Tuesday, July 22, 2014

NPYM Peace and Social Concerns Report annotated

#NPYM2014
RantWoman has NO desire to supplant the role of the NPYM webkeeper, but this showed up in email and RantWoman is wont to editorialize anyway so....

REPORT TO ANNUAL SESSION, NPYM
PEACE AND SOCIAL CONCERNS COMMITTEE
July 2014
As part of the Yearly Meeting restructuring process some years ago, a new Peace and Social Concerns standing committee was set up in 2009.It was to be composed of 5 members, serving terms of 2-year, with the possibility of serving a second term.  The committee experienced delays in getting going (health issues, non-availability of clerk), but members were able to pull together and begin to develop firm plans in early 2013, and soon were happy to welcome a new clerk.

Following is a brief listing of our work of this past year.
     -  Survey of 37 Meetings and Worship Groups in NPYM to learnabout peace and justice work being done locally.  In January 2014 theresults were put together and sent out to each group
(westernfriend.org/?  p=3286)
     -  Prepared an article for Western Friend by our member CimsGillespie, published in the July/August 2014 issue
     -  Sent messages to Meetings and groups in this area with background information on several issues and encouraging local groups  to take action on:
             1.  Authorization for the Use of Military Force
             2.  Torture
             3.  Drones
     -  Worked on developing a list-serve
     -   Developed plans to offer an Interest Group at Annual Sessionon:  "Spirit-Led Action for Justice and Peace in NPYM."

We have held two face-to-face meetings during the year, and 4
conference call meetings.

We have had some discussion about the ongoing work of this committee.

We would like to have more young people on the committee.  A question has been raised about being limited to six members.  Perhaps a range of 6 - 9 members could be considered, to allow more flexibility?

Also  a 2 year term may mean faster turnover than is useful.

Each committee member has been active and enthusiastic about seeing this work continue and expand.  We plan to update the Survey each year, and seek out other ways to facilitate and encourage work for peace with justice in the Pacific Northwest.

Kate Hunter, Clerk, Vashon Island Worship Group
Tom Ewell, Whidbey Island Meeting
Cims Gillespie, Eugene and Multnomah Meetings
Rose Lewis, Salem Meeting
Steve Willey, Sand Point Meeting
Ruth Yarrow, University Meeting

RantWoman comments:
RantWoman recognizes all the names here except one. RantWoman knows that everyone whose name she recognizes is well past 60. RantWoman appreciates the offerings of everyone present but STRONGLY encourages approval of a recommendation to increase the size of the committee and to 9-12 members, with specific direction to nominating committee both to aim for younger people and to encourage this committee to think about how it might draw younger people into its work.

RantWoman notes that:
    --Many young adults could benefit from internship experiences.
   --Other Friends have talked about short term internships to help with the work of planning annual session.
   --Other organizations such as FCWPP have talked about a similar need for interns who can do short-term stints.

RantWoman ardently wishes that people thinking about short-term internships for different Quaker organizations could put our heads together, figure out what is needed in general terms as far as meeting academic requirements,providing people short-term learning opportunities, and then work out a framework that individual organizations could adapt for their own purposes.

The list of issues the committee engages about are not the issues most urgent in RantWoman's thinking. However, in reading State of Society reports, RantWoman has formed the impression that lots of Friends are active in their communities. Is there value in this committee helping Friends with shared concerns connect with each other?

RantWoman thinks that if one wants to recruit younger participants it might be nice to have a sense of what younger Friends are interested in and working on and how that might mesh with  the committee's work. RantWoman is in Make it So mode, not Please sign me up mode but RantWoman does have the same concern about mutually meaningful involvement of opeople younger than herself in Friends Committee on WA PUblic Policy though and might be interested to think about possible synergy.

RantWoman thinks it is fine and in fact positive if this committee explicitly mentions its connections with or alignment with other Quaker organizations and encourages the committee to think about both communicating connections that exist and communicating its own identity. RantWoman wonders whether it would be useful to look at the websites of other Yearly Meetings to see whether there are standing Peace and Social Concerns committees and if so, how do they present their work.

