Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Elise Boulding: when one needs courage

Rantwoman grabbed the following quote from Lilian Vega Ortiz

"...(to) prepare myself to help others find their own values and find the support systems so that change can take place. I know that this society, full of adversity, needs the efforts of valiant and optimistic people, now more than ever."

The passing of Elise Boulding is unquestionably one of those occasions that calls valiant, optimistic people to service now more than ever. RantWoman will start with the obit below and invites her readers to click on linds and send remembrances as led.

[FPT Council] AGLI--Elise Boulding 1920 - 2010

Elise Boulding 1920 - 2010
Dear All,
As you may have heard Elise Boulding died just before her 90th birthday. Here is her obituary which is way too long because she did so many things. In additional to all that is mentioned, she was one of the founders of Friends Peace Teams and one of its original co-clerks. She was still co-clerk when I began working with FPT in 1996.

Below is a message received from Russell Boulding, son of Elise Boulding, Friend and Honorary Chair of the National Peace Academy Advisory Board:

Dear Friends, Elise died peacefully at 4:40 pm on Thursday June 24. Her webpage provides more about her last few weeks: http://www.earthenergyhealing.org/EliseBoulding3.htm. A copy of her obituary, kindly prepared by her biographer Mary Lee Morrison is below. There will be a Memorial Service for her on her 90th birthday, 4:00 to 6:00 pm, Tuesday, July 6 at the Houghton Memorial Chapel, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA. Mark, Christie, Philip, William and I will be there with our spouses (Greg in Spirit). This web page can be checked for the latest information about the Service: http://www.earthenergyhealing.org/EliseBoulding1.htm Love, Russell

Elise Boulding died at 4:40 pm, June 24, 2010 in Needham, MA.

Hailed as a "matriarch" of the twentieth century peace research movement, she was sociologist emeritus from Dartmouth College and from the University of Colorado and in on the ground floor in the movements of peace, women's studies and futures and played pivotal roles in each. Her writings on the role of the family, women, spirituality and international non-governmental organizations have offered activists and educators new ways of conceiving the tasks inherent in making peace. Beginning in tandem with her late husband, economist and Quaker poet Kenneth Boulding and later on her own, she went on to build a life that encompassed research, writing and teaching, networking and building communities of learning. Dr. Boulding is the author of over 300 publications and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990. Her theoretical work on the role of the family in educating toward social change, and the role women have played in peacemaking, together with her ideas on transnational networks and their relationship to global understanding are considered seminal contributions to twentieth century peace education thought.

Prior to her scholarly career, which formally began for her at age fifty after receiving her doctorate from the University of Michigan, Dr. Boulding was making major contributions in other areas, most notably as a peace educator and prominent Quaker and as a leader in the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), rising up to be International Chair.

She was a founder of the International Peace Research Association and later became its International Secretary-General. She was a co-founder the Consortium on Peace, Research, Education and Development. As an active opponent of the Vietnam War, Dr. Boulding ran for Congress in the 1960s on a Peace Platform in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She taught sociology and women's studies at the University of Colorado, where she helped to found the peace studies program. She later taught sociology and helped to found the peace studies program at Dartmouth College.

She took key leadership positions in the American and International Sociological Associations, worked on climate change, population, and arms control with the American Association of the Advancement of Science, was engaged with the American Futures Society, the World Policy Institute, the United Nations University in Tokyo, consultative work with UNESCO, and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as the only woman to sit on the Commission to establish the U.S. Institute of Peace. She was on the boards of the National Peace Institute Foundation, the Boulder Parenting Center, the Exploratory Project on Conditions for a Just World Peace, the International Peace Research Association Foundation, the Committee for the Quaker United Nations Office, and Honorary Chair of the National Peace Academy Advisory Board.

Prior to her retirement from Dartmouth College, she was a Senior Fellow of the Dickey Center for International Understanding at that university. In 1993 Dr. Boulding represented Quakers at the inaugural gathering of the global Interfaith Peace Council. Born in 1920 in Oslo, Norway, her status as an immigrant profoundly affected her life and work. A graduate of Douglas College (now part of Rutgers University), Dr. Boulding joined the Religious Society of Friends at age 21, Her sense of herself as a Quaker and her deep spirituality informed all of her subsequent work. Blessed with a very high energy level, at times she also sought out Catholic monasteries for times of retreat from her very heavily scheduled life as an academic, activist, author and speaker. In 1973 she spent a year in retreat in a mountain cabin outside Boulder, CO, where she began writing her seminal work on women, The Underside of History, a View of Women Through Time.

Her last book, Cultures of Peace: the Hidden Side of History, is a celebration of the many ways peace is made in everyday places and hidden spaces and its writing was a culmination of her life's work. Retiring from Dartmouth College in 1985 she returned to Boulder, Colorado. In 1996 she relocated to Wayland, MA and in 2000 she moved to a retirement home in Needham, MA.

Pre-deceased by her husband, Dr. Kenneth Boulding and her two sisters Sylvia Griffith and Vera Larson, she is survived by her five children and their spouses: Russell and Bonnie Boulding of Bloomington, IN, Mark and Pat Boulding of Englewood, CO, Christine Boulding and the late Gregory Graham of Wayland, MA, Philip and Pam Boulding of Olalla, WA and William and Liz Boulding of Durham, NC, 16 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to the National Peace Academy, PO Box 306, Shelburne, VT 05482 (please identify Elise Boulding Scholarship Fund, which was established to honor her life of dedication to peace, on check). Russell Boulding (4464 N. Robbs Lane, Bloomington, IN, 47408, jrb-eeh@bluemarble.net) is collecting tributes/reminiscences of those touched by her to be complied, shared with the family and placed in the Elise Boulding Collection at the University of Colorado Archives, Boulder.

