All Things Bright and Nude-iful


I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve been in a fistfight. First there was the royal wedding, for which, for some reason, Catholics nationwide felt it necessary to show their colors as either pro- or anti-enthusiasm, even though the one and only type of social leper that the royal family has managed to exclude from its ranks is Catholics.

Then there was the beatification and Divine Mercy Sunday, a wonderful opportunity for the universal Church to make snippy remarks about supposedly holy people who hang around with Jews and Muslims.

Then, of course, Osama bin Laden got killed, and I wasn’t the only one who commemorated this profound turning point in history by rushing over to Facebook to yell at everyone else for the reaction they were likely about to have. This last kerfuffle received an extra jolt of flavor on the second day, when people sheepishly realized that Martin Luther King didn’t actually say that thing they said he said, any more than St. Francis actually said that thing about preaching by wiggling your eyebrows in a suggestive but charitable manner, or whatever it was he didn’t say.

For someone like me who reads the news, forms a strong opinion, makes that opinion extremely public, and then thinks about what I read, this past week has been just plain exhausting.  Mercy me. Couple this overload of knee-jerk brain activity with the physical and emotional demands of springtime in New England (That baloney sandwich you dropped last winter in the driveway!  Has it begun to spout? Will it bloom this year?) and I am just plain pooped.

And so, as a restful solace in these angst-fraught days, I offer to you the following story. I believe it’s news like this that can really bring people together, repair our sad divisions, and bind us as one people in a healing chorus of univocal assent. We can all join hearts and hands and with one voice say: HERE is a stupid idea.

Virginia church worships in the nude

Allen Parker, the pastor of Whitetail Chapel


said, “Jesus was naked during some of his most important moments. When he was born he was naked, when he was crucified he was naked and when he arose he left his clothes in the tomb and he was naked. If God made us that way, how can that be wrong?”

With logic like that, how can anything in the world be wrong? This story just makes me feel so right.

Pastor Parker further stated that the church is family-oriented and the members are very involved in helping others.

HELPING OTHERS! Anybody else remember those eager longhorns from Home on the Range? “Hey, little lady, can I help you?  Mayyybe we can help each other!”

Ah, me. This is what happens when you don’t have a Magisterium: nudie patootie in the pew-tie! I say to you, not even Solomon in all his glory stuck to the seats like one of these. Doesn’t this give you a little perspective when Catholics quibble about proper attire at Mass? Hang around for a service or two at the Whitetail


Chapel, and you’ll perhaps lose some of your former gusto when aligning yourself with the “the demise of the floor-length lace mantilla marked the end of Christendom” crowd. The only thing that could have made this story more edifying would be if they were into snake handling.


What do they sing for a recessional hymn, “Jesus wants me for a sunscreen?” They better hope that balm in Gilead is at least SPF 55. I’m fairly sure there’s less emphasis on “clinging to the old rugged cross”—ouch. How about “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, and in several other places as well!”  “Thy word have I hid in my heart, having no available pockets.” Or that old Gospel favorite, “Out of a profound sense of discomfort when He sees the congregation, His eye is on the sparrow.”

Aw, go ahead. You know you have a joke to add, and it ain’t Lent anymore. Whaddaya got?