By Jack Ryan
Serena Williams praised her daughter as her “greatest accomplishment” as she rang in her second birthday with a touching tribute on social media. i She wrote alongside a picture taken on the day of Olympia’s birth: “The last 2 years have been my greatest accomplishment (sic)”
Williams and Alexis Ohanian are Jehova’s Witnesses and so they don’t celebrate birthdays, but the Reddit co-founder still took to Instagram to ring in Olympia’s second “cake day”.
He wrote: “How has it already been two years? Happy cake day @olympiaohanian. Thank you for being the greatest thing we’ve ever done. (sic)”
Last year, the 37-year-old sports star honored Olympia’s birthday with a video that was taken while she was still pregnant, on the day she went to the hospital, where she was given an emergency C-section after her heart rate dropped dangerously low during her contractions.
Just days previous, she had insisted she wouldn’t be celebrating Olympia’s first birthday for religious reasons.
She had said: “Olympia doesn’t celebrate birthdays. We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses, so we don’t do that.”
The brunette beauty, who on Sunday, Sept. 1, Williams defeated Petra Martic at the 2019 U.S. Open to advance to the quarter-finals on Monday, has been a Jehovah Witness since her mother Oracene converted to the religion in the ’80s but she’s only just got more “into it.”
She said last year: “Being a Jehovah’s Witness is important to me, but I’ve never really practiced it and have been wanting to get into it.
“Alexis didn’t grow up going to any church, but he’s really receptive and even takes the lead. He puts my needs first.”
Williams regularly attends church and is convinced she wouldn’t have to success she does today in her sporting career if she didn’t believe in God.
She explained: “I am Jehovah’s Witness. If you don’t believe in God — I think if you don’t believe in God, it’s going to be tough to live life because pretty much that’s the basis of life, it comes from God.
“And so being a Jehovah’s Witness, obviously we believe in God and the bible. And without Him, I wouldn’t be here right now. I really thank him for everything.”
Serena Williams confirms she will not celebrate daughter’s first birthday due to Jehovah’s Witness beliefsBy Guest Indiana
Serena Williams’s daughter Alexis Olympia turns 1 this week – but we shouldn’t expect any extravagant party pictures on the ‘gram.
The tennis legend has confirmed that she will not be celebrating her baby girl’s first birthday, due to her beliefs as a Jehovah’s Witness.
Serena was speaking at a press conference at the when she was asked whether she has thought about she’d be celebrating Olympia’s first birthday.
Responding to a reporter asking: ‘Is there a birthday party planned?’, the 36-year-old said: ‘Olympia doesn’t celebrate birthdays. We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses, so we don’t do that.’
It is believed Serena’s husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, is now practicing with his wife, despite not growing up in a religious household.
Speaking to Vogue last year, Serena said: ‘Being a Jehovah’s Witness is important to me, but I’ve never really practiced it and have been wanting to get into it.
‘Alexis didn’t grow up going to any church, but he’s really receptive and even takes the lead. He puts my needs first.’
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe God is the Creator and Supreme Being, and reject the Trinity doctrine.
They do not celebrate religious holidays like Christmas and Easter, and do not observe birthdays or national holidays, feeling that many of these customs have pagan origins and do not celebrate God.
By Guest Nicole
Serena también habló sobre su fe: "Soy testigo de Jehová. Si no crees en Dios, creo que si no crees en Dios, va a ser difícil vivir la vida porque esa es la base de la vida, proviene de Dios.
Y así, siendo testigos de Jehová, obviamente creemos en Dios y en la Biblia. Y sin Él, no estaría aquí ahora. Realmente le agradezco por todo. Realmente he sido bendecida. La gente está enferma, acaba de nacer con trastornos, y he tenido la suerte de nacer, ya sabes, bastante saludable.
By Jack Ryan
Posted by Michael David Smith onÂ September 1, 2018, 7:31 AM EDT AP Colin Kaepernick andÂ Eric ReidÂ wereÂ cheered by the crowdÂ at the U.S. Open on Friday night, and afterwards they were applauded by the winner of the nightÂ’s match, Serena Williams.
Williams, who defeated her older sister Venus Williams, said after the match that she admires the stance Kaepernick and Reid have taken on racial justice.
Â“I think every athlete, every human, and definitely every African American should be completely grateful and honored howÂ Colin and Eric are doing so muchÂ more for the greater good, so to say,Â” Williams said. Â“They really use their platform in ways that is really unfathomable. I feel like they obviously have great respect from a lot of their peers, especially other athletes, people that really are looking for social change.Â”
Kaepernick was the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem, and Reid was the first teammate to join him. Neither player has been able to find another NFL team since leaving the 49ers, and both are bringing a collusion case against the NFL.
Williams has faced her own criticism over the national anthem, from a different direction: She does stand for the anthem despite her JehovahÂ’s Witness faith. SheÂ’s been criticized by other JehovahÂ’s Witnesses, who say she is violating their religionÂ’s teachings by standing for the anthem. JehovahÂ’s Witnesses believe that standing for patriotic rituals is a form of idolatry, and they have sued for the right not to stand for the anthem.
By Guest Nicole
Serena Williams says her mother encouraged her with Scripture when the tennis star suffered from physical and emotional struggles following her pregnancy.
In an interview with Vogue magazine that appeared online Wednesday, the 36-year-old tennis champion revealed that she had to undergo multiple surgeries after her C-section last September. After giving birth to Alexis Olympia, who she shares with her husband, Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, Williams suffered from blood clots in her lungs and abdomen.
Williams has had a history of dealing with blood clots, but stopped taking her blood thinning medication to heal from her C-section wounds. Soon after giving birth she discovered blood clots in her lungs which required a procedure.
Shortly after, doctors found blood clots in her abdomen that also required surgery. As if the health complications were not enough to deal with, Williams admitted to struggling with the emotional toll of new motherhood when she returned home to her new baby and soon-to-be husband who she married last November.
"Sometimes I get really down and feel like, man, I can't do this. It's that same negative attitude I have on the court sometimes," she told Vogue in a transparent interview. "I guess that's just who I am. No one talks about the low moments—the pressure you feel, the incredible letdown every time you hear the baby cry."
Williams went on to detail the rollercoaster of emotions that she has experienced as a mother.
"I've broken down I don't know how many times," she said. "Or I'll get angry about the crying, then sad about being angry, and then guilty, like, Why do I feel so sad when I have a beautiful baby? The emotions are insane."
However, Williams' tennis coach mother, Oracene Price, comforted her daughter with the Bible.
"Obedience brings protection; that's what my mom told me. That's straight from the Bible, and she wrote it down on paper and gave it to me," she said. "I was always obedient: Whatever my parents told me to do, I did. There was no discussion."
Williams was raised as a Jehovah's Witness, which her mother converted to in the early 80s. In a previous interview with ASAP sports, Williams spoke about the importance of keeping God first in her life.
"I am Jehovah's Witness. If you don't believe in God — I think if you don't believe in God, it's going to be tough to live life because pretty much that's the basis of life, it comes from God. And so being a Jehovah's Witness, obviously we believe in God and the Bible. And without Him, I wouldn't be here right now. I really thank Him for everything."
Jehovah's Witnesses recognize the Bible as "God's inspired message," according to their website, but they do not believe Jesus is Almighty God and they also reject the Trinity.
