Wednesday, June 29, 2011


RantWoman wonders what it was like for all the early Quakers who showed up at others' worship services and interrupted the proceedings and began preaching their version of the Gospel.

Holy Crap point number 1! RantWoman is a little afraid there are some traits that exactly parallel others' complaints about RantWoman in meetings:

Jumping in without waiting to be recognized. RantWoman is thinking that the number of clergy willing to recognize most of the valiant 60 was not that high. RantWoman is thinking of leadings to speak being called quaking.

Refusing to let go What if George Fox had just made an asterisk about his views of oaths? Would that have made room in a LARGE number of jurisdictions in the US for the option to affirm instead of swear? Calls about carrying a concern arise yea even in our 21st century!

Holy Crap point number 2, speaking of jurisdictions, swearing, then there is Interpreting! Again with the job necessities

Jumping in without waiting to be recognized.Suppose RantWoman is doing one-way simultaneous interpretation, for example community interpreting at a meeting, if the person RantWoman interprets for wants to ask a question, the interpreter HAS to interrupt. Sometimes the interpreter HAS to interrupt for other reasons but definitely without waiting to be recognized.

Refusing to let go which in RamtWoman's mind exists in close proximity with make a really big deal of things that look small to others. Refusing to let go is a VALUABLE trait when one is called to be an ally to the oppressed or when one is called to ensure that Friends from other countries can all be linguistically present in conversations. Another easy interpreting example RantWoman can think of is interpreters demanding to get documents in advance and having to hold the line HARD sometimes. Come to think of it... RantWoman has a blog post about this topic but is not going to link it here only because she can hear her readers going "No, No, NOT another digression to distant experience and alien realities." For the time being RantWoman is already doing more than well enough about making others be present with alien realities just with Meeting while blind.

Holy Crap point number 3! RantWoman can exactly identify items from her very own blogs where she does the very vexations behaviors in question, and to salubrious effect to boot!

Jumping in without waiting to be recognized.

RantWoman is unclear whether she was recognized the first time she spoke; she definitely was not recognized a second. Even worse, RantWoman jumped in about a topic she had jumped in about last month at the same meeting, adding another topical detail on the same theme as last month. IN Quakerese, this might be called carrying a concern; this meeting has no other Quaker regulars that RantWoman knows of so the behavior is probably just called "give it a rest." RantWoman is amused to reflect that the person who chairs the meeting in question ALWAYS thanks members of the public, including RantWoman for our comments, no matter how insistent or meandering. What a welcome contrast to the streams of what keeps sounding to RantWoman like "shut up" messages in connection with a certain committee.

Refusing to let go, well actually both jumping in without being recognized and refusing to let go.

Holy Crap Point 4. These exact challenging behaviors are completely necessary in the world of Meeting while blind.

Jumping in without waiting to be recognized.
At the blind consumer group RantWoman belongs to, people tend just to speak up and even interrupt each other. No one minds. No one is of offended, even when the person leading the meeting is partially sighted or there is a comparatively sighted spotter helping recognize people. Discussion even sometimes wanders a little between topics, but the group still maintains decent discipline about time and about clearly recording decisions.

Refusing to let go,
RantWoman is just going to give in and have a tirade here. One of the characters in RantWoman's Charm School melodrama HAS HIS JOB because of a lot of people who carried a concern and carried a concern and carried a concern and lobbied and lobbied and sued and sued and checked and verified and MAYBE sometimes include accessibility in their must-have technical requirements. This Friend has his job because the technical tasks arising from all the legal requirements that came from all that refusing to let go need endless watchful attention. This Friend DOING his job will not fix all the problems out there to carry a concern about in this domain. There will still be plenty of crap software for blind people to break and plenty of concerns for RantWoman to carry, but there is no way in RantWoman's understanding of equality and Quaker integrity that RantWoman is going to leave this carrying a concern thing at home in connection with a certain committee! Maybe RantWoman should stop even pretending that "charm school" is an applicable concept!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Furrther Bad Friend Leadings: Air Guitar

RantWoman would not mind in the least if her soul would focus and center on inspiring words such as this interview with civil rights campaigner James Lawson.

Unfortunately the RantWoman showing up today is still seasoning self-nominations at the Association of Bad Friends.

Today RantWoman is seasoning self-nomination to Lead Air Guitar, Unprogrammed Worship Music Team.

Of course, if there is going to be a Lead Air Guitar, maybe there also has to be a Leading Audition Committee. RantWoman should only self-nominate for one role, but which?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Nodding and Grunting

RantWoman has been called to reflect for various reasons on her experience of and others' experience of RantWoman in meetings. RantWoman feels deeply a single standard of truth about good meetings either among Friends or otherwise. Then there is a single standard of RantWoman.

RantWoman goes to several meetings every month including a certain committee and two civic bodies and a couple others. RantWoman does not at this moment particularly apologize to readers that reflections on RantWoman's experiences are likely to wander back and forth across multiple blogs. All of the non-Quaker meetings are more diverse on multiple grounds than RantWoman's certain committee. Supposedly, RantWoman was invited to join a certain committee because of her aura of diversity. RantWoman unquestionably is revered on her civic committees also for enhancing diversity, apparently more so than a certain committee.

