I think we do ourselves a disservice when we contemplate a leap of faith across some chasm of trouble.
If your heart is prepared for it, what seems to others like a chasm, will only be like stepping over a crack in the sidewalk for you.
So how does God prepare us for this journey of faith?
We have over four thousand years of history of trust relationship between our spiritual forebears and God.
Our faith is made stronger by this unbroken chain of God's faithfulness through the ages.
Then through daily devotion and testing, the ONE whom we knew as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, becomes the God of Boyd, Pastor J,. John, Jon-Marc, Terry, etc... _______________(add your name here).
Since this forum has something to do with naturism, I don't mind using it as an example in faith.
For most of us, clothes envelope us most of our lives. Anytime you peel off something that has been there since day one, you are likely to feel a sudden sense of lack. It's an illusion of course!
Our bodies are designed to go about their daily existence making full skin contact with the environment.
Many here are now used to their natural state, but we mustn't forget that many folks in the wider world are NOT used to being nude. It's not necessarily a feeling of shame, but more a sensation of lack, vulnerability, sensory shock, and so on. And this feeling of uncomfortable nakedness can occur in the privacy of your own home.
That's why several naturist Web sites council people interested in naturism, but experiencing fears and discomfort to slowly extend their nudity beyond the home shower stall. They are urged to simply not begin dressing the moement they have toweled off after their shower. Instead, they should linger in the nude a while, In time, one's comfort with home nudity should increase to the point that he or she can venture out nude into secluded parts of their yard.
Some adults are conditioned to the notion that nudity is for private showers and sexual activity and nothing more. It is not surprising the widespread confusion of nudity and sex in the temperate zone of this planet.
Nor should we chastise folks, especially women for feeling vulnerable and keenly observed when they are showing a lot of skin. I thank God for little pockets of freedom such as enjoyed by teens in Brattleboro Vermont and the naked public events that are staged from time to time in a few urban areas.
While we admire stories about such daring public nudity in the more enlightened parts of America, this still does not touch the lives of many of us.
Social nudity is the next big step, but hopefully none of us have to leap to it when it still seems like a canyon.
In my own experience, I reached a point where I told myself that I was not fully at ease with it, but I rightly deduced that I was ready enough to give it a try. Through forums such as this, I came to understand that nudist resorts are often safe family places where no one need feel sexually threatened nor critiqued for one's physical failings. For a long time nudist resorts were a total mystery to me and it is not reasonable to expect someone to visit any place under such circumstances.
For many of us, we are already enjoying social nudity before we are fully prepared to articulate a defense of it to our more prudish family members. It's more than okay to check out Boyd's Web site: http://www.geocities.com/boydallen/
and get familiar with the articles and ideas expressed there.
We must recognize that some of our relatives are going to say, "Don't confuse me with the facts about naturism; I have my mind made up agaainst it!" But there are often far more who will tolerate our "eccentricities" and some may even come around to acceptance.
Sadly I have even met some naturists who have been naturist since their children were very young, but hid it from them for expediency sake. To such I can only say, yes you may be guaranteeing your privacy, but at a terrible cost to your own flesh and blood.
I have also encountered one or two individuals in a position of leadership in a church who have not even had the courage to defend some of the underlying premises of naturism about the body. I don't think most congregations in America are ready for us to stand up behind the pulpit and invite them to visit the naturist park right after services, but there is such much ground work to be done to eliminate prudishness in the American Church.
God give us the courage to face this task!