By Bible Speaks
'We had a lot of complications': Serena Williams shares first photos of baby girl Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. as tennis star reveals they spent six days in hospital
The tennis star appeared to be teasing the upcoming video on Tuesday night when she posted a photo of herself and her fiance, writing: '... but are you ready?'
Williams and Ohanian announced their engagement just a few weeks before the big pregnancy news.Â
He did this by whisking her off to Rome, where the two had met after a chance encounter at their hotel two years prior.Â
By Srecko Sostar
Personally, I believe that what Serena stands for in her social projects is truly worthwhile. One of the video I've put out shows that she is socially active in many areas of American community life.
She stands for high school education and university higher education. Includes self in health programs. In charitable actions. She is UNICEF ambassador. Have Philanthropic projects. Helping on Community violence. She is Partnership with Equal Justice Initiative. One have said: "She's talking when others are being quite." She started Annual charity run. She is Ambassador for the Allstate Foundation, a purple plus project for domestic abuse victims.
Basically, first please take look at the links for Serena, and then read the controversial WT articles that actually say howÂ Serena is "meddling in the things of this world". 2. Tim 2: 4 - 4 "No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civil affairs but tries to please his commanding officer."
Not want talking about her motives, because we must look first at person in positive way without prejudice. So, Serena is fine role model in helping people, all people, not onlyÂ to people of "her flock". :))
It is to long with copy/paste WT articles, but some people wants to see black on white.
1)Â Â„What is the theme of the message of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses? When Jesus gave his preaching commission, he did not instruct his followers to preach social or political reforms, union of Church and State, or any other secular ideology. Instead, he foretold: Â“ThisÂ good news of the kingdomÂ will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.Â” (Matthew 24:14) Thus, in obedience to JesusÂ’ instructions, true Christians today continue to speak to their neighbors about GodÂ’s KingdomÂ—the only government capable of bringing an end to SatanÂ’s wicked system and ushering in a righteous new world.Â“ Â - source: https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2012324#h=10
TRUE Christians today do not participate in politics. Why not? Because they follow JesusÂ’ example. He said about himself: Â“I am no part of the world.Â” Regarding his followers, he stated: Â“You are no part of the world.Â” (John 15:19;Â 17:14) Consider some reasons why Christians should not become involved in politics.
2) 1. Human ability is limited.Â The Bible states that humans have neither the ability nor the right to govern themselves. Â“It does not belong to man who is walking,Â” wrote the prophet Jeremiah, Â“even to direct his step.Â”Â—Jeremiah 10:23.
Just as humans were not created to fly successfully on their own strength, so they were not created to rule successfully by themselves. Speaking about the limits of government, historian David Fromkin noted: Â“Governments are composed of human beings; therefore they are fallible and their prospects are uncertain. They exercise a certain power, but only a limited one.Â” (The Question of Government) No wonder the Bible warns us not to put our trust in man!Â—Psalm 146:3. source:Â https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2012323#h=1
3)Â We do not lobby, voteÂ in political elections, run for government office, or try to change governments. Â…Otherwise, how could we have a clean conscience when we preach the good news that only GodÂ’s Kingdom can solve mankindÂ’s problems?Â source:Â https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2016288#h=36
4) Reformers are found in almost every society, where they encourage change in an orderly, constitutional manner. Generally, they are not anarchists or revolutionaries, since most reformers stay within the law and refrain from violence. A few reformers occupy influential positions in society and take the initiative in introducing change. Others lobby and prod those in power into taking some action.
Reformers try to get society to rethink its approach on issues. They do not just protest; they have ideas about how to improve things. To draw attention to their concerns, reformers may petition the public, demonstrate in the streets, or seek publicity in the media. Among the worst things that can happen to a reformer is for society to ignore himÂ…..There can be no doubt that Jesus had the ability to bring about reform. As a perfect man, he could have blazed a trail with sweeping changes and innovations. Yet, Christ did not initiate a campaign to rid the world of corrupt officials or dishonest businessmen. He did not lead street protests against injustice, although he himself was to become the innocent victim of an outrageous miscarriage of justiceÂ….What Christ had in mind was, not a simple reform, but a complete change in the way mankindÂ’s affairs are governed. This change will be put into effect by the heavenly Kingdom introduced by the Creator of mankind, Jehovah God, and administered by Jesus Christ as King. source:Â https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102004202#h=28
5)Â Special appendix on domestic violence with brand new "instructions"
17Â Admittedly, there have been instances where an Â“unbelieving husbandÂ” seems to prove that he is not Â“agreeable to staying with her.Â” He might be extremely physically abusive, even to the point that she feels that her health or life is in danger. He might refuse to support her and the family or severely endanger her spirituality. In such cases, some Christians have personally decided that, despite what he might say, the mate is not Â“agreeable to stayingÂ” together and that a separation is necessary. But other Christians in comparably difficult situations have not; they have endured and tried to work at improving matters. Why?
18Â In such a separation, the two are still marriage mates. If they lived apart, each one would face challenges, as mentioned earlier. The apostle Paul gave another reason for staying united. He wrote: Â“The unbelieving husband is sanctified in relation to his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in relation to the brother; otherwise, your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.Â” (1Â Cor. 7:14) Many loyal Christians have remained with an unbelieving mate under very trying circumstances. They can testify that doing so was worthwhile in a special sense when their mate became a true worshipper.Â—ReadÂ 1Â Corinthians 7:16;Â 1Â Pet. 3:1,Â 2. source:Â https://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/watchtower-study-december-2018/honor-what-god-has-yoked-together/
What would Serena say about this? Here are 2 links.
By Queen Esther
Just now,Â SerenaÂ WilliamsÂ wasÂ playingÂ theÂ FinaleÂ inÂ WimbledonÂ vsÂ ourÂ No. 1Â theÂ GermanÂ Tennis - playerÂ AngeliqueÂ Kerber...
TheÂ winnerÂ is...Â ourÂ GermanÂ AngeliqueÂ KerberÂ withÂ 6 : 3Â &Â 6 : 3Â WOW !! Â toÂ 1. time !
By Jack Ryan
Groundbreaking occurrence at this weeks CLAM! Did you catch it??
This video segment on social media safety was, are you ready for this...
... NARRATED BY A WOMAN!!!!! *gasp*
correct me if I'm wrong but this may be the first time in WT history that information was disseminated by the voice of a lowly female. Can anyone think of this happening before...?
Apparently a women can teach digitally now but not from a platform?
By Bible Speaks
Doing microphones as a sister in our English group in Slovenia! We just moved there because the need is great, so not enough brothers to cover all duties.”
Many Sisters rejoice to be used in this way to help out!Â
What are your thoughts? ??
Â You know, when the first man awoke to meet his mate for the very first time, he was so overwhelmed with GodÂ’s gift that he spontaneously broke into poetry. IsnÂ’t that romantic? As Jehovah guided Eve to her husband, the man said, in Genesis, Â“This is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This one will be called IshaÂ”, thatÂ’s pretty isnÂ’t it. Â“This one will be called women, because from man this one was takenÂ”. Isha means literally, female man. It was to show how closely related man and woman were to be.
Well itÂ’s been about six thousand years since that very tender romantic moment. What has happened to woman since then? Well, I think we would agree that we find woman in the 20th century with an identity crisis. There was a pole taken in this country and it said: Â“the underlying mood of women in America is one of conflict, frustration, deep division, and change.Â” Is that the way, sometimes, you sisters feel?
