Skip to main content

this is a post about nudity. those of you more comfortable behind your gap and abercrombie, your mossimo and whatever else they sell at target (wal-mart for the slightly more hip), be forewarned. this is a post about nudity.

now that i have your attention....

it really isn't all that sexy. this post, that is. i told you i would post about some of what was discussed at the conference i went to this weekend. one of the cool things that don miller talked about was that genesis 2 and 3 is really a story about nudity (i have always argued that the bible is a great deal more HBO than ABC. it certainly isn't fox family...). he pointed out that the author of genesis (some say moses, others say "who the heck knows?") was deliberate in pointing out that adam and eve were both naked and "felt no shame" (gen 2:25). now, the implications of this little tidbit of knowledge are true whether you take the story literally or not. i, for one, do not take the story literally at all, but that is a conversation for another time. what is germane here is that the author of the story makes a point to tell us that adam and eve were naked, and didn't really care too much about it.

the question that don miller asked was, "what would have to be true for you to be naked and not really notice it?" its a great question, right? we are all so very aware of our own nakedness, even with those with whom we are most intimate. how could we be less aware; how could we feel no shame?

miller's conclusion is that we would have to be so sure of ourselves, so confident and secure in knowing that we are beautiful and loved and precious and made in the very image of God. he argues that the author of genesis is saying that this was the state of things before the fall. after the fall, however, we lost our ability to hear that voice. we lost our confidence. we lost our security, and began to try to affirm ourselves with other voices. we manipulate and pose and posture and beg and self-deprecate and lie and do anything we can to get others to tell us that we are ok and we are beautiful and we are valuable and we are loved.

miller said that if you can learn a great deal about what people believe about God and eternal significance just by asking them why we wear clothes. it seems that the author of genesis believed it had to do with the shame of our sinfulness. pudendum, which is another word for genitals, comes from the latin for, "that of which we ought to be ashamed" (buechner, "whistling in the dark" 1993, page 90). so, shame sells suits and shirts and suspenders and all sorts of sunday clothes. all because we wouldn't want to be caught dead being naked.

nudity. our culture seems continually more and more obsessed with it. the need for more and more skin is obvious in advertising and entertainment, and we know that it turns a profit. why are we so drawn to that of which we are also so ashamed? i believe it is our longing for wholeness. yes, i realize that so many of the images on our tv screens and magazine counters are there simply to sell products, but i am talking about why it sells, and why the sexual appetite is one that is so easily manipulated. i think, at our core, each of us is longing to know one another intimately, without pretense, without conflict, without having to wrestle with one another to try and get affirmation of our worth. we are, basically, hungering for God.

so, i'm off to join a nudist colony. well, maybe not. but, i do hope that someday, on some other shore, i can shed all these second skins like dragon scales and hear the voice of God singing to me.

i look at jackson, and i think he is absolutely beautiful, what with his chubby little legs and the way the back of his neck smells when he first wakes up. i think he's perfect, notwithstanding the times when i have to wipe crap from halfway up his back. if i feel this way for jack, how much more must God feel this way for us?

so, someday i will stop trying to find my identity at the mall. i won't be ashamed. the naked lion will lie down with the naked lamb, and i won't be caught dead with all the baggage of clothing and labels, and i will dance like a cheetah or an otter or a crazed gorilla. it might look more like a hedgehog, but i will dance. i will dance because i will know, without shadow of doubt, without shelter of second skin, that i am beautiful and valuable and loved, above all. hallelujah!

not naked (yet),



Crafty P said…
you've probably never heard the term before, but this post totally makes me think of John Paul II's Theology of the Body. I have a CD series of talks titled "Naked without Shame", by Christopher West, that breaks it down for the not so theologically minded, like me. It was revolutionary for me to hear and beautiful!
Melanie said…
I clicked over to your site from Crafty P's. Wow, you have given me a lot to think about on this rainy election day in West Virginia. Why is it we are more self concscience when we are surrounded by the people we know and maybe love? Shouldn't we have the most confidence around them? I have 100 more questions churning in my brain. Off to contemplate.
greg. said…
christina - what "term" have i not heard before? John Paul II? Theology of the Body? umm...don't forget that i am a theology student. now, i may not be the papal scholar that you are, but i know a little bit about theologies of the body. give me a little credit, my catholic friend.

and by the way, anyone who listens to theology on cd is a complete nerd, in case you were in doubt.

Crafty P said…
oh yes, i am a nerd. definitely.

just thought you'd never heard of phenomenology or the term theology of the body. I don't like to ASS-U-ME.

greg. said…
thank you for not assuming. we don't need any donkeys here. and thanks for commenting, christina. apparantly, most of my family has a peeping tom problem and just likes to look at the posts, voyeuristically (sp?) looking in on the conversations, but not contributing in any way. SO, you may have made an ass of you and me, but at least you are putting in your two cents (and 10 cent words like phenomenology). thanks.

and to the rest of you...
say something!
groovy said…
followed you here from christina's site too--just had to throw in my 2 cents--

thought immediately of my youngest kids (3 yrs, 2 yrs and 1 yr...yes, yikes!) , how they LOVE to be naked, how they PREFER to be naked and feel no shame running around in front of us or anyone else really while in this state--but then my mind goes to my almost seven year old daughter who has crossed over to the other side where she often hides now while in this state so we don't see her--obviously we've begun to teach her lessons about modesty and what is proper in our society but i long too for her to feel comfortable in her own skin and love the way she was created--

interesting thought.

(elizabeth king) fellow GCC grad
joe said…
i don't know much about much, but well said my friend. you made me think. and i'm still thinking...

Popular posts from this blog


i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: 
It has been a season of terrible tragedy.  And I have noticed in the news a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.  It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net necessarily in a good way.  People are understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public statement.  The truth is that, for those of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer.  We are called to do justice where we can, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all.  But let us be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  We are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…

a divided tree

there is a tree in my back yard.  i'm pretty sure it's an oak tree.  at least that's what i think Shannon told me.  i don't know my oaks from my maples, my elms from my locusts.  to me, it's a tree: a corinthian column bursting up into life and glory.  full of sap and pulp and rings and bugs and cells pulsing with water and always reaching for something.  it is full of rhythm, reach and flourish then fall and die, and repeat. 

this particular tree, though, isn't of one mind. 

half of it's rusted orange leaves have given up their grip and surrendered -gracefully or not - to the pull of gravity and the threat of winter.  the north side of this inauspicious oak is just about bare naked, all sticks and straight lines, a skeleton of itself.  but the side that looks south is stubbornly resisting change.  no longer green, the leaves have compromised their summer vibrancy, but they are clearly not ready to concede death just yet. 

i feel like i can relate to this …

thankful right now

"if the only prayer you ever say in your life is 'thank you,' it will be enough." -Meister Eckhart

"thanksgiving is inseparable from prayer." -John Wesley

i've been thinking about gratitude quite a bit this week, and how to foster a thankful spirit in the midst of the barrage of bad news that for me is punctuated by yet another "breaking news" notification on my phone, interrupting the busyness of my day to rudely remind me that the world's brokenness knows nothing of limits or boundaries, not to mention my schedule or sanity.  still, the bad news keeps coming. 

i just scrolled through my most recent notifications just from the last few days and they contain phrases like "crimes against humanity," "57 million users hacked, but not reported," "alleged pattern of sexual abuse," and "extremely disturbing," just to name a few.  how am i supposed to be present at a staff meeting when my phone is buzzing …