I'm just a guy walking out his life. I don't know why I need to say anything snazzy. I was born in the Midwest. I am a Christian. I am a Nudist. I am a Dreamer. This site was made to help me in my pursuit of my goals, and to help organize and formalize the ideas that were coming together in my mind. My heart has a focus on bringing into existence the love, dreams, and destiny that God has always been calling mankind to.
(And because some Christians will wonder- I'm heterosexual, monogamous, and saving myself for marriage.)
I am a Pentecostal Christian. I got saved when I was around 17, being drawn in by God through the use of a nonChristian girlfriend who went to a youth group. After I got saved, I got involved in church activities like worship band and the prayer team, and continued to go for some time. After about a year or so though, I started having trouble. What happened was, when I first got saved, I had one question that very night that had not gotten answered- "What happens if I sin after I get saved?" I knew that God forgives sin, and that I became righteous after asking for forgiveness, but I did not know whether a sin would then make me unright with God again, and so a level of fear and questioning started to rise in me. I, more and more, started doubting my actions, not realizing that Christians stay in a constant state of righteousness even if they do make mistakes. This constant doubting led me to not be able to make even simple choices efficiently, sometimes taking up to 5 minutes or so just deciding which drink God would rather have me drink so that I didn't "offend" him. Eventually this led to me sitting on my bed not doing anything for several days, where my parents found me and then proceeded to take me to the hospital because they didn't know what was wrong with me.
After being in the psych ward of the hospital for a week or so, even though I had acknowledged to God before that I would really like delivered from whatever it was that was my issue, I asked God formally to help me out of the stuff. After another week of recovery (spinal taps make you want to puke when you try to walk... for a while), I was released from the hospital and things got significantly better. While I still questioned a bit which choices to make, I believe I outright chose not to let it carry on for what would probably be an obsessive amount of time. Eventually, while talking to some friends during their time of ministering to me, God clicked into my head that staying right with him wasn't based upon my actions, but based upon the fact that Jesus already lived a perfect life for me (as long as I still chose to walk with God in general- not renouncing him in word or by walking away from him and serving other "gods"). Finding this out totally broke off the chains that had been holding me back. Life started getting easier bit by bit. I finally rested in the newfound understanding and allowed myself to be able to make mistakes.
Quite a stark change has happened from then until now (ten years or so time). I don't continually question my decisions any more. I'm much more practical and logical. I've acquired two college degrees. I've helped to organize pastors and have led church services. I organized a charity walk that raised over $10,000. I'm currently researching the structures and practices that make society healthy, so that people aren't spending billions of dollars on trying to dig people out of messes after people's lives have fallen apart.
So you are probably wondering- how in the heck did he become a nudist? Here's my story:
After getting back from a missions trip in Africa, and having to move into my grandmother's house as I continued on in my college education, I was sitting in my room one day and said to myself "Man, I could really use a massage!" (I was under a bit of stress that day, between college and whatnot). This led to me deciding that it would be great if one day, after I got married, me and a wife could give each other skilled massages. They say professional massages are "all that" and everything, so I decided that learning to give them would help to bring my someday marriage into that much more of an "all that" level.
So I decided to do some web-searching. I watched instructional videos, looked at massage sites, and finally started looking for massage interest groups. It's kind of hard to learn to give massages if you have no one to practice on (I didn't want to practice on family). While looking for interest groups, I noticed that a lot of the people with multiple interests labeled "naturism" as one of their other interests. I had no idea what that was, and so I went to dictionary.com and looked it up. "Nudism" -huh. I hadn't heard of nudists in centuries. I forgot they even existed. And while I was about to possibly just throw the thought to the side and continue to look at massage stuff, I remembered that Adam and Eve were nudists.....and so I decided "What the heck, might as well explore the thought a bit."
I started reading at nudist websites, and I actually found a few Christian nudist websites. What they said intrigued me, and they emphasized that nudism wasn't about sexuality, which is what many people often just assume. I found a long list of life stories from one Christian female as well that were amazing. They talked about her introduction into nudism, and how her now husband first reacted when she told him about it, and about meeting friends and their reactions to nudism and etc. The stories were very detailed and well written, and they helped give me more of a heart to believe that nudism may actually be a perfectly fine and healthy lifestyle. Her name online is known as SunnyDay, and I've included a link to her material in my links section. I also went on and looked at nudist pics and videos. And one thing that I noticed that stood out to me was- the guys didn't have erections.
Now I was brought up by American culture and religion, and it taught me that guys were supposed to have erections when around nude women. It was supposed to be "just the natural part of how things were"- people of the opposite sexes get naked, they see each other naked, and inevitably it always leads to sex (again, if they are in roughly the same sexually-conducive age range). But this wasn't the case in the images I was seeing over and over again. The guys never had erections. This led me to trust even more that maybe nudism really wasn't sexual, and that maybe it wasn't prohibited by God like so many believe.
Where did this lead me? The Bible of course. I looked up all the passages I could find in the levitical laws, I looked at the story of Genesis, I looked through the rest of the Bible- nothing directly stated that being nude around others was prohibited.
After finding nothing holding me back in the Bible, and continually being encouraged by the fact that nudism did not seem to be sexually related, that there were also Christian nudists in existence, and that God's original plan included nudism, there wasn't much to have reserves about. I started going in a well respected nudists' site's chatroom (ClothesFreeForum.com- though a note, the chat is open to anyone who signs up, so therefore sometimes unwholesome people do sneak in), then started talking to a local nudist group, and then finally took the plunge and went to a nudist event. Once there, I realized I was surrounded by mostly all people 30-40+ years my age, and the event was about as unsexual as one might imagine looking at their grandparents naked would be. But I already knew that a lot of older people might be there, so it didn't really cause me much concern. The people were rather nice, and I played board games with them, shared in the holiday dinner (thanksgiving was that month), and after a few hours of being there, chose to get nude myself because I came there with the purpose of finding out the truth. Not a single person stared, or really even cared, when I walked back in the main room nude. I just sat back down and continued to play board games, and finished up the night.
Since then, I have been to other nudist functions, some with females closer to my age, and my view hasn't changed. It didn't get more sexual. It was never the nudism that was a problem with sexual perversions in people- it has always been our hearts (mankind's). And so I support, promote, and actively choose the nudist lifestyle. All being a nudist means is that clothes are optional, and that nudity isn't inherently evil, even in social situations. I also back that this is God's belief, as stated in the book of Genesis when he chose to make man without clothes to begin with- the belief that that state was, and is, God's ultimate ideal- and that God ideally wants everyone to not care whether someone else is wearing clothes or not, as long as it isn't affecting the other person's health (needing clothes to survive in cold, or to provide shade from heat, etc).
Lastly, there were also actually a few people who prophesied over me things that lead me to believe God was definitely involved in the matter. I believe this because within one month of stumbling upon the topic of nudism (which in that period of time I also got to the conclusion that it didn't seem like a sin), two different people came to me and spoke over me things that seemed to speak about the situation. The first person, who I believe goes to my old church but knew absolutely nothing about my new investigation into nudism, said that God showed her- me restoring a house, and as well, that she got a picture of me hearing the voice of God on the wind, and that the voice led into a dark cave, but that when I walked into the dark cave, the dark cave lit up. The dark cave could represent something that looks spiritually dark- nudism would be one of those things to most Christians. The second person, who did not go to my old church but came with a visiting minister, mentioned she saw me building a house, but she mentioned I would do it with new tools and material. This second person also said that she believed God was telling her that I was going to represent Him in ways that were not mainstream Christian things. Nudism is definitely not mainstream. It also interesting to note that both people made mention of me working on a house, which leads me to believe that these words were indeed connected, because these people were from different churches, and would have had no contact with each other. I thought this was interesting, and it definitely encouraged me later when only like 2-3 months later my pastor of the time basically kicked me out of the church when I told him I was a nudist.
And that's my story.
It's not often you come across men who have great wisdom, but I have found a few. This section includes links/information on the ones I've come across.
