Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing on Handbells

God has a twisted sense of humor.

RantWoman came to her office at the Friendly Neighborhood Center for Extreme Computing. It's Don't mess with comfort food, no matter how odiferous" day for Korean elders who come to lunch nearby twice a week.

Often there is music. Today the tune was Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. The words were in Korean.

RantWoman referred the problem to Youtube and was served up:

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Prayer. Awe. Night of the Northern Lights

This is an absolutely spectacular northern lights footage.

Rantwoman offers it as a prayer, a primordial prayer with the thought that such things probably looked even more awesome to the ancients than they do to RantWoman's dazzled eyes.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Prayer from FOR Executive Director Kristin Stoneking in Connection with NPT Treaty Review Conference

These words speak to RantWoman's strivings, if not exactly to her condition, the state of her own spiritual compost heap. Here's to hope and groundedness, and reprinting verbatim from an email.

Dear (RantWoman)
The month-long deliberations of governments in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review at the United Nations ended today. Just before the talks began, FORUSA staff participated in the Peace and Planet weekend conference and mobilization for a nuclear-free, peaceful, just, and sustainable world.
As we reported earlier, the weekend featured an interfaith service at the UN Church Center, powerful speakers at a mass rally in Union Square where the Global Wave 2015 -- a synchronized wave from all over the world to say goodbye to nuclear weapons -- was launched, and a march to the UN that clearly demonstrated to world leaders that the people want a nuclear free planet.
I was blessed with the opportunity to deliver the homily at the interfaith service on the Sunday morning before the NPT talks began. As the outcome of this five year review appears to offer both hope of progress and evidence that our work as peacemakers must continue, I'd like to share that homily with you now by way of offering an ongoing prayer:
In 1948, three years after atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when the genocidal world war that claimed the lives of over 60 million had ended, Jacques Ellul, the French Philosopher and lay theologian, observed that never before had we as a society given more attention to our security, never had we invested more in technological solutions to our security, and yet never before had we felt so insecure.
We have gathered here as the review of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty is about to begin because we know, as people of faith, that true security will never come from a weapons system. Security is not primarily a political issue, it is a spiritual issue. True security is the opposite of the mad grasping we experience when nation states spend billions on building and maintaining nuclear weapons systems. True security is letting go, it is waking up to the illusion that peace can be brought by some external technological means.

True security is striving instead for life through the truth that we are all interconnected and interdependent; or, as Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says, "We inter-are."

If we take the focus off security and strive instead to tend to each other's deep wellbeing, we will find a kind of thriving never attainable when mere security is the goal.
As has been borne witness to in this conference, the structure of a society that relies on nuclear weapons for security will play out its logical conclusions that militarized communities are necessary, that mass incarceration is necessary, the repression of freedom is necessary, that nature is something to be used and abused.There is a connection between nuclear missiles in silos in Wyoming and Colorado and North Dakota and the automatic weapons aimed at protestors in Ferguson. There is a connection between nuclear arsenals that could annihilate life on this planet and the climate change we are now experiencing. This grasping for security is a death cycle.

But the pursuit of peace through an acknowledgment of our interdependence is a spiral leading to ever greater abundance and life. We are connecting our struggles, and in so doing, connecting ourselves.

We, as people from all faith traditions and spiritualties, must lift up a different way, not to death but to life. What is this way? Where does it begin? As peacemakers, we are called to bring hope where there is despair, faith where there is doubt, pardon where there is injury. We are called to the work of reconciliation which begins by bearing witness to the harm that we have caused, because that harm has not yet been healed.
On Friday night (at the opening plenary), in sitting with each other in 45 seconds of silence as Daniel Ellsberg instructed us to do, envisioning the space between the dropping and the detonation of the bomb over Hiroshima, we were preparing ourselves to bear witness. In hearing the testimony of the children of the A bomb, we are not turning away from the hubris and the horrors of our nuclear past and present. In persevering for peace by protest and participation in the review conference, we are seeking to make right the grave moral injury to humanity and creation that nuclear weapons perpetuate.
The work to create a world free from nuclear weapons is a gargantuan task, and it is easy to become overwhelmed with it. To be unsuccessful in it is to risk the survival of our planet, our natural world, our human species. But we need only to look into the faces of children and youth, to bring the overwhelm to scale.
A few weeks ago, my son turned 13. In many spiritual traditions, this is the age at which persons begin to take on adult responsibilities within the community, to make commitments and contributions. He is a person with a peacemaker's heart. He is exploring nonviolence, and he especially finds comfort in the company of other pacifists. Our work is to support a vision for his decency and his life, and for the decency and abundant thriving of all children and youth, all creatures and species who will inherit the earth. It is individual, it is moment by moment, it is all of us.
Our gathering here this morning, our proclamation throughout the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference, and our ongoing quest for abolition through a global ethic of solidarity is the light in the darkness and the hope in the face of despair. May we be emboldened by that vision, may we be sustained by each other and may we be empowered by the spirit of life and goodness and abundance in the universe as we bring to fruition a nuclear free world. Amen.
In service to a peaceful, just, and sustainable world,
Rev. Kristin Stoneking
Executive Director
Fellowship of Reconciliation

