My God has breasts
by Jesse Hove
My first real reason to live came some- time between the ages of nine and 11. I was searching the Internet for a Calgary Flames website. What I found were the most beautiful images I had ever seen. “Hot Naked Girls!” What kind of
wondrous and magical creatures were these? I found myself clicking link after link after link. I eagerly anticipated the next Goddess. The naked lady, as if overnight, became the reason to wake up in the morning.
It took a few years for me to realize some of the problems that came with my newfound inspiration for life. Real ladies are not objects on computer screens. They had thoughts and feelings. After many years of anguish and unfair expectations, my path toward inhuman behaviour continued. In my first year at Mount Royal I would walk into the Liberty Lounge and have ev- ery girl in the place rated in my mind from one to 10.
The most powerful conviction I have had of my destructive behaviour came last year in a paradoxical moment of de- pravity, forgiveness, and joy. An attractive Muslim student was given the opportu- nity to speak at an interfaith event hosted by the Multi-Faith Chaplaincy on campus. While she had not been raised in a seri- ous Muslim home, she felt inspired to take her faith to a deeper level. One of the top- ics brought up was the Hijab — the mod- est covering of the head and body — and her experience with wearing it.
As an attractive woman she had often received attention based on surface level attraction. But anyone who was in the room that day will tell you she had far more to offer than just her looks. By wear- ing the Hijab she became well respected for her mind. She was no longer being looked at as an object.
I have no specific opinion on the Hijab, but the guilt I felt from her words rushed over me. How many potentially deep relationships had I lost because of lust? How many people had I hurt? At the same time I became thankful. I was thankful for the close female friendships I had developed, despite my lust. Thankful for their ability to look beyond the surface, and see the human being that still remained. Thankful for the for- giveness all of us will need at one point or another.
Further conviction came a few days later while reading the Bible. It wasn’t the classic threat of impurity or eternal damnation that convinced me though. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
God created woman to reflect his im- age. But how so? All I usually hear about is the Father and Son. One example for a biblical female reflection of God is the name Shaddai, which can literally trans- late into the “many breasted one.” Often scholars argue the Hebrew word intends to show the compassion of God in com- parison to a mother for her child. Mother- Father God. Interesting.
When I continued to disrespect a fellow image bearer, I myself began to twist and pervert my own humanity. It was coming to a point where I could no longer see the humanity in others, because I was losing what it meant, in my eyes, to be human. When we neglect, abuse, or exploit others, we are treating people as though they are not human.
But when we offer food to those who are hungry, and shelter to those who have no home, we are affirming that they are like us; image bearers. We are not God; we will always make mistakes or “miss the mark” as the bibli- cal Greek word hamartia describes it. But when we try to love others, we are showing God we love him.
My hope and prayer for all of us at Mount Royal this year is that we engage in authentic life-giving relationships with one another, not the superficial meaning- less traps that I myself often fallen into.