Nudity & Christianity


Table of Contents


Page i:

Contact Info, Acknowledgments, Dedication

Page ii:

Table of Contents

Page xv:

In Memoriam, Pope John Paul II

Page xvi:


Jim C. Cunningham

Explanation of the mechanics & idiosyncrasies of the book

Page xxi:


Jim C. Cunningham

The editor contextualizes the truths of the book within the framework of the theology of the body

Page 1:

"Nakedness Is not Immodest"

Pope John Paul II

This whole book could be summed up in this one amazing excerpt written while he was a Polish Cardinal

Page 2:

Let It Shine!

Jim C. Cunningham

Most Christians are as far from God's mind on the body's goodness as they are on the blessedness of poverty because they listen to the world rather than the Word

Page 15:

On Modesty

Kahlil Gibran

In his inimitable style, Gibran comes in on the side of the natural purity and modesty of nakedness

Page 15:

Nudity not Immodest

Giovanni Agnesti, Archbishop of Lucca

This brief quotation from an Italian Catholic archbishop sums it all up in a nutshell

Page 16:

Born again in Bethlehem

Jim C. Cunningham

Two years after his rebirth to spiritual things, he is born again with respect to the body on a pilgrimage to Bethlehem

Page 25:

De Nuditate Habituque

Jim C. Cunningham

After seven years of prayer and study, he published this first article on nudity in 1983

Page 32:

Look Mom, No Clothes!

Linda S. Cunningham

Actual letter to her parents explaining newfound truth of the body's integral goodness

Page 35:

Don’t Be a Ham—Respect Nudity!

Joan Turner

The sin was Ham's disrespect—not Noah's nakedness

Page 36:

Correspondence with Bishop John A. Marshall

Most Rev. John A Marshall & Jim C. Cunningham

In 1983, when his pastor warned him not to approach the Communion rail, Jim appealed to the Bishop of Burlington, Vermont, who said nudism is no sin

Page 51:

Catholicism and Nudism

Fr. David Alton, Ph.D.

Priest attempts to enlighten many Catholics who presume that social nudity is sinful

Page 55:

Naked Truth

Jim C. Cunningham

Poem on the honesty of nudity vs. the dishonesty of dress

Page 57:

Tolerant Pluralism

Paul Redkovich II

Love of God is expressed variously, requiring tolerance

Page 57:

Occasions of Sin

Fred J. Gerty, Jr.

We should use loving discretion in the presence of those for whom nudity may be an occasion of sin

Page 59:

Establishing Nude Customs

Jim C. Cunningham

We need to reestablish occasions for chaste nudity

Page 64:

Hiding the Evidence

Jim C. Cunningham

As criminals hide the implements of their crimes, so Adam & Eve did likewise, covering their loins with fig leaves

Page 66:

Nakedness: God’s Plan

Wayne C. Olson

Since Adam was not naked when he said he was afraid because he was naked, he was hiding his sin, not his body

Page 69:

Different Kinds of Naked

Le Roy E. Pickard

Naked is not naked, as different Hebrew words are used in Genesis 2:25 (positive naked) & 3:7 (negative naked)

Page 70:

Clothes Divide

Joan Turner

If the first symbol of division was clothes, then the best symbol of Christian unity is nudity

Page 71:

The Body’s Place in Christian Spirituality

Jim C. Cunningham

Authentic spirituality involves the body no less than the soul, and love of God and neighbor requires our bodies

Page 76:

Pope Entertained by Topless Dancers

Jim C. Cunningham

Perfectly modest in traditional costume, Papuan women dance with breasts bared to welcome John Paul II

Page 77:

A Priest Discovers the Christian Value of Nudism

Fr. Jonathan Mueller

When doctor orders Fr. Jon to sunbathe nude, his German priest friends bring him to their nudist camp

Page 79:

The Lustful Dead

Joan Turner

The cause of lust is not the exterior body, but the interior, lustful intention of the heart

Page 81:

Praise God in your Sunday Best

Jim C. Cunningham

Original, amusing lyrics to the melody of the Easter hymn, "O filii et filiae" ("Ye sons and daughters")

Page 82:

Baring the Bible

Harold Whitington

Biblical overview shows many examples of godly nudity with no hint of any sexual immodesty

Page 87:

Nudity In Church

A Roman Catholic Priest

Citing ancient sources, he shows how men, women and children were customarily baptized together in the nude

Page 95:

The Apostolic Tradition

St. Hippolytus of Rome

The actual, ancient, eye-opening, third century text clearly enjoining group nudity for baptisms

Page 99:

Circumcision: A Theological View

Jim C. Cunningham

God's choice of this peculiar, visible, covenantal sign shows He is anything but puritanical

Page 102:

Nudity in Art

Pope John Paul II

The contemplation of nude art helps show the whole truth, dignity, beauty and supra-sensuality of man

Page 103:

Jesus: After the Resurrection

Harold Whitington

Jesus' clothing was stolen on Calvary, and He rose from the dead nude, leaving His burial wraps behind in the tomb

Page 103:

The Bible & Nudism

Rev. La Rue C. Watson

In both Old and New Testament times, nudity was commonplace and without implications of any immorality

Page 113:

Streakers & Prophets

Jim C. Cunningham

Streakers, like Old Testament prophets, enjoy "prophetic license" to experience and teach truths

Page 114:

The Nudification of Culture

Jim C. Cunningham

Body acceptance will not affect culture if chaste nudity is merely ghettoized in restricted places

Page 117:

A “Scandalized” Catholic

Carol L., M.D.

Moral admonition after seeing the Cunningham family nude in Newsweek and reading about their proposed academy

Page 124:


Linda S. Cunningham

Linda responds, explaining her renewal of mind about nudity and the goodness and purity of the body

Page 126:

Vatican II on the Body

From Gaudium et Spes

Man may not despise his bodily life and is obliged to regard his body as good and honorable since God created it

Page 127:

Spirituality vs. Sensuality? Our Senses Are for Union!

Jim C. Cunningham

Contrary to puritanical belief, both sensuality and sexuality are holy, leading to union with others and God

Page 132:

Christian Nudist Manifesto

Jim C. Cunningham

Exhortation to Christians to live the truth of the redemption of the whole man — soul and body

Page 135:

The Naked Fishermen: 7 Reflections (on John 21:4-13)

Steve Devore, Paul M. Bowman, Rev. Jeffrey Hitt, Don Haroldsson, Linda S. Cunningham, Rev. Dr. William Caple & Fr. Jim Byrnes

Laymen, ministers and priests reflect on the nakedness of St. Peter while fishing after the resurrection

Page 141:

Temple of the Spirit

John R. Kane

An article about a nudist priest shocked this Australian to think, and soon he, too, became a Christian naturist

Page 144:

Ashamed—of the Way God Made Me?

Author Unknown

This poem expresses the incompatibility of Christianity and the shame of nudity

Page 145:

Some Interpretations

Larry Hamilton

An Episcopalian shares insights into Leviticus 18:6-20; Luke 8:27-35; I Timothy 2:9 & Romans 14:14

Page 147:

On Offense & Discretion

Gene Caywood

While we should be sensitive to those offended by nudity, it is not a question of scandal

Page 152:

Dialog of Conscience: Nudism & Scandal

Jim C. Cunningham

Applying "The Principle of Double Effect" sheds profound light on the question of nudity and scandal

Page 157:

Dialog of Conscience: The Cannes Principle

Jim C. Cunningham

Why those who initiated fashion customs no longer deemed immodest were not immodest back then either

Page 166:

Open Letter to Evangelicals

Paul M. Bowman

Actual letter to pastor & parishioners lucidly defends the naturist lifestyle from the Bible

Page 170:

Naked, I Follow Naked Jesus

Greg Cook

As drunk driving does not impugn driving itself, neither should pornography impugn wholesome nudity

Page 174:

Jewish Men Had No “Privates”

Jim C. Cunningham

Jews did not worship the phallus like the pagans, but they highly honored the exposed glans as a covenantal symbol

Page 194:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Jim C. Cunningham

Man, soul & body, is the highest perfection of creation & he must regard his body as good and hold it in honor

Page 202:

As Little Children…

Jim C. Cunningham

Social nudity both requires many child-like qualities such as honesty, and also helps us acquire them

Page 212:

Commentary: Revelation 3:15-18

Jim C. Cunningham

Scripture itself says the only truly negative kind of nakedness is being bereft of good deeds and virtues

Page 216:

The Bible & Nakedness

Fig Leaf Forum

A clear, succinct overview on the theme included in each issue of the fig Leaf Forum newsletter

Page 217:

Commentary: Leviticus 18:6-23

Jim C. Cunningham

The law against "uncovering the nakedness" of close kin concerned sexual intercourse—not nudity

Page 220:

The Original Sin & the Fig Leaf

Jim C. Cunningham

To understand man's first invention—clothes—we must first understand the nature of the sin that occasioned them

Page 242:

All Things to All Men

Bishop Alejandro Labaca

Capuchin Franciscan missionary bishop's missiology includes adopting native dress (or, rather, lack thereof!)

Page 245:

On Modesty

C. S. Lewis

Chastity is absolute and universal, but definitions of modesty are culturally relative

Page 246:

Noah & the Gerasene

Fr. Pat, OFM Cap.

Capuchin priest interprets two Bible stories involving nudity, concluding that not all nudity is appropriate

Page 248:

Commentary: I Timothy 2:9f

Gary Pence

True Christian modesty means clothing oneself with good works, not fabrics

Page 249:

To the Pure…

Rev. Jeffrey Allen Mackey

Purified by Christ, unlike fallen Adam, Christians again perceive the purity of their bodies

Page 251:


Joel S. Heller

An amusing fiction vignette based on the non-fiction of Isaiah's three years of total nudity

Page 253:

The “Less Honorable” Parts

Jim C. Cunningham

The Christian mind demands a very different attitude toward body parts disdained by the world

Page 266:

Benedict XVI's Encyclical

Pope Benedict XVI

In his first encyclical, the pope admits that, in the past, Christian tradition has sometimes opposed the body

Page 267:

Nudism & Christianity: A Dialog

Jim C. Cunningham

Fictional skit teaches truths about social nudity as one Christian couple explains naturism to another

Page 279:

Nudity: Humble & Modest

Fr. James G. Dodge, OCSO

When nudity is a realization of our essential nothingness, it is a serious way to a real union with God

Page 284:

A Rational Choice

Drew Corrigan

This Australian fundamentalist relates his family's very interesting odyssey towards social nudity

Page 293:

Spiritual Blindness

Michelangelo Buonarotti

The naked Human body is far more noble & beautiful than the garments with which it is clothed

Page 294:

Jesus vs. Naturism

Jim C. Cunningham

If authentic faith informs our naturism, there can be no dichotomy such as "Christian first, naturist second"

Page 298:

Before Hearts Were Hard: The Way We Were

Rick Means

It is valid to appeal to how we were before the fall, as this was how Christ restored permanent monogamy

Page 301:

Man Created “Modesty”

Mark Twain

A Christian mother’s first duty is to soil her child’s mind, imposing body shame, and she does not neglect it

Page 302:

Brain-Picking Catholic

Bob Contreras & Jim C. Cunningham

Actual correspondence where Cunningham replies to several concerns of a serious Catholic

Page 311:

Debates… Debates!

Jim C. Cunningham

Cunningham tells the story of his televised debate, "Is Nudity God's Will?" on PBS TV in 1997

Page 314:

From Pilgrim’s Progress

John Bunyan

You'll be surprised to see how non-puritanical this Puritan Christian classic actually is!

Page 315:

Nude Baptism in the Early Church

Larry Amyett, Jr.

This knowledgeable Protestant reveals many historical truths in ecclesiastical history

Page 323:


Jim C. Cunningham

Everyday culture should allow for the fulfillment of natural, physical curiosity which is not evil, but a gift from God

Page 332:

The Naked Pilgrim

Jim C. Cunningham

This autobiographical Fiction teaches many truths about our bodies and their relation to the Body of Christ

Page 343:

On the Creation of Man

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Popular Lutheran theologian teaches that man's body is no mere shell, but is him; he is of earth as well as of God

Page 346:

What Would People Think?

Jim C. Cunningham

Amusing instances of nudity, authored by God or His Church, that "common sense" would roundly condemn

Page 349:

Naked on the Cross

Michael A. Kowalewski

Theological, spiritual and moral ramifications of the naked crucifixion, based on the Fathers of the Church

Page 359:

Body No Big Deal?

Jim C. Cunningham

Response to correspondent who downplays the importance of the physical body in the scheme of things

Page 363:

Belloc No "Angelist"

Hilaire Belloc

Catholic intellectual cannot relate to any spirituality without sensuality, nor vice versa

Page 364:

Woman to Woman

Pat Brindamour & Linda S. Cunningham

Pat seeks advice after her Protestant pastor told her that naturism is harmful for her two sons

Page 365:

Nakedness: next to Godliness

Jim C. Cunningham

We image God more fundamentally by the very fact of our physical existence and its exposure than by other qualities

Page 381:

Tolkien’s Naked Fellowship

Linda S. Cunningham

She rejoices that young readers can encounter wholesome nude scenes in this popular Catholic fiction writer

Page 383:

Commentary: I Thessalonians 5:22

Bill Asseln

Exegesis on avoiding even the appearance of evil

Page 384:

More on Nude Baptism

Fig Leaf Forum

Additional patristic sources confirm the historical truth that mixed nudity was regarded as the baptismal norm

Page 385:

The Philokalia: On Spiritual Nakedness

St. Neilos the Ascetic

This orthodox classic matter-of-factly uses cultural nudity as metaphor of necessary, spiritual nakedness

Page 388:

For Your Eyes Only?

Jim Thurman & Jim C. Cunningham

Cunningham responds to Thurman's wife's belief that her naked body is for his eyes only

Page 394:

Nude Wrestling

St. Clement of Alexandria

This eminent, early Father of the Church commends nude wrestling as the ideal Christian sport

Page 396:

Topless Penitence

Jim C. Cunningham

Isaiah was not only a nude preacher, but he commanded women to go topless as a form of penitence

Page 396:

Commentary: I Corinthians 10:25-31

Jim C. Cunningham

Whether you eat or drink, dress or undress, do all to the greater glory of God

Page 399:

Designed for Nakedness

Leigh Orton

Nudity should be the norm for society as that is how we were designed by God

Page 403:

Nothing Shall I Want

Jim C. Cunningham

Fiction applying good Shepherd Psalm to naturist situation

Page 417:

The Baptism of the Lord

Orthodox Liturgy

Orthodox ritual insists Christ was naked in the Jordan and this has profound significance

Page 418:

The Scandal of Neglect

Jim C. Cunningham

The chronic neglect by churchmen to teach truth regarding the body and sexuality is grave scandal

Page 426:

The Naked Baptism of Christ

Michael A. Kowalewski

Sacramental nakedness makes available a stream of divine grace which flows from the paschal mystery of Christ

Page 440:

St. Ambrose: The Virtue of Nakedness

Michael A. Kowalewski

Interpretations of the nakedness of two Old Testament giants of faith—Joseph and Isaiah

Page 445:

Commentary on Job: The Naked Poor

Jim C. Cunningham

None of the many mentions of nudity in Job have anything at all to do with immodesty

Page 450:

Behold: It Is Very Good!

Jim C. Cunningham

Clear, simple, traditional morality applied to naturism, including the application of the "principle of double effect"

Page 464:

Theology of the Body

Pope John Paul II

Choice, deep excerpts on sexuality and the body from his early weekly Wednesday Angelus audiences

Page 464:

The Oldest Excuse

Funny Christian joke

Page 465:

Naked Crucifixion

Winston & Jim C. Cunningham

The loincloth on almost all crucifixes is unscriptural, unhistorical, and an attempt to clothe God in our own hang-ups

Page 468:

Commentary: James 1:13-16

Jim C. Cunningham

God did not, and cannot, create evil, but created all things, including the human body, for holiness

Page 484:

Blessed Are the Persecuted

Jim C. Cunningham

The prospect of persecution should not deter us from living truth—including the truth of the body

Page 494:

St. Paul and the Body

Jim C. Cunningham

When St. Paul sometimes seems to be negative on the body, he is referring to carnality—self-gratifying desires

Page 497:

Leap of Faith

(Rev.) Charles A. Waugaman

Poem by retired Baptist minister on spring, Easter and nakedness as freedom from sin

Page 498:

Bodies Wonderful!

Jim C. Cunningham

Uplifting exhortation to live the truth of the body

Page 509:

Scriptural Index

Page 532:

Topical Index


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