Saturday, October 31, 2009

Varlam, Robo-Fag, and the doctors

RantWoman is having this kind of awful reaction every time she gets another item from her friend Lynn's Caring Bridge site. Again?

There is a famous Georgian movie from the era of the collapse of the Soviet Union called Repentance. The movie is supposed to be this huge metaphor about trying to bury Stalin, though the stiff that keeps turning up at every turn in the movie is called Varlam. RantWoman is thinking of Varlam every time she gets another message about Lynn's journey out of this world.

RantWoman confesses she does not remember a lot of the movie plot except that the family tries to go about doing a bunch of different things and this Stalin-faced sarcophagus keeps turning up in the middle of whatever they are doing. Even though this is supposed to be a great masterpiece of post-Soviet culture, one of RantWoman's main motivations in attending was to be indoors in air conditioning during utterly disgusting summer humidity in Indiana. RantWoman also saw the movie dubbed in Russian over the Georgian, and the dubbing voice had a very strong Georgian accent, so RantWoman found attending to plot details very difficult.

RantWoman also suspects that even the background of the image is probably way more than Lynn or Margaret want to interact with. RantWoman is posting her meditations to her own blog rather than the guestbook because they are a little tasteless and irreverant. It's Halloween and lots of things--besides bailed out banks and all that zombie craze stuff--are muddling back and forth between this world and the next. Even so, if Varlam is not exactly applicable and RantWoman is going to go on at length best do it in her own blog.

Lynn took her last voluntary drink of water on Monday. Last we knew she is still among the living, having her lips moistened and nothing else. RantWoman finds herself wondering, is there some sunset Lynn is supposed to see, some baby she is supposed to hear wail, some music or hug she is supposed to experience?

RantWoman is also pretty sure in Lynn's situation, even if she were heartily sick of many realities, she might decide to change her mind and swill a lot of water and put things off until it's more obviously time. RantWoman supposes she would want to be in the care of people who would honor this change of mind. But then, RantWoman could not even put her own cat to sleep when it was totally obvious to everyone except RantWoman that it was time: cat suffered two more days on RantWoman's account. RantWoman is really, really glad not to be in Margaret's shoes.

Thanks to Halloween-themed free association, though, RantWoman is muddling about on another tangent, whether it is harder to usher a loved one out of this world if one is a healer and healthcare practitioner than an ordinary person.

RantWoman's friend who passed away on the Fourth of July was the son of a famous gerontologist. The father as well as a lot of friend's family were present at his passing. So was RantWoman, but it was his father who pronounced him dead and dutifully wrote down the exact time of death for the death certificate.

Friend had been supposed to ride with the mayor in the Fourth of July parade in connection with volunteer of the year recognition of a lot of public education work about AIDS, but he was, um, indisposed. The Fourth of July parade was one of those hometown events that featured a lot of little kids on garishly-decorated bicycles and an honest-to-god portable toilet on the portable toilet company's truck. RantWoman went with friend's sister and niece to the parade in the morning and had quite a good time.

RantWoman thinks at least one of his parents was with her friend but does not remember. RantWoman does not remember much of the rest of the day except that everyone gathered again at friend's apartment in the evening. Besides the fizzling firework, there was a hospice worker who,after the friend's passing, offered some warbling oboe music while we all waited for the coroner. Not quite adequate oboe performance is a recurring theme in RantWoman's life, which is one reason the detail sticks in her head.

Over the next few days, RantWoman helped friend's family clean out his apartment. RantWoman especially remembers friend's mother coming across some boxes covered in tinfoil and asking what they were. RantWoman had not previously seen the friend's Robo Fag getup from a trip to the bar the previous Halloween, but she knew exactly what it had to be: "Oh, I think it's a Halloween costume." Friend's mother, RantWoman decided, had a right not to have to know exactly the details. RantWoman also remembers, one of the last things we did when cleaning out the apartment: we played the answering machine with friend's voice one more time. "This is (friend's name). I cannot come to the phone right now, but please leave a message. ..."

RantWoman has two other friends close to her age who are medical practitioners and have ushered parents out of this world. RantWoman's friend the gay dentist who is still in the army reserve was at his father's side. This friend talked about how his dad said three different times three different ways that he was ready to go.

RantWoman has a friend from high school who is now an AIDS researcher. RantWoman did not know friend's parents very well. RantWoman remembers one conversation with her friend's mother, The mom suggested that, although the League of Women voters is a teensy bit liberal for her taste, that a young RantWoman might really like getting involved with them. Indeed?

As friend's mother aged, RantWoman's friend fretted many times about her fear of her mother smoking while on oxygen, and friend reported her mother had to have one last drag on a cigarette before the ambulance hauled her off to the hospital. The other funny detail RantWoman's friend shared: upon cleaning out her mother's house she found something like 30 pairs of perfectly folded brand new polyester pants. She has no idea what her mother was thinking with the pants.

RantWoman, again, does not want Lynn to have to be here a second longer than she is supposed to and she sends heartfelt prayers to all who are closer. RantWoman especially hopes that by the time she herself is figuring out which local requiem performance she is going to. that Lynn will also have found rest.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Looking for Quakerism How-tos--on the Internet

RantWoman has recently gone on an eccentric internet excursion. RantWoman has an itch to be able to read some Quaker materials by herself, on her own dang it. It is not just that reading dusty minute books or things off the Meetinghouse library shelves will make RantWoman sneeze and make her eyeballs howl. RantWoman is working over several BIG questions beyond the fertile fields of Quaker blogs. RantWoman fully expects to have to season them with her whole meeting, but right now, RantWoman is just TRYING to have some independent perspective on a number of issues.

Is this wish unrealistic on multiple grounds? Is it further unreasonable to want others already to have researched how to make materials accessible? IT DEPENDS--and RantWoman supposes it unfortunately is her own dang responsibility to ask the questions respectfully and not expect people to read her mind or to pull rabbits instantly out of hats. Sigh. WHINE. Moan....

Now, scratching the surface of the results:

A Google hiccup: Quaker process for printing. Interesting headline.


There is interesting material in Wikipedia. It's in "British" and feels incomplete on multiple grounds. RantWoman is NOT immediately volunteering to fix anything. RantWoman also notes fascinating mention of some Dutch guy she had not previously heard of and "sociocracacy" teaching methods.

Next, Quaker business practices, about which RantWoman will at least read soon.

a paid article

That authoritative Quaker source, Forbes Magazine

Tonight RantWoman decided to put the names of two weighty Friends into the search engines. Lloyd Lee Wilson, Sandra Cronk. This yielded references to several Quaker book sources, all in print, no e-books.

Then RantWoman made a cursory effort to find these folks in

the library of Congress NLS

RantWoman did not check Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic; file that for now.

The fast verdict: this sounds like a job for SuperRantWoman. I expect that there are LOTS of blind people who would like to have something to read besides multiple versions of the Bible, the Book of Mormon.... SuperRantWoman though is going to season a leading about how to stay involved on a feasible scale. SIGH.

The hazards of overdigesting another's presentation: at least this item makes RantWoman want to read the primary source which under the circumstances is a good thing

Thank heaven for PDF--alas, and for having the most current versions of multiple pieces of software needed to make best use of it. RantWoman found a wonderful pamphlet published by NCYMC. RantWoman screamed through it in a fast pass. RantWoman was enthralled by some passages and will need to digest others with more thought, but just finding the darn thing made RantWoman so happy she can hardly stand to sleep, which she unquestionably MUST do for now.

Jana, and not at a memorial

First Jana was in Meeting for Worship today, with a walker instead of a wheelchair. Well, Jana was in worship; the gods of scheduling ruling RantWoman's life meant she herself arrived only after worship and saw Jana briefly in the throng of people wanting to wish her well and hearing more tales of who was watching over which episodes at the hospital.

