Wednesday, March 31, 2010


RantWoman has sent Dear Friend her THIRD reasonable accommodations request for an email copy of his special drafted take on his leadings about conflict which was the subject of heated discussion at Adult Religious Ed Sunday. That should be enough said, but RantWoman is now seasoning an expanded version of the message and some other deliberately bad conflict resolution student points.

Again, RantWoman notes others who share her concerns and perspectives, as well of course as perspectives that need still more community work. RantWoman has quite a bit more to say about Dear Friend's document. RantWoman thinks Dear Friend should count his blessings that RantWoman has other work obligations for now especially since RantWoman has REALLY strong views about a couple points.

Meanwhile, the conflict resolution class in RantWoman's building has wrapped up and RantWoman is VERY grateful for many things:

--RantWoman finally, after THREE email reasonable accommodation requests for one of the handouts, got to read it. The handout totally gave RantWoman permission she really was not waiting around for just to sit with her own freakout. The handout did not actually say as much as RantWoman has absorbed in good customer service training about how to de-escalate situations, but RantWoman decided she got to be grateful for what she got.

--Getting the darn de-escalation handout between classes was SO helpful in terms of RantWoman's capacity to make freakout brain settle and only try to do one thing at a time. RantWoman remembers a short spell of taking notes in Braille to protest something or other and promises to explain the logic of that practice at some point in her other blog.

--RantWoman made a real effort to put Interpreter Brain "convey only what is said, do not add or omit" on hold and practice reflecting back. RantWoman was in a roleplay group with other people having trouble with the concept for different reasons and RantWoman was really grateful and humble about sharing their struggles even if the reasons are different.

--Neighbors who previously expressed great irritation with each other now voice new respect. Well, the flow of annoying behaviors continues the same as ever from several directions, but those assembled still showed many signs of having worked hard and learned a lot.

--RantWoman had a really good roleplay partner, a sweet neighbor W.

RantWoman got nailed fair and square about excessive sarcasm, which she so obviously needed to hear. There was also a thought- and inquiry-provoking experience about laughter. W answered RantWoman's question about whether the gender of the person doing the laughing mattered in a surprising way.

--RantWoman has been meditating some more about an interesting Testimony on Equality point. RantWoman invested a certain amount of energy in annoyance about the presenter not thinking in advance about how their line about body language being 75% of communications would play in a crowd of blind people and people with other barriers to standard body language. RantWoman cannot see a large percentage of the body language; others have unconventional body language because of various disabilities. The fact that the presenters could have done a better job of interacting with this issue is not, alas, a big fat chicken-clucking get out of jail free card though!

RantWoman has previously written more of her thoughts about the Testimony Equality. Today she can at least find it in her brain to consider
suspicions that "you wanna hassle me, get in line" may not exactly be to the taste of some who think themselves "special."

Perhaps to everyone's relief (?) there are still PLENTY of annoyances for those of us who seem to thrive on recreational blood pressure elevation.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ears and shared stories

RantWoman is SO touched by her spiritual sharing group. First, they bounded out of bed and drove across town to meet at 8 am on a Saturday!

Those gathered got off to a surprising start with questions about confidentiality and limits for comments that involve harm to children, harm to oneself or harm of others. The conversation clarified that several of us really wanted / needed, among other things, space to talk about our own experiences with substance-abusing family members. Of course one POINT of such shared journeys and sometimes the exhaustion involved is that substance abuse frequently is a form of self-harm that very little can be done about until the person affected is ready to respond and in the meantime there is exhaustion and the need to manage limits.

The conversation then stretched toward 18-year-olds, youth, life experience, expectations and trepidations. RantWoman is still figuring out what more detail to add and in the meantime is embracing the opportunity to hold one Friend in the Light about working in a somewhat new though previously difficult way.

RantWoman here needs to admit the beginning of the Meeting just made her smile for another reason, the youthfulness of a Friend who spoke of staying up till 1 am doing something on Youtube and his youngest child delight at (finally) being the one to plan a family trip. RantWoman cannot explain exactly why this Friend getting hooked by a passion on Youtube makes her smile so deeply, except that it feels like more 18-year-olds in the room, all youth and passion and enthusiasm, and not having vanished or stopped being transformed even at an age considerably older than RantWoman!

The gift of others' words and inquiries:

--One Friend used the word "aggravations" in relation to his spiritual struggles. RantWoman HOPES but has no visual basis for being sure that this Friend accepts RantWoman's heartfelt assurances that her laughter is because the term is so perfect, not because RantWoman in any way wants to laugh at this particular Friend.

