Does it really matter what we wear, or don't wear? Cooper and Cary have words about nudity and modesty. Does Christian modesty mean all public nudity is forbidden for Christians? What about looking at nudity in a Renaissance painting, or in a movie? How about if it's *reeeeally* tastefully done? Should we avoid nudity primarily because it might encourage lust in others... or is there a more fundamental reason for doing so?
Jason Ward's article on nudity is available in Vol 136/4 of Global Anglican magazine: https://www.churchsociety.org/product/the-global-anglican-vol-136-4/
In this episode, we explore everything from beach attire to Christians at a nudist beach, and even the portrayal of nudity in popular culture like Game of Thrones and Renaissance art.
Join us as we examine the role of nakedness and modesty in Biblical teachings, uncovering the connections between the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, and the shame associated with nudity. We'll also consider the historical and cultural significance of garments, from coronations to glorification, and how they relate to our spiritual experiences.
But it's not just about history - we'll also dive into the various perceptions of nudity and modesty across different cultures, discussing how men and women approach these topics in public settings. As we navigate the world of Christian ethics, we'll explore the implications of categories like 'clean' and 'unclean,' and how they relate to our understanding of modesty.
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Encouragement and/or open derision should be addressed here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Production and music by Cooper & Cary. Opening theme by Beyond Our Galaxy.
Cary: Welcome to Cooper and Cary Have Words. My name is James Cary. I live in the south of England, in the United Kingdom, and over there in Florida is my good friend, Barry Cooper. Hello, Barry, how are you doing?
Cooper: Hello James, I'm doing pretty well actually. What are we talking about on this particular topic? This was one that you flagged up. You pinged over an essay to me, and it turned out to be much, much, much more provocative and interesting than I'd originally anticipated. What are we talking about?
Speaker 1: Nudity, nakedness, and I'm thinking. summer is coming, at least theoretically. in England, i know, it's always a bit of a concept rather than an actual reality, and in Florida it's summer all year round, isn't it? And so here are some questions we're going to think about initially and then come back to at the end. So what should you wear on the beach? Are bikinis okay? swimming trunks, budgie smugglers, as the Australians call, speedos.
Speaker 2: I look terrible in a bikini. I think we can shut that one down straight away.
Speaker 1: Okay. Can Christians go to a nudist beach? Is it okay for tiny ones who often run around naked on the beach anyway? Here's one men's showers. After the game, men tends to let it all hang out and have these collective showers, which I think women find rather strange, and it'd be interesting to maybe dig into that. What about the nakedness in Game of Thrones? What about Renaissance art? the statue of David? Is it Michelangelo's David?
Speaker 2: Yes, that's right, which was, of course, i believe, when it was originally unveiled. A modesty fig leaf was later sculpted. That could be sort of placed strategically. So, even then obviously had the power to shock.
Speaker 1: So how do we feel about those things that maybe we have initial impulses one way or the other on those things?
Speaker 1: So we're going to dig into why we have those impulses too. But the reason we're talking about this is because a regular listener, andy Palmer, forwarded an article written by a fellow called Jason Ward for Global Anglican, which I believe is a church society publication. It's not available just to click, so we can't put a link to it in the show notes, but we'll be referring to it And we found it incredibly helpful. So maybe you should join the church society and subscribe to Global Anglican if that sounds like something you'd like to do. But if we just talk about this article in terms of what it really helped us to think about, in terms of the principles of nakedness and covering which, i guess initially we think about triggering feelings of lust, which is something that perhaps we've been particularly made sensitive towards after post sexual revolution in the 60s. But I guess this article is right to point us back to Eden, where Adam and Eve were naked and then they weren't. How is that significant, do you think?
Speaker 2: Yeah, i mean just to say on the conversation on modesty. this is one of the reasons why I think this discussion is so important, because typically, when we have the discussion on modesty, it is, as you say, focused on lust. So don't dress like that, because you'll cause your brother to stumble, or then, in return, you get the argument I'm not responsible for the lust of other people kind of stuff.
Speaker 1: How dare you? Yeah, i'm going to dress how I like, so I have to wear this because you can't control yourself, oh great.
Speaker 2: Yes. And then, of course, you get into the area of well, you know, how dare you imply that because I was dressed a certain way that you know, then I sort of you know deserved some sort of you know assault or whatever, and all of that area. What's really interesting about this is that nakedness and clothing if I'm understanding this right, nakedness and clothing are not merely a metaphor in the Bible, and we'll get into that. The shame of nudity is an objective shame before God, regardless of cultural norms. So God grants us modesty to cover our physical shame and Christ's death to cover our spiritual shame. So the idea is that nakedness is not first and foremost a bad idea because it might or might not arouse lust in the viewer, but because it is in itself a shame to the person who is naked, objectively speaking. And let's start with Eden, because that is interesting, isn't it? Because you've got okay, they're naked and they are unashamed. And then Eve eats the fruit, gives some to Adam, and suddenly there's the desire to hide themselves and cover their nakedness from God.
