Adam, Why Did You Let Her Eat That Apple?

By Cindy Koch

Eve - Anna Lea Merritt

A strong and wise man is a treasure to find in this world. You gently lead and boldly guide others along the unclear paths upon which we may find ourselves wandering. When a gracious man is in charge, one is happy to follow and trust his judgement. You men are incredible gifts from God who relay our heavenly Father’s love and His protection.

Not even a century ago, you took pride in this honorable position. In my own beloved LC-MS it was rumored that the men were there to take care of the women; providing for their family, not just monetarily, but as the head of the household and representative at church. This goodly ordered relationship was even encouraged by St. Paul in several New Testament letters.

But, our cultural climate changed. A war separated men from their families. Women began to learn how to fend for themselves while their husbands were overseas. Liberated by necessity, the dawn of woman’s suffrage permeated the country. We work, we sweat, we learn, we will even run for president. Gone are the days of men’s clubs in the community. Women found their way out of the kitchen.

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Were you tired of fighting? The war on family felt the first blast when you walked back into our off-center home. We missed you while you were away, but women found this new and exciting voice in the world. How could you have had the energy to pick up arms against your women?

But men, you let us go even a step further. As society changed, most churches followed suit. Even if our confession held that women should not be pastors, you nonetheless let us wander deeper into the dark wasteland. It began gently enough as letting us have a vote in our little church meetings, to gender-neutralizing job descriptions in the church; but now you are blindly encouraging girls to become anything but a woman.

Our Creator gave us a simple and beautiful description of the female task – help. When he created our gender, our kind, we were given gifts and abilities even apparent in our created bodies! As the dolphin was created to swim, and the bird was created to fly, women were created to help and bear children.

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Like any sinful creature, we rebelled against our Creator. We told Him over and over that His plan was not good enough for us. We really should be free from this oppression called “feminine”. We really should get to decide for ourselves what a woman “should be”. Instead of pregnant teenage Mary or a prayer-filled Christ, we said “MY will be done.”

Yes, we asked for it, and our men let us eat the apple. We shouted for freedom and you let us have it. We showed you it was good and desirable. You bit. And so, God freed us from the protection and care of you, our men.

For a church that once stood on the blessings of vocation, you have certainly spat that out in the face of your women. The girl who grows up sitting in your pews look up to the strong man in front preaching her the gospel. She learns from her father who cares for his family as she grows. But now, thrust out into the tumult of the world she is a little confused – women should what? They are who? Turning to her safe beloved church, it answers: well… you can be a deaconess?

Why have you forsaken your women?

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6 thoughts on “Adam, Why Did You Let Her Eat That Apple?

  1. You have a strong voice and I respect that. So where do we draw the line? I and a woman and was asked to run for a seat on our LCMS church’s board. The vote is this weekend. Should I withdraw?

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    1. We all have gifts. Being on a board, being in charge of cleaning the church kitchen, setting up communion, teaching Sunday School are all jobs that need to be filled. That can be filled by those who have the gifts to fill them (man or woman) at whatever time is right in the grand scheme of our lives to fill them. Will you help the church is its ultimate goal of spreading the good news? Does it greatly inconvenience your family life to take on this responsibility? These are the questions you should answer. Not because I’m woman I shouldn’t run for an office in my church. We all have talents. We all need to not put them under a bushel, NO! But also not neglect our first priorities as wife, mother and anything else you are called to be.

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    2. Michelle – I feel your struggle! There is strong part of me that knows I have been given certain gifts to serve others. I know I could. I recognize these gifts even come from God. So you ask the right question… “should” I? That depends entirely on the circumstances. You are free to serve at church – there is nothing you could DO (or not do) that would separate you from the love and forgiveness of Christ. But also consider 1 Corinthians 10:23 “All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful.” This is crazy love for your neighbor; and in this case, for the men in our lives. We can actually support them to be what God has created them to be!

      There are beautiful and amazing blessings when men step up to the plate. There are fantastic blessings where women help. But this looks different in every relationship I’ve ever seen. And there are no good rules that will bring us back to that Garden.

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  2. I’m just curious as to what a “deaconess” is actually allowed to do? Can she teach? Maybe… Can she administer the sacraments? Nope! Can she forgive sins? Well yes, actually we all can , but not the same way that a Pastor can ( however different that is magically supposed to be… From me or you or anyone (rant over)) she cannot administer confession and absolution another wards. So why on earth does she go to get this useless debt accruing masters degree, but just to have it hang on her wall and wear an absolutely unflattering outfit? There is hardly a job waiting for her posted anywhere because why would monetarily struggling churches who already can’t pay their pastor decently be able to come up with another persons salary who can virtually do nothing to aid the church or its pastor? I guess she can lead the women’s Bible study, right?

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    1. That’s so interesting. I’m in Ft. Wayne right now and am lightly acquainted with some deaconesses at the seminary. I would definitely not say deaconess is an illegitimate vocation, (would you?), but I do sense that the degree was created to sooth women’s desire to have a place in academia/church polity (and as a bright, school-oriented, church-loving female I can sympathize with that desire). Deaconess is the one true CAREER a Lutheran woman can have in the church. If I were to put my finger on at least one point of tension, that would be it: women want to be legitimized by their career; raising kids is “not a career”; deaconess is a “legitimate” career. (Sidenote: how frustrating is it that women feel ashamed to be “just a mom”? As if raising kids wasn’t the most important thing in the world they could be doing?!)

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