Saturday, February 15, 2020

Black History Month Binge Blog: Learning About “Charming Racism” - Trevor Noah

content warning: various ways to be upset about language. Readers worried about the possibility of being upset are invited to click away or to put your own #BlackHistoryMonth202 name into the search engine of their choice.

This video speaks to the same corner of RantWoman's brain that has been known to ask "Would you like more unQuakerly content or less unQuakerly content?

RantWoman esteems Trevor Noah for many ways he captures speech and language.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Ministry of observing and Prayer

It was 37 degrees outside according to the radio when RantWoman left home praying about where to go. God suggested that if RantWoman was already in danger of being late for the locking of doors at one Meeting, it would also be okay to skip the underwhelming chairs and just do ministry of presence at her regular Meeting. RantWoman was well-rewarded with sun, warmth, and conversations and meditations about among other things growing up in the land of NPYM even if not a Quaker growing up in general and wishes for families of today.

Sun light clouds blue sky tall trees a street that turns left in front of Meeting.
9th Avenue NE
and lane off Roosevelt NE
One of RantWoman's many twitches related to traffic and climate change is maybe possibly to go a little overboard about the phrase "Walk Cheerfully on the earth answering that of God in everyone." Okay, RantWoman has a lot of near-misses about the "Cheerfully" part. Oh, and the "answering that of God..." part might go better both if some Friends were at least slightly conversant in God language and if God were better about huge non-subtle signs instead of stuff that shows up all covered in muck that RantWoman has to wipe through first.

But the walking and the tracking of pedestrian flows and walking paths to and fro, for instance between bus stops and destinations, are kind of second nature, not even second, just hard-wired in. Hard-wired in as in, RantWoman's particular flavor of transportation nerdery grabbed hold both of the dramatic increase in pedestrian flows expected when the Brooklyn Ave. light rail station opens and the 90,000 new people expected in a neighborhood just over the University Bridge in another neighborhood where there is much conversation about bike and ped infrastructure.

By infrastructure, we also mean car vs bike / ped accident hotspots at several intersections to the N of us along the much prized Protected Bike Lane many Friends use to get to Meeting from the North. RantWoman has NO expectation that solving the accident hot spots is Meeting's job; RantWoman DOES think Friends with leadings to pay attention to the actions by responsible public officials reflects good stewardship and responsible participation in the wider community.

Plus there are two 25-story buildings going in across another street. Will all those new people need places to worship and pray and even just gather?

RantWoman has NO illusions that her perspective and awareness will necessarily be central to decisions down the line; RantWoman IS clear that talking about the changes occurring can help build community among people experiencing the changes now. But what opportunities for connection is the community missing if the paths people get to Meeting by get brushed off as "unnecessary detail. What if "be patterns, be examples..." inspires someone who meets a Friend at another meeting? What if someone going to the UW wants some kind of easy time commitment to help them manage stress or a way to share something they are already learning about?

RantWoman will sometime answer a call to explain about youth spent walking to school in the snow, uphill, both ways, but mercifully not barefoot. Today though RantWoman is just collecting traffic safety related observations. RantWoman actually was surprised how long she was called to stay put. In that time, some traffic highlights.

The left side of the picture is a hill with sidewalks, public right of way, on both sides of the street. While RantWoman was present, there was only one really bad episodeof peds coming up hill not on sidewalk and at high risk of getting hit by cars coming around the corner. The episode was worse than average. The person not only walked at a diagonal on the upper part of the walk where cars sometimes come around the corner too fast to see random pedestrians, the person also walked a diagonal on the lower part of the road before the turn. Bad Friend sentiment: "Okay, go ahead! Delete yourself from the gene pool if you must, but please try not to do it when RantWoman is around." Worse Friend sentiment: the "I pray for you" list is NOT where you want to be!"

