Sunday, September 17, 2017

Two hours of Reflective Thinking Once a week

RantWoman does not usually think of ROI and spiritual experience in the same sentence.

RantWoman may need to reconsider.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Stewardship Due Diligence

RantWoman has been reflecting on GREAT distress she caused Gratefully Valued Clerk trying to be true her Light about due diligence issues in a recent Business Meeting.

RantWoman did not even realize Gratefully Valued Clerk had left the room until others reminded her. RantWoman is very sorry for distressing the Clerk. RantWoman is also even clearer about need to speak to what was on her mind.

Having a who can out-distress who contest does not seem on point, but RantWoman is clear to try again about the due diligence issue on her mind. RantWoman is clear to lay out her concerns but unclear whether they need immediate attention for example in context of a discussion about what is meant by stewardship.

The questions on RantWoman's mind were basically about funding sources and financial stability for a new tenant, a different homeless services agency than our Meeting has dealt with in the past. Since that Business Meeting, RantWoman has looked at the agency website where there is a big giant "we are having a fundraising campaign" message. Again, RantWoman has no opinion about whether that means we should be cautious about organizational capacity to pay regular rent, but RantWoman thinks we, the whole community not just Finance Committee should know what we are getting into.

Along comes business Meeting this month, with um, complexities meaning RantWoman was not present. After Meeting for Business, RantWoman asked Friend Treasurer whether anyone had asked about the due diligence issue mentioned above. Friend Treasurer said um, no, RantWoman was probably the only person besides members of Finance Committee even to look at the webpage in question.

If RantWoman were being completely insufferable she would ask wehther Finance Committee looked at the webpage before or after RantWoman called the point above to their attention. As it is, one does not need to be a "Trust nothing implicitly" fanatic to think it is reasonable for Finance Committee to be able to answer questions and for the answers to make sense. RantWoman thinks it is lousy stewardship that no one else is paying enough attention to ask some of the questions on RantWoman's mind. Hopefully RantWoman can try again more decorously. Or RantWoman will somehow manage to afflict someone else with her level of interest in the topic.

See, RantWoman has an odd scruple. Our Meeting's ministry to homeless people has progressed from allowing people to sleep under our eaves to the SHARE group that slept in our worship room to a shelter paying rent and with a different model of service than SHARE. Rent and a lease and an organization able to handle such are part of the steps forward. Still, RantWoman's scruple: RantWoman is uncomfortable relying on the continued existence of homelessness as a substantial income stream.

New tenant is a very reputable organization. Homelessness is unlikely to get solved anytime soon and better to aim for higher standards of service. Still RantWoman would like more data about progression from homelessness to stably housed. And RantWoman has heard others comment about loss of relationship SHARE participants had with Meeting. RantWoman has heard this and has no need to comment.

Stepping back though all organizations that serve the homeless are facing tough challenges from utter insufficiency of state and federal funding, from the increasing numbers of people on the street and a whole housing system under stress. Seattle is experiencing a region-wide housing affordability crisis. Numbers of homeless people are up. Numbers of unsheltered dying outdoors are up. The city conducts regular sweeps of homeless encampments which can be found everywhere.  Rents are skyrocketing. New construction is not keeping up with demand. And performance standards / funding flows sometimes depend on agencies being able to place people in housing that does not exist for millennial Amazonians with good salaries let alone for people with very low incomes where people with disabilities are also overrepresented.

SHARE, our former partner about ministry with homeless people has had organizational  and funding challenges. This is partly internal but partly also taking on an expensive and unwieldy operation of tent cities. RantWoman thinks housing crises are not likely to stabilize for quite awhile and fears that Operation Nightwatch too will reach some point of overwhelm. RantWoman wonders whether this possibility has crossed anyone else's mind and is sublimely uninterested in others' views that she is crazy for thinking of it.

