The Value of Human Beings
March 12, 2021
(Note: Remember to turn clocks ahead one hour this Sunday, March 14)
March is women’s history month, a time to recognize the contributions of women in our world. Yes, there is a need for a month of recognition. Over half the human population of earth is sometimes seen as second class, a commodity, or only suited for certain areas of work. Women have worked alongside researchers and their significant input is not always included in recognition of a project. Of course I am thinking of Chien Shiung Wu. The following is an excerpt from her bio: “After being approached by two male theoretical physicists, Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen Ning Yang, Wu’s experiments using cobalt-60, a radioactive form of the cobalt metal disproved the law of parity (the quantum mechanics law that held that two physical systems, such as atoms, are mirror images that behave in identical ways). Unfortunately, although this led to a Nobel Prize for Yang and Lee in 1957, Wu was excluded, as were many other female scientists during this time.” Wu became an advocate for women and girls in STEM.
What is the value of a human being? This was addressed in an episode of Star Trek: the Next Generation. Captain Picard had to prove that the android, Data, was sentient, human, and therefore capable of deciding his own fate. Things don’t seem to be going well so he has a conversation with the ship’s “bartender,” Guinan. Why do I reference this here? Because it addresses the issue of humanity and the writer of the episode (Measure of a Man) was a woman, Melinda M. Snodgrass, and clarity is found in talking with a woman, Guinan.
Guinan: He’s proved his value to you… And now he’s about to be ruled the property of Starfleet, that should increase his value.
Picard: In what way?
Guinan: Well, consider that in the history of many worlds there have always been disposable creatures. They do the dirty work. They do the work that no one else wants to do because it is too difficult or too hazardous. And an army of Datas all disposable; you don’t have to think about their welfare, you don’t think about how they feel; whole generations of disposable people.
Picard: You’re talking about slavery.
Guinan: I think that’s a little harsh.
Picard: I don’t think that’s a little harsh that’s the truth. A truth that we have obscured behind a comfortable euphemism – property; but that’s not the issue at all.
What is the value of a person? The psalmist tells us:
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:3-5, NRSV)
With Peace and Hope,
Upcoming Forums (all at 2:00 PM over LABC ZOOM)
March 14 – Sermon Talk Back, led by Rev. Sydney Webster
March 21 – Life and work of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, led by Rev. Dr. LeAnn Flesher
We will honor and discuss the life and work Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. In preparation for the forum please read one (or both) of the following: Who was Ruth Bader Ginsburg? By Patricia Brennan Demuth ($5.68) or RBG’s own book entitled My Own Words, published in 2018 ($9.18).
March 28 – Forum on Anne Braden, led by Rev. Dr. Allison Tanner
In Dr. King’s, “Letter from Birmingham Jail” he named Anne Braden as a white southerner deeply committed to the civil rights movement. We will learn about who Anne Braden was and what her life has to teach us about the ongoing work of challenging racial injustice.
Upcoming Event (via ZOOM)
Forever Young, March 20, 1:00 PM
We will be celebrating Women’s history month as well as acknowledging that we are living in challenging times in 2020 and 2021. We have all seen and experienced changes and loss that we had no way to plan for. Our guest speaker will be therapist Dr. Terri Brenneman, who will help us look at and consider how we are feeling, where we were challenged, and how we might care for ourselves at home and in the “new normal.”
Weekly Gatherings (via ZOOM)
10:00 AM – Time for Prayer (Psalm 52)
10:00 AM – Worship (Rev. Sydney Webster preaching)
11:45 AM – Adult Bible Study
2:00 PM – Forum: Sermon Talk Back with Rev. Sydney Webster
7:00 PM – Youth Gathering
Thanks to Jesus Portillo, one of our youth teachers/workers for the following article (click title to access article).
From The New York Times:
Teens on a Year That Changed Everything
Teens across the United States show us how they have met life’s challenges in the midst of a pandemic.
6:00 PM – No Soup, but Study
7:05 PM – Church Council (March 16)
10:30 AM – Prayer and Bible Study
6:00 PM – Together in Spirit (bible study, gospel of John)
Note: Remember to turn clocks ahead one hour this Sunday!