True Womanhood – Why Airplanes Aren’t In the Bible

In Women by Caris Adel35 Comments


It’s one thing to talk in generalities about millenials leaving the church, to read books and ponder the reasons why.  But it’s another thing to have one person talk about specific reasons why they’re teetering on the edge.  I think so, anyway.  But I’m just that one person.  Maybe this won’t actually mean much.

But there’s this Bible study that recently came out, and churches are starting to use it.  As I looked into it and watched the videos, I realized this study encapsulates why I struggle so much with being in the evangelical world.

You want to know why you’re having trouble getting 20-30’s to your church?  This is one reason why.

I don’t like feeling like I critique the church a lot.  But the thing is, I feel like a lot of the time it can be exclusive and dehumanizing to people, which, you know, is the opposite of Jesus.

If I were to leave church, or at least leave evangelicalism, it would not be over music styles or because ‘I wasn’t being fed’.

It would be over more fundamental issues, such as, are various ways of following Jesus encouraged?  When we stand up on Sunday mornings and talk about the Holy Spirit guiding and speaking through us all, do we really mean that?  Or do our actions in restricting women contradict that?  Can we even talk about that?  Are cultural issues surrounding the New Testament in play at all?  Is there any validity to what people like Scot McKnight write?  Do we really believe that God speaks to all people in all cultures?  Can we be encouraged to study evolution?  Can we sit in the tension and acceptance of our differences?

And honestly, I’m a lot closer to the door than I am to the pew.

But I can’t bring myself to leave, because I don’t know if that’s the answer.  And I have kids.  I don’t know how to balance this tension.  I don’t know how to handle it when my 10 year old is bored in Sunday School because it’s too simplistic, but is even more bored by the sermon.  I don’t know what to do about having to constantly remind my kids that hearing God is not limited to the Bible and prayer.

Talking about this study is important to me because I think this kind of thinking can be damaging to some people.  A lot of people.   It’s important to me because the entirety of it is incredibly offensive to me.  And when leaders respond with, ‘oh, no it’s not’, then people are excluded and shut down.

I like to swirl in the gradient between black and white, but it feels like I’m caught in a culture that is trying to limit the palette, ignorant of the masterpieces others are creating.  I don’t understand how, in a world this flat, black and white are still the only realistic options for so many people.  I mean really, it’s just confusing.  Do they mean Bone Black?  Mars Black?  Carbon Black?  Zinc White?  Titanium White?

It’s just not that easy.  We live in a world of options, of differing cultures and priorities.  And I believe the story of God, the life of Jesus is applicable to all of them, in unique ways. 

But when black and white world insists on uniformity, when you have serious comments like “There’s so much about humanity that’s amazing, that God could’ve pointed to in this passage {Gen 1:26-27}.  Why didn’t he comment on our language proficiency or our ability to compose sonnets or our creativity or the fact that one day we would make an airplane fly.  You know, he doesn’t take any of those magnificent things.  One thing, one thing only.  Male and female.  I think it is through gender that we glorify God best, because that’s what’s in his image,” (yes, please, let’s talk about why airplanes aren’t mentioned in the Bible!!) then I don’t believe you can address the reality of the world.

I’m sorry.  But when you present an obviously shallow reading of the Bible, it makes me want to walk away.

So.  Over the next 4 weeks or so, I’m going to be writing about the True Woman 101 Divine Design study.  It’s not really going to be a point by point critique, but more a discussion of some of the issues and beliefs underlying it.

I’m not saying I’m right.  I’m just saying that these are my perceptions.  This is what this study makes me feel.  This is what ‘the church’ and people inside it make me feel when they teach this message, and deny that it can be harmful and offensive.

Because I don’t think just walking away is the answer.

But maybe.
This post is part of a series reviewing and discussing the True Woman 101 Divine Design study, by Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh Demoss:

Part 1 – True Womanhood – Why Airplanes Aren’t in the Bible

Part 2 – True Womanhood – Death to Certainty

Part 3 – True Womanhood – Affirming Female Ordination?

Part 4 – True Womanhood – June Cleaver as Jesus

Part 5 – True Womanhood – An Offensive Gospel

Part 6 – True Womanhood – Compassionless Christianity

Part 7 – True Womanhood – Oppressing Women since Creation

Part 8 – True Womanhood – Get Abused, Win A Crown!

Part 9 – True Womanhood – Cookies and Chains

Part 10 – True Womanhood – Tension, Cracks, and a Concrete Faith

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8 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • Christina

    “There’s so much about humanity that’s amazing, that God could’ve pointed to in this passage {Gen 1:26-27}. Why didn’t he comment on our language proficiency or our ability to compose sonnets or our creativity or the fact that one day we would make an airplane fly.”

    Seriously? I just don’t even know how to respond to that quote. They need to read Peter Enns’ Inspiration and Incarnation, stat.

    • Caris Adel

      Right? I just………….so many times in my notes I just scribbled in frustration. How do you even respond to that? Gobsmacked.

      • Christina

        I salute you for having the patience to go through and review this. I’d have given up after 1 chapter.

        • Caris Adel

          I’m just doing what’s on the website. Which from the amazon look-through of the book, seems to be most of the content. But I wasn’t going to give them any money for it.

  • Kelly J Youngblood

    Often, it seems as if the Holy Spirit speaking is simply reiterating what we already are supposed to believe…

    • Caris Adel

      oh snap.

    • mamawest777

      You betcha! I threw Lies Women Believe in the trash 2 chapters in! And that was back in the day before I dug on my own! The Body is limited because we buy into this crap and limit ourselves.