At the same time, RantWoman is absolutely fine about charging the rent the market will bear. RantWoman is absolutely fine about making sure that the costs of serving the unhoused is reflected in program / project arrangements such as leasing of shelter space. But as long as we are going to derive important income from the current state of affairs, RantWoman's sense of integrity requires that we also   embrace larger efforts to address housing affordability in our region! Stay tuned because RantWoman also perfectly well recognizes stewardship issues inherent in the state of the real estate market in general.

RantWoman humbly posts this before the Campus Discernment Retreat partly because the thoughts are complex and would not necessarily all make it out of her mouth in worship-sharing. At the same time, RantWoman feels awkward about going on at length and crowding out other voices. Hold the problem in the Light, for one thing because RantWoman is SO clear about the points on her mind.

Electronic Hairballs: Email in times of crisis

The Still Didn't Get the Memo Committee on Email Immoderation seems to be coughing up electronic hairballs of various kinds.

RantWoman saw in a tweet that September is #SuicidePreventionMonth

RantWoman in connection with other things is also reading such Light as trickles out of Care and Counsel about email.

RantWoman notes STUNNING absence of realism about things like people being actively suicidal in email or actively suicidal in email written 6 hours ago by someone who does not have continuous internet connectivity.

RantWoman is meditating about Care and Counsel as a source of wisdom and about just trusting one's Inner Blowtorch and letting Care and Counsel catch up afterward.

RantWoman wonders how many people would follow the guidance above and just wait until they get email that better fits their idea of cheery and easy to read.

Please hold RantWoman's sarcasm in the Light because RantWoman once had a conversation where she was asked why she spent so much time about such a situation.

The question came up in the midst of a whole stream of matters and RantWoman heard an overtone that infuriated her. The crisis had already passed RantWoman had to prioritize other problems. RantWoman has never found time to have a conversation and has filed it for various reasons.

RantWoman actually did not spend much more time than she already was doing anyway. But RantWoman might find it easier not to be offended by the question if it were rephrase as "RantWoman what were you expecting others to do?" or RantWoman what were you seeing that we were not or that you did not think we were seeing?"

But mostly it's an old story that clatters to mind from time to time for unpredictable reasons.

Sidewalk Chalk

RantWoman needs more sidewalk chalk in her life. Should RantWoman maybe borrow some children for this?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Initial Property Discernment Retreat

It fills RantWoman's heart with joy that this Property Discernment process is getting off the ground.

Enough said for now. RantWoman rants also pending.

Dear Friends, 

We hope to see many of you at the UFM Campus Discernment Retreat coming up on Saturday. Whether or not you plan to attend this event, we invite you to read some documents that our Committee has prepared to share with the Community. If you do plan to attend the Retreat, we hope you will be able to set aside a few minutes to read these documents, particularly the Research Documents, before the Retreat.

Research Documents:
These research documents are the results of our Committee's initial round of research. We have attempted to begin answering questions that we felt were necessary background information for everyone in the Community as we discern the future of our Campus together. We will present this research briefly at the Retreat, followed by a brief period for questions and answers. We will have a handful of paper copies available for reference at the Retreat and after, but we will not hand out copies to everyone. The links below are to PDF documents, or you can view them as either PDF or Google Docs in this publicly accessible Google Drive folder.

Retreat Documents:
The following documents will be distributed at the Retreat, so there is no need for you to print them if you will be attending. There will be opportunities to read them at the Retreat, but you may find that you get more out of the experience by reading them beforehand. If you are unable to attend the Retreat, we strongly suggest you read these documents to get a sense of what will happen at the Retreat and perhaps to formulate your own responses, which we will invite you to share at another opportunity, after the Retreat. The links below are to PDF documents, or you can view them as either PDF or Google Docs in this publicly accessible Google Drive folder.

2 - Stewardship: Readings & Queries (worship sharing in the morning)
3 - Considering the Big Options (brainstorming activity in the afternoon)

Please let us know if you have any difficulty opening or reading these documents by emailing us at, or of course you may reach out individually to anyone on the Committee.