Really Good Questions Friend has been heard to assert that the famous Seattle Process is about to turn the whole region into Quaker meeting. RantWoman is unsure she can go quite that far, but did get some really awesome material on consensus decisionmaking in connection with service on the Transit Advisory Commission.

RantWoman also continues to hear people swoon in admiration about people representing VERY diverse stakeholders in regional transit policy coming to consensus as part of the Regional Transit Task Force. One of these days RantWoman thinks she should pry herself out of some soap opera and just go read the report--if only so she knows whatever devil in the details she hopes to stay on top of as all the stakeholders go back and try to implment what they came to consensus about. RantWoman thinks if she so much as breathes a word about this fascinating and crucial process around a certain committee, this will be regarded as just TOO MUCH and RantWoman will again be excoriated for overwhelming nerd presence.

RantWoman's civic committees all also do basic amenities in ways that make RantWoman swoon. There are conventions about saying names so everyone knows who is talking. The facilitators know there are blind people in the room and are very gracious when someone just jumps in without managing to make eye contact and be recognized. RantWoman almost always gets agendas and needed documents sufficiently in advance that she has time to prepare. RantWoman has designated contacts who very generously receive whatever churns up in the RantWoman brain between the bus ride home and the next day or two after the meetings. RantWoman can tell further that her mental churnings are followed up appropriately and fed as expected into larger work processes.

One of RantWoman's pet peeves about a certain committee was getting stuff by email AFTER the meeting and then having to figure out what to do with it until the next meeting.

RantWoman admits she has been challenged around other points at a certain committee about other aspects of sel-advocacy and managing her own reactions to the world. RantWoman means to do the best she can to get a handle on the worst of these; RantWoman is also not even apologizing for instance about points of view such as

--You like to talk; I need to send email. How are we going to figure out working together?

--So what if you think RantWoman does not know when to quit and you are tired of RantWoman from working on Quarterly Meeting planning together too. Haven't you ever heard of the concept "carrying a concern? RantWoman is acutely aware of the need to keep reminding people of certain of her basic realities. Rantwoman is not even thinking of going near concepts such as "ally work."

--RantWoman is delighted to accommodated everyone's schedule hiccups. RantWoman also demands respect for the time RantWoman has to spend on the bus, the extra time it takes RantWoman to prepare, and sundry other hassles.

--RantWoman complains all the time about bus drivers nodding and grunting when she asks them a question. One problem with a certain committee is that everyone is Quakers. They don't even grunt when they are all uniting in some decision that steamrolls over RantWoman's needs. RantWoman has been thinking about this in connection with the flow of discussions or non-discussions on a certain committee.

RantWoman has a time or two felt really squelched and trapped in committee meetings just because, RantWoman assumes, everyone has just nodded agreement. RantWoman wonders whether it would be way too much to ask for some kind of verbal cue. RantWoman had not thought to request this when she first joined the committee, but the year's trials summon the thought very clearly.

--At the same time, RantWoman is reflecting on a request RantWoman actually made when she joined a certain committee. RantWoman's request: RantWoman finds the meltdown in her ability to react to everyone's facial expressions and other nonverbal cues one of the hardest things to deal with about the midlife vision meltdown. RantWoman asked people to let her know verbally when she screws up or offends people. To say the least this has not been happening.

One of RantWoman's committee mates pointed out that for other people interrupting verbally is considered rude. RantWoman is seasoning another whole blog post about why interrupting is both sometimes Quakerly and a reality in lots of parts of RantWoman's life.

RantWoman also frequently tells people sitting next to her that it is fine to tap her on the arm if it seems that RantWoman is transgressing some bound of taste or courtesy. RantWoman is PRETTY sure she made that specific point and request when she joined a certain committee but RantWoman has not been monitoring. RantWoman has no one tapping her on the arm.

RantWoman has been hearing things once in awhile that sound like "shut up" about topics where RantWoman thinks "shut up" is inappropriate and in fact considerably more sensitivity and interpersonal awareness IS appropriate.

RantWoman's mind-reading is non-existant. In recent weeks RantWoman has been listening to person after person complain about all the time spent tlaking ABOUT RantWoman, making assumptions about what RantWoman and not actually talking TO RantWoman. RantWoman keeps asking "why didn't you say something?" and not getting anything back let alone anything helpful. RantWoman has a time or two actually heard comments in committee meetings but this is only one of several circumstances that the RantWoman brain is peculiarly processing only as "shut up."

--Last year's experience on a certain committee is by far the most difficult of any of RantWoman' current meetng vocabulary. RantWoman is shaking about the scathing terms that have now come up twice. Scathing terms that occur more than once are certainly a call to RantWoman to try to get a grip, but RantWoman has had to decide that she cannot deal with all the scathing terms herself and RantWoman's first job is just to get down the meeting while blind part.

However, RantWoman has also come up with enough different experience moments that she needs just to catalog them for awhile and see where they lead.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Not blind--that we know of.

RantWoman has had a festive week of running into people she knows who are also blind, at least as blind as RantWoman, though also afflicted with things like eye glasses and erratic use of or total lack of white cane just to fool casual onlookers.

Ambassador Thwack was not on duty in either case. That is one of those RantWoman sending erratic signals behaviors that we just call out for everyone's edification. Then we call it out again just so MAYBE there evolves some baseline of community awareness: warning RantWoman CANNOT see very well. RantWoman may or may not tell you that at every opportunity. RantWoman does not want to run into you. RantWoman does not want to spill hot soup on the heads of energetic children. Oh wait, RantWoman is getting repetitive, not letting things go. RantWoman is also failing to detect the desired baseline level of awareness so RantWoman is aiming for consistency in message.

RantWoman needs Ambassador Thwack to be the length he is on the streets but finds him a bother in close quarters. RantWoman needs to keep track of Ambassador Thwack which can be a pain when he is not in the Rant-bag. RantWoman s still darned glad she can get around as well as she can. RantWoman is also impatient with people who trip over Ambassador Thwack, and RantWoman can make a zillion other excuses. Plus Ambassador Thwack can be a little fuzzy on the Peace Testimony; he may become a Friend by convincement in some millenium yet to arrive, but sometimes Ambassador Thwack is either just indolent, or so badly behaved and inclined to percussive pedagogy that RantWoman has to keep him well-contained. RantWoman is also easily deluded as far as temptations to slack off around her home and places she goes to regularly.

In one case at RantWoman's abode, RantWoman physically ran into blind neighbor. RantWoman actually has several blind neighbors, many of whom either do not use a white cane at all or are just as erratic as RantWoman about cane use without even sharing some colorful cane moniker. In this case, RantWoman and Blind Neighbor were just in each other' fog zones and the collision was low-speed enough not to have any lasting effects besides embarrasment.

In the second case, RantWoman ran into Former Attender at another event to delightful effect. Former Attender has never used a white cane that RantWoman knows of, but has officially been blind longer than RantWoman has. RantWoman and Former Meeting Attender were both at a contentious meeting and both glad to evade election to any office connected with the contentious points. However, we had a lively conversation about Meeting.

Former Attender complained that she stopped attending Friends' Meeting not only because of fading theological conviction but also because, Former Attender reported, she had spent two hours working next to someone at a work party and the Friend did not recognize Former Attender two weeks later. "...and she's not even blind." RantWoman later, thinking of a number of Friends who confess some of their hidden eye issues to RantWoman "...that we know of."

But RantWoman decided she has enough to do managing her own introduction / get connected / keep connected twitches. RantWoman notes Not Even Blind Friend, whoever she may be, in a hold in the Light about welcoming energy sense. RantWoman will let Former Attender tend to her own connectivity.

Former Attender used to be housemates with Eye Roller Friend and greetings were requested to be passed. RantWoman also explained her current philosophy about Eye Roller Friend. Lots of people roll their eyes in Meeting for Worship; RantWoman continues to esteem Eye Roller Friend for sending clear audible signals about the point. Former Attender just laughed!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Younger Blood Older Eyes

RantWoman Reads

and from other rantings in and outside Quakerdom:

RantWoman should perhaps let it go at blog posts and readers not prepared for a bumpy raw excursion through RantWoman's spiritual amusement park might want to stop where there is already plenty to consider.

Friends in the mood for more adventure are invited to continue:
Until recent festive RantWoman DARN WELL WILL take the matter to Business Meeting events, RantWoman was the second-youngest member of a certain committee--and RantWoman is about to hit the half-century mark. (Verb tense spoiler alert!)

Over the last couple months, RantWoman has been TRYING to have conversations about things in a certain committee that are not working for her and about things where she would like to apply energy, gifts, and the RantWoman inner Blowtorch to specific projects. Is RantWoman the most gifted and perceptive committee participant ever? Um nope, but RantWoman's experience is that God shows up often enough to go forward.

RantWoman is VERY humble about this point. RantWoman participates in or facilitates several committees and a certain committee is BY FAR the most challenging experience RantWoman currently endures. RantWoman has some theories about why. They are too much for this post. Suffice to say that it is clear that RantWoman AND everyone else are miserable.

Anyway RantWoman has to trust the God showing up part. The four oldest members of said committee who plan to continue have been waging a campaign via Nominating Committee to get RantWoman to resign. They only volunteered this to anything like RantWoman's face when, after hearing it secondhand, RantWoman boldly ASKED. It's not clear to RantWoman that the yearning for RantWoman to resign is unanimous but the one articulate voice to the contrary is, self-described, reactive. (This voice has been the one most articulately speaking to other things frying RantWoman's nerves. So we start where we are.

RantWoman received news of desire from Nominating Committee and Oversight. RantWoman is meditating about what she has done to be such a fearsom presence that her fellow committee members did not feel able to speak to her directly. RantWoman also now realizes that she could darn well have brought it up at an intervening committee meeting and did not. RantWoman also meant to but did not achieve more phone conversations--though no one called RantWoman either! Instead, after secondhand mush RantWoman could not interact with from Nominating Committee and one phone call, RantWoman did what everyone already complains of her doing too much of, SENDING EMAIL.

Email is a problem because:
(Can anyone guess age demographics associated with some of these points?)

--Some Friends just do not like email and are unwilling to adjust.

--Some Friends are unwilling to discuss why RantWoman really depends on email and practices tried and true in other contexts that could help greatly.

--Some Friends are more comfortable writing email; others wnat to talk in person and Friends are not able to talk about how to work together across different styles.

