I went through a leadership program with a man who was a chaplain for the Georgia State Troopers. In the midst of his various and sorted stories of wild calls that Police have to respond to, from time to time somebody would show up in the story without any cloths on. My Trooper friend would stop at this point in the story and introduce some descriptor of the nakedness – “naked as the day his mamma had ‘im” – or something similar.
Sometimes the distinction would be made between “naked” and “nekid” – this would always be illuminated and explained if there was a new person in the room, especially if we were not from the South.
“Naked” simply means that you don’t have any cloths on, whereas “nekid” means you don’t have any clothes on and your up to something!
According to my Trooper friend, being naked isn’t necessarily a problem, being nekid is when you get yourself into trouble.
Brian McLaren’s new book is entitled Naked Spirituality: a life with God in 12 simple words. The title recalls Richard Rohr’s The Naked Now which is itself a nod to St. Francis and the three legendary scenes in his life where he ends up without any clothes on (a theme that McLaren fleshes out in the preface).
This book, however, is not about anything so dramatic as public nudity. It is, in fact, quite the opposite – it is about the lasting, life-long, loving presence of God and the practices that engage it. McLaren is very accessible with his usual clarity in writing and trademark vulnerability in his storytelling.
Without nakedness, for example, you can’t go under the bright lights of surgery. And without nakedness you can’t enter into the candlelight of intimacy… as a result, it must be a vulnerable book, tender in tone, gentle in touch. You won’t find much in the way of aggressive arguments here, but rather shy experience daring to step into the light.
I am going to blog my way through the book in 3 acts over the next two weeks.
Part 1 will look at how McLaren examines the difference between spiritual experience and spiritual experiences. Part 2 will look at the 12 words of a ‘Life with God’. Part 3 will be about the cycles and season of life and faith.
I don’t know if my Trooper friend would call this “naked” or “nekid” but I am just-over halfway through the book and McLaren is definitely up to something.