--RantWoman, what is it you want us to get from a narrative with several strands?

Uhhhhh, that WAS a pretty tangled narrative, and RantWoman really mainly wanted to make the point that a problem is freaking her out and having Friends hold the situation in their thoughts would be lovely. RantWoman had already detected that probably a problem that has been vexing her for months did not even register on the minds of several assembled. RantWoman thinks that is both a blessing in terms of not having to talk about it and a curse in terms of points she has already detected about people's ability and inclination to participate in some strands of community life. The Friend who asked RantWoman to clarify showed later signs of getting one of RantWoman's key points, and RantWoman is going to have to hold the rest of the question to see how it plays over time.

--A friend sharing of hearing loss and how he thinks this impedes both his hearing of actual words and sometimes his grasp of what is meant by the words. RantWoman was just this week looking at a Youtube video of ways interpretation from one language to another can go awry and one exchange involved a similar problem.

RantWoman finds these comments SO helpful. RantWoman has been digesting comments from several directions about her communications. RantWoman is SO glad to get this feedback not freighted by really, really intractable baggage from one direction. RantWoman for reasons of educational background, fascination with math and science, and temperament spends a lot of time analyzing gender dynamics in conversations. RantWoman also detected others being open about difficulty processing information in general, not phrased in a particularly personalized way. All of these points are just such gifts!

Today thoughts of substance abuse and boundaries found RantWoman wandering in a surprising direction: one of RantWoman's piano teachers, an old friend of her father's was an alcoholic. He was also a very talented musician and the RantFather frequently hired him as church organist. RantWoman uses the word frequently on purpose. Piano Teacher was an alcoholic. Sometimes he was sober, on the wagon, and sometimes not. When things got too bad, the RantFather would fire him; when he got clean again, the RantFather would hire him again. RantWoman is meditating about whether this model might wind up being applicable for other immediate problems in her life, but first she must write separately of being a bad student of conflict resolution.

Train Bombings in Moscow

RantWoman really needs to focus on some paperwork for the Friendly Neighborhood Center for Extreme Computing. RantWoman is unsure whether the degree to which sometimes waves of faith-centered obsession wash over her work is a sign of deep calling or just total mental salad bowl dysfunction. The point is that RantWoman looked away for a moment from her must-do list and found the following prayer about today's train bombings in Moscow.

RantWoman has ridden the Moscow metro, though she is unsure about visiting the stations where bombings occurred. RantWoman has also ridden the Nevsky Express, the train from Moscow to St. Petersburg where another bombing attributed to secessionists and problems from Russia's troubled south in the North Caucusus. RantWoman during a spell in St. Petersburg decades ago when passport stamps still said Leningrad had a fascinating transit excursion and conversation buddy from Dagestan. The point is that these connections invite particular suffering strangers into closer focus even if one is led to pray for some general category of suffering strangers.

In particular RantWoman pointedly demurs from praying ONLY for "Russian brothers and sisters in Christ." Excuse the bleep out of me, but "Lord make me an instrument of thy peace" or "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" does not apply only to "Russian brothers and sisters in Christ." The very point of the bombings is that Russia is a multiethnic and multireligious state and that its citizens and government need the prayers of peace-oriented people everywhere about working out how to live together. Further, RantWoman would pedantically point out that not all Christians in Russia are ethnically Russian, and in Russia it sometimes matters a lot whether one means "ethnically Russian" or geographically from Russia. RantWoman absolutely does not condone violence and resolutely concurs with prayers that those behind bombings be brought to justice. RantWoman still believes that prayers for the situation must address all the people involved.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Actual Compost

RantWoman has been posting so much in recent eons about metaphorical compost, perhaps her readers will appreciate glad tidings of some actual real biological, fertilizer type waste management compost. The press release makes no mention of either Nasturtiums in Salad Friend or Dear Friend; RantWoman hopes her readers can contain their disappointment on that score. RantWoman also CORRECTED a gross misstatement of said toilet's location!