--Just because conversations are rushed, disorganized, and insensitive in person does NOT necessarily mean email will be an improvement. Unfortunately, conversations going badly in person are also sometimes a factor in RantWoman getting so upset she cannot talk and then writing still MORE email.

--RantWoman's emails are indeed a lot like some of her blog posts, a lot to digest.

--Decisions about how the committee deals with email were made in a way that did not deal with a very big reasonable accommodations issue that RantWoman had articulated in a way that would not address the problem in this case. RantWoman is seasoning a whole blog post about the exact dynamics and is further meditating about just posting most of her email making this point.

Nevertheless, RantWoman's efforts still yielded several important threads, some of which RantWoman is freely embrodering for emphasis.

--RantWoman really, really, really needs more pointedly to make everyone sit with what it means to be in meetings with someone who sees very badly. Numerous points have emerged in the course of other conversations. It seems likely that more trial and error would help a lot. RantWoman is in "tough, this is my world, you just get to visit so COPE" mode. That is RantWoman is nowhere near graduating from Charm School even if she isnot necessarily the most gracious tutor either.

--"We really do not have energy, do not want to argue about / discuss details that would make life better, and cannot even think about what it would mean to draw in new energy." This one RantWoman finds especially challenging when the other main festivity at Business Meeting had to do with money, that is severely stressed resources.

RantWoman was touched for instance by Finance Committee's suggestion that Meeting could meet its budget if everyone got out their checkbooks and wrote a check for $118. RantWoman paid a big bill and has less than $118 for the whole month. RantWoman absolutely DOES need better focus about her Make Your Own Job fortunes, but in the meantime ALL RantWoman has to contribute is her charm and energy!

RantWoman found herself thinking afterward of worship sharing a few months ago in Adult Education about what drew people to Friends and what keeps them coming back. A point that stuck in RantWoman's mind: our Meeting periodically does outreach of different kinds but sometimes has trouble making newcomers feel welcome once we draw them in. RantWoman has also been listening to people speaking of community as a big factor in why they stay. RantWoman is seasoning some specific Light about Business Meeting as mystical spirit-led experience; RantWoman is unsure the most recent Business Meeting meets her own standards, but again sometimes one starts with the raw material one has and has to lay the matter in bigger hands in the first place.

For instance, RantWoman thinks instead of just exhorting people already here to get out checkbooks, we should consider ways to draw in new people to spread our costs over more people. RantWoman has been reading in other blogs of networks of Quakers in certain activities drawing in others and is wondering what would help Friends think of and draw in people they would like to worship with. RantWoman is also humble about her own desire NOT necessarily for more opportunity to experience that of God among other difficult, challenging, broke people with disabilities just like herself or more so. God is also going to have to work on that problem!

Meanwhile, RantWoman, it's all your fault for:
--Suggesting that, while it's topical to hand off one issue, it's also topical to acknowledge the parts of the problem that need attention from a certain committee.

--Displaying what seem to RantWoman to be appropriate emotions in numerous contexts but not automatically instantly being able to come up with language about pastoral care of each other or Quaker teamwork or....

--Generally expecting that it is reasonable to be able to talk about what does or does not work for everyone, not just a few committee members.

--Having some weird brain circuit that heard A LOT of things other people THINK they were communicating just as "shut up."

--When "shut up" turned in one email into "I have decided on your behalf that you should go away" pointing out that RantWoman as lifelong fat four-eyed nerd has lots of practice not going away just because others make it abundantly clear they wish she would. This item also brought one of RantWoman's thudding "Be true to your Light / care for that of God within you" leadings.

--RantWoman made a big fat chicken-clucking reasonable accommodations request early in her tenure on said committee. At this point after experimentation unformatted, it's clear everyone just needs to start with more basics. Sigh. More blog posts due.

The following is tirade, slightly redacted from email about how things got to Business Meeting:

RantWoman basically got told in May resign NOW and here you can have some
cnice pastoral care. That does not look like shared discernment or meaningful effort to engage in what said committee has learned already.

RantWoman learned that the 4 members of the committee threatening to quit unless RantWoman departs HAVE NOT EVEN seasoned things IN COMMITTEE That does not look like discernment and they do not even want to engage in committee when RantWoman was considering what to offer about HER OWN TIME.

RantWoman gets email back from two committee members. Points from the reply email have been distilled here.

RantWoman meets with one committee member. This committee member gets credit for taking initiative. This committee member has been staying up until 4 am fretting about RantWoman but has not been able to figure out how to talk to RantWoman. Likewise.

RantWoman meets with all of Nominating Committee. All of Nominating Committee wants to season the question "Why won't RantWoman resign." Everything to do with the rest of the committee or RantWoman's accessibility issues are decreed off-topic. RantWoman explains discernment about comparison with her other committee experiencess and what is she called to do. RantWoman repeats her point from her original email. RantWoman is not clear to resign; she also is not clear not to.

In response to complaints from several quarters about RantWoman getting off topic, RantWoman asks the Friends from Nominating Committee to identify moments in conversation when she is getting off topic. Two of the three moments called out come up for RantWoman as "Are we seasoning the Right Question?" This probably confirms another complaint about RantWoman not letting things go, but RantWoman is seasoning another whole post about Quakerism 101 and these themes.

RantWoman realized that running projects among low income people, people with disabilities and other vulnerable adults issuess is ONE reason besides life experience that she sees and hears things people, for instance other people on said committee do not hear.

