Back in the 1990s, when I was a good Baptist girl, I was taught that the man was to be the head of things. That was just the way it was ‘sposed to be according to God Himself. You see, God created Adam first, so that meant Adam was number one! And everything was all nice and dandy in the Garden of Eden-until simple Eve went and listened to that wicked snake. Eve was deceived, but she didn’t stop there. No, bad ole’ Eve gave the fruit to her man and encouraged him to take a bite too! Ever since, sin and death have been with us. Because of Eve’s acts, I as a woman was condemned to my own special brand of suffering. I would bleed and have cramps for decades of my life. I’d go through excruciating pain in childbirth, all because a woman I never knew took a bite. My husband would rule over me. The New Testament expanded upon what I could and could not do as a woman. I wasn’t supposed to preach or have authority over a man in the church-again, all because of Eve. In the church I grew up in, a woman could only enter the pulpit if she was stocking and cleaning it prior to services. No female-regardless of the title that she held, regardless of whether she was ordained in another denomination or church-could address the congregation from the pulpit. It was for men only, and to question or go against that was to question the word of God itself. Women were to be meek and quiet, leaving leadership and power to the men of God. Everyone knew that men are uniquely created by ‘God’ to bear the burdens that come with being in charge. Women were just too precious and fragile to handle such a responsibility. As a ‘godly’ woman I was to agree with such teachings and ‘know my place-beneath men.
But you know what amuses me when I look back on all of this? The fact that so many women in Black churches go along with it. For when you look around in the church, in the community and in our families, sistas take care of business! We hold it down on all fronts. In some churches we comprise the majority of the congregation. We serve on committees, handle administrative needs, coordinate logistics for church events and handle the finances. In our personal lives we often juggle family and career obligations. Every day of our lives we silently prove ourselves strong, capable, efficient and able to lead. Yet we assent to doctrines which state we are not to have such qualities in the house of God. It makes no sense.