In prior posts, we have expressed a view that Ethical Naturism offers benefits not only to the mind and body but also to the spirit. (https://ethicalnaturist.com/?p=358) By uncloaking in community with others or in Nature, we can shed the raiment, artifices, and social constructs of everyday life to reveal a truer version of ourselves. It can effectively be a ritual with symbolic power that, at times, awakens our senses to meaningful truths about life and being. For the secular, this can be helpful. For the religious, it can connect to and augment one’s religious beliefs and understanding.
In this regard, the Christian Gospel of Thomas may be a good example. It is collection of remarks attributed to Jesus, and among them are a few that include references fitting to the Naturist idea (clothing, the body, self-revelation, self-knowledge). Notably, Jesus used metaphor and parable to share his truth. So, his remarks have a provocative quality that forces reflection and meditation. You are not told the way it is or what to do directly but must engage your own consciousness to discern his message and meaning. Consequently, the passages below are remarkable because Naturist experience and the Naturist idea can actually help you to better grasp what Jesus was trying to say. Please read them and consider how Naturism may have instilled in you a measure of understanding that aligns or resonates with their message.
Saying 6: Public Ritual
His disciples said to him, “Do you want us to fast? And how should we pray? Should we make donations? And what food should we avoid?”
Jesus said, “Don’t lie, and don’t do what you hate, because everything is revealed in the sight of heaven; for there’s nothing hidden that won’t be revealed, and nothing covered up that will stay secret.”
Saying 37: Seeing Jesus
His disciples said, “When will you appear to us? When will we see you?”
Jesus said, “When you strip naked without being ashamed, and throw your clothes on the ground and stomp on them as little children would, then [you’ll] see the Son of the Living One and won’t be afraid.”
Saying 29: Spirit and Body
Jesus said, “If the flesh came into existence because of spirit, that’s amazing. If spirit came into existence because of the body, that’s really amazing! But I’m amazed at how [such] great wealth has been placed in this poverty.”
Saying 36: Anxiety
Jesus said, “Don’t be anxious from morning to evening or from evening to morning about what you’ll wear.”
Saying 27: Fasting and Sabbath
“If you don’t fast from the world, you won’t find the kingdom. If you don’t make the Sabbath into a Sabbath, you won’t see the Father.”
Saying 78: Into the Desert
Jesus said, “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed shaken by the wind? A [person] wearing fancy clothes, [like your] rulers and powerful people? They (wear) fancy [clothes] but can’t know the truth.”
Saying 3: Seeking Within
Jesus said, “If your leaders tell you, ‘Look, the kingdom is in heaven,’ then the birds of heaven will precede you. If they tell you, ‘It’s in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is within you and outside of you.
“When you know yourselves, then you’ll be known, and you’ll realize that you’re the children of the living Father. But if you don’t know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty.”
The Gospel of Thomas is not included in the canonical Christian Bible and was effectively unknown until it was discovered in 1945 at the Nag Hammadi archeological site in Egypt. Thomas, you may recall, was the skeptical apostle (doubting Thomas) who needed to stick his finger in Jesus’ wound to believe the resurrection. As a collection of sayings rather than a testament to Jesus’ life story, this gospel is unlike the bible gospels. The passages above come from a translation by Mark M. Mattison, which is in sufficiently everyday English to be easily readable (https://www.gospels.net/thomas/). We hope that, as a Naturist, you found reading them relevant and perhaps agreeable.