Christian nudists…?

I posted about this topic some time ago on another blog I was running at the time and it sparked some great conversation so I thought I would post it over here along with the comments of those who originally responded. Tell me what you think…

This morning I was greeting by a very strange email in my inbox. Our cousin found this on the Arizona Republic newspaper website. The Arizona Republic is the most popular Arizona newspaper, as well as the most liberal of the two major choices. I begrudgingly receive this newspaper as part of my CouponSense subscription because it is the newspaper this organization partners with. However, I would prefer to get the Tribune…if any newspaper at all! However, you all clicked on here because you were shocked to see “Christian nudist” not “complaining conservative”! Back to the topic at hand…

Christian nudists to build village in Florida

Columbia News Service

Jonathan Palmiter was enjoying a recent Sunday morning stroll through a lush yard full of trees and Spanish moss–naked as was Adam in the Garden of Eden.

A 59-year-old born-again Christian, Palmiter was visiting Natura, a development 40 miles north of Tampa, Fla., that, when it opens up next summer, will become the first nudist community for devout Christians in North America.

Natura is being developed over five years and will house as many as 200 people in 50 family houses on 100 acres of land, with room for up to 100 recreational vehicles, according to Daniel Bellows, chief executive of the development. He even envisions a self-contained village with home-schooling and a strip mall.

Christian nudism might sound like an oxymoron, but for thousands of devout followers, living and worshipping naked is at the core of their faith.

No one knows how many Christian nudists there are in North America, but the advent of Natura will increase their visibility.

Bill Martin, the driving force behind Natura, runs the Naturist-Christians Web site, which has 19,000 registered users and averages 35,000 hits a day. His Yahoo group–where members discuss biblical passages rather than the etiquette to follow in nude social settings–has 6,000 users.

While Bellows believes “naturism and faith are one,” other Christians disagree. Bellows, 44, said he gets e-mail messages warning him of eternal damnation, while Allen Parker, from Virginia, said, “Many Christians attack us on many fronts, but the love Jesus shows us sustains us.”

For many, nudism is the lifestyle that dare not speak its name. In Ohio, Rob L., who asked that his last name not be used, is a self-proclaimed fundamentalist who practices nudism in seclusion, fearing criticism and misunderstanding within his religious community.

Martin said he doesn’t want Natura to be only a haven for these Christian nudists–or naturists, a term many prefer. Instead, he wants Natura to make the bold statement that nudism is not only healthy, but sanctioned by God.

“Naturism was quite normal for the first few 100 years of Christianity,” said Martin, a 67-year-old Quaker. He blames puritanical Victorianism and what he calls America’s sexually obsessed culture for society’s qualms about nudity. “The culture has to be shown that naturism doesn’t lead to promiscuity. Natura will show them that.”

But the idea of raising kids in a nude environment can raise eyebrows–even Rob L.’s wife doesn’t want him nude at home when their daughter is around.

Martin and Bellows contend nudism is healthy for all. They believe it helps to correct a poor body image in children, which they believe is at the root of low self-esteem, depression and drug addiction. And they believe nudism diminishes sexual curiosity by “demystifying” the body. They point to the lower incidences of sexually transmitted diseases and lower pregnancy rates in Europe, where more relaxed attitudes prevail.

The compatibility of Christianity and nudism is detailed in “Nakedness and the Bible,” a self-published book by Canadian author Paul Bowman. The book cites key biblical events, including God’s order to the prophet Isaiah to go naked for three years, and states that, contrary to popular belief, Jesus was naked when he washed the feet of his disciples, when he was baptized and when he was crucified and resurrected.

“Nakedness and the Bible” states that nothing forbids nonsexual nudity and that misinterpretations of the Bible stem from faulty translations of ancient Hebrew words for nudity.

For example, Jim T., Natura’s spiritual adviser, and his wife, Shirley, believe the apostle Paul’s call for modesty targeted ostentation, not nudity. Besides, said Shirley, 55, women in church wearing “designer clothes and $90 haircuts” are the immodest ones.

Christian nudists have long organized their own services and prayer groups. Carolyn Hawkins of the American Association for Nude Recreation, which was founded in 1931, said most of its 270-member clubs offer Sunday services, including one in North Carolina where they are led by a member who is a Baptist minister.

Nathan Powers, a 50-year-old Texan, begins his day praying naked in his backyard. Nakedness intensifies his dialogue with God, he said. “I feel closer to God. It’s an act of humility. It is absolutely spiritual.” To reconcile being a good Christian with their need to be nude, many of the faithful turn to prayer and follow their own spiritual path. Some are led away from their particular denominations.