For an extra exotic touch, RantWoman is going to experiment with posting an actual graphic in appreciation of the tastes of all her readers who probably crave something besides the acres of words RantWoman can crank out.
Finally, for readers who need info about p-patches, community gardens that RantWoman joyously embraces as a part of Seattle community life, see:

And here, text of the press release
Thu, Mar 25, 2010 3:13 pm
Subject: Seattle's First Public Compost Toilet
City of Seattle
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Stella Chao, Director
Contact: Jake Hanson; 206.733.9595; Lois Maag; 206.615.0950;
Seattle Installs First Public Composting Toilet
Picardo Farm P-Patch to Celebrate Achievement April 3, 2010
March 25, 2010(SEATTLE, WA)
--Installing permanent restrooms into public areas can often be amassive hassle, especially without easy access to sewage systems. Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is pleased to introduce Seattle’s first public composting toilet, which was recently installed by community garden volunteers at our very own Picardo Farm P-Patch. The Picardo Farm Garden was the first Seattle P-Patch, established in 1976 based on the idea that “you give back what you put in,” offered by site owner Rainie Picardo. For years, the 281 plot gardeners of Picardo Farm have pined for a permanent restroom, voting in an early 2000s planning process on a composting toilet as a solution to the tipsy Honey Bucket, leased only from April to October.
The new composting toilet will serve as a convenient relief to the gardeners and visitors. The Clivus Multrum M54W is not only a composting system, but the building that houses the restroom. The water-tight section underneath holds lightly packed wood shavings along with a solar powered bilge-pump to convert the matter to carbon dioxide and distribute it throughout the shavings. Solar-powered fans are also built into the building to produce fresh air, and upon periodic maintenance all matter composted can be removed and distributed elsewhere as fertilizer.
Picardo Farm gardeners have pursued this project through many hurdles. A Neighborhood Matching Fund award that provided funding was only the first step. Ultimately multiple permits were required from county and city agencies and a professional engineer was hired to help steward the process.

At 12:30 p.m. on Saturday April, 3, the Department of Neighborhoods will host apublic celebratory opening of the newest Picardo feature, located at the intersection of 25th Ave NE and NE 82nd. The 1 p.m. ribbon cutting will be followed by garden tours.
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods provides programs and service that engage residentsin civic participation, foster stronger communities, make government more accessible, and preserve and enhance the character of Seattle’s neighborhoods.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Gospel order?

RantWoman was doing her morning stretches, still digesting some reflections about profession as ministry and right livelihood and how one's faith interacts with the norms and vocabulary of different professions. RantWoman promises to say more of what she is talking about, but along comes daily blog roll with other imperatives:

RantWoman has been spending too much time over the last year having conversations about Gospel Order crammed down her throat. It's not that RantWoman has no interest in the topic. Quite the contrary. The problems would be:

1. RantWoman very quickly discerned that the conversations should be bigger than herself and a certain personality alone. This still has not led to clarity about suitable ways to have community conversations. RantWoman wonders in passing whether this thought speaks to the same issues behind a certain personality's recent comment on a certain social networking site about sweeping conflict under the rug.

RantWoman admits she could easily ascribe other motivations as well, but RantWoman is STRIVING to remain respectful. Okay, RantWoman could easily go off about ego and male privilege and even more objectionable terms. RantWoman here is stopped by an anecdote she read once about a new manager at a certain local software monstrosity. New Manager presented something to the CEO; CEO immediately pronounced it the worst idea he had ever heard. One of young manager's colleagues consoled him by saying "Don't worry, you won't hold the title long." In that spirit, RantWoman is NOT taking a great deal personally, except with some question marks about safety and spiritual development.

2. RantWoman slammed hard into a wall of personal reasons (on both sides) and very necessary personal boundaries impeding her capacity to dialogue with said personality. Nothing of what has unfolded has changed RantWoman's mind about the necessity of such boundaries, but again that does not solve the problem of how to talk about what needs to be talked about.

3. RantWoman's Meeting is large and theologically diverse, ranging across Christian, Buddhist, and scientific and other orientations. Some of the time this dynamic is a profound strength, but it has practical consequences like difficulty finding unity about our motivations to oppose torture. This point sticks in RantWoman's mind because lately our Clerk's readings before Meeting for Business have included quite a bit about Gospel Order. (If RantWoman tags this post Compost, perhaps her readers will understand a certain personality is connected with these selections.) RantWoman suspects that many others besides herself really have not internalized a good working definition of Gospel Order. RantWoman is further going all Anabaptist, broadly understood, on the problem and insisting that Gospel Order cannot be assumed simply because people have passed over our threshold and sat down in Meeting for Business. Gospel Order must be freely embraced, joyously, sincerely engaged in, learned and relearned in an ongoing process of continuing revelation every day.

