Friday, April 29, 2011

Service Dogs, Simplicity, Integrity, and Clarity, Electronically

RantWoman unquestionably appreciates the elements of her recent Quarterly Meeting experience that she found inspiring, motivating, deeply nourishing spiritually. RantWoman, as a member of the planning committee is not just tooting her own horn. RantWoman so thanks a Weighty Friend visitor for sharing his sense that the gathering felt well-covered to him! RantWoman is especially humble about this because sometimes when one is in the middle of something one cannot necessarily see the forest for the trees or one cannot possibly fuss with everything there might be to fuss about and thus has no choice except to let God handle the overflow.

And then there is the matter of service dogs and questions not even exactly asked of new technologies. But let us start with service dogs and the possibility that one might appear. RantWoman is writing as a member of one planning committee in an effort to make sure the ground is appropriately tilled for subsequent planning committees. This means this is a RantWoman view of the world and RantWoman makes no representation that actual minutes of any meeting are yet going to reflect everything here.

RantWoman warns her readers: the English to Quakerese filter is not working very well today. RantWoman hopes to craft appropriately seasoned email, but RantWoman is taking the initiative to spell out what is on her mind and in search of additional Light on several questions.

RantWoman humbly acknowledges that movements of Spirit in general and in the words of Friends are SO FAR sufficient to keep RantWoman from flying off the handle a hundred different directions; RantWoman hopes her path to spiritual growth does not include an excess of additional temptation in this regard about service dogs, a topic lately vexing the planning committee, albeit currently unencumbered by direct interaction with a possible specific service dog!

One Friend to RantWoman about Service dogs: "but some of us have allergies."

RantWoman: "Yeah, and why do you expect your odds of needing to interact with service dogs should be any different at Quarterly Meeting than anywhere else?"

Another Friend: "But, we'd have to teach our children."

RantWoman: "Uh-huh. And what is hard about that?"

Still Another Friend: "RantWoman, why can't you let this go?"

RantWoman: "Let me count the reasons."

1. Several years ago another Friend had a very bad experience with her service dog at our Quarterly Meeting venue. That Friend encountered inappropriate reaction from the kitchen staff and completely unhelpful responses from Friends; she just left Quarterly because of the bad encounter. That Friend, at our Meeting's request had already specifically gotten her service dog certified; that Friend ultimately left our Meeting over another matter and RantWoman really misses that Friend. RantWoman is a little afraid she may have been one of the clueless onlookers previously, but she had not remembered any of it until she emailed this Friend to ask about her experience after a more contemporary conversation about a different dog.

2. Based on inquiries RantWoman had made, RantWoman was aware of several possibilities. RantWoman brought up the service dog issue at every meeting of the planning committee she attended. RantWoman is thinking maybe it would have been better to spell out really clearly what questions needed to be asked, but no one including RantWoman got there. And then there is hindsight. The person who volunteered to take the question to an appropriate committee for additional seasoning dropped the ball. Okay, RantWoman drops the ball sometimes too and RantWoman herself did not think to nag. The point is the ball got dropped. Sometimes dropping the ball is forgiveable; sometimes dropping the ball can lead to extreme inconvenience for a small number of Friends, vexation for absolutely crucial volunteers, or other ways to strain even hardy Quakers' paths to spiritual perfection.

3. When RantWoman pushed the issue by email in the weeks right before Quarterly Meeting, RantWoman detected a number of challenges as far as awareness among Friends and a number of points that could clearly benefit from shared discernment. As of current email exchanges, our venue clearly gets the issue. RantWoman does not think it too far from a spirit of love and Truth to say Friends are another matter.

4. Assuming a person needs a service dog because of many challenges, it is not unreasonable to expect that the owner of the service dog may also have life difficulties that interfere with the person's ability to be perky and middle class or that might pose a challenge in the life of a person's Meeting. RantWoman sees an important task in larger Quaker bodies helping Meetings walk with such Friends' difficulties. Mentioning any specific topics below may or may not refer specifically to any particular situation.

5. RantWoman took advantage of being on the scene for a meeting attended by representatives of all the Meetings in her quarter to bring up the service dogs issue. RantWoman heard clear instructions about getting more information. RantWoman did not hear clear appreciation of points that RantWoman thinks can and should be reasonably discerned about as the next Gathering is planned but RantWoman expects she will again be onsite for the meeting of this body and at this point is just going to have to carry this concern!