RantWoman talked more with Warren. Warren keeps agreeing to Quaker service and then realizing he cannot serve right now. RantWoman is very, very, very tender about how much both his and Jana's lives have changed and will be continuing firmly to hold both of them in the Light. Enough said.

Warren and Jana decided they probably would not stay for a memorial later in the afternoon. Jana felt like her presence might create another focus besides the deceased. RantWoman has complicated thoughts about this.

One of the peculiar joys of memorials is seeing people one has not seen in a great while, including people who have recently been in the hospital and people who have come to town from far away. RantWoman knows Jana probably knows many of the arriving mourners, and actually better than RantWoman. RantWoman suspects that Jana is more of an extrovert actually than RantWoman is. RantWoman tends to find big crowds overwhelming and tires quickly of hubbub. RantWoman thinks in this event, there was plenty of hubbub all around and Jana would not have been an undue focus just because so much else was going on too. However, the point about hubbub being tiring still holds.RantWoman is getting ahead of herself.

RantWoman has been in a historically-themed, rolling of the generations pensive mood ever since she heard all the different first experience at UFM moments during the introductory go-around at the Year of Discernment retreat. This--and the opportunity to see numerous people RantWoman knows but rarely sees-- apparently is plenty to draw RantWoman to a memorial for a much-loved Friend RantWoman always got a positive vibe from but rarely spoke to while alive.

Our Meeting has several spinoff Meetings; this Friend was a member of the largest such in the immediate Seattle area. RantWoman found herself kind of enjoying the vibe of another large meeting fluttering about and doing a function. RantWoman also found herself grateful that our Meeting's space is a resource for many Friends. RantWoman even managed to speak to a couple people she did not previously know and will hopefully retain names. Hopefully, but RantWoman does not expect to overdo it.

For a few different reasons not only related to the conflict with Dear Friend RantWoman has found herself paying attention to form and details of connecting and specifically Quaker practices. Memorials, especially memorials where the deceased had life in many circles, are one of those moments where Friends are sort of on display, curiosity for outsiders. RantWoman thus took particular note of the clear statement in the program and by the person who opened worship of thoughts about worship and sharing messages.

The gist of her thoughts: Silent waiting. Even uncomforably silent. a message? for you alone? for someone else at another time? for the whole Meeting for Worship? RantWoman found herself centered in the simple direct guidance of the thoughts. The deceased was much beloved and worship assuredly did not want for messages.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ice Water

Life can be cruel to those attending to someone's transition. Well, that was RantWoman's experience at some point after her father passed away. RantWoman was still in the space of being brutally clobbered by grief at unpredictable times in the shower or when she heard certain music. Life was going merrily along. People were thoughtlessly persisting in having a very good time. Sometimes the good time even lapped at RantWoman's toes, and RantWoman was still cruelly getting clobbered.

More time passed and then still more time. Gradually RantWoman got to the point where the getting clobbered by grief happened a whole lot less, RantWoman even started to realize that, much as she loved her father, she couldn't possibly stand to feel that badly clobbered all the time, Tonight in that spirit, RantWoman is chugging ice water. This is in honor of having read on CaringBridge of Lynn taking a ceremonial last glass of water.

The journal says Lynn's body might hold out yet for weeks despite having consumed almost no calories and the agony of getting oxygenated. RantWoman is not sure how she feels about Lynn's decision to begin refusing water. Well, actually, RantWoman does not want to hold Lynn here a second longer than she is supposed to be here. Still it seems to RantWoman like refusing water could be a rough way to go. RantWoman's opinion is not by a long shot important RantWoman resolutely holds Lynn, Margaret and their families in the Light, and RantWoman herself is very grateful to be chugging ice water.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sudoku Compost

At this point, RantWoman is well-known for doing Sudoku.

In view of RantWoman's compost thread, she is hereby reposting one post about Sudoku. Dear Friend is one of the people flummoxed by RantWoman's sudoku practice and this again would be a place RantWoman has not felt heard by Dear Friend though she certainly has felt heard by others.

At one point Dear Friend disdainfully claimed to have moved past sudoku in such a way as to make clear he had not. RantWoman supposes she could email him the link to the entry below particularly because of some eldering at the bottom. RantWoman also supposes Dear Friend has the link to her blog and can darn well get here if he wants to--and has time on his library computer use schedule.

Info geek comments:

--RantWoman noticed that several weeks after her post, another blogger posted a link to the original blog entry and mentioned a lot of comments not in favor of her practice. RantWoman notes this as an interesting example of seasoning things on the interwebs. RantWoman is also modest about whether or not she will actually get any of the comments read, at least right away. Perhaps they will amuse others and in any case they are now collected for future reference if led.

--Friends who want to read more specifically about sudoku or any of the other terms RantWoman uses regularly can type them into the search bar at the top of the blog page and see what comes up. RantWoman's tagging is a little idiosyncratic, but clicking on the tags will also hit a list of entries more or less on common themes in RantWoman's mind.

--RantWoman admits she herself is a big geek and that computer entertainment is a lot cheaper and more accessible on multiple grounds than other kinds of entertainment and interaction. RantWoman knows that for many others this is not true and some of the time is particularly tender about this point in relation to Dear Friend. Okay, some of the time RantWoman is tender. Some of the time she thinks that's tough and bloggery serves purposes of its own but that still does not solve other communications problems. RantWoman and Dear Friend recently exchanged emails about missing each other's point. At least we exchanged emails.

Year of Discernment Retreat Review

RantWoman is about to give up on any prayer of making it to Meeting for Worship today. Between a retreat all day yesterday, a lovely symphony concert last night, and a nasty spell of middle-of-the-night sleeplessness, RantWoman is just going to acknowledge the state of affairs and write up some of her thoughts on what is supposed to be the last Year of Discernment retreat.

RantWoman really likes:

--that it happened at our Meetinghouse instead of out at some retreat center. This fits RantWoman's (and she suspects others') budget. It makes the event accessible for people who cannot give a whole weekend. We get to do things we're good at like potluck. We strengthen our ties to our building and the area around it.

--The opening go-around and VERY well-designed sets of queries and goals for different parts. RantWoman was somewhat appalled to learn that one young Friend was told no one would take her seriously unless she wore a nametag and that it took someone THREE WEEKS after another Friend filled out a new attender card for someone to contact him. RantWoman herself only wears nametags when she is a greeter and cannot see the darn things on other people anyway. As for the three-week followup interval, RantWoman simply notes it for now.

--Combining worship with work party. There are plenty of chores around the Meetinghouse. If our recently renamed Building and Grounds committee holds a work party by themselves, no one comes. If we combine well-defined chore lists with a get-acquainted circle and lots of opportunities for discussion and seasoning in groups of varying scale and awesome potluck lunch, TONS of stuff gets done. Can you say dusting, weeding, window washing, mass changing of social hall lightbulbs? Can you say purge and shred of such a pile of out-of-date files that, when RantWoman peeked into the office, she hardly recognized the place? RantWoman herself set to work purging a contraption intended to hold both signs and umbrellas of everything she herself cannot read. The thought would be to purge the whole contraption, but RantWoman, feeling obligated at least to freecycle it could not go that far quite yet.

--mention of the concept of staging and impacts on renters and other meeting processes in connection with discussion of further construction projects.

--A thought from the religion and social action discussion group that for many kinds of events, some after event debriefing would be highly nurturing.

--Further comments that a cycle of reports to Business Meeting from different committees could help Friends feel more connected with the life and variety of our ministries.

RantWoman wonders about:

--Even though poverty and war will always be with us, gloval warming, the global information revolution, other global economic trends affect all of us and how are we led to respond?

