Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Restless, with gratuitous Barclay reference: Music, Quarterly Meeting.

RantWoman was WELL-blessed at this session of Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting. RantWoman offers notes and gratitudes, along with selected hastags #quakers .

RantWoman blesses the ministry of car ride conversation and very congenial travel companions.

Stop RantWoman before she records again. RantWoman volunteered to be acting FCWPP Recording Clerk because RantWoman's replacement in the role was unable to come. Old habits die hard. RantWoman enjoyed the energy of the FCWPP Steering committee. RantWoman has other opinions but they do not belong in the blog.

RantWoman blesses the weather, sunny but a little chilly. The creek was fast but not as high as some years.

RantWoman had a total of 4 different roommates, thankfully only 3 at a time. RantWoman THOUGHT she was doing her customary "pack to be able to carry everything and still add a cello." Nevertheless, RantWoman and all of her roommates seemed to have really a ridiculous amount of stuff. Welcome to modern life? At least people got along.

RantWoman had several great conversations with people attending Quarterly Meeting for the first time, at least one of whom RantWoman expects to see again at Annual Session.

RantWoman mobility notes:
--Really nice to see people with canes and walkers using a sidewalk path between the large dorm and the dining room.
--Having tables both upstairs and downstairs in the dining hall made getting around MUCH easier and not only for RantWoman.
--Service dog: No fuss no muss! Dog was nicely behaved and had a harness. Yes!
(Obligatory Digression: Do not ask RantWoman about Wonder Chihuahua the alleged service hound residing in another part of rantWoman's life. When quizzed about how a chihuahua could be a service dog in the first place, RantWoman did not cite any psychic capacity to detect that someone is about to have a seizure or needs to take medication. RantWoman cited only that the dog has a way of asking to go out just as the nuclear family is about to hit meltdown. RantWoman really has no idea how this is covered in service dog regulations.)

--Worship walking while blind or very idiosyncratically vision impaired or...
   --RantWoman thanks everyone who helped point out especially rough spots on the trail.
   --Thank you to everyone who kept asking RantWoman whether she wanted to take their arms. RantWoman is, um, built like a linebacker. Even if RantWoman were closer to HWP, RantWoman would still be a large person with ahealthy respect for gravity and the ability to do damage while falling. If RantWoman falls that has to be one thing. If RantWoman falls on someone else that is a bigger problem. TRUST RantWoman on this. RantWoman is going to be pretty nervous taking someone's arm unless someone is a pretty large person.
   --Everyone please bear with RantWoman about reluctance to let others carry bags
   --RantWoman likes to feel ground under feet even when it is bumpy.
  --Thank you all for bearing with RantWoman's need to go on and on about this.

Business Meeting: RantWoman ignored Meeting for Business but did receive word of an upcoming conference call organized by NPYM M&O about email. RantWoman is seasoning whether the Still Didn't Get the Memo Committee on Email Immoderation is going to appoint a representative or whether RantWoman for now will confine herself to chronicling authentic spiritual experience as manifest through Facebook.

Interest groups: there is lots of interest in electronic communication. There was critical mass of participants but one absent leader and another with leading for plan B. The critical mass split: some went to work about climate disruptions; others went in for conflict and eldering. Courtesy of the conversation about conflict, RantWoman's inner data geek was guided to an observation. The Much-Eldered Friend with a Ministry of Audible Eye-rolling these days mostly has his moments of prophetic eruption around ....drum roll please...Friends who are also on RantWoman's Frequent flyer list! What if, instead of only continuing to exhort Eye Roller Friend to be quiet, some wise and thoughtful elder could encourage him to think about what he might say if words were to align and he were in the presence of those who vex him????

State of Society Reports:
--RantWoman still owes the world both her Meeting's missive and a augmented rant about same.
--Favorite quotes:
   Mid-Columbia Worship Group: "We exist! ... Six of us....."
   Eastside Friends Meeting: further phrasing about #opendata work with WA Department of Health gun deaths: suicide deaths outnumber homicides about 5/1. What this suggests is...

RantWoman is seasoning a sort of symphonic reflection departing from the music theme. The message  did not make it out of RantWoman's mouth during worship. Oh well.
   Wait. Part of the message was going to be "Well if Friend Geneticist can talk about methylated something or other and epigenetics during Community Night, RantWoman can darn well talk about neurodiversity during Meeting for Worship. By neurodiversity RantWoman does not mean only the term some on the autism spectrum as a mark of acceptance about their situation. RantWoman means a respect for the many different ways people work with information.
   See, Barclay and the early Quakers were WRONG about music distracting one from God. People from other faith traditions have made this same mistake. Thank God for continuing revelation and for people's ability to forgive themselves for not attaining the unattainable and being able to imagine multiple paths to God.. Then maybe there would be some motifs about getting too stuck in repetitive small details and losing track of how things add up to a big picture.
   Then there would be some moments of dissonance and chord progresssion as work passes from one key to another, followed by threads of Quaker witness and weaving people together and.... By this time the kids had entered and the half-woven symphony was too close to topics kids don't need to have to worship about and have partly made it into an email, never mind the Barclay reference.
Blessings upon...

