I told my pastor

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I told my pastor

Postby prairieboy » Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:44 pm

My pastor recently approached me about being a deacon. I met him for lunch a few days later and told him about this part of my journey. I explained to him about the freedom that I had found, thinking it to be something neutral. Later I realized that it was not neutral, but a good thing, and that to give it up would be a betrayal of God's gift. I told him that my freedom would not be accepted by the church at large, and could cause problems. Knowing this, I had asked God to release me so that I would not be the cause of disruption to the church. God's answer was, "Don't give away the freedoms that I purchased for you." I told him (pastor) that I had been holding back in certain areas, but that early in 2015 God had asked me why I thought that He needed me to protect His church. I had been looking for the right opportunity to tell him and this seemed to be the time. Then I told him what this particular freedom was, that when I went to the beach I went to the nude beach. I said that if it was clear that God wanted me as a deacon, then of course I would accept, but otherwise it would probably be better if I wasn't a deacon.

Although a pastor runs into all sorts of situations, he was clearly not ready for this. He asked a bunch of questions, said he did not condemn me for it, but asked me to pray about it some more. He probably is not convinced that nudity is okay, but accepts that I believe that it is not sinful behavior. I did pray about it more, but I felt no peace until I determined to stay the course. As it stands now, I won't be a deacon at this time, but neither have I been asked to give up the ministry that I have been involved in. Please pray that as this situation develops, that God will be glorified through it

Gerald
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Re: I told my pastor

Postby Maverick » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:04 pm

Thanks for sharing, Gerald. I've often wondered what my collegiate pastors would say, think, or do if they knew I was a naturist. I'm not sure they would respond as gracefully as it sounds like your pastor did. You're in my prayers.
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Re: I told my pastor

Postby naturaldon » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:46 pm

I don't hide the fact that, as a pastor, I'm an unashamed skinny dipper but I have not felt the liberty (or need) to open up more about this very private part of my life. Naturism, for me, is a therapy and part of the healing I'm going through as a result of some very difficult pas experiences. So I leave it at that and go on about the Lord's business.
Last edited by naturaldon on Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I told my pastor

Postby naturaldon » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:47 pm

I don't hide the fact that, as a pastor, I'm an unashamed skinny dipper but I have not felt the liberty (or need) to open up more about this very private part of my life. Naturism, for me, is a therapy and part of the healing I'm going through as a result of some very difficult past experiences. So I leave it at that and go on about the Lord's business.

Prairieboy, know you are not alone in how you feel about the purity and freedom we have in Christ as Christians naked and unashamed. As men, we are the image and glory of God, and that is more than skin deep.

(Sorry for the second post. I messed up before I could finish!)
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Re: I told my pastor

Postby Jim » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:58 am

Thanks for sharing this, Gerald. I am fairly open with many in my church (not the few I know will take offense) about my family's nudist vacations. I suspect this is a significant reason that I have not been chosen as an elder in our small church. But I believe being open and honest with one another is part of the unity Christ wants for his body. It is also how we can help more of our brothers and sisters find the joy and healing we've discovered in naturism.
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Re: I told my pastor

Postby jasenj1 » Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:12 am

Praise God your pastor did not freak out, remove you from existing ministry positions, and/or kick you out of the church. It sounds like the Lord gave you wise words to engage with your pastor. Let's pray your pastor continues with his attitude of cautious tolerance as time goes on.
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Re: I told my pastor

Postby Petros » Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:35 am

For me it would be a major hallelujah to be clocked from any sort of administrative position. I will gladly take my portion of the flock out on the hillside and watch for wolves, but spare me the meetings of the shepherds' union. At the same time - every speck of tolerance and understanding is a godsend.
The truth, the stark naked truth, the truth without so much as a loincloth on, should surely be the investigator's sole aim - Basil Chamberlain
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Re: I told my pastor

Postby jochanaan » Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:20 pm

:pray: Lord GOD, I pray for this pastor who has just had something drop in his lap that he may never have thought about before. May Your Spirit rest upon him and give him a holy curiosity about the truths we have come to know, and may he have the courage to "follow where the evidence leads." B'shem Y'shua haMashiach: In Jesus' Name; Amen.
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Re: I told my pastor

Postby Maverick » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:46 pm

Petros wrote:For me it would be a major hallelujah to be clocked from any sort of administrative position. I will gladly take my portion of the flock out on the hillside and watch for wolves, but spare me the meetings of the shepherds' union.


I'm in a pseudo-administrative position right now in my church's collegiate ministry and while I'm happy to serve, I don't care for the meetings. Lots of talk but little gets done. A meeting could take 30 minutes but drags out to nearly 2 hours. I guess people like you and me Petros (with introvert/observer tendencies) are there to keep the sheep--uh, I mean fellow shepherds--in line.

Naturaldon and Jim, I pray for the courage to share my naturist tendencies with the few people whom I think would be open-minded towards it, even if I just mention that I sleep naked.
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Re: I told my pastor

Postby Petros » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:53 am

I always assumed I was being paid not for teaching - a privilege - nor for research - a pleasure - but for the tedium and frustration of attending meetings.
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Re: I told my pastor

Postby Ramblinman » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:43 am

Gerald,

Thank you for sharing your story, both with us and with your pastor.
A bold move, but one that could yield bold results, with God to help you of course.

To be sure there are those Christians who are so overwhelmed by the destructive power of sexual nudity that they cannot imagine a redemptive nudity, such as we have come to discover on CNV.

But for other Christians, they parse it with a little more precision:
They would theorize that a Christian can be hypothetically be nude at a swimming hole and have a character sufficiently developed not to lust after the opposite sex, but social nudity is regarded as an unnecessary temptation.
One friend told me as much himself. His sole experience with social nudity was as a counselor at a summer camp for teens.
He was about 20 years old and a girl of 17 or 18 went skinny dipping with him in the campground lake after dark, just the two of them.
she swam up to him and brushed her breasts against his chest, a very deliberate flirtation.
Uncomfortable with the situation, he returned to shore, grabbed his clothes and that was the end of it, and he thus formed the opinion that all mixed nudity would end this way.

By contrast, my first experience was similar but different in important ways.
I was camped by a lake with a female college companion on a summer natural science field trip.
We also went skinny dipping in total darkness but there was no physical contact between us, just wonder at the night sky, the sounds of owls and crickets in the woods, and enjoyment of bare skin on water on a hot night.
It was thrilling for me, but in a positive sense and I did NOT make the decision that mixed nudity would likely lead to sin.
To me, the temptation is not in the nudity, but in being alone with an attractive woman after dark in a romantic setting.
One thing that helped was that she and I were both emotionally attached to someone else and neither of us was willing to cheat on the one we loved back home.

In the textile world, Christian parents may decide to keep such opportunities for solitude to a minimum, maybe even insist on chaperoning or group dates until their teens show evidence of adult-level self-restraint.
Frankly some people don't reach impulse control maturity until nearly 30 (if ever).

In a group setting such as at nudist camp, there would be no temptation to make out with a girl that I swam with at least not there in front of God and everybody.
People discover this typically AFTER they experience social nudity for the first time.
So nudity gets blamed by people without experience with the nudist culture
Nudists (or families with similar values) sometimes forget how deeply engrained the truism: "NUDITY = SEX" is in the minds of those without the experience to rightfully make such assertions.

There are thankfully quiet conversations with open-minded people that CAN lead to progress.

I have had good communication in some cases and dealt with obstinate preconceptions in other cases.

At my former church, the pastor had made up his mind against all nudity before talking with me.
I won't say it is hopeless, but I was not led to pursue the matter further.
God can use other people down the pike to confirm my testimony.
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Re: I told my pastor

Postby nudie66 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:19 pm

Happy Nude Year, everyone!

Joining in with this conversation, it seemed unusual to me that the first message our pastor taught on this year, (which we affectionately call Nude Year's Day), was about nakedness. How did the subject come up on New Year's Day? Our pastor just happens to be going through Leviticus, and got to chapter 18 for January 1st. If you look it up, it's where all the restrictions against "uncovering the nakedness of" various family members is commanded. He did point out that the phrase is actually a euphemism for "sexual relations with". But he also made the comment that God's Word in this passage should also be taken literally, euphemisms aside, mentioning that the only time "uncovering someone's nakedness" is appropriate is when changing a baby's diaper, and being with your spouse. "Amen"s could be heard from random people, who I'm sure equate nakedness with sexual activity.

I discussed the message with my wife (who is an indoor nudist, and has enjoyed accompanying me to Gunnison Beach in NJ and Sunny Rest in PA) and asked her about her opinions about the message. She bluntly stated that the message was intended for those who are engaged in sexual activity with people they shouldn't be with, and not directed at anyone who enjoys social nudity, like we do. I mentioned that the pastor never mentioned that nudity is acceptable for nurses, caregivers, figure drawing artists or models.

I did talk to this same pastor years ago about my modeling for life drawing classes, and he had no issues with it whatsoever, saying art classes are in no way the same as pornography, or even close to it. But I'm sure mentioning his neutral stance on nude art models would've gotten some gasps from the congregation, rather than Amen's.
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Re: I told my pastor

Postby Ramblinman » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:32 pm

To be fair to the other side of the argument, it does take a bit of research to sort out the facts.
Google "nude beach" and you get a high percentage of pornographic images mixed in with benign sunbathing.

How are people to know that such thing as non-sexual nudity exists?
There is a lot of historical evidence of this, but mostly researched by those who already know to look it up.

When I took a survey course of Christianity in college, I was taught about mandatory nude baptisms, but most Christians haven't a clue.
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Re: I told my pastor

Postby prairieboy » Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:48 pm

Thank you for your replies and prayers. My pastor is a good man, and very caring. Since becoming the senior pastor he has made a real effort to remove the empty religion from the church, focusing on true spirituality. He may have a different response in the future, but it will only come after much study and prayer. It definitely helps that he knows me, and my heart and character. It really did take him by total surprise, and was something that he has never been called to consider before. I felt kind of bad dropping it on him, and the easy way out would have been to just say no to being a deacon, but it would not have been the right way. We will see where God wants to go with this.
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Re: I told my pastor

Postby prairieboy » Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:45 pm

My pastor has been treating me the same as he always has. However, a few Sundays ago he spoke on a topic and mentioned burning man in it. The references to nudity were negative, and some of the comments may have been directed at me. He appears to believe that Adam and Eve were clothed in the glory of God before the fall, and therefore did not require clothes. We will see how it plays out, and trust God to fulfill His purpose in this. I know He has a purpose in this, and am looking forward to seeing how it plays out. Also to understanding how this will advance the kingdom of God.
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