"Sean, this idea smells worse than the fart you let fly."
"Rachel, my parents are willing to hear our defense of naturism, so this seems like good timing. We need to do this before the wedding so that we reach some much needed understanding--especially after my dad wrote a commentary, referencing every mention of nudity in the Bible."
"I'm just saying I wish I knew them better before doing this. I'd like some reassurance that they accept me no matter what."
"I hear you. I know this won't be easy. Just be yourself. Even if they don't appreciate that now, they will respect you for it down the road."
Not feeling encouraged, "I'll have to trust you on that."
... Rachel has a hard time enjoying the fancy meal that Sean's mom prepared. She feels like Bernadine could be setting her up for the big showdown. So the friendly dinner conversation weighs on her heart deeply. Afterward, the four of them go into the parlor for the moment of truth. Louis asks, "So what did you think of my little essay?"
Sean responds, "You mean your lengthy commentary."
Bernadine adds, "Yes, only one Scripture casts a favorable light on nudity."
Louis explains, "Yes, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden. Then they ate the forbidden fruit and they covered up. So we still do today."
Sean challenges, "Dad, you're the theologian. You know better than that! You teach that sex is, first of all, part of God's perfect creation. Well, so is nudity."
Louis counters, "Yes, but in a fallen world, we need to be modest."
Rachel speaks up, "Yes, modesty. It seems that your son didn't get the hang of that until he became a naturist."
Feeling slighted, Bernadine asks, "What in the world do you mean!"
"I'll answer that," Sean interjects. "My favorite pastime at the beach used to be checking out the babes. I didn't realize how obsessed I was until I got the hang of naturism. I can't explain what happened, but I no longer have this driving need to gawk at women."
Bernadine smiles, "Louis, that sounds like something you need to learn!"
As shock hits Sean and Rachel, that his mother would defend them, Louis hangs his head in shame. After a long silence, he says, "Sean, I don't think nudity had anything to do with your change."
Rachel asks, "Did Christians in the early church use the Roman baths?"
Louis responds, "I doubt it."
Rachel continues, "Does any New Testament Scripture condemn this then-popular practice of public baths? Mixed company, no clothes. These Scriptures were written with this custom in full swing."
"No, not directly." Louis answers.
Rachel brings out the ammunition, "Tertullian clearly had no ethical reservations about Christians using these baths and regularly did himself. There's evidence that disciples of Jesus did as well. And it was the custom to baptize people naked."
A stunned Louis retorts, "I'd like to see some documentation on this."
"Good, I brought a copy of the research, which also includes nudity in the gymnasiums and the races. The Apostle Paul even uses the races in Hebrews 12:1 to illustrate the Christian life. Jesus despised shame which the early church caught on to. Later Gnostic teaching brought shame based attitudes back into the church."
With his chin hanging, "Rachel, I'm impressed. I'll have to check out the research. I must say, you certainly have surprised me."
"Thank you, Louis."
Bernadine concludes, "Maybe we'll be going to Black's Beach with you someday."
Louis loathes, "Over my dead body!"
18 HIT THE SHIT
"Thanks, Sean, for letting me go swimming with Jeff."
"I'm glad Jeff has you for a friend, Logan."
"Can we go in the buff?"
Your parents don't know we're naturists, and I'd like to keep it that way, so it's not a good idea."
Jeff pleads, "Please, Sean. They let him go to Black's Beach."
"Jeff, you need to respect his decision."
Jeff's eyes pop out, but Sean says gratefully, "Thank you, Logan."
When they get into the pool, Jeff whines to Logan, "He could have changed his mind!"
"Sean's so good to you. Why would you take advantage of him?"
"Wow! You're right. Didn't think of that this time. Thanks. You wanna play water basketball?"
They played quite physical, but fair. Jeff won the first game but Logan won the second game. Tired, they sat together on the edge of the pool. "Logan, I thought I felt you popping a woody."
"You don't think my feelings for you are just gonna vanish, do you?"
"Of course not. Thanks though, for not hitting on me."
"Alex and I are together now, so I can't for that reason too."
"And you're doing Maria."
"Hold onto your hat, cowboy! Maria and I don't talk about our private affairs."
"Oh, Jeff! You don't know what you're missing!"
"Stop it Logan! You and Alex may want to brag about your personal sexploits but don't expect me to betray a trust."
"OK, I see your point. Alex and I want our friends to know how happy we are doing it all."
"All? Gross! You ram it up the chocolate channel?"