--what our old minutes say about how our spirituality was expressed in our actions at other times.

--Are we really better equipped for discernment on the financial front? There is probably no way of finding out except to try. RantWoman is glad that those led to devote the afternoon to matters of our facilities came back with a ringning endorsement of getting on with our remodel. RantWoman notes we have been talking about some parts of this long enough that certain pieces could have been done and already worn out again. The world has not stopped for the items not getting done,

--RantWoman is reflecting about the number of people who say it's hard to get to know people in Meeting. It's TRUE that if a lot of basically huge introverts come and sit in silence every week and then are all shy about either reaching out on either side, it's NO WONDER people feel gaps. RantWoman is not sure that our Meeting is doing so well about newcomer potlucks--or any kind of potluck now that we have changed to Business Meetings always on Sunday with minimal responsibility for the accompanying meal. RantWoman notes that spiritual sharing groups have had mixed experiences. RantWoman notes all of this and also notes the number of times people new to meeting mentioned being invited over to some Friends' house as part of their first time at Meeting. RantWoman explicitly is not in a position to propose solutions, but is considering various dynamics.

--The Year of Discernment committee wants to lay itself down. RantWoman is thinking about how to retain the kind of focus and coherence we got from the committee's work if for example the task of planning a couple onsite retreats / year is devolved to some kind of intercommittee task force.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Morning Compost

`1RantWoman is parking this item about a Quaker space and a Quaker way in its own right.

RantWoman will at some point ramble about convincement, the non-presence of birthright membership, the number of people who become Quakers through going to Quaker colleges, and other threads of how people learn the patterns and practices of Friends. It's not that RantWoman cannot quickly make that an interesting topic this morning; it's just that RantWoman already has a must-do list and is trying to corral all the items already on it.

For instance at RantWoman's Meeting's recent Year of Discernment retreat some of the most ardent students, observers and practitioners of the tensions between worship and social action had a sort of related conversation about why it matters to do different kinds of activism specifically with Quakers. Quakers is shorthand here for people who share some kind of unifying spirit-centered set of assumptions. This concept of unifying assumptions is automatically problematic as soon as we try to talk about what we all actually believe, but in RantWoman's experience we do still manage some kinds of uinifying practices and at least the minimum logic necessary for some level of coherence.

RantWoman promises to try to catalog this in a general case some other time. At the moment RantWoman is fixated on her conflict with Dear Friend, her shared work habits in the realm of policing the frontiers between different pairs of languages, corraling the worst abuses of people who think bilingual communication is just great and therefore easy, and assorted related questions.

RantWoman notes as one form of background, RantWoman grew up around a lot of different musicians, teachers and performers. This lot included rather a number of different poets, prima donnas, and artistes. RantWoman says that not as judgment one way or another, just comment on her experience. Such personalities can be quite high maintenance; beautiful things also result. Any insinuation that any of these categories might apply to Dear Friend (or RantWoman?) are left to readers to judge.

Meanwhile, RantWoman here is linking with essentially a review of a Quaker event.

Dear Friend has been one of the key movers over several years in forcing FWCC Section of the Americas events to be bilingual. This means provision for consecutive interpretation of all plenaries, translation of key documents, and other measures intended to ensure that people participate on at least somewhat equalized footing.

One big aspect of this is disciplining speakers to turn their documents over to the interpreters ahead of time to give the interpreters time to fully and accurately render intended messages. This requirement also disciplines speakers to get their work done ahead of time. RantWoman remembers eating lunch with the keynote speaker. (Not seeing well creates interesting blessings as far as who one stumbles into when one sits down to dine.) The keynote speaker had just turned her speech over to the interpreters, to Dear Friend in fact. She let go of it quite pointedly, saying it was in God's hands.

One side effect of the FWCC commitment to bilingual participation is bilingual wordsmithing of Business Meeting minutes, a process the very Friend who figured God and Dear Friend were now in charge of her message, who was new to the practice called a "human rights violation." RantWoman tends to agree on tedium grounds. However, participation means participation in all of it; in the case of that conversation RantWoman is an agnostic about whether more technology might help but that is another conversation entirely.

RantWoman would also point out that many kinds of international exchanges involve this level of wordsmithing or worse. The only difference is that more money or bigger chunks of people's time and other resources are at stake. In some cases the tedium is even more torturous, the people one must endure the tedium with more tiresome, and the tortures even more protracted. Thoughts of this make RantWoman tremble sometimes when she reads about them, when she thinks of doing more of that kind of interpreting herself, or when her own fixations on a question falter after only a few minutes.

But back to matters with Dear Friend. Dear Friend was one of the platform interpreters, the interpreter with the microphone doing sequential interpretation during much of the torture mentioned above. This means Dear Friend and another of the interpreter team were up a good part of the night translating the minutes being wordsmithed at the Business Meeting in question.

Eventually the minutes got resolved and matters turned to other communications. Part of the task of interpreters is to discipline one's clients to get material in time to be worked with meaningfully. One of the letters being read had not been copied in advance to the interpreters until a moment before it was read. Dear Friend was the interpreter at the mike and the speaker hit one of those constructions that has been flummonxing beginning Spanish students for centuries.

Those in attendance probably included about 20 native Spanish speakers and about 40 people who had at least second year high school Spanish. By second year Spanish, students will typically exude extreme smugness to have mastered the construction above. Dear Friend made the common mistake and said exactly the opposite of what was meant. At least half the second year Spanish survivors audibly said "No." Dear Friend had to stop and ask ONE person to explain the problem. Then he got to trundle bravely on interpreting the letter he assuredly did not want to be dealing with at the last minute in the first place.

Somewhere out of this excursion, MAYBE RantWoman will be able to extract some thoughts about what of her conflict is personal, or reflective of common characteristics and concerns, what needs to be surrendered to the community. RantWoman is not going to try very hard for now except to note again some of Dear Friend's gifts, some reasons one can be thoroughly aggravated, and that sometimes just goes forward figuring the Light will land eventually.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Faith Over Breakfast

One of these days RantWoman will more formerly introduce her readers to Mr. JAWS. Mr. JAWS is the screen reader that to greater or lesser extents substitutes for RantWoman's flaming eyeballs when it comes to reading on the computer. As with everything about RantWoman her relationship to Mr. JAWS is complex.

For instance, even the fact that it's Mr. JAWS is optional. RantWoman could with a flick of a few keys make it Ms. JAWS, Mr JAWS from another part of the English-speaking world or even Mr. JAWS with almost impossible foreign accents. RantWoman discovered the latter by accident recently because a document from Dear Friend arrived with something that sent Mr. JAWS off to Buenos Aires or somewhere. One of RantWoman's first off-topic activities of the day was figuring out how to get Mr. JAWS back to a dialect RantWoman could most easily interact with.

Most days start more simply, frequently setting Mr. JAWS to work for instance on something faith-related while RantWoman consumes her morning vitamins and caffeine.

RantWoman commends to her readers, a sampling of today's breakfast time faith journey.

A Quaker named Ben Pink Dandelion.

A Quaker named Ben Pink Dandelion who appears to have a column in the Times of London.

Said column

The multicultural faith journey served up jointly by the links offered by the Times religion editors and the best marketplace matching of whichever admonger mixed multicultural London with links for local electronic God outlets.

Hot Compost Turned

This entry has been seasoning for a LONG while in RantWoman's drafts. It is anachronistic in terms of where the Compost thread is now, as of January, but if RantWoman posts it, it will be because of thoughts about leadings, leadings about integrity and Truth, leadings about practicality, leadings to sit with complex situations and let different pieces be revealed each in turn.