Parker, who organizes the annual “Christian Nudist Convocation” in Virginia, a coming-out event for closeted nudists, was raised a Southern Baptist. He is now independent, turned off by Sunday sermons he said were “too hypocritical for one afternoon.”

Jim T. let God do the talking. “As a conservative Christian, I had to let the Bible be my guide. I’m the one who’ll have to answer to God,” he said.

Secular culture has helped the cause of Christian nudists by “spawning the contemporary social nudist movement,” said John Kundert, editor of the Fig Leaf Forum, a leading Christian nudist newsletter with a circulation of 1,300 that he runs from Winnipeg, Manitoba. In turn, Kundert said he offers the Gospel to secular nudists “willing to receive” it.

Christian naturists are particularly mortified by the caricature of the nudist as a randy middle-aged swinger. Parker and his wife attend many naked parties that he insists are wholesome. Some of the most spiritual conversations they’ve had have been in hot tubs with other couples, he said.

“You can admire beauty, but lust is wrong,” said Rob L., the Ohio fundamentalist. On his Web site, he describes his first co-ed nudist experience. At a nude swim years ago, he bumped into an attractive woman in the changing room. When he didn’t get an erection, he knew he could separate nudity from sex.

Indeed, nudist Christians said faith helps them resist temptation. “God created us as sexual beings, and gave us coping mechanisms,” said Jim T. In any case, said Shirley, people are “sexier” in Victoria’s Secret lingerie.

The lifestyle of these Christians doesn’t necessarily make them lefties of the 1960s free-love, live-and-let-live mold. They tend to be deeply conservative on issues like homosexuality and premarital sex, and Republican, differing only from other Christians in their need and desire to be naked whenever possible.

For Bellows, the ideal society would be clothing-optional, but he isn’t holding his breath waiting for that to happen. As much as Christian nudists advocate for naturism, they put faith above all else.

“I am a Christian first, a naturist second,” Palmiter said.

What a very interesting group of people. I mean, at first I was completely disgusted by the use of the Bible to promote such a lifestyle…especially since Adam and Eve felt shame because sin was introduced to the world (and it is still here so the need to cover up is a more natural response, biblically, it seems to me, than revealing everything you have). Of course, a lot of people are naturally nudists by their personality…not me! I have days when I can hardly leave my house satisfied with the way I look in clothes and makeup – let alone naked! Hmmm, so, I wonder, do nudist women wear makeup??

But seriously, what are your thoughts? Do you agree that living in a nudist society where there is an acceptance of body image regardless of shape or size would promote a healthier self image? Do you agree that our children would be less likely to pursue the mysteries of sex at such young ages?

In my opinion it is dangerous teaching your children to “flaunt” themselves as if it were natural in a society that is driven by lust and sex. Self confidence and security in self are one thing, but you just don’t dress up like a steak and walk into a pack of hungry wolves while preaching the health benefits of being a vegetarian, if you know what I mean.


Posted by drewsfamilytx

I know what you mean. And when he said this:“Christian nudism might sound like an oxymoron, but for thousands of devout followers, living and worshipping naked is at the core of their faith.”I think it’s sad that that is the core of their faith! It should be Jesus and His sacrifice for our sins. Plus, even if I were to actually believe his arguments defending his practices, I would think them to be quite legalistic…but I’m not even going to go down that road because I’m sure I would offend someone with my comments.When they talk about being nude as a form of worship, they are completely in denial or don’t see at all where this road will lead. Much like a husband who views pornography but defends himself to his wife, insisting (and perhaps even believing to be true) that he is only admiring the beauty of the human form…and he has NO desire to be with any of these other women…puh-lease!So no, I don’t believe he’s right at all and I cringe that he even uses the term “christian”– it’s yet one more thing that the enemy can use against true Christians.
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Posted by mrskbrook

Ok, I live about 100 miles Northeast of Tampa, so they’ll be my nieghbors!!!! I feel like JenIg about now………
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Posted by takingthechallenge

You sure know how to pick your topics! 😉 Well, I’m no theologian, but I start to see red flags when people seem to start basing their doctrines and beliefs around books that state “that misinterpretations of the Bible stem from faulty translations of ancient Hebrew words for nudity.” The other thought I had, was the specificity of God clothing Adam and Eve and following that we don’t have any specific to God unclothing anyone, so….honestly, the whole thing really seems whacked out to me. My two cents 🙂
BTW…I would have clicked on a complaining conservative header too …so go ahead and write away.
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Posted by Hubby

Takingthechallenge NAILED it!!!Genesis 3:14 starts the discipline and curse that God sets on humankind for the sin of Adam and Eve, then DIRECTLY FOLLOWING this decree, God CLOTHES them both in verse 21.
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Posted by Sunny

I am suprised they use the defense that Jesus was probably naked on the cross. Even if he was (which is probable) it was a sign of shame, not something to be glorified and followed.
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Posted by Harriette

I couldn’t help but start to giggle as I read through this post……….whew – how’d I miss this???? This is about the best example of why there are a gazillion “denominations” – a group takes God’s Holy Word and interprets to suit “THEIR” wants; in this case “want nots”……..aaaahhhhhhh.Immediate thoughts are Adam and Eve once partaking of the forbidden fruit were in shame and from then on clothed. That just covers it (bad pun) as far as nudists’ communal living. Then following Christ’s birth and upon His adult life’s work – I don’t recall any particular New Testament scriptures where upon he spoke to the masses to disrobe and run about nude forever and ever, Amen……….or maybe that speach might be found among the Gospels the high priests selectively omitted from the New Testament books (……….aaaahhhhh…….one of my favorite topics but not for the nudist reasons…….).We probably could all do a better job about accepting our bodies as natural and effectively admonishing this on to our children, but this has absolutely nothing to do with our Christianity. I tried early on to not over-react w/my sons upon their entering the bathroom – but UP TO A CERTAIN age – there, of course, comes a time when modesty is mandatory and I agree w/earlier comments about not wanting our children to grow up flaunting themselves – it’s a gray area and each family must follow as they are led in this arena. I, do, however, believe that the whole nudist thing is a bit “out there”……….whew! you can pick ’em!!
Merry Christmas!

9 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    […] naturism wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptMartin said he doesn’t want Natura to be only a haven for these Christian nudists–or naturists, a term many prefer. Instead, he wants Natura to make the bold statement that nudism is not only healthy, but sanctioned by God. … […]

  2. 2

    Kurt Littlewood said,

    The fear of being seen naked is different from modesty or the shame of sin. We are deeply branded and burdened by a culture that forbids nudity while pursuing lust and intemperance. In our western culture, to be found naked is about the greatest shame. consider this while the American nation engages in wars that kill hundreds of thousands of innocent civilllians. God gave us clothing after sin entered the world for several good reasons more than to keep us warm. Lust greed and lack of selfcontrol are part of our sinful society. I believe Adam and Eve were immediately aware of all the potential vices and ains that would bring them and their children shame. Covering their genitals was a sign of awareness of the grief that would come with their lack of self control. In contrast, in a family oriented naturist setting there is a great trust and release in the allowing of oneself to be free of all sexual drive or expectation. Trust and modesty are natural and the sense of separation from sinful inclinations is wonderful. I have enjoyed a secluded park alone from time to time, feeling a special closeness to creation with the sun, breeze and shadow reaching me instantly and completely in a way that is not possible with clothes. Modesty is internal and external. It includes not offending others. But one of my greatest joys was when I came to the park one day and there were two strangers. I gave myself the liberty of telling them I would enjoy to be naked elsewhere in the park and asked their permission. They laughed and said they were comfortable with this and they would not be offended if they came upon me. It is difficult to describe the sese of openess and freedom I felt with this. If we are to truly accept ourselves naked before others or others naked before us, a leap of honesty and humility is required. I strongly condemn exhibitionism or other perversions of pure thought. I do embrace a view that there is nothing essentially sinful about enjoying splashing in the puddles, swimming, lying in the sun etc. with friends and musing with them about the day God will make this possible for all his children without sin.

  3. 3

    Allen Parker said,

    Sorry for posting a comment so late. I just came across this today. First, I am one of the people quoted in the article. I am a co-pastor at White Tail Church at White Tail Resort.

    Second, I am not here to raise an argument. I simply wish to offer some good information to anyone who truly wants to discuss this.

    As Christians, whether nudist or textile, we love God and His Only Son, Jesus, and welcome the Holy Spirit into our hearts. we believe in Jesus as our personal Savior. We believe in the fallacy of the human life, and look forward to the redemptive salvation promised us through Jesus.

    My mission is to walk in my Jerusalem and be witnessed by the people of my community as an example of Jesus’ love and to shine the light of His saving grace.

    I ask you. How many of you responding have visited a nudist location and talked with anyone about becoming a Christian? How many have prayed with a sick nudist for healing of an affliction? Who here will say that they truly want to go into a community with naked people and begin a work that will honor God, such as starting a benevolent fund for those needing help? Who among you will say they will visit the nudist sick and anoint them with oil?

    Now, how many of you have preyed upon these people by making conscientious decisions to avoid contact? How many have stood by and said, “I will not go?” How many of you will read this and still not pray for the ministry God sent me to do?

    I am not asking any of you to take the steps I take. I do not know what God asks of you. I do ask that you stop making the Job God requires of me harder.

    We can disagree on theology all we want. (BTW, that is what this discussion is about) But we know that we are bound by John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. This is the true meaning of God’s love.

    As for whether it is a sin to be naked among others, I’ll let you decide.

    1. Jesus was born naked.
    2. Jesus was baptized naked.
    3. In the Upper Room, as he washed the Apostles feet, he was naked.
    4. He was crucified naked.
    5. He arose naked.

    Were those sins?

    When Isaiah walked naked among the people at God’s request, did God ask Isaiah to sin?

    When the first century Christians baptized new Christians naked, did they sin?

    I noticed no one offered a scripture passage condemning nudity. Before we condemn our own people, aren’t we supposed to approach them with evidence of wrong doing? Wouldn’t that specifically require you to offer scripture or, as I did above, places to look in scripture to see for ourselves?

    I know most of you are not called for the nudist life, just as I was not called for the farming life. But I don’t condemn the farmer, nor the Shepherd.

    Lastly, in Genesis, God did not clothe Adam or Eve. They clothed themselves with leaves and poor materials. God, in His loving and kind manner, and knowing the clothing they made for themselves would not stand the rigors of life outside of the garden, took the animal He sacrificed for their sins, and made clothing from the skins appropriate for their briar infested, dangerous world outside of Eden.

    As a last thought question, all of us would agree that being naked around our spouse is perfectly within God’s will. When Adam left the Garden and was “clothed” by God, who was God hiding Adam’s nakedness from? The only other ones there was God, Jesus, Holy Ghost, and Adam’s wife.

    I offer this in Christian love. I hope that we can disagree without disagreeable discussions. I know it is unlikely anyone will see this as the response is more than several months late. That’s okay. God will open the eyes of those necessary and if God feels quite content for me to type in a vacuum, please pray for the vacuum to clear out the cobwebs and in my office while He is at it. Thank you for you kind concern on our behalf and we appreciate your prayers. God bless.


    • 4

      myco said,

      Allen, can you please give me some proofs about what you have mentioned regarding Jesus nudity.

      I am really confused.

    • 5

      Tom Munger said,

      Well said Allen…my Christian brother in the faith and myself comprise a fellowship of two which is ok. We follow a lunar Sabbath and keep Father’s appointed Times. We reach out as opportunity allows and do testify and pray with those in need in social nudist’s settings. Yehshua has taken all our shame on the tree and we are free when appropriate to enjoy His creation without hindrance to social mores. Bless you in your ministry!!!

  4. 6

    Worshipping God in the natural body with like minded people has
    never been really attempted as it should be, in spirit as well in truth.

    My book, nearly three hundred pages, attempts to unravel the lies
    told for centuries about the body, which was given as a very good
    instrument to yeild to God in order that others may see the perfect
    mercy of an infinite being.

    For too many christians, the bible has been placed irreverantly on the
    shelf, and most have not read thoroughly what I have read and discovered, that not only does the bible support acceptable nudity,
    but plainly connects the body with the gospel in every way.

    I wish that others would pass along this connections to every christian
    who believes in the beauty of the body in naturist scenes,

  5. 7

    myco said,

    was jesus really crucified naked and baptized naked.? can you give me some proof. i just can believe that.
    sorry for opposing…… im just confused…

  6. 8

    Breanna said,

    So, then, if a Christian nudist is sinning, what about indigeneous tribal peoples? And if the nudity of the indigeneous tribal people’s is not considered to be a sin, then what differentiates it from the Christian nudist?

  7. 9

    peter said,

    Good day fellow Naturist, I am a Christian Naturist for 20 odd years, happily married for 40 years. I don’t judge others that differ from my view. If you would like to know more, please visit my blog o my views as Christian Naturist –
    Please comment. Would like to hear from you. Have a blessed naturist day in the Lord.

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