AGLI Contact Info
-- New webpage: http://www.aglifpt.org/

New email: dave@aglifpt.org
David Zarembka,

CoordinatorAfrican Great Lakes Initiative of the Friends Peace Teams
P. O. Box 189,
Kipkarren River 50241 Kenya
Phone in Kenya: 254 (0)726 590 783 in US: 240/543-1172

Office in US:
1001 Park Avenue,
St Louis, MO 63104 USA

Lilian Vega Ortiz visits the Northwest

Alternatives to Violence in Guatemala - Lilian Vega Ortiz
Join us in hearing about Friends Peace Teams work in Central America:

RantWoman already has the event at her Meeting on her calendar. RantWoman is especially humbled by the wonderful quote below.

After a career of volunteer social service with young people in detention facilities, Lilian Vega Ortiz now devotes her time to theological study and facilitation of workshops for the Central American Evangelical Center for Pastoral Studies, including Alternatives to Violence workshops.

"I believe that all of my life experiences, as difficult as they have been, never took place to paralyze me, even though I have been a victim. Instead, they have given me strength to go forward and prepare myself to help others find their own values and find the support systems so that change can take place. I know that this society, full of adversity, needs the efforts of valiant and optimistic people, now more than ever.”

Tue., 6/29
Olympia Meeting
Contact: Donna Schumann

Wed., 6/30
7 PM
University Friends Center
4001 - 9th Ave. NE
Seattle 98105 (just north of University Bridge, 1 block W of Roosevelt Avenue, exit 169 off I-5)
Contact: Pablo Stanfield

Thur., 7/1,
7 PM
Lopez Island Worship Group at the Lopez Library
Contact: Ron Metcalf

Fri., 7/2
7 PM
Bellingham Friends Meeting/Whatcom Peace and Justice Center, 100 E. Maple St. (at the corner of Cornwall and Maple)
Contact: Doris Ferm

Mon., 7/5
7:30 PM
Hosted by South Mountain Meeting and held at the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship, 87 4th St., Ashland
Contact: Ken Deveney

Wed., 7/7
Multnomah Meeting
Contact: Andy Cross

Thur., 7/8
5:30 Potluck
7 PM Program
Corvallis Friends Meetinghouse, 3311 NW Polk Ave.
Contact: Esther Schiedel,

Fri., 7/9
Eugene Friends Meeting – presentation and benefit concert
Contact: Helen Park

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Happy Pride 2010--1

Look, okay, the live Pride celebration was fine, just fine. RantWoman gives especially high equal access points for the young guy staffing an information table. RantWoman asked what people were lining up for in the middle of the room; young guy giggled and said "I think it's beer." Yet another reason RantWoman found it easy for her mind to go elsewhere.

"...sure plays a mean pinball..."

RantWoman started to post this a couple weeks ago and more music jogged her memory even harder. RantWoman and Blind Roommate spent a couple summers on the campus of the alma mater. One high point of summer social life was a bar called Debasement. There was a pinball machine. Blind Roommate consistently did better at pinball than RantWoman. RantWoman's pinball skills have not improved as her vision has gone south.

Blind Roommate was a singer, with a wonderful voice. Rlind Roommate sang in glee club and did wonderful solo shows with a lot of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. RantWoman hereby presents a musical tribute to Blind Roommate; RantWoman means no disrespect to the women perfomrers she found on YouTube, but most of them do not hold a candle to Blind Roommate.

Lay Lady Lay

Lay Lady Lay Cover with Harmonica

The Times they are a Changin' by a woman, credible but no competition for Blind Roommate

Leonard Cohen, Suzanne, Praha 2004. Severe anachronism, really haunting.

Vanessa and Suzanne Vega, Blowing in the Wind, Blind Roommate was better

Carla Bruni Sarkozy and Dave Stuart, 46604, Blowing in the Wind. This clip is included for exotic; RantWoman thinks it would be really fun to hear what Blind Roommate would say about the varied life and career of Ms. Bruni-Sarkozy. Alas, Blind Roommate is not available for comment.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Epistles and Ice Water

Sometimes RantWoman hates epistles. Boiling down a whole rich weekend with interwoven themes and thematic counterpoint is not a task for the faint of heart. Boiling this down on a tight schedule with severe space constraints is even more daunting. RantWoman already found the theme of the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference "Walk With Me, Mentor, Elder, Friend" rich enough to generate several layers of reflections herself and offers that comment in all humility to Friends reading the conference epistle.

RantWoman further thinks anyone involved with the planning of an event should stay away from immediate interaction with epistle writing on both sanity and seasoning grounds, especially if there are topics still needing seasoning behind the scenes. Alas, RantWoman is gifted with inclination to run off at the keyboard and is seasoning several topics she think are safe for the blogosphere, though the exact timing depends on RantWoman interacting with the rest of her life as well.

As an aside, RantWoman especially recommends public wordsmithing with 200 people in plenary at Annual Session for extra thrills and spills. At that scale, there is no room for ego and it's all God and Light and Friends. RantWoman, having done this task is too happy to be an elder in the conception of elder elaborated at the panel on eldering at the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference and gratefully uphold the efforts of those doing the epistle at different events.