Friday, May 22, 2015

Swearing, Affirming and the British Parliament, via the BBC

A fun fast read about history and modern practices when it comes to swearing in members of the British Parliament:


Offered also by way of commentary about plenty of schools and maybe courts in the US which still do not seem to get it about freedom of religion.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Recently: the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

RantWoman has been noting a number of anniversaries, not least the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, the growth in willingness to acknowledge the events as a genocide, and the questions of how one is to remember.

RantWoman notes this blog post as one testimony:


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Masses of Mothers Day mentionings.....

This is being editted after the fact. RantFamily mother's day festivities were unusually festive this year, and this does not even count various motherhood themes entangled in other reaches of Planet RantWoman.

(Example 1. Various particularly piquant motherhood matters around RantWoman's Meeting. Hold in the Light so that even if they emerge with much quaking at least they emerge in Quakerese.)

(Example 2. Motherhood and apple pie threads: Peace camp events at Schlesinger Library seasoned with Protest Curmudgeon and local May Day celebration garnished with the legislative lurches of the special session)

RantWoman is trying to make LOTS of efforts to forgive. Unfortunately forgiving means first loudly and extravagantly naming what RantWoman is trying to forgive. Hold on for the ride. Holding in the Light does not hurt either.

First order of Business: RantMom got a rotten kind of phone call just as RantWoman was bringing over non-adventurous sushi for Mothers Day supper. RantBrother appears to have been trying to phone from some evil extortionist jail phone system. RantMom was NOT going to interact with the Robocall features in the first place. In the second place RantBrother is, last anyone knew, in Denver. RantMom says the weather there is cold and snowy so unfortunately, RantBrother MIGHT be better off being guaranteed of being indoors. Hold all and sundry in the Light.
   Update: Thank you Little Sister for using the online lookup to acquire the info that Rant Brother was indeed phoning from jail until his charges were dismissed in a hearing on Monday.

Also, hold in the Light O, P, P, N wholse mothers have all recently passed away and Wingnut whose mother and stepdad are having serious health and coping issues.

It's Mother's day and you want RantWoman to be centered for Meeting for Business????

Think all kinds of freight trains switching in the yard in the background. Take Little Sister for just ONE carload, tugged around by RantWoman's humble acknowledgement that one of the perks of being Auntie is that RantWoman gets to give the kid Back!.

Dear Little Sister

Look, it's your bad luck that your birthday and Mother's Day usually fall in the same week.  I am really glad you liked the pot of flowers I brought over for your birthday. I am glad it just made you smile when I admitted I lost patience on the greeting card front and did not even attempt to equal your standards in that realm.

Thank you by the way for asking me something about my health, taking 10 minutes to tell me all about more details than I would have thought to want of your interactions with the same topic and then for the 30 seconds it took me to say "Nope" and another 30 seconds to commiserate about insurance issues. Okay, it's petty of RantWoman even to mention it and it was YOUR birthday so you get to talk about anything you want.

(RantWoman is glad to hear that some RantWoman presence in a public input process MAY have something to do with cutting your exposure risk for specific idiotic features of your nearest bus stop and will look forward to full details about new concrete! RantWoman will also try to manage such self care as helps maintain faithfulness about the ocean of endless similar problems to stand firm upon .)

RantWoman already outdid herself with minimalist greeting cards. RantWoman is still glad to have a sister and this time it's Happy Mother's Day time. Plus now RantWoman has a whole blog so things are going to get way more verbose than when rantWoman was chronicling Irrepressible Nephew's growth 500 characters at a time via  alpha pager.

Now Irrepressible Nephew stands over 6'2". No mmore standing on Auntie's shoulders to be Tall Monkey. He gets there on his own. His shoe size is larger than his age. He barely admits in public that  he knows the adults he is related to. RantWoman is heartened to hear of some teachers and a church youth pastor and adults from a school friend's family who all seem to be important presences.