Not everyone can walk and shamelessly, frighteningly jaywalk. Some people need to load into cars. This works as well as RantWoman expects when the vehicle being loaded is facing S so that the passenger side of the car is toward the Meetinghouse. But RantWoman observed more than one car parked facing NB will trying to load passengers with the passenger side out in the street, not along the curb. This makes RantWoman nervous about risk of the passenger, frequently someone with a cane or walker, getting hit by something coming up the hill or around the corner behind the vantage point of this photo. RantWoman supposes since she observed this exact concern for a yellow cab ride a couple weeks ago, that RantWoman could at least call the cab company and suggest that their drivers not do that anymore.

One large ladder fire truck was barely able to turn R to go NB on 9th. RantWoman is simply noting the observation without further comment for now.

Ministry of staying put: it was a GORGEOUS day. RantWoman sat out so long she is a little afraid of a sunburn. RantWoman finds herself probably inappropriately capable of coming up with REALLY BAD IDEAS to address some sentiments on her mind. Today though when RantWoman prayed about whether to stay put or move, (RantWoman is not specifying where in case the thought of visibility becomes more urgent another time.) the message came back: stay put. The sunbathing is better here and there is more to muddle out of the praying.

Enough for now.

In Light and Faithfulness.

RantWoman


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Black History Month Binge Blog: Dr Thema: Anxiety

RantWoman has kind of been trusting the universe to send enough #BlackHistoryMonth2020 content that RantWoman will not have to dig too far on her own. This item about anxiety  comes on the heels of a discussion in a meeting and then by email about anxiety, different people's experiences, full representation in minutes.

Aside from holding onto the term "rumination," RantWoman will do the best she can to keep this item focused on Black History Month and leave white people twitterpations for a separate post.

Main Black History month point: Dr. Thema's social media channels include many connections with other Africans #MakingHistoryNow. Emjouy.




Sunday, February 9, 2020

FOURTH SATURDAY WORSHIP February 22, 3:30 - 5:00 Montlake Library

Friends

(RantWoman is for once going all First Person on this post. I am  wondering aloud whether I should let quoting Bobby Seale suffice for my Black History Month daily Binge Blog and inviting people to worship and consider queries about prayer.

I really miss seeing many people at UFM and I hope Friends will join the group for  the next Fourth Saturday Worship, Saturday February 22, 2020, 3:30-5:00 pm  at the Montlake Library, 2401 24th Ave E.

It would be a great blessing if someone were led to announce this at Meeting for Business and during announcements after worship.

Both previous months have brought centering worship and thoughtful worship-sharing. I consider the sharing in January holy even though difficult: two friends got up and started to walk out of the room when a Time to pray moment occurred about a difficult topic. So we all need to hold our space and time together in the Light.

Thoughts and queries:
The prayer warriors (one of the things they call themselves) are a bunch of blind people and a couple others who pray together by conference call once a week. When this was announced I decided I must pray with these people  What is Friends' experience about praying with people who think differently than they do?

The ARE from last week featured a video about the difference between meditation and worship. Do Friends have thoughts about the relationship between meditation and prayer?

Rhythms of prayer: I have a number of Muslim neighbors who pray 5 times a day and sometimes just walk around the building with their phones playing a call to prayer. This got me thinking about different traditions and how they order their time or their days. What is Friends' experience with cycles of prayer?

Do Friends favor any resources to help guide their prayer practices. I for instance am signed up with Sojourners Verse and Voice for daily emails on weekdays. Here is part of the email from last Tuesday.

Voice of the day
Revolution is about the need to re-evolve political, economic andsocial justice and power back into the hands of the people, preferably through legislation and policies that make human sense. That's what
revolution is about. Revolution is not about shootouts.
- Bobby Seale

Prayer of the day

God, show us how we can be a part of the revolution that brings forth freedom, restores power, and makes human sense. Amen.

What rises for Friends from these quotes?

This list is already too long and I trust we will be lead to some kind
of focus but is there any other query related to prayer that Friends
might want to add to this list?

Looking forward to worship together in two weeks.

In Light and faithfulness.