In any case, RantWoman supposes that epistles can always be taken as points of departure for conversation. RantWoman especially invites Friends with comments about the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference epistle and who might see RantWoman at upcoming events to join her for refreshing beverages (sometimes defined as ice water) or really good frozen desserts and further conversation.

RantWoman decided she should make this offer after seeing comments over at http://northmidwest.blogspot.com/2010/06/pacific-northwest-quaker-womens.html and repeated at
http://onequakertake.blogspot.com/2010/06/epistle-from-quaker-womens-theology.html about issues of sexism. For one thing, some of the threads woven into the conversation are indeed about sexism; others are more generally about what makes good mentoring, passage of wisdowm and weight among generations, and Friends communities continually learning and relearning historical Friends practices in new eras. RantWoman may get something more written, but even RantWoman needs to pry her nose out of her computer and interact with live humans n real space now and then.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference Epistle

To our Quaker family,

Surrounded by the waters and wildlife of Hood Canal and the snowy peaks of the Olympic Mountains, sixty women gathered in Seabeck, Washington from June 16-20, 2010 for the eighth Pacific Northwest Quaker Women’s Theology Conference. Begun fifteen years ago to promote dialogue and build relationships among different Quaker traditions, this conference continues to be deeply Spirit led and enriches the lives of women who attend.

Though we represent different backgrounds and branches of Quakerism, the lines between these seemed very thin and blurred. No one avoided talking about her home meeting or church, but our membership didn’t have as much weight as our personal experiences shared in love. Even as we attempted to be open and accepting, at times we misstepped and unintentionally hurt each other. Many of us felt broken open and left this conference changed.

Through reflection papers we wrote, plenary sessions, home groups and discussion, we each connected personally with the theme, “Walk With Me: Mentors, Elders, and Friends.” Each plenary brought us back again and again to the awareness of the need for support and mentorship in our lives. We identified places in which we are being accompanied and are accompanying others and places where we feel the absence of that loving presence. Many of us made commitments to seek those relationships in our meetings, churches and beyond.

Despite colds, more serious illnesses and concerns for the health of loved ones, we drew strength, support, and encouragement from one another. Many think of the Women’s Conference as a reunion and newcomers found they were welcomed into the family with open arms.

In keeping with the testimony of community, we opened ourselves to another group, Interplay, also staying at the conference center. We described the kind of work that we each came to do, invited them to join us in worship, and likewise were invited to experience their ministry and we shared grace together before meals.

We celebrated the gifts of many through plenaries, workshops, singing and readings by several published authors. During one plenary session, several young adults shared personal experiences of their ministries in relation to the theme of the conference. We were thrilled to hear stories of women being supported and held sacredly in their ministry. However, we were deeply saddened to learn that some are not empowered or recognized in their ministries. We were thus reminded of the reality of sexism in the Society of Friends. Encircling the young adult women, we joined together in heartfelt prayer and were moved by its healing and supportive power. This experience deepened our worship and fellowship together. We challenged ourselves to be aware of internalized sexism, as well as the sexism in our churches and meetings, and to work toward true equality.

During business meeting on Saturday, we reaffirmed the work of this body of women and our leading to continue meeting together as an intra-faith group. We look forward to the next opportunity to join in fellowship.

Blogging as Ministry

Here are bullet points from Wes Daniels' Internet Cafe over at Gathering in Light about Blogging as Ministry

Blogging is an outlet for essays, thoughts, processing

Blogs are a {free} source of relegious reading material

Blogs allow for on-going conversations and friendships

Blogs track our Journey's transformation>> Blogging is timely

Blogs can express communal believing

Your blog is your "virtual living room"

RantWoman wants to add a very pointed, jump up and down with exclamation points and circles and arrows and laser pointers insistent message: RantWoman CANNOT anymore reasonably read enough print to satisfy her soul's rather boundless appetite for correction and elaboration and interaction with spiritual matters. RantWoman SOMETIMES is grateful for humans who can help her, but, well, RantWoman is an introvert and often needs to interact with matters on her own or with her own tools. RantWoman is very humble about the importance of the tools she has as way to access what she wants to read. RantWoman's real point: Blogs are ACCESSIBLE to RantWoman in ways that print is not!

RantWoman does mean to get some info into the QUIP discussions about accessible reading materials. RantWoman also realizes that as people age, the incidence of vision impairment and blindness increases and other blind Friends have different levels of comfort with different media and resources. RantWoman does not even presume to speak for them all, only hopefully to raise questions.

RantWoman further wants to note two points related to the word "free" and to remind her public of an issue of courtesy about attribution when reusing materials from others' sites.

First, "free" is an overstatement: a blogger likely is paying out fairly steadily for enough internet access to blog. The economics of what people pay and what services these costs cover are evolving rapidly and Friends should be aware of many possible changes.

Next, although much material is available for free and easy reuse, it is very minimal common courtesy to properly attribute materials one uses from other sources. RantWoman suspects there are big scary intellectual property lawyers out there willing to weigh in at some points and RantWoman is specifically not going there for today.

RantWoman is actually shy about inviting the internet all the way into her virtual living room. RantWoman also carries a concern for conversations flowing back and forth between the blogosphere and humans she loves, admires, regards as mentors, gets plum annoyed and vexed by, and in particular knows never or on very constrained timelines interact with all this e-stuff.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Composting Quakerism

RantWoman, well known for fixation on many things Compost recommends the following:


When the Goddess Kicks You in the Butt

RantWoman is still busy digesting the Pacific NorthWest Quaker Womens Theology Conference

In connection with a presentation about the conference at her Meeting, RantWoman is sitting with the following queries from a certain much-discussed problematic mentor figure who is the clerk of the Adult Religious Education Committee sponsoring the presentation:

+ Why a THEOLOGICAL conference? What does that mean to you and how did the conference develop it in a Quakerly or meaningful way?