6. Upon returning home, RantWoman called up the co-clerk of Quarterly Meeting Ministry and Oversight, aka, Conflict is a Gift of God Friend, aka Quaker Process Expert aka.... to debrief the learnings so far. RantWoman supposes she could have called the other co-clerk, but Conflict is a Gift of God Friend is a local call. Plus he is conversant later into the evening, more like RantWoman's schedule than all the Friends who tuck in for the night while RantWoman is just getting started. Conflict is a Gift of God Friend managed to commit two grievous sins in RantWoman's eyes.

First, RantWoman felt like he sort of patted RantWoman on the head and told her not to worry her pretty little head because he thought his co-clerk and the co-clerks of the committee where the issue was previously to be referred could just handle one question in relation to a specific situation. RantWoman unquestionably sees an area where Ministry and Oversight can contribute constructively, but pointedly did NOT hear instructions to M&O in exactly the direction Conflict Is A Gift of God Friend wants to head. Where is M&O going to be when Friends again are acting clueless in the general case???? RantWoman is REALLY clear that there is value in discussion in the general case reflected in minutes as breadcrumbs on the path of future planning committees, particularly with respect to one of the issues in this case!

Second, Conflict is a Gift of God Friend,to RantWoman's ear, failed to listen and in fact did not think to ask whether RantWoman has any specific Light about the issue of service dogs, training and refresher training, behavior standards, handlers' responsibilities, and LOTS of points someone who is around a lot of people with service and Seeing Eye dogs might be up to her eyeballs in.

For instance, not every dog will be good at specific categories of work. The Seattle Fire Department has a lovely arson dog who washed out of Seeing Eye Dog training for sniffing! Guess what she gets to do all day in her new role!

RantWoman in fact is so far up to her eyeballs about the topic that there are likely to be more dispatches on her non Quaker blog. Stay tuned. Here RantWoman needs to stop, start crafting email, and maybe resist further temptation to rant specifically about the MERITS of email, at least for the time being. RantWoman would SO like a different basket of temptations.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Secondhand Skype

RantWoman missed it. RantWoman was nowhere to be seen during the plenary at the Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting plenary about use of electronic communications and Quakers. RantWoman thus has been consuming the plenary secondhand. It occurs to RantWoman to wonder whether anyone thought to make an electronic record of the session, but RantWoman is getting into enough trouble demanding that people speak their OWN Truth and not assume they are speaking for everyone.

RantWoman for her part was doing her work shift as one of several adults taking care of dozens of children. Having so many children at Quarterly is wonderful. And too much of wonderful can be, well, too much. RantWoman's too much threshold is lower than other people's but Quarterly Meeting is blessed by VERY good childcare planners. The person in charge of RantWoman's age group, first thing, made sure all 19 of our charges had nametags. RantWoman completely sees the logic of this even though RantWoman of course could not interact. The charges also were a mite too young to read RantWoman's UnNameTag request to "PLEASE TELL ME YOUR NAME." But never mind, this was a great help to other adults on the scene and everyone was quite forgiving when RantWoman hung some of the day's art efforts up upside down on the wall.

But back to secondhand Skype.

RantWoman in her peculiar way is an overachiever about matters electronic. For instance here is RantWoman on Skype from a long time ago,

And again

The search bar will yield a couple other items, but RantWoman imagines her readers get the idea.

RantWoman has the impression that discussions at the gathering left plenty of room for people's different experiences, but RantWoman really does not know what to do with the checkin offering paraphrased below:

One friend "It just made me think in-person is the best way to communicate."

RantWoman: "Why do you say that?"

Friend "Well, the people Skyped in were talking about something they had all attended together, but we don't have time to talk anymore in person because we have to stick to the agenda."

RantWoman, thinking about the part left out of the queries about who is in and who is out of electronic--or other--conversations, thinking about her motley assortment of powerful internet and blogosphere connections, thinking about when she does and when she does NOT want to deal withhours and hours of mysticism aboard Metro, thinking about the part about what practices do people use to stay centered...: "Huh? Are we ever going to have time to talk about when email actually WORKS?"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


RantWoman started this while deep in the throes of another round of her planning committee habit. RantWoman is unsure whether she needs a 12-step program for this or whether she is just supposed to think of herself like one of those herding dogs who get neurotic if they are not allowed to herd something. Maybe RantWoman will just go with "when the Goddess kicks you in the Butt..."

