be kept hidden. Most of the rest claim it is too disgusting to even talk about. But let's look at the evidence.

TRYING TO HIDE FROM GOD
After Adam disobeyed God and was sinful he was ashamed and afraid and tried to hide. He tried to hide behind fig leaves but God was disappointed at Adam's excuse about clothes. God asked: "Who told you you were naked?" This was man's immediate confused reaction to sin.

Clothes were for man's mental comfort, thinking he could hide, and were not for God's benefit. When one builds a temple, he usually doesn't mind if people look at the masterpiece and admire it. Why would God want modesty when only 2 people existed and they were declared husband and wife. Later God provided animals for food and man used their skins for clothing. God went along with man's idea of clothes to try and hide his sin as a concession if it would make him feel better.

The Bible and Nudity
Nowhere in the Bible does God say we should keep his temple covered. The last supper with Jesus hardly resembled anything close to a modern formal, sit-down dinner. Jesus himself was undressed at some point, according to John 13:4-5: Jesus rose from the table and laid aside his garments briefly.

Christ was not only naked on the cross but he also left "the linen cloths lying there" (Jn 20:5) in the tomb when he rose. Did He tell Thomas to wait a moment while he took off His robe and then to "put out your hand and place it in my side"?

There was no mistaking the idea when "the word of the Lord" came through Ezekiel in reference to Israel: " I made you grow like a plant of the field, naked and bare. You grew up and became tall and arrived at full maidenhood; your breasts were formed and your pubic hair had grown" (Ezek 16:7).

But read the rest of the Chapter: Jerusalem after being "Clothed with embroidered cloth, swathed in fine linen, and covered with silk" (16:10) "trusted in your beauty and played the harlot." (16:15) This misuse of God's gifts, not respectfully using our bodies as God intended, is what caused God to become angry.

If it is really wrong to be seen nude, why would Jesus be around the naked fisherman who "stripped for work" (Jn 21:7)

Did those who were baptized by John have to be dressed? It was the early Church's custom to baptize men, women, and children together nude. The priest strips off the candidate's clothing before leading them into the water, were Saint Chrysostom's instructions (c.400). Saint Hippolytus of Rome (c.200) says total nudity was required; women were to remove even jewelry and combs. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (c.350) preached to nude candidates: "You are now stripped and naked, in this also imitating Christ on the Cross. " Theodore of Mopsuestia (c.400) said, "Adam was naked at the beginning, and not ashamed. This is why your clothing must be taken off as baptism restores right relation to God."

What about the blind man in Mk 10:50 who, "casting away his garment, sprang up, and came to Jesus"? Did a distraught Jesus tell him to put on some decent clothes?

In Old Testament times being nude was very common and accepted. Touching the testicles of a revered superior was a man's way of testifying to the validity of his statement or vow. This was true in Hebrew, Greek and Roman custom. Our words testify, testimony, and testament have come from the word testes.

Neither the Ten Commandments or the New Testament dictate any restriction on being nude. Greeks customarily exercised nude. In fact the word "gymnasium" comes from the Greek: "to exercise nude".

God commanded Isaiah to go naked and barefoot for three years. King David danced naked in the City of David to celebrate the return of the Ark. When his wife Michal criticized his dancing nude, she was soundly rebuffed and ended up childless until her death (II Samuel 6:20-23). Peter fished nude. The Jewish prophets were commonly naked, so much so that when Saul stripped off his clothes and prophesied naked the people figured he must be a prophet ( I Sam.19:24).

In the first centuries of Christianity, public baths - sometimes several acres in size - became a gathering place throughout the Roman Empire, similar to our shopping malls today. There were more than 850 public baths in Rome by the end of the fourth century. It's pretty evident that Christian women frequented the baths and were bathing with men, even though some writers opposed the practice. writes Roy Bowen Ward in about the Nov 93 issue of Harvard Theological Review in an article entitled Women in Roman Baths .

Mixed nude bathing was customary for early Christians until about the end of the fourth century AD. Then the anti-body philosophy adopted by the Church took over. By the fifth century St. Jerome considered it immoral for a Christian virgin to bathe in the nude - even if alone! This practice continues today in a few ultra-strict Christian sects. This body-negative theology can be traced to Plato's negative view of the body, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus or the early Christians.

Much writing has been done regarding Christian nudity. Even Catholic groups approve of it. "Nudity and the Bible:, Its Approved" by The Reverend J.A. Mackey, S.L.D. D. Min. is just one of many supportive articles. There are many Christian special interest groups within both the ASA and The Naturist Society. Of course in Europe and other places there is much less body shame and Christians are even more active.

Morality
The real problem is not that our bodies are obscene. The problem is the sexploitation of society that makes us look at the body as a sex object rather than the beautiful creation God intended it to be. Yet in a nurturing environment where trust and respect is given to the body, mere sexual attraction gives way to sincere love and respect for a person as a wonderful creation of God. We should never be tripped up by the puritanical perversion that our body is shameful and should be covered up at all times. Being unclothed is not immoral. Immorality lies in not respecting your body or the bodies of others.

Nudity And Sexuality
Nudist activities have absolutely nothing to do with sexuality. Most people find it much less stimulation than a beach with swim wear designed to tease and titillate. It is about respect of the body and person, and enjoying the beach or other activities in freedom of clothes. It also is used in some counseling to be more open and not hide but our natural selves as God wonderfully created. The initial problem is overcoming the shame based unscriptural teaching of some Churches.

The issue of nudity and sexuality is a hot topic for nudists. The politically correct view is to completely divorce nudists from any sexuality. That of course is too extreme. Meaningful sensuality/sexuality is a separate issue from nudity. We also show how responsible non-monogamy is a valid Christian choice and practiced by many Christians. Request our introductory material if interested in more liberal sexual views. Again, however, this is very separate from nudity issue. Many nudists also practice responsible non-monogamy but many couples in open relationships do not practice nudity.

Actually the whole ideas of Liberated Christians began with Bill placing an ad in a nudist publication to contact other Christians nudists. The response was overwhelming and also exposed (pardon pun) need for Christians to also openly discuss sexual issues in more frankness than the Church is willing. We discovered we both reached the same conclusions independently on most all issues from years of study.

A problem with many Christians, is they are taught to have a closed mind. They all support each other in fixed thinking and never really explore the real world, thinking it is evil, or really looking at the whys and what is really in scripture - which often as not as it appeared from Church traditional teaching.

Legal Issues
Being unclothed is not illegal on Federal lands, says the National Park Service. It is one of our Constitutional rights according to a federal court decision (Williams vs Hathaway 400F Supp.122 {D.Mass.1975})


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