An Evanescent rose. I took this picture in late November 2015 at Santa Cruz, CA. I have a soft spot for roses. Is it because of their beauty despite the thorns? Or should I rephrase my question to, is it because of their beauty in having the thorns? I believe there are two perspectives. One can view the thorns as encumbrances. Another may view the thorns as added advantages. I like to think that the thorns of a rose demonstrate the strength of an otherwise seemingly fragile looking flower. I do not like to liken a rose to a woman or vice versa. But if anyone ever thinks of a woman as a rose, please also think of the thorns, that is, the inherent strength of a woman. No, women are not the weaker ones.
Some women are very angry. They decide to take matters into their own hands and walk down the street to make their voices heard. I know how it hurts or infuriates oneself when one feels that others are not listening, or worse, perhaps mocking or scoffing in their hearts. It hurts to be considered and treated as a second best or third best or not even a human who matters (in some societies). Gender, age, color, race, looks, nationality. All these matter to the physical world. Discrimination means her physical rights and entitlement are taken away from her because of her age, gender, looks, race, color or nationality (even if she has the right color, race, or looks). Indeed, in the fallen world, all men are not born equal. This is not a new issue. Some women may not know this, gender men are not born equal too. Have things improved since the beginning of mankind? Which is preferred: honesty or hypocrisy? You want an honest opinion and attitude from the heart or you just make do with the superficial legal mandatory physical (material) recognition from fellow citizens in the society? For practical living, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, both are essential.
Do women need to fight for their rights? Can our words and actions change others’ ways of thinking and the generic hearts of mankind? This is the current topic of debate since woman suffrage movement which actually began in 1848, when the first women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York, USA. The outstanding (unfinished) issue (in USA) is 169 years old. In this blog dedicated to women I have previously put together many Biblical examples of women in the Bible and how God (the Holy Spirit) viewed them and spoke positively of them and their lives. There are many evidences to show that God has never discriminated against women. The discriminations that some women have encountered past and present in some societies or people groups individually and/or as a group are not from God. Just as the many disasters and bad happenings in this fallen world are not from God but from irresponsible and selfish mankind, bad things that have happened or are still happening to women are from selfish man (mankind) and not God.
We know from history that human laws can be enacted in civil societies. But people’s hearts and attitudes do not simply change. Mind-set only changes through life transforming encounters in one’s own life. Physical changes are possible but not the heart matters. I learned superficially since young the differences between man and woman, for example, what to do or not to do, where to go or not to go, mainly based on physical abilities and social acceptability and responsibility. I also noted that in cases when the man of the family was unable to carry out his assigned responsibility as the head/bread-earner of the family, the woman stepped in effectively and assumed the responsibility without much debate. It was natural and automatic. She would go out and get a job and supported her children (and husband) when needed. Many women changed their dominant role as housewife to that of a business entrepreneur or corporate executive. Some excelled and became highly respected authoritative professionals in specialized fields traditionally dominated by men, just as some men excelled in fields traditionally dominated by women. Changes through interchanges of physical tasks are not difficult.
The increasing progresses in opening of the education and employment venues to women have contributed to further economic and social advances and material wellbeing of women. On the other hand, there are many records of materially successful self-made women, without the aforementioned institutionalized advantages or privileges. How can this be? This is not new. The Bible recorded many successful godly women in different influential fields: political, military, economic, social and even religious (by being prophets)!
On the other hand, we all know that mankind’s nature has not changed since the existence of history. We can only carry what we are able to carry in true integrity, at the level which each of us is assigned according to the ability each has. Some human has more endowments in certain areas and resources. Some have less. Some resources are gender-related but not all are.
Coming back to how to make people change their mind (attitude and intrinsic value system) about looking down on women or a human because of his or color or race or nationality, I have no answer. I would say that though gender (and many other discriminative) issues seemed important to me once, I do not now consider it a matter that warrants dispute. For example, if you think that being a white woman and treated as a second class citizen in your white country is unfair, try being born as a person without a definite clear gender or being born of a color and race of a country which the world’s popular mass media (which have and still are shaping world view of the world’s population) have traditionally looked down upon. Try being one of those stereotyped caricatured oriental characters in your movies. Indeed, the white culture has been popularized and upheld by many in the global entertainment and game industries which no longer have any boundaries.
