Intimidating. It’s a word women hear often. One spoken to them as a weapon, a reason for why they are dismissed, ignored, cut off from deeper relationship. It is spoken as though it were it were a compliment. “You have it together. You are strong, well-spoken, brave.” And yet, it is a compliment that cuts us off at the knees. What it really says is “No one knows what to do with you. You are too much.”
And in light of this statement, a question has been Sunday-strolling through the streets of my mind. Is the issue intimidating women or intimidated men? And does it even matter?
To explore this further, I’d like to invite you into the story of the very first couple. I encourage you to be open to hearing it in a new way. It may not settle well with you at first. It may buck against they way this story plays on repeat throughout the history of your faith. I understand. It is difficult to hear things in a new way. Let’s allow ourselves to struggle through it without simply disregarding the unfamiliar.
Since that dreaded moment in the garden, when Adam and Eve wandered their way to the one tree Adam knew would lead them away from what God offered, men and women have been at odds.
Eve, perhaps not knowing the whole picture having not been created when the warning was given to Adam, saw that wisdom and knowledge was available instantly through the sweet fruit of the tree. Wisdom and knowledge, they would be needed if the newly formed humans were going to fulfill their calling to cultivate and care for creation. Yet, there is a slow wisdom and knowledge, growing like an oak whose roots dig and fight their way through the earth as branches stretch further up and out toward the sun. But no one wants the slow-growing when they can have it now.
And Eve, the Ezer K’enegdo, the military force balance to the incomplete humanity of Adam, took the information she had and formed a strategy. She reached out her hand to the possibility of knowing everything they would need to be the most effective stewards; and Adam, himself knowing the full risk, joined her. They dined on instant gratification and passive hope.
And trust shattered.