True Womanhood – Tension, Cracks, and a Concrete Faith

In Women by Caris Adel15 Comments


Photo Credit: hinkelstone


“Gender displays God…..Who we are and how we relate as women and men is an object lesson.”

“Being created for someone indicates that God created the female to be a highly relational creature.  Her identity isn’t based on work nearly as much as on how well she connects in her relationships….We need to keep in mind, what is it that woman was created to help man do?….She’s a helper that helps him fulfill his purpose.  And what is his purpose?  To glorify God.”

“The fact that woman was created within the boundaries of a household {garden of Eden} also implies that women have a unique responsibility in the home….For the woman, the work of nurturing her relationships and keeping her family in order and her household in order takes priority over other types of work.”

“God’s design for manhood and womanhood is truly spectacular.  Men are to reflect the character and strength, love and self-sacrifice of Christ.  Women are to reflect the character, responsiveness, grace, and beauty of the bride he redeemed.  And the sexes compliment each other in terms of which part of the story they tell and display.”

“Without manhood and womanhood, marriage and sex…we would have a tough time understanding God and the gospel.”

 (all quotes from Week 2 main session.)


1) I don’t understand how, in a world this flat, black and white are still the only realistic options for so many people.

2) Adherence to fundamentalism might be the camel’s back itself.

3) When a system and the people in it are so dogmatic that they label all differing opinions as sin, I don’t even know how to respond.  Because, HISTORY.

4) But a rejection of gender roles is not a rejection of God.

5) This study is so confident.  So, so, so confident that by living this way, and only this way, that you glorify God.  But what if it doesn’t?

6) The danger of wrapping up an ideology with Jesus, is that a person can look at this and say, if this is compassionate Christianity, FTS.  Church should not be the place where I learn to dehumanize people.

7) If the only solution is conversion to Jesus and a specific way of following him, then we’re leaving millions of people stranded in oppression.

8) So you’re telling me that all females, no matter their age or their marital status, need to be agreeable, leadable, and yesable to all males.

9) How I live my life should not be dependent on my gender, and displaying the glory of God is not a condition of obedience to cultural gender roles.


And now, for another object lesson.

Concrete.  It’s used for sidewalks, roads, bridges, and foundations, and it comes in different strengths.  The higher the strength, the more brittle and inflexible it is.

Concrete is excellent in compression, but not so much in tension.  To quote my engineer husband, “It’s horrible in tension.”

If you take a slab of concrete and put a heavy load on top of it, it will break from the bottom up.  The top will push together and the bottom pulls apart, fracturing.

Concrete – the compound that literally upholds our way of life – cracks easily.

How interesting that something rigid, inflexible, and unable to handle tension breaks easily, especially when you place a heavy burden on it.

If evangelicalism and the people in it continue to be rigid and unable to embrace tension, both will crack.  Gender roles is but only one part of the burden that is placed on people.

And just like pieces of concrete that crumble off, people will leave this system, but because of how they are intertwined, there’s no guarantee they won’t leave God as well.



The secret of concrete’s success, of course, lies in the steel beams placed at the bottom.  Rebar is able to handle the tension.


 So what do you think will let evangelicalism handle tension?  Is there anyway for it to stop losing people?


This post ends our series reviewing and discussing the True Woman 101 Divine Design study, by Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh Demoss.  Check out any other posts you might have missed!

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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  • http://1t412.wordpress.com/ Christina

    I’m still sputtering at the quote about the garden of Eden being a household. Really? That’s the best term they can think of? (Also, wasn’t Adam limited to it as well?)

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      Oh no, Adam was created in the wild, and then placed in the garden. He was created from the dust of the desert. And then placed in ‘the garden’, which is only part of the land of Eden. It was the homestead in the land of Eden. ………………….o_O

  • http://www.allthingsbeautifulblog.com/ Alyssa Bacon-Liu

    So only men are called to be Christlike? So that whole WWJD thing is just for dudes? Alright then. Good to know.

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      Nope. We just get to sit pretty and be the masterpieces. 😛 “She’s the constant beneficiary of protection from the authorities God has put in her life. The Lord wanted to ensure the woman, the soft, delicate masterpiece of creation would always be loved and cherished and kept safe.” Gag.

  • http://notknowingwhere.com/ Anna

    I really love the analogy of the concrete. It’s so right. Life is not rigid. We are dooming ourselves if we demand rigidity. My family is nothing like this characterization in the quotes or in the rest of the study. But it’s really not about God, Jesus, the Bible, the creation order, or feminism. It’s about US. It’s about LIFE. It’s about how God made both of us (which I refuse to believe is broken). We are different, but I’m sure that God has a design.

    My husband and I both have high functioning Aspergers. We didn’t know this label when we got married, but just that we were great together, and the rest of the world seemed nuts to us :). We decided early on, that I was the person with the greatest likelihood of holding down a job that would support a family. Has this always been the case in our marriage? No. He took his turn once when I got myself into a job that was completely incompatible with my capabilities. I reach a point where I had to quit.

    God made families so that we would not be alone. Because God himself did not want to be alone. My hubs and I were TERRIBLE without each other. I don’t think he minds me saying that! But together, we function. His focus is on certain parts of the home, and mine on others. We make the grocery list together, both do laundry, etc. I do the dishes because it hurts his back. He vacuums the floor because it hurts my allergies. Why in the world would we adopt a rigid guideline that would heap excessive responsibility on any unique person? How unhealthy!

