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Devotion by Craig Colvin
Even Christ Can’t Be Nude
Christ crucified by Benvenuto Cellini, 1562
Sometimes images betray unintended information about the human psyche. Benvenuto Cellini had his reasons for creating this image of Jesus Christ crucified almost five hundred years ago. He wasn’t the first of the last to show Christ nude. What is vital today, is that this image has so much to tell us about our human psyche and condition today. That is the power of what I can only say is a numinous image.
A numinous image is one that is more than a recording of a visual fact. If the image takes us deep within ourselves, or out beyond the realm of ordinary life where we can almost touch whatever it is that we call heaven or nirvana, then the image is numinous. Evoking a sense of mystery, holiness, awe, and even the presence of whatever it is that we struggle to name as the creative force of the universe, such images take us out of ourselves and into ourselves. And where it takes us, isn’t always about light. As often as an image takes us to the awe of creation and heaven, an image also makes evident the face of darkness, of fear, of anger, of hell.
As a naturist, a psychological naturist, this image speaks to me on a number of levels: the personal, the spiritual and even the collective level. Cellini has crafted in marble, man’s vulnerability. Even the Son of God is vulnerable. Seeing this vulnerability allows me to accept my own vulnerability with honour instead of shame. The path back home, back to from whence we came, like our entrance into this life, is a journey that can only be done naked and vulnerable. There is a need to give up – give up our beliefs, our religions, our anchors, all that ties us to where we are if we are to enter. No brand name article of clothing or footwear will serve as a passport to heaven. We must submit, naked and vulnerable.
Christ covered up so he wont be offensive or traumatise children.
In our modern world, an irrational fear grows more and more powerful. Mothers cover the eyes of their children at the first sign of nudity, especially male nudity. Any male caught exposed is branded a pervert and punished by the collective as a sexual offender.I mentioned a collective level response to this image, to this historically accurate portrayal of crucifixion by Romans two thousand years ago. In our modern world, we have such a dread of being naked and vulnerable and we have adopted a sense of shame for being naked and vulnerable. For Jesus to be Son of God, then we need to cover up his nakedness. For Jesus to be the Son of Man, we need to deny his sexuality. A visible penis is too threatening.
In our modern world we learn to hide ourselves from others, even from ourselves. We learn that our bodies are not to be trusted. We learn that our bodies are imperfect and need serious modifications through diet, exercise, and surgery. We unconsciously come to believe that God messed up big time and had nothing to be pleased about at the end of the seventh day of creation. So, we cover up our bodies and cover up the body of a crucified Christ.
Nudity and Holiness – Who are You Naked For?
Sucking in the gut to make an impression. I am returning to Pastor Ed Raby’s post, Naked Before God – Part 1, and talk about the fourth positive spiritual aspect, that of genuineness. This one gives me a bit more trouble than some of the other aspects because, in my opinion, being naked has no guarantee that one is being genuine. A few days ago one of my acquaintances posted a brief note about his being with a few friends, naturist friends. The guys in the group did their best to suck in their increasing girth that comes with age as an attempt to … and this is where the issue of genuineness comes into the story. The wife of one of these men asked “When you get naked, who is it for?” This lady asked a powerful question that didn’t need any voiced answers. It was enough just to be said and to get all thinking about being honest with themselves.
Joyful celebration of spirit Simply being naked has nothing to do with being spiritual, approaching the spiritual, or about being honest with ourselves. It takes more than stripping off the clothes to be genuine. As soon as one becomes part of a group while nude, there are other factors that consciously and unconsciously come into play. There are issues that deal with relationship with others of the same gender and of the opposite gender; there are issues with how various ways of holding one’s body, or the choice of words, or the tone of voice all interact to evoke emotion within us, the increase of affective energy both positive and negative – bringing into play projections.
A conversation of spirit and light There is a reason why Jesus counselled people to pray alone and in a private place [Matthew 6:6]. For it is when one is alone that all the environment and psychological distractions will allow for an opportunity for each of us to finally be genuine. Alone, we can then ask ourselves, “Who is this for? What is this all about?”
