Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One Vocal Ministry Zinger after another

RantWoman takes issue with an assertion early on in the item below that worship in Quaker Meetings occurs mainly in silence. Worship in unprogrammed Meetings occurs mainly from the silence, but worldwide and across different strands of Quakerism, there are WIDE variations in the quantity and quality of silent worship as well as other worship practices such as singing and message. That said:

RantWoman glommed onto the word elder, lately causing consternation, confusion, and quest for coherence in the land of RantWoman, and found these three items from her searching.

and especially

Monday, January 25, 2010

Middling level deadly sins

Today's Our Daily Bread Bible item is from the gospel of John:

"You now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you." —John 16:22

RantWoman is having the sort of spell where even such a passage comes across as the God as Stalker mode of divine presence. This may have a great deal to do with RantWoman's occasional life experiences of feeling the divine close even in the presence of, um, abusive jerks or more diplomatically people who can come across as such even if that is not what they, giving more benefit of the doubt than RantWoman is capable of on her own right now, do not mean such or worse yet are not even conscious of doing or seem not to be able to stop. Okay, just because this represents kind of familiar emotional territory for RantWoman most assuredly does not mean RantWoman WANTS to be here.

This is a longwinded way of saying RantWoman is still processing material from her Compost melodrama. Subtracting for the time being one question and annoying monthly proddings from people still missing the point definitely does not mean all the matter's complexities have worked themselves out.

--Right now, RantWoman feels need of further conversation, and hopefully shared conversation with several people in the room. RantWoman thinks rather than a Clearness Committee, she just wants prayerful threshing, with space for many people to speak honestly, supervised by one or more people with credible mediation experience and she knows who she has in mind. Beyond agreeing to show up and general interest in knowing more about the topics of mediation and conflict resolution though, RantWoman is going to go on strike about any more of a specifying role than that.

--One of these days RantWoman will post separately about all the aggravations of RantWoman's different reading options. RantWoman knows perfectly well she has much to be grateful for and is suffering severe "spoiled American syndrome" about many things to do with the topic. Again this is the RantWoman we've got though and RantWoman does not even feel called to spell out much of how this is tangled with the Compost melodrama.

--Taking one set of questions off the table has given RantWoman emotional space to go back to a different point, a point that RantWoman has previously written about, a point which so enrages RantWoman that, every time she starts to doubt her leadings around this topic, causes her backbone to quiver and straighten, a point which RantWoman cannot even vent about in every venue it might occur to her to vent because it involved RantWoman's intervention in a situation where Dear Friend was causing problems with Meeting personnel. RantWoman is not even going to connect the dots about exactly what she is thinking, at least not in personalized terms. However, RantWoman is going tofire some questions off to someone(s) whose workshop at Ben Lomond just came to RantWoman's attention on the assumption that the exact problem on RantWoman's mind might not be exactly unique.

But back to RantWoman's morning reading.The text accompanying the Bible passage, , for no reason apparent to RantWoman mentions the seven deadly sins.

"You may be familiar with the list of seven deadly sins that was formulated during the sixth century: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, vengeance, envy, and pride. But you may not know that the original list compiled during the fourth century also included the sin of sadness."

In other words, in addition to God as Stalker, there are plenty of traps on the road!

RantWoman regrets to inform her public that, although she is doing really, really embarrassingly well about some of the seven deadly sins, she does not really expect to be able to provide full service in the sins department this week. RantWoman further acknowledges that this blog might be much more fun to read if she would detail exactly which sins she is excelling in. Let us just say, RantWoman may tell a little too much of the truth a lot of the time, but even she has her limits. Plus, RantWoman's current sins of choice would do well as country western song as well as telenovela, but RantWoman is sure her readers have febrile imaginations of their own, not to mention their own favorite temptations.

RantWoman has been digging:

The Conflict section of Chapter 20, Living Faithfully Today from Britain Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice.

PS if you read it online, it's nicely hyperlinked to related passages in other chapters.

The Blind Boys of Alabama clip, in case she needs tips about sinning, here:

(RantWoman was so taken by this clip she went to look for others. This is definitely the best of the ones she looked at!)

Patti Smith on the radio: "Jesus died for somebody's sins--but not mine!" Oh Yeah? And oh, boy the conversations that starts in Quaker land!

And from last week:

RantWoman really needed the following messages:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ministry of Crabbiness and Living on Planet Earth

RantWoman misspeaks. General Crabbiness is an overstatement. However RantWoman is crossposting from her transit whines blog in an effort to further a general ministry of supportive presence for elderly Friends no longer able to get to worship unassisted.

RantWoman particularly commends the paragraph in the above item about use of paratransit. RantWoman has been in dialogue with Persnickety Friend. Persnickety Friend thinks someone from Meeting OWES the Friend who needs a ride, as well perhaps as the other Friend who lives in her retirement facility. RantWoman thinks Friends unquestionably have all paid in more than enough taxes to take advantage of the paratransit service!

No one with a vehicle lives close or even on a good drive route. Neither Friend at the retirement community can take the bus unaided. RantWoman is darn sure not going to volunteer to drive. In fact, RantWoman is offering what she CAN do, help shepherd the application through the needed bureaucracy and then help other Friends interact with the process of scheduling pickup and return trips. This is NO mean effort and RantWoman would appreciate it if Persnickety Friend would get over herself about other expectations. RantWoman will now resume her efforts to render the above thought in appropriate Quakerese!

Partial Credit in Iraq

RantWoman is posting this here with modest appreciation:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Shameless book promo

RantWoman has nothing to do with the following book beyond clicking a link off a thread on one of her blindess email lists.

The Color of Sunlight

This forthcoming title is co-written by a hospice nurse and a blind transwoman who lived in Kalispell MT.

RantWoman is in awe of the very idea of a blind transwoman in Kalispell MT. RantWoman is pretty sure she has never been to Kalispell, but RantWoman has been enough other places in MT to be able to imagine.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Don't quite have the beatitudes down

Today was our first week of moving the time children are in worship to the end rather than the beginning of 11:00 worship.