It is not unfortunately about leadings to pick up the phone or some other big, big interpersonal basics and RantWoman is sitting painfully with that as well.

RantWoman REALLY is not having a good time about quite a bit of this.

If RantWoman still does not post this, the reason may be that Rantwoman is having very very strong pangs about maybe telling a little too much of the truth and being careful of the reputations of others. Well, there is being careful... and there is also the liberating value of Truth in all its messy reality. RantWoman thinks good centered process can handle multiple considerations. RantWoman thinks that because she has seen it work. However, there is a new cast. If some of the old characters are not, for whatever reason necessarily going to change, then laboring over problems in a spirit of love and truth means starting with what is and learning to work from there.

RantWoman is also reflecting on what has stopped her so far about posting what unquestionably are her own reactions to situations, though a subsequent "don't tell me what I am or am not experiencing" comment in a communication with Dear friend seems topical.

RantWoman, as of October / November, is making progress about trying to articulate what is bothering her to such an extreme degree that she halfway does not mind spiritual nuclear war with Dear Friend. Despite RantWoman's notable capacity for logorrhea, articulating the problems is turning out to be surprisingly difficult, in spite of the fact that RantWoman's leadings in this realm become firmer and firmer the longer the matter goes along.

Perhaps it is a very good thing RantWoman summoned the affectionate compost references. For one thing, RantWoman reread one of the documents sent her by Dear Friend and had the same "How DARE you?" reaction she has had several times in response to communications from Dear Friend: "How dare you?" The gist of RantWoman's point: the fact that Dear Friend does not detect a leading or does not detect one in terms he understands is not, in RantWoman's estimation an indication that the leading does not exist.

Dear Friend is, let us just say, not always the best listener. Sometimes he is a genius with profound gifts; RantWoman alas has considerable accumulated experience when something less occurs. RantWoman further has numerous points of experience where the fact that Dear Friend does not grasp the importance of a topic or matter does not at all diminish the importance of said matter.

Try as RantWoman might, one of her full stops about Dear Friend's interventions has been the stifling sense that Dear Friend has appointed himself custodian of RantWoman's spiritual journey and in fact sole arbiter of what her Meeting needs as well. The basis of this thinking starts with Dear Friend's comments early in the process to the effect more or less that RantWoman had not talked to him about any leading and to RantWoman's ears had not asked his permission to serve on the committee in question. RantWoman finds this atrocious personal boundaries and even worse theology.

To begin with, RantWoman is allergic to anyone, Dear Friend, her whole Meeting for Business, the Worst President ever, even herself playing God. It occurs to RantWoman that she may need to articulate more about what she means by playing God. Sometimes she has this sense that some Friends assume all conflict and everyone's personal matters will absolutely automatically be handled appropriately just because we are all Friends. There are GOOD REASONS people have private counselors, seek confidential conversations, or just want to preserve zones of safety and sanity in their lives.

(Looking back, RantWoman certainly called that correctly and will also further season thoughts about people even knowing how to do basic Quaker forms.)

RantWoman is also reflecting on quite pronounced differences between men's and women's strategies in conversation in general and about conflict in particular. There is a kind of ability to go on and on for a long time in discussions that RantWoman, frankly, sometimes becomes impatient with. It is not necessarily that RantWoman wants to close conversation, but RantWoman's experience is that she herself sometimes needs to walk away from something or move large muscles and come back to a problem. RantWoman here also notes that there are different forms of ministry: if RantWoman struggles with some forms, she feels quite blessed in other areas.

(RantWoman's internal editor is now wondering exactly which circumstances motivated these comments. This point gets to remain a mystery.)

Dear Friend spoke not only of RantWoman not discussing her leading with him, but also of questions about whether the leading even exists or is genuine. To say the least "persuade Dear Friend that a leading he has not detected is genuine" could be neither necessary nor sufficient for effective service on this committee.

RantWoman was not aware that asking Dear Friend for permission was part of her Meeting's discernment. RantWoman was a little unclear for a time about whether or not Nominating Committee gets the point about this experience. Thanks to the October Business Meeting, RantWoman feels considerably more confident that others around her get enough of the issues that she feels more able to work on the points that are harder.

RantWoman has been trying VERY hard to sort out which of her reactions really need Meeting's attention and which are related to personal friendship and some hard points about Dear Friend's life. Dear Friend has some very traumatic elements in his personal history. RantWoman is so clear that these traumas are beyond her capacity to fix that she delegated them to the Divine ages ago and decided to do what she could in terms of accompaniment, prayerfully going where she can on Dear Friend's spiritual path.

( January Ewww. Bad boundaries on RantWoman's part. More to the point, RantWoman thinks some situations where she has found herself eldering Dear Friend about this and that also play into the matter.)

RantWoman laughs very hard sometimes with Dear Friend, but she long ago decided that in many instances, she not only has no need to agree completely with Dear Friend about something or other, RantWoman does not even feel a need to go on at length. RantWoman is debating her sense of whether Dear Friend somehow assumes that going on at length is a requirement for service on this committee. RantWoman also freely admits she is deficient in many other scholarly and otherwise hyper detail-oriented attributes Dear Friend excels at. RantWoman could not possibly be Dear Friend though she respectfully insists that people contribute in many ways with different combinations of gifts.

In any case, this feeling of spiritual suffocation is made worse by another dynamic from RantWoman's childhood that Dear Friend had no way of knowing he was walking into. Dear Friend in some important ways reminds RantWoman of her own deceased father, though in many instances a much more emotionally developed version.
RantWoman's father was a brilliant music teacher for everyone's children except his own. RantWoman's emotional landscape is littered with attempts to delight her father musically that ended either in great emotional upheavals or in RantWoman just shutting down emotionally. RantWoman somehow expects herself to summon the kind of pluck generated when former Green Berets stage all kinds of disasters while musicians practice in order to teach them to control their nerves. RantWoman does not say this is a reasonable expectation, but Dear Friend is plowing right into RantWoman's sore points around this theme.

Dear Friend asked RantWoman some questions about time commitment. Again, NOT really Dear Friend's to discern, especially if Nominating Committee has already done so. RantWoman has observed this committee in operation and acknowledges that it can take a lot of time tending to the spiritual life of the Meeting. RantWoman acknowledges this but also thinks simplicity requires that important roles be accessible not only to the retired and underemployed but to people who must balance many practical matters. In fact, sometimes the discipline of the practical can be a more reliable limiter of useless conflict than the most earnest rounds of laboring and logorrhea. RantWoman is unclear how this balance would be achieved in her case but resolutely trusts in Divine guidance that it will be possible.

Indeed RantWoman's decade-old experience clerking Peace and Social Concerns during both topical civic upheavals and gnarly personal issues is that the most important points got duly sorted out and tended to. In conversation with Dear Friend, RantWoman has found herself so stifled by the suffocating dynamics above that she has really been unable even to discuss this point intelligently.

RantWoman also reread the draft of the Business Meeting minutes for the part of the meeting neither she nor Dear Friend were present for. This turned out to be a bit of a threshing session. People said both honest and very kind things about RantWoman. In some cases RantWoman was quite touched that others get at least a good deal of what has been exercising her. RantWoman, though, is uncomfortable with how the minutes wound up being worded in terms RantWoman finds one-sidedly favorable to RantWoman as distinct from about what the committee requires or what the Meeting needs.

RantWoman is finding the minutes tremendously helpful in identifying matters which affect the whole meeting, which have gotten lost in interpersonal clashes and which RantWoman has been unable to pull out of Dear Friend's communications to her alone. RantWoman is debating whether the exact nature of these points belongs in her blog, except for one point. Dear Friend is consistently vigilant about matters of process. Whether or not RantWoman--or previous minutes--always exactly concur with Dear Friend's interpretations, he is vigilant about some matters in ways that others can and, to RantWoman's thinking should step up and shoulder shared responsibility.

