Monday, January 30, 2012

FOCUS points

RantWoman: "...two or three bullet points..."

RantWoman was raised in one of those big western states where even the music teacher's kid can eat the Second Amendment for Breakfast, where one of the state's Monthly Meetings once sang a song at Annual Session Community Night about an uprising led by cows with guns. So RantWoman is a little stuck on "bullet points."

Other Friend: "RantWoman, NOT bullet points. We're pacifists, remember. ...What about FOCUS points?"

Uhhhh, Friend, Focus? Focus! What a concept....but thee really has not reckoned with the RantWoman visual experience. F O C U S...what an idea!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Faith Trust Healing

Items for the blog as file cabinet. RantWoman is not clear whether she looked these items up before or after the most recent Business Meeting but:

The Faith Trust Institute helps different faith communities think about issues of abuse. RantWoman thinks it is never terrible for Friends to realize something important is widely enough understood that Friends do not have to reinvent the wheel. On the other hand, being a non-pastoral tradition we are full of people, even people on pastoral care committees, who cannot be assumed to have encountered any kind of basic counseling training. "We are all ministers of God/ We have not abolished the clergy; we have abolished the laity." This just means needs for some materials are different.

An item about testimonies and healing among Friends from one's experiences of other religions. RantWoman includes thishere partly because many, many people come to Friends fleeing religiously-themed traumatizing and abusive environments in other faith communities.

(RantWoman is pointedly NOT commenting on ... in her own..._

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Reading Woolman in January

A flock of hardy readers from RantWoman's Meeting are embarking on a trek through John Woolman's journal. Early indications are that it will be in many respects easier going than Barclay; RantWoman is versatile and still expects stylistic quibbles and stumbling.

We are starting slow, with chapter 1. We are reading from more than one edition. Several Friends proffered other volumes of commentary and biography. RantWoman is shamelessly going to take advantage of the eyeballs and erudition of Friends who have capacity to read much more.

RantWoman has heard the story of the 6-year-old John Woolman killing a mother robin with a stone and then climbing up and killing the chicks so they would not suffer, but RantWoman was enraged anew reading the journal herself. Okay, so Martin Luther King destroyed one of his sister's dolls too and both Woolman and King grew up to be MUCH more civilized than those childish outrages. RantWoman especially wants to note the merits of regular and searching attention to spiritual questions for both Woolman and King. RantWoman notes this with trembling because she has of late been reflecting on a couple cases where this sort of childish outrage did not get nipped in the bud but instead escalated over others' lives into hideous crimes of violence.

RantWoman remarked and others agreed during the book group that Woolman makes reference repeatedly tovanities, moments of youthful indiscretion, falling into bad company, and other circumlocutions: RantWoman and at least some others are moral cesspools of morbid curiosity and might perhaps have really enjoyed knowing exactly WHICH indiscretions he fell into. RantWoman also would have enjoyed a bit more show your work as far as the content of Woolman's Biblical study and his various spiritual openings. RantWoman, though, appreciates the perceptiveness of her fellow readers. One simply called out the question, what does it mean to live under the Cross? Others began what is likely to be much discussion of indenturement, slavery, and laboring with Friends.

RantWoman finds Woolman a very vivid stylistic contrast to Barclay. Barclay strung citation after specific Biblical citation into highly structured logical arguments. Woolman sort of waves his pen in the direction of the meme he has in mind. Oh Holy Jesus: RantWoman initially found the thought of trying to thumb through all 35 chapters of Ezekial extremely daunting, but the second set of pages she flipped opened exactly to Chapter 8, about the behavior of elders in teh temple. Oh Holy Jesus, as if RantWoman NEEDS more fuel on her fire to elder her some elders.

If RantWoman were good at staying centered she would simply close with the following link.

Knowing when to quit would not be the RantWoman Quaker seriously still in progress we all know and love.

By way of further commentary the postcard RantWoman received of the Birla Mandar, RantWoman is intrigued by the practice in India of naming temples after the patron who funded its construction. RantWoman is also intrigued by a temple to the goddess of wealth and of Mahatma Ghandi agreeing to appear at its dedication on condition that it be open to people of every caste. Finally, RantWoman was intrigued by this wonderful poem about monkey people running amok when people do not attend to what is right. RantWoman finds it interesting to reflect on monkey people before the theory of evolution. Plus the music is just gorgeous and this is RantWoman. RantWoman may need a couple rounds of the Hanuman Chalisa just to clear out her head enough to live under.....