RantWoman can cite a whole list of other ways she felt silenced and when she tries to interact NOW, RantWoman hears "Let's keep barreling forward on the path we chose" and Put RantWoman's Concerns Off Until It's More Convenient Friends #n, n+1, N+2....

RantWoman told Nominating Committee several times several ways that knowing what roster they meant to propose would aid her discernment. Finally on Saturday night before Business Meeting, RantWoman just sent the Clerk and the Clerk of Nominating Committee a "cut the crap" email. RantWoman was instantly clear that she needed to speak when she saw no new names.

The next morning RantWoman had conversation with one Friend who might be expect to help about the nice pastoral care. This Friend is more concerned about having no committee than about how is the spirit moving among us or whether someone is being marginalized. That does not look like discernment.

RantWoman slammed into more points that need to be discussed with other members of a certain committee ahead of any hearing in Business Meeting. RantWoman tried to articulate some big community-value issues in Business Meeting; at this point RantWoman is just going to have to carry her concerns as every opportunity presents itself.

RantWoman slammed from several directions into people, people who have done very little talking TO RantWoman, complaining of all the time spent talking ABOUT RantWoman.

RantWoman is meditating about posting some of what she thinks she articulated in Business Meeting; RantWoman is aware that a better idea might be to see what comes through in approved minutes. Who said anything about RantWoman being exactly patient with process?

RantWoman is finding herself called to extend to younger members of Nominating Committee the same forebearance she sometimes extends to novice bus drivers or the medical residents who provide RantWoman's primary health care. RantWoman likes her medical residents' enthusiasm and engagement about current trends. RantWoman also finds it embarrassingly easy to shock these much younger practitioners with observations about what RantWoman's older body is doing. In Quaker terms, RantWoman is VERY grateful for continuing revelation, for the sense that her elders are still grappling with Big Questions, still wrestling with Life Issues and movements of Spirit. RantWoman has no problem calling out these points in this situation but she wonders whether, for comparatively young members of Nominating Committee, observing this in action is either inspiring or disconcerting or both.

Conversations after Business Meeting are no less, um, stimulating.

"RantWoman, I hope you are getting some support."


Dear Elderly Friend not particularly on RantWoman's list to season issues with because of past judgmental pronouncements, chewed RantWoman out for 45 minutes for not talking to her.

Inveterate Gardener Friend told RantWoman to get a grip. She did so in the centered way she is good at and thus instantly landed on RantWoman's list of people to TRY to season further.

For better or worse, at this point, RantWoman is, quoting another blogger, floating free in Grace. RantWoman could have gotten there without all the noise, but this is RantWoman here. RantWoman is not good at staying untethered very long. Hold her and her Meeting n the Light

Monday, June 20, 2011


RantWoman needs to nominate herself to a number of new roles at the Association of Bad Friends. However, RantWoman is called to have a tirade first.

RantWoman HATES Facebook. RantWoman is grateful to get emanations via Facebook indicating that Youngest Cousin is alive and well and surviving a job RantWoman thinks must involve dispensing explosive material in war zones; RantWoman makes special dispensation for Youngest Cousin's endless invitations to join Farmville because of the war zones issue. Still

RantWoman generally finds Facebook overwhelming, does not WANT the opportunity to read a gazillion comments about every blessed thing ever written. BUT when she find something she LIKES and wants to refer to again, RantWoman gosh dang it would like to be able to find things again. Hence borrowing the following item from the Association of Bad Friends.

A brief History of the Association of Bad Friends by Rufus Bones

It was a dark and stormy winter night in northern California. Jacob Stone and Brent Bill were amusing themselves with libations and deep discussions on various topics. Included in them was the possibility of borrowing from ancient Popes and instituting indulgences for Quakers. For an appropriate donation amount (set by Bill and Stone), a Friend could purchase an indulgence from a testimony and be free from it for a time. This could include buying an indulgence from the peace testimony so a Quaker could go slap another person who needed slapping.

They agreed that this was probably not a GOOD idea, even though it was a good idea.

Which led them onto a discussion of what was GOOD and what was BAD for a Friend. The stories which they had been hearing about actions in certain Midwest Yearly Meetings (primarily), that goodness or badness rested in being in theological and political agreement with the actions of certain Yearly Meeting staff people. If a person failed in either one (or both) of these agreements and that person would be named a BAD Friend and actions to dispose of her or his standing as a Friend would be undertaken.

Bill admitted to Stone that he was a bad Friend, though so far had not been publicly called out as such. He said that when he travelled schlepping his books, readers always seemed a bit intrigued by Bill being a Quaker -- as if surprised any of them still existed. When queried on his Quaker-ness, he usually answered, "Yes, a bad Quaker." The questioner’s eyebrows generally raised at that response. Bill told stone that he would go on to explain that, though he had been a member of the Religious Society of Friends all his life, he was just not very good at being a Quaker. He found that he frequently failed to live up to the ideals of the Religious Society of Friends – he was not always peaceable, humble, truthful, and so forth. Stone admitted that he was a Bad Friend, as well. As a sweet union of Badness bound them together, they rejoiced that these two lost sheep remained … well… lost, but that they were together in their lostness.