This time RantWoman has been helping plan the Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting. RantWoman's fingers have been abuzz with one of those Event Planning ISSUES that sometimes makes such work so colorful but saying more about that topic at this point would definitely be telling too much of the Truth. Truth is on the agenda at a public meeting, and by the time of the meeting, RantWoman will be clearer what she is led to blog of.

Meanwhile, RantWoman is going to speak from the exalted heights of Experience, experience forming and tending to worship sharing / spiritual sharing groups.

RantWoman is feeling nostalgic for the lengthy days of last summer when she had only to make very simple choices about which category of Worship Sharing group she wanted to participate in, worship sharing or worship discussion.

RantWoman has been reflecting about how choices sometimes just add complexity. Merely adding gender for instance causes Friends in RantWoman's orbit to emit sentiments ranging from "I will become twitchy and uncomfortable if I am the only person of my gender in a worship sharing group" to "I will be twitchy and uncomfortable if I am in a worship sharing group whose members are all the same gender" to "What's gender and may I provide Walking Encyclopedia service on the question?"

But RantWoman's Quarterly Meeting planning predecessors do not stop at choices about worship sharing or worship discussion plus divergent views about gender distribution. No, no, no, in order to talk about Simplicity, Clarity, and Integrity in the electronic age, attenders are expected to choose also from sharing or discussion while sitting, simply walking, or hiking. Attenders may also add music though mercifully no one has thought to ask about standing on one's head, wading in the rushing creek, rolling around in onion soup powder, or participating via Skype.

Next we come to queries. Again, RantWoman waded into the work stream far enough to interact several times, in person and via email. RantWoman THINKS she was not the only person trying at the in-person round to make a couple points that did not quite make it into the final version of the queries. In this vein, RantWoman however finds it refreshing merely to reflect on people having trouble hearing and to branch out from one person to others challenged in the same area.

RantWoman also notes that ranting does not in the least mitigate the fact that RantWoman had a wonderful deeply nourishing and gratifying experience in her worship sharing group, some kind of a let God be in charge thought at the very least.

Monday, April 11, 2011

State of the Meeting 2011

RantWoman did not write her Meeting's State of the Meeting report this year, though she was one of the people thanked for "generous" offerings about suggestions for additions and subtractions from the draft presented at Meeting for Business last month.

RantWoman also notes that in her Meeting it is the custom, if only due to concerns about deadlines for delivery to Quarterly Meeting, quite pointedly to ACCEPT the April offerings of those who draft the report and to refrain from and maintain severe restraint about further wordsmithing. RantWoman notes this point specifically because she wishes to stand aside from claims on her behalf about email. RantWoman expects she will experience further revelation about this and other topics, but in the meantime presents the committee's offerings with gratitude for their work.

State of the Meeting Report
University Monthly Meeting
Seattle, Washington April 2011

Although the final report on the Year of Discernment came out in early 2010, we find that our need for discernment never ends. We are called to paths lit by many visions, even as our worship is often gathered, rich, and deep.

One member continues a ministry, recorded by our meeting, in her professional work as a hospice chaplain. Another continues a minuted ministry concerning paganism and Quakers. Individuals seek greater unity between different branches of the Society of Friends and pursue spiritual dynamism arising from new scientific research. Friends are deeply involved in peace efforts. Several families and individuals minister as musicians and artists. Others among us work in the wider community in a great variety of forms of service. Several write Quaker-related blogs. A sizeable group traveled on Lobby Day to labor with legislators in Olympia, Washington’s state capital. Two of our community published books this year: one of poetry and one of graphic fiction.

One Friend clerked the search committee for the new Executive Secretary for the Friends World Committee for Consultation, Section of the Americas; another is national clerk of Friends Committee on National Legislation. Three of our women served on the planning committee for the eighth Pacific Northwest Quaker Women’s Theology Conference, including its clerk. Held at Seabeck Conference Center, the gathering’s theme was “Walk With Me Mentor Elder Friend”, and brought together women from across the diverse Quaker family in our region. Two young adult Friends associated with our meeting co-clerked the annual West Coast New Year’s Gathering of Young Friends, held in southern Oregon.