How does God view a woman? How does Jehovah want us to view you as brothers? How does Jehovah view you, as sisters? And how does Jehovah want you sisters to view yourself?
The bottom line that weÂ’ll probably emphasize a few times in our discussion is that there is only one kind of woman Jehovah can love. And thereÂ’s only one kind of woman that Jehovah can get close to. And that is a spiritual woman. ThatÂ’s the only kind of woman Jehovah can deeply be involved with.
Now the world would be happy to take your mind and mould your opinion of what you should be in a spiritual, emotional, physical or a mental status. Because as a matter of fact, in the late 60s and 70s, most of us are aware that women all over the world united and they had a womenÂ’s liberation movement. Why did women feel a need to be liberated? Well, in Denmark women wrote a manifesto and this is what they expressed. They said: Â“weÂ’re considered breeders. WeÂ’re oppressed. WeÂ’re abused. WeÂ’re exploited as cheap labor. Our only purpose is to enhance another manÂ’s life.Â” Have you ever given a woman a reason to feel that way?
Tens of thousands marched with a banner around a mockup statue of liberty and marched down New York City streets. And one of the reporters came over to this woman and said: Â“How come you have a statue of liberty with the banner around it Â‘women of the world uniteÂ’? Why are you using the statue of liberty?Â” And she said: Â“Because of the irony.Â” She said: Â“The woman is used to represent liberty, and here we are, as women, not free or liberated at all.Â”
Well some of the arguments that women had put forth in that movement are valid arguments. One of the things that women really object to is being used or viewed as sexual objects. And you canÂ’t deny that thatÂ’s the case. When you look at the advertising on TV a womanÂ’s body can sell anything even if it has nothingÂ… you know, thatÂ’s the old joke, that they use it to sell any product from cars to whatever it is, they will use a womanÂ’s appearance to make the sale.
Even modest commercials sometimes exploit women. You know; commercials that would rarely cause maybe an offence in our conscience? But, you know, Â I think of that one commercial thatÂ’s been on for years, and the hook line is: Â“Gentlemen prefer HanesÂ”, right? TheyÂ’ve said it so many times you would think that men were the ones that wore the nylons. But whatÂ’s the message that they try to get across in that particular advertisement? Well theyÂ’re telling you that if you want to be acceptable you must be physically desirable. ThatÂ’s the bottom line. You better look good if you want to be accepted, and a lot of women have really been put through the ringer. They say that certain, even mental problems that women have had just trying to look good, have caused them great emotional stress because of the pressure society has put on them to look just so.
Some feel the bible puts women down. If you ask some women whether God is dead, they will emphatically answer: No, SHEÂ’S not! And thatÂ’s the way they feel. I guess a lot of anger comes from exploitation and oppression and prejudice and lack of respect. But was this GodÂ’s fault? What was GodÂ’s purpose in creating woman? Well letÂ’s turn to Geneses chapter 2 verse 18 and notice what this account says: Â“Jehovah God went on to say, it is not good for the man to continue by himself. I am going to make a helper for him, as a compliment for him.Â” Do you see the two roles a woman was to play in being created? What were they? Just real briefly please. ---- Yes. To be a helper and a compliment. She wasnÂ’t simply to be a child breeder or a child bearer. Â She was to be a partner.
In Genesis 1:28 thereÂ’s a very interesting word used there. It says: Â“God blessed them and God said to, THEM, be fruitful, fill the earth, subdue it, and have in subjectionÂ” all the animals of the sea. Making this earth a paradise was not a one-man project. Adam and Eve were to do it together. He needed her and she needed him. Not just to fill the earth, but to make it a beautiful paradise, and to have all the animals in subjection.
We know that Eve was created from Adams rib. Of course a lot has been said about that. There was a poem that said that woman wasnÂ’t created from his head or from his feet, but from his side, so as to be his companion. But we donÂ’t know what significance there was for Adam to have lost a rib and to create eve from that. But I can tell you that the highest quality blood is produced in the marrow of the ribs. Maybe Jehovah was telling us that this is a high quality creation.
Of course when we look back at that account I think itÂ’s obvious to all of us that the first man and woman wanted something that could never be theirs. They wanted to supersede JehovahÂ’s power of determining what was right and wrong, and when they went that far to decide for themselves, they lost their spirituality. And do you get the point? They lost the only reason that Jehovah had for loving them, because the only kind of person Jehovah can love is a spiritual person. Â Of course the woman rebelled first didnÂ’t she? And some conclude that if it wasnÂ’t for women weÂ’d never be in this mess. WeÂ’d be in the garden.Â
But thatÂ’s not really accurate, after all man was the head. He should have steered in the right course. He had the greater responsibility. He has to share the greater guilt. Â Romans 5:12 confirms that. Â It says: Â“through one, MAN, sin entered into the world.Â”
Well as a result, both of them were cursed. In Genesis chapter 3 verse 16 it tells us the curse upon one woman. Â Some women; do you know what they think the curse is that they have to live with? Â They think its subjection, because itÂ’s one of the hardest things for them to do.
But I want you to notice what it says in verse 16: Â“To the woman he said Â“I shall greatly increase the pain for your pregnancy. Â In birth pangs you will bring forth children, your craving will be for your husband and he will dominate you.Â” Â See subjection wasnÂ’t the curse. If she remained in subjection sheÂ’d never get into trouble. The curse was domination; and some do suffer under that today. Â
Of course the curse on Adam was no less harmful to him. The bible says that heÂ’d have to scrape the dirt of ground to make a living. Â He had to work so hard to eke out a living that thatÂ’s all he did all day long. Â The ground was cursed and he could only get a little bit of food at a time for him and his children.
The bible says God cursed the ground to stall wickedness. He was so busy just trying to eat, to live; that they had no time to do anything that was bad. It was only after the flood that the groundÂ’s curse was lifted. Â They had a miserable life, both of them, due to being unfaithful and lacking spirituality.
Well I think we can be very happy that there are women that have exceeded their original mother, Eve. Â We have excellent examples of women who are truly spiritual women. Â We can think of the women who survived the flood. How many were there? How many women survived the flood? Pam ---[Pam from the audience answers:] Â“FourÂ” --- ThatÂ’s right. Can you picture them carrying signs lobbying to try and get on that ark? No, they were allowed on that ark because they were faithful. Â Some complain that we donÂ’t know the names of those women, but we know the names of the men. How come men are given better priority than women are?
Well, we didnÂ’t know the name of the son of God for 4,000 years. Â He didnÂ’t complain about that. When it was time for us to know who he was, we did. Well naturally, when those women come back in the resurrection, weÂ’ll know their names too, and what a privilege it well be to meet them.