RantWoman would probably sign up for a notices-only listerve as long as notices included contact info and specific asks Friends might further engage in.

RantWoman would be interested to hear whether these thoughts resonate with others.

RantWoman is also interested in live conversations about this report or other's Light on it.

Oh Weighty Friend, How does thee prefer to be Eldered?

Oh Weighty Friend,

First, please bear with RantWoman. It's zucchini season or soon and RantWoman seems to want to vine all over the place.

Second, please forgive RantWoman if mentioning the teensy little tiny possibility that thee might EVER need to be eldered distresses you and just in case, bear with RantWoman about the following.

How does thee prefer to be eldered? In person? By email? In a box? With a fox? In a blog? On a log? Oh wait, should we leave Dr. Seuss out of here?

RantWoman remembers a conversation some time ago about service dogs. The conversation was not only about service dogs and you had been on RantWoman's list of people she MIGHT have spoken to of other pieces of the story. But the real problem is that you said "But we have allergies." RantWoman is sorry you have allergies and does not want to minimize the problem.

At the time though, RantWoman's brain was too full of other pieces of the story to ask you in person obvious questions: "Why should your expectations about service dogs be different at Quaker gatherings than elsewhere?" or "What can others do to help make the situation manageable for everyone?"

RantWoman is aware of and grateful for MUCH faithful work specifically about service dogs. This includes well researched information , including points findable on RantWoman's other blog if needed. RantWoman hopes if you have encountered service dogs at Quaker events you have found the experience manageable ?

RantWoman's own life abounds in service dog stories and can ALWAYS us holding in the Light about the topic. RantWoman also wonders whether others among us might need holding in the Light about something or other just to enjoy and participate in large gatherings?

For instance, at places like Annual Session small dogs on leashes with their humans in places like dining halls fry RantWoman's nerves. Sometimes poorly trained dogs do not know how to deal with Ambassador Thwack the badly behaved White Cane. A person with even less vision who uses a seeing eye dog can have worse problems. Sometimes dogs just bark so the blind person is aware of the dog. Sometimes unsupervised dogs are a serious nuisance and distraction for even the most well-behaved seeing eye dogs.

Sometimes Ambassador Thwack is just being indolent and lounging folded up in a RantWoman bag and shirking his "don't say I did not warn you duties as far as reducing RantWoman's odds of unintentional collisions with everyone and everything.
Sometimes RantWoman is knowingly wilfully not wanting to deal with Ambassador Thwack on top of food and drink and sort of appropriate exhortations like "Accept Help Dammit."
But since RantWoman is having thunderous leadings about people waring too many hats and trying to find many heads who know how to wear some hats, RantWoman is just posting this to the blogosphere and thinking about how to encourage Friends to OFFER if they see someone who might need a little help of some kind. RantWoman is also serious about OFFER / ASK first though. RantWoman supposes it would be good to uphold, say, the Annual Session Planning committee in thinking about such issues systematically, but we still are all ministers of God

As an aside, PLEASE be cautious even about well-meant offers before RantWoman has connected with morning coffee and oatmeal.

And while we are at it, PLEASE ask before you go around hugging people. RantWoman knows that misguided hugs and even pats on the back cand cause thunderous pain for people with some kinds of joint or back issues. RantWoman theoretically gets to invoke her "Be glad to have only your own problems" clause about the issue of hugs and too much "Grab the Blind person and bless them." RantWoman usually LIKES hugs but definitely prefers to ask or be asked first!
Oh Weighty Friend, thank you for reading all this. Do we need to talk in person specifically about anything here?
In the Light,
RantWoman

Baggage, social media #NPYM2014

The short takeaway: Mleah. If RantWoman could change the schedule of plenaries she would.
If there were a 12-step program for compulsive event planners (Stop me before I plan again!) RantWoman could arguably be encouraged to sign up. RantWoman DOES NOT think changing the schedule this year is feasible but does need to post the rest of this as part of overall communications / time management / be true to her Light and present with the firy fringes of her spiritual compost heap strategy.

1. RantWoman will use the tag NPYM 2014 on this blog for items specifically related to the upcoming Annual Session. If RantWoman posts other things here on the same timeframe, chances are the post might contain further tips about Planet RantWoman and invitation to others to interact about what works for them.

