Friday, April 21, 2017

Undriving!

Very fun item about "undriving" from awhile ago featuring the current clerk of RantWoman's Meeting, talking about health, bicycling, crusading for transportation alternatives to The Automobile.

Enjoy!

Our Clerk on "undriving"

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Whacking at the State of Society


The time is upon us again to reflect on our State of Society. This year a trip to Europe put the duo who months ago volunteered to take up the drafting task a bit behind. RantWoman is confident God will be able to cope; RantWoman is less sure about God’s people, including herself.

It has never been RantWoman’s practice to post the first draft of the State of Society Report. RantWoman is doing the best she can not just to rewrite the thing but to contribute FEEDBACK and then to continue to riff as led. 

Repeat: RantWoman is compiling FEEDBACK; part of the task of each report’s drafters is to receive the FeedBack but the drafters are not obligated to do anything with it.

No, of COURSE RantWoman never needs an editor either--except for the last couple things to make it into print. These required several rounds with each diligent and faithful editor. So maybe think in terms of EXAMPLE. Plus, RantWoman is also crazy enough to offer to read intervening drafts, a practice books she reads sometimes gratefully acknowledge.

RantWoman offers these, well, opinionated gripes in hopes that this year’s authors will find guidance.

Reviews at first reading are mixed and ranged from “it’s fine,” with vague flabby sort of bureaucratized prose and 14 uses of the word “spiritual,” several to a paragraph in places to “we should have a called Meeting” (bloody hell NOT on Easter Sunday….) before Quarterly Meeting.

The sense of the Meeting after First Reading: get suggestions to the drafters within two weeks. Friends dying to read at Quarterly Meeting will get an invitation to look for the online “alternate format” option in time for Annual Session at the latest.

RantWoman’s point of view: some data moments

No examination of our community’s spiritual health would be complete without at least a partial inventory of things trying our souls

This year’s long and tendentious political campaigh weighed heavily on our lives even before we began to grapple with the stomach-churning outcome. Some in our community feel ourselves and people close to us explicitly under attack, often from several directions.

The political environment has brought newcomers simply unused to Quaker worship as well as deeply motivated seekers in search, not always successful, of both divine guidance and nourishing community.

Our region is experiencing very rapid economic growth. This is reflected in severe traffic congestion, a widespread housing affordability crisis, and just endless construction projects. Of immediate relevance to our community: after years of work for stakeholders, business, faith communities, other organizations in the University district, the city council has enacted a long-awaited upzone intended to increase housing and foster other economic development in our immediate neighborhood.

After the upzone vote, our Meeting formed a committee to lead a discernment process about stewardship of our property, our needs as a worshipping community and financial realities.

The SHARE group which has slept in our worship space for a number of years has been away for organizational reasons. In the meantime one member faithfully collects money for protein donations to a tent city, and we are discerning about what direct service we will be called to.

This year’s clerk grew up in our Meeting, the daughter of one of our founding members. Our clerk has been considering the meeting’s history as part of discernment related to many changes occurring in our neighborhood and around our region. One act of faithfulness has been to remind us regularly that the land where we worship first belonged to the Duwamish; at the very least we owe gratitude for what we have received.

As today’s immigrant communities face outrageous threats and uncertainties, we observed the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, the catalyst for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Our member Gordon Hirabyashi openly challenged the accompanying curfew, served time in federal prison, and ultimately had his conviction reversed by the Supreme Court.

Worship on the anniversary brought messages about friendships with the children and grandchildren of the internment, about the importance of people treating others as people, and about choices in difficult situations.

Further worship notes:

Put the word carpet into the search bar of this blog for more detail than probably most people care to read: we replaced the carpet in our worship room! We also did some other improvements. We also removed the sound muting carpet panels on our walls. As the carpet was being replaced we also made sure the hearing loop in our worship room works for some hearing aid users among us. Other Friends with hearing loss have also acquired various assistance devices. Besides greatly improved appearance we celebrate better acoustics and better hearing for many.