RantWoman means to say more about some challenges of Friends' business process if a Meeting is doing its work and drawing a steady flow of new seekers into its midst and themes on her mind. But that must await time for RantWoman to breathe and other demands of her profession.

(RantWoman is meditating about her timorous heart. RantWoman reread this post one night after it was published, thought it too frank and personalized, and saved it to Drafts. This morning, RantWoman has more data which she will separately digest. In the meantime, RantWoman is goind to seed reverie with the phrase "playing God" and go back to publishing this! RantWoman apologizes in advance for too much esoterica and hopes to have time at some point to pull out bullet points.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Silence / Open Worship

RantWoman has this fascination with people's experiences of silent worship. RantWoman's blog roll has served up a lively sampling today.

RantWoman comments: definitely christ-centered, and plenty of specifically Quaker theology. Good lord there are a lot of instructions. Okay, if open worship only happens quarterly, maybe people need to be reminded, but if RantWoman got all of that dumped in her lap the first time she ever went to a Friends Meeting, her head would hurt!

Something for RantWoman's Baptist Quaker do good reflexes and evocative of the God's aerobic class effects at RantMom's Church.

RantWoman suspects she had more expansive thoughts in mind when she began this post, but if the point is just to retain these links for future reconsideration, perhaps this can just be posted without further adornment.

Give us this day our daily blog roll

RantWoman confesses, she is supposed to be at work. She is her own boss, so she has even less excuse for her brain to be gamboling around the internet than a conventional workplace.

RantWoman knows that the average adult spends a large percentage of his or her time thinking about a few specific things. RantWoman will leave the main content of her mental tempests to her readers' imaginations and will beg indulgence for thinking perhaps that others' mental landscapes in any way resemble her own. RantWoman will simply note that in addition to these predictable streams, she has a lovely basket of aches, pains, crotchets: sore teeth, itchy eyes, dyspepsia, plantar fasciitis,osteoarthritis, and this does not even go near the storms in RantWoman's psyche.

Maybe RantWoman will just blame storms in her psyche for her seemingly unending capacity almost to forget her spiritual center and degenerate into total twitchiness. All RantWoman can say is Thank God for Blog Roll. RantWoman thinks she could say that; what came out is something a little different:

Oh force, spirit, Father, Mother, Christ, Light whose name we cannot agree about and whose all-encompassingness we cannot localize,

Hallowed be thy innumerable names,

Thy Kindom, er Kingdom come, preferably in more accessible less flagrantly royalist language,

on earth, no matter how much of a mess we have made of it, as in heaven which we have not gotten around to completely messing up yet.

Give us this day our daily Blog Roll for we have trusted in Your Divine Guidance and twisted humor about what to put there in the first place and entrusted our spiritual life largely to what washes up daily out of the ether / er. Internet

Lead us not into temptation and that includes all the things we blunder into and all the things on the internet that will suck up all the time we could spent praying, worshipping, and generally doing something, anything besides our fixation du jour.

Forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us, or considering how well RantWoman is doing about the latter, maybe even a little further.

For thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, again with the royalist language, mixed in with "thine," prime quality Quakerese which RantWoman will now digress for better research about plain speech, plain dress, plain weather, plain nonsense, forever and ever without end amen.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Composting Conflict Resolution Class

(RantWoman is invoking the journal clause in her blogdom self-identity. RantWoman is actually finishing this item anachronistically and will do the best she can to be present where she was at the time of this entry.)

RantWoman is about to OD on conflicts and conflict resolution workshops for the merry month of March.

To wit:

1. RantWoman has 4 Monday night sessions scheduled of conflict resolution class in her housing community. This involves a vivid assortment of vexatious circumstances. Here is a good further summary of some of the circumstances:

2. Adult Religious Education class at Meeting features Conflict Resolution as part of the Peace Testimony. Has RantWoman already mentioned that, yes indeed, among Dear Friend's many talents is that he TEACHES CONFLICT RESOLUTION? Let us just say, this fact is adding yet another wrinkle to the problem of just sitting with many forms of complexity.

Furthermore, Dear Friend is clerk of the Adult Religious Education committee and he is leading the discussions! Can anyone guess why this might not be the most comfortable situation in the world? Can anyone guess that there might be simmering conflicts, cognitive dissonance, and numerous other stress symptoms all over the place?