Speaker 1: So they make a feak, leave outfits for themselves or clothes for themselves. So already there that's not really fitting the pattern, because they are the only two people and therefore they have no need to have shame from each other because they are man and wife.
Speaker 2: Yes, they are the people who are allowed to be naked with each other. Yes, yeah, that's right. And it's interesting because you know you've got this thing of. Okay, you might think, well, them covering themselves up is a result of the fall that's happened, so there's a sort of a false shame that's happening there. That could be argued, but what's interesting is that when God addresses them, he doesn't just say and get rid of those ridiculous, ridiculous fig leaves. Who do you think you're fooling? He gives them animal skins So he clothes them properly off camera and animal is slaughtered, presumably, and blood is shed in order to give a covering to Adam and Eve. Future redemption klaxon going off there. And so what's interesting is not only do Adam and Eve register a sense of shame and dishonour, but God, as it were, says yeah, you're right to feel that that is objectively shameful.
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 2: Before me.
Speaker 1: Yeah, and therefore we might be tempted to think so. When, therefore, we are without sin, we will be naked again, and I was actually talking to my daughter about this over lunch and she was saying you know, i was thinking well, we wear clothes, you keep it light, don't you in the carry household. I said. I said, girls, i'm talking about nakedness with Barry Cooper, cooper and Kerry, and I am way out of my depth. What have you got?
Speaker 1: So so all of these theological insights are from my children. No, but she was. She was saying that she just thought to heaven and just thinking all the new heavens and the new earth and the thinking. But we will wear clothes, won't we?
Speaker 1: Yes, I was like but but why It's like, well, i don't know. You just instinctively know that this idea of natureism and going back to nature, we kind of understand it on one level, but we know there's something not quite right with it And I wonder if there's a link and this is really going off piece, the knowledge of good and evil, that for which they were not yet ready, so that so their shame that they experience is not a punishment. Oh great, so now you've ruined everything and you will feel shame. It's a massive acceleration of something for which we were not yet ready And therefore there's a sense in which, maybe for a two year old child, one year old child running around on the beach naked, people don't find that shameful, they. It's actually. It's kind of funny, it's kind of cute, but it feels like we were always going towards clothing anyway.
Speaker 2: Yeah.
Speaker 1: And we got there way quickly And, as a result of it, there was a bit of a system shock, and that's where the shame thing comes from. Have I just completely pulled our thin air, or is that? is there anything in there?
Speaker 2: No, i think, i think you're. You are right that the new creation, the new heavens, the new earth is not a return to Eden. It is very much Eden 2.0 or maybe even 10.0. It's, it's. It's a massive, massive upgrade. And what's interesting is, as you say, when you look at revelation and you and you see that the people worshiping before the lamb and you see the angels and so on, everybody's clothed, you know there isn't a sense of ah. Finally we can throw off these kind of awful cultural restraints because, we're.
Speaker 2: No, we're all, because we're no longer guilty before God. Actually, the clothing is a testimony to God's goodness.
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 2: The. You know the clothing that is in Christ. That what's the word I'm looking for, the ah, i've lost that posh theological word. But you know that the the the crediting of God's Christ. Righteousness to us.
Speaker 1: Yeah, imputation.
Speaker 2: Thank you, imputation. I don't know why that was failing to come into my head. That's what it's all about. So, yes, so there's a very interesting bit in the article where he says the story arc of the Bible is anti-plotonic. Rather than trying to recover an Edenic near perfection, the Bible pushes forward to a better perfected garden city. The story of the human body is wrapped up in this larger narrative and moves from being unclothed to being increasingly clothed. I thought that was fascinating.
Speaker 1: And therefore nakedness in the Bible Generally, i would say whenever you see it you just think, oh, that's not right, that's that shameful, yeah, and it's often not in a sexual context. So obviously the next big moment of nakedness is Noah, who is exposed by his son. And actually, what's interesting, when I went through Genesis a little while back I, you know, did my copy out by hand I was writing chapter after chapter about Noah, who says nothing. Noah says nothing And the first thing he says is after the flood, after his nakedness is exposed. It's essentially that curse on Seth, is it? I can't remember. But Noah is not a talker, he is a doer, he is a man of faith, he is righteous. But actually there's this really serious charge laid in Genesis I don't know, it must be Genesis eight or nine, and so that nakedness is not. You know, we just think it's weird, sexual What's?
Speaker 1: going on inside Know that nakedness in itself is inappropriate, And then, even later in the New Testament, when the in the parable of the Good Samaritan I think the man who was beaten up is left naked.
Speaker 2: That's right Yeah.
Speaker 1: I was like it couldn't be worse.
Speaker 2: He's not only is he naked, he had everything stolen.