God has shown up at 9:30 worship with messages, some weeks several messages, considerably more often over the past year than regulars at this Meeting for Worship are used to.

If one listens carefully, it is clear that people in our community vary widely about how we vote, view the right way to engage about climate change, and experience Meeting for Worship If one centers well these divergences bring powerful energy.

We like praying and worshipping together just fine but we sometimes have trouble getting along with each other the rest of the time.

We regularly hear several visitors and newcomers introduce themselves almost every week. RantWoman was blessed one First Day after particularly out on the edge vocal ministry to hear the couple proclaim that is why they like Quakers.

We have wonderful children whose ability to sit in their worship during First Day school frequently attracts notice. A few kids attend all of adult Meeting for Worship; most come in during the last 10 minutes of 11:00 worship. Worship generally embraces the accompanying exuberance though there are one or two people who sometimes grumble that they are not done worshipping and if they liked coming to all of worship as children, what is wrong with kids these days ...?

We have begun the practice of inviting worshippers to share Joys and Concerns after the close of worship. Honestly, some of the topics shared, in RantWoman's view deserve time in all of worship and RantWoman finds herself annoyed that the concerns get shunted to the end. Other times, stunningly long and provocative  afterthoughts have emerged during this time. In any case, the invitation seems to matter.

We also appreciate our place on the itinerary for students from a class in Spiritual Formation at Seattle pacific University: about once a term students come to one or another of our Meetings for Worship, ask good “what canst thou say?” questions, and sometimes speak of their own faith and worship practices.

Hip replacements, moves to retirement centers, and the aggravations offered by our paratransit system have been a theme among the oldest in our community.

One beloved member and one longtime attender passed away this year.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dances with Dirt

This post is part of DATA RantWoman means to feed to this year's state of society drafting team. It's DATA, subject to sundry RantWoman peculiarities, error terms, missing values....

This message did not get published in a timely way that would track with specific World Events. Unfortunately, almost every week right now offers topics burning new media streams, not to mention old streams still roiling. RantWoman also reminds readers of her blog as Quaker journal model of blogging. If this posting winds of involving confusion as to several timelines, for instance multiple different Meetings for Worship PLEASE just hold in the Light and digest as you are able.

RantWoman offers EXTREME gratitude that last First Day meeting for Worship included NO mention of several topics burning in news and media streams. RantWoman was meditating about what it means when tens of thousands if people take to the streets in multiple Russian cities, but nothing coalesced in RantWoman's head let alone made it out of her mouth.

(Hint: 20,000 people on the streets of St. Petersburg for an unsanctioned event is kind of like 150,000 people on the streets of Seattle. Except as far as RantWoman knows no one in Russia was wearing cat hats)

RantWoman was thrilled during Close of Worship to hear of Young Adult Friend whom RantWoman knows from the Women's Theology Conference visiting on a Quaker Job-related trip. Later, RantWoman was gratified  when Young Adult Friend also mentioned being really glad to see RantWoman across the worship room. RantWoman was called into service and good conversation in connection with another amazing episode of "Holy cow. It's Quaker Baptism. We've got the NewComers washing Dishes," also knows as another chapter in the Ministry of Truth and Hospitality = Pastoral care plus knives and hot Liquids.

In appreciation of last week's spiritual nourishment, and by way of procrastinating about more mutant material, RantWoman hereby offers a special shout-out to Dances with Dirt Friend. RantWoman offers the shout out by blog partly because conversations by phone or in person are, um, challenged. Dances with Dirt Friend is also pretty minimalist about email. Furthermore, RantWoman keeps testing whether Dances with Dirt Friend is the sort of wise elder RantWoman would like to turn to for counsel. Keeps testing. As in keeps testing and wondering whether RantWoman in fact knows more of what is needed than... Enough said? And Dances With Dirt Friend has company.