(RantWoman)

PS There is a memorial I want to attend on our March date. If Friends
want to worship at that time without me, I am happy to leave the space
reserved.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Black History Month Binge Blog: Rev. Ernie Butler, Second Baptist Church Bloomington IN

Search engines are great and glorious pathways to remembering. RantWoman today feels called to speak of Black History up close from her experience. Tonight's inspiration, Rev Ernest Bulter of Bloomington IN  is vaguely related to various voting themes swirling in RantWoman's head and in the zeitgeist. South Bend IN Mayor Pete Buttagieg is somewhere near the top of the balloting, assuming IA democrats get the ballots sorted out in time to send delegates to the Democratic national Convention. RantWoman is both listening to RantMom's piquant opinions about the latest #DemDebate and ignoring the debate herself. RantWoman is in make sure everyone has a full chance to get counted mood about purges of voter rolls in many states and RantWoman is seasoning how to be concise about the latest in accessibility screwups about the King Conservation District all online election. Look for this on RantWoman's other blog.

RantWoman is remembering Jesse Jackson's 1988 presidential campaign: RantWoman was an alternate delegate to the IN state Democratic convention; RantWoman got to go because the official delegate could not. RantWoman remembers a behind-the-scenes tussle about two competeing delegations from Gary, presumably one African American and one white. RantWoman also remembers the car ride to Indianapolis with Rev. Ernie Butler, pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Bloomington.

RantWoman is thrilled to find a number of really intersting remembrances of Rev. Ernie Butler, pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Bloomington IN. RantWoman moved to the Bloomingon area for a not great job but RantWoman's employer had been spending a lot of time around the sort of political activists who think "Oh, gee, we really want people of color to come to our events." RantWoman and her employer both concurred: if we wanted to work with people of color, we needed to show up. So we showed up at the local chapter of the NAACP. That is how RantWoman met Rev. Butler.

Here are some vivid remembrances.

A towering presence and man of God

American Folk LifeCenter Autobiography record

Bloomingpedia Entry

Blurb from facebook about a documentary shown at the Bloomington Unitarian universalist Church in November 2018

Reverend Ernest Butler: Rebel With a Cause (28 minutes): This powerful short documentary, produced by David Guadaitis, Larry Laswell, and Alan Backler, tells the story of Reverend Ernest Butler, Bloomington’s dynamic civil rights activist and leader for decades in the late 20th Century. The documentary traces Butler’s childhood and formative years as a pastor in Connersville to his efforts to integrate public and private facilities in Noblesville, before moving to Bloomington as pastor of the Second Baptist Church. It describes the conditions Butler confronted on arrival in Bloomington in 1959, and examines his efforts to open up employment and housing opportunities for African Americans in Bloomington. His daily struggle to improve the lives of the members of his church and the wider community comes to life in the film. Rev. Butler’s transformation from fiery rebel to respected elder leader was hard fought, and decades in the making.


RantWoman would say the web record is a little sparse though clearly there is some material if a historian wanted to dig past the confines of the internet. And here RantWoman offers humility about a moment of center the conversation around the white person: RantWoman remembers the car ride passing through Martinsville IN serious Klan country. RantWoman had a brief flicker of fretting: Oh noes. Here I am riding through Klan country with a completely respectable African American minister. Then Rev. Butler piped up about one of his many roles: Rev. Butler was the first African American to serve on the IN federal grand jury.
Okay then. RantWoman will Get Over Herself.

Rest in Power, Rev. Butler, for years already.


Thursday, February 6, 2020

Poop: Well-housed dogs and other sources

This post concerns deposits of poop, actual compost-worthy poop, poop from renters holding meetings who all need to pee at once during breaks or when attending massive memorials. There is also metaphorical poop in honor of a text RantWoman started her day with which used the term BS several times. RantWoman has yet to figure out how to say BS in acceptable Quakerese. RantWoman hopes her readers will hold that problem in the Light as they read and season the weekend's activities. RantWoman deeply values shared discernment and really is interested in hearing what others say, well most of the time except...

Disability and People RantWoman is Fond Of

RantWoman has been clear to visit people she is fond of, as well as possible when people from many directions are gathered in one place so that RantWoman does not have to travel all over town making visits just because an entire Meeting for Business which declared RantWoman unwelcome in advance thinks the only thing RantWoman will care about is memorials, talking about people after they are DEAD.  Can anyone tell RantWoman is deeply amused NOT?

Let's just say, RantWoman is clear she has not been released from moral obligation to speak and that RantWoman is, believe it or not, also speaking from great tenderness and concern.

RantWoman is also "appreciating" being released from membership BEFORE the creation of an ad-hoc committee on disability AFTER RantWoman had been helping get that going for months, years. RantWoman deeply appreciates the efforts of those interested in serving but RantWoman is also detecting a little too much stand up and walk out of the room energy when the work hits difficult edges.

The Ad-hoc committee is not even clear about enough Quaker process to clearly request that previous decisions be slightly revised so that RantWoman's name can specifically be listed on the Committee Roster. Instead, yet ANOTHER clearness committee is being suggested.  Key terminology has been eliminated from the minute creating the committee and working age adults are being allowed to indulge in the fantasy that it is acceptable to wait around for a year to address the words "reasonable accommodations" But hark, we have dog poop and foot traffic from a rapidly evolving neighborhood, and RantWoman's inner blowtorch.

RantWoman has still a bunch of "holy crap!" material lurking uncomposted in email and RantWoman is not necessarily opposed to help from a Clearness Committee but RantWoman is clear not to wait around for such a thing to come together.

RantWoman also finds herself meditating with bemusement about a moment from the muddlings of the Care and Accountability Committee. RantWoman is not sure whether the conversation was about RantWoman's 47 millionth comment asking for help about blind people in meetings or some other moment of people missing a point.

One Friend brought up a long-time member who was into tearing down the Berlin Wall long before that was actually fashionable and even sanctioned by the guardians of the wall. This leading so distressed others in Meeting that this Friend was finally pressured to resign his membership after which he attended faithfully the rest of his life. RantWoman is unclear how this light was supposed to relate to Blind Person in Meeting issues; RantWoman finds an implicit suggestion that RantWoman just resign over something she cannot help and that is not going to go away distinctly unhelpful. RantWoman also tartly observes that historical geopolitics about something far away and definitely fallen from its former greatness is kind of beside the point as far as poop on Meeting's property and growing streams of traffic in several directions and climate change and a city that needs to find a soul and a center as the next decades bring much growth.

Dog Poop Witness

RantWoman has been faithful to her Light, holding Meeting for Worship with attention to presence and observation lately. RantWoman has many observations. In particular, RantWoman observes many well-housed dogs with their humans out on Sunday strolls. The humans mostly seem to live in the apartment building which as arisen across the street from Meeting. They are generally quite conscientious about depositing their bags of dog poop in the small green container in the foreground.

In the foreground a wastebag dispenser and disposal container. In the background the chariot that brings Service Python Friend to worship
For well-housed neighbors
taking care of their dog poop.
See sign in foreground
Considering the number of dogs RantWoman observes, RantWoman has to wonder whether the volume  of the green container is adequate for say a weekend of dog poop pickups. However, word has also reached RantWoman that, unsurprisingly for an area with much foot traffic and ZERO public toilets after dark for many blocks in many directions, there is evidence on Meeting grounds of less well-housed humans depositing poop without so much as a plastic bag to contain it.

RantWoman has been meditating about the ZERO public toilets after dark issue as well as times during the day when there are not necessarily many eyes on Meeting's property.

Visions of a trash can equipped with human waste sized plastic bags come to mind, but no. RantWoman is NOT nostalgic for an era when Meeting funded a portable toilet across a street from the back of the Meeting. RantWoman is NOT nostalgic because of all the things that tend to happen around untended public toilets. RantWoman is also not nostalgic because meeting has attracted a succession of homelessness-themed long-term renters.

Signage?

However since the question of signage is in the air and the supply of poop presumably from poorly housed humans persists, RantWoman suggests seeking light in the following terms.

--A report suggests signage with what to RantWoman is very ungodly off-putting language. RantWoman thinks signage might be reasonable but strongly suggests seeing what kind of signage other faith communities use.

--RantWoman also suggests asking regular renters whether signage about their presence and schedule might be appropriate. RantWoman thinks some effective but not overly obtrusive signage would be possible

--RantWoman recommends research about public toilet options after dark within say 5 blocks of Meeting.and perhaps some signage as to location. RantWoman would be surprised but not distressed if the number of such toilets were greater than zero.

--RantWoman recommends asking the U District Partnership about possibilities to support some kind of public toilet somewhere in Meeting's part of the U District. This may be a long shot, but RantWoman suggests meeting needs to invest someone's time in listening in certain regular meetings, for want of a better term, to gather intel.

Image of car and roadway
stuck in here as a prompt for
another post about car and pedestrian flows

--RantWoman fondly remembers many faithful years of labor by Nasturtiums in Salad Friend to establish the first composting toilet at a Seattle P-Patch. A Composting toilet at the nearby P-Patch? RantWoman wonders whether anyone in Meeting might be led to explore the idea for the P-patch (community garden) near Meeting.

As an aside, RantWoman also speaks as someone who books space for events, including events for people with budgets. RantWoman thinks it would be helpful to explore the meaning of the term "activating the space," that is planning ways for people to be present or for eyes on the property. RantWoman can think of several things that could mean but wants not to fill space here yet.

In terms of "activating the space," drawing in more renters, RantWoman thinks some thought about site topography and issues related to nearby bus stops would be on point. RantWoman considers this partly a disability / accessibility issue.

In terms of building management, RantWoman also recommends attention as to the restrrom needs of renters. RantWoman would err more on the side of having all existing restrooms available during large events even if there is some risk that people who need restrooms but are not explicitly connected to events happen in occasionally. That said, RantWoman also recognizes the need sometimes for various reasons to call 911.

Digressing slightly from matters of poo, Friends also complain about finding needles on the property. What would happen if Meeting just installed a sharps disposal container either near the trash area or closer to the street edge of the property? RantWoman thinks but has not checked that there is a safe-injection location somewhere in the U district. Would  Facilities committee be willing to check about this location and consider just installing a sharps disposal option with signage about relevant resources in the U district.

Enough for now.

In Light and Faithfulness

RantWoman

Black History Month Binge Blog: Howard thurman

RantWoman's historical figure of the day: Howard Thurman. RantWoman mentions Rev. Thurman partly because his name was known and easily used without any reference to his being African American by pastors at the mostly white sparsely Native congregation of the Baptist church where RantDad wasa choir director during RantWoman's high school years.

Here are some quotes served up by RantWoman's search engine.
Howard Thurman/Quotes


Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism.
Follow the grain in your own wood.