Speaker 1: It's a bit like I was rewatching some Blackadder with my kids the other day. It's like it's about as much fun as getting an arrow through the neck only to discover there's a gas bill attached to it. It's just such a wonderful thing. It was like he's been beaten up, he's been left for dead, he's had everything's taken And now he's naked. Oh, yeah.
Speaker 2: Oh, come on, You know this is where this is where you know, as regular listeners will be bored of me saying I'm preaching through Philippians right now And it's fascinating that section where Paul talks about the crucifixion, because he says, you know, God Jesus made himself nothing. He becomes a slave and and he dies. And it says, you know, subjects himself to all that, even death on a cross. And it's kind of an interesting thing, even death on a cross. What is it about the now? I think previously I'd assume that was just simply to do with the kind of physical agony of the cross, but the more I looked into it, the more I realized that it's much more about the indignity.
Speaker 2: The nakedness of being on a cross is hugely significant. The sheer humiliation of being exposed to friends, family, enemies, just strung up completely defenseless and exposed to the pecking birds, and so on. There really is something in that which I think a lot of modern readers lose. And I've been reading Dominion you know Tom Holland's book And he makes a lot. There's a lot of really interesting stuff about that where he says that the reason there is very little reference to crucifixion outside the Gospels There is some you know, like in Josephus and so on, but very little. The reason for that is that in antiquity it was considered utterly shameful to even talk about it, let alone write about it. The Romans considered that kind. They were horrified by the sort of the Greek ideal of nakedness. around the athletics track There was a real sense of shame attached to nakedness, which of course was shared in Judaic circles as well. So for God, the second person of the Trinity, to be naked on a cross before those who he came to save is massively significant.
Speaker 1: That's why this article was so helpful is it was just reframing the thinking on nakedness itself being something that is something you want to be extremely careful about because of its significance.
Speaker 3: Who told you that you were naked? Do you remember that passage in Genesis where Adam explains to God why he and Eve have covered themselves? Glenn and I are having a conversation about a passage in Genesis which has been intriguing me rather.
Speaker 1: Just another example that stuck out to me at the very end of John Peter is fishing and he's basically naked. I don't know if he was completely naked or not, but in order to swim to Jesus, he puts a cloak on and dives in. Isn't that amazing? What's wrong with you? But in a sense it feels like he was there in the boat fishing and this is how they do it.
Speaker 1: But, the idea that you would approach someone in that situation and I guess the Greco-Roman culture maybe it's a Greek thing rather than a Roman thing I think the Romans maybe found it slightly unusual, but the gymnasium that they used to go in and the baths and stuff, it was all naked. There was some segregation between men and women.
Speaker 2: Yeah, Well, certainly, in Greek culture, it was associated with a taining of a moral and physical perfection the nakedness thing. So, yes, it was held up as an ideal, and I think in some senses, we seem to have inherited a lot of that thinking, don't we in 21st century Western culture? So when we see it in art, and.
Speaker 2: I'm sure we'll get onto this, and particularly Renaissance art. When it kicks off there is a sense of yes, look at the beauty of the human form. This is, as it were, to be worshipped and held up and idolized. And actually the biblical, both Old Testament and New Testament, is that nakedness, again and again, is connected with shame and dishonor. It says nakedness and New Testament is associated with poverty, disgrace, calamity and judgment.
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 2: So much the same as the Old Testament. And yet now I think, naked, you know. If anybody says anything like that, what's the, what's the knee-jerk reaction in the cultures today would be well, that's, you know. that's absurd and prudish. The body's beautiful Bible says yes, the body is beautiful, it's created by God, but it's only to be, the nakedness is only to be shared in a very specific circumstance.
Speaker 1: Yeah, and I wonder again if we have inherited this sense of the back to nature thing is the purer thing and the enhanced thing is the artificial thing. And the reason I mentioned that is, you know, listening to the Alistair Roberts pointed out on maybe the Theopolis podcast, about how God has given us the meal of bread and wine. Now those don't occur naturally. Those require you've got to grow wheat, you've got to grind it into flour, you've got to bake it.
Speaker 1: You don't, just you don't just pull wine out the back of an animal, you know you don't. Just there's no. So the meal that's been instituted is something that requires culture, it requires human endeavor And therefore I think we like the idea of some people make some Christians, maybe even like the idea of veganism, for example, because you know veganism, for example, because go back to the Garden of Eden plants, seeds are for your. Are you eating? you don't eat animals.
Speaker 3: That's not until Noah.
Speaker 1: And so we think that there's a. the idea, again, is perfect that you wander around the garden just eating fruit although blimey, i mean, your digestion is really going to have to find somewhere to you know, to be alone for a while if you're just going to eat fruit. But yeah, that is not the. that is not how God set the universe up And therefore clothes in themselves are for our glorification. in some way or another, they have significance And therefore there are clothing regulations in the Old. Testament.
Speaker 2: Incredibly detailed priestly garments.
