What is Man?

What is man?” is really a question of our significance. To be fulfilled, and to be complete, we have to know that we are significant…that we matter. We ask “Am I just an insignificant speck in this giant cosmos we call the “universe?”, or “Do I really matter in the grand scheme of things?“. What is man?

These questions beg for answers, because deep in our hearts, we really want to know if our brief existence on this earth counts for anything beyond our immediate sphere of influence. This is not just another study of our creation, although that is a vital part of the answer to these questions, but instead we need to look at what makes us significant as human beings, made in God’s image. What I want to try to answer is “Are we significant?“, and if we are, “Why are we significant?“. This reaches deep into the core of our person-hood.

 

Looking for significance in all the wrong places…

For a person without the sense of true person-hood, their significance usually comes from the roles they play in society, the things they do, and their achievements and titles. These people often have grown up without any affirmation of their value as a person. Their only value is in what they could do, not in who they are.

Shortly after my dad passed-away, I was talking with a friend of my parents, and he told me that my dad had told him that “he was proud of me“. My dad passed away in 2013, and that was the first time anyone had ever told me that dad was proud of me. I asked mom “Why?“, but she didn’t have any answer. Growing up, I was only what I could do. It had been that way for fifty-seven years…

Strip all of their “doing” away, and they are an empty shell…with no significance…with no sense of who they are.

 

My story…

As I have already alluded to, I grew up with no sense of who I was, because all I had was what I could do. Dad was a demanding perfectionist, and I very rarely met up to his high standards. That made every rejection even more difficult, because it stripped me of some piece of “what” I was. Finally, last year, the last vestige of my “whats” was stripped away from me when my wife left me for another man. I was left as a hurting, empty shell…a non-person. I had moved away from the fire department where I was the Safety Officer to marry her, and then my wife had ripped my “husband-hood” away from me. Yes, I often asked God “Do I really matter?“, but all I got was stony silence. Sometimes I thought I would be better off dead, and that if I just disappeared, no one would ever miss me. That was one of the lowest times of my life…

 

Man…

During the early days of creation, God had spoken and the universe took shape. He had waved His hand, and the galaxies fanned out across the cosmos. He had said “Let there be light“, and the nuclear fires of a gazillion stars started burning. God spoke, and plants and animal sprang to life. Then God paused and had a conference…

God said “Let us make man in our image…” (Genesis 1:26), and rather than speaking man into existence, God came down to earth to do this project Himself. Man was going to be a creature like no other…

Imagine with me, if you will, the curiosity of the animals and birds, as God knelt down and scooped up a handful of dirt…cosmic dust. Perhaps they were wondering what God was going to do with that dirt… Then, as God formed a head, the great apes might have thought that it looked a lot like theirs. From the head came a sturdy neck, then broad shoulders…long, strong arms… As a master-sculptor forms a figure from clay, this being started taking shape. A strong trunk then extended down from the head and shoulders, to long, strong legs…with unique feet. Between the legs God formed the unique genitals…the creature would have a definable gender. It was going to be a male. God then took a slender twig and started placing openings in the nose, the mouth, the penis, and between the cheeks of that muscular bottom. Each opening had a purpose, but at this point, all it was, was a lifeless piece of sculpture, a body made of clay, but God wasn’t done quite yet…

As the animals watched, God did something else they had never seen before. He bent over and place His face above the face of that lifeless sculpture, and He started breathing His own breath into that nose and mouth. As God’s breath entered that lifeless body, its eyes opened, its heart started beating, its lungs started pumping, and the man became alive. As God stood up, so did the man, and the birds and animals marveled at the resemblance. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being”. (Genesis 2:7)

Man was God’s personal creation…his finest work of art… After God formed the man and his wife, He rested, because His creation was finally complete. God had commissioned the man and his wife to continue the creative process, by having children. They were to become “co-creators” with God.

 

Our search for significance…

As our other sources of “significance” are stripped away, and crumble around us, our search should lead us to the ultimate Source of our significance…the LORD God. Unfortunately He is usually our “source of last resort“, and for many who have lost all hope, suicide seems to be their only way out.

In 1997, my first wife took that way out. With our marriage in shambles, and our family badly splintered, she sat in our living-room, put a pistol to her head, and pulled the trigger. She was dead before she hit the floor. Her problems were over, but ours had just begun… My own kids have refused any contact with me for over eighteen years. She was dead, and I was totally devastated, because EVERYTHING I held dear had been ripped from my grasp. Those WERE the darkest days of my life, because I had lost my home, my job, my wife, and even my own children. I didn’t have any more to lose, except for my own life, and even that was threatened…

I was introduced to “Search for Significance” by Robert McGee, in a support-group, but its marvelous message never made it much past my eyes. It would take fifteen more years, and three more failed marriages, before my heart was finally ready to start letting go of the only way I had ever known of gaining my own significance. Fifty-seven years was long enough…actually fifty-seven years too many.

Do you see yourself in my experience? If you do, hang on, because I am going to reveal our true Source of significance momentarily. If you don’t see yourself in my experience, get down on your knees and thank God.

 

What is man…

If you are familiar with the Psalms, you will immediately recognize those words as the first three words of Psalm 8, verse 4, and to put it in context, here is the whole Psalm:

O Lord, our Lord,

How excellent is Your name in all the earth,

Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants

You have ordained strength,

Because of Your enemies,

That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,

The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,

4 What is man that You are mindful of him,

And the son of man that You visit him?

5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels,

And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;

You have put all things under his feet,

7 All sheep and oxen—

Even the beasts of the field,

8 The birds of the air,

And the fish of the sea

That pass through the paths of the seas.

9 O Lord, our Lord,

How excellent is Your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8)

King David, in contemplating God, His excellence and glory, and His creation, was moved to ask “What is man?“. Even though David had many triumphs in his life, his personal life was in shambles. He was a great warrior, but he spent many years on the run, fearing for his life. Even though God had called him a “man after His own heart“, David had committed adultery with the wife of one of his commanders, and then had the man murdered. David had no reason to believe that he had any true significance…apart from the significance God gave him.

David came to discover, as we must, that God has bestowed on mankind a special kind of significance, as His ambassadors and viceroys in His world. As God’s ONLY personal creation, man stands head-and-shoulders above everything else that God has created.

Being human gives us a dignity that nobody, and no situation can strip from us. We are the only creatures in all of creation that bear the image of God…and that includes angels. Satan must have cringed every time he saw the unclothed forms of Adam and Eve, because they possessed the one thing he could never possess – God’s image. I pray that you allow the implications of this Psalm sink deep into your heart and soul.

 

One more thing…

If you are thinking: “WOW! It doesn’t get any better than this!“, I have some good news for you… the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you are in Christ, you are a child of God, and an heir with Him of everything God the Father owns. If you are a child of God, it DOESN’T get any better than this, but it is all you need, for all eternity.

If you are not in Christ, and have not accepted Him as your Savior and Lord, I am pleading with you to do so today, because your future is very bleak, regardless of your earthly successes and achievements. Those things will be forever stripped away from you the moment you take your last breath. You may be a billionaire in this life, but you will die a pauper, because EVERYTHING stays behind when you die.

I may be a pauper on this earth, but I am an heir to riches untold, and when I die, they will be mine for all eternity.

Take your pick…riches now…for a few brief years, and poverty for all eternity, or poverty now…for a few brief years, and untold riches for all eternity. I’ll take mine then.

 

What is man?

4 What is man that You are mindful of him,

And the son of man that You visit him?

5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels,

And You have crowned him with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:4-5)

 

I pray that this is YOUR significance. It is mine, and nobody can take it away from me.

 

Final thoughts…

I have great worth apart from my performance, because Christ gave His life for me, and therefore imparted great value to me. I am deeply loved, fully pleasing, totally forgiven, accepted, and complete in Christ.

God bless!