One interesting thing about shared responsibility: even when teamwork is desparately needed, effecting it, having different members of a team struggle to grow into the position is, in RantWoman's experience sometimes easier said than done. RantWoman is simply going to note this, give the thought to God's care in the matter at hand, and avoid some other fairly belligerent ways it might occur to some to characterize dynamics in this situation.

Dear Friend complains of RantWoman rambling, getting distracted by side issues; RantWoman time and time again listens and concludes that from her perspective not only is not a side issue but is important in some way Dear Friend is missing completely.

RantWoman finds herself returning to Dear Friend's many gifts. Dear Friend has had a longstanding leading to help ensure that Friends from outside the US be able to be fully present in linguistic terms. Dear Friend has been a key participant in the evolution of many, many practices in this area. Dear Friend is a committed and very attentive linguist and has labored heroically about getting Quakers to behave well on average toward their interpreters.

RantWoman does a bit of interpreting herself and knows lots of other interpreters and translators. To say the professions are chock full of poets, primadonnas, artistes would be an understatement. Considering RantWoman's culture-themed childhood, perhaps that is why she is at home there. In any case, this appreciation for poets, as well RantWoman supposes as a whole lot of unseen Divine guidance is what has kept RantWoman plodding along through this seasoning process and RantWoman desparately hopes Friends can extend this grace to Dear Friend as well. (Looking back, RantWoman wonders whether this sentence just indicates that RantWoman is a lunatic. Dear Friend and God between them have been holding Dear Friend's life together for more than long enough to reassure RantWoman that she needs to keep herself centered and fret a whole lot less on behalf of someone else.)

RantWoman has decided just to post this as part of faith journey. It is muddled. It has many dangling threads. And it is part of data over time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More Compost

RantWoman awoke this morning with the thought that designating her blog thread about the conflict involving herself and Dear Friend "Compost" could be construed as irreverent and highly unhelpful.

Metaphors are complex things though. When RantWoman wrote about compost, she was also thinking with affection about other compost-related contributions to the interwebs:

A Valentine gift of worm castings.

Wholesome, all-natural, noncommercial compost activation.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Continuous Quaker Improvement

RantWoman promises this excursion into blogdom will sooner or later get to points about her conflict with Dear Friend and her quest to identify the specific points where additional Light from her Meeting are needed both for the matter in Meeting and for matters between RantWoman and Dear Friend.

In our Meeting Nominating Committee generally does a lot of work in March April May. Ours is a large urban Meeting with much to do. There is not usually a stampede of people leaping forward even for important ministries. This would be one reason we are currently having a Year of Discernment even if we are not doing a lot of discernment in the blog. (RantWoman here will park a question she posed in her evaluation after one of the YoD retreats: do we ever as a meeting look at the question of whether what we think we are doing is turning out as intended? The corollary question of course is "Friend, what is thee led to do in support of this thought?")

On the other hand if even a fraction of nominations require as much labor as the perfect storm of personal and organizational threads tied up in the subject of RantWoman's reverie, it could be no wonder Friends hesitate RantWoman is in no position to do anything but wonder about NomComm experience in this light; RantWoman is trying to decide whether historical perspective would be helpful to her own or meeting's further discernment.

Members and attenders are of all ages and levels of experience with Friends. Our community tends toward the grey-headed, to the point that anyone under about 40 who shows any inclination to respond is almost instantly glommed onto. This, along with a Talmudical reading of Faith and Practice and our bylaws is how RantWoman, pretty new to Friends, a long time ago became Recording Clerk before getting around to finalizing her membership. RantWoman herself recently invoked this concern for new energy as a way of drawing someone younger into a role she previously held. And RantWoman wavered at one point when new energy from Nom Comm was one part of her own awkward reaction in the seasoning process.

Nominating Committee begins by distributing a sheet asking Friends to seriously consider which roles and committees they might feel led to serve. Committee processes seem to vary. Generally Nominating Committee does a certain amount of matchmaking, linking people's responses to community needs.

When RantWoman was clerk of Peace and Social Concerns, she remembers Nominating Committee asking her once about two different Friends with specific challenges. Those challenges make it entirely appropriate that they be connected specifically to that committee even if it can also be a challenge for others to interact with That of God in their specific states. RantWoman assented to both Friends joining at once whereas she imagines other clerks might have declined such ministries. RantWoman once or twice found herself grateful for whatever Divine mercy seldom brought both to committee meeting in the same month, and the press of other events also kept the whole committee focused in ways that accommodated these Friends' gifts without excessive distraction. In the case of one Friend's gifts, it took Meeting several more years and other zigs and zags to be able to act on what has turned out to be a perfectly sensible and reasonable concern even if acting on it from RantWoman's committee was beyond our Light at the time. RantWoman has been thinking about these experiences as her conflict with Dear Friend has unfolded.

At one point Dear Friend's efforts to communicate his concerns to RantWoman also addressed RantWoman's service as clerk of Peace and Social Concerns. This occurred during a time when the streets of Seattle were in the news worldwide and the reasons why were of great interest to our Meeting. Dear Friend reminded RantWoman that her personal life at the time was fraught with incredible difficulties involving Ferrener Husband, 4 kinds of lawyers whose different dialects of legalese were not always mutually intelligible, communications in three languages, a house fire, a veritable support group of people seeking restraining orders against one person and numerous other circuses. RantWoman remembers Meeting being sort of a sanctuary of relative sanity and stability. RantWoman remembers profound gratitude for the ways other forces aligned to work at matters related to the events in the streets even when RantWoman was too overwhelmed herself. And RantWoman found Dear Friend's assertion that somehow RantWoman should have added more Quaker process to her personal situation and that of Ferrener husband decidedly beside the point in that instance at least and arguable in the general case.

But RantWoman is getting ahead of herself. RantWoman agreed with enthusiasm to Nominating Committee's request that she serve on the committee at issue. RantWoman basically thinks serving on that committee at some point or another is the responsibility of all members of the Meeting who remotely are able. Then controversy arose and Nominating Committee began further seasoning.

When RantWoman initially learned of the controversy, she admits thoughts went only slightly to the needs of the community. Thoughts more turned in the direction of "bleeping popularity contest" and a lot of grade school experience being the last person picked for kickball. RantWoman is peevish about her own vision difficulties, lifelong though dramatically worse in recent years. On one hand it makes her more determined to make sure she is included; on the other hand RantWoman is frequently vexed by the press of time and material to absorb and the limitations because of being able to read orders of magnitude less than previously. This is not to mention difficulty recognizing people, impatience about frequently needing to identify and then educate about needed accommodations and other irritations, inconveniences and aggravations she has been less than generous about sharing with her Meeting. (Dear Friend is also bus dependent so RantWoman guarantees he experiences some of the same inconveniences and aggravations RantWoman does, but that is a different problem.)

RantWoman also here notes that she sometimes relies on her network of literate and very well-read groupies, including Dear Friend to read and digest for RantWoman's benefit the nuggets of this or that popular book or Quaker exercise. Sometimes this works well; sometimes less so.

Anyway Dear Friend took it upon himself to be the one to speak to RantWoman of the controversy involving her nomination. RantWoman here finds herself with another irritated thought: RantWoman is perfectly aware that people do in fact have trouble working with each other . Or a person's gifts do not emerge until one has made the effort to get to know and work with him or her. RantWoman further thinks that one's burden is different if one is actually going to be working with a person than if one is going off the very committee the person has offered time to as was the case with Dear Friend.