    • http://notknowingwhere.com/ Anna

      P.S. I LOVE the cartoon at the bottom. :)

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      “God made families so that we would not be alone. Because God himself did not want to be alone. ” Yes. This is what I’ve always been taught about why God created people…..not just so it would show the gospel. That just seems so weird.

  • rachieannie

    The whole time I’ve been reading through your series, all I could think about was how hypocritical it is that these two powerful, connected, and EMPLOYED women are preaching that we need to shut up and stay home. Nancy has her own ministry for goodness sake!! But, I went on her website, and I see what she did – she’s under the authority of an Advisory Council. Whew. So glad she doesn’t have to make her own decisions.

    Sorry. This whole series made me a little snarky. I am a SAHM, and probably would fit into their little boxes if you just looked at me from the outside. But on the inside? I am woman, hear me roar!

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      yes, exactly. I don’t want to be boxed into that either, just b/c that’s what I am. I looked at Nancy’s site too once and lol. One woman and all these men who are over her. And if you look at the camp website, everyone who runs it is a man. It’s almost overkill. Even in conservative churches, women can do some stuff, but it looks like she’s the only woman on staff at that whole thing.

  • Anne Bogel

    That. cartoon. is. awesome.

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      isn’t that the best?

  • Pam

    As I’ve been reading through this fantastic series and a song’s been playing in my mind the whole time: it’s called Little Baby Nothing, by Manic Street Preachers. I was going to just post a line or two, but the whole thing is just such an excellent critique of the sort of devaluing of women engaged in by people like Kassian and DeMoss that I’ll just post the whole damn lot of it:

    No-one likes looking at you, your lack of ego offends male mentality
    They need your innocence, to steal vacant love and to destroy
    Your beauty and virginity used like toys

    My mind is dead, everybody loves me
    Wants a slice of me, hopelessly passive and compatible
    Need to belong, oh the roads are scary
    Hold me in your arms, I want to be your only possession
    Used, used, used by men

    All they leave behind is money, paper made out of broken twisted trees
    Your pretty face offends, because it’s something real that I can’t touch
    Eyes, skin, bone, contour, language as a flower

    No god reached me, faded films and loving books
    Black and white TV, all the world does not exist for me
    If I’m starving, you can feed me lollipops
    Your diet will crush me, my life just an old man’s memory

    Little baby nothing, loveless slavery, lips kissing empty
    Dress your life in loathing, breaking your mind with Barbie doll futility
    Little baby nothing, sexually free, made up to break up
    Assassinated beauty, moths broken up, quenched at last
    The vermin allowed a thought to pass them by

    You are pure, you are snow, we are the useless sl*ts that they mould

    Rock and Roll is our epiphany

    Culture, alienation, boredom and despair

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      that is an incredible song. I looked it up and how it came about, who sang in it…powerful.

  • amyepatton72

    Caris, Very, very interesting posts. Thank you. (I spent the last few hours reading through the entire series- not doing laundry.) I am intrigued and will explore this topic more. In fact, I am contemplating reading through the Bible- beginning to end- with an eye to what God has to say to me as a female. I’ve always read it with an eye to what God has to say to me, Amy—person. (and I grew up in the deep South and was born and bred in the SBC- so we aren’t all off our rockers) Anyways, a few comments about previous posts (it seemed easier to do this all at once). I read a few of the True Womanhood clips to my kids (they are 21-boy, 20-girl, and 17-boy) from the post Get Abused, Win a Crown. After hearing them, my 21 year old son, said, “Man, they need to read Boundaries!” My daughter said, “Yeah, and doesn’t Pastor Matt- an SBC pastor- say if you are living in an abusive situation ‘Run, baby, run’!” My seventeen year old just shook his head. My point- there is hope! Also, about The Girl Effect- I just got back from a mission trip in Thailand. We worked directly with a ministry in Patpong, serving women in the bars. The issue in Thailand is complicated- as it is worldwide- and has no simple solutions. Education, poverty relief, job training are definitely needed. The gospel is needed. But you can’t just go in and tell them about Jesus and expect change. They will say yes to Jesus in one breath and give an offering to Buddha in the next because to them He is “same, same” as Buddha- one of many gods. On top of that laws protecting women are great, but until you overhaul an entire cultures way of thinking about women they do you no good. Police are all over Patpong and ALL of that is illegal in Thailand. Anyways, easy answers will not solve this problem, but one person at a time, one life at a time can be changed- step by step and inch by inch. Finally, I happen to love church and the Church. My husband has been incredibly hurt by church so I know first hand the pain we cause. But I live with hope that this flawed, broken body of Christ can be a life giving light to the world. When, people- men, women, children, and yes, even me- fail, especially as leaders, it is not only unfortunate but it places an enormous burden on the rest of the body. But that is where grace and mercy come in. We are a body; we must work together. So, please, stay… be a voice, a strong powerful voice… hold us to the fire- because fire refines… and we all want to be refined because then we are sanctified. Your voice is a good, healthy fire not a hurtful, abusive fire. Who knows,you might even get a crown! 😉 With love, Amy

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      Thanks Amy. That’s really encouraging :)