At about that time, the libations ended as did the chance for further face-to-face discussion.

Over the next few months, Stone and Bill carried on an erratic e-mail series of missives of deep-thinking such as had occurred when together. The decisive moment came when Stone sent Bill an email that asked, "Should we form the Association of Bad Friends??? Or Rogue Quakers of America???"

Whilst RQA had a certain ring to it (and slightly parallels the RSF), Bill said he leaned toward the Association of Bad Friends (ABF). He admitted to Stone, that while bad, he’d never thought of himself as a rogue. As he said, “I do like to heckle the herd from within, not lead it off into a new direction.” After further thought, they also agreed that "of America" was a little too parochial. They were certain that there had to be bad Quakers across the globe.

On Thirdmonth 8, 2008, Bill announced, via his blog, ( ), the formation of the Association of Bad Friends. Membership cards were hastily designed (this haste being a further confirmation that Bill, at last, was a bad Quaker) and distributed upon request.

The only principle of the group was that no Yearly Meeting officials or anybody else could nominate anyone else for membership in the Association of Bad Friends. Self-nomination was the only acceptable way to become known as a member of the Association of Bad Friends.

Requests for membership flooded in and Bill spent the next 40 days and 40 nights doing nothing but printing and mailing out membership cards.Then he sent out a dove to test the waters. The dove returned with an email mail in its mouth. Unrolling it, Bill found this message, “Thee shouldst start an Association of Bad Friends group on Facebook.”

Unsure if this was a Word from Above or if it just meant that Stone’s computer was down and he had found another form of communicating, Bill went and did as the email said.

The group was formed with a brief explanation of its purpose and a restatement of its guiding principle – “A group for folks who are just not very good at being Quaker -- who aren't always peaceable, humble, kind, loving, truthful, ... and know it. It's a place to poke fun at ourselves (as bad Friends) and not at anybody else we might consider bad (or "good") Friends. The emphasis of the Association of Bad Friends is "good" fun. Members must self-nominate. Yearly Meetings and their officials are not allowed to name prospective members.”

The addition of the line, “It's a place to poke fun at ourselves (as bad Friends) and not at anybody else we might consider bad (or "good") Friends” was acknowledged as being awfully GOOD for a bunch of BAD Friends, but was considered necessarily (sic, RantWoman). Many self-proclaimed good Friends were having no compunctions against calling bad Friends bad and worse. Some of the bad Friends were smarting, rightfully, from hurt feelings. So no name-calling or meanness was to be allowed. "No Wounding Allowed." Such behavior is just too bad, even for BAD Friends.

With the latest revision forced by Facebook in the ABF organizational structure, RantWoman was called to lay down her clerkship of the Committee on Doing Sudoku in Meeting for Worship Committee. Instead RantWoman has been called to clerk the "Still Didn't get the memo Committee on Email Immoderation."

RantWoman alas has such amazing Bad Friend prowess that she is also seasoning calls to

Wing Commander, 907th Psalm Airborne Paper Ministry Squadron

The Thank you Ever So much for volunteering to do my discernment for me Committee on Organizational Development

the "Would you please start that sentence with 'I feel' school of tact, Diplomacy, and Conflict Excavation,"

the "No one has the right letters behind their name even to START to count the social worker-worthy issues in RantWoman's checkin at the beginning of committee meetings" Committee.

The "Never Mind that the Social Worker Worthy Issues are currently comparatively well-controlled Right now; they are still WAY too much for one's committeemates" committee.

The "Ah just shut up and let's have some silence" committee.

The "Edit the content of what one remembers saying when typing up the minutes" Friends Committee on elocution, rhetoric, and Oral presentation

The "Long Periods of Unformatted Worship Make Me Really just want some liturgy" committee

The "My civic activism projects are doing a better job about both inclusive process and racial justice than my Meeting" committee.

RantWoman thinks she had better STOP and go off to be a face in the crowd at an event about fiscal brokenness. Lord Have mercy on us all.


RantWoman has adopted the following convention: whenever RantWoman is offered the opportunity to make a nametag, RantWoman's first instinct is to write PLEASE TELL ME YOUR NAME on one side and her name and Meeting on the other.

RantWoman did this at Quarterly Meeting when the nametag regimen included 4x6" index cards, yarn, hole punches and various writing implements. After Quarterly, RantWoman threw her UnNameTag in her Quaker folio; the UnNameTag has now been re-used several times.

For another take on the nametag issue:

RantWoman finds herself thinking fondly though of a certain church where the RantParents and RantAunt belonged. Everyone had pin-on buttons with their names printed on the buttons. This of course would be a great way to generate insider / outsider feelings, but RantWoman never actually CARED whether she had a nametag when she visited. RantWoman though is sentimental about having such artifacts after both RantDad and Rant Aunt passed away. But there is no accounting for taste.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


RantWoman and "very large three year old" seem to have WAY too much in common right now. RantWoman will spare her readers details except to say they are percolating in her Drafts folder. In the meantime, RantWoman's peculiar gratitudes of the day:

RantWoman is grateful to be able still to go lot of places ON HER OWN thank you very much even though RantWoman really needs Ambassador Thwack the Badly Behaved White Cane to help with things like navigating all the tree root vs sidewalk encounters on her path.