RantWoman has been conscious for several months of monthly cycles of getting flipped out for a few days every month about things to do with the Compost melodrama. This might include reading and responding to drafts of minutes, extra phone calls, late nights pounding out emails draft emails, draft blog posts and lots of extra frequently detectable steam around RantWoman's ears at odd moments for no reason apparent to anyone else. Monthly cycles have mostly been manageable with detectable if idiosyncratic evidence of progress in numerous dimensions.

Weekly cycles are really darn well another thing on the stress-o-meter. RantWoman did not exactly volunteer to be restimulated so regularly. No, she just volunteered the entire staff of the Friendly Neighborhood Center for Extreme Computing to attend the events in her community. The entire staff did not of course sign up, but given RantWoman's role in signing anyone up, not showing up really is not an option.

RantWoman very fast gave herself the option of just skipping Adult Ed but opted not to for two reasons. First, if she wants her body to stay wired to get up in a timely way, she does not want to undo its current training for a month hiatus. Second, for the most part discussions and exchanges among other Friends have been very meaningful, important, and illuminating as far as diverse views and perspectives; in fact, others' comments most assuredly confirm things RantWoman herself tried for months to convey to Dear Friend. The "for the most part" is definitely both to Dear Friend's credit and further ferocious reminder of all that there is to be present with. IN any case, RantWoman has found the discussions more than worthwhile enough to overcome SOME of her jitters.

RantWoman once or twice detected signs of Dear Friend getting overstimulated. RantWoman detects this; RantWoman again has ferocious reflexes of the "sorry, you are not the only person in pain in this conversation" sort. RantWoman does not even feel in any darn kind of hurry about tending to this.

To make matters worse, RantWoman has recently reread a couple emails from the very beginning of the Compost melodrama. In those emails, RantWoman was speaking to some critical work-related deadlines which Dear Friend was exhibiting no respect whatsoever for and instead demanding conversation in a form RantWoman was clear, very clear was not something she felt comfortable about.

RantWoman is very clear about a leading, due partly to her experience around people at the Friendly Neighborhood Center... to go all Testimony on Equality on the situation. "Okay, so you have problems. Get in line. So do others. Your problems are not a big fat chicken-clucking get out of jail free card. Take a number. Be glad I don't just sit you down and make you read Job or somehting."

But back to conflict resolution class. RantWoman appreciates both that the content of the two class streams has been different enough for RantWoman to value both and that at least one week of Adult Ed involved enough of the same lingo as the other class to underscore RantWoman's surprisingly stern leading about further conversation from the following basket of concepts:

Avoid Accommodate Compromise Compete Collaborate

RantWoman is quite clear about leadings and boundaries; RantWoman remains unclear even about with whom to talk further even though RantWoman most assuredly needs help with further seasoning.

RantWoman and Dear Friend currently have a Friend from Oversight helping with adult supervision in email. RantWoman admits this is probably a good idea though numerous rough edges are probably still coming through. RantWoman looked Adult Supervision Friend up on a certain social networking site and expect he may or may not be charmed to be a party to passing on more of RantWoman's peeves about Powerpoint; RantWoman supposes need of a certain level of thick skin comes with Adult Supervision Friend's job title.

RantWoman is also in passing meditating on use of work-related email for decidedly not work-related uses. RantWoman knows some firms may just consider that a perk; others have policies explicitly proscribing it. RantWoman has also had jobs where work-related email is public record. So perhaps when RantWoman is not passing along more than Adult Supervision Friend may think he wants to know of other topics, RantWoman will broach the topic.

RantWoman has also been conscious of including in the mail forwards pointed reference to topics that are important to the life and fabric of many Quaker meetings but that do not trip casually off the tongue in some social contexts. RantWoman has previously posted about one such topic and finally spelled out that thinking to Adult Supervision Friend with an invitation to ask more if he wanted. So far he has not and RantWoman is just filing the observation for now.

RantWoman is meditating about her own ambivalence about further conversations: on one hand, RantWoman desparately needs the right conversations. On the other hand, RantWoman really has no stomach for excess conversation of the chattery and restimulating sort. RantWoman is quite grateful actually for Adult Supervision Friend's comparative reticence, though more of the right conversation is definitely still needed.

As far as the right conversations, RantWoman's mental health practitioner asked her a question that has caused RantWoman to want to have conversations with her siblings. These exact conversations have not happened and RantWoman now suspects that the theme will need to season quite a while longer.

