Thursday, December 30, 2010


RantWoman is relieved to learn that a large percentage of the nation's nuclear arsenal are likely to be safe for a good long time from...SUNFLOWER SEEDS.

With that to cheer her and the blessed centeredness of those called to such witness, RantWoman will resume her current humble "peace begins at home" efforts where there is trouble enough without even snipping any fences.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Talking of NPYM affiliation with FGC

Here below are some queries in connection with the question of North Pacific Yearly Meeting possibly affiliating with Friends General Conference. Background about the history of our non-affiliation is

Blogosphere News Flash: download a description of the issue and some NPYM queries here:

RantWoman learned of the above queries when she sent her draft off to topical people in her Meeting.

RantWoman wants to do things that might lead to thoughtful
discernment about this question within her own Meeting as well as in the wider world as prelude to Annual Session. RantWoman has various partly informational questions. Rather than just bang away at her own point of view, RantWoman wants to think about what would help our community participate in thoughtful
discernment. How to do that is not obvious.

RantWoman has inflicted most of these queries on people in key positions in her Meeting, but RantWoman is also attempting to see what happens if they come to the blog too.

Sometimes RantWoman has more of an expediency view of this question: is affiliation with FGC good value for the resources expended? Does NPYM get to share in resources we couldn't access otherwise?

How would or would not affiliation with FGC help Friends nurture
spiritual development among our own communities?

How would or would not affiliation with FGC enhance prophetic witness
within NPYM or in the wider world?

Would NPYM's affiliation bring something specific and / or unique to the work of FGC?

Does clinging to independence preserve and reify
historical issues that current Friends have no clue about.
How much do these historical splits affect how Friends interact
today in our region?

Why does any of this matter to people who come to our Meetings and become convinced Friends today?

To what extent is NPYM's independence just western exceptionalism: In the west it's a lot harder to find people like oneself so anyone vaguely similar is held dearly. Also, there have not been hundreds of years for views to get set in people's heads. But when enough people
from other places get together, we still figure out it's darned hard
to get along with each other and sometimes there are good reasons to
give space for diversity.

But being glib about this is skipping over the evangelical roots of
numbers of Yearly Meetings inout Latin America. Does our historical
independence offer something unique in terms of reconciliation among
Friends and new Light for the challenges of our current age?

On the other hand, could NPYM preserve its walk in multipl traditions
by affiliating with more than one body? Would there be other bodies
who would have us given some minutes we are VERY clear about?

Is the entire question of Quaker communications still stuck in the
last century and what do we need to do to keep all our generations
talking to one another across our different modes of communication? It
seems possible that affiliation with FGC may be neither here nor there
about this question, but the two exist together in RantWoman's head. ONE reason is RantWoman's own tumultuous relationship with print and electronic media, but RantWoman thinks that topic belongs in a different post.

But what say ye all?

Auntie Typology with Angels

RantWoman has over the last several days spent considerable time either drenched in holiday worship services, 3 times at 3 different places in one day, or in basically unformatted presence of several of her kith and kin, or sometimes both at once.

Before anyone starts shouting Hallelujah and proclaiming that RantWoman has suddenly found religion, RantWoman must confess, basically, to being a floozy: RantWoman owes her exercise in theological and geographical heterodoxy to efforts at least partially to refill her famished soul with music, Real MUSIC with harmonies and complex arrangements and a whole lot less insidiousness than say drug store muzak.

Auntie RantWoman and a whole entourage of alter egos feel WELL FED on that score, and that candle thing over and over with Silent Night did not hurt either. RantWoman is pretty sure there must have been angels present too, but let us start with the cast.

Sensible Auntie is an all-purpose sensible adult role model.

Sometimes RantWoman achieves Sensible Auntie; sometimes RantWoman has to summon both angels and some of her own Sensible Auntie figures. RantWoman especially thanks the first Quaker she ever knew and Sensible Choir Auntie for the gifts of seeing and acknowledging and calming simply by seeing. But let us stick with the babe at hand.

RantMom, Little Sister, Irrepressible Nephew and Kindly Brother-in-Law, the entire Rant Entourage collected ourselves in time to attend the mid afternoon Christmas Eve Spectacular at Little Sister and Nephew's church. One of the ushers trying to shoehorn in some more of the Presbyterian masses asked everyone to please "cozy up." RantWoman found herself thinking that if the Rant Entourage got any cozier, there might be a nuclear meltdown. Sensible Auntie managed to keep a grip on things.

Sensible Auntie had help from a darling babe in the next pew. Darling Babe in small red dress and blonde curls was fascinated by RantWoman poking out notes in Braille. RantWoman apologizes that Sensible Auntie prevailed only because the tyke was way too small to realize RantWoman might have been having a Bad Auntie moment managing twitches in aggressively maintained privacy.

Sensible Auntie showed up at the post service Christmas Eve pizza feed. Sensible Auntie has been eating the featured salad for years; Little sister finally had a nibble and pronounced herself hooked also. Irrepressible Nephew made an offhand 10-year-old comment about wanting to sprinkle plutonium on his pizza; mercifully he laughed when Sensible Auntie said she was not going to eat dinner with him if he insisted on bringing the plutonium.

Bad Auntie, who sets bad or challenging examples UNINTENTIONALLY

Bad Auntie giggled about the plutonium on the pizza before Sensible Auntie insisted on taking over.

Worse Auntie who sets challenging, problematic, difficult examples on purpose and may snarl vehemently if eldered about same.

It must have been Bad Auntie in charge of RantWoman's interactions with the obligatory candles. RantWoman did okay the first time, but at RantMom's church RantWoman's first candle just vanished, perhaps into a parallel universe and RantWoman had to get another one.

Then RantWoman got home from RantMom's church in plenty of time to run with her leading to hit one of the big church services advertising on public radio. RantWoman knows both the public radio churches are really good venues for music; RantWoman chose the option with the more workable bus and was NOT disappointed.

Such is the station of Big Downtown Church that even the candles were swanky, with plastic drip catchers instead of the humble paper ones everywhere else. This did NOT help RantWoman hold onto her candle and RantWoman even had to have a choir member sitting near her get her another candle.

After many kinds of wonderful music, it came time for Silent Night, RantWoman realized she had another problem: RantWoman has a weird nerve thing going on in her face and RantWoman just COULD NOT blow out her own candle. RantWoman had to have RantMom help her twice. The third time was way past RantMom's bedtime but somehow some kind of angel delivered just the right really fast wrist flick to snuff the candle without blowing.

Worse Auntie ALMOST lost it after the service. Big Downtown Church has one way out that goes to a parking garage and Worse Auntie could far too easily summon rants about the general preposterousness of parking garages, especially when RantWoman found herself in the hallway on the way to the parking garage instead of out the door to the bus. Fortunately angels and the parking masses quickly got RantWoman turned around the right direction. The parking garage lecture can wait, especially if one is shamelessly and unabashedly in attendance solely to hear music.

Worse Auntie also nearly showed up at the holiday feast the next day. The Rant Sisters were joking around about our childhood relationships to a stuffed Santa Claus our grandmother sewed somewhere along the way. There were some morbid elements and something set RantMom off. Worse Auntie found herself thinking that maybe it would be fine to make RantMom appreciate that her kids can argue with non-lethal effects, but a big flock of angels dragged Sensible Auntie onto the scene with hugs and reassurances for RantMom.

RantWoman is not sure whether it was another legion of angels or a whole lot of time hanging with Quakers, but the post-party RantSister telephone debrief of the Santa Claus incident along with a hypothetical pending visit from Alcoholic RantBrother, though the conversation started out testy, kept hanging in and hanging in and hanging in. All of a sudden, it was a VERY real conversation. There were VERY yucky topics involved, the kind of topics where RantWoman has known pieces for awhile and not thought it was her place to bring things up or has sat on topics chewing on her nerves very cautiously seasoning choice of place and approach and absolute necessity of conversation.

This time, Sensible Auntie just kept listening. Sensible Auntie was not necessarily delighted with new details, but there seem to be angels hovering helping to hold the new information. Sensible Auntie was deeply grateful to feed some very positive observations into the conversation and to hear more echoes of sense from the responses' resonance. Sensible Auntie and the angels are filing the fact that there are some "you can lead a horse to water but cannot make it drink" angles relative to one of the figures at the feast, more than one actually but for a different reason.

But in case anyone is getting bored with all this peace and centeredness, Worse Auntie and the angels are now seriously wrestling with what it is realistic to expect of one's faith community both collectively and in the person of specific individuals at certain times.

There would also be certain temptations toward extremely public tirades about how "that is EXACTLY how NOT to do it." At the moment the angels have their hands full about more than one person on that score. Sigh.

Meanwhile, RantWoman sincerely thanks some listening angels at a checkin who simply took in the "good conversation, yucky topic minimalist description an angel boiled down for RantWoman.

PS If this makes it to a live post it is going to be because Sensible Auntie, Worse Auntie, and a whole lot of angels have duked it out about what to say about whom all over the internet, especially if the whom includes people with throbbing issues and frequent live conversations.

Monday, December 27, 2010

All Sex Offenders All the Time

RantWoman really, really, really has had a much nicer holiday than what follows might indicate. However, RantWoman has decided she needs a device to introduce something from her Meeting life and the RantWoman spiritual compost heap to her blog:

The Safest Sex Offender on the Planet has requested that he be permitted much broader participation in Meeting life than he currently is allowed. He wants to go to Adult Education and Business Meeting. RantWoman is going to write separately of views, resources, twitches, a threshing session, and other work. Here, RantWoman is simply going to weigh in on sex offenders, survivors, and past holiday experience.

Once upon a time RantWoman and Ferrener Husband were visiting Husband's homeland over the Christmas season. We flew into one city, spent a couple days getting our bearings, flew onto Husband's hometown, and later flew back to the first city. We stayed with a lovely gay couple who sent RantWoman an electronic greeting recently, one reason they figure in holiday thoughts, along with a buddy of theirs, Father Sergei.

The other reason was one of those soulful, alcohol-filled evenings full of discussions of faith and religion, from many angles. RantWoman learned what the Soviet Encyclopedia of Religion thought of Quakers: basically muddle-headed leftists. RantWoman learned of local interest in some sort of miracle-working icon. RantWoman endured glowers from all sides when conversation turned unexpectedly to the fact that Ferrener Husband is of a different faith than other locals.

And the crowning item on RantWoman's path to sainthood that night after a romp through the themes already mentioned was to uphold Father Sergei, one of the key rompers. That week Father Sergei had done 8 funerals, including a case of father / daughter incest and murder suicide. RantWoman sometimes feels grateful to be the sort of safe centered presence that invites people to lay down at least some of their spiritual burdens, but that night RantWoman a little bit found herself thinking "Why me, Lord?"

RantWoman's current year holiday has included exquisite opportunities to walk with a number of abuse and sexual assault survivors in her life:

Multiple Personality Friend, otherwise known as Amazing Artist who lives far away feels stable enough about really bumpy self-discovery to let some of her different alters independently relearn how to experience Buddhist meditation retreat. RantWoman thinks that sounds like a heck of a lot of work for Amazing Artist Friend. RantWoman also thinks that experience could be kind of unnerving for others attending such a retreat, even if there were self-disclosure during introductions.

Amazing Artist Friend is also resolved to call her family, adult siblings who live far away and never call her. Amazing Artist Friend has been dealing with abuse issues almost as long as RantWoman has known her. RantWoman would say she has been dealing with the topic better than RantWoman has, that is with WAY more spiritual depth than RantWoman feels able to approach.

Amazing Artist friend does a LOT of Buddhist meditation. When the issue of there being several in her came up, she talked about deciding her first job is just unconditionally to love everyone who was emerging. That was one of the points that made RantWoman decide if she is going to be friends with Amazing Artist Friend, RantWoman also gets to accept everyone who belongs to Amazing Artist Friend. RantWoman, alas, is the sort of practical feet-on-the-ground person who also thinks maybe it's not terrible if there are people around who can interact with the question of how all of this affects one's ability to earn a living., One of Amazing Artist Friends recent offerings: "It's not fair. So what? Cope." Uhhhh!

Amazing Artist Friend says she means to try to talk at last to her family of the several of her. Amazing Artist Friend is also wondering, thinking about what probably happened to her younger sister. RantWoman did not ask about her older sister.

RantWoman had a fierce pre-holiday Bad Friends email exchange with a quite outspoken abuse survivor about predatory self-absorbed characters. The topical query: should someone who has done a HUGE amount of spiritual work, who has passed test after test about lack of predatory inclination and behavior, who is maniacal about safety, his own and others', at least merit a cushier version of hell than an unrepentant predator with multiple victims and proclivities to seek out especially vulnerable victims, an offender who RantWoman admits she hopes is residing securely under an appropriate prison?

Outspoken Survivor Friend pointed out that Quakers do not believe in hell. This offender just wants to go to Business Meeting! RantWoman is unclear how this desire interacts with a desire to walk alongside Outspoken Survivor Friend who currently does not go to Business Meeting.

RantWoman thinks the second offender above targeted people who probably generally do believe in hell and / or marks whose parents were too paralyzed by religious rigidity to respond. RantWoman is perfectly well aware that better Quakers than she might be able to pray for redemption and transformation of the offender. RantWoman is simply noting the topic being imbedded in her constellation of holiday memories along with prayers of the "Survivors can be Psychos" sort for survivors and various of kin in RantWoman's life.

RantWoman realizes these are sort of peculiar holiday tidings. However, the statistic that in the US 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men has some experience with sexual assault means there are a lot of people out there with survivor issues and a lot of people walking with others' survivor issues. RantWoman honors the festive holiday opportunity to have sore nerves restimulated.

RantWoman is also DEEPLY grateful to The Safest Sex Offender... and to several in her Meeting who have worked and ministered more closely than RantWoman has. RantWoman is abidingly grateful for space this creates in conversation and community for others to aknowledge their issues, for the opportunity to acquire shared language about experiences and struggles. RantWoman also has some observations and experiences clanging on her be concerned nerves and RantWoman is TRYING to be centered to contribute to the next discussions.

Apropos: others' experiences.
RantWoman is sort of a "show your work" recording clerk. RantWoman is not currently recording clerk of anything, but RantWoman appreciates the following blog post for its "show your work" elements and also for the fact that there were 90 at the Business Meeting mentioned.

A Business Meeting from Cambridge MM
RantWoman discovered the Cambridge experience by accident when she was looking for something else from that Meeting. Merry Reading.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Worse Auntie / Grow your own Lava Lamp

Warning: children who do not need more distractions from their paths of goodness and purity should click away quickly. Quaker children who do not have Santa Clause around anyway may continue reading as long as you also acceptRantWoman's prayers regarding your immortal soul and ask some trusted adults to help season the following.

RantWoman, for her part is thinking of that phrase "Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me." RantWoman is thinking if that's where to start, boy are we in trouble.

RantWoman's clearness committee recently asked her what would happen if RantWoman were more open around Meeting about things to do with vision loss. RantWoman found herself thinking, careful what you ask for.

RantWoman mostly has not filled her audience in on every weirdo visual effect that comes her way. One or two groupies ask in low-key ways for updates and RantWoman repeats the family mantra, "my eyes have not fallen out of my head yet." RantWoman has a time or two shared some or another nugget from all her optho frequent flyer experiences with someone who brought up something related in conversation. RantWoman also mentioned a popcorn meeting and the interaction of eyes and light.

RantWoman has the strong, unshakeable impression that even those increments are too much for many around her. RantWoman so far has not made her clearness committee or another topical committee sit with a whole bunch of messages coming RantWoman's way that sound to RantWoman's febrile sensibilities too much like "shut up" when RantWoman THINKS the speakers could do fine with "I don't know how to deal with what you just told me." But never mind; save that thought for a couple other different threads. Let's start with Bad Auntie .

Remember Bad Auntie the sudoku-obsessed would-be role model of proper comportment during Meeting for Worship. Here is more of the story:

Bad Auntie rides the bus to worship. The Sunday bus run features several clumps of people getting on and later decamping to various houses of worship. The effect is centering and inclusive in a much gentler way than the multicultural maelstrom aboard Metro the rest of the week. RantWoman likes the walk to the bus. She likes the sense of many different forms of worship in one vessel. She likes caffeine and a walk at the other end of the route. In short, RantWoman's routine IS preparing for worship even though it might as well be something from another planet to many.

Then there is sudoku. RantWoman is VERY glad to be able to see enough to do sudoku, provided the print is big enough and RantWoman can use fat pen. RantWoman likes hard puzzles and did not always finish her puzzles during her bus ride, so there is A LITTLE bit of addictive behavior involved in doing so for a few minutes at the beginning of worship while RantWoman settles in, centers, gets a handle on her ill-behaved eyeballs' efforts to shift focal length.

There is also another messy eyeball issue or RantWoman's eyeballs interacting with light conditions in our worship room. RantWoman's pupils do not dilate and constrict correctly or very fast in response to changes in light conditions to begin with. This means for instance that even though RantWoman is an optho frequent flyer, she gets to skip dilation some of the time simply because too many gallons of drops have to be poured in to have any effect.

The worship room at RantWoman's Meeting has one glass wall facing south with plenty of bright sunlight on good days. The other three walls have a row of small windows several feet above the floor all the way around the room. RantWoman most of the time feels so grateful to be among community that she does not even attend to the fact that there is NO place in the worship room where RantWoman can count on being visually comfortable. Bright sunlight has one set of issues; clouds and glare have a completely different set.

RantWoman tries glasses on, glasses off, sunglasses on, sunglasses off, large-brimmed hat on, large-brimmed hat off and various combinations of all of the above. Each takes RantWoman to different frontiers of fog and blur, possibly to slapstick effect. None of them take RantWoman measurably closer to being able to center. One thing that does REALLY help is focussing on something close, which sudoku does WONDERFULLY.

Apparently silently doing sudoku during Meeting for Worship for silent waiting on God greatly distresses many in RantWoman's Meeting. Various people, members of Worship and Ministry and otherwise eldered RantWoman about this. No one got the full dissertation here but They all went "Oh, we had no idea..." when RantWoman talked about both generalized eye stuff and centering preparation for Meeting for Worship. Some people were more categorical than others about wanting RantWoman to stop. RantWoman said thank you for your opinion. Then RantWoman got sent off to a clearness committee and learned of the issue of the child objecting to RantWoman's example written of earlier. RantWoman still thanks the child for speaking up. RantWoman still thinks it's parents' job to teach children what is right regardless of what others around one may be doing.

Tonight Bad Auntie is ba-a-a-a-ck, only now she's Worse Auntie. Worse Auntie is not only unrepentant, she could really fast get into elder with a snarl mode! Worse Auntie is wishing she had said "why does it bother you? Please tell me how this specifically impedes your ability to worship? In particular what is it about being present with other people's pain and difdficulties that you find challenging?"

RantWoman / Worse Auntie personally really cannot see well enough to be annoyed by all kinds of quiet behaviors in Meeting for Worship and Worse Auntie MIGHT be tempted to tell some to be glad someone else's quiet behavior is the worst problem they have in life. RantWoman might also say she is darned glad to be able to do sudoku.

RantWoman might even read people the riot act about the lighting in the Worship Room. There are a million different ways light conditions in the worship room can be uncomfortable between light conditions, things in RantWoman's eyes that do not work normally, and variables like hay fever and sleep. If RantWoman only went places that are visually easy to deal with she would have no life and Meeting for Worship is important. Unfortunately, not only is this a whole welter of oddball messages, RantWoman also gets to figure out how to deal with the "shut up / I don't know how to deal" part she is already far too well-acquainted with.

But hold that thought. Worse Auntie, among other things has some ideas about things she needs around her Meeting. RantWoman needs to communicate specifically with children and her clearness committee has been a great help about ways to get that started. RantWoman has ben gratified too by reaction to a generalized query departing from RantWoman's reflection: other adults also like some of what is on RantWoman's mind. Now that is being seasoned and RantWoman gets to think first of all about dealing with vision loss and talking about it to children.

Worse Auntie and sudoku matters keep showing up though, and keep showing up and keep showing up, and RantWoman is going to have to figure out and strive to articulate some more matters involving adults as well before she even wants to wade into talking to kids. Ai-yi-yi-yi.

Then there would be Conflict is a Gift of God Friend, Friend who is a walking encyclopedia about many topics but has trouble sharing space in conversation with some categories of people. RantWoman had been detecting this problem to really serious and stifling effect for months before certain conversations melted down. RantWoman STILL feels no leading to have attempted to play fairy godmother or to sugarcoat the problem. RantWoman notes that it took Conflict is a Gift of God Friend SEVERAL more months to absorb what seemed to RantWoman VERY direct simple statements pointing in that direction.

During the several months, Conflict is a Gift of God Friend more than once engaged RantWoman's physical safety radar REALLY hard in situations where RantWoman otherwise would very much have enjoyed certain exercise-related activities with said Friend. RantWoman keeps turning over this issue. NOTHING is shaking her clarity that she owes NO ONE, not said Friend, not the clerk of Oversight committee, not the Pope, any explanations for her rules. RantWoman does not even apologize for blunt emails connected with the circumstances even if the point was not crystal clear in the email.

Furthermore, RantWoman considers waiting around for MONTHS while someone else gets a message involving the laws of physics completely unreasonable in the specific context she has in mind. RantWoman does not need argument. RantWoman does not need to be told she is being ridiculous. RantWoman does not need ANYONE telling her what is or is not in her own head! Nor does RantWoman need anyone without exactly the right cred telling her how to get about with Ambassador Thwack the badly-behaved white cane.

RantWoman is pretty sure, despite having told said Friend multiple times of her concerns that he still has no clue about RantWoman's issues. Unfortunately he is not alone; RantWoman was explaining the issue to someone else recently. Conflict is a Gift of God Friend is one of a couple people in RantWoman's life who INSIST they should help RantWoman navigate the mean streets, impose their own agendas, INSIST they know more than RantWoman about what RantWoman needs and are completely incapable of listening. Misery does not love company and Worse Auntie could easily ship them both off for reeducation in Quakerism 101, the listening module.

The other night before the Barclay reading group plunged into our Barclay time machine and flirted with the concept of Barclay the Musical, others were checking in with Conflict is a Gift of God Friend. Conflict is a Gift of God Friend still has eye yuck which his doctors have decided involves edema and capillaries looming large in his visual field, "like the crack patterns of dried up mud." He also has annoying floaters, but apparently he has managed to avoid the Grow Your Own Lava Lamp effects RantWoman dances with on top of oddly functioning pupils, double-vision, fog and blur multiplied with bifocals. At least that would be the impression from RantWoman asking teasingly during the checkin.
RantWoman is meditating about her motivations in insisting on Taking up Space in a public conversation about her issues too. RantWoman is sorry someone else is having eye yuck. RantWoman is NOT sorry for taking up space in the same conversation. RantWoman feels like a very large 3-year-old about the topic. What's worse, Worse Auntie is who's on duty for adult supervision. Happy Christmas to all; Lord have mercy on us all.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Barclay Time Machine

RantWoman has returned home from her monthly Battle with Barclay, aka the Barclay reading group. RantWoman apologizes, not in the Barclay sense, for getting some Bad Friend twitches out of her system in time hopefully to qualify for something besides lumps of coal for Christmas.

Tonight's topics were Justification and Perfection. RantWoman feels neither justificated nor perfected. RantWoman would NEVER get to either place on her own and is grateful for the moral support of others in this quest. RantWoman is grateful even if the discourse tends to wander.

It occurs to RantWoman with the benefit of several months of hindsight since December that RantWoman has a little bit been missing the point. Maybe RantWoman will wade back in for another look.

A blog post

Silent Worship: the musical

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cambridge Friends Resources

RantWoman's blog is part journal of her spiritual travails, part travelogue among themes that sooner or later wander into matters of faith and spiritual life, part online filing cabinet, part venture in comparison shopping among the paper and electronic artifacts generated by other Meetings. . In the spirit of the last categories, RantWoman directs her readers to

RantWoman is especially interested in the items about First Day School and a longer document about child safety at Cambridge Friends Meeting.

RantWoman is pointedly posting these links for resource andreference purposes. They speak to many but not all of the topics on RantWoman's mind and RantWoman would like it if these documents help shape some conversations in her Meeting.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bad Committee: too much clearness, not Quakerese

RantWoman has lately been asking herself whether certain recent experiences mean she is uniquely overachieving in several areas of dysfunction or whether she is just gifted about walking into other's dysfunctions--or both.

RantWoman is amused by the following item about dysfunctional Clearness Committees

RantWoman has written elsewhere of a previous clearness committee experience, but RantWoman feels she must identify some dysfunctions along with query as to whether the problems are unique to RantWoman:

--Clearness Committee as the wrong venue for developing job descriptions for key committee.

--Clearness Committee as wrong training venue for would-be practitioners of conflict resolution.

--Clearness Committee as process check about the degree to which the concept of Clearness Committees is alive in one's Meeting.

--Clearness Committee as language laboratory: RantWoman became even clearer as a result of her previous committiee than she already was that Compost is appropriate Quakerese. RantWoman will leave to her readers' imagination terminology management about what Compost would be in more or less standard English, with one exception, the question of Register.

Register is a language geek term for the concept that people of different station sometimes use different words to mean the same thing. Sometimes interpreting wildly different phrases all to one term in a target language means the interpreter is oversimplifying, failing to convey nuance. RantWoman here cites the testimony on equality, in addition to her struggles about Quakerese: Compost refers to several different phrases in standard English, all of which are left to readers' imagination.

(Speaking of Compost, RantWoman apologizes: she still has not gotten around to interacting with the Composting Quakerism podcasts.)

--Clearness Committee as vessel to generate more material for one's spiritual compost heap. RantWoman finds herself meditating about the words condescending, patronizing and dismissive. RantWoman could also find cause to meditate about appropriate Quakerese for "insensitive" and "clueless." RantWoman wishes any Friend had a monopoly on the behaviors that evoke these adjectives. At the moment RantWoman is composting a good bit of raw data in the context of another discussion in her Meeting. RantWoman MEANS to post about the other discussion, but is pointedly NOT clear yet what to post, especially while things are getting worked out in her Meeting's seasoning process.

Meanwhile, RantWoman has finally gotten around to asking for a clearness committee to help her adjust her presence in Meeting life after midlife vision meltdown. True to RantWoman form, RantWoman has become clear that she has plowed into problems bigger than her own issues alone; RantWoman is VERY grateful for sounding board while she figures out more about her own issues and bigger problems.

RantWoman is also VERY excited to have recently attended a workshop about clearness and support committees and RantWoman is very excited about the possibility of inviting Marge to her Meeting at some point in the future.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Young Friends New Year Gathering

RantWoman has no idea how many Young Friend readers she has. However, she calls her Young Friend readers' attention to the following event, this year in Myrtlewood OR

RantWoman particularly reminds her readers of the suggestion on the registration page that people request financial assistance from their monthly meetings if needed. RantWoman is in a position to help facilitate the application if anyone from her Meeting happens to be interested; RantWoman recommends applying sooner rather than later. Word!

RantWoman remembers someone suggesting this gathering when she was VERY new to her Meeting and to Friends. RantWoman was still at a phase of trying to keep straight the names of several wonderful Friends in her own Meeting and did not really feel led to dip her feet into other pools. However, RantWoman has heard excellent reports from many who have attended!

Five Feet of Bible?

It's Annunciation season and the Mothers of the New Testament are running about the internet pregnant under different questionable and scandalous circumstances.

Partly in honor of the season, RantWoman wants to read in quiet expectation instead of endlessly listening to various flavors of chattering! RantWoman feels a need to expand her Braille reading from her Three Inches of Psalms exercise. RantWoman has also gotten Matthew and Mark in Braille from her building library and has snagged Acts and Galatians too. The ambiguity of not even checking about whatever a checkout procedure might be gnaws a little at RantWoman's conscience. A little.

For RantWoman's trouble she gets to whine about yet another set of issues among her new reading options: RantWoman COULD request a copy of The Bible in Braille from any of several sources. Put Bible Braille into the search engine of choice for current options. RantWoman has done this with enough attention to absorb that the entire Bible, RSV in grade 2 contracted Braille is five feet of shelf space!

RantWoman finds this thought sort of terrifying. It's not just the space so much as the fact that RantWoman reads Braille really slowly, like about two pages an hour. This is an improvement but RantWoman is still awaiting the sort of Braille epiphany she has read about where all of a sudden with practice things get massively easier all in one big WHOOSH, like Pentecost in a flurry of dots or something.

RantWoman finds five feet of Bible terrifying though because of some admonishment not to tempt the Lord your God: what if that whoosh never arrives? How can RantWoman of frequently faltering faith bear with the thought of 5 feet of Bible gathering dust? What if she never gets around to....

RantWoman is aware of the option of getting a spiffy Braille device that would store dozens of volumes in space the size of one print book and then feed them back under RantWoman's fingers on demand. The price of such spiffy gizmos makes RantWoman faint. RantWoman so clearly is so far from being remotely able to use such a device for work that Quaker integrity impedes her requesting help from vocational rehab sources. to buy such a thing.

RantWoman also REALLY likes the spatial sense of moving one's fingers over a whole page instead of having words delivered 20 cells at a time. In other words, there is just NO making RantWoman happy about these topics and RantWoman feels certain she is to share all her festive holiday whines. Merry Advent--with an item about expectant waiting in community!

and one about writing one's congressperson more than one's mother:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Bus of Laughter and Not Regretting

RantWoman ran into Friend Whose Voice Smiles the other night. Friend Whose Voice Smiles is a member of Eastside Friends Meeting but she works near where RantWoman lives. Not too long ago Friend Whose Voice Smiles and her husband moved closer to this Friend's work, 1 bus away instead of a car drive over a clogged bridge or multiple buses. This means that every so often RantWoman gratefully, mirthfully runs into Friend Whose Voice Smiles on the bus.

Friend Whose Voice Smiles has an academic background in medieval history; she has a delicious sense sometimes of how the medieval carries over, for better or worse, in modern life. RantWoman has not thought to discuss with Friend Whose Voice Smiles the vast reserves of sordid dramas which spill out aboard the average bus but RantWoman has the unshakeable feeling that a sense of medievalism is entirely topical.

This time, this Friend's gift was applied to various matters on RantWoman's heart, including more than one involving Conflict is a Gift of God Friend. RantWoman notes that the conversation occurred in delicate Quakerese and in shorthand to boot. By bus standards, there was an appalling dearth of profanity. Nevertheless the content was nearly as sordid as many of the one-sided cellphone conversations delivered unto RantWoman's ears.

For instance, there was mention of the phrase "boil in oil" although this phrase was uttered with the sort of hyperbole allotted in RantWoman's Meeting for Friends confessing some or another utterly unQuakerly and otherwise inappropriate antisocial yearning, only OCCASIONALLY seasoned with alternatives such as spells of Quakerly reticence. Friend Whose Voice Smiles betrayed not a whit of dismay. On the contrary Friend Whose Voice Smiles gave RantWoman a HUGE gift no one else has given her: Friend Whose Voice Smiles LAUGHED.

Then Friend Whose Voice Smiles affirmed RantWoman's sense that not talking to... for awhile made eminent sense. Then RantWoman and Friend Whose Voice Smiles moved on to much else also to laugh about, and Friend Whose Voice Smiles helped RantWoman and the driver match up stop needs and RantWoman went off to her next obligation!

Monday, December 6, 2010

La Jolla MM Minute on Harassment

RantWoman is posting this item with minimal comment. Last summer RantWoman was at a gathering with someone intimately connected wtih the story that resulted in the following minute. RantWoman is posting the text here with the permission of the person she received it from; this person says that this minute is a public document and a copy hangs in the kitchen at their Meetinghouse.

RantWoman's Meeting does not have such a statement. RantWoman wonders whether other Meetings do. RantWoman is posing the question in the context of a general discussion in her Meeting.

La Jolla Monthly Meeting

Quakers are known for honest, ethical behavior and by far the majority of Friends take our principles into our practices. This is one thing we appreciate about Friends. Part of the strength of our community lies in our knowing and trusting one another.

It is important, however, that we recognize that attending Quaker Meeting or being a Quaker does not guarantee that a person will live a life based on a single standard of truth. It does not guarantee that a person will act in harmony with Quaker principles and testimonies at all times. Indeed, instances of serious illegal and unethical behavior have occurred within Quaker circles and friendships have been abused, boundaries have been crossed, even children have been hurt.

We therefore recommend that Friends exercise the same caution and consider the same issues in dealing with each other that we would employ in our business, professional, and personal lives.

The following questions may be helpful when considering any new relationship:

1. Am I placing myself or others in a vulnerable situation either personally or professionally?

2. Am I checking the qualifications of each person with whom I am entering a professional relationship as carefully as I would scrutinize anyone who is not a Quaker?

3. Are the boundaries between professional and personal clear to both or all of us?

We also recommend that clear agreements and/or contracts be drawn up and monitored. These recommendations apply to all personal, social, business, and professional relationships within the Meeting community and may also be helpful in the wider world.

When a problem is brought to the attention of Ministry and Oversight, we recognize that as a community we have responsibility to work closely with the individuals involved, to take action in a loving and prayerful spirit, and to not look away. Various processes are used to resolve misunderstandings or bring about the amicable settlement of disputes: the use of private conversation; meetings for clearness; consultation with M. & O.; referral for counseling, mediation, or work with an experienced facilitator; and other measures, as appropriate.

Meeting for Worship on the Occasion of Business
Approved 9-12-99, La Jolla, CA

In recognition that this meeting is not exempt from experiences that occur in the wider community, La Jolla Monthly Meeting has minuted its acceptance of the following statement.

In our gathering swe seek an environment of welcoming love and acceptance which encourages the full and equal participation of all. Friends strive to bring together a community of mutual concern which challenges all forms of violence against others, a community in which faith and principles are expressed in appropriate action.

Recognition of the Divine within every person leads us to treat each other with respect in all of our dealings. Asking for permission, reading body language, learning to accept “No,” and learning to communicate what we do want are all our shared responsibilities. Through such behaviors, we affirm our belief in the reverence and respect due to every person.

Abuse, coercion, sexual harassment, and intimidation of any kind profoundly violate our community of love and trust. As Friends, we are called to develop a truly inclusive community. Violence and harassment, whether intentional or unintentional, are inconsistent with our basic conviction of the divine in each of us.
ABUSE includes demeaning comments, threats, domination by force, the use of violence, intimidation, and abuse of power. Abuse may be physical, emotional, psychological, or verbal. Neglect is a form of abuse. Name-calling, labeling and beatings are all forms of abuse.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT includes unsolicited and unwanted behaviors with a sexual connotation, especially if repetitive. Examples might include: suggestive looks or gestures; sexual comments, teasing or jokes with a sexual content; letters, calls or materials of a sexual nature; imposed touching or closeness; pressure for dates; discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation.

To act in these ways is contrary to our deepest reverence for the divine in every person.

If you are having a problem, Ministry and Oversight suggest that you discuss it first with the person involved. If this isn’t possible or does not end the behavior, speak to a trusted friend, the clerk of the Meeting or a member of Ministry and Oversight who will listen in a sensitive, non-judgmental and confidential manner. If action needs to be taken, M. & O. is the appropriate group to matter.

Our hope to create the peaceable kingdom requires us to work together on these issues.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Creating Access

RantWoman highly highly recommends the following item which includes a number of additional links about accessibility and religious congregations.. RantWoman means actually to READ more of this soon.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Talking Bible poll

RantWoman hereby invites her readers along one one of RantWoman's endless adventures in reading options. RantWoman is contemplating the following gizmo purchase option.


BibleCourier - Summary Of Keys

Lutheran Braille Evangelism Association - BibleCourier UserGuide page

Lutheran Braille Evangelism Association - Compare Bible Texts page

What is BibleCourier?
BibleCourier is an electronic pocket Bible designed especially for someone who is blind or visually impaired. BibleCourier weighs about 4 ounces including batteries and is about the size of a pocket New Testament (4 and a half by 2 and a half by 1 inches). BibleCourier is very portable and small enough to easily fit in a shirt pocket or a purse. The Bible is powered by two double A alkaline (AA) batteries which will run BibleCourier for several months of normal use or about 40 hours of continuous reading.The BibleCourier memory will now contain your choice of one complete Bible translation (both the Old and New Testaments) and the Matthew Henry Concise Commentary of the whole Bible, or your choice of two different translations of the Bible from the list below.