RantWoman became very clear very fast that she needed the Light of others. RantWoman was having trouble based on previous experience with gaps between the Good Order of Dear Friend and the good Order of Friends. RantWoman further found brick wall collisions between some of her personal trauma issues and some of Dear Friend's. This topic may be grist for a whole entry of its own. At this point RantWoman is finding herself with an inclination to say fairly acid things about the course of Dear Friend's intervention as well perhaps as some other conflict avoidance lurking in the picture. Suffice it to say that RantWoman has gotten more helpful feedback from others.

One Friend eventually said she had concern because RantWoman rambles and mumbles. As far as rambling, case in point RantWoman's blogs. RantWomans experience in blogdom is that quite a lot of them, certainly including her own, would benefit from editing. RantWoman has life experience is a few areas dissimilar to many friends. Sometimes the rambling is an effort to explain enough of a metaphor to make a point. Nevertheless RantWoman finds this issue at least one she might be able to interact with.

Then there is mumbling. RantWoman is assuredly not the only person in Meeting who mumbles. More to the point RantWoman is not necessarily likely to detect that she is mumbling unless someone brings it to her attention. Other Friends have indeed brought this to her attention and RantWoman struggles not to mumble.

Here we come to two RantWoman screwups. At some point in late summer, Dear Friend sent RantWoman email with documents about his concerns. RantWoman remembers telling Dear Friend that if she did not get around to responding that MIGHT be taken as indication that RantWoman had discerned that her schedule might be too full to take on this committee at this time. Upon rereading the documents resent last week, RantWoman remembers having an attack of conflict avoidance of her own. RantWoman LOST the email and the documents. RantWoman also became even clearer though not automatically more articulate about her point that she cannot interact further with Dear Friend's concerns without input from others. The resent documents have caused RantWoman to waver not specifically because of the content of the documents but because RantWoman thinks she has hit some big issues that need to be seasoned in bites and she herself is unclear about Meeting's goals and priorities and which pieces could even manageably be addressed right away. RantWoman is also unclear about whether, much as Meeting is central to her life, she wants to prioritize every baroque elaboration of seasoning this specific issue over many other concerns competing for her time and energy.

RantWoman already wrote about the phone email screwup

Now, alas, RantWoman has to confess to some very Bad Friend moments. To wit:

--If RantWoman is wavering in her clarity and leading about this particular committee at this particular time, she is also forgiving herself the thought that "oh good, now Meeting gets to wrestle with some topics exercising RantWoman and RantWoman does not even have to go to as many meetings as if her nomination had been approved without blinking. This would be regardless of whether RantWoman thinks as she indeed does that she has a great deal possibly to contribute to the conversation.

--Dear Friend wrote in one of his emails that our Meeting is not very good at handling conflict. RantWoman finds herself thinking, "Oh good then, let's have some conflict and practice." In reality conflicts seldom come all nicely packaged with everyone on the same page or with the same kinds of Light or the same default thoughts about process pathways. RantWoman supposes this is why we are all supposed to worship and seek together. RantWoman wishes she could knit instead of doing Sudoku because this may take awhile and she would not mind having more tangible results.

--One Friend remarked that he is sorry RantWoman is having to go through this. Some of the time so is RantWoman; some of the time however it is a great relief and RantWoman hopes it will be rich, educational and practical for all who participate. RantWoman also especially wants to remind others of tenderness toward Dear Friend.

In the Light

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Compost, Interesting

RantWoman wishes to acknowledge that she explicitly intends a number of blog entries to be an experiment in blog-assisted seasoning and discernment related to the conflict between herself and Dear Friend. This is NOT a guaranteed slam-dunk success on multiple grounds and RantWoman expects to have to do much additional seasoning, discernment, rediscernment, worship, talking on the phone, and prayer.

One aspect of the problem RantWoman will speak to only obliquely in her blog is some difficult moments where she has tried to elder Dear Friend, her counterpart as catalyst in the current conflict. RantWoman is quite tender--and also vexed--about the mixed success of these moments and some additional thinking she is for the moment simply seasoning further. RantWoman also acknowledges an ideal world thought that both parties might at different times in different situation elder each other. Let us just say, RantWoman is going to leave both ideal world thoughts and the exact nature of sensitive topics addressed to her readers' imagination while attempting carefully to provide options for others to look at as much as RantWoman feels comfortable speaking of in her blog.

In the meantime, RantWoman promised several Friends there will be material from RantWoman's views of her travails fairly directly. RantWoman is sometimes good at making a problem complicated. Also this conflict is going to unfold over time and blog entries. RantWoman is tender about the snapshot in time aspect of blog entries. However, these entries need a single tag to allow such readers as might want to read the whole series in sequence separate from the firehose of other entries.

For readers new to blogdom, if you click on the link with the term Compost, you will see the whole series in reverse chronological order with newest entries first.

DearFriend at times speaks of a deceased husband before using the word husband in his context was nearly as widely thought about as now. (Technically, one supposes that an absense of official spiritual community formal blessing might make this common-law-husband but that is WAY too much specificity and the more important point is this man's abiding place in Dear Friend's heart.) Husband worked for a florist. Dear Friend talks of deceased husband grumbling about customers who asked him to do something "interesting" for ridiculously little money. Dear Friend reports that beloved partner would say "Interesting? A pile of manure with a daisy on top would be Interesting!" RantWoman knows basically one thing to do with such manure: compost it! Moreover, RantWoman is prepared to be honest about her own probable contribution of compostible material. Hence the tag of these entries: Compost!

Jana in Worship!

RantWoman got her bus and caffeine act together to get to worship in time to GREET people before worship. RantWoman notes she agreed to do that before last week's Meeting for Business and RantWoman is humble about kind things said by many people. Read about Continuous Quaker Improvement here for more dimensions of this.

RantWoman further notes that the bus encounter with the World's most Irrepressible Nephew fits in both with one theme of worship about children and teaching and with the Bible verses from the online posting RantWoman sometimes reads.

Another theme from worship was people at the edge of death. RantWoman thanks Ashley on a Thin Place for capturing this and also notes her own unbridled joy to have Jana back in worship!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blog-Assisted Discernment

RantWoman is slowly compiling responses to an email from Dear Friend about our ongoing conflict. The topic in a nutshell: is RantWoman or is she not suitable for membership in one of our Meeting's pastoral care committees. Naturally, there are several other topics entangled in the matter, not least of which is which associated questions need further seasoning and in what venues.

RantWoman has come to the following thoughts specifically about addressing at least some of the many entangled topics partly in her blog:

--In RantWoman's experience, sometimes writing things out helps her clarify what she is thinking and how to break down big hairy tangled up problems into pieces she can tackle individually or in combination.

--RantWoman is pretty sure she will want to refer again to her own thinking on various questions. RantWoman's blog will fit that bill admirably in a format that works for RantWoman with the access methods RantWoman has available to her. RantWoman knows how to use the print function for such Friends in her orbit as never touch the e-stuff, though RantWoman also could easily understand these Friends' being content with digests in other forms.

--RantWoman spends huge percentages of her time at present thinking about the pluses and minuses of electronic communication. RantWoman sees no reason her life in Meeting should be separated from that thinking

--There are some questions and personal sensitivities RantWoman will not, Not, NOT spell out in great detail in her blog.

--Dear Friend's email was sent to several people who are topical as far as watching the issue unfold: the clerk, the acting clerk of nominating committee, a couple other people. RantWoman is herself unclear who needs or wants to be in which parts of the conversation. RantWoman has heard one plea from someone who, as far as RantWoman is concerned has a right to be excused from further email. RantWoman thinks one or two people not on the To: list maybe should be part of the conversation ex oficio. RantWoman knows other people who read RantWoman's blog anyway may have something to contribute to the conversation. RantWoman will do targeted email and give Friends the option of clicking through to read her blog.