Based on today's very gathered worship, RantWoman approves.

RantWoman is also COMPLETELY down with the last message. The last message was about the Beatitudes, all about the Beatitudes, all about the Beatitudes for a long time, like wandering in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights.

How, you may ask can one use a phrase like "wandering in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights" with reference to the Beatitudes? Remember, this is RantWoman we are talking about here.

And what exactly was the Promised Land? Friend Moses proclaimed that he is not at all sure he has a handle on that "Love one another" stuff. Friend SO speaks my mind.

Quaker surprises

RantWoman is seasoning a whole jumble of posts partly about needs to talk more explicitly of the presence of God / Christ ... in one's life and some key points of cultural and technological shift in Christianity / Quakerism. RantWoman is seasoning these posts. and they are still pretty much a squirming mass of muddle. In the meantime RantWoman wants to speak of one of the things that keeps her coming back to Friends, what she calls Quaker surprises.

RantWoman has a lot of life history and recent community work intersecting with people of many different faiths, so last year one of the roles RantWoman felt a leading to consider is denominational representative to the local church council. RantWoman supposes she should write / read more of what this means and RantWoman's experiences walking boundaries among faith traditions, among faith / social action. at some point. RantWoman is going to concentrate here on a few short moments with strong leadings.

RantWoman spoke with both our Clerk and with the Friend from another Meeting who had been filling this role. Both of them are clear that for the time being, it is fine for Friends not to interact with this specific body. One reason was a proposal to picket another faith's houses of worship in connection with that faith's opposition to same-sex marriage and support for ballot measures enshrining that view in law.

When RantWoman heard of this specific issue, she immediately had two ferocious and contradictory leadings.

First, our Meeting has been taking same-sex marriages under our care for probably as long as almost any congregation in Seattle, BUT there is NO WAY RantWoman would even bring that proposal back to her Meeting for feedback. RantWoman so ferociously respects freedom of religion that there is no way she would be signing up to picket another faith's house of worship.

2. RantWoman knows from observing her Meeting and other Quakers engage this way that the obvious thing to do would be to engage in dialogue. Read up at least a bit on that faith's teachings and practices about family life. Set up dialogue that includes families from that faith and families of different characteristics from other faiths. RantWoman has even heard in the news of something like this and better dialogue specifically in Salt Lake city with greatly admirable legal results.

RantWoman alas at the moment of the conversation about picketing the houses of worship also felt neither leading nor capacity to take up this approach herself so for the time being, she just gets to wonder whether her points above would have landed with others if she had been in the room. RantWoman does not have to wonder too long, but will add paying attention to faith community mentions to her list of things applicable to her other community-building work.


RantWoman is clear that she would very much like to go to this year's Silent Retreat. RantWoman really could use a whole weekend of fresh air and silent communion, and the Silent Retreat is what she can afford to boot.

So what is the problem? What is the problem now?

RantWoman needs, basically to request reasonable accommodations. Dear Friend is wearing a hat that means it's his job at the very least to help season this request. Dear Friend has a history of some problematic points already, and RantWoman can predict that he will have strong personal opinions based on partial misapprehension and experience in an inapplicable context. RantWoman currently has two phone calls in to start community discussion.

RantWoman's basic needs:

--RantWoman wants to bring her laptop and headphones so she can read as everyone else does at silent retreat. Dear Friend has a time or two used RantWoman's computer at home to check email. He always finds Mr. JAWS annoying, especially at the speed RantWoman makes Mr. JAWS work. RantWoman has plenty of experience using her headphones at the library and out various other places in public. RantWoman loves the community that evolves at Silent Retreat and wants to disrupt that as little as possible. And RantWoman has no alternative to this request.

Well, if Friends want to designate a place where RantWoman can read and there is an open invitation to share in low voices of reading not on RantWoman's computer, RantWoman might consider that a gift. The point is just that not talking about it is not an option.

Despite Dear Friend's last terse email about being out of the dialogue for awhile, RantWoman is clear to try about shifting this view. RantWoman is clear she goes there at her own risk, and RantWoman is clear to try. Either that or here is another reason RantWoman is a raving lunatic.

RantWoman frequently appears to be coping really well with her midlife DNA lotto vision meltdown.

RantWoman does not walk into walls--much.

RantWoman so far has managed to work with Thwack the Cane well enough to notice the difference between using Thwack and not using Thwack. One time RantWoman was at an event involving our former mayor. RantWoman is tall. The mayor is taller. Neither is exactly a petite person. Yet Thwack was not on the job and RantWoman nearly body-slammed the mayor twice in about 10 minutes. That is one problem. Another problem is the number of people including Friends who, upon hearing this story, chuckle. Some know of RantWoman's protestor past; some don't. RantWoman just finds it a little disconcerting to hear, numbers of times, "Well...."

Now Seattle has a somewhat shorter mayor. Come to think of it, based on when he interacted with RantWoman without Thwack, he may also get confusing signals about what RantWoman can and cannot do.

RantWoman has pretty solid mobility skills and goes about very independently. RantWoman has glasses on her face and if RantWoman is in a familiar environment, a casual observer will think everything is fine.

RantWoman has been functioning tolerably well since a topical care committee laid itself down a year or so after some key medical events.

A lot of people in RantWoman's meeting seem not even to have grasped RantWoman's vision loss, and this despite the fact that Thwack the badly-behaved and thoroughly unQuakerly white cane nearly always comes along.

--2. Please tell RantWoman who you are. Shecan recognize faces about two feet away but needs reminders of names, sometimes several times for people she has just met.

--3. RantWoman needs to lay down the law, uniformly, at the beginning of the weekend: ASK first before trying to help or guide. If I ask for something, the default response should be "Do not argue about the form of help I ask for." And don't take it personally if I decline.

RantWoman supposes she is supposed to thank Dear Friend for embodying some of the issues behind these points. Dear Friend has a lot of company; it's just that the company does not go to Meeting and RantWoman has higher expectations about Friends at least being able to listen.

(RantWoman thinks she will make a couple other low-key requests in private but she wants to keep that as discrete as possible. Basically, RantWoman would be open to leading of Spirit about communications opportunities, but definitely does not want to overdo that.)

RantWoman knows her way around the site of the Silent Retreat pretty well. This is one reason RantWoman feels comfortable without making even more requests. RantWoman supposes she is supposed also to be grateful not to have to ask more. That would be a lot to ask of RantWoman right now.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Faith and Finance Committee/ Powerpoint without a Prayer

RantWoman was out last Friday night with RantMom at a form of interfaith dialogue. RantWoman went with RantMom and almost the entire Session of RantMom's Presbyterian church to a speech by Anthony Robinson, nationally known congregational life consultant and former pastor of Plymouth Congregational UCC church. RantWoman is grateful for a ride to exotic Bellevue and especially for a ride up windy roads RantWoman suspects would have been a pain to deal with from any nearby bus stop.

RantWoman maintained a stunning Quaker silence in the car going, which is a good thing because the Presbyterians were plenty chattery and all full of earthquake opinions. Upon arrival, RantWoman took note of Impending Powerpoint! Powerpoint gone awry is one of RantWoman's pet peeves; an early glance indicated that the evening's Powerpoint would feature:

--lots of slides with plenty of good whitespace

--few enough words to tempt RantWoman to the thought that if the words were bigger and in bolder type, there could still be good white space and RantWoman might actually be able to read them. Okay, RantWoman detected the screen and the likely presence of Powerpoint RantWoman is sometimes easily deluded in realms of vision, but she has to wonder.

--a more problematic point considering one of RantWoman's takeaways from the evening to be named below: Rev. Robinson plunged right into his Powerpoint without a whisper of spoken prayer, either before or after the speech. In Quaker land, an opening of silence would be highly topical. RantWoman does not think she has ever visited, say, an African American congregation that would not open such an event, even a neighborhood forum or an evening of volunteer tax preparation help without a prayer of some kind. RantWoman would point out that the event with Rev. Robinson opened with fumbling about technology and not a word of prayer. Christ showed up in passing twice. which RantWoman finds, um, curious.

RantWoman was surprised at herself early in the speech. Rev. Robinson had been going through a lot of Then and Now Powerpoint slides (Arrrrrrgggh). The slides all mentioned some sort of certainty and clear social constructs for the Then and all kinds of things for the Now. Rev. Robinson was asking those assembled for reactions. RantWoman took note of how everyone mentioned a loss while RantWoman felt herself strangely energized, like this is IMPORTANT and an opportunity. RantWoman was on her most diplomatic behavior and simply held her silence until the speaker eventually got around to this very point. Quakers seem not to be the only ones who, instead of talking about faith, just want to recruit people for committees.

One thread of message during the speech and also during homebound car ride conversation was congregations that are glad to say what they think about gay marriage and the war in Iraq but do not know how to talk about Jesus or faith, no matter how dynamic the pastor.

RantWoman further notes that although for instance RantMom's church includes faces of various hues, tonight's event tended (surprise to whom?) toward the tall, northern European, and pasty-faced.Before the event there was chatter about chairs, ganged but possibly stackable on chair dollies, RantMom pointed out some wonderful laminated sheets of recurring weekly info.

There was a smattering actually of quite Quaker vocabulary about discernment, testimony, hospitality, and spiritual formation, and a church presence in moral, institutional, and spiritual terms,

Rev. Robinson also talked about, upon his arrival at his job at Plymouth. starting a series called Faith Journeys in the time between two Sunday morning services. He thought he would have trouble finding people from the congregation to fill the Sundays of his first summer. The series is still going on 20+ years later. The effect is a little like something RantWoman's Meeting used to do, Life Story Potlucks. Dang it: the committee that formerly organized is in need of....

Friday, January 15, 2010

Morning at the desk with RantWoman

(RantWoman is again messing with history in this post and is completely unsure what datestamp will appear to other readers. This post is also a thematic potpourri)

The scripture of the day off Our Daily Bread

RantWoman suspects she should click through the link to see what topical Quakerly messages motivated her to put the link here. That would require more intent and focus that RantWoman wants to offer in hindsight, but she will think about how to address the point of underscoring how her thinking relates to reading for future posts.

RantWoman was messing with the combo box to select Bible versions and found not only a whole bunch of versions in English but also multiple versions in Spanish and the option at least for the New Testament of Russian.

(RantWoman is unclear what deficiencies in page technical characteristics failed to send Mr. JAWS into Spanish for the Spanish; she wishes that anyone even expected Mr. JAWS to autodetect the language for Russian. RantWoman further wishes she did not have to keep demoing a different screen reader over this language change detection issue on her to-do list. RantWoman realizes she is supposed to shut up and be glad she has such technology to have such problems in the first place, but that is way too much to expect of RantWoman without a LOT of help.
RantWoman is cleaning up old posts deciding whether to post. In the interim since starting this post, RantWoman has learned that a new version of Mr. JAWS just MAY solve the problem she is grumbling about.)

RantWoman is TRYING not to spend every free second on her Compost matter, but again this is RantWoman we are talking about here.

RantWoman has two emails from Dear Friend she is still seasoning response / further response to.

Both say what RantWoman already knew and TRIED to tell Dear Friend in April: DearFriend's messages were/are not getting through to RantWoman. Perhaps RantWoman is simply supposed to be grateful that exact thought has now also penetrated Dear Friend's head. RantWoman however is a demanding bitch: she would also like Dear Friend, or failing that, others in the conversation to get her other points about what needs conversation bigger than Dear Friend and RantWoman and to help figure out how to do it.
(Again, from a perspective months out, RantWoman is fussing with old stuff exactly BECAUSE other threads of this conversation have wound their way further into community discussion. To say RantWoman has mixed feelings at this point would be a total understatement.)

One of the messages refers to a topic RantWoman did in fact pointedly refer to in private conversation. RantWoman has plenty of experience of the Divine involving love and flowers and birds and mountains and fresh air and music and...; RantWoman experiences the Divine also in context of dealing with, um, abusive jerks. In the general shared email case, RantWoman feels perfectly fine saying "I'm just reporting data; others get to apply labels (including any equation with a certain Friend.)"

Dear Friend was predictably offended by that entire line of thinking and wants RantWoman to apologize. RantWoman perfectly well understands the difference between intentional and unintended effects; RantWoman can AT LEAST reserve judgment. RantWoman also expects at some point to need to listen more than she can right now and to set aside anger. Mainly RantWoman does not have time to stay angry.

To be honest, RantWoman would also really, really like it if Dear Friend could figure out that there might be something he could apologize for and even apologize for without doing any harm to his whole line of thinking about a leading and speaking for God. Even if one is certain one is speaking for God, RantWoman would like evidence of care not to mangle the message RantWoman has no expectation that will happen in anything but Quaker time.

Before any of that can happen though, RantWoman and Dear Friend need HELP from our community:

Bad process is unsafe.

This morning's particular Light: given that Dear Friend has been walking on RantWoman's emotional landmines, given that RantWoman suspects that the reverse may be a factor in more of the dynamics than Dear Friend can acknowledge, RantWoman in fact thinks it was REALLY STUPID of others involved to send us off to a clearness committee between ourselves WITHOUT ALSO BEING READY TO ADDRESS THE PROCESS ISSUES. Dear Friend, the very person clanging on RantWoman's landmines, is the LAST person anyone should expect to be able to solve RantWoman's landmine issues, and it is totally, totally unfair and ridiculous for anyone to expect that. Okay, so we made a game effort, well after detecting that here too, we would have to write our own script more than one might expect.

Dear Friend has a lot of perfectly understandable legitimate questions about what our Meeting expects of elders. RantWoman completely unites with Dear Friend about the questions; RantWoman is just completely clear that seasoning the question is a matter for more of the community than herself and Dear Friend.

RantWoman still means to read her own Yearly Meeting's Faith and Practice on this score. Recently RantWoman was reading the NWYM Handbook for elders. RantWoman was struck by the accountability that book recommends for elders and also by how the whole process provides support for people in different roles. RantWoman is going to continue reading but on account of something else not on account of Dear Friend.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What the heck do we mean by elders

One of many points of departure for RantWoman's Compost melodrama is the question of what the heck we mean by elders.

RantWoman is HIGHLY amused. RantWoman has been reading the NPYM Faith and Practice, looking for concise statements of what we, this Yearly Meeting mean by elders. This would not be the only area where RantWoman thinks our Faith and Practice could use some more careful grounding, but solving that is, um, a matter for the horizon.

RantWoman notes a couple fast references in passing and then the following from the glossary:

Eldering - Encouraging diffident or timid Friends to share their gifts with a Meeting, or discouraging and/or questioning an individual’s inappropriate behavior and expression of concerns. Historically--and in some Yearly Meetings still—"Elders" have been appointed to constitute the Committee on Ministry and Counsel or Ministry and Oversight.

That's it. All. RantWoman has been poking around at other Yearly Meetings' Faith and Practice. She has not done an exhaustive study of what is said, but every single one she looks at has at least a little more about elders. When RantWoman wants to get carried away she can go poke around at or repair to her Meeting's library for sneezing and severe squinting with dusty pamphlets.

By contrast RantWoman happened on an item over at pointing to the NWYM handbook for elders. There is a whole book! It's in PDF so RantWoman and Mr. JAWS can go to town! There is actual support and accountability!

RantWoman has since asked another Weighty Friend about what is meant in our Yearly Meeting by elders in the context of another activity. For once, it was not Dear Friend saying, "well it's self-evident and there are a whole bunch of articles in Friends Journal!" RantWoman inwardly repeated her thoughts about sneezing and severe squinting in the Meeting's library.

Friends' Journal is a darn fine publication. RantWoman used to enjoy reading it quite a lot. Friends' Journal has severely constrained internet presence and very limited electronic edition that RantWoman is aware of. In other words, even if RantWoman WANTS to read this stuff, preferably to read it on her own without the traumas of scraping her eyeballs over a lot of print, she has no practical way of doing so. Then RantWoman went back to exhorting Weighty Friend to speak of her knowledge in another context.

Below RantWoman is simply going to collect some links she has looked at recently. She means to go back, sooooon....

The following post speaks to my condition and makes me want to read more.

Check here for links / search results about elders

Today, while RantWoman was braiding her hair, Mr. JAWS was screaming past some stuff RantWoman has not previously looked at

RantWoman read those entries and noted a whole cascade of other links she will now at least put on her go back to list.

Finally, RantWoman hereby offers another tirade related to elders, possibly to the question of who is eldering whom, and general ferment on the Compost thread.

RantWoman is sometime going to recheck the minute she considers an abomination to concise expression. RantWoman THINKS said minutes involve Dear Friend saying in public something insulting and clueless related to the topic of what we, our Meeting, our Yearly Meeting, even just our nominating committee mean by elders.

Here RantWoman must say clearly, this topic is very important. RantWoman has no objection to and even great interest in further dialogue about the topic. RantWoman thinks for both persoanl and Quaker reasons that it is completely inappropriate and unreasonable to try to dialogue only with Dear Friend and only on Dear Friend's terms about this, and RantWoman remains quite peeved, even increasingly so about the difficulties of bringing about such community dialogue RantWoman is pretty sure, if she does not understand key concepts very well, there are a lot of other people who probably do not either.

RantWoman would characterize Dear Friend's remark as clueless based on the fact that Dear Friend took over 9 months to get a point RantWoman has been very polite but firm, possibly just too polite, about almost from the beginning. The fact that this point was so completely lost on Dear Friend most assuredly causes RantWoman to question his capacity even to detect points in the area of his clueless comment.
Of course, the fact that Dear Friend was not detecting this point does not mean a surprising number of other people were terribly articulate about the matter either, and RantWoman has now had months to explore the breadth and depth of cluelessness in multiple directions.

RantWoman supposes the first thing she must do is purge her language and reframe the concept of cluelessness in proper Quakerese, perhaps "in need of serious discernment" or "seeking yet to be done" or more "laboring in a spirit of love and truth."

If RantWoman does not stay reformed very long, PLEASE bear with her!

Digital Inclusion for....

WARNING: this post mentions pedophilia and public consumption of pornography. If either topic will put you off for days, PLEASE click away immediately or hold RantWoman and all her neighbors in the Light and then click away.

RantWoman is goaded to write by her morning blog reading, link shown at the bottom.

RantWoman is seasoning an email to staff at her housing community about the presence, horrors, of an admitted pedophile in our midst. Bear in mind, members of our communities are mostly not Quakers used to waiting in silence together under care of the purifying power of the Divine. The percentage of Highly Challenging Personalities and Very Difficult Life Issues is off the charts, even compared to the average Friends' Meeting. RantWoman notes a further correction: we have one known, acknowledged pedophile among us. How many more unacknowledged ones we have NO CLUE.

RantWoman has known of this individual for some time. He volunteers at one of the computer lab projects RantWoman has been involved with. He is actually one of the calmer of the volunteers, though RantWoman finds herself wondering whether appropriate medication may have something to do with this. Information about this person came to light about the same time RantWoman was having other conversations that started out more pedestrianly about simpler safety concepts. RantWoman first learned of this person's interests in context of discussing something else and the suggestion that RantWoman put this person's name into the search engine of her choice. Little did she know...

RantWoman cannot decide whether this person is brave, crazy or some of both to be speaking so openly of this fact of his life. RantWoman lacks the proper letters behind her name to opine, but that has never stopped her before: it seems possible, if one is beset by constant urges, that talking about said urges offers at least tangential ways of addressing them especially if other options are definitely inappropriate.

This person has never been convicted of anything and he at least smiled when RantWoman said she will have to cross him off her childcare list. He and RantWoman also had a good general conversation about different issues and perspectives that came up in Friends' Meeting. RantWoman did have a conversation with someone else in a position to know about one of those sad issues of digital inclusion that happens sometimes when one must consume one's porn in a semi-public place regardless of who might find indications left behind. Unfortunately, given the topic, the traces left behind are a big problem.

RantWoman knows lots of people who use computers in the library or in other public settings such as underfunded computer labs. RantWoman can tell sometimes just from accompanying sound effects that some of the people using the computers in such places are using them to consume porn. RantWoman generally thinks that consuming porn involving consenting adults is totally permissible and she can even sometimes be tender about the circumstances that cause people to do this. RantWoman definitely is less than charmed about sharing public space with people doing so. Still, RantWoman supposes that she needs to note the digital inclusion issue here and possibly ship the item off to someone who might put data points together differently than RantWoman alone has.

RantWoman thinks that this person being public likely will cause many sensibly to avoid him but will not necessarily help protect them from all the other people out there who might have similar problems. RantWoman is grateful at least that this person listened well to RantWoman's account of how talking about such topics can affect people with victimization experiences and how such folk find help they need and to the thought of empowering children.

RantWoman thinks she must tell this person he must never, ever, under any circumstances be alone with a child; this point dovetails with other safety issues RantWoman was already working about her computer lab projects. This person also understood RantWoman's perspective that sometimes excluding a problem person from part of a conversation helps other people be clearer.

RantWoman so wishes her daily problem list were a little simpler.

With an eye to keeping RantWoman grounded if she does send said email...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Love Pray Walk, Pray Some More.

RantWoman went to a university where major year reunions are a very big deal, and this is such a year for RantWoman. RantWoman is unlikely to attend in person but has decided that attending electronically, by filling in a bit of info including the above 6-word bio is reasonable homework. The bio is RantWoman's version for today of "Live what you believe."

RantWoman does not think she has any digital images of herself she likes any better than her Facebook picture. Maybe by the time the yearbook comes out RantWoman will have updated herself on Facebook, findable with the name in the yearbook.

RantWoman is meditating about whether to write an actual 1000-word essay too; in the meantime, RantWoman opted to leave links for her blogs in the space where the essay would go.

RantWoman thinks it was her college graduation yearbook where she recycled a piece of graffiti she had seen on campus: "I have a rather warped God. He is a bit of a sicko at times." RantWoman notes the continuity of her focus on matters of faith or struggles over same.

Things no one who knew or knew of RantWoman in college would predict about RantWoman:

--RantWoman got hooked on the Wall Street Journal in graduate school when she was adding a certain intercultural something to a course on International Business. The Wall Street Journal at least at that time had good writers.RantWoman and the professor both esteem such.

RantWoman used to read as much as she was interested in of the Wall Street Journal on the bus every day on the way to work, ironically also on a different Wall Street. This all kind of ended when DNA lotto led to further midlife meltdown of RantWoman's vision.

--RantWoman has a certain flair for publicity but still does not automatically want to make it easy for the interwebs to build links with people she refers to, people who might or might not want any connection to RantWoman.

--RantWoman was listening to one Famous Classmate speak of a longtime friendship she had with someone else, also a former child star. RantWoman has no opinion and especially no novel opinion about either child star. Well maybe RantWoman wonders whether this classmate ever took a Women's Studies class and what kind of papers she would have written if she did. RantWoman no longer has the xeroxed proof she used to have of having one interest in common with this Famous Classmate, but she was touched over the last year when events involving the other child star brought the friendship back into the spotlight. RantWoman always respects good friendships.

--Another classmate has become dramatically more famous over the last 2-3 years. RantWoman thinks she and this classmate likely breathed the same air at an event or two but to her knowledge has never met this classmate in person. It has not until this moment occurred to RantWoman to wonder whether this classmate ever took a Women's Studies course either. RantWoman is more interested in whether this classmate had the same interest that RantWoman and the other classmate and well over half the people on campus at the time had in common but RantWoman has no darn way of finding out.

--RantWoman at one point in a discussion during her Compost event mentioned a certain sit-in senior year and the topicality of stopped dialogue as part of the impetus for the situation. At least now RantWoman can articulate the relevance of stopped dialogue. RantWoman is NOT sure she is any better at good dialogue, but that may just mean she is still evolving.

(The other point of said sit-in: RantWoman's alma mater is the sort of place where everyone has to overachieve about something. RantWoman's sit-in-related overachievement was that the group house where she lived probably had by far the highest sit-in participation rate of any housing on campus.)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Quaker Brinksmanship?

This week has included several momentous openings and RantWoman is grateful for a number of gifts today. RantWoman is going to start slowly and definitely suspects the first pass may bounce around a bit including contradictions and still present confusion.

RantWoman has withdrawn her nomination in parallel with our very wise clerk postponing it indefinitely. There two reasons, a short-term commitment outside Meeting well within the window of the next nomination cycle AND Dear Friend has FINALLY done something RantWoman suggested he do EIGHT MONTHS AGO: put his concern in email. But let us try to handle things in some kind of sequence.

First the bus schedule kinks RantWoman has complained about since September result, when RantWoman catches the earlier of her bus options in RantWoman being able to spend almost an hour in worship before Meeting for Worship for Business. RantWoman attends 11:00 worship; for a good while, RantWoman's Meeting has on second First days, been starting Meeting for Business out of worship at 11:30. This unquestionably results in better centered Meeting for Business; it kinks other matters, but we feel clear to stick with it for now.

One kink for RantWoman is that RantWoman REALLY needs a full hour of worship every Sunday. Thus RantWoman has come to see at least the part of her bus realities that gets her to Meeting early as a gift. The other gift from Worship was a message. One Friend had given a message about some kind of memorial with a "regular pastor." Another Friend then had a message about Quakers all being "irregular pastors." This Friend spoke about how, in contrast to worship where the room focuses on a designated leader such as a synagogue, in worship at Friends Meeting she focuses on everyone present as distinct individuals. RantWoman heard this message in conjunction with reading of a couple other accounts of people experiencing Meeting for Worship for the first time to similar effect.

Second, RantWoman thinks our Meeting has a very wise clerk. Our very wise clerk thinks the Compost matter has already taken up too much time in Meeting for Business. Part of the reason for that is multiple hideous communications screwups but that is exactly why to be cautious. Further, our wise clerk asked RantWoman for clear signs. RantWoman IS very clear about a number of points, about which more shortly. However, despite some astounding brinksmanship, RantWoman really is not clear that the Compost matter belongs in Business Meeting. Our wise clerk gets the point that, even though RantWoman has emotional and process red flags going off all over the place, RantWoman is also more willing than many in our Meeting to engage with Dear Friend. Our wise clerk gets that RantWoman values the friendship, and enough people get both the red flags and the fact that RantWoman is a grownup about what risks she decides to deal with. Our wise clerk listened to RantWoman's comments about an outside commitment and to a desire to get ongoing announcements out of Business Meeting and indefinitely postponed the matter which saved RantWoman having to withdraw her nomination, a point she sort of did anyway at the end in Concerns when she also thanked Dear Friend about the specific email.

Third, RantWoman just agreed to take on a commitment that is both highly topical to said pastoral committee and related to openings still connected to our Year of Discernment, coincidentally openings that will unquestionably involve many Friends besides Dear Friend and an area where RantWoman has specific and topical expertise, expertise and topics Dear Friend was quite dismissive about in our clearness committee, in private conversation, and in multiple emails.

RantWoman is already clear that Nominating Committee gets a few points on her mind from the whole ordeal. RantWoman thinks there were communications, process, and committee member handoff screwups--in addition to RantWoman's screwups in how Nominating Committee handled the whole situation. RantWoman has a VERY clear aha message in an email from someone on Nominating Committee and RantWoman is VERY clear that that aha moment alone is worth what has already occurred.

The aha moment: Nominating Committee until now has invited Friends with concerns about a nomination either to speak to the Friend with whom they have a concern or to speak to Nominating Committee. UNTIL NOW, it has never occurred to Nominating Committee that the person being talked to might have a problem specifically with the person doing the talking to.

Despite the fact that RantWoman and Dear Friend are good friends, RantWoman was having ferocious problems, both on Quaker grounds and on personal grounds being articulate with Dear Friend. RantWoman having trouble talking to Dear Friend did not of course translate into RantWoman finding it easy to talk to anyone else either. As Dear Friend pointed out tonight, in addition to multiple other miscommunications, no one so far has put RantWoman, Dear Friend and members of Nominating Committee in the same room to talk. The closest anyone came to that was points where Nominating Committee memebers met first with Dear Friend and then RantWoman. RantWoman was blunt about her feelings and could not even dialogue in person. HOWEVER, that got Dear Friend and RantWoman back to communicating, at least by group email. After the October Business Meeting, a Friend suggested a Clearness Committee, about which RantWoman has posted elsewhere. RantWoman thinks she COULD have been more insistent about needing someone from Nom Comm to come to the clearness committee meeting.

RantWoman has evidence from multiple conversations similar to ones others must have had, that other people find it not easy to talk about hard stuff. RantWoman has on multiple occasions had the experience or observed Friends who do not know how to handle some kind of emotionally intense information they are given. RantWoman notes that doing Quaker forms right requires real grounding, something that must be different from the work of trained therapists or people with pastoral care training. RantWoman also notes that a few people seem to think that lifelong experience with Quakers automatically mean they know how to do different forms such as threshing or clearness or, as Dear Friend notes simple conversation.

Ordinarily, RantWoman would think that attending to this sort of concern would quite obviously fall under the part of said committee's charge about deepening the spiritual community of the Meeting. These again are not ordinary circumstances so let's just sit further with the circumstances we have.

RantWoman is VERY clear that she is going on strike about seasoning the matter with only herself and Dear Friend. RantWoman is clear that the clearness committee is the wrong venue and that others are expecting too much of the clearness committee. The POINT of RantWoman's perspective is that HUGE swaths of everything that have gone on between Dear Friend and RantWoman is matters that should properly be seasoned by more people than Dear Friend and RantWoman. RantWoman is also blisteringly clear that all that is needed to decide on a nomination is inclination and willingness to discern how to go forward about such concerns, not resolution of them. What was said in the Clearness process and subsequent conversations only confirmed these points. At this point there are no clear questions for further meeting of a clearness committee nor a conflict that can be resolved between Rantwoman and Dear Friend without the voices of our community.

RantWoman was ferociously clear to do something NOW.

RantWoman is not sure whether the quaking and tremulousness leading up to today's events means some personal quirks definitely qualify her as a Quaker, just a devious bitch, or a ferociously seeking human still evolving.

On the quaking and tremulousness front, two data points:

RantWoman sometimes gets so upset she cannot talk but can write email. Email alone of course is NOT sufficient, but perhaps RantWoman's task is just to start from this point. For the time being, RantWoman will just stop laboring the point and put it on her Quaker behaviors shelf.

Over the week, the question of what if anything should come to Business Meeting came up. RantWoman was fairly insistent that SOMETHING needs to go forward though shifting the conversation from Dear Friend and RantWoman to community matters would be highly topical.

RantWoman had conversations with the clerk; RantWoman wrote email to the list of Friends who have been reading so far. RantWoman sent fairly blunt comments to our clerk. RantWoman also posed a question:

Dear Friend keeps speaking of his issue in terms of a leading. RantWoman finds quite a bit of the way Dear Friend formulates his leading as personally insulting and disrespectful of herself and others. Dear Friend is clear of his leading and no one besides RantWoman has asked him whether he gets that RantWoman might find his phrasing insulting. That thought did not compute for Dear Friend in conversation with RantWoman. Nor has anyone addressed questions that might arise such as how the points Dear Friend is speaking of relate to qualifications for the job, let alone whether others might have different perspectives. RantWoman heard all this, concluded that her leading would be that God and the community need to weigh in; listening appears not always to be Dear Friend's strong suit.

Of course none of that matters yet because, the first question in true Quaker bureaucrat mode would be what would we do with this leading? In our Meeting this leading would be referred for further seasoning to the very committee that is the subject of the Compost thread. RantWoman's fairly blunt comments to our clerk about her perspectives, together with the point that RantWoman is having a massive stupid attack (well, a stupid attack as conversational device at least) created an opening where, RantWoman is guessing the Clerk asked Dear Friend to talk about his leading.

This, together with the firm point that as of the date of that exchange, the matter was still headed for Business Meeting, resulted in a brief but BRILLIANT illustration of exactly all the issues and allowed RantWoman to repose some questions to the to list. RantWoman has no freaking idea what should happen now that her nomination has been withdrawn, but RantWoman does sort of think SOMETHING should still happen. So we must again sit with next steps.

RantWoman several times seasoned the question of whether she might be too uncentered still to talk about this in Business Meeting. However, every time RantWoman addressed the question and tried to pick up the phone or send email about this point, she was stopped even though she also was ultimately stopped about a clear signal to go forward.

RantWoman hereby presents a list of people she thinks COULD have done better on multiple Quaker grounds:

--Dear Friend on seasoning his leading with more than just RantWoman at the very beginning and when RantWoman repeatedly told him she needed other voices.


--current and past members of Nominating Committee

--the clerk

--other people who did not ask either Dear Friend or RantWoman very much.

So hold us all in the Light.

And forget whatever we ultimately need to solve global warming; we are struggling to talk to each other. Perhaps we need to start there.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Compost goes for a walk

RantWoman has had a momentous few days. RantWoman is going to put most of the story in a separate post. Here she needs to share a link about walking with Dear Friend. The post is data collection about one of RantWoman's non-Quaker fixations with walkability and transit. This fixation is a lot of making virtue of necessity, but then RantWoman is a versatile girl.

Today, after a momentous Business Meeting RantWoman did a serious spell of walking with Dear Friend. Considering that the whole Compost thread started from RantWoman NOT wanting to go for a walk with Dear Friend, this was an interesting evolution. The walk OF COURSE include more data points on RantWoman's clanging Proceed with Caution meter, but RantWoman has been reading in some Pendle Hill pamphlet she downloaded about concepts such as risk and be vulnerable, concepts she is finding A LOT more congenial than others such as submit and surrender.

Another topical update: Dear Friend filled RantWoman in on some more details of the long and windy process of getting permis and clarifying this and certifying that and environmental impacting connected with the composting toilet Nasturtiums in Salad Friend spoke of last month.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Silence in Practice

RantWoman just wants to file this wonderful statement about Quaker silence in case she needs to cite it sometime.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Gifts of the Magi

RantWoman is embarrassed to realize she still has some holiday email she has not interacted with, let alone interacted appropriately with. RantWoman realizes a small number of recipients will not fully have reason to be miffed until tomorrow, which is Orthodox Christmas. That is not an excuse, but for the moment RantWoman is going to focus on Gifts of the Magi in her Compost thread.

RantWoman sent Dear Friend a really, really good temper tantrum by email a couple days ago in response to his Reindeer droppings missive. RantWoman thinks she REALLY needs to call Dear Friend about some of the contents. RantWoman also has many other things in queue and is a little afraid of conversations with Dear Friend making a giant sucking sound about all of RantWoman's emotional energy. This is a BIG problem because of the next round of messages about Business Meeting coming up.

RantWoman is VERY clear not to withdraw her nomination. RantWoman is VERY clear she is sorry about some big communications screwups. RantWoman really cannot season Dear Friend's interventions in her life by herself any longer. RantWoman is not sure what is ripe for Business Meeting and RantWoman has various other quibbles and grumbles. RantWoman is also seasoning a message to our Clerk that is almost as argumentative as Dear Friend at his best. RantWoman is surprised by this last inclination and not at all sure she is or wants to be called to that role, but she is having trembling to the effect that she may have to do until someone better suited is available. What a peculiar problem.

But back to the gifts of the day. RantWoman exchanged email with Absent Friend who is not around our Meeting much right now but who is very good friends with Dear Friend. RantWoman learned that Absent Friend has almost exactly the same list of serious aggravations with Dear Friend as RantWoman except for a couple each topical to one person's life but not the other. RantWoman would again repeat that the planet really probably does not need more aggravations under any circumstances. However, the mere fact of having a long list of aggravations in common is SO liberating.

RantWoman has been completely freed of any and all obligations to take anything personally. RantWoman is still weighing how to interact with some of Dear Friend's perceptions of her. To the degree that others--including occasionally RantWoman herself, for better or worse--also detect traits, to the degree that a couple colossal RantWoman screwups certainly fall far short of the standards RantWoman would like to set for herself, RantWoman has to take a number of grumbles seriously. In RantWoman's peculiar estimation, one point of a proper faith tradition though is that one can ship any and all contrition, repentance, regret off in the direction of the Divine like an overdue Christmas package. RantWoman is not saying one must do that, let alone must do so precipitously without fully letting such emotions wash oneself clean at least for the moment. RantWoman is simply grateful to have the option.

RantWoman supposes she is being glib and grossly oversimplifying, but then comes the next gift. RantWoman has been reading the word "surrender" in more than one Quaker blog of late. RantWoman has this nudging that the word is somehow for her, but it keeps setting off all kinds of theology as women present alarms and flashing lights and blaring buzzers and red alert error codes. Today while seasoning the messages from Absent Friend, RantWoman thinks it will have to be enough to surrender any and all expectations that people--starting with RantWoman herself--can necessarily control themselves or interact rationally or at times even converse sensibly.

Again, RantWoman may WISH such of herself or especially of others. RantWoman may even be forced to admit that her list of things that push all her buttons way past pathetic is, compared to others' long and much more horrid lists, a bare blip. This bare blip, alas, is more than enough for RantWoman. More to the point, RantWoman gets immediately to surrender commitment to any expectation wishes as above will materialize. RantWoman then gets to live on Planet Earth with God present among us in all our peculiarities and peccadillos. RantWoman half always expects to be struck dead for paraphrasing a certain former Secretary of Defense: you go to life with the God you've got, not the God you might want, and that goes double for that of God wrapped up in all kinds of strange and difficult human packages.

As a side note, RantWoman is also stuck about the word "healing" in Ashley W's Welcome Prayer and the comments accompanying it. RantWoman thinks "healing" may be too presumptious a word, but in keeping with her Compost theme, growth is to be noted. RantWoman is really not there yet about thank you for such opportunities for growth, but then there would always be continuing revelation, evolution at glacial pace....

The final gift in connection with Absent Friend's words: she noted that she is pretty doubtful about Dear Friend holding it together a lot of the time but that she often has this powerful sense of him being Held. RantWoman realizes the first person she better get that point about is herself, followed immediately by Dear Friend.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mary Daly 1928-2010

This news is very fresh and the post is intended partly as a prod to look for other obituaries. Here are the items that landed in RantWoman's email and that popped out of her first search engine check:

Subject:RE: [Water-l] Mary DalyDate:January 3, 2010 6:34:05 PM EST

This is indeed a loss for spiritual women. I met Mary Daly in Boston. She was brilliant, insightful and a pioneer in feminist theology/thealogy. Her books, "The Church and the Second Sex" and "Beyond God the Father" were powerful works that changed lives as well as thought. She had a gift for wordplay and a wicked wit--one of the funniest women I've ever met (she also had two Ph.D.'s). Her Wickadery and her book Gyn/ecology are wonderful, as are her later books. She was kind--made herself part of the group she was in, not a star. She was insistent on defining and demanding women's space, something that did not endear her to the priests at Boston College, where she taught until she was 70 and where she drew students internationally who wanted to study with her. Google her name and enjoy. And say a prayer of thanks for her life.
Nancy Whitt
________________________________________On Behalf Of Mary E. Hunt Sent: Sunday, January 03, 2010 3:59 PM
Subject: Mary Daly
With a heavy heart, yet grateful beyond words for her life and work, Ireport that Mary Daly died this morning, January 3, 2010 inMassachusetts. She had been in poor health for the last two years.
Her contributions to feminist theology, philosophy, and theory weremany, unique, and if I may say so, world-changing. She createdintellectual space; she set the bar high. Even those who disagreedwith her are in her debt for the challenges she offered.
When I return from vacation at week's end I will post more. But I wantWATER colleagues, of which she was a stalwart one, to know this now.She always advised women to throw our lives as far as they would go. Ican say without fear of exaggeration that she lived that way herself.
May her spirit soar and her ideas endure.
Mary E. HuntHoechenschwand, Germany
Mary E. Hunt
8121 Georgia Ave. #310
Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA301 589-2509. Fax 301 5893150

RantWoman had two extended intellectual encounters with mary Daly. One time RantWoman met a bunch of Catholic Worker women at a protest. They were all very hot about Mary Daly, whom they had been referred to by their nuns!

The other encounter was in college when RantWoman and some of her peers organized a studen initiated seminar in The Theory and Practice of Nonviolence. A very game professor from the philosophy department agreed to sponsor the course. We composed our own reading list and course requirements.

(RantWoman remembers writing a lot in a class journal. Lonstanding logorrhea anyone?)

The class was somewhat less than half female. For RantWoman's alma mater at the time the ratio was notable. It was the dawn of Women's studies as an organized discipline. Somewhere midway through the course the women in class all mutinied and decided we needed to add Mary Daly's Gyn/ecology to the reading list.

The women all thought it was brilliant and wonderful. Well RantWoman thought it was a really fun read and it was good for getting a clear alternavie line of thinking into the conversation. Are there much better feminist perspectives specifically on nonviolence. Heck yes. Are there other better, less incendiary analyses of gender-based differences in conversational dynamics, constructions of social priorities, and multitudinous other question. Oh heck yes too. Did all the perky college guys trying gamely to use the book as a basis for dialogue survive the encounter. Last time RantWoman checked...


Holiday Obituary 1

RantWoman is still processing holiday email including obituaries for two singular women.

RantWoman offers with warm regard for a passionate woman scientist and friendly trepidation about many points:

and for another view

RantWoman admires Dr. Clark for her grounding in science. RantWoman recognizes that she really did help many people. RantWoman also acknowledges the reasons her name shows up on QuackWatch. Enough said.