RantWoman is VERY grateful for all the difficult and intransigent people who lobbied for the ADA, for all the legislators who enacted it, and for all the people who sued and educated and promoted awareness. RantWoman is grateful for instance to have very recent positive experience with well-trained hotel concierges and responsible Construction site staff who know, when they see RantWoman and Ambassador Thwack fogging toward them, to offer guidance in the increments that suit RantWoman while adroitly steering RantWoman away from many avoidable hazards.

RantWoman knows there are vast hordes of people who are considerably less aware, more desparately in need of being held in the Light, and more frighteningly adept at engaging RantWoman in Inner Blowtorch mode. RantWoman is just about able to pray for such; RantWoman recommends they not push their luck, not tempt the Lord their God, even the ones who don't have a God.

RantWoman is especially grateful to be able to read, with only a little help the text charmingly written on a flip chart posted a child height at the Eastside Meetinghouse where RantWoman in Responsible Quaker mode went for a meeting today:

We are the Eastside Friends Children's Meeting Community

That means:

We are all connected.

We are polite to each other.

When we are frustrated we take a moment of silence and calm down.

We worship together. We are all listening to God at the same time.

We are against violence.

We are a group that makes a contribution to the whole Meeting.

When one of us has a problem, we all try to work together to solve it.

We help each other.

We take turns and we share what we have.

Don't worry. RantWoman could easily turn on quibble and cavil mode but RantWoman for once feels strongly called NOT to do so.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Bravest Woman in Seattle

WARNING: the item below is EXTREMELY graphic and upsetting.

Put "South Park rapist" into the search engine of your choice and ease in slowly if you must read.

A Weighty Friend in RantWoman's Meeting was n the jury pool for this trial for awhile. All RantWoman knows to do is to pray for everyone who has to go through this.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Peculiar Invitation

Dear Seriously Weighty Friends

So, um, I am decompressing from everything to do with recent Meeting for Business figuring out what I need my clearness committee to help me debrief about.

I am resisting the temptation to send email several directions without running things through the sarcasm filter several times.

I am meditating about what to blog about and what of certain emails I might be led just to dump into blog posts. This inclination is likely to be limited by time constraints, but...

And I have a problem: there are several seriously weighty friends who might come up in, um, challenging terms. My blog convention is as much as possible to use Noms De Blog for lots of reasons. Characters may
appear under more than one name. Most of the time characters have not been offered a choice about what nom de blog I assign, but I decided to experiment this time:

--Promising NOT to blog is not likely.

--I do not guarantee that either of you will appear but if you do, you deserve noms de blog.

My question: do you have the slightest interest in choosing the nom de blog for which I offer comments OR
 Are you content to see what I come up with?

How are you led?

In the Light


RantWoman penned the above inquiry to two seriously weighty Friends in the same household. One wants to preview choices before posts occur. The other told RantWoman to pick. At first RantWoman did not have clear leading but then an option occurred.

In both cases, the Seriously Weighty Friends are among several engaging in several annoying behaviors which, among other things, RantWoman in froth at the mouth mode has no problem calling ableism. RantWoman would have to choose serial noms de blog such as Put it Off Until It's More Convenient Friend #1, #2, #3, Make Decisions on My Behalf Friend #1, #2, #3 or, in Quakerese Are We Seasoning the Right Question Friends #1, #2,...#n, #n+1

RantWoman understands perfectly well the point about respect for people's time but examining the point caused RantWoman in Be True to Your Light mode to apply to bracing effect to recent events and her own time. RantWoman is grateful for what arose.

RantWoman is also grateful for Seriously Weighty Mentor Friend who responded as writing drew out more points RantWoman needs to articulate. RantWoman is also grateful that such efforts sucked up time RantWoman might be inappropriately tempted to use to ill effect. RantWoman is VERY humble about the degree to which her soul needs HELLLLP right now and even more tender about what is flowing her way.

Alas, RantWoman also understands why, on a recent survey about the experiences of people with disabilities, she was checking "Would Rather Not Answer" uncomfortably often on the survey section about her faith community.

Monday, June 13, 2011


RantWoman needs a convention to link a series of posts about the latest in RantWoman's interactions with Quaker process, conflict resolution, deliberate or inadvertant mentoring, and the nominations cycle. RantWoman has decided that these will be tagged Charm School.

To assist RantWoman in documenting movements of spirit or otherwise among various Seriously Weighty Friends and Friends in Key Roles, RantWoman is going to need a whole bunch of Noms de Blog. RantWoman is meditating about whether to invite the Friends in leading roles (multiple senses definitely intended) to choose their own Noms de Blog or just to do it for them. RantWoman is leaning toward the latter. Hold the matter in the Light.

RantWoman is also:

--Holding Friends who complain that RantWoman sends too much email in the Light. Now some of them have assumed new roles where they are in line not only for the seethings that churn up after committee meetings but also the seethings that churn up from Business Meeting. Congratulations. Cope!

--Seasoning sort of febrile rants about:

--Money, and a shortage thereof

--The fact that it took a certain committee THREE MONTHS of committee time last year to come back to unity that, golly gee, it really is okay to ASK FOR MONEY after worship. Quaker Meeting is one cause RantWoman has NO problem asking for money for. Do you think it was RantWoman prolonging dialogue?