Meeting re-affirmed use of our worship room as a nightly shelter for homeless people, working with the city-wide, self-managed SHARE shelter program. We are also trying to open our community to those who sleep in the shelter, and to open more prosperous Friends to what our homeless friends can teach us. We had larger than ever turnouts for our annual shared Thanksgiving Day dinner, as well as the Annual Picnic – both were attended by Friends, shelter participants, attenders and visitors. Another successful and fun community event was the “Hoedown for the Homeless”, a fundraiser with live music, a dance caller and innumerable tasty desserts prepared and contributed by members of the community. We gathered and delivered high protein food monthly for Tent City. Individuals from our meeting have participated in the work of the University District Ecumenical Parish and the U District Monthly Conversation on Homelessness.

Twenty-five members of our community served on a variety of care committees, for which our Subcommittee on Care has developed guidelines. Friends also formed a variety of support committees, and clearness committees around major life decisions.

We are in our second decade of holding, at once, the community and worship needs of survivors of sexual abuse, of our meeting children, and of a person who was in the past a sexual offender. This continues to be a challenging balance. Following a threshing session, numerous committee meetings and laboring at two meetings for business, we slightly loosened the individual’s restrictions, allowing him to attend adult religious education sessions. At the same time, we welcomed an educational presentation by a representative of the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, and maintained strict safety safeguards for meeting children.

We continue the Quaker Experiential Service and Training program (QUEST), supporting young adults in volunteer service internships, by providing program support and housing in our Quaker House.

We celebrate the 2010 independence of South Seattle Meeting, which had long been under our care, and worked together with them in planning the spring 2011 gathering of Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting. Even as South Seattle departs, our own Sunday Meetings for Worship grow in size, now sometimes numbering more than eighty at 11:00, and a smaller number at 9:30. We rejoice that our meeting preschool and firstday schools are also growing again--we celebrate the new babies and children among us. But we have yet to generate a renewed Junior Friends program for teens.

Twenty-three of our members transferred to South Seattle Meeting, four joined us, one died, and three left; our membership now stands at 166. Many attend without having sought membership.

A weekly adult religious education series draws fifteen to twenty people. Beyond that, “Life, the Universe & Quakers” is an ongoing study group which arose during the Year of Discernment. Another group is making its way through Barclay’s Apology. Spiritual Sharing Groups and “Quaker 8’s” potluck groups have been organized, to help people to get to know each other better within this large meeting. We have community lunches two Sundays a month, and a monthly musical salon hosted by our Quaker House resident.

We’ve replaced rotted meetinghouse siding and windowsills, repainted, installed parking lot lights, and cleared sewer lines. Friends have done wonderful work to improve our grounds, replacing invasive exotic plants with natives, and bringing pruning up-to-date.
Now we’re beginning the next steps of meetinghouse renewal, and are engaged in a fundraising campaign.

We do have challenges. Growth in several areas at once runs up against limited meeting space. Despite rising attendance, contributions to the general Meeting budget are down. Many of us feel too busy. We have difficulty filling some committees. We do ever more meeting business by email, but worry that even when all use email, we may lose depth of face-to-face discernment and community-building.

At the same time, we see need rising around us: for jobs, housing, and food. And as always, for connection to the Spirit, to integrity, to peace, and to community.

Friday, April 8, 2011


RantWoman is supposed to be helping draft queries for an up coming event. RantWoman is not sure her efforts are a help but they are what RantWoman has gotten stuck on today.

Are our communications centered in the Divine presence and not laden down with vanity and vexation?

Do our communications speak clearly and simply, maintaining a single standard of truth?

If one is to speak of a single standard of truth before God, what is to be made of promises to or about specific people or situations?

What does it mean both to speak of challenges in a spirit of love and truth and to be careful of the reputations of others?

Is it a form of vanity to assume any single person is the only one afflicted with a problem or concern? How may we speak of realities which may afflict many individuals, to be true to common elements and respectful of individual peculiarities?

Is there anything about modern means of communications that changes how we respond to these queries?

Is our electronic presence orderly and consistent enough than one can gosh dang it find previous contributions to the electronic torrents when needed?

To heck with the queries, for now. RantWoman has gotten stuck on confidentiality. RantWoman is weighing the possibility that the old quip about "my work is so confidential I don't even know what I am doing" applies, but RantWoman must be true to such Light as has arrived so far.

