This is a picture I took on one of my most favorite local, non-corporeal nudes in Spokane. She resides in a little flower garden at St' Luke's Rehab...I guess the founders felt that the David's similar natural health remedies might assist in the recovery of their patients too.
Many statues portray one breast exposed which usually has a particular meaning. Justice statues have breasts exposed. Women warriors, particularly the Amazons, are often depicted with a left breast exposed because its said that they removed the right breast for better javelin throwing and bow use.
Americans are steeped in boobie phobia. I can't tell you how many conversations get all heated over the issue of nudity. You can barely breast feed a kid these days without someone freaking out. The issues are rooted in women and their body hate, the cultural devaluing of motherhood and family, the plague of porn, the loss of the non-dualistic sacredness and holiness of the body, Gnosticism, our fundamentalist Christian heritage and many other sociological or phycological issues or hang ups.
The discussions get interesting when you dare to weave theology and morality with artistic philosophy, culture and tradition bias. Of course our sex soaked culture is to blame for the knee jerk reactions and close minded fundamentalism that surrounds the issues too. Women and men are to blame for feeding the fire through a thousand means. They often cement the poisonous stereotypes and rabid infatuation by grandstanding the issues:The challenge is to be faithful to the scriptures guidance on proper morality and healthy sexuality without becoming puritanical and hyper paranoid, which can lead to legalism of the most ridiculous kind. I recently talked to a bro who was raised with the strict no male swimming without pants prohibition. Mixed bathing was considered the heights of hedonism of many generations not to long ago. I cut my pastoral teeth in a denomination whose camp potty police would spin countless stringent rules and regulations in order to prevent the pubescents from copulating....which had to be because of those devilish bikini tops. Of course we were all saved from the hormones when some heavenly designer introduced the Tankini...ah, but I digress. Religious hounds have been covering table legs with skirts because the legs were too sexy since early America...that will make you look at your table differently wont it? Boobie love seems to be inherent in the genes of man...if a wife had a dollar for everytime...you know what I am going to say without even finishing the sentence don't you? Mammary madness is here to stay...how we handle it is the critical issue.
I'm not sure the church has really found a healthy way of presenting the human fascination and desire for the body. Many have been prisoners of their own lusts and legitimate longings and have not been been taught how to differentiate between the two. Religion starts to sound a lot like sadistic prudishness, if you listen to all the lingo, self hatred and confusion that exists in Christian conversations. If you stand up for the boob...you get labeled as a sexual deviant or....an artist.
I'm not convinced that the common path of how we have promoted purity has been that successful in American churches. The load of sexual dysfunction, promiscuity, bondage and marital sexual dissatisfaction is astounding. People are possessed by a host of personal demons in regards to living with and handling their sexuality.
Don't touch, Don't look and don't think...and get someone to regularly ask you if you have, and read your bible and pray...is the typical prescription for purity. In general, in my experience...this has been inadequate, alone. I didn't say it's wrong but I think these approaches are incomplete without a general understanding of solid gospel truth and a wholistic biblical worldview when it comes to understanding sexuality, the body, worship and beauty. We have a lot of work to do.
I think artists can help rescue the body from the clutches of the profiteers, pimps and potty police. I think there needs to be balanced and beautiful representations of the tantalizing, godly modesty and unfettered delight in the God created glory of womanhood and manhood. It's not an easy path...but the horrid expressions and suppressions all around us beckon for a new renaissance of bold but sanctified artists; who can resurrect Eve...while burying Delilah."The body is not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body." -1 Corinthians 6:13