Now RantWoman will resume more vigorous turning of the spiritual compost heap.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Tantrum Option

Popcorn Kernel from recent worship sharing

Queries were something like:

What are your hopes and concerns for the next year?

What help do you need / what are you going to do to ask for it?

and "take care of ... If you need restroom, snacks..."

RantWoman: "and if I need to lie on the floor and kick and scream and have a giant tantrum...?"

[RantWoman is pretty sure there might have been tremulous eye-rolling. RantWoman? REALLY?]

(RantWoman to herself REALLY?)

RantWoman has been thinking of many kins and of people in her family's life who were adults not parents and how much difference they made at times.

RantWoman has also been thinking of a much younger self, new to Friends who found it a great relief actually that people much older than she were still struggling and trying to figure things out.

RantWoman munched popcorn and attended to others' offerings. Apparently she attended badly because other than deep gratitude for the sharing RantWoman humbly admits remembers no details she can work with after the fact.

Oh, and apparently if RantWoman and others around her can admit the POSSIBLE need for a tantrum, RantWoman just MAY be able to get along without an actual tantrum.

Friday, April 24, 2015

State of...Married

Opening Blasphemy, and yes, RantWoman humbly acknowledges this could really, really use and editor.: Jesus Christ on a Pizza Crust.

RantWoman WILL post her Meeting's State of Society report anon.

Hypothetically, there would be an outtake of the form: Did anyone get married?

(RantWoman notes here two weddings in past years: rantWoman wishes the happy heterosexual couples extra decades together and still DOES NOT APOLOGIZE for, um, RantWoman PRESENCE in the same time frame as the weddings. Hold sundry sore points in the Light especially if it winds up that RantWoman haunts anniversaries. But RantWoman digresses.)

RantWoman has lost track of which same-gender couples in her community have finally done the state paperwork after WA Referendum 74 made same-gender marriage legal in 2012 and the Obama administration refused to enforce DOMA and various court rulings have inched things forward. RantWoman remembers a couple moments in Meeting or on Facebook. RantWoman notes that federal circuit after federal circuit is striking down bans on same-gender marriage but has a pretty strong leading not to take or to let others take anything for granted.

A Friend from RantWoman's Meeting who now lives far away has been very active in the FLGBTQC Ad-hoc committee on Friend of the Court Briefs. MAYBE if the State of Society report was mentioning people by name who are very visible outside Meeting, the report could have gone all out and mentioned this Friend. (Okayyyy, RantWoman, TRY to stay away from topics that tempt you toward Dial-a-Tirade, like that Friend's ministry.)

RantWoman is unclear whether faithful work by the FLGBTQC ad-hoc committee and other faith communities on Friend of the Court Briefs has played any role in these decisions or whether this is just a tide of federal precedent.

Either way, RantWoman thinks, given her Monthly and Yearly Meeting's long history of work about marriage equality, RantWoman might think to take note in the State of Society Report. Okay, RantWoman thought that taking note of Referendum 74 would have been entirely on point in the 2013 State of society Report and was darned grateful that other Meetings in her Quarter DID take note in that year's State of Society reports.

RantWoman thinks it would also have been AWESOME if someone other than RantWoman thought to bring either Referendum 74 of this past year's marriage equality advances up. RantWoman thinks this but RantWoman is biased. RantWoman in a fit of social awkwardness one night at Annual session teamed up with another Friend to put the final touches on the draft  1997 NPYM minute on civil recognition of same-gender marriage.  And before that RantWoman remembers being in Meeting for Business when Meeting finally came to unity to call same gender commitments maririages. And RantWoman remembers that unity about the marriage wording was important because for a time her Meeting was marrying no one, not same-gender couples and not heterosexual couples in solidarity.

RantWoman wonders whether people doing clearness committees for marriage under care of her Meeting even talk about this history or the part of Faith and Practice that talks a little about this. RantWoman specifically wonders this in humble irritation about the editing process that year and that the nice couple who drafted the 2013 State of Society report was married under the care of the Meeting!

Along the way from unity and NPYM minutes, RantWoman has both signed petitions and, when the Yes on 74 campaign was already big and well-funded united with Friends clear to move onto other things. RantWoman is grateful for the stalwarts who did phone-banking for the big campaign.

