Skip to main content

Something people don't like to talk about:

I have recurring dreams about being naked. Many times I am in public, often I am trying to take a shower and people are watching or won't give me any privacy, and though the dream might begin with my feeling confident and secure, it usually ends with shame and frustration getting the better part of me. Now, if you are a professional psychoanalyst, I am sure you have a ready diagnosis, but let me offer a few observations of my own.

Despite being a somewhat shy person, I have little trouble revealing some very private things when I think there is a point to be made. I have shared these dreams with people on several occasions, and there are always two reactions.

1. People listen politely and then pretend they never heard it. And if I bring it up again, they either change the topic or leave the conversation. There are some things people are just not comfortable talking about.


2. A few people respond by taking me aside (for some reason it has always been men) and wanting to speak to me about their own disturbing dreams regarding sexual matters. Ugh! My dreaming about nakedness seems to make them think I am qualified to hear all about their deviant desires. I kindly but firmly direct them to a male counselor as quickly as possible.

Avoidance or perversion can't be the only two responses! So what's the big deal about nakedness? Mankind is naturally naked. We were created naked, in fact, this was our perfect state! Covering the body only became necessary after sin and guilt and shame entered the equation. Isn't it strange that we have managed to turn this 'cloak of shame' into not only a huge industry, but an art form of sorts, a status indicator, and a national obsession? So what was the original intent of clothing? Plain and simple, it was a symbol of our need to have our sinfulness covered in the presence of a holy God. The first people tried to make due with a few leaves, but God replaced their inadequate covering with something more appropriate: animal skins. Blood had to be shed to cover the effects of sin. I am not going to get into the ethics of leather and natural versus man-made fabrics. Suffice it to say that we have come a long way since those first hairy tunics. Much of today's fashion exhibits a sort of dichotomy in that it covers to some extent while at the same time tries to reveal. Unfortunately, nakedness has come to be equated with sexuality and I believe that is just so far from the truth.

Because of our seedy history, the naked body has lost its innocence, that is true, but there is still something about the human form that is inherently beautiful. Some artists have found a way to see and represent that without perversion, but it is admittedly a most difficult thing to portray with purity, especially in adults. In babies or children, we acknowledge it much more readily. Most of us Christians, though proclaiming to be redeemed from sin, still live with the effects of it every day, and quite comfortably. We have grown accustomed to the trappings associated with our downfall. We actually enjoy acquiring and wearing clothes. Many people derive their living from the field of medicine and pharmaceuticals and count on sickness being around for a long time in order to feed their families. The justice system does not stamp out crime, but merely attempts to manage it in such a way that society can continue to function.

So are we to accept the effects of sin or chafe against them as if they were bondage? I think for the most part, we have simply grown tired of the effort required to truly believe and live in redemption. It is much easier to embrace things as they are and really, they aren't all that bad, right? That's the first lie.

So what do my naked dreams mean? I believe they are a cry for innocence, a desire to be known as the person God created, to be free from shame and the man-made coverings that promise to make me more attractive to my fellow sinners, and to be able to confess and come clean with dignity and confidence that righteousness is really possible.

I don't think the world is ready for Christians everywhere to strip off their clothes (we are certainly not purehearted enough to handle it!) and I am not advocating joining the nearest nudist colony, but I think it is time to stop running and hiding like Adam and Eve did.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.

---------------------

When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…

comedic timing

One of my favourite jokes goes like this:
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Interrupting cow
Interrupting cow w---
Moooooooo!!

Timing is important in both drama and comedy. A well-paced story draws the audience in and helps it invest in the characters, while a tale too hastily told or too long drawn out will fail to engage anyone. Surprise - something which interrupts the expected - is a creative use of timing and integral to any good story. If someone is reading a novel and everything unfolds in a predictable manner, they will probably wonder why they bothered reading the book. And so it is in life. Having life be predictable all of the time is not as calming as it sounds. We love surprises, especially good surprises like birthday parties, gifts, marriage proposals, and finding something that we thought was lost. Surprises are an important part of humour. A good joke is funny because it goes to a place you didn't expect it to go. Similarly, comedic timing allows something unexpected …

singing lessons

When I was a young child, a visiting preacher came to our country church. He brought his two daughters with him, and before he gave his sermon, they sang beautiful duets about Jesus. They had lovely voices which blended well. The preacher, meaning to impress on us their God-given musical talent, mentioned that the girls had never had any singing lessons. The congregation nodded and ooohhed in appreciation. I was puzzled. I didn't understand how not learning was a point of grace or even pride. After all, people who have natural abilities in sports, math, writing, art, or science find it extremely helpful to study under teachers who can aid them in their development and introduce them to things outside their own experience. Being self-taught (though sometimes the only option available to those with limited resources) is not a cause for pride or celebration. Why? Because that's just not how the communal, relational Creator set things up.

I have been singing since I was a child. …