Speaker 1: But also about mixing, you know, mixing fibers and there are lots of things like that, and we just think, well, this is just a burden, this isn't in position. And actually, again, when, when glorious figures are seen in this particular revelation, their clothing is significant, what they're wearing So, and it is beautiful. When you see beautiful clothes that really seem appropriate, it's a glorious thing. And also the clothing that sells has significant to me. We're recording this a little while after the coronation of King Charles III, which, on one level, people were wearing ludicrous things, either because they were, i don't know, they're the, they're the, they're the Marquis of somewhere, or they are the Lord High Adjutant or whatever it is For Katy.
Speaker 1: Perry.
Speaker 2: Yes, exactly.
Speaker 1: Yeah, but these swords and buckles and shoes and things, they all mean things. They are imbued with significance, and this isn't just the stench of popery and ritualism. I think that is how things have been made. So I think clothes have that significance.
Speaker 2: Yeah, you're young, you're an individual. You enjoy selfies, energy drinks and you don't take no nonsense from no one, and that's why you love Cooper and Katy. Have words.
Speaker 1: Let's talk about private parts, and in particular because and I mentioned this because, talking of priestly garbs Exodus 20, which is a bit of a purple passage, because it's where the Ten Commandments are. Very soon after that, moses said to the people do not be afraid. God has come to test you so that the fear of God will be with you or keep you from sinning. People remained at a distance. The Lord said to Moses tell the Israelites this. You have seen for yourselves. I've spoken to you from heaven. Blah, blah, blah. If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dress stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it And do not go up to my altar on steps, or your private parts may be exposed. What are we to make of that?
Speaker 2: Then it seems to me that post fall nakedness represents our guilt before God, and therefore for the priest to sort of hair upstairs and not being mindful of what might be visible from below.
Speaker 2: Going commando, as it's now called, yeah yeah, quite quite Is to basically just have no care about the way that you relate to God and as a sinful human being. So it's not like God is clutching his pearls, it's like ooh genitals. It's not that. It's what it signifies. It does not take into account if you lay yourself bare like that, it is to basically say that the fall doesn't matter, sin doesn't matter. That's the significance of it, i think, and it sort of tacitly implies which of course is going to come into fruition in the New Testament that we need God to cover us. That is the beauty, i think, of sort of the modesty stuff in the Bible is that it is a tacit statement that we need God to cover our guilt. This is, you know, it's not because God is prudish in some way.
Speaker 1: Yeah. What do the prophets have to offer on this one?
Speaker 2: Well, interestingly, with Isaiah once you get there.
Speaker 1: Oh man, you've changed. You said Isaiah.
Speaker 2: I keep telling you this, like you've got to be understood. There's no way around it, i'm afraid.
Speaker 1: Put that word in the rubbish bin In the trash. Garbage trash Yeah.
Speaker 2: Isaiah. For those of you on the right side of the channel, isaiah walked around naked as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Kush. So it was the Lord's way of saying this is how you will be carried away by the king of Assyria in utter, abject shame. So always, you know, those under God's judgment have their nakedness revealed publicly. You know, public display of nakedness, in other words, is meant to be shameful. It's not something to be sort of overwritten by just keeping it, you know, telling ourselves it's not shameful, it is shameful, which is where I think, as we get into the subject of, you know, is nakedness in art okay if it's artfully done, you know, if it's classy stuff, tastful, yeah, is it tasteful? Well, no, we'll get into that. But no, there's something about nakedness, intrinsically, which is not good.
Speaker 1: Yeah Well, so why don't we do that then? Because we will show our working, as it were, as we go. How do we feel about bikinis on beaches?
Speaker 2: I mean, i do think there's something that has to be said. There's probably stuff which we need to clear away. In terms of exceptions, it's not as if nakedness is forbidden outright. So there's obviously there's a certain degree of, you know, nudity involved when you go to the toilet, or you know if you have a bath or whatever it is. You know if there's medical procedures involved. You know it's not as if nakedness is forbidden outright. And obviously nakedness between a man and a woman in marriage is something to be gloried in and celebrated. And then also, you know, paul, paul circumcises Timothy. Right, yeah, that's commitment to the cause. By the way, well done, timothy. That requires some nakedness There's no way around that.
Speaker 2: So, again, in the sense of the Bible promotes modesty, it does so not as an absolute command but rather as a principle that has to be applied.
Speaker 1: And I guess there's that sense. I mean you've observed this on the notes as well, but there is a. It feels like we're reacting against a Victorian prudishness where everything was buttoned up and buttoned down And even the legs of tables were covered up, so that you didn't get the wrong idea.
Speaker 3: Yeah.
Speaker 1: That's not even an exaggeration. I think that is a thing.
Speaker 2: Right, apparently it was Yeah And again. And context, i think, is also significant. I mean, is it appropriate to wear, you know, one piece on the beach? I would argue yes. Is it appropriate to wear one to church? I would say no. So modesty is again, it requires wisdom to apply it. So if you apply a sort of a blanket prohibition to a particular sort of it doesn't really work like that, but certainly exposing the Gentiles. Gentiles would be out. I would say So. No to nudist beaches, I would say Yeah.
Speaker 3: This is a protective crouch right.
Speaker 1: And it's to stop animals to jump on your back from getting at your soft part.
Speaker 2: So it's an instinctual, it's protective right.
Speaker 1: So this basically says I'm open to the world, right, And I guess the thing that always interests me is and what we can talk about this as we go through each one to some extent, but why don't we want to embrace this sense of modesty? Why? do we want, And this goes for men and women. So you know, women can obviously wear very small bikinis on beaches, and men can wear incredibly small speedos or whatever it is Not that anyone's tempted by that, but yes, they, yes It does happen.
Speaker 1: And some people can, humanly speaking, get away with it. But, why are we wanting to get away with it? What's going on there? Why don't we want to be modest?
Speaker 2: Well, it is curious because I think, when you come to this understanding of modesty as a way of glorifying God, the question is, why don't you want to glorify God? If someone says to you, well, all right, what can I get away with? What's the minimum, pierre? You mean, what's the minimum you can glorify God? That's a really strange question for a Christian to be asking, isn't it? It's like can we not be a bit more maximal about this, to sort of put my John Piper hat on. That's where I think this helps to frame the modesty discussion really helpfully, because then it becomes, you know, not a competition to see what you can get away with, but rather a competition to see who can glorify God most, and yeah, so I think that changes the debate really on what you should wear on a beach and so on.
Speaker 1: Yeah, i mean one to follow up in a future episode, maybe in a mailbag episode. please do email us, kuperancariotgmailcom, because I guess women feel differently about what to wear on a beach than men in terms of their approach, and so therefore men might be happier taking off t-shirts and exposing flesh. There is a self-consciousness which I think.
Speaker 1: I will hazard a guess that women feel slightly more acutely than men, but I would be really interested to know what are the, what are going, and would Christian women particularly prefer less pressure to show more and to be and you know, and actually would rather cover up.
Speaker 2: Yeah, i think that's a really good point, that idea of being very conscious about what others think of us. That's not principally the main issue with nakedness, or at least exposing oneself, and I think that's the thing to keep in mind. So you know, it's not what immodesty may or may not provoke in a third party.
Speaker 2: That's the problem with public nudity but, the shame in society and before God that nakedness instantly confers to a person. That's the point he makes in his essay. You know that I will be shamed if I'm found naked, whether another person lusts or not.
Speaker 1: Yeah, and really they really aren't as connected as we assume they must be, because but I guess we probably think that now, particularly because we live in such a highly sexually charged society, where What? is acceptable to wear in public? what is acceptable to put on a on a billboard the size of?
Speaker 2: Yes, 15 story billboard and it's presented as liberation, isn't it? I mean, you know, clothing is it's change. You're wearing that, throw off your oppression free. You know, it's presented as a kind of a jitter, as a the highway to happiness, to sort of be free of that, and that it's just. It's really just a sort of a cultural construct, a little bit like gender. Therefore, you can afford to just throw it off. But no, there's objectively something going on there yeah, i think.
Speaker 3: And then what was saying is how can make it mean anything to you, how can that concept have any significance unless you have eaten the fruit of the tree where I said I should not eat?
Speaker 2: And it's interesting, isn't it, when Paul gets into first Corinthians 12, when he specifically says you know, some parts of the body are not as honorable as other parts. That's really interesting, isn't it? so he's specifically. They're keying into that idea that in that sense, modesty ought to be natural to the Christian, because we all acknowledge that there are some parts of the body that ought to be covered up. Some things must in daily life be covered. That doesn't mean that they are intrinsically sort of evil or wicked or you know that there's anything like that, but they just ought to be covered.
Speaker 1: Yeah, and actually there is a. I mean, although I've written a chapter in my sacred art of joking book about how toilet humor in the Bible essentially, and how the Bible is not as prudish as we as Christians often are, it is also not prurient at all, partly because it's not pictorial. Yeah, it is, it is a written word, but also even the description. So Adam knew Eve.
Speaker 2: The expression for For integral season is to know someone the coiness of biblical Hebrew concerning genitals and sexual acts is something that he remarks upon in the in the essay. Yeah, very quiet, and that again, that in itself tells us something.
Speaker 1: Yeah, and then, as you were saying about Some parts more honorable than other. I'm just thinking of non-Christian religions, particularly pagan religions which are, which worship phallic images, yeah, which are very, very highly sexualized and just think of this.
Speaker 2: Yeah, you think of the sort of the, you know the Hindu sort of wood carvings and those sorts of things where there's that sort of celebration of what ought to be kept for the, for the marital bed.
Speaker 1: Here's another one which, again Jason in the article picked out on men, are men. After the game in the showers I was just like oh wow yes.
Speaker 1: And again, this is a, i think, when I have spoken to my wife about it, because we were when we used to go to the gym and The men's showers at one point were didn't have curtains or anything, i think. I think they were separate cubicles, but they weren't, yeah, but that there was one covered, one at the far end, if you really wanted that As a general rule, the gym, realize, i didn't know they were taking a particularly strong sunset, but men just didn't care. they don't, they don't care. We even put cubicles in.
Speaker 2: We've already we've already just we've already gone extra mile. Yes, so you mean men are sort of less more likely to expose themselves and be quite happy about it.
Speaker 1: Yeah, yeah, i've heard various stand up comedians sort of talk about locker rooms and what. You know how incredibly inappropriate men can be when they're sort of tallying themselves off and having conversations.
Speaker 2: Yeah, i did. Did you feel like that? I've always felt very awkward. I don't think it's purely to do with sort of like body body shame issues, i think it's. There is a sort of a it doesn't. It doesn't feel right to me to be sort of naked in front of other people and I think that's right, and so I'm not one of these people who does wander around naked but the fact is.
Speaker 1: There are generally do and it's not so wildly inappropriate that you would say what on earth is the matter why? you know, like because if they were walking around in the car park like that, you would assume that they'd been robbed or They can leave their senses or something. So, yes, we know that it's sort of acceptable in our culture, but some, but many of us find it puzzling. But we don't, we're not offended by, i don't think, are we?
Speaker 2: Yeah, and maybe that is a very culturally bound thing. I mean, i was somebody posted in the discord and one of our patrons about how You know you go to France out of France. topless beach is very, very common, but even there, you know, if you, if you stripped off to the waist in a sort of a Parisian Gendar, you would, you would be accused of being a tourist and being completely unaware of the you know the appropriate ways to behave. so Even there, even the French James recognize this, there are, there are lines to be drawn.
Speaker 1: Yeah. So I don't really know what to do with the men. I mean. So if you're a part of a rugby team and you have collective sort of washing facilities, then I think we are being challenged here to say, well, actually I don't think they're okay, but what are you gonna do? and maybe this takes us back to these aren't necessarily hard and fast rules.
Speaker 1: There are things that are appropriate or inappropriate. Certainly, if something is causing us to sin with our eyes, we really should refrain from it. But in a way, if you're not actually attracted to other men and you're in a locker room, that's awkward. But and again, i think sometimes we still have this view of I've been infected by sin, i've seen something I shouldn't and you've now. I've now seen the result of it and Yeah, and I guess this goes back to this other thing I've been thinking a lot about, about clean and unclean In the law and why we really struggle with it. Because I think we just assume that you become unclean if you commit a sin And you have to go through this great big rigmarole and you know what it serves you. Right, you should wash yourself three times and take seven days, and then you can come back because you've seen you filthy sinner.
Speaker 1: So no, you know. So that's not. That's not why clean and unclean works and why certain animals are clean and unclean. It's still not entirely clear what that.
Speaker 2: Yeah, there's a sort of pollution that happens regardless from other people and other things. Yeah, yeah, and you haven't done. And you haven't done something, you're not culpable. Yeah, you have done anything wrong but you're still unclean and so yeah in the power of the good Samaritan.
Speaker 1: obviously, to use one of the New Testament absolute bangers in terms of everyone's heard of it. The reason that a priest or a Levite would pass by on the other side of the road is touching what could turn out to be a dead body, is going to make them unclean and will exclude them From going about their business. so what they're doing is not unreasonable. yeah, it's understandable, but that's how the law operates and I think sometimes we then sort of we find that very puzzling because we just assume that if you're unclean, you've sinned in some way.
Speaker 2: And now I That isn't the case. Do you sense that? Yeah, i think so and I think again, it's where it's quite helpful to say it's a nakedness in and of itself is not, it's not sinful. That's the thing. It is the sort of exposure you know that there's the sort of the attendant shame, it's like your. There's a sort of a pollution, as it were, that happens. But yeah, i think I mean, what do you do with that? what do you do with that?
Speaker 1: I don't know, the clean and unclean thing yeah, i don't know, i still need to do more, but what I do know is it's we. I think, if we're a conservative angelical and we believe the universe, is fundamentally about penal substitution, reattonement, which is central, but it's not total. Categories like clean and unclean don't seem to mean anything because they're not neat enough. Sin wise they this like. So is this? is this a sin or is not? see? no, no, you haven't put this in, you're just unclean. Why am I in clean? I haven't done anything wrong. Yeah, it's not. It's not really how it works. I think it's. It doesn't quite fit our Christian categories and and so we're right to have Christian categories with Christians, and that's fine. But when we go back into it, i don't think we're We're so. I think it's something to do with the earth and the soil, and the serpent is on the ground.
Speaker 1: And so, therefore, if you're standing on the ground, animals that lie on the ground are unclean, because they basically eat the ground.
Speaker 2: Yeah, but yeah.
Speaker 1: I've got I'm. That's a whole, whole other whole other thing whole other thing.