Dances with Dirt Friend is pretty minimalist a lot of the time about email except when the Still Didn't get the Memo Committee on Email Immoderation collides with RantWoman's  phone and in person hiccups busy at all hours life schedule. Yes in fact, if the Still Didn't Get the Memo Committee on Email Immoderation stands up firmly enough to "we thought we had an agreement" email guildelines crammed down the community's throat, at some point RantWoman gets to celebrate unconventional success indicators: if people RantWoman is trying to have sensible conversations keep ignoring phone and email, RantWoman perhaps is SUPPOSED to celebrate when a contingent of THREE of said people finally bestir themselves to come meet in person with RantWoman. Now, if it seemed to RantWoman that actual two-way conversation were possible...

If readers want to stop here and just hold circus in the Light, that might be fine, except that RantWoman is certain there is more fascinating material available for anyone with the fortitude to keep reading.

Recently in an in-person conversation, connected actually with the THREE PEOPLE show up at once situation, Dances with Dirt Friend wanted RantWoman to appreciate some article from Friends Journal about silence. RantWoman asked someone to find her the specific link partly because in the moment RantWoman did not have anything at hand with which to jot down the author's name. RantWoman THINKS the link lurks somewhere in her email but has not located it.

Dances with Dirt Friend wanted to read aloud a longish passage or longish for RantWoman's attention level at that moment. At least RantWoman's bedtime story time to sleep reflex did not kick in. RantWoman even found siome of the language about the depths of silence in Meeting for Worship somewhat intriguing, but the RantWoman department of Message manglement still managed to hear the passage mainly as "Shut up." RantWoman is unclear more blog will help but is clear bravely to type on anyway.

RantWoman has previously written of Dances with Dirt Friend in a post from awhile ago about slugs. RantWoman thinks the nom-de-blog used in that post was Inveterate Gardener Friend but RantWoman is NOT going to go look, not even if the post in question should pop easily out from a search bar with one of the linguistic moments offered

Dances with Dirt Friend is a retired nurse with  considerable knowledge of herbal approaches, the therapeutic value of dirt, and other matters of health. Dances with Dirt Friend has a lovely house with wood floors perched on a hill. The front yard has several beds of garden and fruit trees. Dances with Dirt Friend also has chickens, interesting housemates, and what seem to RantWoman to be rich history and many blessings especially now that she has retired. Dances with Dirt Friend also seems to have lived wisely and avoided both medical calamities and other Bad Decisions which roil the lives of others.

RantWoman does not quite know what to do with the rest of this: RantWoman nearly always deeply esteems Messages in worship from Dances with Dirt friend about gardening.

Dances with Dirt Friend has another regular message strand which lands her  is on RantWoman's frequent Flyer list mainly in the category of "not objectionable messages but GOD it would be nice if it came out of someone else's mouth. These are messages that Dances with Dirt Friends means to be soothing ior modestly self-revelatorybut sometimes seem stifling to RantWoman. RantWoman is perfectly well aware that her own spiritual compost heap is mixed up in er reaction to these messages, but RantWoman's spiritual compost heap is not the only thing in the picture. RantWoman keeps seeking the right words to ask but so far...

A time or two over Dances With Dirt Friend's tenure on RantWoman's Frequent flyer list, Dances with Dirt Friend has offered messages RantWoman holds very tenderly about aging and most recently fear of being alone or in considerably worse circumstances than seem likely at least to RantWoman. RantWoman wonders what is this fear about? RantWoman is tempted to mumble that the phrase "fear not" is the most frequently occurring phrase in the Bible. RantWoman is tempted in this direction but is pretty sure the comment might be unhelpful.

The last time Dances With Dirt Friend offered vocal ministry about aging and uncertainty, the cosmic connections with the Divine seemed to have more static than average, thanks to Eye Roller friend and another Friend, to be known for now as Self-Important Friend.

