Thursday, April 8, 2010

Say something, Adam!

So what's with Adam? He'd be off the hook in this story except for four words, in English -- "who was with her" -- that place Adam's guilt front and center. You see, up till now it's all Eve. She's having the conversation, she's evaluating the options, she's choosing the fruit, she's making the decision, she gives some to Adam and sucks him into her fall from grace.

But Adam was there the whole time.

That's the problem, isn't it? Look around churches today. Who takes charge of passing on faith to a new generation? By and large, the women of the church do. Who takes charge of making sure dollars, time, and energy are given to feeding the hungry, helping the poor, clothing the naked? Mostly the women. Who drives the fellowship activities of the church? The women. Who leads music, with a few notable exceptions? Probably more women than men in most churches. Who is taking the role of spiritual leader in most church members' homes? Usually it's mom. Who sets out high expectations of moral, ethical behavior for children? Mom. Who encourages children to make worship a habit? Mom.

Where is Adam?

He's right there. He's standing there the whole time. Once in a while he'll even get into the spirit of things, with a hearty, "You need to listen to your mother." That's convincing. NOT. Because then he spends Sunday morning watching television or going through his tackle box, and the kids know enough to watch his example rather than listen to his words.

No, Eve is having the most important conversation of humanity's life, and Adam is looking for the remote. Eve is making decisions that will affect her progeny down through the generations, and Adam says, "huh?"

Imagine if Adam took his role seriously. Imagine if Adam overheard part of the conversation between Eve and the snake and stepped up and said, "Honey, don't listen to Slither over there. Remember what God said? I know it looks good, but everything we have today we have because God gave it to us. We need to obey what he told us." Or better yet, Adam could turn to God. "Eve, we need to pray about this before we make a decision."

Most of the time Adam -- me and other guys like me -- is either clueless or he's scared. Plain and simple. Some of you guys read the last paragraph and the idea of praying out loud with your wife scared you to the bottom of your tennis shoes. Some of you are vaguely disturbed by the whole topic because you sort of think you're getting scolded for something you didn't do, and you're not sure what it's all about.

Spiritually passive men. Since time began this has been a huge problem for God's people. All through the Bible you can see this story repeat time and time again. And all through churches today. And all through your house and mine. Far too often it's the woman who drives the family spiritually, and when she suggests that the family attend worship together, the best she gets from her husband is, "Okay, if that's what you want." As often, she hears "That's fine for you, but I'm not going."

Adam just stands there. His family, his marriage, his relationship with God, are all falling apart, and he just stands there. And when his wife screws things up and offers him the fruit of disobedience, he takes it and starts munching. Later he'll blame her for his fall. It's not a pretty picture.

Is it any wonder so many of our heroes are men who have shaken off their passivity? Look at William Wallace in "Braveheart" or Maximus in "Gladiator" or Neo in "The Matrix" or any of dozens of others. These men have grabbed hold of the meaning of their lives with both hands. They still have questions, fears, and uncertainties but they are acting in the face of it all. They make mistakes, but they are scrambling to do the right things. You've got to admire guys like that, even when they fail.

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