For awhile, RantWoman has also kind of wanted someone to say "Dear Friend reminds you of your father? Really? Why? Oh you poor dear!" and then to move on to the elements of the problem that are just laughable. RantWoman thanks one person for really, really good giggles on this score and does not even apologize that some of the content is way too much even for RantWoman's standards of telling way too much of the truth in her blog. RantWoman supposes she should also be grateful to be deterred from overdoing this line of giggle opportunity by this person's other tiresome issues, but sometimes one takes one's giggles when they come.

RantWoman is writing this in the midst of doing some of her homework for the class in her building. RantWoman grossly oversimplifies with the following vocabulary from the class.




Okay, so RantWoman got stuck on the Think part: like all good geeks, RantWoman was led to mental data collection. Oh boy did RantWoman do data collection. RantWoman did the sort of data collection which, immediately upon sending it off to someone for help with, RantWoman realized it should in no way get sent any further. RantWoman does not even apologize for leaving it up to her readers' febrile imaginations to divine the content of such data collection. RantWoman is pretty sure most of her readers can just substitute their own darn issues! Meanwhile, this text will join a growing collection of draft emails and draft blog posts RantWoman is glad to have penned and unclear what if anything to do with next.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Supporting our troops, part n+1

RantWoman has, um, unpredictable ways of writing about matters military:

Accessibility features for modern weaponry

Gay troops kissing at departure ceremonies

The latest on war tax resistance as witness

selective conscientious objection.

With all that as background, RantWoman now feels duty-bound by imperatives of familial piety to do the very best she can to pen another "support our troops" item, in particular , praying for Youngest Cousin, cousin's husband and stepdaughter, along with the rest of the whole current multinational shooting match.

Youngest Cousin recently found RantWoman through a certain social networking site. RantWoman is really, really glad to have been found. RantWoman has seen Youngest Cousin a handful of times, but Youngest Cousin shares RantWoman's middle name with our long-deceased grandmother. RantWoman remembers considerable amusement observing the degree to which youngest cousin had her father wrapped around her little finger. RantWoman was amused recently to hear RantMom be frankly outraged that Youngest Cousin shared her mother's name. RantWoman takes a different view.

The immediate Rant family plays Boggle pretty fiercely. One time Youngest Cousin and RantWoman had a spell of being stuck in some cabin during rain and started playing Boggle. Youngest Cousin,who a lot of the time well into her 20's just projected an image as agum-cracking teenager, impressed RantWoman because even though she keptlosing, she kept playing and was getting better.

RantWoman has been thinking of the Boggle playing. Youngest Cousin is having her third go at military service driving big vehicles full of flammable material around war zones. Youngest Cousin is a child of the Rocky Mountains; RantWoman has absolutely no doubt Youngest Cousin is up to the tasks. RantWoman does feel obliged to include in her ardent prayers the following sarcastic observation: the US does not send women into combat, We just set them up driving big vehicles loaded with explosives through endless IED's ....

RantWoman also promises to redouble efforts in more Quakerly directions!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Job and....

RantWoman has been meditating for a bit about a Friend's comments in passing on the book of Job. This Friend commented that part of the problem was all of Job's friends telling him what to do instead of just sitting with him. RantWoman can attest that just sitting with can be a huge challenge, that the temptation to tell others what to do is profound; RantWoman admits this is also sometimes connected with an urge to confess others' sins for them rather than to let them come to their own Light. RantWoman would not possibly in any way have sins and kvetches she needs to unburden herself of in the same conversations?

In a similar vein,

Cleaning this entry up long after the fact, RantWoman is struck by the coincidence of Job and the item about the three prodigals in her head.

RantWoman aspires actually to read:

the book of Job

RantWoman thinks she wishes she could read: commentary, The Book of Job for the Feminazi Bitch with a Chip On Her Shoulder about equality

Friday, March 19, 2010

Remembering Archbishop Romero

RantWoman has been faltering a lot lately about a lot of things. Remembering Archbishop Oscar Arnaulfo Romero on the upcoming 30th anniversary of his death seems like a good place to reorient:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Quaker Initiative on Torture and Accountability

RantWoman unquestionably and unambiguously endorses the following events and initiatives:

RantWoman, being RantWoman has another stream of thoughts NOT in any way intended to detract from this effort that will get their own entry shortly.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Off to a good start

RantWoman is SO happy. RantWoman's Meeting is big enough to need to do spiritual sharing groups every year just to create small enough clumps for meaningful sharing. RantWoman has been in two, one that she really enjoyed but whose other members all moved away or disappeared and one that did not gel enough to keep meeting. Then for TWO years, RantWoman has put her name on the signup sheet and not gotten paired into a group. RantWoman is perfectly okay with things just not happening. RantWoman supposes she could have been more assertive. The point is just that RantWoman really needs small semi-intentional clumps of people to discuss her spiritual life with and this has NOT happened two years in a row.