 

The Role of Nudists in the Church…

This topic may sound like a total oxymoron, because the visible church is overwhelmingly textile. Pastors and priests are often called “men of the cloth“, and aside from a relative handful of nudist congregations, usually at nudist resorts, people wear clothes to church. The Church I am talking about, however, is the Church of Jesus Christ…the Church universal…the “holy catholic Church“, as it is stated in the Apostle’s Creed. Even as we are not recognized, and even shunned, by the visible church, I believe that we, as Christian naturists/nudists have a very important role in the spread of the kingdom of God, the Church of Jesus Christ.

To the typical church, the nudist resort, whether down the street or in the next county, might as well be an alien culture on a remote island. The only purpose the church would have for contacting nudists would be to condemn their lifestyle, and attempt to “convert” them to being textiles. Never mind that the Great Commission doesn’t include cultural conversion. It simply requires the church to make disciples of all nations, and that applies to all believers. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19)

I had an experience recently that brought this thought from “back-burner” to front and center. I found myself thrust into a ministry opportunity that no textile would have been able to perform, because it was at Cypress Cove Nudist Resort. The person who needed ministering to, although he wasn’t naked, was relaxing in the game room. The normal odds of him being there, me being there, and us meeting were somewhere between zero and none, except that, when God has work for us to do, He is quite able to “stack the deck“, and place us in the right place at the right time. We are never “off-duty” when it comes to the work of the Lord. Recent events have brought that fact home to me in a very dramatic way.

Divine appointment…

About once a week, I try to take a mini-nakation to Cypress Cove for a “mental-health day“. I have been under a lot of stress, and Cypress Cove is the one place I can de-stress and unwind. I usually try to go the midweek, but the weather wasn’t very nice the first two weeks of May 2014. However, the weather was beautiful the second Saturday…

The details of that encounter are immaterial. What does matter is that I was at the right place at the right time – God’s place and time, and was able to minister to a man who was hurting from the breakup of his marriage. God gave me the awesome and humbling privilege of ministering in His name, and that fellow found compassion and the love of Christ in an unlikely place.

My church…

It is now pretty much common-knowledge in my church that I am a nudist even though I don’t “advertise” it, although the bumper-stickers on my vehicle are probably a dead-giveaway. Most members also know that I lead a ministry on Sunday afternoons, and some even know where it is. I have been accepted as part of the church-community, even though some people may still think that I am a bit “strange“.

Our commission…

I don’t expect my church to “commission” me to be their missionary to nudists. That commission came from our Lord Himself: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Breaking that commission down: Jerusalem – our home community, Samaria – those whose lifestyle we don’t agree with, to the ends of the earth – those in foreign lands, or maybe just the next town. Nudists ARE the typical church’s “Samaria“, because we live a lifestyle contrary to what the church believes to be “appropriate“. Hence, if that “Samaria” is going to be reached with the Gospel, it will have to be Christian “Samaritans” who do it. We are the only ones who can bring the Good News of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ without ‘contaminating‘ it with ‘fig-leaves‘.

Our mission field…

In short, our mission field is anywhere we are, whether it is at a nude beach, a nudist resort, or even in a private gathering. There are a growing number of nudists who live full-time in a nudist resort, and the only times they get dressed and leave the resort are for necessary errands. The likelihood of them attending a local church, where they will be fed a ‘fig-leaf‘ gospel is slim to none. Very few local churches are involved in ministry to nearby nudist resorts, because they are unwilling to strip the ‘fig-leaves‘ out of their gospel, and unwilling to remove their own ‘fig-leaves’. There are also far too few bodies of believers who regularly meet in nudist resorts.

The Christian Naturists of America (CNA) is actively involved in supporting bodies of believers at nudist resorts. They also hold one to two weekend conferences every year.

I have heard of one church which has a regular ministry to a nearby nudist resort, and that is a beginning. There are dozens more without a regular Christian witness.

As believers, we can bring the good news of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to this sin-sick and dying world. We are in touch with the Living Water which truly satisfies, and the Bread that sustains spiritual life. Are we up to the task?

In Christ,

Steve

 

Nudity as the Symbol of Our Surrender to God

We are born naked. We are created naked.

God created us naked, because He wanted us to see the real of us. This is the real of His creation.