Just when RantWoman thought she was going to get by with only another outtake from the State of Society report, crash, rattle, bang, with computerized chatter, along comes dialogue about the role of Care and Counsel Committee with the brave Clerk of Nominating committee who serves Meeting heroically and is not clear to become a member for what RantWoman considers a very important reason related partly to heritage.

Brave Clerk gets to help put together Care and Counsel without exactly knowing what they do. Start with memberships and marriages and clearness processes for both. Add in  "I'm not interested in Your Thought Processes Friend who a. will not return phone calls or respond to phone calls and only wants to talk in a loud environment when rantWoman finds it hard to have centered conversation anyway, and b is the liason between Nominating committee and Care and Counsel. So please hold RantWoman in the Light because she feels entitled to another temper tantrum and sort of hopes the tantrum will get transformed into appropriate actual live conversations but has no freaking idea even where to start!

RantWoman thinks of
--One Friend who was married in the manner of Friends in our worship room and a couple years ago gratefully announced the couple's 50th anniversary.

--Another young Friend, not a member, who reports a "We''re kind of busy" response when she expressed interested in community help about a wedding. It's true that marriage in the manner of Friends is a different task than a clearness committee and marriage under the care of Meeting, but, really!

(For the record, RantWoman was thinking about marriage and Ferrener Husband in the same timeframe where Oversight Committee lost RantWoman's first letter applying for membership. Okayyy, RantWoman, STOP! Membership meditations get their own post!)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Guided By An Inner Truth: Quakers, Hip Hop, and Social Justice Quaker Speak Videos

Has RantWoman mentioned lately how much she appreciates the Quake r Speak videos?

My Goodness Quakers acting like we have something to say to the world!


We need a lot more of it!

Here is a wonderful item about a young Quaker rapper whose path to Quaker worship began with a scholarship to a Friends school in W Philadelphia.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Heaven, Faithfulness...kidnapping?

RantWoman is working on heaven and her friend Lu's memorial, held recently at St Benedict's Church in Wallingford. RantWoman wishes to honor a number of things that might be all wrong for adamant Catholic traditionalists but that RantWoman were wonderful.

RantWoman really likes the church. It is a huge old building but the sanctuary has this wonderful airy feeling. RantWoman noticed somewhere that it has Saturday night service at 6 pm. Maybe for curiosity, RantWoman will stop by.

RantWoman arrived there independently with only Ambassador Thwack. No, RantWoman did not need to take the arm of the person who greeted her but Yes, RantWoman quite appreciates being shown where the restroom is.

RantWoman did not intersect with a song sheet. Not actually a problem.

RantWoman found a blind couple she knows; then her buddies the Weed Whackin Wenches Wing Nut and Curmudgeon arrived too. RantWoman has more than once gone to a memorial and spent the whole time sobbing more about some other grief than the stated focus of the memorial. This time it was Wing Nut's turn,the peculiar communion of parallel circumstances.

Pianist and soloist with really nice voice. Modern, praise-filled music evocative of Jesus, heaven and RantWoman apologizes for not remembering what all.

Lead by Lay Deacon, father and grandfather, who says  "Don't call me father" but told a wonderful story of how much it meant to him to help with a service on the Mount of the Beatitudes in Jerusalem even though it was pouring rain, "like Seattle" during the service. Blessed are... blessed are...

Prayers of Christ and heaven. Prayers reminded RantWoman she was in a Catholic church and her task was to honor what the texts mean to Lu and Andrew.

Funeral Rite, not the same as funeral mass. RantWoman's friend Curmudgeon who went to Catholic school says Funeral Rite means no communion. RantWoman thinks, oh thank god. Much nicer than another Catholic memorial Rantwoman attended where the priest was insistent about communion only for baptized Catholics.

Lu's husband Andrew read from the book of Wisdom which RantWoman assumes without checking is one of those books in the Catholic Bible but not the protestant one. It was a passage sort of like the one in the New Testament about "in my father's house are many mansions," definitely about eternal life, heaven, the life beyond this life.

Lu's husband told wonderful stories of Lu's long career and all the people her energy touched. RantWoman thought of harrumphing about how it would be nice to let the voices tell their own stories but also really resonates about how well Andrew appreciated them.

Lu would have been a formidable presence even if she were not blind. Before she went blind she was studying Nuclear Medicine. After she went blind she switched to epidemiology and was consistently a fire hose of numerical information and Wonder Blind Person and always dressed WELL to boot.

Deacon did a tolerable job of speaking about both Lu and blindness, despite not knowing her very well and only while she was ill. RantWoman had not realized that illness dated to Lu's resignation from her job.

