Friday, February 25, 2011
RantWoman invites her readers to put nunnery into the blog search bar for the correct reference because RantWoman is in too much of a hurry to put in links herself. RantWoman promises by the end of this excursion to be at least incrementally clearer about why and which part of the previous blogdom nunnery reference is applicable to what follows. Hint: it's not the nunnery phrase; it's the other one.
This week RantWoman has been turning over her spiritual compost heap in connection with some recurring themes on her path to spiritual perfection.
First consider the drama factory where so many sirens are blaring, alarms are flashing, nerves are howling, and pains are throbbing at once that one only notices something that would be a big red flag to others after something else even larger has quieted down. RantWoman is thinking for instance of her worst summer of eye yuck: more than once over the summer, RantWoman could only isolate and address one issue after something else got dealt with.
RantWoman further thinks of a specific moment of drama in her Meeting previously mentioned involving two people with hidden disabilities. At the time of the event, RantWoman filed several aspects of the issue in her "just another day around denizens of the Friendly Neighborhood Center for Extreme Computing" box. Only later did it dawn on RantWoman that it would have been entirely reasonable and appropriate to try to talk about the circumstance with a member of Oversight Committee. RantWoman specifically does not even want to comment about any assessment of whether members of Oversight Committee would have heard her or had conceptual space to interact. RantWoman is also humble about the degree to which she herself has needed to be whipped into more refined awareness through repeated flogging with different realizations, self-examinations, and re-encounters with related topics. RantWoman thinks the specific episode still needs a conversation but RantWoman is seasoning where and with whom to start.
RantWoman is also thinking of a specific mundane safety-related circumstance at Little Sister's household about which RantWoman urgently prays for guidance and centeredness to attempt to address. This issue has already vexed RantWoman a very long time; it is only because Little Sister has made so much progress in so many other areas that RantWoman even feels there is space to bring the matter up. RantWoman specifically needs Light to see whether the circumstance can be tackled on its own, without enmeshment in the weight of much bigger problems. Remember this is RantWoman. That is precisely WHY such Light needs to be sought.
Next consider family medical matters. RantWoman will write of the specific event in another post. Little Sister has had 7 abdominal surgeries in 11 years. Thanks to LOTS of healing and letting go and mental health intervention and WHO KNOWS what all, the last one has been dramatically easier, smoother, with a shorter hospital stay.... than any of the others. There is still ample family psychodrama for which RantWoman requests the entire cast, Little Sister and her brand of Ferrener Husband, Irrepressible Nephew, RantMom and of course RantWoman, be held in the Light, but RantWoman is DEEPLY grateful for many forms of progress. RantWoman will spare her readers most of the details: they involve suffering, anxiety, grief, aggravation, trauma, drama, and LOTS of circumstances RantWoman would rather not have to deal with never mind their impact on Little Sister, the star of the show.
Here RantWoman must specifically bless Huge African American Neighbor. Huge African Neighbor knows Little Sister from here and there, including the bus and RantWoman moments. Huge African American Neighbor shares with Little Sister some medical concerns but has fewer options for pursuing the surgical remedies Little Sister has battled her way into. Huge African American Neighbor loves to talk about sex and religion, alone or together. Little Sister shares this trait but Huge African Neighbor amuses RantWoman by conducting such conversations with people it would not occur to RantWoman to talk of such matters with. RantWoman is especially amused by the data thus collected, particularly because it specifically would NOT occur to RantWoman to collect data in exactly the way Huge African American Neighbor does.
The reason RantWoman must bless Huge African Neighbor though: Huge African American Neighbor is mercifully unencumbered by Rant family psychic baggage or perhaps she finds what she knows of the Rant Family to be vastly sunnier than her own. She frequently asks about Little Sister and ministers to RantWoman by just shaking her head and saying "Oh, your poor sister." RantWoman is SO grateful, for one thing because of her own rabid judgmentalism: Little Sister is sometimes prone to go on about God's help in a way that causes RantWoman SEVERE temptation to froth at the mouth about certain behavior issues involved in Little Sister's problems. Most recently though, RantWoman did one of her grab someone else's concept for herself things: RantWoman HAS to be tending her own psychic compost heap but there HAS to have been God in there somewhere this time around for RantWoman too.
RantWoman has been turning over these circumstances in the context of her Meeting. In this time, RantWoman and Little Sister also cheerled RantMom through treatment for two kinds of cancer AND RantWoman herself has had substantial life drama of her own including midlife vision meltdown and other matters of principle and vexation. RantWoman has categorically NOT poured out every detail of these festive circumstances to many at her Meeting. In fact, RantWoman is coming to think that she has been doing FAR too good a job of shielding her Meeting from opportunities for spiritual perfection.
Here are RantWoman's excuses:
For one thing, this sort of concern just sucks up a lot of time and energy so one hardly even has brain space for anything else. For another thing, sometimes at Meeting RantWoman would so like for a few precious moments to live and breathe and cling to demonstrations of comparative sanity. For yet another thing, it's a LOT of work sometimes just to tell, never mind shouting one's way past the, um, well, unQuakerly language alert, thick heads of many around RantWoman's Meeting. RantWoman regrets to inform her readers that the list of names attached to the term "thick heads" is far too long even for a whole season of telenovela. RantWoman also again just pleads general fatigue and ennui. Unfortunately, the soul and fortitude of Attack Receptionist are kind of kicking RantWoman in the butt. RantWoman's inner blowtorch is going off. Some people around RantWoman seem to want to sit and silence and feel good about themselves. Worse Auntie is likely to show up fairly directly on behalf of people who come to worship with actual mammoth cares on their hearts and struggles in their souls.
But FIRST, RantWoman needs to stop by that nunnery: one person in her Meeting who has ranked above the, cough, average at RantWoman's Meeting has been Conflict is a Gift of God Friend. Especially lately, Conflict Is a Gift of God Friend has been decidedly disrespectful and downright tiresome about these topics. However, he has listened more than average AND he has SOMETIMES even made RantWoman laugh. So for the time being, RantWoman is hanging out that that nunnery trying to figure out what to say to a whole bunch of people too stuck on Conflict Is a Gift of God Friend's MANY, er, issues for there to be space for RantWoman. Look out. Here comes Worse Auntie!
For eccentric reasons, RantWoman is led to include this link here.
RantWoman confesses: her leading so to minister is connected to further spiritual excavations in the zone of discernment and God's personnel managers but that is grist for another post.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
There are a lot of barefoot natives in this narrative. Unfortunately, this is RantWoman we're talking about, not some starry-eyed optimist shoe salesman. RantWoman is going to come right out and enumerate a few MODEST successes and some spectacular "how NOT to organize an accessible event" moments. RantWoman is going to do this with inner blowtorch alight, in a spirit of love and truth though HOPEFULLY not personalized disdain for anyone's efforts. Or at least RantWoman hopes the shoe salesman with the sense of opportunity lingers SOMEWHERE in the vicinity.
RantWoman here is writing of an event. RantWoman is doing the best she can to include only elements that might come up in planning any meeting but there is one illustrative comment which is to be taken in context of RantWoman's themes and no further. Also, RantWoman was on the verge of offering to help organize this event, but others already jumped in.
Inquiries went out in advance: the Meetinghouse or a house? RantWoman came down FIRMLY on the side of the Meetinghouse. The house was chosen.
--The Meetinghouse is large enough to do retreat exercises in several places with good audio separation, even if everyone who should be invited comes. The house is more or less large enough for half the number who might come. It turned out to have enough separate spaces for small group exercises for those who came, about half the total who were supposed to be invited.
--The Meetinghouse is centrally located with excellent bus connections and decent pedestrian amenities. The house, lovely as it is, is much further from RantWoman. Bus service is comparatively good and met other RantWoman errand needs anyway, but the last couple blocks of walk from the bus stop have no sidewalk.
--The Meetinghouse has okay access for wheelchairs and walkers. RantWoman was unsure of the house because of another circumstance; RantWoman did not ask but has the impression the house was less friendly to wheelchairs and walkers. Oops well, the Friend who uses a walker probably wouldn't come, especially for the whole six hours anyway. RantWoman is pretty sure no one even asked her though!
--At least two people who should come have small children. RantWoman has not had a chance to ask whether a late afternoon-evening timing was one factor in keeping both of them away.
--RantWoman generally would have preferred starting and ending earlier in the day.
--An initial draft agenda included one of those pair off and answer questions exercises. RantWoman kind of went ballistic and told the planners that lots of people speaking in pairs in close spaces would be very, very difficult for RantWoman. MERCIFULLY RantWoman was heard and the agenda was changed to doing the same exercise in small groups. RantWoman likes this MUCH better for both auditory and community-building reasons.
Unfortunately, it did not occur to either RantWoman or the planners that during breaks, everyone would immediately pair off in the cramped space and start all kinds of chatter. RantWoman could not deal with the pairings. RantWoman was grateful for some silent spaces but the breaks definitely did NOT feel like breaks and RantWoman rather quickly wound up with a headache.
RantWoman has not previously thought to be fully present about the hubbub at breaks point so MAYBE she will just collect data for the future, for instance because her grumble list is already too long.
--Mention was made in advance of a longish writing exercise. RantWoman pointed out that she would not be able to interact with others' offerings unless the writing were done in advance. RantWoman has clerked planning committees for events where writing is requested and has found such requests very helpful and successful, but this was not tried for this event.
At one point Friends each were invited to write responses to a query on a postcard. The postcards were shuffled and RantWoman managed to cope with someone else's handwriting and decided not even to engage about not having any choice as far as features that made her postcard easily identifiable. On the contrary, RantWoman responded with Worse Auntie's views of sudoku so everyone knew--and laughed--anyway.
--RantWoman made her customary request to have things she was expected to read emailed to her in advance. Instead, the day of the retreat RantWoman was delivered of one thing in small print and another in larger print but a difficult serif font. RantWoman is the sort who might fiddle with printed material more than once in a day. She quite resents that she can no longer do that. Sometimes this leads her to get holier than thou on ecological grounds: if most people are going to recycle things anyway, WHY does everyone need a copy? Make fewer copies and let everyone share RantWoman's partial use experience.
--RantWoman was the youngest person present at this event and RantWoman is pushing 50. RantWoman was, by a long shot, not the youngest person who might have been expected to attend. RantWoman has even more to say about this point and the content of the event. Alas, RantWoman has finally hit a wall and decided what she has to say is unsuitable for her blog. Comments on two themes will go in a cover email calling the blog item to people's attention.
--There was an agenda review; after a break, an important change was made. Points for everyone adapting.
--RantWoman is used to doing workshops where it is helpful to set norms in advance, to check in about hearing, lip reading, ability to interact with interpreters, people who need to move away from interpreters, gender and cultural points, and a slew of other access concerns. Sometimes it is also valuable to take into account when people new to the process need orientation to key concepts such as, say , confidentiality, a topic RantWoman means not to do more than mention here.
--RantWoman is also used to workshops where it is explicitly assumed that people will NOT necessarily think the same way and often there are steps taken to articulate some standards of respectful interaction, invitation to questions and parking lot for matters outside the agenda of the day. This, um, was NOT that sort of workshop.
Speaker to RantWoman "RantWoman, I am really not interested in your thought process."
RantWoman to herself, thinking of disregard for her concerns about the location, even more distress over the work of arriving in the rain with no sidewalks and sundry pedestrian safety menaces, and the bleeping print "Really? I hadn't noticed."
Second speaker "RantWoman, we want to hear other people."
By that time, RantWoman's nerves were so fried and RantWoman had collected so much data that she opted just to shut up. RantWoman wrote one email shortly after the event. RantWoman is now interacting with minutes of a meeting discussing this event. RantWoman concurs with gushing about the Friends getting together to talk about community spiritual life part, but RantWoman is to be true to the Light she is given about a whole bunch of things that really need to work better.
RantWoman congratulates the event planners above both for PARTIALLY hearing RantWoman's concerns and for at least not cramming down RantWoman's throat any outrageously WRONG "help," for instance related to dangerous street crossings where split second decisions can be lethal.
But just to show that it CAN be done, that accessibility can be increased by asking what matters and then DOING IT RIGHT, not cramming an inadequate alternative down Friends' throats, here is a LOVELY post about someone who gets it.
On further accessibility front, RantWoman THINKS it is progress that someone on the current planning committee for a cyclical event gets the point that there have been problems about the venue and service dogs on more than one occasion. In fact, there have been problems not only with the venue but also with other Friends' interactions with the venue about service dogs. The repeated problems have been kicked to a standing committee as well as the planning committee. RantWoman is still a LITTLE fretting that the continuing process will somehow manage to do not what is needed but some pale approximation. Probably RantWoman needs just to TAKE A CHILL PILL and let things play out or at least wait and post after more observation.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
(RantWoman apologizes for the blogger novice issues that are probably going to clobber the pretty images. Not that RantWoman herself unambiguously cares....; the original is not terrible as far as untagged images, but think of this as RantWoman's accessibility enhancement.)
Subject: Being Salt and Light: in Seattle March 11 & 12
Being Salt and Light: Friends living the kingdom of God in a broken world
Their concern for youth has led them to work with former gang members in El Salvador.
You are invited to hear Aminda and Maudiel Arévalo at the FWCC gathering Being Salt and Light: Friends living the kingdom of God in a broken world, on Friday, March 11th at North Seattle Friends Church, and continuing on Saturday, March 12th at University Friends Meeting.
Maudiel and Aminda have worked together for 28 years towards peace for the individual, in the home and within the family. They are pastors and leaders in the Yearly Meeting of the Evangelical Friends Church in El Salvador.
Aminda and Maudiel will provide opportunities to relate their experiences to current issues of 'brokenness' that Friends are facing in their communities. We hope Friends will take away something that is relevant-both practically and spiritually-to our lives today.
North Seattle Friends Church & University Friends Meeting
Friday evening March 11:
North Seattle Friends Church
7740 24th Avenue NE Seattle, 98115
Saturday March 12:
University Friends Meeting
4001 9th Avenue NE
March 11, 2011
7:00 - 9:00 PM PST
March 12, 2011
9:30 AM - 3:00 PM PST
Read more about this event
Read more about the Sixth World Conference of Friends in 2012
This event is part of a series of local gatherings offered by Friends World Committee for Consultation Section of the Americas in anticipation of the 2012 World Conference of Friends taking place in Kenya.
Please share this opportunity with Friends you know.
And thank you for staying connected to FWCC.
URK. RantWoman did what she sometimes does and failed to read the whole registration webpage: there is a $40 suggested donation for this event. Please give what you can and do not let money keep you away.
Accessibility Addendum: RantWoman congratulates the Salt and Light organizers for including a check box to make accessibility requests in the registration process. RantWoman can think of a few accessibility requests it might make sense for the far-off organizers to need to inquire of local contacts about and RantWoman will wait to see if that occurs.
Meanwhile, RantWoman REALLY likes this account of an accessibility ally
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Just to spite RantWoman who has many rants about the Kindle, both books happily are available in Kindle format, for whcih RantWoman gets to be darn grateful even if the new accessible Kindle client most assuredly does NOT cause RantWoman to repent of all her ranting about the Kindle.
First Brent Bill
Next Nancy Bieber, Decision Making and Spiritual Discernment
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Both of these messages occurred AFTER Eye Roller Prophetic Friend departed to make coffee for coffee hour. Afterward Eye Roller Friend said he was relieved that silence rather than popcorn ruled the day with regard to Egypt. RantWoman was grateful for "in their own terms!" RantWoman notes an ongoing and recurring theme about our Meeting purifying challenging persons with a long stint brewing coffee. RantWoman notes the theme and is seasoning what it suggests. There are people who find being able to feed community with hot liquids, tasty noshes, and clean crockery deeply nourishing to their own spiritual lives. Often these friends make many social and creative connections. RantWoman does not necessarily rule herself out of this number, but RantWoman is still terrified by laws of physics, her own communications challenges, and the pastoral concerns that sometimes turn up hiding out in the crockery. RantWoman is also meditating about the spiritual concerns tied up in physical work, food and drink, and the mechanics of commuity. RantWoman is meditating about this but back to today's item.
RantWoman's brain was running around worship "like a hummingbird on a holiday," in more than one language to boot. RantWoman has been seasoning a metaphorical message related to blindness for several weeks and part of the message needs a second language. It was also sudoku weather, defined today as cloudy and enough to make eyes itchy. RantWoman's brain also decided that being headachy was the best it could do with optic nerves not able to live up to brain's expectations about range of focus, with or without glasses. RantWoman decided to subtract her glasses and to continue fantasies about exactly what kind of shades would both cut the glare and look fabulous. RantWoman is too vain about the brain candy aspect of the puzzles left in her sudoku book to break it out even though the light and glare strongly suggested that option. RantWoman HAS decided though that her readers get to be present whether they care or not with more of the peregrinations and peculiarities of RantWoman's eyeballs.
One of the items immediately summoned to RantWoman's mind after the message discussed below.
What does it mean to you to live a Christian life?
Basically, to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself (which means you'd better love yourself!).
The rest of the post, with hyperlinked Bible references:
The second message was about being able to be vulnerable as a prerequisite for making connections. The message referenced a YouTube item by Breme Brown:
RantWoman means actually to interact with the contact of the video, but first this will be filtered through RantWoman's eyeballs: RantWoman watched the video on her home computer using her screen enlargement software. This means RantWoman could actually see the speaker's face and to see it enough to make sort of catty remarks about the speaker's hair style: RantWoman thought the haircut had a really nice shape. However, the cut featured a lot of longish hair that kept falling into the speaker's face. RantWoman would have been happy to pay more attention visually, but the speaker every two seconds kept brushing her hair out of her face and RantWoman completely lost patience with the visual interaction.
RantWoman suspects she could exhort herself to be grateful actually to be able to be driven crazy in exactly this way, but that is NOT the RantWoman who showed up. The RantWoman who showed wandered into meditations about all manner of individual specialness, a separate thread from Light within and universal worthiness in God or worthiness with or without what words an individual uses, regardless of the vexations that come with specific categories of specialness. RantWoman also hears pretensions in some corners that being vulnerable is really optional.
Rantwoman means to look more at comments in the video about shame and empathy. RantWoman also remembers comments about Courage / Compassion / Connection including a wonderful old dictionary definition of courage:
"to speak your mind with your heart."
Another Breme Brown item:
Also a reference to: ordinary courage in soem work by Andy Rogers
Thursday, February 10, 2011
From Ashley W at
One of my classmates is writing a paper on Jesus, and she sent us the following questions:
Who is Jesus in your life?
What does it mean to you to live a Christian life?
What one thing would you say to people to describe your relationship with Jesus?
RantWoman is going to start with the last question first: perhaps one should not treat the core of one's religious formation the same flippant way one might describe relationship status in other contexts, but "It's complicated" will do JUST FINE.
Jesus is the reason for a whole bunch of important conversations, the light about HOW to have the conversations, and motivation for the conversation!
Even though Albie the Enormous Laptop is ILL and RantWoman is having to get her usual ranting and must-do's done in less time and more aggravating circumstances than she even wants to pretend to tolerate, RantWoman is going to bite and to respond to the queries above.
Be forewarned: this is Rantwoman. If you are not prepared to be made uncomfortable, distressed, bothered, twitterpated, led tastelessly down intellectual dark alleys or twisted among psycho-historical, mythepoetic, emotional, spiritual mazes not to mention the vast morass of RantWoman's attempts at interpersonal connection, please feel free to click away.
"Jesus is my Lord and Savior?"
"Jesus as Savior and Friend?"
"I don't need no stinking Lord and Savior."
Jesus: "Wanna Bet?"
Jesus is who sent me off to meet the Peace Camp witches. I mean this. I did not have the word "leading." I just knew I HAD to be there and way kept opening, over and over.
Jesus is who helped me put up with the peace camp witches as prerequisite for making peace in different contexts.
From One Quaker Take
From Margery Post Abbott's workshop in the Twin Cities
Further Dialogue on that Jesus Bit:
and One Quaker Take riffing on Themes Barclay
From The Lambs War, one of those threads of conversation that always weaves in something important even though it's not the thread I usually weave
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Next an Item from, CFSC Friends in Canada about not wishing to be one with an international air passenger security regime imposed by the US.
RantWoman freely admits this item falls into the "Does God call us to recycle?" zone where unanimity of interest, let alone definite opinion is most assuredly not to be assumed among Friends. RantWoman presents it here in a spirit of hearing diverse voices.
Second, there is a pressing concern that has arisen this week regarding legislation currently in Parliament (C-42) - this connects, actually, to even deeper concerns about the plans for a new security perimeter agreement between Canada and the USA. The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, of which CFSC is a member, has raised the alarm about both in a email composed by their Coordinator, Roche Tassé (see below). In it, he asks for people to contact their MP about C-42. CFSC wrote to all Parliamentarians in December 2010 about C-42 and is contacting them again. We ask that you also take action with your MP - call or email. Using your postal code, your MP's information can be found here:
To follow is the letter from Roch, and our letter to Parliamentarians from December.
Jane Orion Smith
Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers)
February 7, 2011
To: ICLMG members and friends
As you know, last Friday Prime Minister Harper and President Obama announced the creation of a task force to work on the details of a North American security perimeter. The plan calls for the harmonization of Canada-US border policies. In practice, among other things, this means adopting US policies, standards and practices with regards to policing the border; furthering the integration of border and customs agencies (as well as other police and intelligence agencies); expanding the sharing of travellers' information and adopting the flawed US no-fly list; and the complete integration of customs, criminal, immigration and biometrics data bases. It is nothing less than surrendering Canada's privacy regime and Canada's ability to implement independent visa, immigration and refugee policies. Canada will de facto be contracting out and subjugating the security of Canada to US corporate interests and abandon responsibility to enact policy in those areas. In essence it is an abdication of Canada's sovereignty and ability to implement and protect the rights of Canadians presently enshrined in our Charter of Rights.
In my opinion, this issue represents the biggest challenge faced by ICLMG since its inception. If such an agreement sees the light of day, we will have lost any small gain or victory achieved over the last decade as well as our ability to influence government policies and practices in any significant way to protect civil liberties and human rights.
A major component and cornerstone of the North American security perimeter is presently being debated in Parliament. Bill C-42, which could be voted in any day this week, will enable the sharing of information and the implementation of the US Secure Flight program for most flights to and from Canada, and even for some domestic flights, that merely overfly the US airspace. The US Department of Homeland Security will have the exclusive authority to decide who can board a plane on those flights. So far, only the NDP has taken a clear stance against the bill. The debates in the House of Commons on February 2 and 3 are perhaps the most significant ones with regards to Canadian sovereignty that we have witnessed in Parliament in years. I encourage you to browse through the transcripts from the Hansard which can be downloaded from the Parliament of Canada website. I also encourage your organization to contact your MP and the leaders of the Liberal Party and of the Bloc Québécois to ask them to reject Bill C-42. At the very least, any decision to adopt the US Secure Flight program and compromise the personal information of Canadians should be postponed until a full and transparent political debate on the North American security perimeter takes place.
We need to mobilize across sectors now!
National Coordinator / Coordonnateur national
International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
Coalition pour la surveillance internationale des libertés civiles
CFSC Letter to Parliamentarians, re C-42December 13, 2010Dear Member ofParliament,We are writing toask you to vote against Bill C-42, which would amend the Aeronautics Act inorder to implement the U.S. “Secure Flight” regime. This regime isobjectionable on two accounts. First, it does not abide by due process,since people can be added to the “no fly” list without the opportunity tochallenge the case against them, and the process for people to get themselves removed from the list is inadequate. Second, it is an imposition againstCanadian sovereignty. The proposition that Canadian citizens should have to get permission from the U.S. “Secure Flight” regime in order to travel to a non-USdestination is untenable.Canada has its own“no fly list” regime which has similar problems with due process, but at least the process is located in Canada, and Canadian citizens can have directrecourse to it. This regime, along with other measures, was implementedin order to “harmonize” airline security with US programs. Ourobservation of these measures over the past years has shown that ever increasing surrender of privacy and sovereignty rights are demanded, and dueprocess infringements are ignored with each new measure. It is time to stop the erosion of our rights and our sovereignty and institute an open process that is controlled by the Canadian government, and does not violate ourvalues as expressed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.We note, aswell, that there is very significant global concern about the program in otherstates, and also various international bodies, including the United Nations
.Because of our geographic location, Canadians are at the greatestrisk of violations of privacy and due process through the imposition of SecureFlight rules on Canadian travel. For all of these reasons, we feel it is extremely important to refuse the implementation of theU.S "Secure Flight" regime. We ask that you please vote no to BillC-42. Sincerely,Merrill StewartClerk, Canadian Friends Service Committee
Sunday, February 6, 2011
In terms of congregational and interfaith resources available through the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, these restrictions and the process used in our Meeting to modify them are part of the contract between Meeting and the offender.
RantWoman read some of these resources awhile ago. In many congregations, people are informed of a sex offender's presence among the congregation only on a need to know basis. RantWoman thinks it is an interesting and important exercise as part of renewed conversation to spell out the Quaker values and key aspects of Quaker business process which have made the conversation so public in her Meeting. RantWoman thinks that is an important exercise, but it's an exercise for another day.
RantWoman also means to spell out elsewhere a whole clanging list of points she is finding difficult in this round of Meeting conversations. The problem is really not The Safest Sex Offender...; the problem is shifts of faces and roles, gifts, leadings, learnings. RantWoman is not entirely clear that sorting out her own thoughts in a blog will be helpful to community discernment. RantWoman is meditating about what both she and her Meeting might need both in terms of basic practices of community life, language for interacting with difficult topics, and spiritual nurture. RantWoman would like some nice tidy queries but may or may not get there.
In the meantime, some actual experiences to report on. For example, a couple months ago, our Oversight Committee sponsored a presentation by a woman from the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, http://www.kcsarc.org/ about sex offender registration and restrictions. http://www.kcsarc.org/nServices/EducationandPrevention
and other links within both these documents.
RantWoman will let the links above speak for the content of the presentation with one exception: RantWoman notes that sex offender registration applies only to people who have been caught and adjudicated. The percentage of actual offenders this includes is arguable.
RantWoman thinks it's important for Friends talking about our walk with the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet to understand his specific issues. To repeat, the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet is a Level One sex offender. He has taken full legal and moral responsibility for his crime. He has passed test after test indicating no predatory inclinations no inclinations of any kind to re-offend.
He has complied scrupulously with conditions of his treatment program as well as the conditions set by Meeting. Meeting will continue to expect him to comply with these conditions, conditions which he also, by recent accounts, finds valuable for his own safety. The Safest Sex Offender on the Planet is registered but a conversation about sex offender registration is not only about the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet.
RantWoman supposes that an overview of sex offender registration is not a terrible place to start renewed Meeting conversation. RantWoman supposes it is not a terrible place to start, but RantWoman is not sure she would have started there. RantWoman, though, went into the event already predisposed to want other content as well.
The presentation was a public event at RantWoman's Meeting which is one reason RantWoman feels clear to share her experiences and observations. RantWoman arrived slightly late and has had previous experience with questions of sex offender registration. Because of both previous experience and quibbles, RantWoman spent considerable energy observing her own and others' experiences.
--RantWoman appreciates the bravery of people who come to such events with no experience that they know of with the topic. RantWoman finds it helpful sometimes to focus on what such people get out of the event because that can be more manageable than some of what RantWoman deals with.
--RantWoman noticed both people who made a point of not attending and other people showing signs that sitting through the session was difficult for different reasons. RantWoman is grateful that others in her Meeting were sitting close enough to reach out in various ways. RantWoman has had the experience of being able to reach out at other times but RantWoman was glad to have the space for what passed through her own head even if only tiny pieces of the points on RantWoman's mind more formally enter conversation in her Meeting rather than the blogosphere.
--In this case, the presenter was speaking of criteria for Level two offenders: multiple victims, grooming, some predatory aspects of behavior. RantWoman's mind wandered to three different situations she is personally acquainted with, thankfully outside her Meeting.
--In one situation, the offender was recognized by the legal system legally and unambiguously as a level two offender and the legal system interacted accordingly as to the offender. Getting child and teenage survivors help would have been another whole problem. This caused RantWoman to reflect on the difficulty for some of talking about their experiences, as well as problems about adults being able to hear and act thoughtfully about such information.
--In a second case, the offender, someone who had obvious survivor and personality disorder issues of his own, passed through the legal system always in domestic violence contexts. In WA, as of this writing, even if there are multiple victims, assaults, and violence, that does not get one recorded as a sex offender if one is always charged under domestic violence laws.
RantWoman is unclear what if any purpose classifying the person as a sex offender would have served; RantWoman's brain wound up with filled with many other complications and at this point does not really know how the survivor she knows best relates to several issues connected with getting him help. RantWoman found herself thinking that the situation reflects one of the holes and ways for there to be even more problems than envisioned by existing practices.
RantWoman also has challenging observations about what if anything from her Meeting would have been helpful in connection with RantWoman's presence as a witness over a long period connected with this offender. RantWoman can now acknowledge that she was decidedly NOT grounded and centered at every moment. In fact, at a few points, RantWoman was REALLY angry.
There were so many other issues of language and behavior and interpersonal challenge that at this point RantWoman is just humble and grateful that most of the associated dramas have long subsided at least for her. RantWoman makes what she can of all the experiences associated with this situation and for example draws on the experiences to steady herself sometimes when she is called on to interpret for people in traumatic situations.
--The third case involves one person who works in a large organization with legal staff and spin doctors. There appears to be ongoing opportunity for offenses and years of people willing to name things aboard the bus but no interaction that RantWoman knows of that stuck with the legal system. RantWoman knows of this case in connection with someone noticing sudden changes in a child's behavior, in connection with one comment RantWoman herself heard during a time window close to the behavior changes. The child involved has gotten all kinds of help and support but RantWoman also notes this case in terms of holes and why people need skills and language separate from what can or cannot be relied on from the legal system.
In other words, RantWoman was again overachieving on the drama front and perhaps it would be refreshing to stick with other takeaways from the event:
--Our Meeting makes a rule of having two adults with children in child care or first day school. The presenter validated this practice; RantWoman has not yet felt called to figure out what to insist on as far as adults being able to hear. RantWoman detects a certain fog about "nothing bad can happen if we do background checks for people who work with our children and always have two adults present with them."
RantWoman does not want to be Cassandra but background checks only catch people who have been caught an adjudicated. Also, our children might have many experiences outside Meeting. RantWoman thinks we must continue doing what we are doing. RantWoman also thinks it is not unreasonable to hope that there would be safe, trustworthy adults around if children needed to speak of something difficult whether it occurred within Meeting or otherwise. RantWoman also already realizes it is hard enough to recruit people to help with First Day School. However, when RantWoman thinks of members of a faith community bearing with each other in spite of different difficulties and spiritual distress, RantWoman notes that adults also have trouble hearing each other about many more mundane matters. Are there resources or worshops that would increase people's ability really to hear each other and that would both nurture community and have specific benefit for children or others facing spiritual difficulties?
--The presenter mentioned resources available through http://www.ksarc.org/ about behaviors among children of different ages that might indicate abuse. RantWoman means to download them especially since RantWoman interacts with kids only occasionally and does not really have developmental stages hard-wired into her awareness.
--The conversation got most interesting when people from Meeting started interacting with several challenging points:
--Not all offenders by a long shot get caught.
--A LARGE percentage of offenders who get caught are either level one offenders not subject to public reporting or family members or both.
--The session was not really set up for Friends to go very far with these topics; RantWoman would NOT mind having a clearer sense that there might be a place to interact further with that topic in connections with Meeting matters, but RantWoman also keeps asking whether she is just overachieving because of all the experiences swirling around her.
RantWoman promises separate pieces of background about how the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet currently participates in Meeting life and about a broader perspective on children and safety in our community but this is enough for today.
Friday, February 4, 2011
RantWoman has been thinking this week of her stint as a member of the Monroe Worship group, a worship group that included offenders and Friends from several Meetings and met regularly for several years inside the Monroe Reformatory, part of the WA prison system.
Among other things, RantWoman is thinking that RantWoman's stint in the Monroe Worship group means she has probably passed through the scene of a brutal murder which occurred last weekend. Jayme Biendl, a prison guard who grew up in a community near the prison was strangled while on duty in the chapel. RantWoman recommends her readers use the search engine of their choice for unfolding details. RantWoman makes this recommendation with caution: some of the details are too piquant even for RantWoman's frankness preferences.
RantWoman is not particularly charmed to read and hear new details every day. The suspect is a sex offender serving a life term after multiple previous offenses, but as a result of good behavior, he was classified as a medium security inmate. The suspect had a routine visit in the visiting room as opposed to a trailer for conjugal visits with his wife a few hours before the murder.
When found, the suspect mentioned that he had been thinking about escape; RantWoman notes that in conjunction with the thought that now there will amost certainly be a death penalty trial. The suspect long refused to participate in sex offender treatment; as a result of his actions, other inmates who are motivated may lose access to some activities such as an ad-hoc gardening opportunity that the staff regards as highly valuable. The prison may still be on lockdown while the investigation is conducted, and RantWoman is reminded of a sense that many there are there for undeniable good reason.
The murdered guard apparently fought vigorously. The murdered guard apparently had previously complained about being the only person on duty in the chapel. An inquiry will of course look at questions of adequate staffing, but all this will occur while the legislature is busy trying at every turn to bust public employee unions, cut prison budgets, and generally produce public services out of fiscal thin air.
In other words, there is much to be prayed about. RantWoman figures to start with the family of the murdered guard but also feels called not to stop there.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
RantWoman started out by posting some naive questions in response to references to Imholc, Candlemas, and St. Birgid's day.
RantWoman was hoping for some well-digested review of topical symbolism at a tad more depth than the blog post or the post history tagged the same way. RantWoman got back, basically, invitations to go read Wikipedia her own dang self--along with exhortations not to believe everything she reads, particularly since it's all meant to be mythopoetic in the first place. Okay, careful what you ask for.
Understand, RantWoman's background is really Protestant with very minimal interaction with the liturgical year, well beyond Advent, Lent, sometimes Passover, Easter, Pentecost. RantWoman has a time or two been witness to several days running of the wanderings of unprogrammed Quaker worship. Oh heresy; the holiness of everyday life notwitstanding, these wanderings sometimes actually make RantWoman appreciate liturgy for applying oh maybe just a smidgen of structure to the whole range of human emotions and experiences and cycles of day and year and life.
Unless someone wrote good music about something on the liturgical calendar, though, RantWoman is unlikely to have encountered it. See for instance Candlemas, the presentation of Jesus to the temple, the end of purification after a mother has given birth, typically in modern eras also a time when a family will start toting their newborn to more social activities than right after the birth. Anyway, RantWoman had to go Wikipedia Candlemas.
The presentation of Christ at the temple, the purification of Mary 40 days after the birth, conveniently melding Jewish law, presumably various local practices and Christian tradition. RantWoman notes the acting out of rituals in pre-literate societies where otherwise people might not have obvious ways to help remember the calendar and planting points connected with the stories. RantWoman also notes that if Candlemas falls during Lent the rituals are modified.
RantWoman, occasional technology geek broadly understood, that she is notes that the Bible, the New Testament in particular is not necessarily a terribly good source for meditations on many technological questions. RantWoman has been especially thinking about that following links from the Wikipedia article. The items above all mentioned Imbolc and St. Brigid, so off RantWoman went on excursions about water, fire, light, springs, wells, fertility, animal husbandry. RantWoman still has no clue how St. Brigid's connections with smithcraft arose. Needing some historical connections longer than the Biblical eras though, evoking the Bronze Age does nicely. RantWoman for the time being is content just to believe the associations and run with the metaphors. RantWoman is happy to grab the fire and light and molten metal and see where that goes.
Links from the item above about Imholc and St. Birgid, a goddess of water and fire, poetry, smithcraft, the timing of this sabbath with the birth of lambs and first planting, more calendar things that the ritual helps track.
But for this occasion, RantWoman continues to meditate about a high proportion of serious fog and blur in what passes for her own visual experience even if Light is otherwise clear, strong, and bright about ongoing evolution of several simmering matters.
RantWoman will close with two more conceptual excursions. First, RantWoman is seized from time to time with an urge to have a tantrum in the direction of the Baby Boom, the ENTIRE Baby Boom. Technically, by some versions of how the Baby Boom is reckoned, RantWoman IS the tail end of the Baby Boom. In fact, RantWoman would be the Korea generation if the RantFather had ever had any military service AND the children of that era did not just get swallowed up in the Baby Boom. RantWoman from time to time wishes she had older siblings to help break her parents in, to save RantWoman some trailblazing, to let RantWoman slack off about some or another weighty responsibility. RantWoman thinks sometimes of this wish for older siblings when she grumbles about the Baby Boom: that is not what she had in mind.
RantWoman would consider a tantrum only because the Baby Boom all starts turning 65 this year, with all their high expectations and overhang of weird fiscal practices and underinvestment in infrastructure and a whole bunch of dumping on future generations. RantWoman thinks it is PROBABLY not fair to paint the representatives of the Baby Boom she regularly interacts with in all the colors of her exasperation, but who said anything about fair? On the other hand, RantWoman has no idea what form of purification to prescribe; more to the point, RantWoman has more than enough to do just tending her own endless internal compost heap.
But if it's Candlemas, the season for presenting babes to the temple, RantWoman and the Purifying Baby Boom present to the world scene a whole bunch of countries like Egypt where a huge percentage of the population is under 30 or even under 18, underemployed, and overeducated. RantWoman is most assuredly meditating on what transformations this reality implies for the future but for today will be glad that the Egyptian internet is again alight with the torrents of unbounded content we have all become accustomed to.
A curiously also topical item that speaks to RantWoman's condition