Nudity In The Bible

This is a group for those who are looking for, or wish to share stories and verses, in the Christian Bible, about nudity.

Evils of the flesh

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I believe that much of the Christian struggle related to nudity comes from Paul. With gratitude to my teachers, I am learning to say yes to old and new teachings alike and even be a bridge between the two. I struggle with the Apostle Paul and his zealotry, his view of sexuality as his thorn in the flesh and the disembodiement that results.

Yesterday in church there was a reading from Galatians 5 about circumcision as a black and white subject, and then he compares the evil acts of the flesh to the positive fruit of the Spirit. What struck me so clearly is how his rigid, polarized thinking is an act of flesh rather than a fruit of spirit. I see how this faith creates hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy from the evil flesh category.

TN has been gifting me with loving joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness that are fruit of spirit. Sexuality can be driven by gentleness and self-control, whereas theres a sense of institutional debauchery in self-righteousness. So I say yes for Paul for helping me to see the spiritual fruits for what they are, including from the gift of penises and brotherhood.

I see it as all good and am interested in others' views.

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RE:Evils of the flesh

At my church yesterday, we also heard a reading from Galatians 5, the first part of the chapter, and on not "gratifying the desires of the flesh," following which Paul writes about "the fruits of the spirit." So the pastor preached on "gardening," "cultivating the fruits of the spirit". So my mind immediately took off on a fantasy about "world naked gardening day": "against such there is no law."

I have my issues with St. Paul, for sure.

But I think that a lot of the Christian animus against nakedness finds it's support, not from Paul, but from often literal interpretations of Paul (and other scripture sources) that are really flawed. That's really become a problem in the "anti-critical" movements of biblical interpretation that developed about the same time as fundamentalists tried to argue against evolution in the "creation-evolution" debate (which I don't want to get into at this moment).

But there are readings of Paul that suggest Paul might have a more dialectical, holistic way of interpreting the world . For instance, Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest who has worked in New Mexico's prisons and has written on men's issues, and used nakedness as an element of men's work, is one who speaks of the "holism" he finds in Paul's thought, bringing Paul into what Rohr calls an "incarnational worldview". If Rohr is right, and I begin to see what Paul has written against the background of that "incarnational worldview", that makes it easier to read him as being more positive about the body (including all those wonderful penises and vaginas) than many interpreters have found him to be.

Galatians 5 begins, "For freedom Christ has set us free." That tells me, "Be free to take off your clothes, my friend, and get naked and comfortable. " Then he goes on to say, "Don't use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence": but when he includes "fornication" in his catalog of "vices" he means indiscriminate, exploitative fucking, one person using sex to dominate another; that's not the same thing as getting naked together and enjoying our bodies responsibly. Or just enjoying the satisfaction of being naked.

For what it's worth ...

Allen

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RE:Evils of the flesh

Paul (Saul) went from being a persecutor of the disciples of Jesus to a zealous devotee of Jesus. Unfortunately he was the man responsible for creating the idea of the 'devine' Jesus, rather than his worldly person. Before Paul, none of the disciples or apostles claimed that Jesus was anything other than the rightful heir to the royal Davidic line. Jesus was an Essene, a strict Jewish sect that promoted nudity in sunbathing and water immersion (read the Essene Gospel of Peace).

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RE:Evils of the flesh

Great thoughts and insight! I really like the idea of a Jesus free of body and penis shame and disciples who could spoon together to stay warm at night. One of my issues is that while Paul had some of the greatest thoughts as the architect for Christianity, he's silent on Jesus teachings. What about all those parables?
I get Richard Rohr's blog and can recommend it and have noted his refreshing view on Paul. In my evangelical faith of origin, we pretty much skipped the part about Jesus between the manger and Palm Sunday. It was a body-denying theology by planned omission, and questions were shame silenced as a sign of "not having enough faith." Since I have issues with how Paul's teachings are conflated with Jesus', I maintain some healthy skepticism and ask WWJD (What would Jesus Do?) along with WDMCSAT (What does my cock say about that?). It's about being incarnate.

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RE:Evils of the flesh

Absolutely love the idea of the disciples spooning together to stay warm at night! It sort of goes along with DaVinci's "Last Supper" in which "the beloved disciple" is reclining against Jesus' chest. I think that all of us have been guilty of reading ancient texts, like the Bible, as if they had been written by one author last week, rather than understanding them as having been written by many different authors over a period of hundreds of years, or more.

According to the writer of the book of Acts, Paul probably never met the the human Jesus, and so never heard the teachings of Jesus from the man himself: Paul's meeting with Jesus was mystically, with the risen Christ. But some of the earliest writings in the Greek New Testament are the letters of Paul, whereas the gospel of Mark was probably written down forty years after Jesus' death, and John's gospel perhaps a hundred years later. And then there are those other gospels that have never been given "canonical authority" although they do carry some weight: the "gospel of Thomas" is just one. So we do well not to collapse everything too quickly, or we violate the texts. Instead let them stand in tension with each other.

And "WDMCSAT", "What Does My Cock Say About This," is a good critical impulse, Andy. Thanks! It's the kind of statement that any number of feminist interpreters of Paul, and the rest of the New Testament, have been using for decades, and it's borne a lot of fruit.