RantWoman needs help from her readers.
Have you used the gizmo described here or do you know someone who has? If so, how well do you like it? Any big problems besides feedint it batteries?

Should RantWoman give up and think about a Kindle or something else?

RantWoman HOPES she has readers who might advise her about their favorite Bible versions from the list below. If you have suggestions or preferences, please do leave a comment.

Also, apocrypha, yes or no? Which version? What do you like? What speaks to you? Are there things here that any good Quaker simply MUST have?

Anyone familiar with the Bible commentary mentioned? Would you choose it over a second Bible version?

If you have a choice between a Bible-specific gizmo and getting the Bible on some other more general gizmo, would you get the Bible alone or save up another increment and get a different gizmo even if the interface is more complicated?

For background, RantWoman pretty much things God spoke in the Revised Standard version. That's the version RantWoman's first Sunday school bible came in. RantWoman still has that Bible but of course can only read it in TINY bites with a lot of trouble and extra magnification. Whine. So, going in, the RSV might be one obvious choice. But RantWoman is asking the question with an open mind and open heart.

RantWoman THINKS RantMom still has one of the Rant Grandfather's large print KJV's. RantWoman thinks RantMom would be thrilled to hand it over if it were to get read. RantWoman is liking the idea of small and pocket- or pocketbook-worthy, but is already leaning against making the KJV one of her version options. Anyone want to try to persuade RantWoman otherwise? One consideration would bewhether or not to get the Apocrypha.

RantWoman has the Good News in large print. RantWoman is mostly not crazy about either the Good News or the large print format it's printed in. Whine.

RantWoman also has the New International Version in sort of large print. RantWoman likes the format of her NIV Bible better than the Good News, but neither one is quite large enough. Whine.

What is BibleCourier?
BibleCourier is an electronic pocket Bible designed especially for someone who is blind or visually impaired. BibleCourier weighs about 4 ounces including batteries and is about the size of a pocket New Testament (4 and a half by 2 and a half by 1 inches). BibleCourier is very portable and small enough to easily fit in a shirt pocket or a purse. The Bible is powered by two double A alkaline (AA) batteries which will run BibleCourier for several months of normal use or about 40 hours of continuous reading.The BibleCourier memory will now contain your choice of one complete Bible translation (both the Old and New Testaments) and the Matthew Henry Concise Commentary of the whole Bible, or your choice of two different translations of the Bible from the list below.

All Bible texts will come with a users guide in a digital format. The users guide is also provided on a cassette tape packaged with the BibleCourier. In addition to either the Bible/Commentary or the two-Bibles choice LBEA will also include as study aids Luther's Small Catechism, a Bible Glossary, Bible Book Summaries, and a concordance of over700 key words to help you locate many verses in the King James Bible. Note that the extra Apocrypha books (Tobit, Judith, Ecclesiasticus, Wisdom, Baruch,additions to Esther, additions to Daniel, and First and Second Maccabees) are now included with the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB), the New American Standardwith Apocrypha, or the King James Version with Apocrypha.

The BibleCourier's two Bible versions or Bible/Commentary combination are easily identified or switched between using the "zero key" and "pound key" incombination. Each Bible or commentary maintains its own last location and bookmark environment. This allows a blind person to easily study two differentBible translations in parallel or to look up entries in the commentary for a range of Scripture. Of course the books being independent means the focus can also be set at different places in the two Bibles or Bible and commentary.BibleCourier, like a telephone keypad, has twelve buttons on its face with a raised dot above the five key. These keys allow the user to swiftly navigate through the books, chapters and verses of the talking digital Bible. Each key also has built in help when depressed until two beeps are heard.The Bible text is not a recording. BibleCourier uses the DoubleTalk speech synthesizer computer chip (from RC Systems) to generate its synthetic voice toread the text of the Bible. There are five male voices to select from and the volume, speed and pitch of the selected voice may be adjusted to one's preference.The user listens to the Bible through a set of stereo earbuds which are provided with the BibleCourier, or, you may order high quality folding earphonesand external volume control/filter with the BibleCourier for an additional $12.00.While some may prefer listening to a recorded human voice rather than a synthesized computer voice, the text-to-speech computer chip approach used by BibleCourierhas the advantage that it gives the user full access to the books, chapters, verses, and even the words which may be spelled in the Bible text.BibleCourier has many other features including the ability to read forward or back by sentence or words. You can set book marks at favorite verses, haveunclear words spelled, and power search (that is, jump forward or back half the distance) among the books, chapters, and verses of the Bible. A footnote feature can be enabled which will allow any related notes to be read in a higher pitch at the appropriate place in the text (however, not all Bible versionswill contain footnotes). There is even a sleep timer which can be set to stop the reading after a specified time to conserve battery power. What you get when you order a BibleCourier:• The Talking BibleCourier unit manufactured by Springer Design, Inc. • One set of Double A (AA) Alkaline batteries installed • A set of earbud style stereo headphones • Your choice of two available selections from the list below • A Quick Start Cassette instructional Tape • A 90 day warranty against defects in material and workmanship How to order a BibleCourier The BibleCourier and similar talking Bibles have been sold at the retail price of $200.00 or more plus shipping charges. LBEA as a non-profit ministry wantsthese Bibles to be affordable for the blind and visually impaired.Using funds from the Ruth Urang bequest the LBEA ministry is now offering blind persons the BibleCourier with two complete Bibles or one Bible and Henry'sConcise Commentary at the subsidized price of only $75.00 or $87.00 with folding headphones and external volume control/filter. That price is $50 off theactual cost to manufacture a BibleCourier.Upon receipt of your order, LBEA will send you postage paid by U.S Priority or First Class Mail your choice of two selections for each BibleCourier from the list below.
• The King James Version (KJV),
• The King James Version with Apocrypha (KJVA), • The American Standard Version (ASV),
• The Revised Standard Version (RSV),
• The Bible in Basic English (BBE),
• The New King James Version (NKJV),
• The New International Version (NIV), • The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV),
• The New Living Translation (NLT), • The Good News Bible (GNB),
• The New American Standard Version (NAS),
• The New American Standard (with Apocrypha) (NASA),
• The New Jerusalem Bible (with Apocrypha) (NJB).
• The English Standard Version (ESV),
• The Contemporary English Version (CEV),
• The Matthew Henry Concise Commentary (MHC),

All orders must be made by mail or PayPal and checks and money orders payable in U.S. funds. Please include a telephone number and/or e-mail contact with your order so you may be contacted if there are any questions.LBEA is able to accept credit or debit card orders only through PayPal. There is a $3.00 service charge added for PayPal orders. To order a Bible Courier using PayPal click on the order by PayPal link.Send mail requests with your check or money order payable in U.S. funds for $75.00 ($87.00 with folding headphones and volume control/filter) for each Bible Courier to:

Lutheran Braille Evangelism Association (LBEA)
1740 Eugene Street
White Bear Lake, MN 55110-3312

The Spirituality of Restlessness

This item from Wider Quaker Fellowship

definitely speaks to RantWoman's condition. RantWoman also makes mental note to think about linking in the Wider Quaker Fellowship publications page since it's definitely accessible!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Keeping the "Y"

Memorializing our loved ones who have passed on is part of our gratitude for their lives and continued presence among us. This is what the worship-sharing group RantWoman was called to at our Meeting's workshop on Death and Dying wanted the large closing worship to hold.

RantWoman would especially note that those being memorialized are not a one, known to anyone else in Meeting except their loved ones who came to RantWoman's worship sharing. RantWoman has no freaking idea what that memorializing is supposed to look like specifically in her Meeting. RantWoman is simply going to start with Blind Roommate and in passing, since Blind Roommate went and got run over by a bus on the late Rant Father's birthday the RantFather as well.

RantWoman, who seems really a lot of the time to experience God deeply in interactions among people, with human strivings as measure of Spirit is finding herself led in unpredictable directions about the topic.

First, Blind Roommate at the time of her death was a PhD candidate at Rutgers with a fellowship in gay studies. If RantWoman had wanted to get an early start on her annual spell of reflection on Blind Roommate, bus accidents, and other interweaving threads of life, certain events at Rutgers the beginning of the school year would have been plenty of reason.

RantWoman thinks Blind Roommate would probably find sex advice columnist Dan Savage as obnoxious as RantWoman sometimes does. However, in lieu of total funk and in solidarity with people young, gay, blind, RantWoman here presents the It Gets Better Project. not particularly crash-tested for accessibility issues and Blind LGBT Pride International

RantWoman expects both resources have gender balance issues but recommends starting there anyway. RantWoman also recommends that readers who want to come pick up some resources and not meander among RantWoman's peculiar reminiscences might at this point want to click back to other social networking or weightier Quaker options.

For some reason the following item also called Blind Roommate to mind. Aliens vs Predators defense of immigrants in public schools

Blind Roommate was a graduate of NJ public schools. Her father was an immigrant from Turkey. RantWoman thinks based on some of Blind Roommate's other views about oppressions, racism, sexism that she would likely be all over the issue of immigrant children in public schools. If not, RantWoman still thinks the nonviolent activism angle is highly topical.

