Saturday, June 30, 2012

Seattle's Best Christians, according to The Stranger

WARNING: The Stranger, "Seattle's only newspaper," also known as a free newsweekly uses a stylebook which does not eschew language which some may find offensive.

The Seattle's Best Christians article, offered without commentary with an invitation to discuss either in the comments here or in the comments on the article:

RantWoman made it all the way to the section below "Jesus Lamb of God Christ" before encountering vocabulary that would frighten gentler souls. Word.

RantWoman happened to invest part of her two-page / quota of scraping her eyeballs across actual normal-sized print in reading an item from the same issue about Pulled Pork and Kimchi Pizza:

RantWoman is including the item along with Christians because of an exclamation about "Christ on a crust," and because she hopes there are other people of faith such as herself who like their faith served with both spicy food and over-the-top verbiage.  The text below has been censored for those who, like RantWoman, find themselves bizarrely intrigued but who can live without certain overused epithets.

Pulled Pork and Kimchi Pizza FOOD & DRINK The Pine Box

The new Pine Box on Capitol Hill has a slew of great selling points: more than 30 beers on tap, lip-smackingly great Bloody Marys, and elegantly creepy mortuary revival decor. But those points take a flying leap once you sample the pulled pork and kimchi pizza. I know: It sounds disgusting! But Christ on a crust, it’s ... delicious! Imagine spicy pickled jalapeños, tangy kimchi, rich garlic sauce, and tender pork chunks all pillow-fighting for dominance in your mouth. Pair it with one of their fancy-assed beers, and you’ve got yourself the perfect meal. (Pine Box, 1600 Melrose Ave,, 3 pm–2 am, $14)

by Cienna Madrid

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Grace and Tottery Friends

Query to all event planners everywhere: Most Quaker events RantWoman has ever attended rely on the gifts and energy of all the participants for tasks from mundane. When planning events do we think of Friends with a range of gifts and abilities? Do we make it easy for Friends both to feel connected and included and to decline particular tasks which might be beyond their Light in general, beyond their Light in specific circumstances?

At the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference some of the mundane, keep the conference running tasks included:

Music before plenaries

Mic runner

Server at meals

RantWoman heard an exhortation early in the conference to sign up to serve beverages and bring the food, served family style, to the tables. We were told everyone needed to sign up 1.5 times RantWoman long ago had to admit that she finds dining areas at gatherings frighteningly noisy; RantWoman has also been known to quip around her own Meeting that "Hospitality Committee equals pastoral care plus knives and hot liquids." Nevertheless, RantWoman dutifully wandered toward the signup sheets.

Waiting in line, RantWoman confessed her trepidations. RantWoman was rewarded by Absolution Friend. Absolution Friend knows of RantWomans midlife vision meltdown issues. Absolution Friend told RantWoman she had signed up twice and someone else had signed up four times and suggested that RantWoman should consider her duty discharged. THANK YOU.


RantWoman was enjoying sitting calmly in the dining room and doing her best to be gracious while servers fetched her beverages. Sitting calmly? RantWoman? RantWoman managed to stay seated at the beginning of the meal but nearly always found her way clear to go fetch something or other herself after everyone else was seated and not just fogging around as blurry blobs.

Even worse, RantWoman SHOULD have contented herself tending her own situation.  Who? RantWoman?

RantWoman's attention wandered to a number of Tottery Friends, Friends who are decades older than RantWoman, Friends who are generally active and vigorous but a teensy wee little bit Tottery. RantWoman was indeed relieved not to fear clobbering any of a number of seriously Weighty but also TOTTERY Friends. And then it dawned on RantWoman: the Tottery Friends had as many reasons or more to decline beverage server duty as RantWoman. RantWoman functions perfectly fine alone in her own kitchen; RantWoman expect the same is true of Tottery Friends. In noise and crowds and large pitchers and chairs and people bobbing and weaving every which way, um....  But Tottery Friends are GOOD Souls! And Tottery Friends are just as interested in staying active and vital as RantWoman is in keeping her own large muscles in good working order. So why on Earth would RantWoman expect that Tottery Friends will decline beverage server duty?

RantWoman will resume efforts to sit graciously, hopefully long enough to eat but not so long she gets a headache from all the noise. And Tottery Friends can SOLVE THEIR OWN PROBLEMS.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Grace Stomps in: Sudden Traumatic Death

First of all, if you have ANY reason in your life that that phrase "sudden traumatic death," say of someone near and dear or of child-themed hopes and dreams, makes your stomach do bellyflops, please accept RantWoman's offer of a prayer on your behalf. RantWoman will not be able to tell from a silent face whether your stomach is doing bellyflops. Please forgive RantWoman for just making assumptions willy-nilly, perhaps based on her own belly-flopping stomach.

RantWoman expects if the phrase "sudden traumatic death" or any of a number of subtopics makes your stomach do belly flops, you will need such a prayer at least once a day, more likely dozens of times a day. If reading the rest of this makes your stomach do more bellyflops, please return to the top and consider the rereading an offer for another prayer, and still another, and another, and another if you need it-- because, although RantWoman will not be able to tell based on anything on your face whether you are in distress, RantWoman DOES NOT KNOW WHEN TO QUIT.

And if  talk of this sort of prayer makes your skin crawl, RantWoman is happy to offer...itch-inducing conversations about  bedbugs as a distraction.

RantWoman has been blessed in recent weeks with far too many repetitions of the phrase "do not when to quit," and every single one of them has something to do with disability, with someone having considerably less than complete information and fading away before they even think to acquire it.  RantWoman is TRYING still to take to heart the bit from the quotes for the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference about generous distributors of God's manifold grace." The "do not know when to quit" bit: those around RantWoman seem not to be experiencing this as God's grace. Pray for them, somebody, please.

But let us try to avoid straying from cheerful topics such as Sudden Traumatic Death.
RantWoman is partly bringing her brain back slowly from the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference. To do that, RantWoman is clear in a leading to talk about...sudden traumatic death, among other gnarly topics where Crace, however badly needed, sometimes stomps into situations from unexpected directions. In this case one Friend's "timid newcomer" experience stiffened RantWoman's spine and "don't know when to quit" reflex, astounding Russian novel leaps of free association and tenuous connection style, about a "timid newcomer" note on top of the Sudden Traumatic Death meditations RantWoman has selectively been inflicting on email correspondents.

Death #1. A couple weeks ago RantWoman attended this year's iteration of Accessibility Camp. This year's event was not nearly as geek-filled as last year's, but RantWoman again made some great connections. One connection occurred because during introductions RantWoman heard someone mention topics she wanted to know more of. When it was RantWoman's turn, RantWoman introduced herself and asked the person with the other interesting intro to please find RantWoman and to introduce himself in person because RantWoman darn sure was not going to be able easily to find him.

This happened over lunch in a conversation with a subtext currently common in RantWoman's experience: "what's a nice articulate person like you doing hanging out with these other crips?" RantWoman seriously DOES NOT KNOW WHEN TO QUIT about conversations where disability somehow or another always seem to pop up. RantWoman is especially aware of this thread in conversations involving people who acquire disabilities later in life but have more expectations about normalcy than some people who have grown up with their disabilities.

Maybe RantWoman exaggerates. Well, maybe but RantWoman is conscious of making the same assumptions and presumptions present in the question. Urk. During the conversation though it emerged that new contact had a sudden traumatic death story involving the murder of a relative and raising a niece because of the murder. RantWoman is pretty sure that new conversation partner probably thinks about the topic a zillion times a day so having room for it in conversation, likely is huge. Once the topic emerged though, it filled the space as with smoke rings for a moment before hearts settled, breathing returned to normal, and the rest of the conversation held the topic almost imperceptibly, never far away but calmly, not thrashing around with energy pent up in off-topic chatter.

The second sudden traumatic death on RantWoman's mind is actually several deaths, in multiple locations probably attributable, as a public health nurse RantWoman knows put it, to "a schizophrenic off his meds" in the presence of a handgun Thanks to modern news media, miracles of modern Quakers,, this sort of sudden traumatic death tends to show up over and over for awhile. RantWoman felt able to pray without needing to know very many details.

Little Sister, vby phone, over lunch, needed to supply details. The organist at Little Sister's church stopped, left her car running and various personal items inside to try to help one of the victims on a street. When it became clear the victim would die anyway, the church organist stayed with her so she would not die alone!

The Church Organist was sitting in spirit with RantWoman the next First Day, but Mass mayhem showed up again in Meeting for Worship, in a Message from A Lot of That Friend but RantWoman Has Trouble Hearing God Friend. RantWoman has Trouble Hearing God Friend offered a prayerful moment from the site of several of the shootings. RanttWoman could almost hear God, or at least prayer. Mass Mayhem showed up again at the Women's Theology Conference with prayers needed after RantWoman asked someone about her daughter who lived close to the scene of several deaths and knew several people affected.
Finally an item from a semi-private conversation with Seriously Weighty Friend who survived a terrible accident. Seriously Weighty Friend was one of the plenary speakers at the Quaker Women's Theology Conference. She spoke of saying yes to God,  yes to love, yes to leadings without knowing where that might lead. She spoke of several moments in her family and political life. As she ran out of time, her words flowed in a river toward a terrible accident that killed her husband and critically injured her. The whole room was transfixed, especially since she also was scrupulous about staying within her allotted time, finishing with "We have to end but I have not even begun."

RantWoman was given happenstance and words to ask more later and was transfixed by what she heard. Seriously Weighty Friend told RantWoman that she had nearly not gone with her husband that day. She had other commitments but her husband was persuasive. Then Seriously Weighty Friend said she was glad she had gone with him, glad she had gone through everything her husband had gone through and glad she was near even though critically injured herself when he died. Now that is  grace, saying Yes to Love, no matter how much it hurts.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pacific NW Quaker Women's Theology Conference Epistle