2. RantWoman suggests that people who Tweet / twitter /etc use the hashtag #NPYM2014. If someone has a different idea, bring it on and let's connect.

3. RantWoman will encourage the clerk to post a way for people who blog and do Twitter to connect and follow. If you do not already know RantWoman's real name and want to know her twitter handle, leave a comment and RantWoman will oblige.

4. RantWoman really likes using the time when people are gathered to do incremental work on projects that can be worked on between gatherings. RantWoman has been given ferociously clear Light about some topics where she would like oo do this but is challenged about connecting with people who might be so led. RantWoman will try to speak to topics in plenaries but will separately post thoughts already on her mind.

5. RantWoman will try to observe in blog posts a standard that also makes more manageable email:
 --Use clear subject lines / titles.
--One topic per posting.
--Change the subject line when the topic changes: if trying to weave together several topics consider whether to use links to separate blog posts.
--RantWoman wil try to communicate suggestions for Annual Session processes through regular Annual Session processes BUT may use the blog for some trial balloon ideas. If they interest you either positively or negatively,  PLEASE comment. If readers disagree and there are no comments, please find RantWoman before flying off the handle and demanding immediate action.
--Hurry up and get tis item posted before it violates even more of the above standards than it already does.

6. RantWoman is used to public participation processes where things get discussed and sometimes hashed out by emil  / in electronic fora BUT the process is part of refining what gets brought to a live public meeting where decisions get made. RantWoman thinks that is a VERY good standard for things Friends might want to talk about at Annual Session.

RantWoman is perusing documents and assembling baggage in preparation for the North PacificYearly Meeting Annual Session. RantWoman proposes to pack at least some of it in blog nibbles.

RantWoman  proposes to do this for a few different reasons:
--RantWoman HUMBLY appreciates the clerk and others asking her some questions about what helps RantWoman participate in meetings; RantWoman's sense of fairness and transparency suggests that the whole world be offered the opportunity to experience many of the same opinions as RantWoman is inflicting on the Clerk. This does NOT mean RantWoman MEANS to speak every opinion that might get stashed in her blog. Nor will RantWoman be mortally offended by hostile review (Post away: I moderate comments.) but since one of the documents RantWoman is reviewing is about communications, RantWoman is more than happy to wade in with all the pluses and minuses of this particular medium and this particular medium in this timeframe. (Stay tuned: will anyone make a #hashtag ?)

--RantWoman this year has THREE electronic devices on which she might display notes, documents: one Kindle, one Smartphone, and one brand stinking new lenovo laptop vexing RantWoman's immortal soul with Windows 8.1  plus her usual legal pad. RantWoman is actually kind of tremulous about a whole room full of people with their faces in their devices, even when the devices are accessibility aids. So RantWoman is unclear what she wishes God and the Clerk would require on this question.

The electronic devices are also fussy, irksom, variably accessible, not counting earphones which RantWoman hates and knows perfectly well she should wear for others' sanity.  MAYBE with all that technology RantWoman will be able to keep thoughts organized enough that they make it out of her mouth in forms comprehensible on the first pass to others. After all, as far as RantWoman knows, we don't do clarifying questions. That just is not done among Quakers.

--RantWoman has various agendas and seekings that RantWoman would prefer NOT get swallowed up in business meeting gone awry.

So, after a respectful period of silence,

RantWoman's first opinion:

Mleah.

RantWoman loves an opening evening of Meeting for Worship, especially an event run by people younger than she.

RantWoman has not managed to find enough of a link easily to form an opinion of the Friends in Residence. Whoever they are, RantWoman would, off the block, like to start a day with Friends in Residence and then have worship sharing and THEN after lunch wade into Meeting for Business.

The first day schedule of plenaries as currently listed:
 Structure Evaluation Committee
break
Friends in Residence
lunch
Worship sharing, except for those overtaken by Meeting for napping.
RantWoman knows the structure evaluation is important, but yuck! RantWoman would SO like to get us started off worshipfully with the Friends in Residence and worship sharing and THEN wade into Meeting for Business. RantWoman can live with  the possibility that she is the only person who thinks this but she would be thrilled if that were not the case. RantWoman recognizes that this also adds the after lunch Meeting for Napping element to Structure Evaluation RantWoman recognizes this and would leave it in God's hands.