Howard ThurmanHoward Thurman > Quotes


Howard Thurman quotes Showing 1-30 of 46

“Whatever may be the tensions and the stresses of a particular day, there is always lurking close at hand the trailing beauty of forgotten joy or unremembered peace.”
― Howard Thurman, Meditations of the Heart
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
― Howard Thurman
“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.”
― Howard Thurman
“There are two questions that we have to ask ourselves. The 1st is " Where am I going?" and the 2nd is "Who will go with me?"
If you ever get these questions in the wrong order , you are in trouble.”
― howard thurman
“During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable, even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism.”
― Howard Thurman
“Often, to be free means the ability to deal with the realities of one's own situation so as not to be overcome by them.”
― Howard Thurman, For the Inward Journey
“Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
― Howard Thurman, The Living Wisdom of Howard Thurman: A Visionary for Our Time
“The years, the months, the days, and the hours have flown by my open window. Here and there an incident, a towering moment, a naked memory, an etched countenance, a whisper in the dark, a golden glow these and much more are the woven fabric of the time I have lived.”
― Howard Thurman
“There must be always remaining in every life, some place for the singing of angels, some place for that which in itself is breathless and beautiful.”
― Howard Thurman
“And this is the strangest of all paradoxes of the human adventure; we live inside all experience, but we are permitted to bear witness only to the outside. Such is the riddle of life and the story of the passing of our days.”
― Howard Thurman
“If a man knows precisely what he can do to you or what epithet he can hurl against you in order to make you lose your temper, your equilibrium, then he can always keep you under subjection.”
― Howard Thurman
“He recognized with authentic realism that anyone who permits another to determine the quality of his inner life gives into the hands of the other the keys to his destiny.”
― Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited
“If a man is convinced that he is safe only as long as he uses his power to give others a sense of insecurity, then the measure of their security is in his hands. If security or insecurity is at the mercy of a single individual or group, then control of behavior becomes routine. All imperialism functions in this way.”
― Howard Thurman
“keep fresh before me the moments of my high resolve.”
― Howard Thurman
“Keep alive the dream; for as long as a man has a dream in his heart, he cannot lose the significance of living.”
― Howard Thurman, Meditations of the Heart
“When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks, the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people, to make music in the heart.”
― Howard Thurman
“What I have written is but a fleeting intimation of the outside of what one man sees and may tell about the path he walks. No one shares the secret of a life; no one enters into the heart of the mystery.”
― Howard Thurman
“The basic fact is that Christianity as it was born in the mind of this Jewish thinker and teacher appears as a technique of survival for the oppressed. That it became, through the intervening years, a religion of the powerful and the dominant, used sometimes as an instrument of oppression, must not tempt us into believing that it was thus in the mind and life of Jesus. 'In him was life; and the life was the light of men.' Wherever his spirit appears, the oppressed gather fresh courage; for he announced the good news that fear, hypocrisy, and hatred, the three hounds of hell that track the trail of the disinherited, need have no dominion over them.”
― Howard Thurman
“Above and beyond all else it must be borne in mind that hatred tends to dry up the springs of creative thought in the life of the hater, so that his resourcefulness becomes completely focused on the negative aspects of his environment. The urgent needs of the personality for creative expression are starved to death. A man's horizon may become so completely dominated by the intense character of his hatred that there remains no creative residue in his mind and spirit to give to great ideas, to great concepts.”
― Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited
“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have.”
― Howard Thurman

“Fear is one of the persistent hounds of hell that dog the footsteps of the poor, the dispossessed, the disinherited. There is nothing new or recent about fear—it is doubtless as old as the life of man on the planet. Fears are of many kinds—fear of objects, fear of people, fear of the future, fear of nature, fear of the unknown, fear of old age, fear of disease, and fear of life itself. Then there is fear which has to do with aspects of experience and detailed states of mind.

Our homes, institutions, prisons, churches, are crowded with people who are hounded by day and harrowed by night because of some fear that lurks ready to spring into action as soon as one is alone, or as soon as the lights go out, or as soon as one’s social defenses are temporarily removed.

The ever-present fear that besets the vast poor, the economically and socially insecure, is a fear of still a different breed. It is a climate closing in; it is like the fog in San Francisco or in London. It is nowhere in particular yet everywhere. It is a mood which one carries around with himself, distilled from the acrid conflict with which his days are surrounded. It has its roots deep in the heart of the relations between the weak and the strong, between the controllers of environment and those who are controlled by it.

When the basis of such fear is analyzed, it is clear that it arises out of the sense of isolation and helplessness in the face of the varied dimensions of violence to which the underprivileged are exposed. Violence, precipitate and stark, is the sire of the fear of such people. It is spawned by the perpetual threat of violence everywhere. Of course, physical violence is the most obvious cause. But here, it is important to point out, a particular kind of physical violence or its counterpart is evidenced; it is violence that is devoid of the element of contest. It is what is feared by the rabbit that cannot ultimately escape the hounds.”
― Howard Thurman