Dutch Christians Attend a Naked Mass
My church has a very relaxed dress code. It would be unusual to see our pastor in anything more fancy than a button-down shirt and khaki pants. Most people in the congregation wear jeans. You can always spot the newcomers to our church by the suits and skirts that they wear. As relaxed as our dress code is, at least one church has taken it a step further.
In the Netherlands, a group of naked (yes, you read that right: naked) celebrants held a church service in a nudist park. They had to cancel the second planned service and temporarily take down their website after threatening phone calls and other unfortunate backlash from other Christians.
I’m used to relaxed dress codes, but this… well, is this as ridiculous as some people make it out to be? I’m not so sure.
I don’t see anything wrong with this. It surely isn’t for me–I know I would never attend a nude service–but for nudists, this is the perfect way to meet. The Bible exhorts us to worship God in everything that we do. So, if people like to go around naked, why not turn that into an act of worship as well?
People get all bent out of shape over the silliest things. If you don’t like it, don’t go. It’s as simple as that.
It turns out that that is very biblical advice:
Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. (Rom 14:1-9)
If someone considers nudity a sacred act of worship, who are we to condemn that person? For if he is naked, he is naked to the Lord, if he is dressed, he is dressed to the Lord. None of us lives or dies for our own selves, we live and die to the Lord. Again, if you don’t think that a nude church service is for you (I know it isn’t for me), then don’t go. It’s as simple as that.
My prayers are with the nudists; I pray that they can worship in peace without other Christians passing judgment.
That brings up another point. As a group, Christians are awfully judgmental. We all serve God, whether we realize it or not (take heed, atheists: even you serve the Lord). And the Bible clearly teaches that we are not to judge another master’s servant. So why then do Christians get so darn judgmental over silly things like this?
That, I suppose, is the subject for another post.
Posted on October 9, 2008, in Apologetics, Humor. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.
Cory – Right on, on all points. Who are these people hurting? As you said, we are all naked before God anyway (as unnerving as that thought is).
Wow … you know how to ask challenging questions, don’t you?
Up until about half an hour ago, I would have thought that any “nude mass” was some kind of hippy-like, New Age, pagan-infested pseudo-Christian thing.
Color me Pharisaical, huh?
It’s not for me, certainly, and I think that anyone leading such a service needs to be very careful to make sure that people there are genuinely worshiping, not just there for the nudity.
But, as I hear it, there are nudists who don’t see nudity as sexual in any way. They are naked, and not ashamed, so to speak. I would never attend such a thing, because nudity, to me, is pretty much sexually-related. But I’m willing to admit that that makes me the weaker brother, I suppose.
I guess I’d have to join you in the “no problem with it” category.
By the way (and have I mentioned this before?), have you thought about participating in the Christian Carnival? You’ve got some great stuff, and I think that there are some readers out there who might be interested.
A couple of thoughts: I agree that the reaction by Christians is unfortunate, as it often is. We need even-tempered, well thought out responses that respect others and ourselves. Secondly, I wholeheartedly agree that nakedness was the original intention as it is made evident in Genesis. And thirdly, I agree that naked worship can actually happen without a sexual element. But consider this:
God made Adam and Eve clothing (Gen. 3:21) once they realized their nakedness and were ashamed of it due to their fall. Thus, the purity of nakedness has been tainted for mankind in general, whether there is a small group that has no problem with it or not. Furthermore, we see that in Romans 14:19-21 is says,
“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.” (NIV)
Judging by the overwhelming majority of people in the world who almost certainly equate nakedness outside of changing your clothes or taking a shower (by yourself, of course) as sexual, I would say that nakedness is a potentially huge stumbling block for Christians and non-Christians alike.
I for one, given past and present struggles, could never attend a nudist church celebration and completely block the sexual. I also believe that a male body is designed to seek and appreciate female beauty and that this mechanism has also been tainted, causing men to struggle with objectifying women as objects of their own gratification. In our sex-driven society in this country as well as the rest of the world, I cannot imagine that naked church would bode well with any considerable number of people.
Just because it is possible and perhaps permissible, we are not to do things that will cause our brothers (and sisters) to stumble and thereby destroying the work of Christ on account of our freedom. Therefore, I think that pure nakedness with no sexual connection unfortunately is one of the many casualties of the fall of mankind and consequently, that naked worship sinful, only because it undoubtedly causes many people to stumble in their faith.
Even though I disagree with your stance, I very much appreciate your looking into the issue closer and examining scripture instead of simply rejecting ideas based on Church tradition and norms. It is important to do this in any situation. You are free to disagree with me. 🙂
You’ve got to be kidding? Worshipping God in the nude is more akin to Paganism than it is Christianity.
Would you also consider pole dancing part of a worship service?
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