With gratitude,

UFM Campus Discernment Committee

Monday, September 11, 2017

Remember 9/11 with Rep. Jayapal

September 11, 2001 was a terrible day -- and a pivotal day in our country's history.
Like many of you, today, I reflect back on the tragedies of that day, when our country was shattered by those horrific events. I reflect, too, on the incredible acts of generosity and community that took place in New York City and across the country.
That day served as a reminder that our world isn't as small as we thought it was. We are all deeply connected.
I also reflect today on the particular trauma that some communities felt in the wake of 9/11. Many Muslims, Arabs and South Asians were targeted first by hate crimes, and soon after by government policies that violated civil liberties and due process. If there was a silver lining to those events, it was that communities realized that they needed to be engaged in our democracy. They realized that building coalitions was necessary to build power. And they realized that we all would have to fight to ensure that our nation stayed true to our ideals of rights and liberties, that safety could not come at the expense of our liberties.
It was right after 9/11 that I came fully into my own political consciousness. Out of those events, I started the organization called Hate Free Zone, now called OneAmerica, to fight for immigrant, civil and human rights. We accomplished so much -- and OneAmerica is still continuing its important work.
Our work was not -- is not -- easy, but it is necessary. In the end, our organizing efforts are life-giving because they remind us all that we each have power and that change does not happen unless we push for it. The coalitions we build are so powerful: decrying terrorism and hate of all kinds, standing for justice for all and not just for some.
Today, as a member of Congress, I still see myself as an organizer. I am so proud to work with groups across the country who are deeply embedded in the struggle for justice. Whether to ensure that black lives really DO matter, or to stand up for immigrants, workers, or LGBTQ people, we know that our work can only be successful if we unite and stand boldly for justice, dignity and respect for everyone.
No, our work is not yet done.
But this is our country, and we must continue to give everything we can to making it the best it can be. We must continue to strive toward progress, a more perfect union, a more perfect world. We must continue to move forward.
Today, we remember all those who died in the September 11 attacks. We remember all those who gave selflessly of themselves. We remember all those who were targeted by hate in the days, months and years after. And, we remember all the resolve and power that emerged and continues to grow to ensure justice for all.
Be good to one another. We are all in this together.
Pramila Jayapal

Postings Before Retreat 1

This item has been seasoning in RantWoman's Drafts folder for awhile but it got autosaved before RantWoman could note its most recent previous update RantWoman is clear to post as-is even though some editing might be in order.

RantWoman had a conversation recently with a member of the committee on campus discernment. RantWoman is finding it depressingly easy to have her brain short circuit in a number of "When Quakers Screw Up" Moments. RantWoman is trying to sit with"Begin again now.  AND RantWoman is clear in her Light: the charter of the project was MUCH improved after a weighty Friend noted that RantWoman had made important contributions to the draft and then added a couple elements of her own. RantWoman is absolutely clear that the Discernment Committee work process needs further RantWoman contribution.

There are still points exercising RantWoman and exercising her to the point that she is quaking, not settled. RantWoman offers these concerns in humble trust that they will find their way where needed.

RantWoman came away from the conversation at least feeling listened to but has no sense of any agreement. In fact, after letting the conversation rattle around in her head on the bus on the way home, RantWoman feels need of further consideration. RantWoman wants the same thoughts available unfiltered to all members of the committee and to the community who, RantWoman THINKS are also  supposed to be included in the discernment process. 

Here please bear with  a RantWoman mental hiccup. RantWoman is trying to be interested in a retreat mentioned in conversation. First RantWoman is wondering why a whole retreat and not perhaps shorter highly participatory moments say after light lunch on fourth Sundays. 

Honestly, the mere mention of a retreat sends RantWoman's mind careening back to a retreat long ago where MANY suggestions about things that would make the retreat accessible to RantWoman and to others were ignored and then RantWoman was blamed for all the problems. Blame RantWoman ... is getting to be a REALLY repetitive theme. Begin again Now.