One of the big things RantWoman does in her jobs, such as they are is to draft things like confidentiality policies and computer usage agreements. RantWoman kind of has definition brain anyway but perhaps this item will resonate for others as well. Or perhaps RantWoman will simply mark herself, as of today, as clearly and unambiguously beyond the pale and the world will at least have a clear idea with whom it is dealing, zones of challenge and even desired transformation.

Once upon a time, RantWoman started work as a technical contractor for a large organization in a business up to its eyeballs and beyond in oceans and buckets and endless floods of confidential data. RantWoman is aware that the practices listed here have changed substantially as has the legal environment affecting the organizations obligations. In the interest of confidentiality, RantWoman is not even identifying the economic sector the organization belongs to. RantWoman is simply going to note that she signed on a dotted line, showed up at work and was handed her job without any intersection with the concept of confidentiality. The subject did not even come up until RantWoman asked for a definition of what papers needed to go into the shred and which could go into the recycle container.

At the time, RantWoman figured her job was just to follow the rules, she just wanted to know the rules, but there was no one telling her the rules. Sometimes someone not doing what RantWoman considers their responsibility lands them instantly in the RantWoman rant zone. Nevertheless, saying any more about that exact situation would definitely be telling more of the truth than RantWoman considers necessary.

On the other hand, having worked in that economic sector, RantWoman at least understands some of the logic behind one Friend's hesitations about email. RantWoman understands the historical origins of these concerns. RantWoman demurs about email referring to events that have occurred in public before a large number of witnesses. Furthermore, RantWoman thinks that technology and practicalities other than what obtained during that Friend's working years very definitely put RantWoman's comfort level in a different place. Okay, RantWoman's comfort level is really different. So that means RantWoman gets both to muddle out more clearly what Light has arrived for her AND figure out how to approach the question of laboring over the issue.

In the blogosphere, in the Quaker blogosphere, in the world of search engines and vast electronic modernity, at least on RantWoman's blog, RantWoman is responsible for making the rules. RantWoman is seasoning a number of concerns in this realm.

One concern has to do with identifying people and organizations RantWoman refers to. Here are RantWoman's rules as of today:

RantWoman is aware of some Young Friends who refer to many Friends, including themselves and others by only their first names and last initial. RantWoman frequently refers to the face of the Divine appearing in specific human faces. RantWoman reminds her readers of her past as a Russian Literature Major. Characters may appear repeatedly and may or may not be referred to by the same name in different entries.

RantWoman uses noms de blog for many people in her Meeting. RantWoman has not really been promoting her blog in her Meeting and only hears from a few people. No one has commented unfavorably on this practice. One or two Friends have smiled when they recognize a fellow worshiper.

RantWoman acknowledges that some blog entries, especially early in her blog's history contain noms de blog which tell a little too much of the truth. RantWoman particularly has in mind one item which refers to a Friend's hidden disability. The Friend does not read blogs but from time to time talks fairly openly about her disability which is why RantWoman even knows of it. RantWoman has never talked directly with this Friend about whether she minds RantWoman's reference. However, after discussing the matter with others, RantWoman decided to change how that Friend is referred to but not to edit history.

Several members of RantWoman's Meeting hold official roles in various Quaker places. When RantWoman is referring to a person in his or her Quaker role RantWoman will use that person's full name; RantWoman reserves the right to refer to such Friends as are well known to her AND fall into the RantWoman rant zone outside their official positions by appropriate noms de blog. RantWoman thinks a single standard of Truth can sometimes be served by speaking honestly of behaviors or feelings or reactions, particularly as one does labors of the Spirit. RantWoman strives--with very uneven results--to be conscientious about not linking a Friend's real name with any RantWoman rants not related to the Friend's official role.

RantWoman includes all kinds of real, live links to authors, Weighty Friends, and figures widely publicized. RantWoman uses the same names as she receives the material with.

RantWoman has also been meditating about standards of confidentiality for activities such as spiritual sharing groups and general concerns of, as the query in our Faith and Practice says, being careful of the reputations of others. RantWoman is meditating about the questions because they have come up organically, not because, say, a topical committee has elaborated any guidelines to start from. RantWoman knows that her Meeting includes people who work in professions where specific standards of confidentiality are assumed. RantWoman also knows that people participate in activities such as 12-step programs or group therapy where some kind of standard for what is confidential gets spelled out fairly early in a group process. RantWoman THINKS that people have enough different life experiences that they should be able to agree among themselves about standards of confidentiality for different situations. RantWoman thinks this but means to collect some topical queries / practices in case people come to her for help.