Eye Roller Friend is artistically gifted. Sometimes, horrors, he draws or sketches during Meeting for Worship. Sometimes he also fidgets or clears his throat a lot. The week in question, Eye Roller Friends usual non-verbal ministries plarty got lost in the sonic soup: LOTS of people were coughing and hacking with winter respiratory crud, There were meditations on the word "safety" in Meeting for Worship.  RantWoman found herself briefly meditating about the balance between the immune system boost from social contact and the wisdom of staying home to avoid exchanging germs.

RantWoman did not get to stay with that meditation very long. Eye Roller friend was seated behind and a little to the side of Self-Important friend. At one point, Self Important Friend grew tired of something Eye Roller Friend was doing and asked him loudly whether he might like to go take a walk. Eye Roller Friend equally loudly and equally clearly "No!" Self Important friend announced that he was not prepared to put up with whatever Eye Roller Friend was doing and stalked out of worship.

To be honest, RantWoman found herself thinking "Good bye. Don't let the door hit you on the way out."

Shortly, Dances with Dirt Friend rose to offer vocal ministry. Eye Roller Friend's gift of apparent prophesy kicked in and some kind of audible eye rolling occurred. Dances with Dirt Friend has more than once in the past just continued speaking in spite of audible eye rolling, but this time her first words were "I should not be afraid to offer vocal ministry."

[RantWoman to herself. No. You should have enough trust in God that you are to deliver the message and will have what is necessary to do so...]

Eye Roller friend did subside and Dances with Dirt Friend continued with her message, different from her average message as noted above.

Worship continued with other messages at least one quite lengthy also not deterred by Eye roller Friend.

Close of worship two newcomers seated next to RantWoman seemed not disturbed in the last and found common ground with RantWoman about figuring God can handle the questions and something different every day..

After worship, much conversation occurred. For it to be eldering RantWoman would have to have a sense that something stuck. RantWoman is not in a position to evaluate, but RantWoman  grabbed one afterthought from one moment in the conversation:

Self Important friend "I don wanna think about.(Eye Roller Friend) during worship..."

RantWoman, later to herself, Ya know, maybe God is exactly asking you to think about...

Monday, April 17, 2017

Resurrection in two characters

RantWoman offers the following reflections on Easter RantWoman-style:

This year's "When Christians celebrate Passover, there's a crucifixion involved" moment beside thoughts of still wanting to try Ben and Jerry's Charoset ice cream: Maundy Thursday at RantMom's church. Handwashing from a pitcher of warm water (lovely actually, but thank you no footwashing), the passage from Exodus about smiting the first born and roasting a yearling ram and blood on doorjambs to keep God from smiting all the firstborn. Ummm memo to self: must read further. Meanwhile, enjoy the chickpea soup and send RantMom a useful search string to share with a church mate badly needing a wheeled walker with a seat.

Twitter already on Easter Eve
Христос воскрес  Christ is Risen
воистину воскрес He is Risen Indeed
вв (He is Risen Indeed, in two characters.)
Easter Lily, blossoning since Wednesday


Praise the Lord and pass the Congressional Investigation. The Western and Orthodox calendars have Easter occurring the same day this year. We humbly take time off from  #russiagate #trumpRussia #notmyPresident, that intersection of geopolitics and military display, and sundry related hashtags for a spell of praying and worshipping together

Meeting for worship: messages of unbelief, fasting, and bacon. Also large family celebrations. Jumble of RantSiblings, Easter Sunday church production and feast did not make it out of RantWoman's mouth. Nor did Passover because by that time the children had come. Is RantWoman doing any favors by shielding children from the full piquancy of her mental meanderings? Uhhh, figure that out another day.

Recently RantWoman had overheard a comment and realized it would be easy to pray over. A voice during introductions ...