Alfie Kohn- A man who used to be a public school teacher, he is now a professional speaker and independent scholar. He is one of the few men who has actually gone over at least some of the research on the effects of competition on people, on the effects of valuing people based on their performance in life (conditional love), and on human learning models. I think he has insights that could help a lot of people, and that are very valuable. His website is- http://www.alfiekohn.org/index.php
Bill Johnson, and the Bethel Staff- I list Bill Johnson first and foremost in this entry. I do so because he is the one that I have seen the most live and he speaks from a "Heaven's worthy of trust, even when your circumstances say Heaven's a load of hogwash," perspective. I think this is incredibly important, because many people seem to make God out as less loving than he is, or they suffer more than they need to, because they demote God when a circumstance doesn't go the way they think it should have. When this happens, the rest of their lives can be left worse off, because they start to make choices out of the new lie they have chosen to believe. Bill is one of the men who is calling people back to the "Heaven's got it going on" model, and that kind of calling is necessary if mankind is ever going to attain higher heights than they have before. I mention the staff of Bethel Church as well here because several of them have had a few insights that might be worth picking up. I will say though, like all other humans, those at Bethel have their own flaws and do damage with some of their views as well. I've still learned from them though. The Bethel website is- http://www.ibethel.org/site/
I generally adhere to the Nicene Creed.
I believe in the gifts of the Spirit, as written about in 1 Corinthians 12, and their continued use today.
I believe a person can walk away from God, therefore forfeiting their salvation, as written in Hebrews 10:26-29. I don't believe the passage is talking about a Christian who has faults but acknowledges them (all Christians have faults). I believe the passage is talking about a person who truly knows the commands of God, but who chooses to actively and delightfully go on a path opposite of God anyways.
I believe God still speaks today, and that he wants his family to know his voice (Revelation 3:20; John 10:4). I also believe that learning to hear God's voice is a process, just as a baby learns to realize what its father is saying as it gets older.
I believe in the concept of grace. This means I believe that Jesus already lived a perfect life in my place, and that it was his life that makes me right with God on a continual basis, and not my own. Grace means that Christians can make mistakes (sin) and still be considered righteous, because Jesus' life is what God looks at to determine a Christian's righteousness. But as Paul said (Romans 6:15), this does not mean that grace is a license to sin. Sin is still wrong and hurts people. Grace merely gives Christians the freedom to know that they, like children making errors as they learn what it means to act like caring adults, don't have to worry about being kicked out of the family of God. Jesus' blood covers the "growing up" boo boos. Some related Scriptures are: (Romans 3:20-23; Galatians 3:1-6; 2 Corinthians 5:21)
I believe the primary purpose of a human's life is to love others. Too many people focus on rules in Christianity, and on "getting people saved." If we instead made our focus simply on caring for other people, people would want to get saved, because being a Christian would mean being around a bunch of great people. Jesus said all the Law and the Prophets were summed up in the two commands- love God and love our neighbors (Matthew 22:37-41; Galatians 5:14). Love is the fulfillment of the Law (Romans 13:10).
I believe the way God wants to be interacted with is for us to treat him like a friend. I'm not saying we shouldn't respect him for the position of ~God~ he holds, because we should; but I am saying that a personal relationship (friendship) is the biggest longing and focus that God has been trying to obtain with man throughout mankind's existence. God walked with man in the Garden. He said he wanted to walk with Israel and be among them (Leviticus 26:12). He mentions having dinner with people (Revelation 3:20). He even is willing to give humans the title of "friend" (John 15:15). If love is known most strongly through relationships, then it makes sense that God would invite people to each have a relationship with him.
The Tribulation isn't a tribulation for me. I don't care when Jesus is coming back. My job is to walk out my life in the here and the now. If I'm loving others and aligning myself with God's will, then I'm already doing my part.
I believe using nonviolent communication is critical to having strong relationships with other people. Nonviolent communication, also known as "compassionate communication," focuses on identifying the needs in both ourselves and others, and then helps people to put those needs into words which don't harm or belittle others. It also helps people to not hear criticism and judgment against them, because it assumes there is always an underlying hurt or need inside the other person that causes them to act negatively.
Nonviolent communication helps people to respect their emotions, get to the needs underneath their emotions, and helps people to separate their emotions from their judgments about their situations. Too many times people let their emotions control their words. Nonviolent communication helps people use their minds to control their words, which allows emotions to get expressed in appropriate ways. Someone who is trained in nonviolent communication is also better able to handle others who do let their emotions pour out unchecked, as the person who is trained can see better through others' emotions into their hearts, into what those other people really might like to say but haven't yet.
"Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life" by Marshall B. Rosenberg is a great book on the topic.
I believe competition is destructive. Competition, at its heart, pits people against each other. It says of the opponent "This is my enemy." While competition may give a high to someone when they gain a victory (and someone who loses might feel a low), it causes harm to both the winner and the loser by defining people's value (self-worth) as "How do I compare to other people?" This means other people stay the enemy (sometimes in a large way, sometimes in a small way), as a person has to stay on guard against other people's actions, as these actions could cause one's own value to decline. Considering that there are other ways to feel good about oneself, and there are more effective ways to gain progress (cooperation comes to mind), there is no reason to have competition around. (I only find competition useful in situations where it is the lesser of two evils (i.e.- getting a large group of kids to play a competitive game vs. having those kids sitting around bored out of their minds).)
I also believe competition is in direct opposition to the ways of God. Competition states that "There isn't enough for everyone, so survival of the fittest is the rule of the game." The Bible states that if we are walking properly with God, we will become so blessed that we will have to start giving stuff away just to make room for the new (Leviticus 26:3,10 ; Malachi 3:10). It is clear that it is God's desire for everyone to have plenty: "...I am come that they might have life, and might have [it] abundantly (John 10:10 DARBY)." Therefore, if God is able to provide more than enough for everyone, then the mindset that we must compete for resources is a lie, and competition isn't necessary. Not that competition is necessary in this respect anyway, because people can share limited resources instead of competing over them.
Competition is also against the ways of God in that it gets people to view others as an enemy (even if it is in single areas of life), which encourages people to conquer their enemies (again, even if it is in those single areas). This is in contrast to the Bible, which says "...Love your enemies (Matthew 5:44 DARBY)," and "...our struggle is not against blood and flesh... (Ephesians 6:12 DARBY)." People aren't supposed to be viewed as the enemy. Everyone is able to change, and so everyone is a "loved one" that has potential- everyone is a friend who may need some help if they are hurting.
(There's also only one team in Heaven- God's team. We are all called to work together.)
I hold lust's definition as- If a person would willingly perform sexual intercourse or sexual acts with another person if the opportunity arose. The man (or woman) holding this willingness in his mind is committing an act of lust.
Why this definition? Because lust in the Bible means desire (though we are focusing on sexual lust), and there are multiple forms of desire. The two forms of desire that I find critically important for people to see the difference of is passive desire and active desire. Passive desire could be considered simply biological urges- hunger, tiredness, sexual desire/arousal. Passive desire is seeing a cookie in the store and getting hunger pains. Active desire is actively wanting or pursuing something. In the case of the cookie, it would be seeing the cookie and saying to oneself "I'm going to buy that cookie!" In both cases the cookie has not been purchased or eaten yet, but in one case a person's heart has changed. In the passive desire situation, the person simply became hungry and might later go eat a salad or something else that was healthy. In the active desire situation, the person set their heart on getting the cookie, though they may or may not get it. It is my belief that sin happens when someone actively desires something that is morally wrong, not when they passively desire something, as passive desires are merely bodily reactions to the environment (or the body sending a message about how it is currently doing).
When it comes to sexual lust, the difference between passive and active desire is important. Many Christians are afraid of being around people who are naked, because they are afraid they will "lust," which they translate to becoming physically aroused or starting to feel sexual attraction to people that they might see. If we ask ourselves whether the above scenarios are active or passive desire scenarios though, it becomes clear that they are passive desire scenarios, as the individuals in question aren't in control of what is happening to them. This is important for nudist environments, because while nudist environments aren't sexual environments (sexual activity is prohibited in public, just like non-nudists prohibit sex in public), people who are unfamiliar with nudist settings may experience some mental sexual arousal until they start adjusting to the truth that human bodies aren't sex objects. People need space to shed the lies that culture has been feeding them about the human body being a highly sexual sight, and this wouldn't be possible if people's passive desires made them guilty of sin. Thankfully, sin always involves choices, which means active desire. This means Christians can be around naked people without sinning. Otherwise, how would Christians reach the indigenous tribes that don't wear clothes?