Here RantWoman gets to be grateful for a brilliant illustration of one of RantWoman's concerns: is it possible easily to find electronic resources about topics of concern such as making events accessible or what now is more modernly called inclusive events. RantWoman thinks but has not tested that if one puts "accessible" or "Accessibility" into the search bar on this blog, some resources should pop up and RantWoman can tell readers which blog in blog roll is also likely to have resources. However, RantWoman's tagging IS eccentric. RantWoman will TRY to get in people's faces constructively but RantWoman would be EXTREMELY grateful if someone who reads this blog could connect with RantWoman and ask for more detail.

RantWoman brings up this storing, and consistently finding concern up for many reasons.

--RantWoman does not read print! RantWoman feels very clear: it probably makes sense to have some documents on paper in the library, BUT RantWoman is also called to ask people to learn terms like alternate formats and accessible documents.

--This discernment process needs to be a community-buildingactivity, weaving history  the challenges of the present and future. ONE of those challenges is storing, organizing and accessing information in people's different preferred media.

--This discernment process is going to involve weaving together vocabulary about a number of different topics. Linguist brain craves acknowledgment of this reality and effort to work with it as the whole discernment process evolves.
--There are going to be points in this discernment process where newcomers enter the process and it will be valuable to have relevant documents collected and easy to review.

--Some of the time research is going to involve documents that are already public but that would be easier to find if direct links are stored with other related information.

At this point, there is no agreement even about how to use electronic resources to support discernment. RantWoman thinks little dribs and drabs of heavily digested blog posts by committee members are NOT going to cut it as part of a community-wide discernment process. So for now, such Light as comes to RantWoman is getting posted to RantWoman's blog.

The recent conversation directed RantWoman to this item from the Meeting Newsletter incorporated into the Rant Below..

But First, RantWoman needed to digress from ranting about discernment to rant about an accessibility issue: Even though the newsletter is usually 4-6 pages long, it would be ever so helpful for RantWoman's reading ease to use Headings.  RantWoman realizes that this is an ask. RantWoman realizes that things in Word for Windows are not always preserved when things move back forth to Macs. RantWoman also notes that SOME OF THE TIME previously, there have been headings in the newsletter and some of the time not. RantWoman put up with a problem others probably did not even notice, butthis time RantWoman emailed the newsletter editor and suggested she ask for help from two people RantWoman THINKS it is reasonable to ask and to expect help from.

From the Committee on Campus Discernment
The committee on UFM campus discernment has held our first few meetings. One of our assignments to ourselves is brushing up our skills on Quaker discernment process. We are noticing the importance of keeping open minds and hearts as we approach this work.
"If, however, Friends come to group spiritual discernment wedded to a predetermined
position, then the exercise in faithfulness is undermined."
From, Friends Practice of Group Spiritual Discernment, by Lee Junker.

1. YES. In the Business Meeting that created the committee on Discernment, SEVERAL voices, not just RantWoman expressed the concern that the committee is not big enough to do all that will need to be done. But the committee came wedded to the predetermined outcome that they did not want any additional members. So RantWoman emphatically dissents in her blog: THIS COMMITTEE NEEDS MORE MEMBERS

2. Might the rest of Meeting ALSO need some sense of what Discernment is about. Does the rest of Meeting actually get to read the book and consider points we might want to include. Are the materials available in alternate formats such as ebook, or audiobook so that people such as RantWoman can interact independently at times when she is awake and other committee members might be asleep?

Back to the Newsletter Item, for one sentence.
We are also identifying research questions that will guide our work and the discernment process.
[Has it maybe occurred to you to share the list of questions and ASK whether Friends think it adequately covers the topic? This is brainstorming. A discernment process does not have to decide to look at every question that comes up, but sometimes there is valuable insight in the questions.]

From time to time we will be reaching out to the UFM community for help with some of this research. Right now we are looking for the names of congregations or
meetings, in Seattle or beyond, that have undertaken a decision making
process about potentially significant changes to their property. If you know
of any such congregations please share
their names with us.

RantWoman HAS in fact shared a number of comments relevant to this request. RantWoman has received NO acknowledgment of these offerings.

the committee who thinks they are large enough