Humbly offered... Please hold in Light

RantWoman

Monday, July 21, 2014

Slight tiredness


"Slight tiredness around the eyes"

 (RantWoman is poking at the possibility that, instead of just tiredness, the parts of this story that weird RantWoman out are supposed to be something fierce and powerful. RantWoman is poking at the idea.)

 A long ago visit to RantWoman’s Meeting by John calvi has kep showing up on RantWoman’s mental shelf for a number of weeks. At the time of the visit, RantWoman had sort of a lot on her plate. RantWoman is fascinated that the only thing John noticed, without being told anything beyond seeing RantWoman's glasses, was “slight tiredness around the eyes.” Sure. Only Rantwoman’s whole life.

 Then RantWoman would try to put the topic away again and soon it would show up again. WTF?

 WTF? Fire photon torpedoes, that’s what. And not just on a Star Trek set.

 Recently RantWoman learned via Facebook of tears in John’s retina , tears bolted back into place by a series of laser blasts. John reported being told this would hardly hurt at all. Reports are WRONG. A few instants of photonic pounding are way powerful, way preferable to ther options or doing nothing, but they are NOT painless.
NOT painless for John also meant triggering a long flashback full of eery human who had misrepresented, failed him; John bravely wrote of all this and that great communion of experiences in common and oceans of empathy played out over a series of Facebook.posts . The words that came to RantWoman: God and John’s gift are bigger than all of that. And it’s John’s turn to need energy flowing back. But one of these days, maybe RantWoman will get to put “slight tiredness around the eyes:” away. Maybe.

 

And we all get to be deeply grateful that John is recovering very well.

Trombone gone silent

RIP Mr. Nasturtiums in salad Friend. Aka Mr. Deliberately mismatched Socks Friend, aka Trombone Friend.

 Look, this is NOT the kind of Birthday present RantWoman would ask for. Mr. Nasturtiums in Salad Friend has been failing for a number of years. Strokes. Dementia. Movement to assisted living and gradual separation from Mrs. Nasturtiums in Salad Friend. Recently, Mr. Nasturtiums in Salad Friend entered hospice. RantWoman is fuzzy on medical details; in some respectst they are not the point. Mr. Nasturtiums in Salad Friend passed away on RantWoman’s most recent birthday.

 Well done Friend?

 Mr. Nasturtiums in Salad Friend almost never was seen without a smile. RantWoman remembers him calling her sort of timidly about some Nominating Committee business early in RantWoman’s presence among Friends. RantWoman remembers joking with him about his sock wardrobe. Mr. Nasturtiums in Salad Friend was a lawyer. So was his brother. His brother started the mismatched and very colorful thing. When the brother died, Mr. Nasturtiums in Salad Friend carried on the tradition. RantWoman does not remember Mr. Nasturtiums in Salad Friend getting to play his trombone much around Meeting, but remembers the topic with great fondness.

 RantWoman also remembers Mr. Nasturtiums in salad Friend for:

 --gallantly supporting the family ministry of beading activities at Quaker events.

 --candid conversation with RantWoman about substance abuse and RantBrother and recovery and all manner of criminal matters.

 --much work faithfully and quietly done to maintain Meetinghouse grounds.

 -occasional legal reference lookups about a number of issues.

 Mr. Nasturtiums in Salad Friend will be missed.

 And he blessedly deserves to be at Peace.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

We who believe in freedom: Michael Norton Yarrow





Michael Norton Yarrow obituary
http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/seattletimes/obituary.aspx?n=michael-norton-yarrow&pid=171319678#


So, um, when there are 400 people, siblings, cousins, LOTS of family, friends, neighbors, collaborators at someone's memorial and two large rooms are both overflowing, should anyone be surprised that memorial blog posts also run LONG? RantWoman does not apologize for timewarp, bits of the memorial, bits of Sunday worship, including a couple messages that even got toward the prickly honesty that works its way into all the best Quaker memorials.