My answer to the unfairness of this world is to have an esteem which the world cannot touch. I know my God is real. I have encountered Him. I submit to His words. I also know from my experience that man’s words cannot really change people. The real transformation can only take place just as the very learned and intelligent man, the Apostle Paul, said, “by the renewal of our mind.” The transformation of our mind is the key to knowing God. God has said that we can be joined to Him and one spirit with Him! (1 Corinthians 6:17) In our spirit we can access the real answers to our many questions the world cannot answer. I cannot explain to you how my own mind had been changed. I can only witness to you that you will agree and say Amen when yours too are changed by the renewal of God’s words (with His Spirit). I also urge you to seek to know God now so you know His purpose for you on earth. Life is set in time. Believe me, time does not wait for a person no matter how busy or important you may consider the other matters you are pursuing are.
James 1:20, says that the wrath of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God. Regardless of how appropriate our anger may seem, and regardless of how we think our wrath could make a person or situation change, we will never achieve God’s best that way.
Paul actually said this two thousand years ago, Romans 12:1-2 Amplified Bible (AMP)
12 [a]Therefore I urge you, [b]brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be [c]transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].
Romans 12:1 Paul now begins outlining for the believer the practical application of the theological truths taught in chs 1-11.
Romans 12:1 Lit brethren.
Romans 12:2 From the Greek word meaning “metamorphosis.” Refers to the process that leads to an outward, permanent change.
The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps project has been a neighborhood effort to create a beautiful mosaic running up the risers of the 163 steps located at 16th and Moraga in San Francisco. The residents had been working on this project since January of 2003. It was inspired by the famous stairs in Rio De Janero, these steps were meticulously created over a summer to build a beautiful walkway for the whole city to enjoy. Artists Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher led the creation of the 163 mosaic panels that were applied to the step risers, over 300 neighbors joined us in making them, and over 220 neighbors sponsored handmade animal, bird and fish name tiles imbedded within the mosaic.
To get to the Mosaic Steps you would take the bus from Golden Gate Park (about 15 minutes away) and then get off around 16th avenue. Approaching from 16th avenue you can immediately see the Mosaic Steps as they ascend to Grand View Park. After walking up the two blocks of steep streets (like everything in San Francisco) you will reach the base of the steps.
Are steps up the slope considered a Path ?
Enjoy climbing the decorative path, which may be viewed as a labor of love from a group of neighborly people. Their labor is not in vain.
Luke 10:29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Luke 10:36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
Matthew 22:37-40 New King James Version (NKJV)
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
I suddenly feel that I must give you a poem. I have no original poem good enough for you. So I give you my translation of another poet from a distant land. I pray you are well and strong. I found your old picture in my long forgotten album. The same smile. The same wind-blown hair. The same frown as you look into the bright light. I really like this dream for a moment. A new Anticipation .
[A First Meeting] (translated by this blogger)
a beautiful dream and poem alike
perchance spontaneous musing
often in stunning moments revealed
I like this kind of dream
wherein we always begin afresh
slowly unhurriedly explaining all
forlorn time bygone feeling retold
restoring ecstatic gratitude of old
my heart overflowing with glee
because you are here with me
you smile as in years that flee
I really like this kind of dream
I know you have traveled thousands of miles for me
yet I feel like the fisherman who has stumbled into your world anew*
like we have just met afresh
[初相遇](original by a Mongolian painter and poetess Xi-Mu-Rong)
*The original phrase describing a beautiful scenery “fragrant grass and profuse fallen petals” was quoted from a fable about a fisherman who stumbled into a utopian world, written around 421 AD by Tao-Yan-Ming, a famous politician poet.