Meanwhile, RantWoman means to put one of her search results digestion services to work to help her do some research about matters of definition and boundaries.

Some wonderful queries on confidentiality from Quaker spring 2009

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Still Evolving

In Dinopoly, instead of Jail and Just Visiting, unlucky archeologists go either to Nearing Extinction or to Still Evolving. RantWoman favors Still Evolving for many situations.

RantWoman apologizes but that childish excursion is almost as close as RantWoman wants to go in public to the irreverent, seriously BAD FRIEND formulation she most recently came to about our Meeting's walk with the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet and the issue of our Meeting being basically a community of all manner of mortals subject to all manner of moral lapses. The Safest Sex Offender is not to commit more offenses; no one else gets to commit such offenses either.

RantWoman got to that zone of irreverence, yea an appearance of trivialization by turning over some concepts related to ministry; some associated circumstances need more seasoning off blog. For now, though, RantWoman needs to stick closer to something she actually feels clear to blog about, what if anything to do about our Meeting's current announcement about our walk with the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet. Understand, the views here are Light as it has come so far to RantWoman. RantWoman's experience is that parallel Light is not automatically delivered to others and RantWoman is most assuredly not in charge of what may yet happen with further discernment.

The text of the current weekly announcement

Options that come up in conversation:
Eliminate the announcement entirely; report at some kind of extended intervals to Business Meeting. Leave small adjustments and weekly details to, say, a support committee. Maybe keep our information sheet about the ministry with all the other print on hand. (If we are getting all wacked out, make ourselves a website for the 21st century and put the info sheet on the website.)

To RantWoman the announcement seems kind of self-congratulatory, though RantWoman also wishes it had at least a few words referring to something about traditional Quaker witness. Some people find it restimulates old traumas. It kind of misses the point about what it might occur to RantWoman to say about other Meeting resources for a variety of events that occur from time to time in the life of our Meeting that have nothing directly to do with the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet. Heck, we could use the space in the bulletin to remind people to turn off their electronic devices and to speak up when delivered of vocal ministry.

Edit the announcement severely. RantWoman might suggest something along the lines of the following, though some other things would have to evolve too.


  • Since 2002 our worshipping community has included an individual who is a convicted, non-predatory sex offender. He has graduated from the treatment portion of an alternative sentencing program which requires him to participate in a religious congregation. Now he continues treatment voluntarily, and remains under supervision by the Department of Corrections. He is with a chaperone at all times while on our grounds. He may be worshipping with us at 9:30 on 2nd and 4th Sundays and at 11:00 on 1st and 3rd Sundays. he may attend adult discussion at 9:30 on 1st and 3rd Sundays. For information about other times when he may be present with a chaperone, contact.... For more information about this specific ministry see yellow informational flyer on the table outside the office.
  • We are a community working to provide a welcoming spiritual home for survivors of abuse as well as this offender. We are a safer place for both children and adults because of the awareness and education that this ministry has produced.
  • We strive to nurture individuals' spiritual growth, to be a community free of abuse, to deal in a spirit of love and integrity with conflicts of all kinds, and to speak openly of our concerns as we walk together as a community.
  • If you have questions about these ministries, about something you have observed or something you have experienced among us, or about traditional Quaker forms of witness including prison ministry and restorative justice, we invite you to ask a member of either the Oversight or Worship and Ministry Committees.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Madame Doddering Leftist and prayers for...

RantWoman unquestionably celebrates and concurs with the sentiments in these blog posts about Libya:

Readers who are feeling humor-impaired or overwrought over the thought of yet ANOTHER US military intervention in the Middle East are excused from further reading unless led. See RantWoman has been doing her Quakerism for Dummies homework and thinking about that of God within Moamar Ghadafi. RantWoman has come up with two elements which make her smile--in spite of the fact that a path of redemption from the zone of "Odious Dictator" is really, really not obvious to RantWoman.

First, the beloved Odious Dictator has NOT managed to promote himself from Colonel to General. What gives? Has the beloved Odious Dictator been overcome with modesty? Has RantWoman missed some critical linguistic or political nuance to account for this oddity?