The Hanuman Chalisa, chanted to keep away evil spirits

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Special Report on Special Commitment Center

RantWoman can easily appreciate the possibility that at least some of her readers would prefer the churnings of RantWoman's soul and efforts to aerate her spiritual compost heap in a separate stream from efforts to engage with and intervene in public affairs in a clear and sober-minded way.

RantWoman's readers would probably appreciate that but that is not what they get. Here by way of jogging RantWoman's memory that such exists are some links to a current series in the Seattle Times about the Special Commitment Center where people who are deemed by the courts to be "sexually violent predators" are detained.

RantWoman heard of the series on the radio and has not had time to interact but probably is going to need to.

There is more to this series, but RantWoman expects her readers probably have as much or more capacity to find the right links than RantWoman does. RantWoman already had a long to-do list. While RantWoman was poking at these links she also put together some other data that has been roiling her soul and deided she realized in full-on RantWoman to the Rescue Wonder Quaker Cape Streaming mode she also needs to do something else too.

Why he gets to take his dog everywhere

What he says:

Nashua Telegraph
Guest Commentary

Would you walk up to a person in a wheelchair and say: "Hey, why do you need a wheelchair?"

Probably not, and yet it's not uncommon for someone to see me with my service dog, Raskin, and ask: "Why do you need a service dog?"

It begs the question: How can you look normal, talk normal, act normal and be disabled?

Here's the recipe: Start by serving a year in a combat zone (Vietnam) at 18 - three months as a combat medic with a mechanized infantry unit, the other nine months in the "rear," where rocket attacks and sappers throwing satchel charges into your hootch are daily threats. Then add "only survivor" status to the mix after your two best friends and entire crew are killed by a mine.

These events were so terrifying for this skinny kid, the death of close friends was so unnerving, that he returned home in 1970 with a problem that grew worse when he was labeled as a "disgruntled veteran" and "baby killer." PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, had yet to be invented.

I can't quite put my finger on why, but being called a "baby killer" at 19
after a tour in Vietnam, crawling through rice paddies and caring for
wounded soldiers, felt like my psyche had been put in a blender and set to

To some, this may reinforce their notion that Vietnam vets are whiners or,
as a friend of mine recently admitted thinking, "wimps." (It seems to have
been media policy for decades to only air Vietnam veteran interviews if the vet becomes emotional during the photo-op.)

Some of us may be wimps, but most of us are soldiers, seasoned veterans who did our job well under some of the most hellish conditions that lie well beyond the imagination of the uninitiated.

For this skinny kid, the nightmares after coming home seemed as normal as
the running for cover at a Fourth of July celebration was embarrassing.
Feeling everything from discomfort to anger to rage when someone walked
behind me also felt normal. Not fun certainly, but normal - any idiot knows that if the guy behind you isn't your buddy watching your back, it's most likely someone who will kill you in the blink of an eye.

That was my reality - that was our reality. Sitting with my back to the wall in any public place while taking note of the nearest exit isn't a
disability; it's being a good soldier. Of course I know I'm no longer in a
combat zone, but try telling that to my body, a body that only knows how to survive and isn't convinced the war is over.

Who can blame it, with common city noises replicating the sound of
small-arms fire, people all around in crowds who aren't in uniform
identifying themselves as "friendlies." Come to think of it, if you mention the term "friendlies" to my body, you will likely hear the story of "it" getting into an accidental firefight with fellow GIs. Oops.

Yeah, I look normal, I sound normal, I act normal. I can have a face-to-face conversation with you, and you won't even notice that I'm scanning the room for potential threats. You are probably unaware that the "disabled" vet you're talking to may be the best person to stand next to if a disturbed person walks into the room and starts shooting, or if a hurricane blows the roof off the building. You may just discover the paradox of a "disabled" vet being the most "able" person in the room.

I'm not a hero. As a matter of fact, that word almost turns my stomach for
reasons I can't quite explain or choose not to; I'm just a retired combat
veteran who feels much safer with a dog by my side who always has my back.

If I say "block," she positions herself in front of me; "cover," she goes
behind me; "snuggle," she puts her paws on my shoulders and says "you're
safe." I only use a fraction of the 80 commands she knows because I can take my own laundry out of the dryer, open my own doors and push the elevator button without assistance.