+ How does this differ from other Quaker conferences (e.g.: FWCC, NPYM AS, FGC...)? What is the effect of 1/3 - 1/2 evangelical women present? Why does that matter to you? + What have you learned about your understanding of God and your relationship to the Divine because of this conference or its theme? Has anything changed or opened up for you?

Okay, RantWoman is sitting with the queries and offereing only short piquant observations. Comments would be welcome!

Anyway, Problematic Mentor Figure is just the sort to send out such queries and then make excuses about Quaker commitments elsewhere and not even show up to hear riffs, more likely from the following thoughts:

From the website home page:
We strive to articulate that which has been meaningful in the expression and development of our faith. We are open to God’s leadings and willing to make a commitment to prepare, to risk, and to be open to learning from one another.

Our purposes in coming together are:
To grow in the knowledge and love
of God, trusting that the Inward Teacher, the Christ within, the Inner Light, the Holy Spirit will be present to guide us;

To create a place where it is possible to talk openly from different perspectives with love and honesty, and without rancor or tempering to accommodate perceptions of what might be acceptable;

To use narrative theology, that is, our stories of faith, as a means of integrating our experiences and our understanding;

To encourage articulation of experience in beliefs, both verbally and in writing, expecting that we will bring what we learn back into our home faith communities

RantWoman is still smiling about the Friend who brought us the plenary on Spiritual Friendships. RantWoman is smiling first of all trying to imagine Friend, much younger, describing herself as an introvert. Friend spoke of specifically making efforts to widen her circles of friendships after her children grew up. To RantWoman's surprise, this was the Friend who most clearly brought messages of widening circles of connection, of seeing Christ in everyone, Friend or not.

RantWoman assumes her readers will predict that RantWoman is going to find whole new ways to go off about Jesus, lots and lots of Jesus in the transported masses and unending flocks of novice bus drivers in her daily life. RantWoman also found herself thinking that perhaps her Meeting did not bring along enough Buddhist Quakers or Goddess Quakers, but she still was touched about seeing Jesus in everyone.

RantWoman hereby devotes a small amount of brain space to reflecting on which of the following is likely to make George Fox spin faster in his grave:

--Consider: A Friend has a ministry about Paganism with full backing of her Monthly Meeting in a large west coast city. The Monthly Meeting definitely subscribes to the "talking about movements of the Spirit is more important that what the Spirit is called" school of Friends and theology. Friend from this Meeting gives vocal ministry such as "When the Goddess Kicks you in the Butt, ..."

RantWoman was grateful about the public sides of how the "When the Goddess Kicks You in The Butt" thread was handled though she thinks there are still details to debrief about at some point. RantWoman specifically admires GoddessKicks You in the Butt Friend because she is both so articulate and so generous and open-hearted about engaging with Friends who use different language to talk about their spiritual experiences.

--Consider: A little old lady from a Friends Church in a certain inland western state whose residents are well-known for, um, interesting views. Friend attends the Gathering only in anonymous passing; she also packs heat in her pocketbook.

RantWoman is thinking of a certain "Cows With Guns" food animals rise up song from an NPYM Annual Session family night a few years ago. RantWoman wonders whether any other part of the country has so many Friends of any tradition so willing to speak of firearms. RantWoman does NOT feel called to think too long about the question.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Message Not Given

From RantWoman's fitful intermittent readings off Our Daily Bread with prayers for family she shares ODB with and some family dramas RantWoman is letting season in the background:

"In God’s purposes, each believer does his or her part, but the results are team-oriented. After explaining the wide differences in the spiritual gifts of believers, Paul says, “the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” (1 Cor. 12:7). When we use the skills God gives us, His purposes are accomplished, and He gets the glory. In God’s service, it’s not about being the best, the most talented, or the most gifted. It’s about being the right people—the ones God “set . . . in the body” (v.18)—joining together to serve the same team.

Christ builds His church with different stones And makes each one secure; All shapes and sizes fit in placeTo make His church endure. —Anon.

There are no unimportant people in the body of Christ."


Okay, RantWoman is debating about substituting community or the blessed community or some darn thing for body of Christ even though the body of Christ bit definitely speaks to RantWoman's quiescent Inner Baptist Social Action Holy Crusader for all that is True and Just.

from Mark Wutka at The Ear of The Soul

My favorite verse in the bible is Galatians 5:22-23, "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, patience, peace, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control." If I.. those to me are a touchstone, that if we are not feeling those things, we're not in touch with the Spirit.

Okay, RantWoman is trying again. RantWoman is most assuredly still processing her Compost matter.

"I am to be true to the Light I am given." RantWoman in email.

RantWoman is specifically opting NOT to post many extracts of email, either hers or someone else's. RantWoman will leave to her readers' imagination as to why. Well, RantWoman is to be true to the Light she is given.

RantWoman was given Light to enquire whether someone ever screws up, to point out that the RantWoman understanding of God includes a lot of forgiveness as well as the firm belief that is wrong to blame God for one's screwups. RantWoman recognizes that both of these points are heard of rather less frequently among liberal Friends than SPICE oversimplifications, but TOUGH.

