Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Brokenness and Barriers

How Quakerism drove me to madness and bipolar recovery
Full of mysticism and worship and spiritual nurture

How Medicaid keeps people with disabilities poor
Full of policy wonk terms and concrete references to specific legislation.

What a pair.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Transgender Activist Christopher Lee's Death Certificate

RantWoman at the moment is both curious and honestly alittle flummoxed about questions of dender transition. So for at least a spell, RantWoman will occasionally dumpe informational items on her blog without any more expectation than to be present with the story. RantWoman can just start in data geek mode, reflecting on all the ways that data may or may not reflect reality.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


RantWoman humbly offers some annotations from her very own blog to the sex offenders paragraph from her Meeting’s official penultimate draft 2014 State of Society report. RantWoman invites readers to compare this paragraph to the final version and to meditate on differences. There are small but VERY important differences. RantWoman is pointedly NOT speaking of the titles on the torturous path to these differences. Please hold the saga in the Light bearing in mind that fog and blur in RantWoman's head also impeded clear paths ....

RantWoman offers these ramblings in full brain dump, fraught with digressions mode and reminds her readers that her model of blogging is more Quaker journal than anything that aspires to be more polished. Please Hold RantWoman in the Light, especially if it seems like RantWoman is telling too much of the truth. (A)

 For more than a decade, UFM has been openly addressing people's needs around the topic of sexual violence. We committed ourselves to a triple ministry: safety for our children, support for adult survivors of sexual abuse(A1), and spiritual support for known sexual offenders in our community. One person completed his sentence this past year, and developed his own Lifetime Safety Plan, which the Meeting then adopted for our use as well. (B) An archive of our Meeting's walk with this offender is available at (C).  As part of UFM’s overall plan, we charged the Education Committee with the ongoing responsibility for the safety of children (including annual education for adults) (D) and the Care and Counsel Committee with support for adult survivors, recognizing that this is a very challenging area. We are grateful for this ongoing opportunity for enhanced understanding of the histories, sorrows, challenges, and growth of all our members. (E)


For the record, among many threads of RantWoman’s yucky topics festival life story, one of the RantSiblings was victimized by a serial molester who targeted kids whose parents were too religiously uptight to help them learn to negotiate sexual boundaries, kids whose parents figured if they prayed hard enough, nothing bad would happen, and in the RantFamily case, parents who did NOTHING that would have been appropriate afterward like get the kid help!

RantWoman is posting this bluntly all over her blog. And STILL, RantWoman would be grateful if those in this community who know members of the RantFamily would observe the following confidentiality practices: if RantWoman brings something up in front of you and family members, it’s fair game. If a question comes up about life at this Meeting and you feel able to answer in the general case, feel free.

RantWoman has begun saying that trauma recovery in this particular faith community is a little like the cat having kittens in your bed. Must she? Yes, and those around RantWoman are supposed to be gratified  because that makes up for every single clueless obtuse silencing and just plain aggravating thing anyone in this community has done to fry RantWoman’s nerves about everything to do with the topic.
Furthermore, RantWoman has been massaging the value for others of the different schedule regimens used over the history of the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet’s DoC supervision. Some Friends do find it meaningful. Some Friends who do not speak up in public just wonder why the level of fussiness about the whole issue. RantWoman is unclear whether this category includes anyone--besides herself--who identifies as a survivor of abuse / sexual abuse.

RantWoman mentions this problem while holding in the Light Friend Whose Title RantWoman keeps Pointedly Omitting, recalling a conversation that went something like
"I am not hearing from survivors..."
"Well, you are not hearing from survivors about (The Safest Sex Offender on the Planet" but you should not assume you are not hearing from survivors."

RantWoman, speaking only for herself does not consider tormenting the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet necessary to her own sanity. More importantly, RantWoman frankly is really tired of fussing about the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet and not being able to have space:

--For a certain committee to do Worship Sharing about what it means to be in the famous bulletin announcement.

--Has anyone ever been told something they do not know how to deal with and who do they turn to?

Only sexual abuse? What about other abuse? What about trauma???? 


The offender applied for and has been welcomed into membership. RantWoman personally is glad he is part of the community for many reasons besides what he is best known for. Some years our Meeting mentions counts of new memberships, transfers in and out, deaths, births; some years not. This year, not.

RantWoman Cross reference to the historical archive:

RantWoman began this blog in 2009. There is considerable Commentary on themes related to this ministry. For dates of interest from the archive, readers will frequently find blog entries in the same time frame referring to RantWoman opinions, suggestions for the Meeting announcement, suggestions for other resource list.

Steve1 in the archive = The Safest Sex Offender on the Planet

Steve2 in the archive = The Friend with the Remarkable Story

The Child Ministry tag contains all kinds of things including resources, accounts of childrearing….

RantWoman has spent a few minutes desultorily looking for the answers to two questions and has not found anything satisfactory. The questions:

--What was the original charge of the Subcommittee on Interpersonal Violence? (Corrollary question: what was the original thinking behind having one member from Oversight, one from Worship and Ministry, and one at-large.—Rantwoman does not have to think very hard to observe some reasons but no one several years on could tell RantWoman.) RantWoman remembers that the charge involved helping the Meeting develop resources. RantWoman likes the archive here just fine as a historical snapshot but would REALLY like some materials upon which to have shared conversation including brief intro things she might refer others to.

As this archive was being cleaned up for presentation to the wider world, RantWoman asked a personal f/Friend about the longer document vs shorter resources issue. It became clear that personal f/Friend was very, very attached to this historical record and had no thought of anything else. Personal f/Friend is also at a stage in life where she is ready to detach from many things so she has a tendency to pat others on the head and suggest they do not need to worry their pretty little heads either. RantWoman, to say the least, finds this patronizing. Sometimes RantWoman has also felt trapped! RantWoman is kind of peeved that Personal f/Friend has not gotten the point that RantWoman needs both resources in certain formats AND a pool of other people who have maybe encountered the same concepts / language resources. No one else has gotten this point either and RantWoman has only now dragged away enough conceptual clutter to say the point cleanly.

RantWoman holds Personal f.Friend’s stories very tenderly. RantWoman honors Personal f/Friend’s need to tell some pieces over and over. And one day after the n zillionth recitation, RantWoman sent Personal f/Friend an email with the following questions:

               Who do you need to forgive?

               Who do you need to forgive you?

               What do you need to forgive / be forgiven for?

               What do you need to forgive yourself for?

Personal f/Friend called RantWoman a few days after the email and admitted to being pretty affronted at first. At first.

Anyway, RantWoman STILL thinks it would be AWESOME if there were a committee she could draw resources from. Half the reason RantWoman stores random Blog as Filing Cabinet items she comes across is precisely to have some kind of resource bank. RantWoman has offered for multiple years to serve on such a committee. RantWoman stood aside from laying down the committee exactly because she still sees a need. Click on the Charm School tag for numerous indications, at least to RantWoman’s febrile brain about this.

--Did we in fact charge Oversight / Care and Counsel with care of adult survivors? What preparation do they undergo? Said committee, whatever they call themselves, is presently comprised of people with Personnel work experience, a couple people in helping professions,. In the first place, they would be idiots to accept such a charge without any training. In the second place, RantWoman specifically had an argument about a very key point from a threshing session: a speaker, not a member of Care and Counsel, asked “How can we help survivors if we do not know who they are?” This got recorded in the minutes as “how can we help survivors if they do not identify themselves to Oversight / now Care and Counsel?

Can anyone who has read this rant imagine some reasons people might hesitate to identify themselves to Care and Counsel?

More to the point, if Care and Counsel works confidentially, how would anyone else know of someone needing help? OR what would one do if someone's experience found their friend instead of going straight to Care and Counsel?


“As part of UFM’s overall plan, we charged the Education Committee with the ongoing responsibility for the safety of children (including annual education for adults)”

RantWoman recalls a conversation with Friend Whose Title RantWoman Pointedly Omits:

 RantWoman: “When I was in high school, if anyone had been willing to talk, there would have been things to hear.”
Friend Whose Title ... “Go talk to your counselor.”

RantWoman offers the following items from her blog where “the safety of children” fell partly or completely outside the realm of education committee.

--A teenager who came to worship with his father and whom several adults described as having the “deer in headlights” look one might expect from being around a parent’s mental illness. Son was present in another room when, according both to a firsthand telephone conversation and to secondhand info which for RantWoman aligns fromseveral directions, a clearness committee for membership went rather badly. Where would Education Committee have been when father and son went home after this event? 

--A teenager whose mother gave a message in public Meeting for Worship about an incident in their household that meets, to RantWoman’s non-lawyerly ear, the legal definition of domestic violence.

--A younger child with a severe disability in another Meeting who suffered physical abuse and was criticized by someone in the family’s Meeting for saying that the abuser was “mean.” (RantWoman has permission to speak of the word "mean. RantWoman learned of this situation over time at a series of Quaker gatherings. ONE thread of the larger community conversation involved insistence that RantWoman “did not know when to quit” about service dogs, the most public face of this family's situation. RantWoman notes the identity of the person who made the "not know when to quit" comment with concern because of a sense that Friend communicated of being entitled to know. RantWoman felt NO obligation to labor with said Friend and is now, for a new reason, seasoning what to do with her concern. Hold that issue in the Light, PLEASE)

--A recent email exchange with Worship and Ministry and the clerk of education committee. RantWoman sometimes gets triggered around small children running about uncontrolled. RantWoman will explain the RantParent childrearing practices and RantFamily vision issues behind the problem another time. The point is RantWoman gets triggered and would prefer approaches other than RantParent methods and unrealistic behavior expectations. RantWoman for the record does not identify as a direct survivor of sexual abuse but anyway, RantWoman fears that if she had approached Care and Counsel the problem would have gotten lost in months of fog and would have emerged months later with, say a phone call, “oh we are wondering…”. The issue occurs in Meeting for Worship and involves children, the worship experience, and the physical safety of all kinds of people.

When RantWoman addressed Worship and Ministry, the first suggestion she got back was just that she go worship somewhere else. The author of this suggestion, while often dear and weighty,  is already firmly planted on RantWoman's "I forgive you in advance" list. Fortunately for the future of the RSoF, there are no Meetings without children within RantWoman’s “I will ride one bus” radius. RantWoman wrote back mathematically. About 1/3 of the problem is something no one can fix and will y’all please just hold RantWoman in the Light. 1/3 is practicaly safety concerns for the tottery, the aged, the low vision, as well as our bountiful and energetic children. And 1/3 is well, what do we want our children to be learning about behavior in worship? RantWoman has indications that she has been heard, at least to a degree, about this point .

RantWoman DEEPLY appreciates many people's efforts, highly imperfect as some of them have been. RantWoman hopes others have also found healing, at least a degree of safety or adjustmment or new Light. And RantWoman has  also still found reason, in private email to use the phrase “orgies of self-congratulation.” Hold RantWoman and those around her in the Light about this point, PLEASE.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Giving Things Up on Behalf Of: Grab the Blind Person and Bless Them with Variations

RantWoman is trying to get the hang of this give things up for Lent. RantWoman sort of understands that there is some point of forgiveness; RantWoman needs to sit with that issue for one thing because even including forgiving, RantWoman would like NOT to have to repeat the forgiving!

RantWoman offers the following list of behaviors she would be ecstatic to give up on behalf of other people.

Grab the Blind Person and bless them.

Grab the Blind person and drag them into really scary traffic

Grab the Blind person and drag them into really scary traffic while ignoring protests and demands to STOP.

See for instance:

This one from awhile ago: Grab the Blind person and drag them into really scary traffic while ignoring protest and demands to STOP in private while baying in public about fitness to serve on a certain Meeting committee.

Failing to feed back to RantWoman that anyone gets the dimensions of abuse involved in the previous item.

Lecturing RantWoman about how painful it is to watch public conversation while being unavailable / unwilling to attend to the private issue of getting dragged into traffic.

Turning down REPEATED requests by RantWoman to come address a whole certain committee. RantWoman is barely capable of holding the person unavailable to listen in the Light and is utterly clear that holding a one-on-one conversation with said person is beyond her Light. Hence only ONE of several reasons RantWoman has requested...
Please hold this circus in the Light.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

State of Society 2014

RantWoman is humble: someone else proposed a factual change RantWoman does not perfectly remember. RantWoman said what is on her mind in Business Meeting. The room was silent for a LONG time. RantWoman said she thinks she can make a small edit. Here is what emerged.

University Monthly Meeting, Seattle WA

State of Society Report 2014

With three meetings for worship per week, and a plethora of activities and groups thriving under our roof, our Meeting House can be a very busy place. We are continually challenged to seek a balance of community involvement, political interaction, financial needs, and time for quiet attention to the leadings of Spirit. In addition, we must honor the very different needs and life circumstances of beloved elders, parents and growing families, and younger adults just getting established.

Many of our elders are confronting challenging changes in health, or needed shifts in housing. Walking through these changes together is spiritual work; through Care Committees our community provides spiritual support for people experiencing calamities and infirmities. A member of our Care and Counsel Committee adjusted the assisted listening system in our worship room so that everyone can hear the vocal ministries of worship. An attender also organized several sing-alongs for a dear Friend who is struggling with serious illness. These moments of shared grace were special and uplifting.

We are happy to be able to report that our children’s programs are thriving. Families with children take turns with monthly visits among Meetings, and are rewarded with expanded fellowship and children’s activities. Junior Friends also continue their prior tradition of gathering monthly with teens from other meetings. Our Young adults meet regularly for potlucks and even extend their definition of “young adult” to include, say “frequently the youngest person at Adult Religious Education.”

We still have difficulty bridging the gap between college age and older adults. However, our Adult Religious Education program thrives weekly as a rich forum for exploringinterests of community, spirit, society, and science, and sometimes gets quite moved by Spirit. We are grateful for this added opportunity to “go deep” outside of the main meeting for worship, and to discover our connection in this intimate setting.

One high point of community involvement was a threshing session about meeting for Worship for Business. Friends considered ideas from a variety of suggested readings and continued worshiping while ministering to our building and grounds.

Many of our individuals, as always, carry their ministries out into the world, working for peace and justice, acting as officers and leaders in Quaker organizations. We recognized one member’s travels in the ministry in Latin America twice this year. In addition, our Jr Friends are preparing for upcoming ministry in Guatemala, and need all the support we can offer, spiritually, financially, and logistically.

New fundraising initiatives also reflect deep community engagement. For a number of months Friends seasoned options for cutting expenditures but were unable to come to unity about any specific plan. Instead, Friends in Business meeting came to unity to conduct active fundraising. Finance committee recommended that cuts in programs and activities could be avoided if our giving pattern reached 60% of our annual budget by the end of the second quarter of our fiscal year. Friends responded enthusiastically- Finance Committee agreed to add fundraising to its charge- and that goal was reached!

The quiet of our worship room remains a prized sleeping option for SHARE, the self-managed 20 member homeless community we have shared space with every night for several years. UFM’s Subcommittee on Homelessness, which for a time narrowed its focus to managing UFM’s relationship with thisSHARE, reached out to raise awareness of other issues related to homelessness, like the need for affordable housing, and dramatic changes on the horizon in our neighborhood. Of more immediate impact, since the Meetinghouse lacks regular eating facilities for SHARE to use, the subcommittee installed two permanent picnic tables (with seats) in the lower courtyard of the building for use in good weather.

For more than a decade, UFM has been openly addressing people's needs around the topic of sexual violence. We committed ourselves to a triple ministry: safety for our children, support for adult survivors of sexual abuse, and spiritual support for known sexual offenders in our community. One person completed his sentence this past year, and developed his own Lifetime Safety Plan, which the Meeting then adopted for our use as well. An archive of our Meeting's walk with this offender is available at As part of UFM’s overall plan, Education Committee administers background checks for our child safety protocols and Education and Care and Counsel committees from time to time offer educational and other supportive events aimed at children and adults. Survivors’ experiences can be very challenging. We are grateful for this ongoing opportunity for enhanced understanding of the histories, sorrows, challenges, and growth of all our members.

University Meeting will always be changing, and as result, needs to take time regularly to refocus our efforts or re-evaluate our goals, but we happily find our community life both centering and challenging and try to rise in the Light to live as Quakers together.

Mr. JAWS manages email


RantWoman wishes to unveil a new approach to email management.

Meet Mr. JAWS, RantWoman's screen reader. Mr JAWS is usually set for American English albeit at a considerably faster reading rate than normal human speech. The reading speed tends to vex people who are not used to this.

RantWoman's first line of defense for certain categories of email: make Mr. JAWS read EVEN FASTER in US English.

RantWoman's second line of defense is to force Mr. JAWS to think the text is in say, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese, or Finnish.

RantWoman feels blessed that an offer to hold the author of much venting in the Light along with mention of this approach generated much mirth.

RantWoman feels blessed to have another fresh supply of "Go away" droppings for her spiritual compost heap which she is likely to handle the same way.
RantWoman just is not sure WHAT to do with all these blessings.