When we wear clothe, we are not show the truth of us. We can choose what colour of our clothes, what kind of clothes that we want to wear. But our body? We cannot choose what God will give for us. We cannot choose our skin color. Unless, we operate it. But, back to the topic, its not the truth of us.

So, for me, when we are naked, it is the time that we stand for what God has given to us. It is the time for us to surrender before God…

Jakarta, 21 of October 2016

10 p.m.

Spiritual and clothes free

Naturism and Being Honest With Self and God

Going without clothing is not about exhibitionism, at least when there is no one around and very little likelihood that anyone would appear on this long abandoned trail. Just in case, I did have a pair of pants as a cover-up if I was to see a farmer out seeding his new crop. Being alone on the back-country prairie hills, I have no intention of creating drama within my home area. Going without clothes is, for me, something very spiritual in nature. On the trail there is just mother nature, father sky and myself. This becomes my church, my place to be honest with myself and my creator. No cover-up, no lies.

read more from Through a Naturist Lens

Biblical Nudity – Nakedness and The Bible Book Review

Bible

Bible (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Biblical Nudity – Nakedness and The Bible Book Review Biblical Nudity – The book “Nakedness and the Bible” does not claim to be a defense of naturism; it just claims to be an explanation of what the Bible says on both sides of this issue. For some time, people have used the Bible in an attempt to say that naturism is outside God’s law and should not be practiced by Christians. Various people within the nudist movement have praised the book including im-ok-naked.com.  Like them, I add my approval to this work.

Naturism in Heaven – A Naked Heaven ?

HEAVEN

HEAVEN (Photo credit: Telstar2000)

Naturism in Heaven – A Naked Heaven ?

Naked Heaven – Naturism may be the earthy example to a heavenly future; in fact, I believe that it is imminent. Consider the truth that God did not give Adam and Eve clothing until after He placed thorns and thistles in the ground. Note that at no time did God condemn Adam and Eve being naked; He gave them coats of skin, so the earth would not hurt their physical bodies while working the ground to get something to eat.

Being Brave and Being Naked

Being Brave and Being Naked

How do we teach our daughters about body acceptance? I know that we typically tell our daughters they are beautiful just the way God made them, even when by societal standards there are a few (or more) things about their body that is called into question. And almost in the same moment in time we deny our own beauty as we head to gyms, buy the latest diet book, invest in aesthetic plastic surgery, etc. Our children aren’t stupid. They learn that parents are supposed to say they are beautiful in their natural state, but the also learn that their parents don’t believe that humans are naturally beautiful. They see their parents hide their natural beauty as humans, and they get the message that they too need to hide their natural beauty and replace it with brand names, the latest styles of clothing and so on. Our children see what we do and learn the real message, the truth that they must hide their natural bodies, and even their natural person. We teach them to trust in clothing, in masks and “polite” lies. We teach them that it is unnatural and even immoral to be “natural

Christian and Happily Nude

vis1Christian Nudist is many times regarded as a oxymoron. I’ve had people ask me how can you be a Christian and a nudist? Personally I think its very easy to be both Christian and nudist.  When Adam and Eve covered themselves it wasn’t because of nudity its because they were ashamed of their sin. Simple nudity is not sin or we could go in a steam room, shower at a gym or go see a Dr. Why is it OK for Dr. and nurses to see us nude because they went to college? Our society has created a unhealthy view of nudity, now always linked with sex to that point that breast feeding is frowned upon . Pornography and sexually explicit TV has warped the view of nudity to be ugly or perverted. We have been taught that different sizes, races  and aged bodies are gross and something to be shamed of. What has that gotten us, but   a world where we get grossed out or ashamed by nudity. Read more

We are always naked in the eyes of God

There is no more meaningful time to be naked than when praying to God, since a state of nudity so very well depicts our true relationship with our creator. We kneel before Him, having nothing but the unclothed body that He fashioned for us. We are always naked in the eyes of God; not only our body, but our every thought, desire and deed lie exposed. I often pray in the nude simply because it seems so fitting.

Father Kenneth Delano (via arizonavichi)