RantWoman could easily see why someone receiving tidings about this view of his or her tender leadings could be, well, affronted to say the least. RantWoman is having to trust thoughts from a blog months ago about treating people equally but not identically. RantWoman is pointedly not offering Quakerese to English translation of her views about someone's interactions with RantWoman's ferocious leadings either about being called to ask NO ONE's permission for her leadings or to the effect that she most assuredly was not called to season a certain someone's leading alone. The point: RantWoman opted to selectively filter and compost a bunch of stuff from one recent email effort and grab onto the very, very thin and still oddly formed "I'm sorry!"

The more interesting problem is, why is RantWoman going on about this in queue with all her seasoning of events at the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference ? Please bear with it! RantWoman is such a logorrheic overachiever: perhaps her readers are simply to take this as yet another reflection paper, for a total of FIVE so far with a couple more seasoning in Drafts on the theme Walk With Me, Mentor. Elder, Friend.

RantWoman has spent considerable time at the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference seasoning a message something like the following. The message has not yet been spoken. At dissertation length, it is either going to have to get trimmed or get seasoned over time in shorter spells.

RantWoman has heard women of great gifts, energy and focus speak of wanting mentors and not finding them in places they expect. RantWoman is wondering whether these circumstances also relate to women underestimating that of God within themselves, their own gifts and rightness for what is needed. RantWoman heard indications in both public ministry and private conversation that this problem may be as much generational as gender-specific--and that the problem does not respect lines of Quaker schism. RantWoman herself is meditating about the ways this is true in the Compost matter, her monthly Meeting, maybe her Yearly Meeting. RantWoman promises to elaborate over time.

RantWoman heard one woman speak with great frankness but not much detail of the Clerk of her Meeting in another Yearly Meeting abusing his position in very gender-specific terms, serial sexual harassment. RantWoman is regretting not having more of a conversation about this topic with the Friend carrying the concern: RantWoman can get into soap opera just as much as anyone, and RantWoman wants to know how accountability finally worked itself out in this situation. RantWoman supposes she and readers can hold the Meeting involved in the Light whether or not the exact details are known, but RantWoman thinks the details probably light the way for other Friends who might at some point face similar problems.

Friends' testimonies on equality notwithstanding, RantWoman has heard women speak of appalling sexism faced by female students in MDiv programs at two different nominally Quaker institutions. RantWoman also overheard one student's mentor tell her that she does not have to enumerate every instance of sexism the student ever experiences. RantWoman agrees though RantWoman notes that one should keep enough data to detect / illustrate patterns.

In the vein of educators with sexist attitudes, RantWoman is also reflecting on a recent email she got, an article RantWoman thinks is quite important in the field where the author teaches. RantWoman appreciates this person's wisdom and long scholarship; RantWoman also notes that women students and grad students sometimes had occasion to note considerably less scholarly challenges and is meditating about how this experience might relate to the problems mentioned above. What does it mean for women to walk with each other over time in such circumstances?

In terms of RantWoman's Compost matter, part of what makes RantWoman shake about giving messages in this vein is on one hand the sheer number and variety of ways a certain face can pop up and some patterns she has observed. RantWoman is seasoning what she herself is called to do about them.

RantWoman to her surprise is again is finding herself led in the direction of "tough love" and minimal BS / maximum compost, RantWoman for a role model has in mind a very business like Weighty Friend who once gave RantWoman the most Quakerly dressing down ever because RantWoman had just assumed the role whose job description it exactly was to hear Weighty Friend's very precise articulation of the functionality she needed. RantWoman supposes that Weighty Friend has dealt with any number of poets, prima donnas and artistes, which probably is what makes her a good role model.

Alas, RantWoman is becoming clearer and clearer that she must tend something sore in her own head as well, about which more shortly. To be repetitive, RantWoman asks permission from NO ONE for her leadings and, much as she may respect and admire someone does NOT automatically assume any Friend is the best mentor for a given situation. RantWoman would also say there are rather problematic mentor issues compplicated by emotional landmines--ON BOTH SIDES. RantWoman is feeling some kind of pang for not trying harder to have a real conversation with some individual human over the whole weekend. Well, RantWoman is QUITE clear that sometimes a break from thinking about problems that sap one's energy and focus is a great good thing, but RantWoman is also feeling inept to be home again with her burdens and without some conversational upholding!

RantWoman wants to speak of a problem, of patterns she cannot ignore. RantWoman has in fact been speaking of the symptoms of the problem, of a very challenged relationship with someone proclaiming himself a mentor for the situation and phrasing this in terms of divine leadings, to RantWoman's admittedly erratic view poorly seasoned divine leadings.

RantWoman wants to speak of patterns she has observed, not only involving herself but others as well. RantWoman still is not clear what needs to be said and to whom. RantWoman has been speaking of this for MONTHS already and does not want to recapitulate. In one sense, the problem has a name, a name likely known by at least 3/4 of those in attendance and pretty ubiquitous in RantWoman's Meeting to boot. In another sense the problem can be named in patterns likely appearing in other places as well RantWoman does not want to name the name and especially does not want to name the name without speaking at least a bit of this person's hurts and Issues.

Bullshit! RantWoman does not want to name the name because the name is not the problem. The problem is for RantWoman to figure out how to deal with the situation, how RantWoman can hew space out of all the community chatter about someone else's Issues to have the conversations she needs to have, to handle her own hurts. Vulnerability and woundedness RantWoman knows woundedness and vulnerability are sometimes drawn to others' vulnerability and weaknesses. RantWoman notes this and thinks somewhere else some strength of a religious community points should muddle out, but this post is already getting too abstruse.

