I noticed this morning that the lectionary reading for this Sunday includes the scripture from Genesis known traditionally as "the Fall of Man". I'm usually careful about inclusive language but I have used the traditional form of this phrase intentionally because it highlights one of the great difficulties that we currently have when we read this story. Many people can still relate to the idea that sin is inherent in our humanity. Frequently we may feel that we have missed the mark, that we are not all that we should be, that we have failed both ourselves and God. This is the essence of the doctrine of Original Sin and still has much which speaks deeply to our human experience.
There is, however, an unwelcome offshoot of this story which I think we need to reconsider and it has nothing to do with whether you take the Genesis story literally or metaphorically. There are some who would argue that there is an important element in this story which cannot be ignored - specifically that it is the woman (corrupted by the serpent) who is the cause of man's fall. The portrayal of women as the sexual temptresses of men has been a familiar theme throughout history. I guess we should admit that history is mostly written by men!
I think it's time to get real about this and discard our misogynistic prejudice. Perhaps a more relevant lesson from this story is that 'passing the buck' is an ancient tactic to avoid blame which should be revealed for what it is. None of us are perfect, male or female, and all fall short of the glory of God. Until we accept our own faults as just that, our own, and stop blaming others, we will never be able to move on and become what we are intended to be. This is true both individually and of the church as a whole. Any part of the church which continues to deny women an equal status with men will continue to fall short of the fullness which is the hope of God for all creation.