--Gosh gee, if you all had not spent so much time talking about RantWoman, not talking TO HER, and running processes that exclude her voice, maybe we could do something that opens us up to the spirit and the cash flow of new seekers. But what does RantWoman know?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fan Mail

Dear (RantWoman)

Just to let you know we're holding you in the light. This was a good chance for us to see meeting in action in a way that was unusual! and You stood up for yourself with clarity, persistence, and character. We admire you and wish you well. Your friends,

Greatly Esteemed and Wonderfully in Love Older (than RantWoman at least) couple.

Dear Greatly Esteemed Couple

THANK YOU so much for your kind words.

It felt very right to do what I did.

Probably in a few days I will also be glad to be liberated from a truly dysfunctional committee obligation.

I also REALLY appreciated the presence of everyone who stayed.


In the Light.


Queries posed in the course of RantWoman's latest tango with the Nomination Cycle.

How is the Spirit moving among us?

What is not working about a certain committee and will summarily deleting RantWoman fix the problem?

(In light of numerous indications of disrespect, should RantWoman have her head examined for even asking people to try again?)

How is RantWoman called?

RantWoman has once again been more than overfulfilling plan about drama in Meeting for Business. Today's particular overfulfilment comes with layer after layer of ableism, ineptitude, patronizingness, and sincerely appreciated holding in Love.

(If things are this bad among people who know and love RantWoman, just think about....)

RantWoman expects in a couple days she will be grateful to be liberated from a TRULY dysfunctional activity.

RantWoman expects she will be grateful no longer to be expected to accommodate everyone else's children and music and travel plans while no one even engages about accommodating RantWoman's need for orderly schedules, documents emailed in a timely way, a certain amount of trial and error about conduct of meetings.

RantWoman hopes it will shortly be easier to hold in the Light numbers of persons who clearly need it if only for not being able to extend forebearance reciprocally.

RantWoman is grateful to have articulated a NUMBER of points on her mind even if the dear people who hung in there are mostly elderly and unlikely to interact much with RantWoman's exact fixations. RantWoman is grateful that the day's recording clerk tends to write drafts on the more expansive side.

RantWoman's summary of the events leading up to todays drama overfulfilment are still bulging in Inner Blowtorch mode n RantWoman's email. RantWoman gets to be grateful that, although no one is likely ever to pay RantWoman for turning her email into a retrospective, RantWoman certainly has the vocabulary to tack on some voc rehab and make your own job terminology and count such ranting as part of her work activity. Once again, RantWoman would not mind a different basket of gratitudes.

Blog posts that solidified RantWoman's leadings:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spiritual Sharing

RantWoman is making a hobby of collecting items about the HOW of various Quaker spiritual practices. Today's topic is worship sharing which in RantWoman's world also gets called Spiritual Sharing, Home groups, and various permutations with other activities attached.

Here is a link from FGC on the topic.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Contrary AGAIN

Spin Doctor: RantWoman, your Meeting is the mother ship for half the Meetings in your Yearly Meeting. Why the heck you gotta write about this stuff all over your blog?

RantWoman: RantWoman is really glad this item is appearing in her Meeting's weekly bulletin. RantWoman is really grateful that the Meeting environment does not rely only on "Everybody knows that...." Still, just because we all mean well, does not guarantee... Judge for yourselves.

Clearness Committees for All: Reminder! Is your life too hectic for one more thing? Are you a bit self-conscious about asking some friends to focus on you for an evening? Can’t think of a momentous decision to mull over with a clearness committee? Lighten up!
Imagine an evening with a couple of friends helping you think through some things about your life, kind of a massage for you your soul. We now have over 30 wonderful people willing to facilitate clearness committees. Over 15 people have taken advantage this opportunity in the last year or so. Reports from the sessions are glowing! A Friend got very helpful, clarifying questions to help her think about retirement. And a member of her committee said it was wonderful, she felt so much closer to the friend seeking clearness. With all the crises we are facing, let’s support each other in finding clearness in dealing constructively and lovingly with them. We trust that this process will give encouragement and support to our members and attenders to take stock of how we live our lives as Friends, to think creatively about the challenges we face and to bring our community closer together. To get started contact a member of Oversight Committee. They will each have a list of clearness facilitators. Oversight Members include...

So WHAT is the problem?

Maybe RantWoman is just especially lugubrious. Or maybe RantWoman's life is too full of Jerry Springer / Caso Cerrado / telenovela moments.

RantWoman is imagining opening questions like:

--Is globalization sending your entire industry offshore?

--Are you worried about the welfare of a child or vulnerable adult in your life?

--Is a member of your household being stalked by a mentally ill person?

--Have you experienced a life-changing medical event?

--Are you seasoning a leading toward Quaker service in a far-off war zone?

Lighten up! Have a clearness committee!!!!

Full disclosure: RantWoman currently HAS a clearness committee that is proving great help about RantWoman's need to get in people's faces in connection with vision loss. RantWoman's clearness committee also has members who help grapple with the point that the RantWoman of today is a kinder gentler, considerably mellowed out version of what must have been a pretty insufferable more youthful RantWoman. Urk. RantWoman is VERY grateful. RantWoman hopes the experience is rewarding for others, but to be honest, RantWoman is so grateful for the help that she feels no obligation as far as the quality of the experience for others.

Friday, June 3, 2011