RantWoman has been thinking of a karate teacher who came up in her Home Group. The Friend speaking of him was talking about having trouble really hitting people during sparring practices. The karate teacher, it turns out, is a Seventh Day Adventist. His advice: "hit me on the right, I turn the other cheek, hit me on the left I turn the other cheek, turn the other cheek, turn the other cheek, but in emergency I can handle things." There would also be the point about awareness great enough never to need the emergency. This concept is helping RantWoman center, which one supposes is a good start.

Another image from RantWoman's home group dissects peanut M&M's. There is the hard candy shell. When it cracks, there is space for things to get stuck, and the only thing nutritious is the peanut inside it all. RantWoman understands the point of hard shells and sticky goo and nutritious center, BUT RantWoman thinks chocolate is a major food group and is having a darned hard time getting quite what she is supposed to get out of this specific image.

One of those very articulate young Quaker elders suggested that another problem, something about those endless family ways to get in each other's faces, is like a bee; keep it in a box so the bee cannot sting you.

RantWoman was in home group with another Friend from her own Meeting. RantWoman considers this Friend very weighty, both precise about what she will and will not do, and extremely well-versed in the span of matters Quaker. This Friend was clear that she puts many things that come connected with a certain Friend in a box until said Friend calms down. RantWoman has previously invoked the concept of poets, prima donnas and artistes but that concept is still not putting all of RantWoman's twitches to rest.

RantWoman is really, really, really clear: Weighty Friend's box will NOT work for RantWoman and maybe the what is needed of mentors / walk with me challenge encapsulates the reasons why. RantWoman is going to have to construct her own box. RantWoman may use some of the same principles used by Weighty Friend, but RantWoman is going to have to manage her own box. RantWoman wants other women to know their inner Mentors will sometimes send them signals as fierce as the ones RantWoman is feeling. RantWoman is clear that a friendship WILL get renegotiated or it may not survive. RantWoman is also kind of PISSED OFF though today she is inventorying things she cannot and would not change and thinking about just being true to the Light she is given.

Over several years RantWoman has been called to elder Dear Friend in several ways.

1. RantWoman has helped hold Dear Friend accountable to community needs in a matter involving staff and use of the Meeting computer. RantWoman at one point in the Compost conversation sent an old email off to a Friend from Oversight committee not originally involved in the issue. Friend on Oversight said RantWoman came on a little strong. RantWoman thought this over and reread and can see more affirming ways to rephrase one point. RantWoman also knows from subsequent conversations that there are still other points to fuss about. However, NOTHING has changed RantWoman's views of the appropriateness of the steps ultimately taken even though there is no question they were a pain for Dear Friend.

2. Dear Friend posed an entirely reasonable question about what elders and eldering mean in our Meeting or in our Yearly Meeting. RantWoman thinks this is an extremely important question. RantWoman actually thinks promoting such conversations is exactly the job of a certain committee long a subject of RantWoman's Compost conversations. In any case, this subject unquestionably needs more discernment that just RantWoman and Dear Friend.

Along comes the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference and a Friend from our Meeting who did a wonderful well-researched presentation about eldering and elders. RantWoman is so grateful for that entire panel. Now, RantWoman is going to have to poke and prod and exhort Friend Who Did the Research about how to promote further conversations. RantWoman is excited about this!

3. RantWoman in the course of friendship with Dear Friend learned some personal points where RantWoman, for very hard, solid reasons of her own cannot walk very closely alongside Dear Friend. These reasons include both challenges of RantWoman's own and some specific difficulties which arise as Dear Friend lives his understanding of what he is called to do for example about tax resistance.

This does not mean Dear Friend does not need help. RantWoman in fact took rather blunt delight at a certain point in referring the problems to Friend on Oversight. RantWoman does not know that Friend very well, but has guessed based on a few snippets of information that this Friend has not necessarily previously interacted very deeply with the subject of tax resistance. RantWoman is not sure whether Dear Friend was grateful for the opportunity to dialogue about the matter, but RantWoman considers it very important to the life of her Meeting that such conversations occur and recur.

RantWoman must be true to the Light she is given for all of the above. RantWoman has only very modest regrets about anything. Probably this means RantWoman needs to check that some of her efforts are coming across as intended. RantWoman thinks it would probably be a good idea to be prepared for the possibility that they are not. Sigh

Blogging Workshop

Let us note from the outset: RantWoman did NOT over-prepare for her workshop on blogging at the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference . In fact, well, RantWoman FORGOT that she had included in her registration info an offer to present such. RantWoman not only forgot about her offer, while up to her eyeballs in info from the registration database, RantWoman's offer never even flickered across her mind until the workshop coordinator contacted RantWoman.

RantWoman admits, she has a lot of dang nerve being the one, in presence of several other bloggers with much tighter writing and better visuals to put herself forward in the way of a blogging conversation.

Nevertheless, between God and RantWoman, a lively participatory event was enjoyed by all. Below is the outline RantWoman scrawled on the flipchart in the workshop space. RantWoman got extra points for scrawling in large enough scale for everyone but RantWoman to read. Interspersed are editorial comments.

Blogging Workshop

Silence: the workshop was right after a very powerful, moving plenary about young adult Friends. RantWoman will write of themes from that workshop separately. The point here is that everyone including RantWoman was just wired from the energy of the plenary we had all just come from and we needed to center and shift gears and open ourselves to use the time we had.


your average go-around with a couple digressions of the moment.