Allen

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RE:Evils of the flesh

There is a distinction (which we all hold dear) between nudity and any form of sex. During my Christian upbringing and middle life I always had difficulty understanding Paul. Maybe his teachings were the start of the Christian religion. In many way he deviated from Christ's own teachings - being more instructional, less flexible and forgiving. At middle age I noticed the so-called Christians around me to be SO judgemental against others who, despite wanting to join the faith, didn't meet their standards. Protestants and Catholics saw each other as worse than the devil. Maybe this is the road, beyond Damascus, which Paul started us on. It may lead us to be worse than the Scribes and Pharisees Christ criticised.

My mother once said to me that nobody would have children if sex wasn't so enjoyable. As the youngest of four it struck me that I wouldn't have been conceived!

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RE:Evils of the flesh

During my Christian upbringing and middle life I always had difficulty understanding Paul. Maybe his teachings were the start of the Christian religion. In many way he deviated from Christ's own teachings - being more instructional, less flexible and forgiving. At middle age I noticed the so-called Christians around me to be SO judgemental against others who, despite wanting to join the faith, didn't meet their standards. Protestants and Catholics saw each other as worse than the devil. Maybe this is the road, beyond Damascus, which Paul started us on. It may lead us to be worse than the Scribes and Pharisees Christ criticised.

This is helpful for since Christianity is such a strong party of my outlook and philosophy. Better for me to come to terms with it rather than reject it all. Maybe Christianity could just as well be seen as started by Philip the Evangelist on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza with the conversion of an Ethiopian eunuch, and Christians could be critical of not being black or queer enough. That's to say it's not the stories that messed me up, but rather their interpretations. So I, in the name of my and society's healing, will gladly throw out alternative interpretations. On mewe.com I'm also part of a forum on spirituality and sexuality called Jonathans Circle, and that's been instrumental in my healing too.

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RE:Evils of the flesh

The Apostle Paul was actually never against nakedness and in fact used the olympic games as illustrations for making some spiritual points and those games were played in the nude during Paul's time. Everything from Paul's writing used against nudity was taken with today's definitions rather than the actual Greek definitions. Once you know them, then you can see what Paul was actually saying. There's a good article about this on www.nakedandunashamed.org

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RE:Evils of the flesh

The Apostle Paul was actually never against nakedness and in fact used the olympic games as illustrations for making some spiritual points and those games were played in the nude during Paul's time. Everything from Paul's writing used against nudity was taken with today's definitions rather than the actual Greek definitions. Once you know them, then you can see what Paul was actually saying. There's a good article about this on www.nakedandunashamed.org

I found an (Olympic?) game reference in 1 Corinthians 9:25 where Paul seems to bash the games as too "worldly." "Everyone who competes in the games, exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable In 1 Corinthians 12:23, Paul talks about our unpresentable parts (sexual organs) as requiring greater modesty. Then in 2 Corinthians 5:1-3, he says that "for in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven."

These all seems directly opposed to Jesus' reference to the naked lilies of the field that are better than even King Solomon in all his glory could muster. In addition, in John 4, Jesus strips naked in front of his disciples before washing their feet - no shame implied. I for one would like to see some pro-flesh citations from the letters of Paul.

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RE:Evils of the flesh

The Apostle Paul was actually never against nakedness and in fact used the olympic games as illustrations for making some spiritual points and those games were played in the nude during Paul's time. Everything from Paul's writing used against nudity was taken with today's definitions rather than the actual Greek definitions. Once you know them, then you can see what Paul was actually saying. There's a good article about this on www.nakedandunashamed.org

I found an (Olympic?) game reference in 1 Corinthians 9:25 where Paul seems to bash the games as too "worldly." "Everyone who competes in the games, exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable In 1 Corinthians 12:23, Paul talks about our unpresentable parts (sexual organs) as requiring greater modesty. Then in 2 Corinthians 5:1-3, he says that "for in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven."

These all seems directly opposed to Jesus' reference to the naked lilies of the field that are better than even King Solomon in all his glory could muster. In addition, in John 4, Jesus strips naked in front of his disciples before washing their feet - no shame implied. I for one would like to see some pro-flesh citations from the letters of Paul.

This post was edited
RE:Evils of the flesh

The Apostle Paul was actually never against nakedness and in fact used the olympic games as illustrations for making some spiritual points and those games were played in the nude during Paul's time. Everything from Paul's writing used against nudity was taken with today's definitions rather than the actual Greek definitions. Once you know them, then you can see what Paul was actually saying. There's a good article about this on www.nakedandunashamed.org

I found an (Olympic?) game reference in 1 Corinthians 9:25 where Paul seems to bash the games as too "worldly." "Everyone who competes in the games, exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable In 1 Corinthians 12:23, Paul talks about our unpresentable parts (sexual organs) as requiring greater modesty. Then in 2 Corinthians 5:1-3, he says that "for in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven."

These all seems directly opposed to Jesus' reference to the naked lilies of the field that are better than even King Solomon in all his glory could muster. In addition, in John 4, Jesus strips naked in front of his disciples before washing their feet - no shame implied. I for one would like to see some pro-flesh citations from the letters of Paul.

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