Comes this year. Another sign-up sheet. An email with a list of names and someone designated to convene. Some emails about things just not working for February. Then last week, RantWoman dug out the latest email while following up something else and sent a query to follow up. Bingo!

A meeting got scheduled. Directions got emailed out. True, enroute RantWman had to call one of her dial-a-directory services for some details she misremembered and then had to call the host. But everyone came. Everyone brought their calendars. When we looked at the guidelines and people's summer travel plans, we realized that we would have to meet more often than once a month to get in the recommended number of meetings before summer schedules took over--and everyone was agreeable. Then everyone got out their calendars. The three people with cat allergies and no cats in household traded off about hosting. And before we did anything else, we scheduled the recommended number of meetings.

RantWoman cannot explain exactly why this disciplined, businesslike dispatch about calendar matters and intentional spiritual work fills her heart so deeply with joy. At this point, RantWoman does not even feel a need to explain. RantWoman simply wants to marvel and celebrate.

As if miracles of calendaring were not enough, we had time left over to divide up equally and tackle some of the suggested queries for 10 minuts apiece with the help of a kitchen timer for a talking stick. RantWoman can already tell from what came up in 10 minutes each that there will be much deep listening and sharing to come. RantWoman thinks she is going to be VERY grateful.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ministers, hireling and otherwise

"How are you?" is generally not an essay question. Nor does it necessarily call for the sort of pleasantry one generally carries around as an elevator speech for making the desired impression quickly. Sunday, though, that very question threw RantWoman for a loop. The person asking is someone both in a position to know many details of RantWoman's Compost melodrama, including particularly rasping terms of its current status and professionally steeped in vocabulary highly topical for ministry about the situation.

Yet, when this particular Friend asked RantWoman "how are you?" RantWoman did not offer her standard ask me more if you dare line "Cranky and irascible." That line frequently provokes mirth and even honest exchange of truths. Alas, RantWoman is genial enough that people do not necessarily always believe her, and RantWoman has also found herself asserting her need and capacity very selectively to deliver temper tantrums!

RantWoman is still weighing the efficacy of temper tantrums as part of an overall communications strategy, but the temper tantrums point has caused her a short digression: how much do Quaker modes of ministry assume that both those doing the ministry and those needing ministry can precisely articulate needs, issues, concerns, preoccupations, barriers to spiritual growth or even simple things like answers to ordinary pleasantries. RantWoman thinks lots of different things at different times about matters like her choice of major in college, but perhaps today's Literature Brain point is simply that our various texts and traditions exist not only because of any explanatory value in literal terms but also precisely because they wander back and forth like the trails of a labyrinth giving us different ways to frame problems.

But back to pleasantries for today. RantWoman also reckons that, if offered a decent elevator speech version of what's on her mind, How Are You Friend might actually have been able to offer helpful thoughts about the current phases of the Compost melodrama. The timing was bad, the scene a little too hurried. RantWoman has historically not been in the habit of offering vocal ministry every time the word restraining order has crawled into her vocabulary in personal rather than professional terms, even if the current thoughts, acute intractable and tiring job and housing concerns for others are mere echoes of old issues. RantWoman was kind of thinking "How the bleep do you think I am?" Still, for now, RantWoman just answered "Okay."

RantWoman has been thinking about this encounter in context of discussions on other blogs about training for ministers and hirelings and other such freighted terms. How Are You Friend has eminent professional qualifications and RantWoman has observed her many times adeptly apply skills likely developed in this Friend's professional life to the work of Meeting. Meeting is unquestionably the richer for application of these gifts and this Friend seems to strike a fairly generous but very precisely targeted balance about extending her professional qualifications to problems in Meeting life.

Here RantWoman comes to the world of very different gifts and experiences, to her experiences offering some of her skills with similar limitations, and not automatically to precisely articulated clarity about gifts playing out in service to Meeting.