If RantWoman or any of the Fellowship of Reconciliation members wanting to connect with the lives and work of younger people were going to tweet summaries,  comments / possible comments that stick in RantWoman's mind:

A sociologist with a soul

Mike and Ruth: A resounding love story

Good Grief those Yarrows are hard to keep up with. (No resemblance at all to RantWoman on that score? More like WAY harder to keep up with than RantWoman)

Great music, especially for a Quaker event.

And from Eye Roller Friend, endowed with the gift of prophesy that Friend Mike Yarrow's messages would distress him as soon as Mike rose to speak, something like
"It didn't seem like he could tell the difference between a message from God and a political rant but he walked his talk and there is a whole lot of love in the room, and that's what matters."

RantWoman was absurdly happy to be offered a task at the memorial: tender of the guest book and welcomer of all who came including those who trickled in just as worship was closing. RantWoman stayed cool but  heard very little of the actual memorial and was honored to see and welcome many of the people she crossed paths with when she and Mike showed up at the same events in our adjoining 'hoods.

Excerpt from email, including actual first-person pronouns:
--Definitely need to mention service on Peace and Social Concerns and Mike's advocacy for all kinds of things from the AFSC project to send water purifiers toIraq during the pre-Gulf-War ii sanctions to police accountability (see below) to Coffee Strong to tjhe idea of a State bank.

--One thing I remember is Mike's advocacy of an independent civilian police review process. I do not really remember if this was connected with any particular organization. I just remember him showing up at a number of meetings and always being very informed and having a mental storehouse of info related to the topic.

--Another moment I remember has to do with the 1999 meeting of the WTO ministerial in Seattle. I was clerk of Peace and Social Concernsand had a fulltime job and another big time suck. I had  isions of outreach to Quakers and other things, but that was not going to happen on its own. At some point, I think over the summer, someone asked me and some others hwat all we would include in a job description if AFSC were to hire a consultatnt / organizer to help Quakers prepare for unfolding events. It took us all of about 10 minutes to come up with a job description for which Mike was hired.

    A big highlight of his work besides outreach to Quakers was organizing the evening sessions at UFM during the ministerial where some credentialed delegates came and had I think lively exchanges with people out in the streets. I do not know whether I have an email for the staffperson from
the Quaker UN office in Geneva, but I remember he and some folks from the ILO were very connected with these evening sessions.

--A funny followup from Mike's work for WTO: I think it was the 2000 Republican connection was in Philadelphia. Someone from one of the Philadelphia Meetings contacted our Meeting's office manager looking for tips based on Seattle experience with WTO. The office manager gave the person my number because I was still clerk of P&SC. The person from Philadelphia called me and we taled about this and that for awhile. Then I mentioned that AFSC had hired Mike and suggested she should contact Mike. She already had a way to contact him but received my suggestion very warmly. So Mike wound up advising about that and I remember reading that a Quaker meeting in Philadelphia also did hospitality during that convention.

It's going to take LOTS of people to pick up all that Mike was doing and I am holding this time in the Light.

Finally, more or less the message that made it out of RantWoman's mouth at Sunday worship; yes it IS a typical RantWoman wander all over everywhere tying together 27 themes message. If the wandering around gets on your nerves, think of it as spiritual zucchini or blackberry and cope. Yes, peculiarly, RantWoman finds it more helpful if 19 different people tell her than in their own words than if one person keeps trying to collect and filter and cringe on RantWoman's behalf when RantWoman would not necessarily cringe in the first place.

...It's also RantWoman's birthday week, a date shared with Mike's mother Margaret who died a few months after her hundredth birthday. One of the things Mike was proudest of about his family was that at some point his parents sold their house to an African American family even though this caused huge consternation in their Meeting.

RantWoman has been thinking of that story as the group  meandering through  John Woolman's journal has also talked about all the abolitionists who got read out of their Meetings. God is kind of a jokester. Meetings get filled with all these ferocious personalities and the someone goes around telling the world that Quakers are good at peace. But peace is hard work, especially among the kind of fierce personalities found among Quakers.