RantMom had her usual spell of needing to have a crowd over and feed them. This year, besides RantMom and RantWoman, Little Sister, Brother in Law, Nephew and ....First Girlfriend. Nephew was just back from a week of building houses with his church group in Tijuana. Conversation alternated between fresh back from trip details, extended yawns,  and desire to go take a walk with Girlfriend.  Menu was Keep It Simple: grilled Salmon, asparagus, orange jello salad, mashed potatoes, with any combination desired of sliced strawberries, ice cream and shortcakes. There was also sufficient chocolate.

Little Sister offered the Family Blessing. She kept saying Thanksgiving. Possibly just fine.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Spiritual times 14

The time is upon us again to reflect on the State of Society in RantWoman’s meeting.  The short version: an examination of the spiritual health of (someone’s) Meeting

 Note: excessive use of the word “spiritual” sometimes makes RantWoman sneeze, violently, with noises that start to sound like “theologically insipid!”

 [--Yes, RantWoman, and this may be the state of YOUR Meeting but it may or may not reflect the state of the drafters’ Meeting. Come on. Support. Encourage!

--Yeah. There is that part about the soft bigotry of low expectations and eldering as a path to draw out people’s better selves…

--RANTWOMAN!!!!]

 Anyway, RantWoman has various translation and code-switch reflexes that SOMETIMES kick in. For this season, luckily out popped some queries aimed at helping this year’s drafters overcome numerous other allergy-provoking points.

 
What does God require of us? (you mean we gotta use the G-g-g word? Yeah, around RantWoman there better be room.)

 How are we called to walk along side each other in our various struggles?

 What does walk along side each other mean anyway?

 What are some of the circumstances trying our souls?

 What blessings do we need to enumerate?

 
A longer version, round 1.

The time is upon us again to reflect on the State of Society in RantWoman’s meeting.

 
Reviews at first reading are mixed One Friend: “It’s fine,” with vague flabby sort of bureaucratized prose and 14 uses of the word “spiritual,” several to a paragraph in more than one paragraph.  Another: “we should have a called Meeting” (bloody hell NOT on Easter Sunday….) before Quarterly Meeting.

 FOURTEEN uses of the word “spiritual?” Fourteen? Holy Theologicallly insipid Batman! Fourteen! Whatever is a RantWoman to do?

 
Google Translate????

RantWoman’s first instinct: take every sentence containing the word “spiritual,” Google translate the sentence into some random language, choose one of the suggestions at random, back translate to English and see what comes out.

 

One problem with this idea: some sentences contain the word spiritual more than once.

 
Another problem, besides obvious well-documented and also way more esoteric issues about Google translate: RantWoman regularly evokes Google autocorrect and fiercely resents any hunk of code acting like it knows more than RantWoman herself does about God, what RantWoman means to type, or the rest of the world.

 
Okay, how about those code-switch reflexes?

Okay.

See above.

RantWoman does better with specifics.

Show me, don’t just tell me.

There. Now RantWoman will return to “Jesus is dead and you expect me to WORK?” mode.  #GoodFriday

 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Should we continue to pay taxes for war: EVENT

RantWoman will not be attending the event described below this introductory rant but is posting it here IN CASE any of her readers have time, inclination, leading etc....

RantWoman does not entirely apologize for lack of timely announcement. RantWoman in this case would greatly appreciate it if people who have great content to share would take responsibility and share it themselves, not expect RantWoman to do it for them.

RantWoman feels the world is entitled to further tirades  involving the word EMAIL.  Hold that in the Light, for one thing because RantWoman's day was already WAY too full of tirade-worthy themes, even before the White House Press Secretary's disgusting Passover offering to the world.

Resisting Taxes for War
Tuesday, April 11
6:30-8:30 PM
Pipsqueak Art Gallery
173 16th Ave (at the corner of 16th & Spruce)
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/250594938736504/

Should we continue to pay taxes to a government that declares war on
immigrants? That militarizes the border? That for decades has colonized and
destabilized other countries? That helps create the refugee crisis and
conditions that cause immigration, and then demonizes refugees and
immigrants?

