Thursday, February 16, 2017

Stardust and police cars

We are all stardust and ...

Probably a nicer way of explaining why there were two police cars in the driveway to RantWoman's building last night that "Another One Bites the dust."

M was always pleasant in the elevator; RantWoman is humble never to have gotten to know her well. A neighbor say she had alcohol issues. RantWoman guesses she is supposed to be grateful for fruits of  building grapevine,

Blessings on M and all who she leaves behind.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Worship in the Age of Facebook: Phillip Gulley

Reposted in context of a discussion by email about email:

RantWoman needs this, especially the part about screwing up and trying again. The trying again is not exactly in there. RantWoman is trying to herd it into the vicinity of herself and those around her.


Worship in the Facebook Age Philip Gulley

When I was thinking of becoming a pastor I read about a man acknowledge as one the greatest preachers of the 20th century─Harry Emerson Fosdick. Fosdick became widely known in the 1920’s after preaching a sermon against fundamentalism. That sermon, Shall the Fundamentalists Win?, was circulated widely, was celebrated in some quarters and condemned in others.

The pastor of a Presbyterian church, Fosdick was ordered to appear before the general assembly of the church so his theology could be examined. He was defended by a young man named John Foster Dulles, whose father was a Presbyterian pastor. Dulles would later serve as the Secretary of State under President Eisenhower, and have an airport named in his honor. All that came later. Meanwhile, the fundamentalists held sway within the Presbyterian church, so in order to avoid censure, Fosdick resigned his position as pastor.

One of his admirers was John D. Rockefeller, Jr., a Baptist, who asked Fosdick if he would be interested in pastoring the church he attended, the Park Avenue Baptist Church in New York City. Fosdick declined, saying he did not ‘‘want to be known as the pastor of the richest man in the country.” To which Rockefeller replied, ‘‘Do you think that more people will criticize you on account of my wealth than will criticize me on account of your theology?’’ Fosdick relented, agreeing to become the pastor on the condition the church become nondenominational, and so Riverside Church was born.

Fosdick inspired many people, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who often cited Fosdick in his own writings and sermons. In one sermon, Fosdick said the Christian church should “be a fountainhead of a better social order’’ and that ‘‘any church that pretends to care for the souls of people but is not interested in the slums that damn them, the government that corrupts them, and the economic order that cripples them is a dry, passive do-nothing religion in need of new blood.’’ Fosdick had a habit of putting the hay down where the goats could get it.

I once pastored a dry, passive do-nothing Quaker meeting. When I was hired, they said I could preach about anything I wanted, so long as I never upset anyone, never said anything others might disagree with, and kept my opinions to myself. Because I was young and desperate for the $50 a week the position paid, I did my best to honor their wishes, making sure never to upset anyone, say anything others might disagree with, and to keep my opinions to myself. Then one Sunday I spoke about the cold fundamentalism squeezing the life out of that meeting, and was fired. It was a passive do-nothing church, and several years later closed its doors. It was there I learned that speaking up had a cost, but so did silence.

Every Christian I know who takes their faith seriously has lived in that same tension. Whether to speak up and care, at the risk of upsetting people, or stay silent and be dry, passive do-nothings. Should you decide to care and speak up, you will have to decide how best to care, how best to speak. And sometimes you will get it wrong. Your passions will occasionally override your judgement. And that’s okay, as long as it’s an anomaly and not a habit. The other evening at Ministry and Counsel,

Chase said the two truths Quakers must balance are speaking truth to power, while seeing what love can do. Speaking truth to power, while never forgetting the primacy of love. That’s hard to do. Especially in this age of social media when each of us have our very own printing press and the freedom to say whatever we wish. We are now our own censors, and some of us do that better than others.

But long before Facebook was invented, we Quakers had our own version of social media, meeting for worship, which from its start insisted pastors and priests were not the only ones with the right and responsibility to speak. The floor would be open to all. But our speech, our worship, was always intended to arise from the deep places of the Holy Within. Meeting for worship was never intended to serve as a letter to the editor, or an op-ed page, or a rehash of the daily news. It was to be Spirit-led, an insight rooted in our intimacy with God. I was speaking with a Friend recently, a Quaker from North Carolina, and she said, “Have you ever noticed how often today when Quakers speak out of the silence, they preface their remarks by saying, “I heard on NPR this week…” Now I listen to NPR. I love NPR, from Click and Clack, to Prairie Home Companion, Fresh Air, All Things Considered, and Morning Edition. But our worship and our words must originate from a deeper source. We have a responsibility to drill for deeper water. Many of us are concerned about the social and political climate in our nation, I am one of them. And I intend to resist it with all the spiritual and intellectual vigor I can muster. Not because a Republican holds office, but because our nation is in the grip of great fear and intolerance. But as a Christian, as a Quaker, my resistance must be rooted in that Light and Life Within, what the Quaker Thomas Kelly called “the inner sanctuary of the soul.” For when our speech is rooted there, when our actions spring from there, they will not only be true, they will be tempered and fortified by the heat of love.

The interesting thing about Fosdick is that his message never changed. When he became the pastor of the wealthiest man in America, he didn’t stop challenging the economic system that made a minority wealthy and a majority poor. His message never changed. His devotion to justice never wavered. But whenever he spoke, those who heard him not only felt challenged and convicted, they also felt loved. So challenge and convict, but also love.

When you stand in meeting for worship to speak, challenge, but also love. Remember we are at all different places, and are sincerely trying our best. When you post on Facebook, challenge, but also love. When you visit with your neighbor, challenge, but also love. When you phone or write your senator or representative, challenge, but also love.

When you talk with your family, challenge, but also love.

Most of all, let your words, no matter where or to whom you are speaking, let your speech arise from those deep places, those eternal places, which are not here today and gone tomorrow, but reside in eternity, always true and always with us.

Readings, readings reproduced in Minutes

RantWoman wishes to express gratitude for our clerk's selection of readings before last month's Meeting for Business.

RantWoman also appreciates their reproduction in the minutes.


2017-01-01: Opening Worship, Welcome, Introductions

The meeting opened with a brief period of worship. The clerk presented three readings:
From Everyday Prophets (Margery Post Abbott: 2016): “Being embedded in a community teaches us much about how to relate to other human beings and how to see our place in the globe where we live. In community, we learn ways of responding to disagreements, making decisions when we hold differing opinions about things that affect us deeply standing with people when they are overwhelmed by emotions. The vision our community holds about the future, whether we call it the New Creation, the Kingdom of God or any of numerous names, shapes us and is integral to a witness to the world of how we might come close to being a community of everyday prophets.”


From the NPYM’s draft Faith and Practice: How do we make our meeting a beloved
community and living testimony for all members and attenders where they are in their
own spiritual journeys? And, How do we create a radically inclusive culture in our
Quaker community?

From “The Disadvantages and Downsides of Social Capital” by Tristan Claridge: “The same characteristics of community that enable beneficial, productive benefits have the potential to cause negative externalities.”

Friday, February 10, 2017

Protest Chants for the Ages?

RantWoman has been trying to grab moments of levity, real or imagined,  wherever she can find them.  RantWoman also admits to being a bit of a Sitting Quietly / Expectant Waiting sometimes makes one want to go out and Yell" Friend.

Today's image in connection with WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson's victories about the #MuslimBan Executive order in the local federal district court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals would be chanting in the style of the "U.S.A.!  U.S.A.! U.S.A.! " Instead, though it would be "Rule of Law! Rule of Law! Rule of Law! "

RantWoman thinks this image would be especially heavenly if the people doing the chanting are rainbow-haired anarchists. "Rule of Law! Rule of Law! Rule of Law!"

"Separation of Powers! Separation of Powers!"

um, no, does not scan well.

"Independent Judiciary! Independent Judiciary!"

Also leaves something to be desired as a chant.

On a related note, RantWoman wonders whether potential #scotus and other judicial nominees maybe ought to be just a little queasy. The Orange One, the Nominator in Chief has dissed multiple federal judges in multiple districts and appellate circuits. RantWoman is wondering how one is supposed to feel good about what should be a VERY prestigious recognition if the person nominating one turns around and heaps opprobrium on the position.

Look, RantWoman is in absolutely no danger of being nominated to the federal judiciary, let alone being nominated by the current Nominator in Chief, so RantWoman does not have to worry about possible need to hold her nose. But RantWoman DOES wonder...

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Orange peel

RantWoman strives to maintain appropriate gratitude for the ABUNDANCE of generous contributions to her spiritual compost heap. Here RantWoman offers only one tiny orange peel, something related AGAIN to carpet.

The carpet note emerged from one of those "We must talk to you NOW" moments involving THREE weighty Friends and causing RantWoman to wonder in passing whether the Association of Bad Friends might like to adopt "S&M for Dummies" as its book of Discipline.  RantWoman is GUESSING about the concern alluded to.

RantWoman admits that she herself has hit a wall: RantWoman is not willing to season a number of points one on one with anyone.  needing THREE people to speak to her probably qualifies as being "high maintenance."  However, RantWoman also notes that failure to PICK UP THE PHONE, respond to emails, or respond to what RantWoman thinks she has said about trying to have conversations in noisy rooms do create certain buildups of steam, on top of the steam vents already rooted in rantWoman's spiritual compost heap. Then there would be the hurly burly of daily life, the sighs when RantWoman picks up the phone and has to plead ...and plead and .. .the holy ..batman...

That said,  RantWoman thinks it would be a MUCH better idea to have a sense of resources in the realm of clearness committees than she presently has. RantWoman recently had opportunity to gather data about familiarity with the concept of clearness committees in her Meeting. RantWoman would say the concept is not presently deeply rooted in other Friends' awareness either. Hold that point in the Light.

RantWoman herself has uneven experience as recipients of such efforts. Again, Hold that point in the Light.

As for RantWoman delivering clearness committee service, stay tuned for more orange peels, unexpectedly resurrected leftovers, meditations on the maraudings of the Holy Spirit around the word "safety," and efforts to peer circumspectly into the vortex of current events.

RantWoman also hopes, possibly naively, that exhibiting enough consistent rantWoman characteristics over and over will help SOMEONE figure out paths to work with such characteristics  Look, RantWoman IS trying... And Furthermore...

But back to carpet. RantWoman is guessing that the note alluded to reference to two people having fun working together.

What? RantWoman against fun? RantWoman would not necessarily recognize fun if it bit her, but in this case RantWoman lifts up:

--collaborators about last year's State of Society report who also worked together on the carpet replacement project.

--The other half of last year's State of Society report team who in RantWoman's experience has a tendency sometimes to stalk out of business meeting when RantWoman says something said Friend either does not understand or disagrees with. RantWoman lifts up this friend because Meeting is about to embark on a journey involving lots of complicated concepts, possible points of disagreement, timelines Meeting will have no control over, and questions where RantWoman thinks it WILL be valuable to be able to more rounded discussion than RantWoman's experience with said Friend. Hold that problem in the Light.
--Concern expressed in various venues about newcomers and involvement of younger friends

--a wonderful event substituting for the usual FLGBTQC midwinter gathering  organized by exactly some wonderful young adult Friends but stunningly absent from last year's State of Society report.

This moment being but one small orange peel added to RantWoman's spiritual compost heap, RantWoman urges readers to hold RantWoman and everyone in the vicinity of her inner blowtorch in the Light.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Avis Wanda the next chapter

Readers who want a break from the general flow of "As the stomach Churns" news items and / or the steady voluminous oozings from RantWoman's spiritual compost heap are invited to visit the Quakers Talk about Racism group on Facebook and to follow the continued evolution of matters involving Avis Wanda McClinton and Upper Darby Monthly Meeting. Use your search engine if you do not do Facebook; RantWoman knows there are resources out there.

To RantWoman's ear Avis Wanda is being very faithful to her Light: RantWoman does not think it would be fun to be around a bunch of people of a different race nonchalantly worshipping over the buried remains of enslaved ancestors. RantWoman has observed the flow of conversations back and forth. RantWoman sees much to hold in the Light, a particular challenge since RantWoman is getting quite annoyed while trying to do so.

Seriously, it is not like the need to address white supremacy and the wrongs of the past is going to go away just because a monthly meeting releases someone from membership. RantWoman is almost as embarrassed to read of this turn of events as she is to read of ....

Start by holding things in the Light

or in RantWoman's case, add it to the "Ya wanna hassle me? Get in Line " list

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Do you have any idea who you are trolling?

RantWoman has a Facebook troll. Possibly if the venue were Twitter, Facebook Troll would go in the I Pray For You list but RantWoman has not discovered any similar capability on Facebook.

RantWoman's Facebook troll has never asked RantWoman's opinion, but RantWoman thinks his profile picture is ODD! However, RantWoman is also clear to honor an implied request not to share key details that might cause people to make assumptions they should not. So readers get to imagine such a thing in the world of Facebook.

Facebook Troll is someone RantWoman has known since sixth grade and with whom she graduated from High School. The Rant Family moved back to MT when RantWoman was going into sixth grade. RantWoman's Facebook troll lived very near by as the crow flies but any other route was blocks of travel, RantWoman, Facebook Troll, and Facebook Troll's brother were all in the same class. The family is very religious. There are several other siblings of various races and backgrounds. Enough said for now.

Facebook troll seems to be following RantWoman everywere RantWoman posts. Facebook troll comments. Another groupie of Facebook Troll posts. Very substantial people from various threads of RantWoman's life try to respond. Occasionally, RARELY, some kind of intellectual spark. There have been some other odd notes such as the time facebook Troll and another very different guy where gallantly trying to defend rantWoman from each other. THANKS GUYS. Not a problem RantWoman has very often and rantWoman is touched, but ...

So far Facebook Troll remains unpersuaded of any view other than his own.  Yet RantWoman has not blocked Facebook troll.RantWoman SORT OF does not mind having a living breathing specimen of the present political environment.RantWoman is careful not to collect too many such specimens. Who is RantWoman kidding. RantWoman has to exert strict discipline not to drown in Facebook in the first place so sometimes and simply has not time to go on at too much length This also means RantWoman is neither refereeing nor apologizing, but one of these days MAYBE RantWoman will post something to the effect of "Do you have ANY freaking idea who you are trolling?"

On the other hand, maybe RantWoman should be grateful she has Facebook Friends who seem able to be more tolerant or even compassionate.