RantWoman long ago had a job where she was the voice and face of technical support for the computing services at a very large university. This position brought the sort of notoriety which occurs when many more customers recognize one than the reverse. RantWoman got very used to being accosted with computer questions at the mall, on the campus bus, on the city bus, in the campus libraries, in the public library, on the street, in the supermarket, at the pharmacy and in innumerable other situations. RantWoman found these demands so exhausting that she instituted a rule: she only admitted to knowing anything about computers while wearing her work name badge. Of course, RantWoman is exactly the sort of nerd who would forget to take off her name badge. but the policy SORT OF worked. In terms of Meeting and Quaker life, RantWoman knows other Friends who weigh carefully how they extend their professional gifts; RantWoman is also weighing whether there is more she specifically can or ought do about her areas of expertise -- besides NOT keep queries about this topic tangled in the Compost melodrama!

RantWoman has taken note of lively exchanges about training and ministry and "hirelings" and requirements of knowledge and study

RantWoman has previously written of her bean counter / social worker taxonomy.

RantWoman has been thinking about this taxonomy and the matter of training and life experience analyzing several moments along the long arc of the compost melodrama.

RantWoman has been acutely conscious of sharing details of her emotional landscape and stage in life with others who she does not necessarily know well , things that others have not necessarily previously thought about, topics these Friends might also have no training or experience beyond general Quakerish good intentions. RantWoman in fact decided at certain points just to risk and share in limited ways and to trust that there are ways for others to figure things out / ask for help. RantWoman her particularly notes one gift of a good faith community: connections with people of different generations to steady one and keep refocusing as one's body and spiritual life lurches through the challenges of different ages. At some point RantWoman supposes these moments of sharing might actually benefit from more systematic framing in terms of Quaker pastoral care practices. Well, maybe, if RantWoman for instance can summon time and intestinal fortitude and some other sources to help with discernment in order to revisit circumstances yet again.

The point: RantWoman at a couple junctures said things which might ring alarm bells; other Friends did not interact very deeply with the alarm bell points. Perhaps it is enough that the conversations in question got RantWoman and Dear Friend back to talking. Perhaps RantWoman is simply supposed to add further consideration of these points to her "intend to think further list" for now. RantWoman admits her mind might rather go mess with tomato plants or check out the latest web emanations though not particularly the latest live experiences of the Rat City Roller Girls

Monday, March 8, 2010

Test me oh Lord

The following came in this morning from an unexpected direction, the signature lines for an email message to a decidedly non-religious, not even spiritually-themed email list:

Test me, O LORD, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me,
and I walk continually in your truth.--Psalm 26:2-3 (NIV)

RantWoman is thinking that, important as a God path is to her, as deeply as such informs lots of RantWoman's choices and quests, it would not occur to RantWoman to include Bible verses in her signature lines.

RantWoman admits that in connection with her work at the Friendly Neighborhood Center for Extreme Computing, RantWoman has been thinking about the pros and cons of including something like "this product perpetrated with the assistance of the following accessibility tools" as part of a signature at least some of the time.

RantWoman is thinking that one's religious affiliation and one's AT tools preferences may, just MAY be TMI, TOO MUCH INFORMATION for a lot of daily life. RantWoman currently thinks this but arguments to the contrary keep coming up. RantWoman wonders whether any readers want to weigh in.

Women hold up half the sky

RantWoman sincerely hopes everyone will wish the women they love a Happy International Women's Day. RantWoman means to meditate later about the meaning of this holiday and faith and a few related questions.

RantWoman is a woman of good intentions; in the meantime, here is a wonderful link on the theme:

For the record, last night RantWoman's ferrener husband of the thoroughly convoluted relationship and complicated history already sent RantWoman an email with the customary greeting.

The customary greeting makes RantWoman smile kind of the same way men in some Latin American countries whistling at every woman they see does. In some contexts, the greeting and the whistling come from people who are outrageous boors a lot of the rest of the time, but equal opportunity, all ages and shapes greetings and whistling is somehow refreshing.

RantWoman supposes at some point she will have to pen her more finely-grained and acerbic thoughts about the testimony on equality among Friends. For the time being, RantWoman will simply record her travels among folk of many fewer pretensions.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Valentine, Redux

RantWoman's drafts list is full of entries trending toward turgid about weighty Quaker topics. However, it's sunny and increasingly green outside and RantWoman's mind wandered over to her gardening pro buddies The Weed Whackin Wenches and found this wonderful valentine

RantWoman is smiling not only because it's a wonderful video and a wonderful song but also because of the blessings some couples' love brings to everyone around them.