--RantWoman is keenly aware that electronic means of participation have different pluses and minuses than the phone or in-person meetings. RantWoman highly does not think the whole discernment process should be confined to electronic media but she does hope they offer an additional window into various processes.

--RantWoman has no pretensions about achieving the stature of Forbest magazine on Business Meeting However, RantWoman HOPES to strike a balance between privacy and leaving enough of a breadcrumb trail that at least some others might draw ideas about how this is done.

Let us see how this works.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blogger Action Day: Climate Change

Various reflections related to climate change, factoids to note, things we can all do that might help, prayers, etc.:

--RantWoman was distressed to learn yesterday via a radio broadcast that people dislocated by war and civil disorder have rights under current international law as refugees in neighboring countries. People uprooted as their low-lying homelands get flooded by rising sea levels do not.

--To what extent are internet communications substitutable for some of the travelling we all do? What would be the implications of this thought for public policy and reduced emission of greenhouse gases?

--Green buildings: RantWoman did not have a good time when she was studying black body radiation in physics class in college so the following is definitely not fine-grained analysis: if you build a lot of cities of concrete and steel, you change all sorts of parameters about absorptivity and reflectivity compared to forest or savannah. RantWoman knows the meaning of "large uncertainties when talking about different kinds of modeling. However, RantWoman thinks it is entirely fair to ask whether we are doing enough in urban design to compensate for the impacts of these issues on wind flows, rainfall.... RantWoman realizes she is posing several very big questions and she wishes she knew someone who does more climate modeling who could at least tell her whether she is completly nuts even to pose the question.

--RantWoman also finds herself very interested in economic models that attempt to assign economic value to things like carbon sequestration of tropical forests. The next step of course is political will to address the implications of this, but it's like not eating sugar in protest of slavery: give me something small and concrete I can do at my house.

--STEP AWAY from the xerox machine and the printer. Do you REALLY need more paper? RantWoman knows for many people the answer is Yes. RantWoman is fairly ruthless about how her ow answer frequently is No even though she does need to interact with the same information. RantWoman is still seasoning how to address this topic in her very own meeting. The fallibility and substitutability of electronic media is also a topic for discernment.

--Carry your own eating utensils. RantWoman lives in a city where the mayor put a lot of political capital into efforts to get people to reduce their usage of disposable shopping bags by proposing a tax on disposable bags. In fact, twice as high a percentage of local voters voted in support of the bag tax as voted for the mayor. Both still lost, but RantWoman's impression is that a lot more places are selling good reusable bags and a lot more people are using them as a result. Disposable eating utensils exist in RantWoman's mind as something many of us use a lot of but that most of us could easily carry with. RantWoman has her own chopsticks and also a spoon. RantWoman sometimes has to go through search in government building so even a metal table knife can be a problem. One day RantWoman will have a plastic set in her RantWoman bag.

--Use efficient software. The other day RantWoman downloaded some open source software and took particular note that the software mentioned climate change as one good reason to prefer efficient software.

--Renewable energy renewable energy renewable energy sources.

--Nuclear power: RantWoman KNOWS this is controversial and goes there cautiously. The main point is that a successful international civilian nuclear power regime depends on not automatically assuming that a nation's civilian nuclear power efforts are equivalent to weapons development. RantWoman knows perfectly well once one country has nuclear weapons there are automatically reasons for more countries to want them. RantWoman is going to avoid ranting too much about these topics in one small blog entry. She is also going to concentrate on some of the other small steps here. But RantWoman is noting the way to further discussion of this.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Nuclear war or .... Business Meeting?

RantWoman is turning over this month's Meeting for Worship for Business with heaving in her heart. RantWoman has had a conflict for some months with a very very dear friend. Dear Friend has full stops; RantWoman has no less firm full stops about a matter involving our Meeting. Dear Friend is certain that RantWoman should be prepared to dialogue unto infinity with Dear Friend alone before taking any other action. RantWoman has been clear for months that the conflict needs more Light than RantWoman and Dear Friend possess alone or in combination. Part of the problem thus may be how to acquire that Light.

One of Dear Friend's gifts is his persistence, including his present insistence that RantWoman answer some questions which RantWoman concedes may be reasonable; RantWoman is unclear that all of Dear Friend's questions reflect the full requirements of Meeting for Business. However, RantWoman is humble about the extreme degree to which she is far beyond tired of Dear Friend getting in her face. If RantWoman were to continue the dialogue with Dear Friend alone, and he were to ask one of his "why won't you answer?" questions, RantWoman, might be tempted to say "because thee is being an ass." RantWoman is pretty sure that assertion should not be put up to a vote. Nevertheless, plainspoken though such a thought may be, it of course is entirely unhelpful. More to the point, there is indeed coherent reasoning behind each person's position; it's just that the first question in the conversation appears to be how to create space for these things to be heard and properly seasoned.

But first we set the scene.

Sometime before the most recent change in Presidential administrations RantWoman found herself one day listening to a radio interview with the US ambassador to the UN appointed by the Worst President Ever (said while still holding The Worst President Ever and said ambassador firmly in the Light.) Considering who appointed that ambassador, RantWoman should not have been surprised by the tone of bellicosity and bullheadedness he exuded. What happened instead is that a few weeks later, RantWoman heard an interview by his counterpart from China. From the tone of the two interviews RantWoman concluded they were well matched. Add overweaning sincerity to bullheadedness. Any resemblance between the people mentioned above and the protagonists of the drama RantWoman is about to narrate are purely accidental.

RantWoman once quite unintentionally started nuclear war. RantWoman was not yet a Quaker so there is no need to be embarrased on that ground. However, since RantWoman had just returned to college after an interval among the movers and shakers of our nation's capital advocating for things like a nuclear freeze, there was still ample room for embarrassment.

To everyone's great relief, the putative nuclear war was in a college classroom and only an exercise. RantWoman has from time to time thought of that episode when some or another of her efforts has blown up in some spectacular dramatic way. RantWoman is not sure that her abortive nuclear war is the best metaphor, but it seems to be where RantWoman will start.

As noted above, RantWoman has for several months had a dispute with Dear Friend. RantWoman is very clear that the matter needs further Light than herself and Dear Friend. Specifically, Dear Friend is following a process approved by Meeting for Business. RantWoman has found herself both experiencing problems with the dynamics enshrined in that process and wanting to check whether the criteria Dear Friend wants to impose in a situation actually reflect what Meeting for Business intends.

Meanwhile, Dear Friend is to RantWoman's ear unduly fixated on his own preferred modes of conflict resolution. RantWoman THINKS she has made a couple points clear to Dear Friend: for whatever reason, her own obtuseness, Divine ommission in failing to install the right receptors in RantWoman's brain, sunspots undetectable anywhere else in the universe besides this conflict, or perhaps just perhaps something to do with Dear Friend, RantWoman is missing quite a lot in Dear Friend's approach. RantWoman realizes at some point she likely will need to become very specific in laying out how theological differences enable RantWoman not even to be phased by points that loom enormous to Dear Friend. However, the nature of the conflict so far has not collected the right words in the right conversations or other settings to elaborate on that.

More to the point, RantWoman is reacting to Dear Friend's insistence on his view as the only way to solve the problem much the same way some mothers do when a child is being unreasonable: Time out! Go away, calm down, and we can talk!