There are many different ways to resist war taxes, with varying risks and
benefits. Join local war tax resisters to discuss reasons for and ways to
engage in a Tax Day revolt against Trump's (or any president's) militarist,
anti-immigrant agenda.

Although Tax Day 2017 is April 18, and many of us have already paid taxes,
it's just the right time to start considering resistance for next year.
We won't just refuse to pay—we will redirect our refused taxes to groups
working for justice, liberation, and meeting basic human needs. Many
resisters are choosing to specifically redirect to local groups led by
people of color who are working to end militarism, imperialism, and
oppression of immigrants, refugees, and border communities.

Light refreshments provided - please feel free to bring something to share.
Accessibility: The space is wheelchair accessible, but unfortunately the
bathroom is not. This is not a fragrance-free space, but please avoid
wearing fragrances for the comfort of folks with chemical sensitivities.
Please contact seawater@riseup.net with additional accessibility needs.
---
Program by Seattle War Tax Resistance (http://www.facebook.com/seawtr).
Inspired by the work of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating
Committee. Learn more about the call for local collective redirection (
http://nwtrcc.org/resist/redirection/redirection-2017/) or about war tax
resistance in general (http://nwtrcc.org/resist/).


--
There should be parties
to celebrate
the end of this world.
There should be flowers
to welcome
a new one.
- "There Should Be Flowers," J. Jennifer Espinoza

Grab The blind Person and Bless Them, chapter n+1

Dear I'm not Interested in Your Thought Processes Friend,

RantWoman wishes to thank you.

RantWoman does NOT particularly wish to thank you for the need to make MULTIPLE efforts, by phone, by email, previously over a period of years to address Grab the Blind Person and Bless Them Behavior. RantWoman does NOT Thank you or anyone else to whom RantWoman THINKS she has clearly articulated requests for help. RantWoman does NOT thank people for ignoring phone, email or for deciding that RantWoman somehow does not need to talk about this situation.

But Friend, thank you, when RantWoman finally just decided to confront you in person about your most recent and most egregious Grab The Blind Person and Bless Them moment!

THANK YOU for acknowledging that grabbing RantWoman by her upper arms on both sides and saying "Hi" is, in fact, Grab the Blind Person and Bless Them behavior. Thank you for saying, when RantWoman called this to your attention, that you realized right after you did it, that your behavior is objectionable. How about next time, you just Mean Not to?

Please do not EVER grab RantWoman like that again. Say "Hi it's ." Or "excuse me." Or just wait for choke points to clear.

The situation was crowded. RantWoman did not want to bump into anyone.She wanted to put  things down and get in line for lunch. Possibly as a public service RantWoman should have yelled loudly but did not. Now though, RantWoman is asking you very  directly Not To Do It Again!

 RantWoman deals with this Grab the Blind Person and Bless Them / move them out of the way  all the time: older white some kind of official guy at some disaster preparedness event 
http://rantwoman.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-latest-in-disaster-preparedness.html

(not so far committed to the blogosphere)
African American woman in tippy heels and spangly dress who thought dragging RantWoman across the street in the dark would be helpful at a neighborhood memorial event,
 random guy in pickup exuding slight redneck vibes who drove past me, stopped his car and waited for RantWoman to approach in order to bless or pray or something annoying enough to trigger some nerves related to a stalking experience.

"Grab the Blind Person and Bless Them" evoked gales of laughter from the whole room when RantWoman did two minutes of standup last year at the WA Council of the Blind convention so RantWoman knows it's a common problem. RantWoman really does not care what you intended, whether you intended this to be friendly. RantWoman considers it consider it off the charts for everyone else at her Meeting except...drum roll please... Conflict Is a Gift Of God Friend...  who has gotten the message after having to be told multiple times. 

To Summarize DO NOT do it again!

There. Now RantWoman will resume her usual calm demeanor, at least until the next amazing episode....