Speaker 2: As we get into things like art, then I mean surely you know a classy, he talks about mayonnaise, 1863 picture Olympia, which depicts beautiful prostitute Painted in admiring honesty. Is it okay to Look? am I free, if conscience allows, to enjoy the craftsmanship and contours in that picture?
Speaker 3: Hmm.
Speaker 2: That's the question he poses.
Speaker 1: I mean, I think before reading this article I fully would have said I think it's probably okay. But having read the article I'm just thinking This isn't about whether I'm being caused to sin or not, I just think it's just anything is appropriate.
Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah, i agree, i'd agree, i. His answer is no, because She is. She's not my wife for me to delight in. And then he says yet You might say may my, may my wife look at her? No, she may not. It was a, it was a pity. He says that this particular lady felt free to expose herself and shared what little honor was still hers. There's nothing to be gained in my wife or I Gazing at her act of rebellion before God with anything other than sadness. Hmm, yeah, she may be content to shame herself, but shaming of one of God's precious image bearers is not something I want to be party to. And that, i think, obviously speaks to watching things like I know 50 shades of gray or You know Game of Thrones. I mean, it's got implications for that, hasn't it?
Speaker 1: Yeah, it does, and I feel differently again about it than when I our very first episode. We talked about it and I read about it in the sacred art of joking, and I would have much preferred Game of Thrones to have not had what is, in my view, mostly gratuitous nudity.
Speaker 3: Hmm.
Speaker 1: I don't think it was even artistically justified.
Speaker 3: Hmm.
Speaker 1: So I would have preferred that, and the defense I I could still offer as well is that the sexual themes in that show are Disordered and and gross on purpose. Yeah, there is a real Tordry yes about it, which is the intention, but it doesn't, doesn't make it Okay. You just, you just don't want to be there.
Speaker 2: Yeah yeah worse.
Speaker 1: You do want to be there. That's yeah, that you know. That's kind of how pornography works, isn't it? Yeah, that's right, so that's right in my view it was unnecessary and I was. I sort of I know this sounds self-righteous I sort of put up with it because I thought the storytelling was so Interesting and compelling about, about power and the violence was interesting and again, i guess there was violence in it Which was, in my view, disgusting. But of course violence is disgusting, it is horrible because it is degrading, and it is.
Speaker 1: These are image bearers, even in Westeros, because they're humans. You know this isn't a fantasy world. They're not goblins or anything. So, yeah, it feels like if you watch something that's more violent than you expected, you're sort of repelled by. Have you committed a sin by watching it? Well, i don't think you have. But has it done you any good? probably not.
Speaker 2: No, and there's a sort of a double dishonor as well. Isn't there involved? if you're because it's it's not just you as a viewer and the implications of that and sort of you know, why would you want to look, look upon nakedness? if God speaks about nakedness?
Speaker 2: in his way, but also, of course, the actor or actress involved themselves, the fact that they have Dishonored themselves in that way is not something that, as a Christian, you want to be a party to, and that is even true, he says. He says what? what of the naked corpse in an episode of silent witness? He says you know, he says, only a pervert will find that lust inducing, surely? again He says it's not necessarily my lust, there's the main problem. But the actors honor and modesty. So to sort of eat as a part of your resting at the end of the day.
Speaker 2: Yeah sort of, as it were, take part in the humiliation of a fellow creature.
Speaker 1: Yeah, I think, yeah, i mean, when it comes to filming and art and stuff, you It's, it's the artistry to. You sometimes get the effect of something without yeah, the so, yes, exactly. You, you wouldn't Strike a child in the face in a movie right, yes for real.
Speaker 2: Yeah.
Speaker 1: It's artistically justified that this is an abusive character, but in the but there are laws against this sort of thing you can't.
Speaker 2: Yes, even against animals.
Speaker 1: Yes, yeah, you can't but you can't smack a child In that way, even if they and their parents have said it's okay. We as a society have agreed It's not okay and therefore you will find other ways of doing it. And therefore, if we applied that standard to nudity, to say, well, you would obviously never Show someone's. So someone completely nude, that's just not on the table.
Speaker 2: Well, yeah, surely there's a way of doing this.
Speaker 1: Seed needs to imply that this person has been fully naked, oh, okay. Well, there's ways of doing that. There's firstly showing someone's reaction to it. There's also showing robes on the ground. There's also showing this and this and this yeah, yeah and. Every society has its taboos that they just simply cannot show. If you've decided you can't show them, then you'll, you'll figure it out.
Speaker 1: Yeah, yeah so it can be done. The Renaissance art stuff, i think, in one sense is a challenge, because we've been so inculcated in this idea that this is high culture and therefore we shouldn't have a problem with it and therefore Michelangelo's David is a is a glorious thing. But you think I don't think David would have felt that necessarily. Yeah, he's not famous for being naked at various points of other than with Bathsheba. Obviously, when he was dancing before the Lord, he wasn't naked or anything, was he?