RantWoman has a further confession. RantWoman is sometimes sort of phlegmatic about responding to people's suffering. Some people in RantWoman's orbit find this slowness steadying and reassuring. Others may think RantWoman is totally dismissive of the tortures they are experiencing. RantWoman has lately been spending a lot of time around firemen, people who have to triage lots of challenging situations. Will something blow up? Is everyone breating? Is anyone hemhorraging? RantWoman will at some point meditate about whether or not she has correctly assessed several phases of this and will perhaps further knit into her thoughts terms such as testimony on simplicity. Suffice it say, Dear Friend apparently feels something is on fire; RantWoman is not discerning anything more critical than average. RantWoman THINKS she has put the matter in queue accordingly though she concedes deep impatience as well.

RantWoman also acknowledges that she is alternating between schedule overload and deer in headlights reactions to some interrogatories from Dear Friend, interrogatories of course also freighted with all the baggage already alluded to.

Here it would be appropriate to note that the conflict has been seasoned and tended to live in meetings, in emails, among various combinations of people for as long as it has been operative. The question before RantWoman last week was whether to go forward to Business Meeting or to do something else. No clear "something else" was emerging for a few different reasons. For instance, Dear Friend is sometimes a very gifted listener, mediator, promoter of shared encounter with spiritual realities. Other times, he is something less. In addition to the other wearing points above, RantWoman humbly acknowledges that thinking of the possibility of "something less" just makes RantWoman TIRED, more tired than she already is because of the conflict.

Next add in evidence of various kinds of malfunction on the interwebs. RantWoman looked over a queue of email from about the last week and concluded that she has not received several things she was expecting. Moreover, for that or other reasons, Dear Friend, the other protagonist to this drama also has not received some key email. RantWoman would thus acknowledge that it is no wonder Dear Friend is irate on communications grounds. RantWoman recognizes the technical fallibility of the internet as one more variable in the situation and possibly one more area where shared discernment might yield helpful guidance; however, this likely would have blown up some other way anyway.

Finally, RantWoman needs to acknowledge a serious lapse: RantWoman could certainly and very possibly should have picked up the phone and asked more questions before hitting send and zinging off one key reply.

In other words, upon only a small amount of consideration after the fact, RantWoman is not entirely sure that bringing the matter to Business Meeting in the way it happened was the most preferable way for it to come to Business Meeting. Now that it has come that way, RantWoman however is in one sense deeply relieved that it will be laid before others' eyes. RantWoman is doing the best she can to take a deep breath, pray a thousand prayers for guidance, clarity, compassion on all sides. Unfortunately, despite some understandable howls of pain, RantWoman is also appreciating some points from how things flowed.

The first thing that happened was that it became clear that some assembled lacked enough information about the parts of the process that have been problems in this conflict even to speak to the questions at hand. RantWoman finds this a HUGELY important insight especially since it speaks to a dimension of community need and shared responsibility completely independent of matters between Dear Friend and RantWoman.

Despite or perhaps because of the questions about background, those present found the discussion gripping. They stayed and even returned at a point where they could have left or even run screaming from the room. RantWoman needs to check this visual impression. RantWoman's Meeting wound up having what RantWoman takes from the little information she has gleaned from parts neither she nor Dear Friend were present for essentially what turned out to be a threshing session about some of the very questions exercising RantWoman. Accounts are that people were tender both toward Dear Friend and toward RantWoman which would definitely be RantWoman's preference. RantWoman also found herself deeply admiring our Clerk's preparations and guidance of the process.

RantWoman ruefully congratulated one first-time business meeting attender for sitting all the way through it.

Next step: RantWoman supposes she needs to check that she and others have overlapping understanding of the matters at issue. There is discernment to be done about how best to use the community's time, how next to proceed. RantWoman HOPES she has time to spend on the phone about this soon. Meanwhile....

God Present

RantWoman does not want to lose track of this post:

Instead of Business Meeting

RantWoman went to see Jana today after Business Meeting. Jana asked how Business Meeting was. Another Friend was also visiting. RantWoman and Other Friend looked at each other. We looked back at Jana. We looked at each other again. "Everyone came out alive, as far as we know." (RantWoman is humble about her own contribution to the nature of this process; that is grist for another post.)

Upon hearing that it was that sort of Business Meeting, Jana announced that, although she and Warren most assuredly would have been glad to see people, she was glad of what they did instead: Warren and Jana went to their house. Jana made it all the way up the stairs to their main level by hopping the stairs! RantWoman thinks she and Warren had lunch.

Jana talked of setting things out on the table after Warren brought them to the table. She talked of feeling dizzy while putting things in the dishwasher. She talked of thinking about doing one thing at a time and after one set of things gets easy trying something harder. She talked of how getting up the stairs requires a lot of upper body strength which she likely will develop more of and that getting down is easier.

All of this is huge steps even from when RantWoman saw Jana on Wednesday. Jana had about 10 visitors who either went or arrived while RantWoman was visiting on Wednesday. Jana showed off her brace and spoke gratefully of the friend who went to Value Village and got her soft shirts to wear under the brace. RantWoman was glad to hear that between padding and soft clothing the brace really did not hurt, especially since Jana is supposed to wear it all the time unless she is lying flat on her bed.

Wednesday Jana also mentioned working with her therapist about how to get up from the floor. Jana reported that the therapist thought Jana would not need this but had to learn it just in case, so she can get up without having to call 911.

RantWoman is enjoying hearing Jana reconstruct what she has been told about the early days after the accident, about all the things her daughter tells her she did. RantWoman also continues to be in awe by all the friends from different circles of Jana's life who have appeared in Jana's hospital room. Finally, RantWoman has been with Jana several times when Warren has left for the night. RantWoman is touched by the tender security both Jana and Warren show when they part: Jana to be at the hospital and Warren to be at home apart from each other.

RantWoman thinks having the day when Jana will go home on the horizon this very week seems both miraculous and a little sobering. Going home is a major step on Jana's journey back from the accident. She will have physical therapy exercises. She looks forward to reading, knitting, having people over in small groups. On the other hand, if one thinks one has one's eyes on a return to work, it could get discouraging for instance to get dizzy around the dishwasher. This is the first time in all of RantWoman's visits that RantWoman has detected a note of question about the future. RantWoman feels very, very tender about times when one must simply do the next thing, be present for the beauties of different moments, and let bigger pictures work themselves out. RantWoman blesses the new horizons and holds Jana and her family in the Light at the same time.

What ELSE is RantWoman up to

People not having enough information to interact with the substance of a question seems to be a theme in RantWoman's life this week.

Another theme: where does the locus of responsibility* lie for addressing different issues.

RantWoman is feeling humble, grateful and still wired in connection with today's Meeting for Business. Meeting for Business needs a whole separate post and likely needs seasoning other ways as well. IN the meantime, treatment of the themes mentioned above in connection with another of RantWoman's projects.

RantWoman is herewith posting a link to her other blog
The link above takes readers to two items:

An item from a local paper about a proposal to establish a Seattle Disabilities Commission

A link to video of the Candidates' Forum RantWoman wrote about in her Happy New Year Post

(*RantWoman is a lousy typist: she nearly wrote locust of responsibility. The typo makes RantWoman smile, but RantWoman also takes it as a sign that she should not hurry into something as fast as she might want. In fact, RantWoman should just go to bed and let God handle the rest of her day.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Biblical Bloggery Standards

RantWoman is digressing from a digression from a digression long enough to file the Sojourners link for online comment standards.

Aside from the blogger's perspective on her issues, RantWoman is quite charmed by the Biblical references in the comments standards:

In the spirit of further hyperlinked breadcrumb trails, RantWoman decided to look at this writer's personal blog and especially liked the top entry that popped up:
RantWoman took special note not only of the points she is familiar with about faith, but other elements of the language.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Festival Worship

RantWoman really, really likes the intro to worship listed in this blog posting.

RantWoman is linking here so she can find it again if she or other local Friends are lead to find it again and borrow heavily from it.