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Nakedness is not the same as Nudity

"Naked without Shame"
This phrase is in the first few pages of the Bible. It's the kind of phrase that makes junior high boys snicker and it's the kind of phrase that makes newly married couples hopeful. And this phrase has very little to do with nudity.
The problem, though, is that in this world we have mirrors and social media and trends and styles--all which are platforms or vehicles by which we compare or pose. It's not like the festivals in Venice where one comes with a mask, it's a phrase that means no mask is needed--ever. We can simply be with one another--in relationship--without shame.
Particularly in a twitter heavy, facebook dominated culture, nakedness is now not only rare, it's hidden away under lock and key. In fact, we are far more comfortable with nudity than nakedness. It's far easier to find pictures of nude men and women online than it is portraits of men and women who are open, authentic, vulnerable, and present.
Nakedness--that relational moment where you're truly seen for who you truly are---that's not the same as nudity. In the past few months, I've been in South America, China, and Australia, and I can be rather open about not having a clue at times as to how to navigate certain neighborhoods or customs. I didn't hesitate, though, to ask for help. I am old enough to squash good old fashioned male pride and secure enough to move toward nakedness. But, as I grow in nakedness, I am less thrilled with what the mirror shows me when nude.
Strangely, that's encouraging.
In our culture, young people are praised and their bodies are put on display and in a sense, we celebrate the nude figure of the ideal man or woman. That figure, though, we all know fades. At some point, the physical starts to decay. At some point, nudity is ignored in favor of the nakedness of a grandfather's story or a grandmother's famous recipe.
It's fascinating that nudity is often photographed or captured on film and the desire is for stark realism. In the meantime, nakedness comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes, is never airbrushed or photoshopped and we crave the friends in this world who will sit with us in our nakedness. These friends hold our hand or simply sit in loving, supportive silence. Friends that allow us to be naked without shame are the ones we will search the world for.  Don't mistake me, you and I will be naked together before we're ever caught nude in the same place. Nakedness is that important and.....it's not at all the same as nudity.
Adam and Eve understand this all too well now; teen lovers don't get it; loving friends...yep...they get it. And in this world of conflict and tribalism, this is becoming increasingly valuable by each passing day.
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About
As a University director of study abroad in Central Texas, ideas and stories matter. These reflections are for pilgrims making progress.


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