The point that is important to establish here is that these women were not preserved simply to be breeders, to continue the human race. They were preserved because they were spiritual women, and Jehovah will never forget them, and he will bring them back. Â Maybe one day, if weÂ’re spiritual, we will have the privilege of being with them.Â
When we talk about spiritual women we canÂ’t leave out Sarah, because she is really a celebrated woman in the bible. Â She was strikingly beautiful. Â You havenÂ’t seen beauty as what Sarah had. I donÂ’t think you ever will until the new system. Â You know, Sarah, when men would see her, they would just long for her companionship. Â They craved her. Â They just couldnÂ’t get their eyes off of her. Â And these were prominent men.Â
When Abraham and Sarah left Ur they were going through Egypt. Pharaoh wanted her, and entertained her, courted her. Â Now hereÂ’s the man that had tens maybe millions of women at his disposal, and yet it was Sarah that he wanted. Â He just couldnÂ’t get her out of his mind until Jehovah struck him with the plague, and then he lost everything that he felt for her and told them to please get out because he didnÂ’t want to suffer anymore.Â
Do you know how old Sarah was at that time? Â 66. Â ThereÂ’s not many woman that age that really would pull that kind of attraction would they. Â And sometime later Abimelech, who was a king of an area, he too wanted her. Â He was very aggressive. Â Jehovah had to interfere again with the plague. You see Sarah, though she was very beautiful, never allowed men to make her an object of their sexual fantasies. And he just longed for her until Jehovah struck him with the plague. Â But do you know how old Sarah was at that time? About 89. Â So when I say you havenÂ’t seen beauty like Sarah, now you know why.
And even though Sarah was so beautiful, and obviously very strict in her discipline and the way she carried herself, what did she call her husband? Mary --- [Mary from the audience answers:] Â“LordÂ” --- ThatÂ’s right. It doesnÂ’t mean that she used that verbally. We donÂ’t know if she called him lord verbally, but she did deeply respect him in her heart.
Does that mean that Sarah and Abraham always got along and she was like a little cocker spaniel always panting at his every breath? Â Well, we know that they had their ups and downs in their marriage just like anyone else does. Â ItÂ’s an interesting account recorded for us in the book of Genesis chapter 21, where Abraham and Sarah came into a deep conflict in their marriage.
Sarah kept noticing something that Abraham didnÂ’t notice. She noticed that HagarÂ’s son, (and Hagar was AbrahamÂ’s concubine, maid servant, or secondary wife,) was poking fun at Isaac, and this wasnÂ’t simply teasing because Paul, in Galatians, equates it with persecution. That means that IsaacÂ’s life may have been threatened, you see, by Ishmael.
So it was a very serious thing, and Sarah wanted Ishmael and Hagar dismissed from the house and to be sent off. Â Well, Abraham was a loving man, and he just couldnÂ’t see doing this. Â Well in verse 12 of that chapter it says God said to Abraham, Â“DonÂ’t let anything that Sarah keeps saying to you be displeasing to you about the boy and about your slave girl. Â Listen to her voice, because it is by means of Isaac that what will be called your seed, will be.Â” Â
Well Jehovah told Abraham that he had to listen to Sarah, that she was right, that her perception was beyond AbrahamÂ’s at that point to appreciate that. Â You see, SarahÂ’s wasnÂ’t acting like a jealous woman who was in competition with this other woman and wanted her out of the house at this point. Â We have to remember that Sarah was a spiritual woman. Â She was especially concerned about the seed because the seed of promise was the means of deliverance for mankind, and it was extremely important that that seed be protected and guarded.Â
Sarah had the utmost concern for that seed. Â She was the one that suggested that Abraham have relations with Hagar. Â She was the one that suggested that with Hagar. Â It wasnÂ’t HagarÂ’s idea, it wasnÂ’t even AbrahamÂ’s idea, but when she was barren for so long, she said: Â“Abraham, the seed comes through you, so please make sure that you find a woman who can bear a son, that will eventually make this line possible. Â“ So she was a spiritual person. Was not jealous. Was not a catty woman. But when she saw the seed was endangered, well she took action, and Jehovah told Abraham to listen to her.
Well I think itÂ’s obvious by this account that you can see that Sarah was not simply a child bearer, a housekeeper. She was a vital link in the outworking of Gods purpose. Â This woman, Sarah, is used to represent JehovahÂ’s entire heavenly organization. Now thatÂ’s an honor given to one solitary sister in the bible. Â Jehovah used her, and He loves her, and will forever remember her, because she was spiritual. Â A spiritual woman is the only kind of woman Jehovah can deeply love.
ThereÂ’s another interesting example in 2nd Kings, maybe youÂ’ll remember this. This too is an unnamed woman, though I think weÂ’re gonna really delight if we have the privilege to meet her. In 2nd Kings chapter 4. She lived in Shunem, and I want you to notice where her spirituality was reflected.Â
In verse 8 of chapter 4, it says: Â“It came about one day that Elisha, when passing along to Shunem, where there was a prominent woman, and she began to constrain him to eat bread. It came about that as often as he would pass by he would turn aside there to eat bread. At length she said to her husband: Â“Here now I well know that it is a holy man of God that is passing by us constantly. Â Please, let us make a little roof chamber on the wall and put there for him a couch and a table and a chair and lamp stand, and it must occur that whenever he comes into us, he can turn aside there.Â”Â
ThatÂ’s interesting isnÂ’t it? Â WhatÂ’d you learn from that account? Â Elisha was a profit who traveled in a circuit. Â Maybe any woman would be satisfied if she simply entertained this profit each time he passed by, but you see, she was really a spiritual woman, and she told her husband that she would appreciate it very much if they could build an addition on to their house and furnish that addition, so that when he came by he would have a place to stay.
Why did she suggest that? Â Because she recognized that this was a holy man of God. Â Now how many people, how many women, would be willing to sacrifice some good clothes, perhaps a little vacation, maybe a better car, just to build an addition onto their house for one solitary profit who was a man of God? Â
It took sacrifice. She was a spiritual woman, see, and her husband recognized that, so he built the addition onto his home. Â A lesson for our husbands is; do we listen to our wives, when we examine this woman of Shunem or Sarah, do we recognize that weÂ’re working for the same goals? Do we feel our wives arenÂ’t as mentally keen as we are? Â Or do we really recognize theyÂ’re GodÂ’s given gifts, just like Abraham did, and just like this husband of this woman of Shunem did?Â
When women were submissive to JehovahÂ’s arrangements, when they were submissive to them, and werenÂ’t running ahead of JehovahÂ’s arrangements, Jehovah used them gloriously. Â ItÂ’s so obvious in the bible. Women were used as prophets in the bible. Can you remember one prophetess in the bible? --- Yes, that was in the Christian Greek scriptures, thank you. --- Yes thatÂ’s true too, weÂ’re gonna talk about her. And another famous one in the Hebrew scriptures, Deborah, that comes to my mind too. Â In Judges 5:7 she is spoken of as mother of Israel. How do you like that? A very prominent position. But do you know why? Â Because she was submissive to JehovahÂ’s arrangements. Â She didnÂ’t run ahead. She cooperated, and as a result of that, Jehovah really was able to use her, and exult her, and not humble her and bring her down to size. ItÂ’s good for us to reflect on these spiritual women in the bible.
You know what else is important? Is for sisters to know how they should view themselves. Â And you know who can help us with that? ItÂ’s Jesus Christ. Â His view of you sisters can help any sister to know how to view herself. And believe me, when Jesus came to the earth he had a real hard time dealing with this because in the first century, woman, according to the bible, it was just a terrible thing to happen to be born a woman.
A woman, according to Talmud, was lower than a pig. Â Imagine that. And you werenÂ’t even allowed to have a pig in your yard. As a matter of fact thereÂ’s a prayer in the Talmud, it says: Â“Thank you God, that you didnÂ’t create me a slave, an animal, a pig, or a woman.Â” Imagine that.