Blind Roommate's first name is Sara. For eccentric reasonsRantWoman will probably keep using a pseudonym. Despite Blind Roommate's death predating the arrival of the worldwide web by several years, RantWoman was led to put Blind Roommate's full name into the search engine of her choice and was touched actually at what turned up, an obituary on her HS alumni site with college Princeton references and a tender comment from Blind Roommate's sister whom RantWoman remembers as very different from Sara.

Sara loved singing in the Princeton Glee club and went to way more Princeton sporting events than one would predict from her evolving politics. She had amazing mobility skills and other skills of blindness, but she hated trying to get around the parts of campus covered quaintly in cobblestone with her white cane, especially in the snow. Sara's work study job was at the Women's Center. RantWoman remembers helping with research assistance about the red hot question of whether or not to have a pro-life task force there. Uhhhh...? RantWoman also remembers the director of the Women's Center telling Sara once to "get some guys" from our co-op house to help move a television for some event. RantWoman knows exactly why Sara asked RantWoman and a male housemate now turned famous astronomer. RantWoman did not even complain very loudly: RantWoman is noticeably taller than Famous Astronomer and weight distribution in RantWoman's experience almost never works well when two people of different heights try to move something together.

Next RantWoman decided to subject a few topics near and dear to Blind Roommate to the search engine of choice:

Womyn's Braille press

RantWoman supposes she just gets to be present with general crabbiness about various subpopulations such as Quakers and Gay / Lesbian / Feminist readers having to be very intentional about access others take for granted to books in forms accessible to blind people. Oh boy is RantWoman present with this, but RantWoman is also nostalgic.

Blind Roommate was a very big supporter of Womyn's Braille Press. In fact, at one point the press was going to change its name and drop the y. RantWoman happened to be passing through Princeton the summer this was being discussed. RantWoman and Blind Roommate spent a whole afternoon in the reference section of Princeton's Firestone library playing amateur historical linguists. Blind Roommate made a whole bunch of notes from what RantWoman read and sent them off: the press kept the y. Unfortunately, the Press folded a few years later for economic reasons, but RantWoman is grateful to read that materials can still be requested via the National Library Service of the Library of Congress through interlibrary loan.

References to Womyn's Braille Press showed up in two other channels with interesting content even though RantWoman is in no position to comment about accessibility issues for other interesting content from these sources.


Women in Print

RantWoman is unclear why this item got noted here but is leaving it anyway: History of National Braille Press

One example of Sara's political passions:
The Women's Pentagon Action Unity Statement, served up with links about counterterrorism and global security which RantWoman peculiarly imagines have in mind something different from the content of the WPA statement
Also, that great standby, the War Resisters' League

Singing was a huge passion for Sara and she had a wonderful alto voice. She favored a lot of folk music including Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Phil Ochs and others. One of Sara's claims to fame was that she was the only or at least the first woman ever to win the Bob Dylan sound-alike contest a a club in NY called Folk City. Like the Womyn's Braille Press, Folk City lives on only in history: Gerde's folk city

RantWoman has no idea what Sara would have thought of Bob Dylan's spiritual evolutions. RantWoman herself remains colossally ignorant of "later Dylan" and is not feeling particularly led to remedy this gap. Instead RantWoman wants to mix in Edith Piaf!

Sara visited the RantFamily one Christmas; MT sounded much better to Sara than family issues in NJ. Sara and RantWoman did the Great Bowling Alleys of North Dakota cross-country road trip aboard Greyhound. Sara had been reading Abbie Hoffman's Steal this Book and was virulently allergic to paying to use the restroom. RantWoman is going to leave to her readers' imaginations the plethora of strategies Sara devised to avoid the need to do so. When at last we arrived, warmed up, washed away 3 days worth of bus grime, Sara and RantDad immediately connected about music. Sara always treasured an Edith Piaf album RantDad gave her before we headed back to college, and when RantWoman needs to describe Sara's voice, somewhere between Edith Piaf and Bob Dylan is what comes out.

The other memorable Sara and RantDad moment was a couple years after the Christmas visit. Sara and another classmate, Leo hitchhiked from NJ to ID to attend the Rainbow Gathering,

RantWoman pleaded work or insufficient zeal for that particular form of be-in or RantWoman is really not sure what. For one thing Hitchhiking did NOT sound like fun to RantWoman. RantWoman did volunteer the RantParents' front yard if the hitchhikers needed a place to camp and their travel arrangements aligned with the right interstate. When the travellers reached MT, their transportation settled on the northern route., by passing the RantParents. Sara called the RantParents to say thanks but no thanks. Sara's quote about the conversation "your father gave me such a lecture about hitchhiking that it kept me awake all the way across MT and that is a LONG time."

On that note, RantWoman will close for now. RantWoman is sifting through her firehose delivery of memorial minutia meditating about more focussed memorializing. RantWoman also needs to follow up on one moreexcursion to the search engine of her choice, but this posting is convoluted enough that for now RantWoman is just going to STOP and keep remembering.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ahead Dork Factor Green

RantWoman is striving to weave gratitude--APPROPRIATELY--into Thanksgiving reflections.

Take Conflict is a Gift of God Friend's current need, due to retinas gone wacky, to go about with one dark green lens and one clear one in his glasses. For starters, RantWoman gets to be grateful that she has never had to endure that exact measure, though the eye patch she was supposed to wear for lazy eye after on operation comes close.

Conflict is a Gift of God Friend says actually wearing such glasses is keeping whatever is going wrong with his retinal recovery from getting any worse. However, Conflict is a Gift of God Friend is seriously put out--to the point of resisting being photographed--by the visual dork factor of it all. RantWoman is thinking, Friend, does thee think God loves you any less because of this? God of course is not necessarily the point though the following item is somehow a topical digression:

RantWoman was also thinking of making a point of photographing RantMom several different ways at the end of RantMom's last chemo. RantMom had one passable wig, one really awful wig, a number of turbans and scarves, and a time or two just her bare head with only a little fuzz coming back. RantWoman found RantMom beautiful no matter what was on her head. Well, RantWoman did not recommend overdoing the really awful wig and generally was very glad this phase of headgear was TEMPORARY. RantWoman deeply hopes for similar transitoriness for Conflict is a Gift of God Friend's green eyeglasses and thinks that photos as tracks in time should sometimes be borne in spite of vanity.

Conflict is a Gift of God Friend evoked entertaining remembrance of Founder of Entire State Program Blind Friend who went about with her glasses the same way at some point in the arc of her vision decay. Conflict Is a Gift of God Friend complained that he had once printed the Meeting newsletter in his best stab at large print format for the late Blind Friend but that she was never pleased.

RantWoman does not know how to break it to Conflict Is a Gift of God Friend, but the right way to do large print is what will work for the person who needs large print--and sometimes the fact that large print will not work is the POINT. RantWoman does not recall whether Conflict is a Gift of God Friend mentioned even asking Blind Friend about her preferences. Some people can read print of 14 or 16 point; others will need 24 or 28 point. Some people will be fine with large print spread across extra large paper. Others would much rather have their large print in compact columns that they can skim in whatever constrained visual field they might have. RantWoman can guess at any number of things that might have gone wrong.

Well, RantWoman can easily make many guesses, but since conversation is bumpy anyway, RantWoman instead sent the following link off to Conflict is a Gift of God Friend.

RantWoman also refrained from recounting an anecdote she encountered recently, possibly over at Our Daily Bread. A man was in his house when a flood arose. The waters came up to his first floor and someone came by in a canoe offering to carry him to safety. The man said, "No thanks." He was waiting on God. The flood waters rose to the second floor. Another canoe appeared. Again the man said no thanks, he was waiting on God. The waters rose some more so that the man was clinging to his roof. Along came a helicopter, but again the man said no thanks because he was waiting on God. Finally God spoke out of the storm and said something along the lines of Friend, I have sent three different ways out of there. What are you waiting for?"

RantWoman is finding herself grateful recently to have connected specifically about visual issues with two people in her Meeting who have blind relatives: RantWoman finds these Friends experiences especially credible, like she can probably rely on these Friends to tell her when she is doing something too dorkily or out of the realm of acceptable.RantWoman is unclear why these two Friends' experiences carry more weight than those of some others in her Meeting whom RantWoman knows to be dealing with vision challenges. RantWoman has decided not even to probe the whys of this and for the time being to shut up and be grateful.

Then there would be the holiday buffet line. RantWoman can darn sure tell anyone who asks that she is grateful to manage the buffet line on her own--mostly. Some in RantWoman's orbit are more attuned than others to the why of RantWoman asking what is in this or that bowl than others. This time around RantWoman was grateful simply to find the serving utensils--and even better the right end of the utensils. RantWoman does admit, she likely missed out on some salad and green vegetables because of not asking what the green things before her were. RantWoman will worry more about greenery at other seasons!

RantWoman would also note, she emphatically is NOT tethered to RantMom. RantMom only very occasionally exhibits signs that she finds RantWoman's vision issues a little disconcerting. For instance RantWoman is grateful that when RantMom came to lunch recently at RantWoman's., RantMom managed to watch the entire prep from a safe distance and only comment when asked, did RantMom remember where RantWoman had put some kitchen item or other. RantMom did. She said so and let RantWoman take it from there. THANKS MOM.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Gift of Prophesy: Worship as Soap Opera

In case y'all have not noticed, this "love one another stuff" is not automatic. Blame RantWoman's current attack of frankness about the matter on the unholy interaction of Seattle and snow. RantWoman feels blessed to be warm and dry with a stable internet connection and more groceries than she can eat. Still, a meeting where RantWoman was going to get to season some of what was on her mind got cancelled and RantWoman's inner volcano is in its usual agitated state. This may or may not bode well for spiritual coherence, but let us begin where we are.

RantWoman's Sunday tending of her spiritual life included lively discussion catalyzed by Unconditional Love Friend during Adult Education. If RantWoman had been more attentive she might have an author to attach to Unconditional Love Friend's line of thinking. RantWoman instead latched onto energetic comments from Righteous Anger Friend.

Righteous Anger Friend is Friend in the process of Being Convinced. This means he often has great and provocative questions. Plus he came to the west coast from New Jersey so RantWoman finds him somehow easy to relate to. Plus RantWoman definitely hopes to still be banging away at big questions as energetically as Righteous Anger Friend does by the time she gets to be his age. This week Righteous Anger Friend was exercised about something he had read in the New York Times of Mormons' treatment of native American children.

Careful, thought RantWoman, them's mah peeps you talking about. Well, them's a lot of RantMom's Mormon cousins. RantWoman actually has no basis for any opinion about her distant relatives' views. Also, RantWoman figures Mormons probably do NOT have a monopoly on ill-treatment of Native Americans, but the clock ran out on Adult Ed before that thread went anywhere.

Righteous Anger Friend demurred seriously about unconditional love in this situation. Friends spoke of Rufus Jones' party meeting with Nazis in the 1930's and immediately settling into worship after the meeting. RantWoman remembers reading also of an early Quaker speaking to that of God in Oliver Cromwell. RantWoman is doing well to stay centered in connection with Meeting for Worship.

The star of RantWoman's current ruminations: Eye Roller Friend. Eye Roller Friend currently has a very badly seasoned gift of prophesy: the second almost any Friend rises to speak during Meeting for worship, Eye Roller Friend begins to clear his throat, fidget, and roll his eyes so loudly that a legally blind RantWoman can detect it from across the room.

RantWoman admits she SOMETIMES finds this gift helpful in summoning attention to an impending message. RantWoman considerably more frequently has the same experience lots of other Friends have: Friend, how on earth is it that you know the message will distress you even before a word is uttered? Friend, could you possibly be any ruder if you tried? Friend, could thee please, pretty please pray to whatever you call the Divine for concise words to substitute for the out-of-control behaviors and name your distress, preferably AFTER others have delivered of their messages? RantWoman knows that when you and the Divine get actual words lined up, there is much interesting seeking, much to be esteemed, but your other out-of-control behaviors are blowing away all of that. We value your presence; we are decidedly do NOT unite with your behavior and we grow tired after years of laboring with you about it!

Okay, RantWoman gets to be true to the Light she is given: some Friends DO tend to receive the same message repeatedly with only slight variations. RantWoman, speaking only for herself finds her reaction to this phenomenon highly variable. For instance, RantWoman forgives one of Meeting's gardener Friends of this sin on a regular basis.

RantWoman occasionally feels fed by messages from this Friend, and greatly esteems this Friend for other reasons. What makes RantWoman able to forgive really a lot, though, is the way Gardener Friend speaks of RantWoman's own occasional messages: Gardener Friend regularly complains that she has trouble hearing RantWoman but that she usually likes and really wants to hear RantWoman's messages. RantWoman is so humbled by these words that she takes in all such comments and summons every whisper of elocution practice she has ever encountered AND refrains from grumbling about worship room acoustics and all the Friends among us dealing with hearing loss.

RantWoman is also meditating about a conversation she had in the Feminazi Bitch subdialect with one Friend about repetitiveness in another's ministry. RantWoman notes that the most recent occasion when the latter Friend offered spoken ministry, there was substantial to RantWoman's ear improvement. RantWoman historically has found rather a lot of said Friend and rather less of God in that Friend's messages. RantWoman found herself grateful both for the Feminazi Bitch to Quakerese translation that finally came to her and for the appearance in that Friend's message at last of elements where, what could be predicted based on past messages notwithstanding, RantWoman could hear the workings of God. In other words, despite intermittent quest for concepts such as prophetic vision, too much prophesy in Meeting for Worship can be, well, too much of a good thing.

This week's attack of Eye Roller Friend prophesy was followed by another message of the form "Who am I to judge?" from Friend who not long ago spoke of logs and specks in people's eyes. This time Who Am I To Judge Friend spoke of feeling judged from many directions. She did not specify which--besides Eye Roller Friend's anticipatory rumblings. Her Bible passages were of the adulteress and "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." Who Am I to Judge Friend noted that in the story all the would-be stoners dissipated but there was no mention of forgiveness. To RantWoman's ear that indicates that SOMEONE is judging, though RantWoman supposes one can go find other passages for apologizing before God.

RantWoman does not remember other spells of Eye Roller Friend prophesy THIS time. Still, RantWoman is seasoning how more clearly to invite Eye Roller Friend into the community dialogue with the Divine that is well-covered worship. RantWoman is not doing so well about suggested role models. Consider:

Seriously Weighty Friend, deceased a few years. Seriously Weighty Friend said sometimes in worship her mind was "like a hummingbird on a holiday" even though seriously weighty things regularly emerged from such holidays.

RantWoman, aka the clerk of the Committee on Doing Sudoku in Meeting for Worship Committee over at the Association of Bad Friends. Enough said?

Then there would be Scoreboard Friend. Scoreboard Friend has confessed to RantWoman that he and a long deceased companion used, after worship, to rate messages as if there were a giant stadium scoreboard. RantWoman has not ascertained whether the scoreboard was one of those Home / Away displays or whether the effect was more like Olympic skating where there are marks both for technical execution and artistry. RantWoman here imagines phrasing such as "Friend, thee was favored, thee was faithful--and WE COULD HEAR YOU." Alas, RantWoman will not be proposing installation of any such anytime soon.

Scoreboard Friend also happens to be Conflict is a Gift from God Friend, only one of several weighty Friends who complain loudly of Eye Roller Friend and cluck of feeling judged in private but who cannot find it in themselves to speak to Eye Roller Friend themselves! RantWoman is seasoning a leading about such Friends. These Friends are well-spoken a good deal of the time. They are weighty presences in our community. And they cannot summon enough centeredness, unconditional love and reverence for that of God in Eye Roller Friend or focus in discerning what Eye Roller Friend's ministry is trying to teach to go speak to him their own darn selves! RantWoman is seasoning leadings about a whole list of people to whom she might make suggestions along this line. Perhaps it is just as well that the RantWoman School of Tact and Diplomacy will be subject to more shared discernment first.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Faith and Spiritual Struggle Amalgamated

RantWoman is celebrating another round of doing battle with Barclay's Apology in a most eccentric way: RantWoman is collecting several seemingly quite disparate links full of language about different moments of faith, spiritual life, life as the early Christians lived, Anabaptists and Lutherans apologizing for maltreatment of Anabaptists, and spiritual struggle. If RantWoman gets especially organized she will try to lay out some stepping stones among this exercise in free association. RantWoman does NOT promise to be that organized.

The (little-known) Mennonite Menace as reported in Sojourners

Really excellent invective from the American Spectator with even better invective in the comments. Note 1. Guys outnumber women by about 10 to 1 in the comments and the dialogue style reflects this. However, the dialogue style is also refreshing for anyone who manages "love one another" a little more smoothly when it occasionally comes with preposterous verbal broadsides. Note 2: RantWoman means to check out a couple interesting sounding links in the comments. Note 3: Time was, RantWoman used to have to totter off to the library and drag actual issues of the American Spectator off the shelves with the rest of her very heterodox Saturday night reading list. RantWoman is VERY grateful to get excerpts delivered live to her very own desktop with only an electronic click.

From FOR on spirituality, religion, faith

A meeting of historic peace churches in Latin America

And now for spiritual work from a Pagan perspective.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Local, Unresolved

Memorializing our loved ones who have passed on is part of our gratitude for their lives and continued presence among us. This is what the worship-sharing group RantWoman was called to at our Meeting's workshop on Death and Dying wanted the large closing worship to hold. RantWoman was very grateful to be able to help with that, but getting there had some, um, zigs and zags.

RantWoman is also trying to figure out how much space she needs in her Meeting to memorialize loved ones no one in her Meeting has ever met. RantWoman is tender as an anniversary draws out moments of affection for someone from Meeting that RantWoman never knew. RantWoman is separately working on a post weaving the life of Blind Roommate into several important strands of history and current RantWoman fixation. For now RantWoman gets to be tender with the topic's importance to herself and to let its importance to others work itself out or not in the fullness of time. Meanwhile...,

No, No, No, God, No! RantWoman actually did NOT necessarily want to lead a session at the Death and Dying Workshop. RantWoman wanted there to be space explicitly in the text of the announcement and the program to acknowledge that death sometimes comes in sudden and traumatic ways and that our loved ones sometimes linger especially close at anniversaries or other moments. RantWoman was willing to put her name on this thought but definitely not attached to being the one to do so .

The first draft of the program attached RantWoman's name to "unresolved grief," which RantWoman really, really did not want to promise anything meaninful about. In fact, RantWoman really wanted one of the other presenting Friends, perhaps someone with actual counseling credentials to highlight her sudden death and anniversaries concerns in a session title.

After words about the announcement and more words after the first draft of the program in email, RantWoman had felt more strongly led to restate the item in the program. RantWoman is going to have to inquire carefully why her point about possible help was missed; a different topic had also formed: The members of Oversight committee who planned to attend wanted to attend sessions, not for instance to lead something on planning memorials at our Meeting. RantWoman, being sometimes a fidgety, socially awkward, not to mention twitchy, idiosyncratically reflective and irreverent sort, thought perhaps it would be helpful to do something alliterative about Managing Memorial minutia and What to feed the Mourning Masses, but Unresolved Grief is still what wound up in the program.

Apparently Unresolved Grief had more traction that RantWoman anticipated. Two Friends besides RantWoman showed up. Everyone shared the moments of sudden death, our anniversary months, and the absence / presences that brought us together. Words flowed back and forth of each person's individual concerns. RantWoman feels VERY tender to have gotten to know newcomers to her Meeting in dramatic new dimensions. Still, God / Goddess / some Divine presence bigger than Rantwoman alone is just going to have to help RantWoman tend the revelations she received and the walking with these Friends!

RantWoman's sense of being rightly led solidified as a need to move large muscles and bang things found form during event cleanup. RantWoman also declined two different rides home. RantWoman walked out of Meeting into much more cold than usual and immediately got a bus, a local well-heated to hold RantWoman in extra moments of blessed warmth while RantWoman discerned whether or not to attempt yet another meeting. The answer turned out to be No, according to RantWoman's rule about choosing sometimes among destinations based on which bus arrives first. Blessed!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


One of the tasks not specifically described in the committee job description for Worship and Ministry committee members is from time to time as needed to give a good accounting of Quaker practices to for instance eager young college students doing homework for their Christian Formation class. Some of RantWoman's readers may be forgiven for the catty observation that the thought of RantWoman doing this could be sort of frightening. RantWoman takes seriously being entrusted with this duty; she and God are also still working things out, in both the Readers' Digest /elevator speech increments and in more conceptually dense theological elaborations:

RantWoman has, um, flubbeed a proper account of herself--Twice. The first time was in Russian which either is worse or worth extra credit, depending.

RantWoman occasionally interprets for a multilingual community who were at one point so badly mistreated by the entity administering their low-income housing community that they sued and won funding for interpreters to help them talk to one another. Many of them are Baptists. Russian-speaking Baptists are more sincere and New Testament than the American Baptists of RantWoman's teenage years. RantWoman is nearly always deeply humbled when she works with the group. The people rantWoman interprets for are of quite modest means and are always concerned for those worse off than they. RantWoman's heart is always deeply fed which helps with the sense that God is also probably handling the life issues fret list that sometimes forms in RantWoman's mind on her clients' behalf.

The group works with a Romanian interpreter who also speaks Russian. The last time we were together she was quizzing RantWoman about baptism. Uhhhh. RantWoman hopes she explained a little about Rev. RantGrandfather and getting baptized as an infant without any choice about the matter.

RantWoman has been thinking about the suppositions behind the practice of baptizing infants as she and a valiant flock of readers slog through Barclay's apology and the radical for the time thought of God reborn within everyone without need to get original sin washed off to get into heaven: lots of cultures have rituals welcoming new babies. If one lives in a time or a society where there is lots of legitimate fear about a child not surviving until an age when the child can make a choice on his or her own, infant baptism serves the dual function of welcoming the child and seeking Divine protection. Baptism is perhaps the least peculiar of several family gifts that RantWoman has come to accept as a starting point with a muddle of hopelessly well-intentioned parental making things up as they went along.

As a result of that baptism though, the Baptists of RantWoman's youth decided that somehow the gift of RantGrandfather's ministrations would wash off if they made the Rant Family get dunked to join the church and we happily remained what one of the pastors called "dry-cleaned Baptists." In Russian, RantWoman left out the part about the dry cleaning as well as her visceral rebellion against the customary phrasing used for the customary immersions, "buried with him in Baptism and risen to walk in newness of life." RantWoman supposes she should check up on the baptisms both of John the Baptist and whatever happened to Jesus. RantWoman just never heard or read of Christ and any larger volume of water than footwashing and was quite intemperate in her discomfort with mangled metaphors. To say the least though, RantWoman needs to brush up both on her Quakerism and her modern Russian theology vocabulary. Stay tuned.

The second flub was last week when it fell to RantWoman as a member of Worship and Ministry to answer questions from a contingent of students from one of the local universities doing their assignments for Christian Formation by attending silent worship at 9:30 worship. Here is what RantWoman wrote in email about details of students and RantWoman connecting with each other.

Traditional Quaker worship is about waiting in silence on movements of the Holy Spirit. Among people who regularly worship at 9:30. the HolySpirit tends to take many weeks or months between vocal ministry,spoken messages but this is unpredictable.

This week, our 9:30 Adult Religious Education is actually people talking about their experiences of silent worship, how they prepare or center, experiences during the silence, leadings to speak, the effects of others' messages. I think either silent worship or a discussion centered on the thought that we are all ministers of God would be good ways to learn about Quaker
worship, but it is up to you what will speak best to your interests and the terms of your assignment.

RantWoman guessed from a line of shapes in a part of the worship room not usually populated during 9:30 worship that the students had chosen worship. The Holy Spirit showed up in worship--TWICE. The first time was a newcomer offering a memorial for someone for the sort of odor enhanced challenging presence whom many Friends undoubtedly wish God would lead to bathe. The memorial called him a teacher and did not offer further commentary on matters of God and bathing. A good while later came a message about God loving everyone in their own way and undoubtedly loving the Unwashed Teacher just as the visiting speaker unquestionably did.

A message began teasing around the edge of RantWoman's mind about recent ministry offered by Friend Poet during Adult Education: there had been discussion in small clumps of queries something to do with feeling the presence of God among other people. Two Friends in RantWoman's small group offered thoughts related to their station and education and presence in specific communities. RantWoman does not remember what Friend Poet said in the small group but was entranced with what he said when Friends were asked to reflect thoughts back to the larger group.

Friend Poet is among the vast fellowship, people of every station who make all their fashion choices at Value Village and Friend Poet spoke of feeling the presence of God in whatever other people had worn and handled his clothes before they came to him at Value Village. RantWoman suspects that several of those assembled just brushed this off as more randomness from Friend Poet, but this specifically spoke to RantWoman's flair for the physical. Worship closed before all of these thoughts settled into spoken words and RantWoman had to attend to finding the students and answering their questions.

Turns out, a big part of the assignment was to learn Friends' views about baptism and communion. RantWoman was blessed to recall some blog entries about silent worship as communion, what someone RantWoman knows refers to as direct relationship with the living body of Christ.

RantWoman found speaking of baptism a lot harder. To make matters worse, RantWoman was seized by an uncharacteristic attack of more or less proper comportment and somehow neglected to mention either boy baby fountains or the accidental convention in her Meeting of dishwashing as baptism, especially for newcomers.

RantWoman found it difficult to say more than "we don't do that here." RantWoman notes that she did not register any comments her companion from Worship and Ministry either. Rantwoman hopes the students can find some of what they need for their assignment other ways and is still seasoning a leading about emailing a link to this blog post. Did RantWoman go read up on baptism at or wikipedia? She did NOT but she did poke among selected blogs in her bookmarks, to idiosyncratic effect:

Vegan chocolate cake: reference in passing to a baptism in the family and comments about faith along with the cake recipe.

Julia Ward Howe in connection on baptism of water or tears and mothers' day.

RantWoman's thoughts wandered to a message she heard once in worship, a wonderfully grounded and alive message in spite of the blood sacrifice imagery that started it off, about "washed in the blood of the Lamb," blood sacrifice coexisting in the part of RantWoman's brain that also stores slogans related to war as menstrual envy. RantWoman suspects that if she went down this path early in conversations with impressionable youth, she might be eldered severely. RantWoman is to be true to the Light she is given, but RantWoman does get to insist that the Light be pretty tightened before she actually speaks.

Two items from

The ambiguity of Jesus, John the Baptist and Epiphany / Baptism puts RantWoman in mind of a question she once read on a Russian > English translators' discussion board. The proposed variants all made a point of literally translating Epiphany even though the context was ecological and RantWoman figured for an ecological context many English-speakng readers would not at all get the reference behind "Epiphany" and suggested Festival of Immersion as the title of an ecologically themed event. RantWoman in retrospec does not even want to think of how much greenwashing might be involved in word choice.

Wonderful stuff from The Good Raised Up about the absence of outward sacraments with some links for further reading.

RantWoman's basic point: Your mileage may vary, and it's your duty to tend and refine your own views based on the Light within you. There is no single Quaker position: if you want literal baptism, either immersion or "dry cleaning," that's not going to happen among Quakers. A few of us may be able to help you shop for baptism options, and we would be happy to help with a clearness process so that you can figure out your own Inner Light about the matter!

RantWoman also means to formulate some queries about how Friends experience openings, cmings of age, welcoming of new babies, the wide range of events that baptism metaphors collect around.

A late-breaking addition, baptism as conversion and footwashing mixed with reconciliation: