It would be easy to assume that the Discovery show “Naked and Afraid” is not Christian viewing material. After all, women and men like Steven Lee Hall, Jr. are stranded together naked in some inhospitable corner of the world where they have to survive for 21 days, or worse — 40 days on the XL version. The show does flash lots of bare backsides at the camera and blurred out front sides that sometimes don’t leave much to the imagination. Whether or not that is appropriate viewing for a Christian audience is a topic for another discussion.
What does stand out about the show in stark contrast to the partial nudity is how many contestants are faithful, professing Christians and how many turn to their faith to get them through various ordeals on the show. Case in point is artist and survivalist Steven Lee Hall, Jr.
Hall achieved some notoriety for chasing antelopes with a rock and his blase’ attitude after losing his partner’s aloe. However, his resilience and determination over the course of the severe 40-day challenge ultimately earned him the respect of many viewers.
On his website Hall states:: “My faith, hard work, determination, and hunger for knowledge and adventure make me a renaissance man. Trying to become the best at anything I put my mind to, I strive to complete my main goal in life…to change the world.” Intrigued, I struck up an online conversation with Hall and discovered as he puts it, “I am a Christian 100%.”
Hall agreed to be interviewed by Christian Activities about his faith, his art, and “Naked and Afraid.”
Kathryn Darden for Christian Activities: Describe what growing up in a Christian home did for you.
Steven Lee Hall, Jr.: I was brought up Lutheran and have been my whole life. It instilled in me a lot of life lessons I still take with me everywhere I go, whether on an adventure half way around the world or just going to the grocery store. It gave me a set of morals and values that I do my best to abide by, even though in life it can be difficult to from time to time.
KD: What was the most important lesson you learned from your Christian roots growing up?
SLH: Faith, Hope and Love….The Greatest of these is Love.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.
I’ve learned that the most important thing in life is not only my relationship with God but with family, friends and community. I learned that whatever I do in life to do it to my best ability, from surviving naked in Africa for 40 days or just cleaning up my house… Never give up and always have faith…The more faith I have in the Lord the better I can be a reflection of Him in my words, thoughts and actions.
KD: What has your faith meant to you as an adult?
SLH: My faith has been pivotal to me as an adult… Without the Lord in my heart, I’m not sure I would even be here today. He has helped me overcome obstacles, tackle challenges and comforted me in my times of crisis… He is my Rock and my Light and I strive to be an example and inspiration in everything I do, because I am truly not worthy of His many blessings
KD: Give one or two examples of times your faith helped you on “Naked and Afraid.”
SLH: It was day 17 in Alabama and one of the biggest storms ever to come through the area hit us early in the evening around 8pm… Seeing the lighting through the leaves of our shelter, hearing the wind and thunder; dead trees falling and crashing around us in the dark… It was a complete washout… Getting into the lower 50’s in temperature both Chalese and I were in serious danger of hypothermia to the point where you can’t control your body from shivering….Chalese sat in my lap, with my arms around her and covering us with our soaked grass bedding for more insulation we sat until 6am until the sun finally started breaking through the canopy… it was the worst night of my life… I said the Lord’s Prayer in my head for hours, it was the only thing that would keep my mind off what we were going through and the only thing in my mind that got us through it… Seeing the light come through the trees the next morning was like God acknowledging us, giving me more faith in knowing that Chalese and I weren’t the only ones in that shelter that night, God was right there with us, giving strength.