RantWoman humbly acknowledges,  if Irrepressible Nephew were RantWoman's kid, he would probably have a whole different set of complexes. RantWoman really appreciates the ways you are trying to do a better job than our parents did about many topics. RantWoman appreciates this and then RantWoman plows into topics where there is still some kind of OWWWW.

Take Irrepressible Nephew's birth and care of minor children if a parent is unable to do it, only one of the MANY corners at the RantWoman Yucky Topics Festival corner of the RantWoman Spiritual Amusement Park. Also a topic sort of perennially on RantWoman's mind due, among other things, to Little Sister REALLY needing a whole village anyway because of multiple medical issues.  

RantWoman remembers the RantParents doing wills and talking about who they wanted to raise the RantProgeny if the RantParents died but that was kind of before people started doing advance directives.  But here's the thing: RantWoman's Meeting community is blessed with many children and families, some of whom also have hard things around the edges. RantWoman went to a certain Advance Directive event. RantWoman had much to say but did NOT say everything on her mind. It's not like talking about circumstances involving advance directives sounds like a way to have a real fun time for her Meeting's parents, but was rantWoman's reticence depriving others of push to think about....?????

 [long narrative, digression?]: When Irrepressible Nephew was born, Brother in law was in Guatemala and Little Sister had a high-risk pregnancy for a whole bunch of reasons. RantWoman has no idea whether anyone tried to encourage Little Sister to think about bad possibilities. RantWoman also has ZIP expectation that Little Sister would have received any questions about the topic well.

As it was, Irrepressible Nephew was born c-section and Little Sister developed some kind of infection. The hospital was ready to discharge the baby on the schedule one would expect for healthy newborns, but Little Sister was a patient several days longer. The hospital told Little Sister that if she had someone else with her in the hospital 24/7 to take care of the baby that he could stay with her. Otherwise there were going to be issues of CPS or Auntie suddenly having a newborn to take care of. Auntie RantWoman immediately inspired confidence too: her first effort to change Nephew's diaper resulted both in her getting peed on and the diaper somehow getting attached basically backwards.

Little Sister scrambled. A couple of Little Sister's Friends and RantWoman traded off for overnights but some of the time during the day Little Sister was getting help from the teenage Latinas in her church. RantWoman decided that as long as the atinas were over 12, the legal age for babysitting Auntie just got to observe. Little Sister was really motivated to be a mother and RantWoman is glad things worked out, but RantWoman wouldn't have minded a smoother path, not to mention fewer recapitulations...
Earth to RantWoman: do you EVER manage anything less that fire hose level of intensity...?

Honestly, not so far but keep hoping and Happy belated Mothers Day.

Mothers Day Hair Meditations: Curly and Fuzzy and a brother in between

God has a TWISTED sense of humor. RantWoman sat down to write a Mother's Day item for Little Sister. That is still seasoning.

Instead RantWoman offers the birth stories of RantMom's 3 children, at least in terms of hair:

RantWoman was born with a full head of curly hair. Family lore: RantDad had lunch with one of RantWoman's auxiliary backup grandmother / namesakes before coming to see RantMom at the hospital. Auxiliary Backup Grandma was scandalized that RantDad ate green onions for lunch. That truly did not bother RantMom.

RantWoman was too little to remember much of RantBrother's appearance on the scene. He had hair too. RantDad said a forcep mark on RantBrother's cheek made him an ugly baby. Poor RantBrother especially since RantWoman was also WAY too young to appreciate a sibling.

RantWoman remembers RantMom being pregnant with Little Sister, talk of a seed in a tummy. RantWoman does not remember details of RantMom going into labor or going to the hospital. RantWoman does remember Little Sister, Fuzz, coming home from the hospital with the whole family, RantDad driving, RantMom in the front seat with the baby, in the hoary mists of prehistory before newborns were not allowed out of hospitals and into cars without a car seat. RantBrother sat behind RantDad;  a toddler-aged RantWoman peered over the other side of the back seat at the new baby. She had hardly any hair, very light colored and no eyebrows that RantWoman could see even though RantWoman already had her first pair of glasses.

If RantWoman were a more focused writer or drawing more easily from wells of magical realism, RantWoman MIGHT try to spin a whole fountain of "go talk to your counselor" themes into better narrative, but for now RantWoman is going to trust her Light about including the item below in the same blog post even as she leaves readers guessing about how threads connect.

This item is dedicated to RantBrother and to RantWoman's current efforts to see whether MAYBE possibly RantMom might SOMEHOW intersect with some mental health services. Hold in Light.

What it's like when your rapist appears as "People you may know" on Facebook
Spoken word; TRIGGER WAARNING, which is why this comes as a link instead of a video: