Monday, August 29, 2011

Young Adults, Contrarily

RantWoman has been meditating for various reasons lately on what drew her in and kept her coming back to Friends Meeting. RantWoman thought of visiting herself upon Quakers a few different times but it was not until she was at the upper edges of the "young adults" age group that the right bus connections and yellow pages leadings all lined up to get RantWoman in the door.

Frankly, RantWoman did not even mess around identifying as a young adult. RantWoman plunged into the life of her Meeting. Worse, when presented with an opportunity to journey away to some kind of young adults gathering RantWoman decided she had enough to do just getting to know the generously multigenerational new faces around her and did not bother about her age group cohort. RantWoman has never lamented this lapse.

RantWoman, choir director's daughter, relentless Baptist Jesus makes me do it social action type, did not take easily to the silence. In fact, the flock of elderly women who put up for months with RantWoman calling them all by each other's names were one very big draw. Another, equally if not more important was this wonderful sense of theological openness, space for the very different language people used to speak of their spiritual lives, and the mystical way messages from quite different traditions sometimes wound together into a coherent whole over the course of Meeting for Worship, sometimes in spite of RantWoman's most vehement protestations.

One example of RantWoman protestation zones is messages from a Buddhist center. Many in RantWoman's Meeting identify as Buddhist. RantWoman has sometimes heard and continues to hear messages grounded in Buddhism with great annoyance and certainty that RantWoman, on numerous grounds, would make a lousy Buddhist. Other times, RantWoman has experienced great openings from messages grounded in Buddhism. sometimes including exact parallels with something RantWoman knows of the Gospels.

RantWoman found herself thinking of her own first encounter with Quaker worship when she read this wonderful item about someone who, RantWoman supposes, is of young adult age, his background and seeking, and his first experience of Meeting for Worship.

RantWoman sometimes finds the internet's capacity to hold chatter arising from almost any piece of writing kind of an annoyance and vexation; RantWoman makes an exception for the comments accompanying this post.

A good case could be made that RantWoman should just stop with the miracle of silent worship. RantWoman is still Baptist enough, though, not to shy away from the theological equivalent of passing the collection plate. RantWoman considers questions of cutbacks in young adult program staff in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting some kind of call to stewardship and passing the collection plate.

RantWoman asked her readers' forebearance: RantWoman has formed the impression that some east coast Yearly Meetings are spending a lot of money taking care of staff retirement needs and keeping up 300-year-old Meetinghouses. RantWoman would be too happy to grapple with information that would complicate her impression. Nevertheless the impression is sufficient bridge to RantWoman's next point, questions to young adults who have grown up Quaker. Are you aware of newcomers to your Meetings in your age group? Are you aware of what about the community or the worship experience speaks most deeply to the condition of these seekers? Do you have a sense of your Meetings growing in size and if so, what are the ages of new seekers drawn into your community?

See RantWoman has been sitting with a sense of spiritual hunger around her and of spiritually trying circumstances vexing our nation, our planet. RantWoman means no disrespect to people coming to the end of their working lives or to the need for thoughtful stewardship of one's property, but RantWoman just keeps sitting with calls to openness, to struggle in faith, to revelation continuing, continuing and to a sense that feeding the spiritual hungers of our age will also help about material concerns. But what does RantWoman know?

That J is pronounced H

RantWoman is still digesting a number of events at Annual Session of North Pacific Yearly Meeting. Today she feels called to turn her inner blowtorch to the meeting of a group that used to call itself Lavender and Grey and decided at the meeting just to call itself Queer Quakers. Sometimes this group meets over ice cream. This year ice cream did not happen. Tragedy.

RantWoman does not know, did opening silence happen either?

RantWoman showed up late due to putting the Daily Bulletin to bed. This meant RantWoman missed an item or two at the beginning but got there in plenty of time for a go-around of introductions. RantWoman was struck during the go-round both by how much shared history there was in the room and by other threads weaving themselves into the community.

On the shared history front, Friends were passing around a photo album with pictures of many in the RantWoman is going to appreciate that much visual nostalgia, digital images and screen enlargement would help. The question of the evening: should the photo album be preserved intact or should those who wanted take home their favorite snapshots? Friends opted to take photos home.

Friends spoke of how far our Yearly Meeting has come: individual Meetings and then the whole Yearly Meeting came to clarity about marriage equality within our Meetings and later about calls for full legal marriage equality (and RantWoman found herself reflecting about how easy it was a time or two to draft action minutes based on those decisions in response to specific political situations). Heavens, there have even been three lesbian presiding clerks. Friends spoke of transgendered Friends, none of whom was present. Lurking around the edges of the conversation was the question “Look how far we have come. Why meet at all?”

The question lurked as Friends mentioned life as a gay man in a retirement community full of widows, being glad there was another same-sex couple with children in their kids’ school,. One Friend reminded Anglophones that the J at the beginning of her last name is pronounced H; this item prompted RantWoman in a later conversation to share a topical intercultural moment connected to Ferrener Brother-in-Law. RantWoman heard a clear “don’t assume everyone here is as white as most of us look!” comment.

RantWoman also found herself thinking of youth growing up queer or of Friends struggling about sexual orientation issues in some of the smaller communities where there are Monthly Meetings or Worship Groups. RantWoman found herself thinking of people like this and wondering how different Meetings assess their experience in this area. RantWoman did NOT find herself thinking that the Queer Quakers in the room would necessarily be the only place she would suggest to turn for assistance, and not only because RantWoman knows a number of LGBTQ Friends in her own Meeting who never participate in activities connected with Yearly Meeting.

A Friend spoke of updating her book on Lesbian Couples. She and her co-author held focus groups with younger women in same-sex relationships. The co-authors learned that among their informants, “lesbian” was reserved for women who are “old,” and apparently also bleached of associations from earlier eras with outspoken feminism. RantWoman herself recalled her undergraduate years when the women in the campus Gay Alliance decided to break away and separate themselves from too much male domination. This was the 1980’s. Using “Lesbian” in the new group’s name would have yielded a truly infelicitous acronym instead of the merely awkward and dorky one resulting from Gay Women. What RantWoman did not say: RantWoman never really identified with that group. For one thing RantWoman regularly stopped by the Women’s Center for other reasons besides that group’s meetings. For another, that group included lots of—there is no Quakerly way to say this--preppies, many of whom were on sports teams. RantWoman has always been pretty sports-challenged and was more of an all-purpose political activist, just a bit much for that group a lot of the time. (Sitting with all of this at 4 am led RantWoman to yet ANOTHER “be true to your Light” moment but that is a story for another hour, laboring with another topic.)

North Pacific Yearly Meeting is geographically large and diffuse. One way or another, almost any conversation, especially one about money and activity, comes around to travel and travel showed up at the Queer Quakers’ gathering too. Specifically should NPYM fund travel for a representative to FLGBTQC events? RantWoman confesses: she is aware that there Is a FLGBTQC listserve but has never signed up. One Friend spoke of how meaningful the FLGBTQC connection is to her; another opined that she had never supported funding representation specifically because she does not think FLGBTQC contributes very much to the life of our Yearly Meeting.

RantWoman really does not feel qualified to comment about the contribution to NPYM issue; she is posting it here for other Friends to reflect on. RantWoman did not even invoke her “go to events that come to one’s back yard” rule when the FLGBTQC midwinter gathering was held in nearby OR.

RantWoman does remember being struck when the FGC gathering was held in Tacoma by the broad range of theological experiences Friends at the FLGBTQC worship expressed with respect to their home Yearly Meetings. RantWoman in fact would pose questions about NPYM representation to FLGBTQC at least as much in terms of our Yearly Meeting’s ministry to the wider Quaker world as necessarily only in terms of service to our Yearly Meeting. But here a more reflective RantWoman mighte also consider all the cross-tradition, cross-theology conversations that occur in the context of work and worship around the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women’s theology conference.

Speaking of cross-tradition dialogue, RantWoman presents a blog post that reflects ongoing conversation ih New England Yearly Meeting about NEYM’s membership in Friends United Meeting, an organization which continues to have a personnel policy specifically unfriendly to LGBTQ Friends.

Query: How is the spirit moving among LGBTQC Friends in our Monthly Meetings and Worship Groups, in our home communities, across NPYM, and over the wider community of Friends?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Believe and Be Healed!

RantWoman is striving to find the blessings in her midlife vision meltdown. On one hand, RantWoman is REALLY grateful that she has to argue sometimes with the one true path totally blind since birth crowd about whether she qualifies as blind considering all that she sees in both the literal and metaphorical sense.

On the other hand, RantWoman is blessed with an acute overabundance of opportunities to fly off the handle about misapplication of Biblical vision metaphors; the blessings are especially poignant since RantWoman herself is also beset by spells of being acutely metaphor-challenged about those very Biblical accounts of miracle cures!

RantWoman's latest encounter with That of God in the Bus Stop Miracle Cure featured a charming African American guy blowing cigarette smoke into RantWoman's face as she and Ambassador Thwack approached the stop just ahead of one of RantWoman's favorite rolling anthropology project / That of God laboratories, the Metro Route 358.

Mr. Smoke proclaimed that RantWoman had only to Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and God would immediately give her back perfect vision. RantWoman, thought of the story about Christ healing a blind man by spitting into the dirt and instructing the man to apply the resulting mud to his eyes. RantWoman is grateful the bus stop proclamation did not involve bodily substances or only in the Barclay "spirit of the situation" sense.. RantWoman felt no call to correct Mr. Smoke about the "give back" part; it most assuredly is not applicable in RantWoman's case. RantWoman and, she supposes, God are just fine about that, even though RantWoman is also endlessly in need of Divine openings.

And this is as close to Divine Opening as RantWoman thinks she can go just now.

Holy Crap. RantWoman just reread the post and out clambered yet ANOTHER "Be True to Your Light" message:

we believe in our spouses and our friends. We know them, trust them and love them and we know that they know, trust and love us as well. We are asked to trust and be faithful to the voice of God within, even when it is asking us to do things that frighten us to the core. God will show us things about ourselves that we are afraid to look at. God will ask us to do things that we may be afraid to do. Every fiber of our being may be trembling in fear and saying, “No.” And we are being called to the place and trust where we can say “Yes.” We are being asked to believe that this is a voice of power, that we will be held and protected. We are being asked to believe that even when there appears to be no way forward, a way will open. We are being asked to believe that we will be healed, that our eyes will be opened. We are being called into faithfulness in all things because we can trust this voice. We are being asked to follow this voice and no other because it is the voice that leads us to wholeness.

Ummmm, now is that God or RantWoman's inner stalker?

And what the heck does this have to do with Friends Frighteningly in Need of Noms de Blog numbers n, n+1, n+2, n+... ?

What about that "What model of conflict resolution does your Meeting use?" query from the NPYM discipline committee?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Some Friendly Audio

RantWoman seems to have a leading to add audio survivor stories to her Blog as Filing Cabinet web presence.

This item is about a man in Germany who suffers retrograde amnesia. After playing a piece on the piano he recovered memories of a horrible past he longer wants to reconstruct further.

RantWoman is struck, and not necessarily in a negative way, by the variety of strategies people adopt to live with their past.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Actually Existing Bad Friends

RantWoman is highly impressed by Association of Bad Friends co-clerk's research into "Lost Quaker Journals" as if written by numerous actual historical figures with some hint of Quaker identity or Quaker presence.

with link in comments to frequently unpublished chapters of The Unselfishness of God.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Website envy: Devon and Cornwall

RantWoman is generously indulging on behalf of her Meeting in website envy. RantWoman has no clear Light yet about where this might lead but is posting these links from Devon and Cornwall just to remind herself of points she has envy about: Page

First Time at Meeting

Practical Spirituality, Well-tended

RantWoman came to Annual Session beset by electronic and interpersonal vexations and needing to remind herself that God is still present

One strategy: focus on what works. RantWoman REALLY appreciated the opportunity to lead a worship-sharing group. RantWoman was blessed by her choice to do an intergenerational group and by group members who created inspiring depth several ways.

RantWoman deeply appreciates:
great queries
great intro session for WG leaders
great print each queries on different color paper, if we are going to use paper at all.
great handling of details like keys

The queries, link and text below that.

At the heart of Quaker life — and potentially everyone's life —is connecting with our spiritual leadings and putting them into practice.

With this in mind, the imminent annual session of Northwest Friends (the North Pacific Yearly Meeting) is focusing on the topic “Being Practically Spiritual: The Integration of Inward Life and Outward Action”

As part of the four-day proceeding in Tacoma beginning Wednesday, Friends will meet in worship groups devoted to various aspects of the topic. Quakers call this “worship sharing.” The small groups of roughly ten always begin their sessions in silent worship. Out of the depths of silence, the participants are invited to speak to the topic. Between each speaker’s words, we return to contemplate what has been said in the silence before another person speaks.

The shared words are inspired by pre-selected quotations and focused through questions, or “queries.”

Much thought goes into the selection of the quotations and the framing of the accompanying queries.

Those for this year's topic cry out to be shared with readers of The Red Electric, whether you are a Quaker or not.

The quotations and the queries for the four sessions may lead you to ask how you integrate your inward spiritual life with “outward action.”

There is much to ponder here. Consider, reading one and responding to it first before moving on. Indeed, the reading of these might well be done in four “sessions” with yourself and perhaps others.

Session 1, Thursday

Being practically spiritual in relation to myself.

The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.
--Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

For God can be found…There is a Divine Center into which your life can slip, a new and absolute orientation in God, a center where you live with him and out of which you see all life through new and radiant vision, tinged with new sorrows and pangs, new joys unspeakable and full of glory.
--Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion

Queries to consider:

What does living within the Divine Center mean for me in ‘the noise and clatter’ of my everyday life?

Which practices help me become--and which hinder me from becoming--more mindful of, more attuned to the workings of the Spirit in my daily life?

Do I center my life in the awareness of the presence of God so that all things take their rightful place? (Adapted from Faith and Practice, North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends)

Session 2, Friday

Being practically spiritual in relation to those I touch in daily life.

(I was) convinced in my mind that true religion consisted in an inward life, wherein the heart doth love and reverence God the Creator and learn to exercise true justice and goodness, not only toward all men but also toward the brute creatures.
--John Woolman

What do I mean by growing into wholeness? It is working at being all we were meant to be. (Most of us only live partial lives.) It is seeking integrity, striving to be what William Penn called George Fox, “an original and no one’s copy.” It is not wearing a mask. It is acknowledging our strengths and gifts without false modesty, and accepting our weaknesses and limitations as part of us. It is springtime and winter. It is light, and it is also darkness. It is being present where we are, seeing the personhood of others, saying “thou” to them. It is being at home in our bodies, aware of their needs, and it is being in touch with that of God in us.
--Elizabeth Watson

Queries to consider:

When have I experienced the integration of the inward life and outward action in my own life and the lives of those I relate to most intimately (including the ‘creatures’ I may share my life with)?

What nurtures my growth into wholeness? How do I nurture that growth in others?

How do I make my home and Meeting places of friendliness, peace and renewal, where God is real for those who live there and those who visit? (Adapted from Faith and Practice)

Session 3, Saturday

Being practically spiritual in relation to my community.

Jesus said… ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second one is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
--Matthew 22.37:39

There is a principle which is pure, placed in the human Mind, which in different Places and Ages hath had different Names; it is, however, pure, and proceeds from God. It is deep, and inward, confined to no Forms of Religion, nor excluded from any, where the Heart stands in perfect Sincerity. In whomsoever this takes Root and grows, of what Nation soever, they become Brethren.
--John Woolman

Queries to consider:

What am I doing to build “the beloved community?”

Who do I envision as embodying the pure principle that John Woolman testifies to? What have their lives meant to me? What are the fruits of such embodiment?

Do I practice the art of listening to my neighbor, even beyond words? (Adapted from Faith and Practice)

Session 4, Sunday

Being practically spiritual in relation to our world.

When we confront injustice, when we engage in Spirit-led service, when we speak prophetically to the world we live in and witness to the world we know is possible (and already here among us), when we are instruments of the Spirit for reconciliation, healing, and mutual understanding, we are testifying to the Truth through our experience of that Life and Love and Power that takes away the occasion of all war. That is remaking the world in far more effective ways than we can through our anger, grief, passion, and social action—no matter how well-intentioned.
--Noah Baker Merrill

I know more firmly than ever that the way of Jesus—of Gandhi and Woolman and Fox and Penn—is the only way worth traveling. But I also have some inkling of the discipline required if we are truly to enter into God’s way. The needle’s eye is closed to those of us who hold wealth to ourselves, to the self-interested, or the self-indulgent. Our lives can be of good use in this world only if we dwell in the Spirit that was in Christ Jesus, stay in the Light, and walk firmly in the way he showed us: the way of love, truth, identification with the poor and oppressed, poverty, non-possession, purity and humility.
--Carol Reilly Urner, from The Needle’s Eye: A Philippine Experience

Queries to consider:

When has the “Life and Love and Power that takes away the occasion of all war” broken into my life?

What does dwelling in the Spirit look like in my daily life?

Do I search diligently for ways of assuring the right of every individual to live in dignity? (Adapted from Faith and Practice)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fall UFM Retreat: Equality

Theme for Fall Retreat: Peace and Social Concerns Committee inquires “Ever look at the state of the world and think Quaker testimonies could be part of the answer?

Peace and Social Concerns will be providing content for the (fall 2011 but we don't know the date) Meeting retreat. The theme will be the negative impact of inequality. We’d like at least some Friends to read The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. There will be copies in our Library and the Seattle Public Library. Also available in paperback: Bloomsbury Press, 2009.

RantWoman is absurdly happy to note the following.
The book can be downloaded as an e-book from

RantWoman might be a TEENSY bit happier if those posting this announcement had made the effort to check availability in a format accessible to RantWoman, but for now RantWoman is happy for once that the problem is solved.

Monday, August 15, 2011

An Old Directory: The Monroe Worship Group at WSR Monroe

RantWoman has decided she is absolutely clear to talk, particularly if asked, based on her experience as a member of the Monroe Worship Group or as it was more formally called in places like the NPYM directory, the Monroe Worship Group at the WA State Reformatory at Monroe.

RantWoman is unclear whether her own name ever appeared in the directory for that Worship Group. As long as RantWoman is going to use the full bureaucratic title, she also considered using people's real names. RantWoman considered this on Quaker integrity grounds. However, RantWoman means to include a couple memorable moments that to RantWoman seem best with noms de blog.

RantWoman knows she has a couple old directories. However the Monroe Worship Group dated from 1988 to about 2003 and RantWoman does not want to dig up her old directories. RantWoman is fuzzy about when the worship group was laid down; RantWoman participated only for a few months in the early 1990's. In general, the number of Friends who even remember the group is limited and speaking of it has interesting historical value.

RantWoman is clear to speak but means to speak as clearly as possible. To that end, she decided she needed to contact....Conflict is a Gift of God Friend for some oral history including the dates above. The Monroe Worship Group was started by some inmates at the Monroe Reformatory who became interested in Quakerism as a result of meeting Friends involved in Alternatives to Violence workshops at the prison.

In its early years the Monroe Worship Group met under sponsorship of a chaplain who would let inmates and outside sponsors into their designated room in the chapel on First Days before he went next door for his Protestant service. In practice apparently the group met about twice a month for a number of years. Conflict Is a Gift of God Friend also remembered one long argument with the Protestant Chaplain about the theology of "we are all ministers of God" and the fact that some Quaker bodies do have recorded ministers. RantWoman admits that the capacity not only to have such arguments but also to stay centered while they are in progress is one reason RantWoman has historically deeply admired Conflict is a Gift of God Friend.

Some of the inmates had wives. Other inmate members married women they met through Alternatives to Violence. Because of this there was interest in holding family worship in a room off the main visiting room, in a different building than the chapel. After two years of laboring with Department of Corrections staff about the issue, the group was allowed to hold family worship once a month, not in the chapel but in a room off the visiting room. One of the objections raised when Friends first began applying to hold family worship was that other denominations would also want to do that. Conflict Is a Gift of God Friend said "and what would be wrong with that?" In practice, although 3 other denominations besides Friends were all assigned Sundays each month, only the Quaker group ever actually held family worship.

The Monroe Worship group involved Friends from University, Salmon Bay, and Eastside Friends Meetings. Therefore Friends felt it rightly ordered that the worship group be directly under the care of Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting. The worship group was laid down when all but one of the current members either got transferred to other institutions or released.

Conflict is a Gift of God Friend reported that many years there have been one AVP workshop / month. Currently, though, after the murder of the prison guard at Monroe several months ago, AVP workshops at Monroe and its sister facility Twin Rivers have been suspended and, according to what Conflict...Friend hears are unlikely to be permitted to resume anytime soon.

In the course of conversation about the Monroe Worship Group, RantWoman also asked a few questions about Alternatives to Violence and what process of training and observation inmate participants in Alternatives to Violence workshops go through before they become inmate facilitators. RantWoman was thinking of the Friend with the remarkable story who recently introduced himself in worship and came to a picnic. Conflict...Friend spoke highly of the Friend with the Remarkable Story as an inmate facilitator but RantWoman may or may not write more detail in another post.

RantWoman has also been thinking of another connection to the Monroe Worship Group. RantWoman spent a fair amount of time riding back and forth to the prison with other members of the worship group. One worked for the Department of Corrections. Conflict is a Gift of God Friend also talked of his work as an AVP facilitator. Both Friends spoke frankly of their assessments of different inmates' journeys and prospects upon release. It was these car rides as much as anything else that led RantWoman to clarity, when the future Safest Sex Offender on the planet introduced himself to RantWoman at coffee hour, that Conflict is a Gift of God Friend would be an excellent person to assist the new attender!

Minutes According to Everyone Else

Nominating Committee recommended that Monthly Meeting withdraw the appointment of (RantWoman) to Worship & Ministry Committee. They have given prayerful attention to this matter and respectfully requested not to divulge details. They labored with Worship and Ministry and Oversight Committees during the process and have been in dialogue with RantWoman regarding their discernment.

RantWoman spoke to the painful issue of being asked to resign. Her concerns included mentoring and orientation of new members to W&M, accessibility issues such as the need to receive documents by email for reading ahead of meetings, and conflict resolution skill development. The ideal committee has members who feel heard by each other, work together as a team, and give specific feedback to each other when things are not working well. (RantWoman) feels that she has heard of problems from others on the Committee only recently. She asked that the matter be held over for further resolution within W&M.
Discussion: the issue of accommodations for people with disabilities needs to be more central at UFM. The clerk of Oversight made a commitment to see that conversation and work around this issue begins soon. There was affirmation of (RantWoman) as a valued member of the Meeting with valid concerns and needs. More information and education could be given to Committee members about the process of working on and clerking committees. After education is provided, then the clerks and committees have to be free to do their jobs as they best discern. In discussion centered on W&M it was felt that the other members of the Committee had no more energy left to work out the problems presented by the current membership of the committee. One friend commented that the situation sounded like a family with broken hearts.
The withdrawal of (RantWoman) from Worship and Ministry was

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Bravest Woman in Seattle Reclaims Her Name

Follow up to the Bravest Woman in Seattle story

RantWoman sends HUMBLE prayers as the survivor of the South Park rape case speaks in he own name:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Language Matters: Minutes, Polymonogamy, and...

RantWoman is in the throes of her monthly call to fuss about matters in minutes. RantWoman is seasoning how much of the Truth to insist on with respect to a certain melodrama but for the time being has plenty to do with a simple language exercise.

First, the correction needed in a minute about a concern:

Hold Friends S and her wife S in the Light as they undo the
legal recognitionof their marriage in one jurisdiction and redo
everything as they move to a new community in Scotland

RantWoman specifically referred to this blog post:

Both the recording clerk's first draft and the clerk in a phone conversation with RantWoman missed things RantWoman specifically said; RantWoman supplied the blog post she specifically mentioned and stands by her suggested wording.

RantWoman was amused at NPYM Annual Session when another Friend used the hips trendy term "polymonogamy" to describe exactly this sort of same-gender couples marrying each other over and over in different jurisdictions.

While we are on the subject of language specifically meant to make one think, this item from RantWoman's other summer travel activity:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Remarkable and Going Public

RantWoman is posting this anachronistically in December 2012 and forcing the earlier date. RantWoman is meditating about a question it did not occur either to herself or to other people in a position to encounter the topic, to ask either Mr. or Mrs. Friend with a Remarkable Story, look we see you have this event we can imagine might be difficult coming up in your lives. How can we help you carry what you are carrying?"

Which event might RantWoman be referring to?

As of conversations at and after a picnic Sunday, RantWoman has decided she feels called to post in her blog various links she has taken the opportunity to consult over the last couple days. RantWoman does not mean to minimize the gravity of all the other material below; on the contrary, RantWoman wants to acknowledge the gravity of work and need behind an internationally recognized program called Alternatives to Violence,

At this point, RantWoman is trying mainly to post high-level links, not to spell out what questions they generate. Sorry World. It's the internet age and all, but actual people still need time to share the experience of working through what is to be worked through.

RantWoman also learned that the remarkable story introduced himself at a public Meeting for Worship where RantWoman was not present. Considering the number of circumstances that are public and findable with the Remarkable Story's name, RantWoman thinks that's a gutsy move. RantWoman is pointedly not tieing all the circumstances together yet with reference to information publicly findable. Part of the reason is that the conversation still involves information RantWoman needs to let pass through her Meeting's seasoning process for a time yet.

Were it not for RantWoman's Charm School melodrama, RantWoman would have then been very clear to speak of some topics on her mind during a certain committee's discussion of events from Worship. That circumstance is doing NOTHING to reduce RantWoman's clarity that she needs to be true to her Light about the Charm School matter, but RantWoman is TRYING to stay on one topic at a time. Anyone who was present in the Meeting for Worship in question has enough information to avail themselves of information availabe through some of the links below; RantWoman feels no obligation to hurry.

RantWoman expects the links posted here will get a lot of followup as matters unfold in her Meeting. RantWoman is going to do the best she can just to post links and questions that come to mind. RantWoman is not very good at keeping her own opinions to herself, but RantWoman also feels called to labor with people who might have really different opinions.

RantWoman notes that this chapter of the remarkable story will unquestionably draw on her Meeting's experience with The Safest Sex Offender on the Planet,  . This situation will draw on and expand that experience, but the remarkable story is apples and oranges in several different big ways. RantWoman knows more of the remarkable story because of other circumstances which RantWoman expects will also develop greater currency in conversation but RantWoman is letting matters unfold one thing at a time.

RantWoman is already acquiring extensive personal experience about realities of her life that "frighten the horses" and alarm others around RantWoman, others who only have to visit realities RantWoman lives all the time. The new chapter of the remarkable story is another call! As if RantWoman did not already have enough on her heart to try one's soul...

The link from the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) about sex offender notification

The link for the WA State Sex offender Database

The Revised Code of WA on sex offenses:

Sex offender law and policy in WA (pdf)
Introduction Introduction In 1981, the legislature passed the Sentencing In 1981, the legislature passed the Sentencing Reform Act (SRA)...

Further sections from the RCW; applicability to remarkable story presently unknown.

The link for the KCSARC Outside resources page with lots of information aimed at different categories of people:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Silence, for the Filing cabinet

RantWoman wants to be able to find the following items again:

an item from Maine from a blog destined to be turned into a work of fiction. An absolutely spot-on description of mixed motives for attending worship, of what people do when the boredom sets in, or when the Light is unbearable, blinding.

A very nice conventional write-up of Friends Meeting in Memphis, complete with lack of creed, silence, the whole thing.

A Remarkable Story

RantWoman has been praying, upholding discernment about a circumstance in her Meeting community. RantWoman is VERY clear about a call to uphold others' discernment rather than venture anything on her own. RantWoman is VERY clear that there is a remarkable story involved and that fewer Friends than formerly are even aware of the story.

A number of circumstances have aligned that MAY offer RantWoman's Meeting the opportunity to hear the remarkable story firsthand; one point of remarkable stories, though, is that sometimes they depend on readiness, willingness to hear.

RantWoman is meditating about whether soil could be tilled in her Meeting so that the remarkable story could be heard. RantWoman suspects she herself is the wrong person even to try right now. RantWoman also thinks perhaps limitations in her capacity to run amok with search engines on the internet are just as well because even posting such links as RantWoman might find would not be respectful of discernment already occurring and might draw the wrong attention to the beginning of the journey that is now the remarkable story.

RantWoman has also been given to understand that another circumstance could still have arisen to get in the way of hearing the remarkable story directly.

RantWoman is pointedly not posting links about the now phase of the remarkable story although there are links that could be posted. The second circumstance probably also comes with links all over the internet and RantWoman most specifically and pointedly is not going there either.

So RantWoman is praying, praying for wise discernment; RantWoman sees much evidence of such so far but continues to pray as new phases unfold. RantWoman invites her readers to do so as well.

Meanwhile, a few days ago, the remarkable story got to ride in a car and pet a cat and hug loved ones without supervision. Unremarkable to many; remarkable here.

This post was originally written several days ago. Now the remarkable story has introduced himself after Meeting for Worship as a member of the Monroe Worship Group and come to a public picnic. RantWoman is very glad the story came to the picnic BECAUSE RantWoman now feels more at liberty to post a link to some of the now part of the remarkable story.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


RantWoman notes that all of the following circumstances figured in her experience of this year's Annual Session for North Pacific Yearly Meeting:

Plenary discussions featured at least two readings of the minute which RantWoman now refers to as the overconsumption minute even though the overconsumption minute began life as the overpopulation minute. Bear with RantWoman if the relevance of this minute to the following is not immediately obvious.

Basically, RantWoman has been thinking that some of walking our talk about sustainability and walking more lightly on the earth is going to involve hard choices, inconvenience, and unpleasantness of various sorts. RantWoman frequently finds life as we know it now quite the spiritual exercise and is wondering what can be expected, what more might be required of her faith community, of people of faith in general as far as spiritual fortitude and grit in the face of difficulty. RantWoman proposes to start in the dining room at the recent NPYM Annual Session.

One of the recurring announcements RantWoman included in the Daily Bulletin related to how to find items that meet different people's vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free dietary needs. RantWoman first received the text of this announcement accompanied by cutesy graphics RantWoman could neither read nor reproduce. RantWoman reworded the announcement encouraging Friends just to use their words and ask; RantWoman never heard any complaints about this editorial diktat.

RantWoman sometimes hesitates to repeat direct quotes without specifically identifying their source. In this case, RantWoman is making an exception in profound gratitude for one Friend's years of humble and very expert service. This Friend remarked to RantWoman one night while RantWoman was putting the last touches on the Daily Bulletin that "I know really a lot about everyone's digestion and a lot les about people's gifts and talents." Everyone with digestion, whether or not the digestion comes with any special needs owes this Friend a huge debt of gratitude for her formidable, faithful, behind-the-scenes service. RantWoman is separately penning a rant about expressions of gratitude for movements of Spirit such as those embodied in this Friend's gifts.

Tending to the peculiarities of Friends' digestive needs, RantWoman also thinks that deep gratitude to the Creator, the food production and distribution system, agribusiness... for the vast abundance and variety of food choices available in the US. RantWoman thinks gratitude is in order, but she is also holding serious concern about


rising rates of obesity around the world

maldistribution within and between geographical spaces as small as neighborhoods, not to mention cities and nations.

the perils of commodity agriculture and agricultural monoculture.

Okay, RantWoman is holding these concerns and will address them when she writes more of what is on her mind about the Overconsumption / overpopulation minute. In the meantime, RantWoman had plenty to do watching herself and others interact with the Annual Session dining experience.

Perhaps Friends should start from observing another group on campus at the same time as Annual Session, some kind of singing camp that featured different colored clumps of singers all wearing t-shirts the same color who met for different kinds of singing practice. RantWoman did not pay much attention to the name of the event or the organization sponsoring that gathering. RantWoman simply noted with appreciation that they took their singing seriously, did not rely on pitch by consensus and could even harmonize! This group ate lunch at the same time as Friends; this group also more than once responded to long lines and frustrating service by simply breaking into song. RantWoman wonders, What could Friends learn from these singing visitors' example?

Somewhere during RantWoman's summer camp experience, RantWoman found herself having sentimental thoughts about dining ast year at a meal with a Friend who joined his grandson in servings of seriously BLUE Jello, the sort of BLUE Jello which RantWoman who has no kids in her household would ONLY consume at gathering-sized dining experiences where there would probably be a critical mass of eaters not letting BLUE Jello go to waste.

RantWoman's appalling dietary indulgence during the same Annual Session was...pistachio pudding, the same gluey texture as almost all commercial pudding products but colored a lovely pale green and with chunks of pistachio added. At a couple meals RantWoman insisted on descrating some milk product, either yogurt or cottage cheese with a big dollop of pistachio pudding just to cut the overpowering sweetness of the pistachio pudding. RantWoman believes this year there may have been Jello in more conventional colors such as red or orange, but this year's dining experience was tragically deficient in blue Jello and pistachio pudding. That would be only the beginning.

In the course of registration, many Friends learned that the suggested amounts per meal were very generous and that most people would not spend all of the money they put on their meal cards. There is a sales tax savings associated with putting money on one's meal card rather than paying out of pocket but there is no way to get refunds of what one does not spend on one's meal card. Thus, while some Friends put the full amount suggested on their meal cards, many Friends put considerably less on their meal cards than the suggested amounts.

Here RantWoman is going to indulge in a moment of playing cafeteria manager: if RantWoman as cafeteria manager knew there were going to be a lot of people around who paid the full amount and had high expectations about service, RantWoman MIGHT take extra care to make sure there was adequate, well-trained staff and plenty of food; however, if there were going to be a lot of people cutting things closer to the bone, RantWoman would not necessarily staff up fully or pay attention to full inventory. Understand, RantWoman has NO information indicating that the cafeteria staff deliberately chose this approach. RantWoman is simply adding groundless speculation to the stew of other thoughts about the Annual Session dining experience.

The dining hall at Annual Session featured lots of different stations where people could order items a la carte. RantWoman is not really sure why it was the stations seemed consistently understaffed and frequently ran out of food. Hungry conference goers, both Friends and otherwise all tended to show up at meals, especially lunch at the same time so that there were extremely long lines. It was hard for anyone to maneuver. In past years there has been a tray carrier volunteer assignment and there seemed not to be any tray carriers in evidence, a point which proved extremely painful for some people with mobility issues. RantWoman of course is alo the sort of challenging presence who would not necessarily use the help fo a tray carrier even if one were available; RantWoman suspects she has a lot of company!

RantWoman had a certain amount of difficulty finding things she was thinking about consuming and really does not do well in lines in the first place. However, RantWoman managed to shift her timing, adjust her expectations and to cope with less exasperation than others expressed. Then RantWoman got to the part about trying to get around in the dining room: the dining room is lit by lights placed very efficiently to light the table of diners. However the height of these lights is such that it's almost excruciating for RantWoman to try to see anything while getting around. RantWoman managed to whine rather than ask for help but RantWoman feels entitled at least to comment on the issue.

After all the hassles with lines, poorly trained and inefficient summer staff, and running out of key items, lots of Friends who had unthinkingly put full price on their meal cards wound up with funds they were not going to use. RantWoman let one Friend with excess funds buy her dinner; this and a separate latte budget resulted in RantWoman eating well for 2/3 of the projected budget with $2 left on her card at the end of Annual Session. An alert Friend suggesting using leftover funds to stock up on items to be used by Junior Friends and Central Friends camp. RantWoman observed a lot of this happening and expects the cafeteria was very surprised suddenly to be running out of pre-packaged oatmeal, bottled juice, yogurt, and snack foods as well as pizzas suddenly ordered at the end of lunch on Sunday.

RantWoman was especially bemused by the packets of instant oatmeal: RantWoman really likes oatmeal, better than other forms of porridge. One of RantWoman's dining while blind vexations was that she could not actually find the packets of oatmeal until crates of them were getting carted out the door on Sunday. RantWoman is not sure the Junior Friends will fully appreciate the quantity of oatmeal accompanying them to camp, and RantWoman would have been happy to find some for herself on the days when the hot porridge pot featured some other kind of porridge. RantWoman managed to cope and to be glad not to have any worse problems.

RantWoman's other path to dining happiness involves daily consumption of legumes; RantWoman thinks making legumes available at least one meal a day in either hot or salad bar form really should not be difficult. RantWoman is joining the chorus of all the other complainers and indulging in a small amount of crabbiness about what seemed to be a deficit of legumes. RantWoman most assuredly could have worse problems and extends sincere regret to Friends who for various reasons more acutely felt other dietary deficits.

RantWoman also finds herself called to ask: did anyone truly not get enough to eat? Does anyone besides RantWoman wonder what spiritual lessons we are to seek from all of these circumstances? Or do we just join each ohter in line for lattes?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Conscientious Objection before there were Quakers

See, See, there was a whole lot of conscientious objection before Quakers were ever on the scene. RantWoman is stashing this item about "the paton saint of conscientious objection" in her blog as filing cabinet information archive.

Renovation Rap

If RantWoman were feeling fastidiously dedicated to absolute historical accuracy, she would inquire a couple directions for copies of the final version of this masterpiece as performed at Annual Session Community Night. That level of fastidiousness is not RantWoman's strong point. Instead RantWoman is simply going to speak from experience: almost any bout of extended construction or reconstruction RantWoman has ever had to interact with has proven to be a trial of all that is holy and good in even the most saintly of those involved. RantWoman hesitates to speak on others' behalf, but her experience is that saintliness is in short supply in the first place. Perhaps RantWoman should simply ask that her Meeting be held in the Light.

As long as RantWoman is telling too much of the Truth about the saintliness issue, RantWoman also feels entitled to observe that she wishes the troupe of assembled performers had SOMEHOW intersected with some better developed model of God a experienced through movement than the "stiff white people" meme which predominated at Community Night. Maybe Rantwoman should just shut up and hope our social floor gets repaired soon enough to get the dancers back...

DRAFT.1 - The Renovation Rap - DRAFT.1

Refrains are sung to "You must walk that lonely valley"
Verses are chanted rap style by one person, with emphasis
from all


We gotta do that renovation
We gotta do it by ourselves
No one else can do it for us
We gotta do it by ourselves

We are tough and hearty Quakers
We take on the great big tasks
World peace, equality, justice
We can do it with your help
But one thing really scares us
One thing can make us Quake
When the still small voice starts saying
That it is time to renovate

- refrain -

Sagging floors and falling ceilings
Pealing paint, and moaning pipes
They are signs we can't ignore
Begin the process, form committees
Make up lists and gather visions
Look for experts, high and low
Architects, landscape designers
Electricians and carpenters

- refrain -

There is so much we must consider
Solar energy and toilet paper
Renters needs, wheelchair access
Containing asbestos fibers
A place for folding chairs
We need a better food cart
Storage, storage, and more storage
And a place for Junior Friends

- refrain -

Make some plans and make them over
Total up the many costs
Present plans at business meeting
Hear concerns and many viewpoints
Make more plans and then rewrite them
In the search for sense of meeting
Its the Quaker way of listening
Of deciding our Right Way!

- refrain -

And then there is the money
Have faith that it will come
Remind each and every member
To have faith that it will come
It takes more than friendly potlucks
It takes more than funding drives
We must pitch in all together
And have faith that it will come

- refrain -

Then begins the demolition
The stripping of the floors
The prying of the ceiling tiles
The removal of the walls
Negotiate with renters
Reschedule all the meetings
Stuff the furniture in the office
Do our business by email

- refrain -

(all together)

Oh, we are tough and hearty Quakers
We take on the great big tasks
Renovation we can handle
With much worship and some sweat
Though we tremble at the thought
It all will come together
To make a place for us to gather
for community and our work.

- refrain -

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Amy Trice Declares War!

First RantWoman must be clear: RantWoman is speaking for herself. RantWoman is not speaking on behalf of the Kootenai tribe, the navy's Blue Angels, Seafair, the city of Seattle... . RantWoman is speaking for herself!

RantWoman wishes to celebrate the annual arrival of the Blue Angels' ear-splitting, crockery-rattling training flights by...evoking the memory of a recently deceased leader of the Kootenai tribe of northern ID who is best known for ...declaring war on the US! For as much of the story as has permeated RantWoman's brain or been assembled from the interwebs, please start here:

Readers fascinated by this amazing tale of nonviolent war armed only with a pen and a flyswatter may wish to stop here and go find ways to read up or view the video mentioned in the post above.

Readers willing to admit even slight fascination with the confessions of RantWoman in Bad Friend mode are invited to read a little further:
--RantWoman thinks holding the Blue Angels up against a native tribe armed only with a pen and a flyswatter, eve if only in the blogosphere, has got to be one of the more colossal tactical mismatches of all time. Since when would that stop RantWoman?

--RantWoman is sublimating her sudden unwholesome, Blue Angels-induced interest in surface-to-air missles by fussing and obsessing about a number of issues related to her region's public transit system. Readers are asked to hold the public transit matters in the Light.

--RantWoman is amazed by the story of the Kootenais' path to greater economic functionality since the end of their "war." RantWoman still feels obliged somehow to get all preachy about why is it the best thing many tribes find to do with their sovereignty is to build casinos?

--RIP Amy Trice. RantWoman sincerely regretes never getting to hear you while alive!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fall Quarterly Meeting: Building Vibrant Meetings

Fall 2011 session of Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting, to be held September 23-25 at Lazy F Camp and Retreat Center near Ellensburg.

The theme for the Fall 2011 Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting session will be "Building Vibrant Meetings”.

The Saturday morning plenary session will be facilitated by John Helding, a member of Bellingham Friends Meeting who attends Lopez Island Preparative Meeting. John is also a member of Friends General Conference's Quaker Quest Travel Team,  and he has facilitated workshops in a wide variety of Friendly settings. The details of the plenary session are being developed over the next few weeks, and will be available after mid-August.

Tacoma Friends Meeting is the host for this Quarterly Meeting session.

The deadline for registration for the upcoming session is Wednesday, September 7th, after which a late-registration fee of $25 per form will be charged. The early registration deadline is August 24th. All forms postmarked or emailed by that date will receive a $10 discount. The packet will be available by about August 1st for downloading from our website,  .

RantWoman assumes that if you can find RantWoman in the blogosphere, you can download your own forms or leave a comment, equivalent to sending RantWoman email with coordinates to have forms delivered some other way. RantWoman definitely wants to uphold the efforts of Friends organizing this event; RantWoman especially wants to uphold Friends' efforts to get a tiny amount more information out in time for a couple weekly bulletin announcements before the early registration cutoff. Demanding oppressive RantWoman or else RantWoman needs to check in about whether something she thinks she volunteered to do would help in this regard. Do it thyself, Friend.