A funeral rite involves commending the sould to God and blessing of the remains, or what was reserved after most were buried in MI where Lu grew up. RantWoman thinks it's actually kind of sweet, given how grief clobbers the bereaved unpredictably for awhile after a death, if several communities want memorials and the soul has not all made it to heaven at once, to commend a couple extra times

After a final blessing, everyone gathered for food, socializing, and amazing pictures of Lu and Andrew and all the love and magic between them.

After the service and the gathering with food, the subject of dinner came up. RantWoman did not have anywhere she had to be so RantWoman's buddies the Weed Whacking Wenches "kidnapped" her to come to supper at their house in Lynnwood. The trip featured:

--big trees and fresh air and space to breathe

--tour of wonderful gardens

--opportunity to meet the Wenches' chickens and A DOZEN FRESH eggs to take home

--sit-down with Wing Nut in the middle of huge eldercare challenges and in need of  vocabularly like "medical release," Medical Power of Attorney, Advance Directive, Social Worker, Discharge Planner. Wing Nut can do MUCH by phone and needs to be held in the Light.

--Thai food and fresh asparagus from the garden.

--four lovely plastic gelatto containers now repurposed for other food storage in RantWoman's kitchen.

--a nice bag of fresh rhubarb.

Definitely close enough to heaven for now.

RantWoman can stand kidnappings like this anytime.

PS More heaven-themed ministry just because

Heaven, with Mouseketeer

RantWoman has in her two popcorn kernel items about heaven.

This one is dedicated to the most recently-deceased of RantWoman's neighbors. RantWoman lives in a world where staff who know these things usually can neither confirm nor deny, but RantWoman is grateful to learn the news from multiple people via the building grapevine.

(RantWoman is grateful to learn via the same grapevine that someone she feared might have passed away without notice has moved away closer to relatives. Rantwoman is not sure the email address she has will work, but...)

Recently Deceased Neighbor had some kind of intellectual disability. He was also legally blind and used a wheelchair. He had a whiny voice and always wanted to make sure RantWoman was signed up for events she really was neither interested in nor eligible for, though RantWoman never wanted to belabor the point with him.

Recently Deceased Neighbor always wanted to go to a meeting RantWoman attends; other people in the building attend the same meeting and RantWoman never thought to suggest he team up with them about getting there. Oh Lord have Mercy!.

Recently Deceased Neighbor frequently wanted to talk to RantWoman about the Mickey Mouse Club and a Mouseketeer who shares RantWoman's first name but not the spelling. Sorry. That was BT, Before Television in the Rant Family household, and RantWoman further does not care because the topical Mouseketeer spells her name all wrong.

A couple strokes in the last year or so did not improve Recently Deceased neighbor's agreeability quotient or lessen his Annoyingness Index. Hold that problem in the Light.

Bus Stop consensus about Recently Deceased Neighbor: he's in a better place. Heaven is where bodies do all of what they are supposed to and people can do what they want to do with people who want to be with them.

May the Lord Bless and Keep Recently Deceased neighbor, whatever faith tradition he did or did not have !

Avis, Upper Dublin, Prayers.

Yo, God, if you are going to give RantWoman a message, could you maybe possibly aim for something more compact than an entire Russian novel?

Worship at RantWoman's Meeting opened with two messages about death, one  a sudden death of a weighty elder's also elderly sister and the second a toddle in a car seat shot by a presumed road rage drive-by shooting.

Somehow the messages meandered toward "The Dead are released; it's the living who suffer without them, with the holes death leaves in the spider we bs of our human connections.
RantWoman tried to summon  words:

But no!  The dead are not always at peace or summomoning the memories still disturbs the pale pablum some call peace. 100+ years after the Armenian genocide at the end of the Ottoman empire, it's still REALLY hard to use the word genocide and someone's embassador got summoned to the prime minster's office this week for using the word.

But NO! If a Meetinghouse is built almost on top of the graves of an African American member's enslaved forebears, the dead are NOT necessarily at peace, and RantWoman can definitely see God sending messages about at least honoring the dead, the circumstances of their death.

This past week RantWoman was grazing in the Facebook Quakers Talk about Racism group and came upon, basically, a call to renewed prayer for Upper Dublin Monthly Meeting, Abington Quarter PYM, and Avis Wanda McClintock.  RantWoman offered to pray / hold in the Light... Facebook vexes RantWoman and RantWoman asked for email. Email suggests in different words that prayers, discernment, openings are sorely needed.

RantWoman offers the following links to Friends Journal items related to Upper Dublin Monthly Meeting
RantWoman recommends spending some time with comments.

Email indicates that the situation continues to evolve and prayers continue to be sorely needed.

Yo, Friends, are you in charge or is God in charge?

RantWoman is not clear to post further contents of email but does note that she can hold in the Light more clearly if participants in events post public accounts of...