Â Well how did Jesus treat women? Â ThereÂ’s an interesting point mentioned. LetÂ’s reflect on it in the book of Luke chapter 11, see what we can learn from this together. In Luke Chapter 11 and verses 27 and 28 it says: Â“Now as he was saying these things a certain woman out of the crowd raised her voice and said to him Â“Happy is the womb that carried you and the breasts that you sucked.Â” Â But he said Â“No, rather, happy are those hearing the word of God and keeping it.Â”Â
Those are pretty strong words arenÂ’t they? Jesus was trying to get across a point to all women, including all Christian women today. Â Because this woman was just saying that because she felt that Mary must have been really proud that she had the privilege of giving birth to the second most important person in the universe, who happens to turn out to be the Messiah. Â Whose breasts he sucked and who she raised. [She] says: Â‘Your mother must be so proud of you, must be so happyÂ’ and Jesus could have said Â‘yeah mom is kind of happy with the way things turned outÂ’, but he didnÂ’t. He wouldnÂ’t give room for that thought. Â He said Â“Happy are those who hear the word of God and keep it.Â”Â
So the most important thing for women is not their children. It is not the most important thing to either have children, or to raise them. ItÂ’s your spirituality thatÂ’s the most important thing. Â ItÂ’s your relationship with God.Â
In Luke chapter 10 verse 39, Jesus gives another perspective to women to think about. Â You remember the story about Martha and Mary? Â And Martha was really running around. If Jesus was coming to your home I think you would make a fuss too. Â DonÂ’t tell me youÂ’d cook the same thing you would cook for your husband, because I wouldnÂ’t believe it. Â If the son of God was visiting your home, you would really be up in an uproar. Â Everyone would know what you were doing and where you were and you would be just flying around the kingdom hall, you know, just trying to figure out what you were going to prepare for the son of God, and you know it. Â So, you can be sympathetic with Martha at this point.
In verse 40 it says: Â“Martha, on the other hand, was distracted attending to many duties, so she came near and said: Â‘Lord does it not matter to you that my sister has left me alone to attend to things? Â Tell her therefore to join in helping me.Â’Â” Â Martha was positive that Jesus would support her in her effort to illicit some help from her sister. Â In answer the lord said to her, Â“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and disturbed about many things. A few things though are needed, or just one, for her part Mary chose the good portion and it will not be taken away from her.Â
Now Jesus wasnÂ’t belittling housework any more than he was belittling having children, but itÂ’s not the most important thing. And some sisters, they love their homes, and they love their children, and they center their lives around them, to the sacrifice of their spirituality, and it shows. Â And thatÂ’s what Jesus was telling us. Â That housework, our homes, the beauty of our homes, our childrenÂ…, itÂ’s important, but itÂ’s not [more] important than our relationship with God. Again, itsÂ’ what you are as a spiritual person. Please donÂ’t neglect that. Â DonÂ’t put yourself down by putting things ahead of your spirituality.
Jesus elevated women. He helped them to appreciate that they werenÂ’t simply breeders or housekeepers, or theyÂ’re simply to enhance another manÂ’s life. Â And we know that Jesus got this elevated view from Jehovah. Â We can be very thankful that in the Christian congregation we have sisters that really appreciate the role of a woman, as a sister and as a wife. Â In 1st Peter 3:5, it refers to women as being holy, and that expression is not to be taken lightly. Jehovah sees both men and women as dedicated, thinking individuals.Â
Now itÂ’sÂ’ true that men were given heavier responsibilities, but both were endowed with the four powerful attributes of love, justice, wisdom and power. Â In those qualities, women are in no way inferior to men, at least in their potential to develop those qualities, and I wanna prove that to you.Â
Turn with me to 2nd Corinthians chapter 3 verse 18. Â And I want you to notice the second word in that verse. It says: Â“and all of us, while we with unveiled faces reflect like mirrors the glory of Jehovah, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, exactly as done by Jehovah the Spirit.Â”
Did you notice that second word? Â“ALLÂ”. Men and women reflect, or can reflect, the glory of Jehovah. Â And what proves that they can do it to his satisfaction is that Jehovah chooses women just as he chooses men to be part of the 144,000, which is the highest honor in the universe.
So never feel that you are just a housecleaner or child bearer, or that you are here simply to enhance another manÂ’s life. Â God has a high loving regard for a spiritual woman. ThatÂ’s the only kind of woman he can really draw close to. The aid book made an interesting comment, it said: Â“your relationship to Jehovah as a woman is just as important as any manÂ’s relationship is with him.Â”
Well I think thatÂ’s really encouraging to review some of those thoughts, and it helps us to appreciate the high position and the honor that Jehovah gives to our sisters, and that should make a sister really feel good, recognizing she has a long lineage of faithful sisters to copy in their spirituality and their example. When a sister recognizes how much credit Jehovah gives to her, donÂ’t you think that enables her to also absorb the counsel that Jehovah gives to sisters that he does.
As we mentioned, one of the most difficult challenges of the 20th century Christian woman is to be in subjection; to be in subjection to her husband, whether he is a believer or a un-believer. And most importantly, to show subjection right here to the congregation and to its arrangement.Â
Now do we do that, and what encouragement does Jehovah give to us? Â LetsÂ’ talk about being in subjection to a husband. IÂ’d like you to turn to 1st Peter chapter 3. Â See what you think about this. 1st Peter chapter 3 and verse 5. IÂ’ve read it so many times but I think I only noticed this point after the 100th reading. It says, Â“For so, too, formerly the holy women who were hoping in God, used to adorn themselves,Â” now notice how, Â“subjecting themselves to their own husbands.Â”Â
Now subjection isnÂ’t easy, but what does the bible call it? It said itÂ’s your adornment. ThatÂ’s what makes you feminine. Â ThatÂ’s what makes a women look beautiful in JehovahÂ’s eyes Â is her subjection, so when she loses her submissiveness sheÂ’s losing the garment that makes her look pretty in JehovahÂ’s eyes. Â
Now naturally itÂ’s gonna be a lot harder for a woman to be in subjection where the man does not take the lead. ThereÂ’s no question that a man who takes his responsibilities seriously, really draws out of a woman her most feminine qualities, doesnÂ’t he. Â But if a man is not masculine, does that give an excuse for a woman not to be feminine?Â
In 1st Corinthians 11 verse 3, it set out very clearly the order that God felt we would be the happiest. Â We use this scripture to disprove the trinity but thatÂ’s not why it was written. It says: Â“I want you to know that the head of every man is the Christ, in turn the head of the woman is the man, and in turn the head of the Christ is God.Â”
Now we know some women in the world feel itÂ’s disparaging for a women to be in subjection to her husband. Â But if itÂ’s disparaging for a women to be in subjection to her husband, then that means it would also be disparaging for a man to be in subjection to the Christ, and it would have to be disparaging for Christ to be in subjection to God.Â
Well we say thatÂ’s ridiculous. It only makes sense that Christ be in subjection to God. Â And it certainly makes sense to most women that men should be in subjection to Christ. Â Well if those two points make sense then doesnÂ’t it make sense that a woman really is going to be happiest when sheÂ’s in subjection to her husband?
In 1st Peter chapter 3 verse 4, Jehovah specifically defines the attitude of subjection. See what you think of it. ItÂ’s not easy, but Jehovah is painting a picture of what he would really like to see in a woman. Â In verse 4 it says: Â“let it be the secret person of the heart in the incorruptible apparel of the quiet and mild spirit, which is of great value in the eyes of God.Â”Â
Quiet and mild. ThatÂ’s hard sometimes isnÂ’t it? Â But you can see that thatÂ’s the feminine quality that some women are afraid to show, because they feel they are going to get hurt if they are. Â Well sometimes we do get hurt, and Jesus was hurt too. Â JehovahÂ’s been hurt too. Â And He has a very quiet and mild spirit also. If he was a real angry, nasty personality we know weÂ’d all be dead a long time ago. Probably wouldnÂ’t even be here. Â Quiet and mild. It doesnÂ’t prevent us from expressing ourselves, it just tells us how to do it in a feminine way and thatÂ’s our adornment. ThatÂ’s what makes a woman look beautiful in JehovahÂ’s eyes. ItÂ’s of great value in JehovahÂ’s eyes, even if it may not be in the eyes of your own mate.
You know sometimes we have single sisters that are looking for brothers in the truth, and you know that if you are looking for a spiritual brother, do you know what kind of sister he is looking for? A spiritual sister. And you know, generally, a brother whoÂ’s looking for a sister to marry in the truth, do you know what they ask themselves? Â They wonder if sheÂ’s a happy person. If sheÂ’s openhearted and generous. If sheÂ’s friendly, mild tempered, sympathetic, humble, grateful, kind and maybe most important: self forgetful. Very rarely does a brother ask what can she do. They just want to know, what can she BE.
Of course, to please does not mean an unconditional surrender of oneÂ’s self. Â ThatÂ’s not the definition of it. It means giving the good of ourselves to others. It means creating an atmosphere of cheerfulness in the home, which is, in part, the responsibility of a woman. Â And thatÂ’s not simply a talent, and itÂ’s not simply with those who have a lot of energy. ItÂ’s for any woman who wants to be a spiritual woman; a spiritual sister. Â And thatÂ’s the only kind of woman that Jehovah can deeply love and be close to.Â
Of course, some sisters are married to unbelieving mates, and that sure doesnÂ’t make it any easier. If thereÂ’s opposition to the truth, discouragement, even non support, if Jehovah loves a spiritual woman, how can she maintain her spirituality? Â Well in the AID book under woman, I donÂ’t know if you sisters have ever read that, but it might be a good idea. Â It applies to you and I think youÂ’d find the subject fascinating. Â I only read it recently and maybe youÂ’d enjoy reading it too.Â
ItÂ’s in the AID book under woman. So you can write that down along with all your scriptures. Â And they gave a very interesting example of a woman who was married to an unbelieving mate. Â And I never thought of it, it was Abigail. Â She was married to Nabal. The bible says he was a good for nothing man. Â If the bible says that, that means it was Gods opinion of him. That means he must have been really no good. He was a disgusting despicable character. Few people are spoken of with more contempt than Nabal was. Â
And the account that they reflect on is when David was asking Nabal for some provisions, and David was the anointed of Jehovah. The woman of Shunem recognized that she should build an apartment on her house to house a holy man of God. Nabal wouldnÂ’t even give him anything to eat. Believe me, David was angry. He deserved it.
Abigail was a spiritual woman. She recognized that he was the anointed of God. She would not follow her husband in this course. Sure it was his decision, but he was wrong. And so she took a stand on this spiritual course and she gave David lots of provisions, secretly, without her husband knowing.
The next day she did tell him, and when she told him, the bible says that his heart became as hard as stone. Â It seems that he was affected by some paralysis, and the bible goes on later to say that Jehovah killed him within the week, so you know he wasnÂ’t a very good person. But she remained in subjection to him until it came to JehovahÂ’s law, and then she took her stand. Â And she was rewarded wasnÂ’t she? Â She fell in love with a real spiritual person.Â
Let me read this to you. It was in the Aid book under woman, it says: Â“the primary duty in Israel of all women was to have children.Â” Does that make sense? Â It shouldnÂ’t. Â Â“The primary duty in Israel of all women was to clean house? Â…to work? Â…to please her husband?Â” Â No. Â Â“The primary duty in Israel for all women was to please Jehovah in true worship.Â” Â ThatÂ’s what came first.
If that comes first in your life, whether you have a husband in the truth or out of the truth, that certainly will help each sister to remain spiritual so that she can remain in JehovahÂ’s love. Â Of course whether a sister is married to a believing or an unbelieving mate, she must show subjection to the congregation and to its arrangements. Â
Some of the strongest words in the bible directed to our sisters are in 1st Corinthians 14. Â I think it would be good for us to examine it. Â I tried to find the strongest expressions that were used and I thought itÂ’d be good for us to analyze it, just so we can understand it, because these words offend the ears of those who are not very spiritual. Â
1st Corinthians 14. Â Notice what it says in verse 34. Â“As in all the congregations of the holy ones, let the women keep silent in the congregations, for it is not permitted for them to speak, but let them be in subjection, even as the law says. Â If then, they want to learn something, let them question their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in a congregation.Â”Â
Now thatÂ’s strong isnÂ’t it? Â What does it mean? Â Does it mean that women canÂ’t say anything in the congregation? Â It couldnÂ’t mean that. Â In the first century women spoke in tongues, women prophesied, and they gave fine comments just like you sisters do here in the congregation. Â Let me read to you what it says about this verse in the Qualified to be Ministers book. Â It says: Â“Sisters should not try to give counsel to dedicated brothers. On this matter they have to be in silence. Â They must not argue or contradict brothers in the congregation or give instruction. Â If they want to learn something they may ask their husband at home. If unmarried ask a mature brother. But they should not be asking merely to bring out a point of correction to get the brothers or their husbands to correct the servant. No. Paul says, they may ask if they themselves want to learn something.Â” See, thatÂ’s what is said there.Â
Does that help to set the spirit of things in our mind right? Â Or does it rule out asking questions. Â It certainly doesnÂ’t rule out trying to get a better understanding of a situation. Â The thing thatÂ’s ruled out is the asking of questions in an argumentative way, challenging, or debating. That shows a lack of submission to JehovahÂ’s arrangements, and sometimes the way we say something, is where Jehovah feels weÂ’ve lost our adornment, not the fact that we say something. Â And then if we say something and we donÂ’t get an answer that we like, whatÂ’s going to be our attitude after that? Â Are we still gonna Â complain about something, or murmur about it, or wonder when itÂ’s going to be changed or fixed? Â You see, if we go too far, then the bible says weÂ’re acting disgracefully.
Now, it doesnÂ’t rule out commenting at meetings. Believe me; you sisters add depth, perception, warmth, and feeling to the truth, and we need you for that. Â And while a sister is not permitted to exercise that kind of authority in the congregation from the platform, a sister can teach. She can teach younger sisters. She can teach her own children. And our sisters do a tremendous job of teaching hundreds of people out in the field service.Â
You know, even Priscilla, with Aquila, helped Apollos out spiritually in Acts 18:26. Â If you ever feel a little frustrated about the way things are going in the congregation, you can talk to a brother about it, and just try to understand as best you can whatÂ’s happening, and then leave it alone not to badger the point, belabor it, or make it an issue. Â And if you feel sometimes that you have to make it an issue, Â‘there has to be something done about thisÂ…Â’, Â‘weÂ’ve gotta get this straightened outÂ…Â’. Â A good example to think about, that might help to temper our approach, is the one of Miriam.Â
If you turn to the book of Numbers, this is an interesting account, Miriam was a prophetess. Â I was impressed to read in Micah 6:4 that when Jehovah says he delivered the nation of Israel he says; Â“I used Moses, Aaron and Miriam.Â” Â Imagine that, she got mentioned with the two men. Â That she was used to deliver the nation of Israel.Â
Evidently she conveyed inspired messages to Israel. Jehovah spoke to her, as he spoke to Moses. She was older than Moses too you know. Â She was his older sister. She was the one that diapered him after she got him back from PharaohÂ’s daughter, so she really, in many ways, even suffered more than Moses did, because Moses was out in Median for 40 years, while she was trying to make bricks without straw. Â She had a harder life and she felt since she was a prophetess, inspired by God, her words are written in the bible, that she should have more of a say about how things are run in Israel. Â You see, she reasons in Numbers verse 2 of chapter 12: Â“They kept saying: Â“Is it by Moses alone that Jehovah has spoken? Â Is it not by us also that he has spoken?Â” Â And Jehovah was listening.Â”
What was JehovahÂ’s response to this? Well notice in verse 10, it says: Â“the cloud turned away from over the tent, and, look! Â Miriam was struck with leprosy as white as snow. Â Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and, look! She was struck with leprosy.Â” Â Terrible. Her skin was falling off her body. Â Do you know why Jehovah struck her with leprosy? Â It was to show her how unattractive she looked out of place. Â
Moses and Aaron, they wanted Miriam to be made well. Jehovah said: Â“No. SheÂ’s offended me.Â” Â Now some sisters sometime feel, Â“Oh I would never do what Miriam did. Boy. That was terrible. I would have recognized that Moses was the head. Oh I would have never run ahead of Moses, he was a good man. Â IÂ’m not that kind of person. I wouldnÂ’t be caught in that situation. Â Look brother, what I see is real. It needs to be said. Miriam was wrong. What she saw was inaccurate. What I see is accurate.Â”
What if you do see something that you feel is not right and you feel something needs to be done. Â What position should a sister take in the congregation? Â LetÂ’s reflect on one more spiritual sister that can help us. Â ItÂ’s in the book of Luke chapter 2. Â This is Anna, and you know something, like Miriam she too was a prophetess. Â In Luke chapter 2 verse 36, we read about Anna. It tells us that she was a widow. She was only married for 7 years, so she was a widow for most of her life because at this point she was 84 years old, but notice in verse 37, it says she was never missing from the temple, she rendering sacred service night and day, with fastings and supplications. And in that very hour she came near and began returning thanks to God and speaking about the child to all those waiting for JerusalemÂ’s deliverance.
Why was Anna supplicating and fasting? Â You know why? Because she was a smart sister. Â She was a spiritual woman, and she knew that temple was so corrupt, and so disgusting, and so far away from JehovahÂ’s worship, that she was at that temple every day praying that one day Jehovah would straighten out this mess.
It doesnÂ’t say she went around bad mouthing the elders or bad mouthing the religious leaders. It doesnÂ’t say that she stayed away from that temple, because it was obviously corrupt and no good. She was there, she supported JehovahÂ’s arrangement, and she prayed [and] supplicated to Jehovah that someday it would be right. Â And you know what? She had the privilege of seeing the messiah, and when she saw that babe she said, Â“Now I know things will be rightÂ”Â
She had faith, and as we spoke about previously, faith helped her to be modest because she was no longer frustrated, she knew that Jehovah would straighten everything out in his own due time. Â She never lived to see it. She died before the messiah died himself. Â She was a spiritual woman though. Jehovah will never forget her. He deeply loved her. Â Maybe we will have a chance to meet her, and to really get to know her.
Jehovah loves a spiritual woman. Do you know what question we need to ask after that, is how lovable are you? How spiritual are you? Are you in subjection to the congregation and to its arrangements, and to your husband? Â Are you really putting spiritual things first in your life? ItÂ’s got top priority.
If you are, youÂ’re truly working toward being a good spiritual woman, and certainly a fine example for all of us as brothers. Â If your husband isnÂ’t in the truth. If your husband doesnÂ’t pray with you. If you are a spiritual woman; that will never stop you from praying fervently. Â If your husband doesnÂ’t go out in service that often; that wonÂ’t prevent you from being whole souled in service. Â If your husband doesnÂ’t go to meetings; that will never keep you home. Â If your husband doesnÂ’t study with you; that wonÂ’t keep you from being good students of the bible.
You see, thatÂ’s a spiritual woman. And you know something? We need spiritual women. Â Really, the truth is, we need each other. Â And to close our discussion IÂ’d like you to turn to 1st Corinthians chapter 11. Paul wraps up our feelings and our thoughts so beautifully. All of us, letÂ’s turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 11 and verse 11 and 12. Notice the wording.: Â‘Besides, in connection with the Lord, neither is woman without man nor man without woman. Â For just as the woman is out of the man, so also the man is through the woman: but all things are out of God.Â”
Well it was nice to be able to share that information with you and I hope that you really found it encouraging and helpful.
Milovsky Robert - Jehovah Loves a Spiritual Woman - excellent talk.mp3
By Jack Ryan
Regarding a change to a song title, the study article on page 7 paragraph 17 of November 2017 Watchtower explained, “The change of the title “Guard Your Heart” to “We Guard Our Hearts” was most considerate. Why? In the audience at our meetings, assemblies, and conventions are many new ones, interested ones, young ones, and sisters who by singing the words would be put in the awkward position of telling others what to do. So the title and the lyrics were modified.”
By Style & Fashion
via Style and Fashion Forumvia Style & Fashion
By Guest Nicole
The differences in men and women even extend to the way our brains are built.
In the largest study yet on sex differences in the physical makeup of the human brain, researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland have shown that men and women do, in fact, have different brain structures and sizes. Women tend to have thicker cortices, which are associated with intelligence, whereas men’s brains tend to be bigger overall. Although these differences can’t prove that men and women behave differently, they could shed light on why some medications work better in men better than women, and vice versa.
Researchers looked at the brains of over 5,200 participants older than 40, roughly half men and half women. This group was part of the larger UK Biobank study, which is in the midst of collecting health data on over 500,000 individuals. For this particular study, patients lay down in a structural magnetic resonance imaging. These MRIs are able to parse out different types of brain tissues, like the neurons and the connections between them, which can give scientists a picture of the various brain regions.
They found that on average, men’s brains were larger. But women’s brains had larger subregions of the cortex—the cortical subregions are discrete parts of this particular brain section associated with memory, sensory input, learning, and making choices. Additionally, there was a lot of variation in the sizes of different brain regions in men; women’s brains tended to be more similar to each other. The research, which hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed, was published in BioArXiv earlier this month.
These findings aren’t brand new. But most neuroscience studies to date only looked at a sample size of a few hundred participants. The thousands of brains here validate a lot of previous work. The fact that men’s brains had more differences among them “fits with a lot of other evidence that seems to point toward males being more variable physically and mentally,” Stuart Ritchie, a psychologist and lead author of the paper, told Science. Similarly, it wasn’t surprising to find that women tended to have thicker cortices over all based on previous findings (paywall).