Second, based on a recent report RantWoman heard on NPR, the beloved Odious Dictator has reached new heights of brilliance in his management of the international press corps. Peace and Light be upon these herds and herds of brave and intrepid souls risking life and limb in a war zone and puttting up with the privations of international hotels in order to get as close as possible to The News. RantWoman thinks the good colonel's "keep 'em completely disoriented" practices of scheduling tours to cities under fire at 3 am is just brilliant appropriation of, say, psychological warfare methods developed by the US government.

RantWoman expects the Odious Dictator can probably devise disorienting tactics on his own, but RantWoman was especially touched by the tour of what NPR reporter Lourdes garcia Navarro called "doddering leftists from France." One Anglophone member of that group greatly amused RantWoman by articulating the case against military action in terms of "impinging on Libya's sovereignty." Really? Ya think?

RantWoman admits that it probably does not hurt at least to pray, to pray for spiritual transformation for the Odious Dictator, for cessation of attacks against unarmed civilians, for political coherence among the opposition without need for arms. Praying: the least RantWoman can do!

Barclay bits for the filing cabinet

Barclay-themed bits for the filing cabinet.

An FGC thing pointing to the other items below

Will Taber's Blog of Barclay and other topics:

A Cliff's notes style astract of all 15 propositions

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The oatmeal people ride the bus.

RantWoman got up and chowed down her customary bowl of oatmeal, lately blessed with very cinnamon-flavored flax oil donated by a denizen of the Barclay book group. The flax oil is SO cinnamony that it overpowers the flavors of both nutritional yeast and the flax oil which makes for very upscale oatmeal, possibly more upscale than Quakerism's origins as a revolt of the masses might suggest.

Then off RantWoman bounced for pre-Meeting for worship bus ride to Meeting for Worship. RantWoman has previously written though not everything she might of Metro as zone of ministry; today though RantWoman was also musing about about the famous Stephen Prothero on Stephen Colbert moment.

"Quakerism is the best religion...Meeting for worship is... like riding the city bus..."

RantWoman is still seasoning some posts related to themes from a couple months ago. Elderly Friend posed the question "the world really needs what Quakers have. How come they are not beating down our door." Today, in that vein, RantWoman's inner crowd control geek was musing: Would our Meetinghouse be overrun by throngs of bus-riding masses so taken by Metro as mystical experience and such devout acolytes of Stephen colbert that they would know just where to turn for more mysticism without Metro?

In a word, nope.

Sorry, Stephen, no one but RantWoman even brought it up and Friends in RantWoman's meeting are already a little too used to rantWoman waxing rhapsodic about Metro.

Adult Education outlined four routes from outward to inward spiritual life based on John Youngblood: Worship, Righteousness, Activism, and Study and then quickly added a fifth, mysticism based on starting from the spiritual center and seeing where one is led. When RantWoman is feeling like a better student, maybe she can pen an item about how all of these are done aboard the bus.

Meanwhile, today's discussion featured extensive wanderings among mystical traditions of various eras in the history of Christianity, the desert fathers early monastics, St. Francis, St. Teresa, St John of the Cross.

Along the way we also visited developmental neurology, the collective unconscious, and several other conceptual destinations, but no Stephen colbert and no city bus, at least until RantWoman brought them up. On the other hand, apparently, it is a pretty revolutionary act for the laboring masses to decide God needs to be the center of their lives and then to order their life and work to make that so.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Stephen's next religion

RantWoman offers the following link to what Light she has about Stephen Prothero saying ON Stephen Colbert that Quakerism is "the best" religion.

The original clip

RantWoman is amused that no one she has talked to so far mentioned Stephen Prothero's comment that Quakerism is "the best" religion. Everyone is stuck on Stephen Colbert comparing Meeting for Worship to the city bus.

If any of RantWoman's print digestion groupies read the book, RantWoman would be interested to know whether the 3-minute clip on Colbert did the book justice; RantWoman would greatly appreciate any other bullet points.

Stephen Prothero, God is not One

For more comprehensive treatment of Quakerism and the city bus, readers are invited to put "bus" into the search bar on this very blog.

Further disclosure: RantWoman is currently a member of the King County Transit Advisory Commission. RantWoman definitely has positive views of both Meeting for Worship and the city bus. However, RantWoman is not speaking for anyone but herself about either topic.