Our Wonderful Bodies!
Item#: OWB $12
Our Wonderful Bodies!
ISBN 0-9655540-1-5 C. 2001
Published by Naturist LIFE International, Inc., Troy, Vermont, USA
100 highly photographic pages, color covers, B&W inside
8.5 x 11, soft cover.
The purpose of this book is to celebrate the fact of our bodiliness by showing ordinary people of all ages from all over the world doing ordinary things, clothed as God intended. The fact is that most cultures are so meticulously clothes-compulsive that opportunities to encounter the unveiled body in a positive context are rare or non-existent, with the few exceptions "proving the rule." Nakedness has taken on a negative connotation in most cultures today. Rather than accept the definition of the body of the One who created it--who ought to know--society, even including Christians, blindly accept Playboy's false definition of the body, viz. that it is intrinsically erotic. Pope John Paul II's argument against pornography was not that it showed too much of the body, but that it did not show enough. By presenting the body only in an erotic way, pornography distorts truth, and is thus a lie. Whether wittingly or unwittingly, most cultures have very successfully brainwashed people to regard simple nakedness as an erotic, psychological stimulus. Accordingly, men are trained to howl like wolves as soon as they encounter nakedness. This is even considered "normal," and society sanctions this negative perspective of the body by even promoting such institutions and "entertainments" as strip clubs and topless doughnut shops, etc, not to mention the deluge of printed pornography and movies. Think about it: You can list on the fingers of one hand the number of movies you have watched that have depicted nudity in any context other than a sexual, erotic one, and even some of those few, such as "Schindler's List," depict nudity negatively, showing bodies being bulldozed into a pit or something similar. There are exceptions, but they only serve to "prove the rule."
Presenting the body only in these negative contexts is a distortion of truth, and is thus a lie. God did not create our wonderful bodies to be objects of erotic entertainment or the ultimate sign of total depersonalization. Such negative notions are nowhere to be found in Sacred Scripture. In Genesis 3:8-11 Adam tried to explain his motive for trying to hide from God by saying that he was naked, as though there were something wrong about that, when, in fact, that was how God himself had created him. God's response to this fabricated excuse was, "Who told you that you were 'naked'?" In other words, "Where on this Edenic world did you ever come up with the cockamamie notion that there is anything wrong with the way I created you?" Of course, the notion's source was the sole element of evil present in the Garden--the lying, trickster, the serpent (i.e. Satan). Accordingly, nakedness as negative was not a truth revealed by God, but a lie revealed by Satan. Yet the anomaly is that even Christians who consider themselves pious religiously prefer to believe the "Father of Lies" and "Master of Deceit" (John 8:44), rather than the God of Truth, thus calling good evil and evil good, as Isaiah had revealed (cf. Isaiah 5:20).
I see people who claim to follow the Gospel truth as having a responsibility to correct such distortions by both example and right teaching. The lie is so overwhelmingly prevailing in our society that to right the wrongs is like little David opposing Goliath. Nevertheless, we should do what little we can. By publishing this book I tried to do what little I could by showing the body in the positive, wholesome light God intended. It is not an antidote to the lie that alone, is sufficient to defeat Goliath, but it is at least a step in the right direction. True modesty is not a matter of quantity of body covering, but purity of heart, learning to see as God sees. God never saw nakedness as anything evil; that whacked out idea came from Satan and from sinful Adam, who chose not to see as God sees, but to see through the distorted lens of the "Father of Lies."
The body is God's highest material creation. We gawk in wondrous awe at every natural beauty from sunsets to a bird's plumes, but exempt the most beautiful creation from that list of natural beauty. No one lusts when beholding a spectacular sunset in admiration of God's own reflected beauty. It should be considered just as ridiculous to lust while beholding his most beautiful material creation, the very "temple of the Holy Spirit" (cf. I Corinthians 6:19).
The way to put on right-mindedness is the same that succeeded in getting us to think wrongly, viz. by dint of effort, repetition and bold assertion of God's truth. Just as we have become accustomed to accept the lie, so now we need to resolve to accustom ourselves to the truth, and this requires frequent exposure to the truth and a determined rejection of the lie.
We praise childlike curiosity when it comes to everything in nature with one exception--the body. This artificial exception must necessarily lead to a very warped mind-set, from morbid curiosity to even sexual psychopaths. The lies that we accept in our society have gone a long way to create such monsters who prey even on our children. If Church leaders really want to heal as Christ healed, and dig down to the root of such phenomena as so many sex-abusers among her clergy, they need to begin right here by asserting the truth of the body's intrinsic goodness. As Jesus clearly explained in Matthew 15:17-20, what defiles a man is not anything external, but the vices that come out of his heart. Yet, just like the Pharisees of old, we directly contradict him, stubbornly insisting that evil can also be external. And, just as the Pharisees prided themselves on the righteousness of externals, many people who think they are religious are white-washed sepulchres, their very vaunted false modesty abets, if not creates, the evils they imagine they have defeated. Those sex-abusing clergy very likely had such well-meaning mothers whose false modesty went far to mis-educate them when they were little boys.
Thus this book is great for the whole family, chastely satisfying natural curiosity which our culture so religiously tries to deny us.
This book is mostly photographs, each one saying more than a thousand words. In order to better contextualize all the graphics, and to ensure that they are viewed in the right way, i.e. as God sees, I framed them with three articles by myself. The first, which serves as a kind of introduction, is inspirational and hortatory in tone. I want to encourage everyBODY to accept the gift of their bodies and not regard them as either ugly, sinful, indecent, dirty, obscene, etc., but as the good, beautiful and holy temples of the Holy Spirit that they are. By doing what it takes to acquire this true body-acceptance and appreciation, we experience something of the joy and freedom that God intends for his children.
My second article addresses the scruples of "religious" people who have been trained to regard God's greatest material creation as dirty and who have accepted a definition of modesty that precludes any nakedness. My argument is that Christians practice and preach all kinds of non-Scriptural notions, and I use money as an example. Jesus clearly and repeatedly praised the blessedness of poverty, yet regardless, Christians still covet wealth and material comforts and never hear from our pulpits the truth of what Jesus really taught about money. Instead of proclaiming the Gospel truth that it is impossible to serve both God and mammon (cf. Matthew 6:24), preachers directly contradict Christ, promoting a false spirituality that claims that both God and Mammon can be accommodated.
I conclude that just as people--even Christians--wrongly regard wealth, so also they can be way off the mark when it comes to other basic things such as the body.
My third and final article is a refresher mini-course on traditional morality--how to judge the rightness or wrongness of any action. I wrote this because part of our problem is that our morality is often quite muddled and chaotic. Like Isaiah taught, we call good evil and evil good. Knowing how to clearly judge the rightness of an action also brings a taste of the freedom of the sons of God (cf. Romans 8:21). As Jesus said, knowing the truth sets us free (cf. John 8:32). Thus, with a clear, unmuddled head, we can reconsider the rightness or wrongness of nakedness and conform our behavior to the truth. The world's morality is skewed in every imaginable way, leaving even the best of us confused. Satan is not only a master liar, but also a master deceiver and trickster. Simply professing to be a disciple of Christ does not exempt us from Satan's wiles. Christians are often suckers no less than non-Christians. Many readers have thought that this article on morality alone is worth the price of the book.