Who uses the internet how?

1 person uses dialup

No one admits to reading blogs at the library, a community center, or internet cafe. RantWoman will rephrase the questions about this topic she asks at any future events. RantWoman specifically used the term broadband like cable modem, DSL, or clearwire. RantWoman got no verbal response. For some reason RantWoman does not want to make any assumptions.

Terms people might have questions about:

address bar

blog roll


RSS Feed

search engine

search bar

clicking on links

(RantWoman has no memory of what Friends actually asked about but does note it was a pretty novice crowd)

Favorite Blogs (often with additional interesting links in blog roll or otherwise)















Issues and Choices
RantWoman explained about her use of affectionate pseudonyms and opined that in some cases using only first names and first letters of last names can be confusing. Plus if people's Quakerism is part of their identity there may be a good case for just using a name one is comfortable or even specifically interested in having appear in search engines. No one argued.

Blogs and Quaker Community:

Resounding and remaining query: why put the life of your community into a blog in the first place? This from a very seasoned Friend and gifted writer. RantWoman spoke of several Meetings she reads about online where themes from community life play out in different members' blogs. RantWoman also noted in a later plenary that someone mentioned a blog that is only extracts from different newsletters from Meetings around the west and how much news this newsletter excerpt blog carries of such matters. To be honest, the fact that someone is already doing the community news piece online is another piece of evidence that there is value in this kind of internet presence.

RantWoman especially thanks one Friend in attendance for saying so many engaged and energetic things that RantWoman remembered her during some public discernment during Meeting for Business

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Allergic to Joy and Peace?

RantWoman is in the throes of final preparation for the Pacific Northwest Quaker Womens Theology Conference . RantWoman supposes she should have made clear somewhere that she is on the Planning committee. RantWoman is excited that the moment is upon us. Plus, boy does RantWoman NEED some Conference.

--Take a lunch break from today's round of speaking plainly at a geekfest about something RantWoman is passionate about. Even if RantWoman's geek hardware does not measure up to lots of others geekware, be like every other geek in the room and check email for last-minute crises. Thanks God for diverting anything unmanageable.

--Forward an email with another reflection paper: Dear Women, if your paper isn't done by now, just bring it with you!

--Email check-in to one Friend whose email bounce messages RantWoman kept overlooking. RantWoman had to borrow someone's eyes to find a typo in the email in the database. Friend had already gone to the website and found what was needed.

--Check with one Friend: she had already gotten the papers despite RantWoman not following up for days and days.

--Last round of email about a transportation request from the registration process that had fallen through the cracks. Do not even try to solve one thread from earlier email; figure the requester can speak up herself if the issue is as RantWoman first read it instead of an alternate simpler reading. Thanks God for things lining up.

--Email Personal Friend in response to an inquiry: yes the site has Wi-Fi. RantWoman thinks DO NOT spend all your free time doing homework. If you feel you must do this, RantWoman may go all big sister on you and suggest you consider whether your schedule THIS YEAR includes sufficient time for both the conference and homework. Maybe RantWoman will suggest this, as the next in a series of eldering emails. Maybe RantWoman will just pray for an absense of opportunities to elder in public and wisdom to set an appropriate spiritual tone in her own comportment. RantWoman does not even care whether Personal Friend might think this is no fun!

--Note the email with the correct time to meet one's ride on the ferry.

--Run two favorite afghans through the laundry for the bring afghans to the worship space request. The afghans are acrylic yarn and will do fine; the laundering is needed because it has not happened for YEARS and the afghans have been through a lot, not all of which should be shared with others no matter what the website invitation says. Forego fabric softener, first because that is a RantWoman norm and second because Snap, Crackle and Pop will be doing primo static electricity duty.

--Assemble Thwack the Badly Behaved White Cane, his companion Thwack, and his other companion Thwack. Decide whether Thwack the Outdoor needs reinforcement from Thwack the Beat-up and Really outdoor who might be a more logical candidate for, say, mucking through baby bear scat on a trail near the retreat center. Decide whether Thwack the Indoor and slightly more Demure should tag along for the exercise. Decide whether Thwack or the other Thwack or the other Thwack are giving interviews. Favorite themes include: Gender Identity and Misplaced Gallantry, The Peace Testimony and Poorly Driven Vehicles, The White Cane and Total Confusion, Inner Light While Cursing Unmanageable Outer Light.

--Decide which luggage option will best contain Three Inches of Psalms, favorite afghans, and clothes for the weekend. Extra credit for optimizing loads for legs of trip on public transit.

--Make mental list of attendees one hopes are covered by particular layers of joy and peace. Upon realizing that one is hogging a lot of room in line oneself, center, breathe, worship, lather, rinse, repeat--and do it with fragrance-free shampoo in solidarity with several women with chemical sensitivities. Consider the possibility that joy and peace may need mighty winds of transformation and just be open to movements of Spirit.

--Consider the dynamics of mentoring and being mentored. Maybe think twice or three or four times about offering mentoring about every bad idea that crosses one's mind. This includes for instance neditations about whether "May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits" is an acceptable blessing among Quakers. There are nowhere near 1000 camels around ... , so does this even count?

--Give the feline Staff an extra long session of petting and shedding because I always miss her when I am gone. Finish the feeding directions for RantMom and email request to neighbors to let her in when she buzzes to feed the cat.

If you signed up, RantWoman is really looking forward to seeing you and matching your presence with your papers; if you did not sign up, RantWoman thanks you for any and all prayers.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Business Meeting, oh my!