Being blessed with this beautiful dog adds one more "normal" to my list. I
often get to feel normal, even in a crowd and on busy streets. It's a small miracle.

The next time you see a normal-looking person with a service dog and wonder why he or she "gets to bring their dog" into a restaurant, store, plane, etc., whether they're a military veteran, cop, paramedic or firefighter, or they have more obvious mental or physical disabilities, please remember this story and wish them well.

It's 4:30 a.m. and I'm writing this because I can't sleep, so Raskin isn't
by any means a "cure all" for PTSD, but she's my friend and apparently I
earned the Grace in a rice paddy a world away to be her friend.

May Grace also find you and keep you safe.

Rick Adair, of Amherst, is a speaker and advocate for veterans with service dogs.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pith for the Day

RantWoman does not automatically look to blind geek email lists for spiritual guidance. Perhaps RantWoman should consider it a blessing sometimes to find such there anyway:

"People who say something is impossible should not interrupt those already doing it."

RantWoman feels obliged to seek spiritual guidance as to possible issues of pridefulness and how with at least a teensy bit more finesse to share her Light related to the above item. For RantWoman's trouble she has been served up:

"As we search the Scriptures, we must allow them to search us,
to sit in judgment upon our character and conduct."
Jerry Bridges, author, speaker and staff member of The Navigators

From Musings of a Quaker Witch:

RantWoman is reading this, substituting concepts and realities significant to RantWoman, to stiffen her own spine and force those around her to try again. Hold this in the Light!

I'd already asked a question that morning, which I felt was misunderstood and taken in a direction I hadn't meant at all.

There are other areas of my life where I feel criticized for "talking too much."

Most of all, I guess I was afraid of that cascade of things that can happen, that does happen all too often, when I stick my head up as a minority.


Even though the issue we were already talking about was one of justice for a minority among us -- what's more (!), one of which I'm a member, and pretty obviously, too, sitting there holding hands with my wife, who'd also given vocal ministry as a member of a same-sex couple.

I didn't want to go there. I didn't want those things to start happening. I didn't want to feel more alone. I didn't want stand up, expose myself as a further minority within my community, and risk things like being more isolated, having my concerns not heeded or simply not seen, being put down or dismissed because I'm a minority and therefore less/not important/because I'm not Christian and therefore less/not important, being told yet again that of course Quakerism is Christian even if not all Quakers are Christian, or that reality and the truth are too complicated for us to present to outsiders/too complicated for this document/not relevant to this issue...

...As if integrity and the truth are ever too complicated or irrelevant to our testimony and witness in the world and to each other.

And I kept hoping that lovely thing that sometimes happens in worship or worship for business would happen -- you know, where someone else says or brings up something, and then you don't have to. Every other thing I was at all uncomfortable about in the draft, someone else brought up. I really hoped someone else could be in the spotlight on this one and I would be off the hook.

Here, apropos of the above, Micah Bales on the glory and responsibility of abolishing the laity:
RantWoman is meditating about how on earth thoughts phrased in such terms can apply to the Friend above without the verbal framing being completely disrespectful of that Friend's experience of what RantWoman is used to calling God.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Survey about NPYM Annual Session

RantWoman is not so vain as to assume anyone reads her blog who might both read her blog and be interested in attending NPYM Annual Session .

RantWoman would like to be wrong. RantWoman would also especially Invite Friends to be clear about barriers to attending Annual session. This survey has information and asks a number of questions about what is important to Friends, whether people understand financial aid policies and other circumstances. In other words, Annual session is about spiritual community and those planning it need to know....

Dear Friends

North Pacific Yearly Meeting is working hard to make 2012's Annual Session (July 18 - 22,2012 in Tacoma, Washington) an accessible and meaningful experience for all Friends in our Yearly Meeting. We need your help!

NPYM's Coordinating Committee has developd a short, on-line survey about recent annual sessions. We would like your feedback, even if you have never attended annual session. There are questions for people who have attended AND for those who have not. Your results can be anonymous though you can share your contact information if you choose.

The on-line survey will not store information about your computer. The survey should take between 5 and 15 minutes to complete.

Because we are hoping to use this information in planning for this summer’s annual session, we‘d like to have your responses by February 1.