Now, this is not a criticism of social nudity, for there is much that is positive that comes from being with others, being in a like-minded community. The way we act with each other can be genuine as much as it is possible to be genuine; however, that is so much different than the approach to the spiritual centre within each of us. For so many of us, it is easier to be genuine with others than it is to be brutally honest with one’s self. The presence of our inner shadow gives us pause, a pause that is based on fear and when it is sensed, even a bit of shame. This shame has nothing to do with being nude, physically; rather it is about being naked psychologically where all that is within us is exposed. The fear of this exposure causes us to bury these dark shadows that are faces of ourselves, so deep that we forget that they are even there. This psychological nakedness is often too much for us to handle, so we rush back to our safe places, our carefully constructed versions of self that exclude the shadows. We then begin to believe that our physical nakedness presents the genuine self, and that should be enough.
Now really, for whom are you naked?
WHEN IT’S SUMMER OUT SIDE.
Hey Everybody! Auntie Kat here. Last time, I promised to share some suggestions about how to start making a push toward normalizing nudity and the natural, naked human body. We need to change the narrative of how nudity is talked about and considered in our social/cultural context.
I can remember a time when I thought “going commando” was a big deal. LOL (I need one of those emojis here where the tears are coming out while laughing). It’s funny, but it’s not. It makes me sad that as a young adult, I thought that not wearing underwear was risque. Little did I know that my future self would rarely wear underwear - and that being naked as often as possible would become a natural part of my life, no big deal at all.
I think one way to disrupt the narrative is to just start talking about it, openly and honestly. I mean, I know some people have to be careful about it because of their professions. But I don’t think that should be the case! I want a world where it’s safe to be who you are and to live how you choose as long as it isn’t hurting anyone. Do what you have to do to protect your life and well-being, but maybe try to incorporate some of these suggestions where you can into your life so that you don’t squelch your inner nudist:
1) Sleep nude. It’s good for you (read this!). It also helps you to start relaxing about nudity if you have any qualms at all. It allows you to get comfortable being naked in the privacy of your own bedroom.
2) Stay nude. If you’re in a situation where you can, maybe get dressed last. Walk around your house naked. Eat breakfast in the buff. Put off putting on clothes for as long as you can. Enjoy the freedom of your body moving without the restriction of clothing. If it’s cold where you are, maybe wear a big, comfy, warm robe that still allows you space for your body to feel free.
3) Talk about nudism with people that you feel safe sharing with. Create nudist community together with people who are interested and willing. It’s so relaxing to be able to be naked around people who won’t misconstrue your intentions.
4) Not sure how to start a conversation like that? How about leave some nudist magazines or books on your coffee table? Or like some nudist pages on FB or other social media - and maybe share some of their posts so that your friends can see that someone they know, someone “normal”, embraces the nudist lifestyle.
5) Join AANR, the American Association of Nude Recreation and stay informed about nudist issues and opportunities.
6) Visit nudist resorts and clubs. Go to nude beaches. Go on a nude cruise. Get together with friends and explore where you can enjoy nude recreation. Have dinner parties at each others’ houses.
There’s always so much more to say. This is an ongoing conversation. The current climate where nudity is seen as edgy, risque, titillating, etc. - it contributes to a culture of rape and sexual harassment. We need to normalize nudity to help heal the damage that has been done for so many years by demonizing, shaming, and sexualizing the naked human body. If nudity, particularly public/social nudity, were just a regular, natural, normal aspect of life, it would change everything for the better.
You have been warned! ;)
The Expulsion from Paradise
Giuseppe Cesari (1568–1640)
English Heritage, The Wellington Collection, Apsley House
interesting painting with both the male and female covering their more personal bits, shall I say…… and this was when they realized they were naked and felt ashamed this story has a lot to do with the deep seated fear of nudity, non sexual, in so many western societies even when they are mostly secular in nature, the influence of Christianity is still profound.