Today's Meeting for Business was full of LOTS of transitions.

This is the first month of our new clerk's term. This clerk is already very seasoned and wisely handled several schedule questions such as putting our Remodel Task Force first on the agenda.

Memorial minute for last founding member of our Meeting, check. She was 96 and passed away far away but had kept her membership with us the whole time even when she lived closer and worshipped with one of our daughter Meetings.

Our Yearly Meeting does not DO birthright memberships; Faith and Practice says junior membership ceases on one's 21st birthday. Minute recording that we dropped junior membership for 7 former junior members now in their 20's. Check.

Chagrined comment from parent of one of the more active and visible of the newly dropped Young Adult Friends about offspring not yet leaping to adult membership: Sigh. Check.

Tender comments from several others who have known many of said Young Adult Friends virtually their whole lives. Also Check.

Silent reflections from RantWoman about how much it meant when she came to Meeting toward the outer age limits of what is considered Young Adults to meet LOTS of sensible adults who were NOT her parents but whose examples could help RantWoman figure out many sensible adult issues on her own and whose role modeling in terms of gracious acceptance of and coping with eldering, feedback, community seasoning are part of what kept and KEEPS RantWoman coming back. Check. Special acknowledgment that RantWoman needs some herself now.

More comments about how some Young Adult Friends identify more with their age cohort than with specific Monthly Meetings. Check.

Silent snort from RantWoman: part of what RantWoman REALLY loves about our Meeting is the lifespan age range of those present including large numbers of quite a bit elders who in various ways steady RantWoman at many different moments. RantWoman has no idea how this relates to the Young Adult Friends' concerns and is continuing to seek light about the matter.

Ashley W. noting her last Meeting for Business as a sojourning member before her move south.. Sigh. Check.

RantWoman must now formally remind her readers that views expressed in this blog are those of RantWoman alone and DO NOT necessarily reflect anyone or anything else on behalf of her Meeting.. They are subject to change when properly seasoned with other Friends. RantWoman is not inclined to edit the past but may strive to go forward slightly differently.

If RantWoman's readers notice some subtle or maybe not always subtle changes in content of RantWoman's blog, they may assume that RantWoman has now taken her place on a certain committee long a subject of challenge in RantWoman's life and the life of her Meeting. This committee has been taking its own sweet time responding to RantWoman's request for some kind of seasoning and help about her blog, and RantWoman was relieved actually to have a real live telephone conversation with a human relating to such concerns.

The point of the phone conversation: this committee deals with many confidential matters and RantWoman is going to be accepting any and all feedback and specific concerns related to the world of blogdom and the world of seasoning matters live. As for what actually transpired in Business Meeting, RantWoman recommends telenovelas for better scriptwriting. RantWoman knows she is going to have to compile the elevator speech version and perhaps a Dial-a-Tirade version for VERY selected audiences. Other than that, RantWoman will henceforth be concentrating on her own problems and the life of her community as a whole. RantWoman expects she will have plenty to do.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Community Strategic Training Initiative

This post is aimed at anyone in the Northwest whose conceptions of "live what you believe" and "that of God in everyone" call them to actions and connections beyond the circles of Friends.

RantWoman's main point: registration for the following event closes June 30 so if you are interested, get on the ball and sign up.

The Community Strategic Training Initiative is an annual conference held at Reed College just outside Portland OR. The conference tends to combine capacity-building workshops about useful skills like fundraising, grant-writing and board development with really diverse workshops on multi-cultural organizing. There is always a strong LGBTQ presence. There are wonderful energetic young people from all over WA, OR, ID, MT.

This year's program and registration info

The link for this year's workshops:

RantWoman attended a few years ago. RantWoman attended one workshop about multicultural organizing and still sometimes cites info she learned about what different foods mean in different cultures. RantWoman was deeply energized hearing about an organization called Montana Women Vote. RantWoman also enjoyed being part of an immigrant issues workshop where we checked at the beginning and realized no one needed interpretation into English. Finally, RantWoman was gratified the last day after another worship had ended early to slip into a Building a Board workshop and realize she had things to contribute just from knowing that someone has to keep track of official paperwork.

Some years there is more academic. wonk policy content than this year. The content is relentlessly secular and some people might like more radical systemic change content, but this is a great experience for many people. RantWoman would not mind another item or two about technology and about participation by people with disabilities, but she supposes she should just get on the ball, organize and propose such herself.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Friends Quarterly Essay Contest

RantWoman means to read more than one of the 106 essays submitted here and thinks some of her readers might want to too.



RantWoman will meditate separately about the coexistance of things in print and things online and how to help actual conversations occur.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Nurturing Gifts of the Spirit Through Art and Writing

RantWoman is compiling a long list of places she could easily think to jet off to over the summer but that she is unlikely to get any closer to than her internet connection / media stream or Twitter feed. The writing event below exists in a zone between the two extremes of jet plane and Twitter feed: RantWoman regularly worships with Anne Beaufort and based on that experience highly commends the workshop below to anyone with a writing bent and within closer range of Pendle Hill.

RantWoman is sometimes deeply humbled by the accomplishments of those she sits quietly in worship with. Here is workshop leader Anne Beaufort's bio with links to her home page:

Here is a good link to the full course description and info about mechanics of registration

A RantWoman exhortation: if enough people do not register, the course will get cancelled. RantWoman would say hurry up and register and would send sincere hopes that those who might need to make extra help line up to attend will also find way opens!