Naked Cowboy Theology
The Naked Cowboy, a Times Square fixture, turns out to be something of a theologian. Don’t ask me how I got there, but I just stumbled onto the Writings page on his website, which features six original books, all free to download in different formats. They outline the kind of philosophy of life that, now that I think of it, makes a lot of sense for someone who spends his life marching around in his underwear with a guitar.
His Prayer Book, dating to 2004, makes such supplications as, “God, I want a perfect body with which to adequately display your infinite beauty” and “God, I don’t want to be anything ‘cept emotionally happy and fulfilled!” In the introduction to that volume, he explains,
My concept of God has been all over the map. Frederich Neitzsche had me playing the role of the ‘Superman,’ a godless man of iron controlling everything with no assistance. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s spiritual world of saturating oneself in the miracle of the ‘Universal Soul’ kept me in perfect alignment with the most general spiritual focus. Catholicism has probably given me a lot of my ‘deeper’ – ‘this is right, this is wrong – what’s in and what’s not in’ – nonsense.
Many personally sought influences and diligent conditioning of self-help technologies such as Napoleon Hill, Anthony Robbins and Dale Carnegie have provided me with the continuous inspiration to create images and plans and strategies to move my life in the direction of what my evolving consciousness has deemed to be a ‘Heroic,’ ‘Successful,’ ‘Positive,’ ‘Rewarding’ Living.’ This plethora of influences has created ‘Naked Cowboy’ and my ‘Spiritual quest’ to be the Greatest man to ever live.
I haven’t yet had time to pour through these texts with the care and consideration that they obviously deserve (this being possibly “the Greatest man to ever live”), but I thought, for the moment, I’d point them out. I’ll leave you with a bit of the conclusion of his treatise on The Nature of Analogy:
I submit that world history will find Naked Cowboy to be its most ‘centralizing voice’ wherein the entirety is represented in him. Where Napoleon’s egotism confined his character to a mere century, my humility will allow mine to erase time itself. Napoleon’s calling came from his fellow ‘democrats,’ mine from ‘God.’ A lover of God, I’ve sought Him out in my race. I’ve made it my business to study its nature.
Nathan Schneider is an editor of Killing the Buddha and writes about religion, reason, and violence for a variety of publications. He is also a founding editor of Waging Nonviolence. His first two books, published by University of California Press in 2013, are God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet and Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse. Visit his website at The Row Boat.