It may seem as though I speak endlessly of Eve.
That’s because I do.
Consider sexual trafficking. The recent PBS release of the movie Half the Sky. The Not for Sale campaign. The Girl Effect. So many other like and just causes. Were we to track the origin of each of these issues, they all go back to Eve.
How about the current polls that show both Romney and Obama’s favor (or lack thereof) with women. Their positions are informed by political process and power. That political process and power is informed by philosophical systems of thought. Those systems of thought are formed by systems of belief. And those systems of belief (at least in the Western world) can be clearly tracked to the earliest interpretations of Scripture. It all goes back to Eve.
When I hear ignorant and even hate-filled statements espoused by “leaders” in the church, particularly statements about women, I sigh heavily and recognize again that it all goes back to Eve.
When I have a conversation with a woman about the risks she feels in truly stepping into her voice, her power, her strength, and especially her desire, I know in my gut that it all goes back to Eve.
We have become so enculturated with her story as it’s been told through the centuries (shame, a serpent, sin, punishment, banishment to a life east of Eden, pain in childbirth, struggle in relationship with man, and even more shame), that at most, we feel a heaviness, a burden, and a strong temptation to just turn away; at least, a hissing sense of irritation if not disdain over the story’s seeming irrelevance and over-use.
It is at this exact juncture that I square my shoulders, stand up even straighter, take a great big bite out of an apple, and shout:
NO! Every single one of these problematic realities go back to an Eve we’ve not not esteemed and not seen accurately. That’s not the Eve I know. And God knows, it’s not the Eve God knows, either.
Even more, that telling of Eve’s story has served very particular purposes throughout time. It’s interpretation is hardly benign, objective, or pure. No story ever is.
I keep speaking of Eve because everything I’ve articulated above matters. A lot.
I keep speaking of Eve because it is my deepest belief that acknowledging the ways in which her story has been told begins to explain the “why” inherent in issues of social justice, politics, power, organized religion, (mis)understandings of gender and sexuality , and individual womens’ lives.
I keep speaking of Eve because it is my strongest hope that in re-imagining and retelling her story in redemptive ways, everything changes: inherent issues of social justice, politics, power, organized religion, (mis)understandings of gender and sexuality, and most certainly, most importantly, individual womens’ lives.
I keep speaking of Eve because she deserves to be seen as the woman she is: the queen of creation, the carrier of our in-the-image-of-God DNA, our forebear, and the legacy we have the privilege to sustain.
I keep speaking of Eve because it is her story that has changed mine. And I want that, more than anything, for you, for all of us.
I keep speaking of Eve because I am convinced that even in your story I could easily say, “It all goes back to Eve.”
I keep speaking of Eve because I don’t know how not to.
I’m only just getting started.