  • perfectnumber628

    Looking forward to this series. :)

  • Shaney Irene

    Oh, that quote. That quote. Such horrible quality of interpretation. Proof texting at its finest. :-/

  • Sarah Bessey

    Looking forward to this, Caris.

  • Jeanne

    I appreciate this. Although somewhat unrelated, I am in the midst of trying to rectify a corporate mindset where I work that sets up women to be discriminated against. As a woman you can imagine the challenge of saying what I need to say in a way that will be taken seriously by the men in charge. has been attempted before by other women that have already gotten fed up and left the company. the hopes that it can be turned around . Posts like these that encourage me to keep going even when frustrations start to set in. so thank you

    • Caris Adel

      We’re in a simliar situation with a job too, only not the female aspect of it. But it’s so frustrating. And people are just leaving. Why is it so hard to take people seriously and listen to them?

  • Beth


  • HopefulLeigh

    So much YES to this, Caris.

  • Danielle | from two to one

    I am simultaneously eager and dreading this series. Keep on it!

    • Caris Adel

      you and me both, haha!

  • Tapper

    Heck, I’m a man and that video trailer made me want to be a good Biblical woman. Sign me up.

  • Anna

    Oh my. I have never placed myself in the feminist camp, to be honest. But I glanced through the discussion questions and was decidedly offended. Life just isn’t that simplistic.

    • Caris Adel

      Yeah. I’ve been thinking about that some, in relation to this and other things…..what does it do when we act like we are giving complex answers to a complex situation, when it isn’t at all – and so then there’s no room to talk about actual complexities at all. And yet we feel good about ourselves.

  • Matt Appling

    Caris – I’m a lot like you. The older I get, the more of an outsider I feel like. But I’ve also found that if you look hard enough, there’s a lot of outsiders. :)

    • Caris Adel

      Yes! I think the internet is my favorite invention :)

    • Bethany Grace Paget

      I feel this way too. My “church” right now in all truth is Twitter.

  • Amanda Russo Wares

    The study itself strikes me as most everything from Nancy Leigh Demoss – trite, simplistic, tied up in a neat little bow. If only life/relationships/people/God worked that way, huh?

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  • rachieannie

    What struck me is that the woman telling us how great this series is was standing in ‘her’ kitchen. Really? Stereotype much?

    • Daisy

      “What struck me is that the woman telling us how great this series is was standing in ‘her’ kitchen. Really? Stereotype much?”

      Did she also say she was baking cookies and pies too? I wouldn’t be surprised.

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  • Daisy

    You said, “But it’s another thing to have one person talk about specific reasons why they’re teetering on the edge”

    Me too! I’m in my early 40s, though. There was a book published about five or so years ago, when I was in my mid 30s, and the Christian author wrote about why church membership/ attendance was in decline starting back then (or a bit sooner). So it’s not just the 20-somethings today who are fed up and leaving churches, but people who are now in their 30s and 40s too, and maybe some 50-somethings.

    I have different reasons why I don’t attend a church service any more and several reasons why I am coming close to leaving the faith itself (which I won’t explain here, it would take too long)

    Gender comp quote: “I think it is through gender that we glorify God best, because that’s what’s in his image”

    I don’t think it’s gender that is significant, but that either gender is human, and human = in image of God. The gender comps are so threatened by feminism, or by society no longer resembling 1950s Beaver Cleaver land, they make more out of gender roles than they ought.

    By the way… there are some dangerous teachings out there about gender and gender roles / marriage in regards to singlehood, which I notice because I’m in my early 40s and never did marry (though I did want to be married). Usually, it’s very extreme groups, such as some Christian Quiverfull fertility cults, who teach this stuff, but I have heard more ‘normal’ preachers on TV teach this too:

    There is a belief that a person cannot fully reflect God’s image unless and until he or she marries. They believe that if you are an un-married men, you are only one half God’s image. They believe, and I’ve heard them say, in some sermons, that if you are an un-married woman, you are only half of God’s image.

    Usually these points are raised only in marriage sermons, when married preachers, who are trying so hard to affirm marriage in a culture they think disparages it, will make comments like, “I was only one half, and my wife was only one half, until we married, then we became one whole, and we are together reflective of God’s image.”

    You can imagine how that makes all the un-married people who hear these sorts of comments feel. It makes us feel like “less than,” or as though we don’t measure up like married people do. And I don’t see this teaching in the Bible, that it takes a man married to a woman to be one whole, or to reveal God. The Bible affirms singleness, but many preachers sure as heck do not.

    That is one reason I don’t go to churches any more, because most of them worship marriage and traditional family. I am not the only one. I’ve seen other singles in their 30s and older, on the internet, say they’ve stopped going to church for the same reason.

    Churches don’t care, either- that is probably the most disgusting part of this. The very few Christian resources I’ve seen online who got wind of this say they don’t care that singles are angry, hurt, and fed up – these Christians think churches should continue to uphold and cater to married couples. They think harping on marriage is the only way to fight the culture of of high divorce and homosexual marriage, and they don’t seem upset if it causes singles to feel unloved, unwanted, disrespected.

    • Caris Adel

      that’s so frustrating that singles are treated like that in the church. :( “I don’t think it’s gender that is significant, but that either gender is human, and human = in image of God. ” Yes. I don’t understand why they are so hung up on that…..what is the harm, if being an equal human being works for you and enables you to follow Jesus even better??? Shouldn’t it be, whatever draws you to Jesus, go and do it? I just don’t get why they are so convinced gender roles are the answer.

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