Speaker 2: No, that's not implied.
Speaker 1: Yeah, this whole time I was thinking and maybe we'll put it on a jingle is the Who told you you were naked? No, no, i was thinking of a well a that, but be The blackout, it goes forth episode if you just like to pop your clothes on the stool.
Speaker 3: Yes, i'm sorry, just pop your clothes on the stool over there. You mean you want me tackle out? Yes, if I can remind you of the realities of battle George, one of the first things that everyone notices is that all the Protagonists have got their clothes on.
Speaker 1: Now the we know the HUD and favor fighting our battles own naturell Well, I mean, i'm sure listeners will possibly violently, wildly agree or disagree, yeah, or say thank goodness, someone said it, or what on earth are these people talking about? so you would really love to hear From you, because obviously we're aware that we're two blokes of a certain age talking about wearing clothes. Wearing clothes.
Speaker 2: In our traditional way. You know, you know, hideously borscht our attitude.
Speaker 1: That's right, so it would be good to hear from folk about how you feel about these things and when you might have been in a situation We just thought I'm feeling under pressure to wear something I don't want to wear or not wear something I'd rather wear. Yeah, and I think I've that reminded me of a little anecdote, ashley, when I was a little boy.
Speaker 2: It reminded me of a little anecdote, ashley. When I was back in the days when I was an actor, i auditioned for a show At the Batteries Arts Center the Arabian Knights it was and he was quite a well-known director and the audition went really well. And as I was walking out the door and he said, oh yeah, just one more thing. He said we're going to be rehearsing in the nude. Is that all right with you? And I said no, i don't think so. I said can I ask why? why you do that? and he said yeah, because it's an important part of the actors exploring their vulnerability. Huh, and I thought to myself, if I want to explore my vulnerability, sunshine, i'll do it in the privacy of my own attic. I don't know.
Speaker 2: Yes, you know it just seemed utterly bizarre. Yes, that's.
Speaker 1: I.
Speaker 2: No nudity in the show, just in the rehearsal room.
Speaker 1: I think that's a, i think that's a directorial preference going on there.
Speaker 2: I think it might have been.
Speaker 1: But, yeah, how people have misused that and to, and some of it is a power thing, isn't it? It's like can I get this person to be naked just to demonstrate that I have?
Speaker 3: power in them.
Speaker 1: It's not even yeah, you know it's, it's. It's a very complicated area, although in a sense it isn't that complicated. I think previously I was thinking before this episode. This is about causing your brother to sin or not sin, and we need to be responsible about how we dress. And actually there's much more to it than that and there is something.
Speaker 1: Yeah shameful about nakedness in itself, and that's not Victorian prudishness. That is the trajectory of scripture, which begins with Adam and Eve's rebellion and accelerated discernment of good and evil, which has somehow meant that we now can't go back to how things were, and and that was never the intention anyway. The angels, yes, have been robed from the beginning. I don't think there's any sense in which they are.
Speaker 2: They don't. They don't have genitals, but still, yeah, it's interesting, isn't it?
Speaker 1: Yeah, interesting, they don't have genitals.
Speaker 2: Well, I seem so.
Speaker 1: Oh, i don't know, spiritual beings. right There you go. That's the whole spin-off, that's another can of worms can of worms, but.
Speaker 2: I was just thinking just just briefly before we draw stumps. If you think about Leo the 10th, I think he was one of the big. He was the pope who was a big patron of the arts. He of course was the incumbent pope around about that unfortunate business with Martin Luther and the and the You know the stuff about indulgences. He was big on indulgences and trying to raise money and so on and he was A patron of the Medici's.
Speaker 2: I think I'm Ryan saying yeah who produced so much of the sort of the what we think of as Renaissance art And the nudity that was in that, and he was, of course, a famously disillute pope, you know, even his late. His latest biographer, you know, talks about him living a very sort dishonorable life that was covered with a Sort of a veil of urbanity, and again, it's just interesting again that it's somehow passed into oh, this is actually a classy thing, but it was very much a scene that was kicked off by somebody who was, you know, distinctly unclassy in lots of ways.
Speaker 1: Yeah, on that bombshell, i think we'll wrap up. We've probably got one or two things more to talk about over with our patrons and the Cooper and Kerry pluses, so we will do that. If you want to be part of that Google Cooper and Kerry Patreon and you'll probably find us Or if you listen to us on Apple podcast, you can just hit the plus button.
Speaker 2: Somehow You hit the subscribe button. I thought you were going to say and if that is something you want to do, you might need to reassess your life, jazz. Anyway, yeah, do join us. It's lots of fun over there, and thank you for joining us for this one. Hopefully, god willing, we will be with you again a couple of weeks.
Speaker 3: Cheerio.
Speaker 2: Cheerio.
Speaker 3: What a man chooses to do in the privacy of his own attic, he's his business alone.
Speaker 2: What a man chooses to do in the privacy of his own attic you.