The differences between men and women’s brains were small enough that it’d be impossible for scientists to determine a person’s sex by looking at his or her brain alone. Brain size and composition are characteristics kind of like nose shape: they depend on a lot of different genetic factors, and can take on countless different forms. And although a lot of men have larger noses (and brains) than women, that’s not always the case.
And it’s important to consider that different brain sizes and regions don’t necessarily translate to actual behavioral differences, like intelligence. “Our manuscript is just about describing the differences, and we can’t say anything about the causes of those differences,” Ritchie told New York Magazine. Different environmental and social factors play a huge role in determining the ways we think and interact with each other.
Ritchie is confident, though, that understanding the structural variability can help determine why certain diseases affect men and women differently. Understanding variations in brain structure can help develop better, sex-specific treatments for them.
February 1, 2017
On Saturday, January 27, there was no maddening rush at the White House to reach Serena Williams, like in 1999, when she won the first of her 23 Grand Slam titles in Flushing Meadows. Or as it was when she won her third Wimbledon, a few months into Barack Obama’s first term. The din of Serena’s feat, now officially the most decorated player in the Open era, died out in the bustle of America’s latest, and loudest, president’s “extreme vetting” immigration diktat.
Yet, the symbolism of Serena’s triumph couldn’t be more relevant. At a time when “America First” rings louder than ever, the greatest of its sporting icons, across genders, is an African-American woman, a Jehovah’s Witness from the wrong side of Los Angeles, where she had lost her eldest sister in a gang shootout, and the daughter of a father who was shooed off a tennis court by affluent whites. Even after she broke into the circuit, Williams has had to confront racism and racist stereotypes — from officials, commentators and even her adversaries.
While it’s overreaching to imagine that her storied success would trigger a revolution in race relations in the US, it’s fair to assume that America’s greatest sporting specimen of the 21st century is an antithesis to its president’s vision for his country. She may not allay the sudden cynicism or the morbid fear of the discriminated and marginalised in the US — sport as a cure to societal dysfunction is grossly hyperbolic — but she stands as an indelible symbol of hope, or an escape. In a metaphorical way, with the mighty swings of her racquet, she’s penning as scathing a verse as Maya Angelou. It won’t seem out of place, if Serena were to recite Angelou’s Still I Rise (in fact, there’s Serena’s rendition of the poem on YouTube).
Concurrently, any interpretation of Serena’s greatness shouldn’t be constricted to her context. These are mere embellishments in her grand narrative. Serena, as a player in isolation, is a worthy premise for weaving enough eulogies. Maybe she is not celebrated as much outside her country because her feats have come to a stage where her winning spree is taken for granted.
Such has been the nature of her hegemony that often the rare opponent who beats her ends up being more glorified, ranging from one-season wonders like Samantha Stosur, to more recent peers like Angelique Kerber. There hasn’t been much of a rivalry to speak of, expect the brief but fiery rancour with Maria Sharapova or the more passionless exchanges with her sister Venus.
Or, as some would say, there were no two equally gifted players playing at the same time. Earlier, it was a case of several similarly endowed players, outstripped by a force superior in craft, more athletic in build, more ruthless in execution of plans. Think of Sharapova, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Kim Clijsters, Dinara Safina or Amelie Mauresmo — the draw was far more competitive. And Serena, despite hitting the wrong side of her 30s, isn’t showing signs of fatigue or adieu.
Or as some would nitpick, her game is graceless (sometimes with racist undertones). But there is a brutal beauty to her game — those booming serves and guillotine groundstrokes are a vindication — like in boxing. There’s a powerful symmetry to her movements. Then there is the spontaneous thrill of her athleticism.
To put it simply, there has been no better player than Serena in the 21st century, or arguably ever in the history of tennis. That she happens to be the greatest American sporting icon in the Trump era is a mere coincidence, or perhaps, a bit of satire by the fates.
By Guest Nicole
Venus y Serena Williams, en una imagen de 1998. REUTERS
Los macarras de las bandas de Compton, un barrio marginal de Los Angeles, se acercaban asombrados por el sonido de los golpes. Cristales rotos sembraban el fondo de la pista. De pronto, un periodista asomó la nariz entre la alambrada. Venus, con 10 años, estaba machacando sin piedad a Serena, 15 meses más joven. Pero necesitaba ir al baño. Richard, el padre, aceptó de mala gana y la hermana mayor, entre carcajadas, abandonó acrobáticamente el rectángulo, con las manos sobre el cemento y las piernas en alto. El reportero se acercó a la oreja de Richard entre susurros.
-- Creo que tienes a la próxima Michael Jordan.
-- No, aquí juegan las dos próximas Michael Jordan.
Richard Williams, por entonces, era un ex jardinero que sabía de tenis lo que le habían enseñado algunos cursos adquiridos por correspondencia. A su modo, pasional y contradictorio, manejaba a dos hijas prodigio. Le gustaba alardear ante los ejecutivos de Reebok y Wilson y los hacía esperar al teléfono. Su esposa Oracene, en cambio, actuaba de un modo más afectuoso. Llevaba a las niñas al cine y a la playa, aunque también les exigía buenas notas en el colegio. «Durante las pausas de los entrenamientos sólo se escuchaba "Mamá esto o mamá lo otro"». Así lo recuerda Dave Rineberg en My seven years as hitting coach for the Williams sisters (Frederick Fell Publishers, 2003) un libro donde desgrana con todo detalle la evolución de las campeonas. Entre 1992 y 1999, el técnico lidió con los delirios de grandeza de Richard. También con sus prejuicios raciales, con sus continuas provocaciones a los blancos, fueran rivales, amigos o periodistas. «Acercaos, no os haremos daño», exclamaba entre bambalinas. Las niñas, ajenas a tantas excentricidades, cumplían uno a uno los plazos hacia la cima.
En octubre de 1994, Venus debutó como profesional en el torneo de Oakland. Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, vigente campeona de Roland Garros y US Open, aguardaba en segunda ronda. Aquella niña, con sus desmesuradas zapatillas y sus trenzas de plástico al viento, masacró a la española desde el inicio (6-3, 3-1). Sin embargo, de repente, simplemente desapareció, hasta entregar los 11 juegos siguientes. Rineberg ofrece en el libro su explicación de los hechos. «Una semana antes de viajar a Oakland, Richard y Oracene liberaron de todo trabajo a las chicas. Las llevaron a una reunión de los testigos de Jehová y a dos parques de atracciones». ¿Quién dice ahora que esa brutal exigencia y ese peculiar paternalismo no dieron resultado? ¿Qué padres no repetirían su método?
El sábado, la final entre hermanas en Melbourne decantó el 23º título de Grand Slam para Serena, récord histórico en la Era Open. Esa bestia insaciable, ahora que me acuerdo, se estrenó en el Open de Australia, con una derrota ante Venus (7-6, 6-1) y otra en dobles mixtos (7-6, 6-2). Formaba pareja con el ídolo local, un chaval rubio de 17 años, llamado Lleyton Hewitt. Tras caer en primer ronda, Serena fue clara en su veredicto: «Podría ganar a este tipo. Su tenis es espantoso. Será la última vez que juegue con él. Ni siquiera podía mantener su servicio».
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