And RantWoman remembered getting a ride home with Mike after a particularly rocky evening on the path to peace. RantWoman and Mike let the rocky part of even sit. Instead Mike asked RantWoman for advice about talking to his mother about vision loss due to macular degeneration. RantWoman suggested just asking her how she experiences color, light and dark, how wide a space she sees, things like fog and blur but being able to offer Mike and Margaret those suggestions was also a gift to RantWoman.

It's time to let the soul rest, to go where it needs to go, but RantWoman thinks it's a blessing when beloved souls come back at unpredictably intervals too. It's also probably still gong to take a lot of usto keep Mike's soul busy though.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Prayers for NWYM Annual Session July 19-24

Wilt thou go....

...to annual session at Northwest Yearly Meeting...?

RantWoman has been having enough trouble getting her brain back home after the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology conference without one of the voices from the conference showing up after Meeting for Worship at RantWoman's Meeting. The voice repeated a call RantWoman heard at the conference, a call to go prayerfully to the Annual Session of Northwest Yearly Meeting.

RantWoman is well aware that the agenda for this year's annual session includes discussion of same-gender relationships. RantWoman assumes those assembled may also find themselves called to opine about the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling as now played out in the Department of Education granting George Fox Evangelical University a waiver from some policy in order to bar a transgender student from residing in university dormitories. RantWoman is woefully underinformed about the key threads of community conversation about these topics. RantWoman's instinct is to hold the entire assembly in prayer.

As for appearing in person, RantWoman's first reaction "Oh, no, no, no, no. No God. You are joking..." The last time RantWoman attended even part of the NWYM Annual Session, RantWoman was part of the planning committee for the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology conference. RantWoman's brief visit happened to coincide with reports from the mission committee about visits to four countries to which NWYM was considering sending missionaries.

RantWoman, whose insights about women and spiritual presence is informed more by suffragists and Gloria Steinem than by Margaret Fell stood up and eldered the entire assembly about how it would have been appropriate to include at least one woman in the travel party. Then RantWoman left the next day and did not stick around to notice whether her comments caused any consternation or needed further laboring about.

This summer, RantWoman is a little afraid she would might blurt out some of the women meet across sexuality stories from the Women's Theology Conference and in RantWoman form: the next iteration of  "oh my gosh, I was in home group with Three Lesbians and Lived to tell about it." Or RantWoman might launch into harangues about how countries like Russia or Uganda try to pump themselves up by wrapping themselves in religion and pick on their gay people. If everyone were REALLY lucky, RantWoman would summon only the story about one Friend coming to see the face of Jesus in an outspoken--and very centered--weighty Friend. Unfortunately, RantWoman thinks this summer's agenda may need more listening and less plainspokenness than RantWoman would likely deliver.

If RantWoman has a sense that her own Light may splutter and flicker about live appearance at the NWYM Annual Session, what about the Captain Picard "Make it So" school of leadings on others' behalf? After all, RantWoman is on a roll.

--This year RantWoman had a leading to help cause the Women's Theology Conference epistle to occur; RantWoman did not particularly have a leading to do the writing herself and was blessed to cheerlead for the work of a wonderful committee.

--RantWoman LOVES fractals. RantWoman might find calling to go on and on about fractals and God. But at the Women's Theology Conference, RantWoman stumbled onto a spot on a facing bench for the message at closing worship. A message about fractals was given to a Friend who unquestionably can deliver the God part of the fractals and God message WAY better than RantWoman.
So in terms of "Make it so," some of the people on whose behalf RantWoman MIGHT discern leadings to attend in person:
--One or more lesbian couples raising children among Seattle Friends.
--One or more other lesbian couples.
--Assorted other LGBTQ Friends and their admirers, groupies, hangers-on and other entourage.
--Any number of thoughtful straight people who find that honesty about the varieties of blessed couples interferes not a whit with these Friends ability to hear and experience the Divine.
Okay, so RantWoman is discerning and discerning. It's a little like an auction: don't move or RantWoman may discern a leading on your behalf.
Or, if, like RantWoman, you also have other time and location constraints, check out http://nwfriends.org/ym-sessions/   Consider attending to whatever you can via live stream or by following looking for social media options....
Send Prayers regardless.