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.
Women Arise 2016
Elizabeth Muren – Women Arise 2016 (Part 1) – Charis Bible College (8 March 2016)
Carrie Pickett – Women Arise 2016 (Part 2) – Charis Bible College (8 March 2016)
Erin Moraine – Women Arise 2016 (Part 3) – Charis Bible College (9 March 2016)
“Racial and gender prejudice are dramatic backdrops to our modern era. The dramatic splitting of the atom—“nuclear fission”—was a discovery which changed our world. Yet few know that it was a woman physicist who discovered the power of nuclear energy just after her dramatic escape from Nazi Germany. The irony of the story of Lise Meitner (1878 – 1968) is that her laboratory partner of thirty years, Otto Hahn, who remained in Berlin throughout the Third Reich, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1944. Meitner’s exclusion from sharing the Nobel Prize was thus integrally related to her escape from Nazi Germany to Sweden and the consequent social ‘marginalization’ of her important physics research and discoveries. Albert Einstein called the respected Viennese pioneer in nuclear physics “our Madame Curie.” (Above quoted from http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/meitner-lise)
The brilliant Lise Meitner was the mother of nuclear power, but you’ve probably never heard of her! Her research contributed greatly to the discovery of nuclear fission. She was an Austrian physicist who worked on radioactivity and nuclear physics. Otto Hahn and Meitner led the small group of scientists who first discovered nuclear fission of uranium when it absorbed an extra neutron; the results were published in early 1939.
Lise Meitner was one of eight children. When she finished school at age 14, she was barred from higher education, as were all girls in Austria. When Lise showed an early propensity for mathematics, she was privately tutored, her father insisting that each of his daughters receive the same education as his sons. (Three of Lise’s sisters later also earned their Ph.D. degrees). Inspired by the discoveries of William Röntgen and Henri Becquerel, she was determined to study radioactivity. When she turned 21, women were finally allowed into Austrian universities. Two years of tutoring preceded her enrollment at the University of Vienna; there she excelled in math and physics and earned her doctorate in 1906. She wrote to Marie Curie, but there was no room for her in the Paris lab and so Meitner made her way to Berlin. There she collaborated with Otto Hahn on the study of radioactive elements, but as an Austrian Jewish woman (all three qualities were strikes against her), she was excluded from the main labs and lectures and allowed to work only in the basement. For several years she was not permitted access to the laboratories of the Berlin Institute for Chemistry where she worked as an unpaid research scientist (1907–1912)
In 1912, Hahn and Meitner moved to a new university and Meitner had better lab facilities. Meitner became an official University Lecturer in 1922, but even in liberalizing Berlin the press jokingly reported the topic of her inaugural speech as “Cosmetic Physics” instead of cosmic physics. She led several courses in quantum physics with her outstanding graduate students (such as Leo Szilard and Max Delbrueck) as assistants, until Adolf Hitler’s decrees in April, 1933 stripped Jewish academics of their professorial positions.
At first she was an unpaid “guest” under Hahn, but most people knew they were equals in their research team. From 1924 to 1934, the team gained international prestige and were nominated for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for ten consecutive years. Though their partnership was split up physically when she was forced to flee Nazi Germany in 1938, Hahn and Meitner continued to collaborate.
Meitner continued her work in Sweden. After Hahn discovered that uranium atoms were split when bombarded with neutrons, Meitner and her nephew Frisch took a hike in the snowy Swedish woods, animatedly discussing the puzzling “bursting” process. Then they realized: if E=mc2, that mass could not be lost, but the nucleus would be “split in two.”. She calculated the energy released in the reaction and named the phenomenon “nuclear fission.” The discovery—which eventually led to the atomic bomb (“You must not blame scientists for the use to which war technicians have put our discoveries,” Meitner would say in 1945)—won Hahn the Nobel Prize in 1944. Meitner was left out by the Awarding Committee.
She carried on with her research and helped produce one of the first peacetime nuclear reactors. It wasn’t until 1966 that Meitner really received any attention. During her 60 years of work in the field of atomic physics she wrote 128 articles, and served on the United Nations Committee on atomic energy. In 1992 it was announced that she would have an element named after her, meitnerium. Meitner spent most of her 70s and 80s traveling, encouraging women students to “remember that science can bring both joy and satisfaction to your life.”
Lise’s parents were assimilated Viennese Jews, who did not practice Judaism. In 1908 on a visit to Vienna Lise formally withdrew from the Jewish community and was baptized at the Evangelical Congregation.
(The above biography is compiled from information/excerpts from Wikipedia and Jewish Women encyclopedia)
Reading the above makes me marvel at the courage and determination of this woman whose ability and worth as an individual overcame the male chauvinistic social and economic culture and racial prejudices of her time. She was a woman and a Jew. These went against her in that time. She was made to work and research without pay and under harsh physical condition. She was not given a recognition which she rightly deserved. She was threatened with her life. But all these did not stop her from becoming a woman of great worth, perhaps not in monetary terms, but in the history of mankind. She will not be forgotten. She became a model of overcomer.