Right now I am sitting on a plane that is somewhere between Minneapolis and Raleigh-Durham. This weekend I was in Albuquerque, NM for a family reunion, and even though the idea of a family reunion might sound kinda lame, just picture a large band of Hoddes wandering around random tourist attractions like the Rattlesnake Museum and a landmark commemorating the “Skirmish of Albuquerque.”
(You’d really think they could’ve come up with a manlier title than “skirmish.” It sounds like they just stood around and slapped one another with gloves in between exchanging verbal insults.)
Yes, the Hodde clan is a colorful bunch. Between my uncle sneaking up behind people and making farting noises, and the stories about UFO abductions (no one in my family has experienced this personally, but apparently it happens a lot in Albuquerque?), there was never a dull moment.
On the flight from Albuquerque to Minneapolis I also had an interesting experience, but of a different kind. I happened to sit right next to a Catholic priest named Father Stephen, and we spent the entire flight discussing theology, ministry, and the Gospel.
Father Stephen has a parish in New Mexico, but he is also heavily involved in the pro-life movement and we had a fascinating conversation about it. In particular, he had some tremendous insights into the role of men in the current abortion crisis. As Father Stephen explained, the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden is still very much alive in the practice of abortion today.
What follows is the logic behind this very astute conclusion:
Adam’s sin in the Garden was a failure to lead. Rather than protect Eve and dispute the serpent, he sat by and let her make a decision that negatively affected both of them. Ironically, when it came time to place blame, Adam pointed directly at Eve. As far as he was concerned it was ALL HER FAULT. End of story.
But it wasn’t all her fault, was it? God had given Adam moral responsibility for Eve by giving Adam His commands before Eve’s creation. Of the two, Adam should have seen right through the serpent’s lie, and he should have taken responsibility for caring for Eve. But he didn’t. Instead, he let Eve take full responsibility.
And therein lies Adam’s sin.
Yet this story is not unlike many of the scenarios playing out today, particularly in regard to abortion. Men are failing to step up and take a stand when women need them to.
In his own experience, Father Stephen has witnessed countless women go to their boyfriends or husbands and ask, “Do you think I should have this baby?” The man then responds, “It’s up to you,” which she interprets to mean, “I don’t really want this baby.”
So the woman aborts the child, thinking she’s done what the man secretly wanted. Meanwhile, the man washes his hands of it. And if it ever becomes obvious that abortion was the wrong decision, he can easily point to her and blame, “I left it up to her. It was all her decision.”
It is the story of Adam and Eve playing out over and over again, thousands of years later. Just like Eve, women today need men to step up and support them.
You see, there are two crucial parts of the decision making process that a woman must consider in light of an unexpected pregnancy: whether your significant other wants the child, and whether you’ll be able to take care of the child. Both of these questions are easily resolved when men take responsibility for the choices they have made.
That said, women need men to help them while they’re pregnant, take care of the baby once it’s born, or even help them with the adoption process if that is the path she needs to take. And most of all, before the baby is even born, the man needs to voice his desire to keep the child and love the child. Such words of affirmation can make all the difference in saving the life of a baby.
Now at this point you may object: “What if the man is absent or refuses to support the pregnancy? How can we possibly address the countless scenarios in which men fail to step up?” Well it is here that we remember Paul’s teachings about Christ—he is the second Adam, the one to reverse the curse, which means that Adam’s failure was not the final word.
Similarly, the absence of men in the family today does not mean the family is doomed. Even when “Adam” fails today, Christ steps in to make things right. Christ fills that gap and heals the world that Adam and Eve left broken.
And how does Christ do that? Through the Church. As the Body of Christ, we are the hands and feet of Jesus, so we are a part of the curse reversal. We are the ones to step in when fallen men repeat the sin of Adam. We are the agents of healing, renewal, and protection for this world. That is our job, so while we must certainly challenge men to stand up and fill the role that God created for them, we cannot waste time placing blame. That is what Adam did.
So as much as we want the government to fix our problems for us, we have a far more reliable Savior for that job. Christ, through his Church, can effect the healing we long to see in our broken country, and we are a part of that plan.
That said, we must stop waiting around for someone else to do the hard work for us. When we lazily complain about the state of abortion in our country and do nothing but point fingers at our liberals policy makers, we do little more than perpetuate the sin of Adam. Instead, let’s stop waiting around, and let’s do something.
What are you doing?