Ready to help? Click on this link to start the survey:
If the link doesn't open, try cutting and pasting the link into your browser.

Thanks so much for your help with this. Hope to see you in Tacoma, July 18 22, 2012. Watch the NPYM website  or your monthly meeting's communication channels for more information. If you have questions about the survey, feel free to contact Lynn Travis at .

Questions about Annual Session? Check with your Coordinating Committee Representative or John Allcott at

Thank you

John Allcott
NPYM Presiding Clerk
Jan 12, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Conference on 25th Anniversary of Hirabyashi Case

Ten points to anyone who can guess why RantWoman is posting this to her Quaker blog:

The Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality will host a major conference Feb. 11, 2012, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Ninth Circuit opinion in the Hirabayashi v. United States coram nobis case.

The conference will celebrate Mr. Hirabayashi's courage in resisting military orders that imposed curfews on Japanese Americans and ordered them to report for incarceration; reflect on his 1943 Supreme Court case that upheld his convictions and the extraordinary work of his legal team in reopening of his case nearly 40 years later; and use his case as a springboard to move forward in the struggle for civil rights.

Admission for members of the general public is free; admission for
attorneys wishing CLE credits is $50.00 for 5.25 credits. There is no
charge for CLE credits for Seattle University School of Law faculty
and staff. All participants must register.

For further information about the conference, please contact Junsen
Ohno, Korematsu Center Administrator, (206) 398-4283, .

Hint to schoolchildren everywhere who might be in need of paper topics: the roundup, relocation, and incarceration of Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl harbor is an aspect of US history that RantWoman did not encounter in her high school history classes--and this despite living just down the road a piece from one of the inland camps, and despite going to school with descendents of some of those rounded up.

RantWoman remembers a few ardent discussions between her childhood Sensible Quaker Auntie figure an RantDad, but RantWoman was not nearly as engaged about the topic as she was about other concerns inflaming her passions. When RantWoman moved to Seattle and started attending Friends Meeting, there was occasional mention of the Hirabyashi case.

Lest anyone think Quakers were immediately of uniform interaction with the issue though, RantWoman remembers the memorial of a Founding Member of her Meeting. Founding Member was a social worker who worked for three weks as part of the social worker team involved in facilitating the transfers. To her credit, Founding member quit the job after three weeks.

Sometimes simply remembering is important witness

Friday, January 6, 2012

Celebrating the Life and Work of Gordon Hirabyashi

RantWoman notes that Gordon Hirabyashi is a former member of her Meeting.

RantWoman commends links on the site above to lots of fun historical documents.

RantWoman sends condolences and respect to Gordon Hirabyashi's family.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

When "Spiritual Overseers" isn't Bad Friend enough

Mwraaap! Mwraaap! Mwraaap! Mwraaap! Mwraaap! Red Alert! RantWoman's bad Quaker vocabulary alarm is blaring away. Mwraaap! Mwraaap!
Mwraaap! Mwraaap!

Dear Friend,

The Cliff Notes version: Please try to find a different way when closing Meeting for Worship to describe the charge of Worship and Ministry committee other than "spiritual overseers." If you need assistance arriving at alternate language, RantWoman would be happy to sit in worship with you while you discern about the matter.

1. It's Meeting for Worship under the care of the Holy Spirit. We are all ministers of God. We DO NOT HAVE spiritual overseers.

2. The term "overseer" is offensive to many Friends of African American descent because it harkens back to slavery and the person, often an African American who frequently brutally fulfilled the task from the plantation owner of keeping everyone in line.

RantWoman appreciates your energy in trying to give a good account of and to help worshippers locate members of Worship and Ministry Committee. The God as Plantation Owner model of Divine presence is not necessarily inconsistent with RantWoman's experience either. Still, the word "overseer" evokes slavery. RantWoman is pretty sure a large majority of Yearly Meetings of the Religious Society of Friends disavowed slavery centuries ago.

RantWoman not only is not the least bit nostalgic, if she ever took a break from checks on Friends fulminating beyond Light, RantWoman is pretty sure it would be easy to find many modern manifestations of slavery in need of searing attention from the RantWoman spiritual blowtorch. That is only one reason RantWoman feels some sense of urgency and urges you again to seek some other term besides "spiritual overseers."

In the Light

(Truth in advertising: RantWoman found it really satisfying to pen this tirade. However, RantWoman neglected to mention this concern today when she needed to call this Friend about something else. Siiigh. Even RantWoman's WonderQuaker persona sometimes falters, has to season its messages,... wobbles sort of pathetically.)

On the other hand, the Really Bad Friend Dial-a-Tirade version:

Dear Friends,

If RantWoman were a nice centered, Friend with even a whisper of capacity to "keep low," she would send this link about the spiritual gift of confrontation  and simply ask you please, when closing Meeting for Worship, to find a different way to describe the charge of Worship and Ministry committee other than "spiritual overseers."

If that "keeping low" version of RantWoman shows up, someone please take her temperature. Consider a DNA test to be sure some kinder genetler Friend Gone Bad has not tried to steal her identity.

RantWoman has been reading over at the Association of Bad Friends about use of the terms Overseers and Oversight among Friends. RantWoman would not in the least mind having at her electronic fingertips some kind of concise summary of history about Quaker practice and usage of those terms; RantWoman suspects it might also be topical to consider usage of the term "Ministry and Counsel."

Historical groundedness is not RantWoman's strong suit.

RantWoman also was amused by a digression over at Association of Bad Friends about oversight in the sense of "Oops well." RantWoman was amused; RantWoman peculiarly does not feel called to delve deeply into possibly overample applicability of this sense of the term in her own experience.

RantWoman read further of the term Overseer. Unfortunately RantWoman is a true Bad Friend. RantWoman does not remember reading of "overseer" in terms of "one who cracks the whip." RantWoman confesses, she can easily see a need for that function--even if the term "overseer" is offensive.

RantWoman thus proposes that the term Overseers be replaced: RantWoman operates a highly non-profitable, multiethnic, multilingual, multinational, multiconfessional flogging bureau. The Flogging Bureau is all about non-consensual floggings and there are innumerable ways to earn its services. RantWoman's Flogging Bureau is perpetually overbooked which may be why it could easily add a Quaker affiliate.

In that case, RantWoman recommends that overseers due for "terminology upgrade" get their orders in early....

Meanwhile, RantWoman will shut up and pray for the right moment...

and RantWoman will be served up....
The Gospel According to Star Trek!!/2012/01/dream-of-confused-quakers-star-trek.html

Freedom Project 11th Anniversary Party January 16

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 Women's Theology Conference Registration Opens

Dear Friend at Seabeck,Wehave fond memories of the 2010 Pacific Northwest Quaker Women’s TheologyConference at Seabeck in 2010. Registration is open for the 2012 Conference, June 13-17, 2012 at the Menucha Conference Center in the Columbia Gorge. We know that this year’s conference will be every bit as rewarding and fulfilling as the 2010 Conference. Will you be able to join us?

Please go to our website for further information and registration.

We hope to see you there.InFriendship, Becky Ankeny and Nancy McLauchlan,Co-clerks

From the website:
Welcome to the 2012 Women’s Conference.

We Quaker Women from Northwest Yearly Meeting, North Pacific Yearly Meeting,Freedom Friends Church, and other Quaker groups will gather June 13-17, 2012 at the Menucha Conference Center. In this oasis from the whirlwind and storm of our lives, high above the mighty Columbia River, we will seek God’s grace in the holy and the ordinary.We will worship, fellowship, and work together as we explore the theme, “Living inthe Life and Power: Inviting, Contemplating, and Enacting Grace.” With grace, we will be respectful and open to each other, trying neither to offend nor to take offense, each woman knowing the power of her own truth and the need to make space for other women’s truth. If you find your way clear to join us, and we hope you will, we ask you to take time to explore the theme and write a paper to share with other women. You will find this to be an incredible grounding experience as you prepare for the Conference.

2 Corinthians 9:8 says thereare no limits to the Grace of God. We pray that God’s grace will lead you to be with us.

June 14 Christine Hall, Cherice Bock "Livingin the Life and Power: Contemplating Grace."

June 15 Darla Samuelson, Ashley Wilcox "Living in the Life andPower: Inviting Grace."

June 16 Elenita Bales, Carol Uhrner "Living in the Life and Power: Enacting Grace."

June 17 Nancy Thomas Message during final worship

"Faith is what someone knows to be true, whether they believe it or not."
- Flannery O'Connor