Epistle of the 2012
Pacific Northwest Quaker Women’s Theology Conference
June 13-17, 2012
Corbett, Oregon
Greetings to Friends everywhere.
Grace permeated our days and wove the variegated fibers of our lives together into a tapestry of light and love much like the quilts that surrounded us in our meeting space at the 2012 Pacific Northwest Quaker Women’s Theology Conference. We gathered on June 13, 2012, at the Menucha Conference Center above the Columbia River near Corbett, Oregon, around the theme of Inviting, Contemplating, and Enacting Grace. Prior to the conference each participant wrote a short essay in response to the theme. The conversation among us began as we read each other’s papers online and throughout our time together. We came with differing experiences among Friends and other faith traditions, some excited, others tentative about what we would hear, and feel, and do together. We came yearning for community, a place to feel at home. We came knowing we would be challenged to listen deeply, to learn to open and stretch, hoping the effort would yield deeper understanding and add new patterns and textures to our tapestry of grace as we were woven together.
Thursday morning we received a message from Ashley Wilcox on Inviting Grace. Ashley opened with her admission of love for the Apostle Paul. Drawing from Acts 9 she showed us that sometimes we invite grace through doing the completely wrong thing. We can also invite grace into our lives by accepting and giving loving acts and living words. Darla Samuelson taught us how to use specific disciplines to create a space for grace to touch the pain of shame that is common in human experience.
Friday morning Cherice Bock led us through a contemplation of grace through a word study. She asked the provocative question, “Do we have to feel guilty to receive grace?” In answer to her own question, she proposed that grace is an undeserved gift with no strings attached. Cherice concluded that grace is active, social, and enduring.
As stewards of grace when we extend grace to others we receive grace into our own lives and are further called to extend grace in this world. Christine Hall continued by saying that in contemplating grace we are swept up in a love that connects us to God, one another, creation, and divine mystery. She finished with a quote from Thomas Merton stating that through contemplation we “see through the illusion of our separateness.”
Saturday, responding to the theme Enacting Grace, Carol Urner challenged us to say yes to leadings even when we do not know where our “yes” will lead us. In that “yes” there is a river of light that will flow through us and sustain us. Elenita Bales followed and reminded us that that the word “enact” contains act.She encouraged us to develop a rhythm of faithfulness in speaking the truths that emerge from our souls, and to risk vulnerability that we may become a channel of change. Quoting historic Quaker Ann Wilson, Elenita asked, “What wilt thou do in the end?”
Afternoon workshops presented a variety of ways we can nourish our lives and create an opening for grace. In Writing as Spiritual Practice we explored several ways to begin and be faithful to our own spiritual writing. A workshop on the Bible revealed that in spite of feelings about Scripture, ranging from anger through love, the group had an interesting and respectful discussion. In a session entitled Speaking Holy Boldness participants considered viewpoints and experiences that made clear that prophetic witness is alive and well in our yearly meetings. Another group shared the different practices, such as movement, meditation, prayer, and visualization they use to hold others in the Light. In a session entitled The Hard Stuff women from different yearly meetings responded to questions that had been submitted in writing earlier. Participants engaged in respectful discussion that acknowledged our differences while encouraging understanding and acceptance. One workshop focused on listening and care committees and offered guidelines and tools on how to support others through suffering. Judy Maurer shared her experiences and reflections on teaching, listening, worshipping, and working on social justice issues in Russia. Christine Hall introduced Way of the Spirit, an opportunity to engage in contemplative study through a new program in the Pacific Northwest.
Evening activities provided opportunities to further be woven together in our tapestry of community. Thursday evening Roena Oesting, dressed and speaking as Elizabeth Fry, recounted major events from Betsy’s life as written in her journals. We expressed gratitude for the way Elizabeth Fry’s work in prisons started a pattern of prison reform work among Friends that continues today. On Early Friday evening we listened to the experiences of those who attended the FWCC Sixth World Conference of Friends in Kenya. Their exchanges were fruitful, rich and full, though sometimes difficult. As we heard their stories we could sense that there, too, they were held by grace. Later, we danced, sang, played Hearts fiercely, worked on a HUGE puzzle, and created art. All these allowed for new openings into one another’s hearts and connections through joyful exchanges.
Throughout the conference threads of conversations at meals, home groups, over the puzzle, or on hikes further wove us together in beauty and grace. It was an amazing gift to sit at a meal and turn to a stranger and feel no awkwardness. On Sunday morning we were gathered together for a final hour of worship in which Nancy Thomas brought us the challenge to carry gratitude with us in response to God’s grace. We came here to be ourselves and left affirmed in our appreciation for and joy in the deepening cross-yearly meeting friendship; that is grace. Borrowing a sentiment from Carol Urner, we have to finish, but we have not yet begun.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Grace, Ableism

RantWoman has been:

--slacking off in her job of making bigger space for people with all kinds of disabilities (That is ONE of the jobs that seems to come unevenly to RantWoman)

--cataloging still more flavors of Grace than all the different senses and word clouds represented in reflection papers

--Getting distracted from relentless pursuit from the One True Path to Grace by things like chatter about toddler grandchildren and customs about group interaction evolving as different strands of Friends interact.

--extending Grace whether she means to or not.

RantWoman is home from the Ninth Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference. RantWoman originally was not going to go. She was not charmed with the theme. She was not feeling gracious, graceful, grateful or even necessarily terribly presentable to the public. RantWoman is humble about getting tracked down by the planning committee and offered financial aid. RantWoman is humble about the "make your own hours" aspects of her work and otherwise scary economic life that enable her to take several days for such events. Once RantWoman registered, she started reading all the papers and, cough, got sucked in! Probably it was still a good thing that God also showed up along with RantWoman.

RantWoman's first opportunity to fly off the handle occurred almost as soon as she showed up. RantWoman has been to the conference venue before, most recently when she was walking around with multiple moderate-sized gas bubbles in her eye and a "my doctor got paid to do that to me" bruise all over her face. RantWoman's eyesight definitely has not melted down badly enough to keep RantWoman from really a lot of independent mobility. RantWoman is VERY grateful for this, especially because it means RantWoman basically knows her way around the conference site.

RantWoman's legs and feet work just fine thank you very much and RantWoman prefers to keep them in working order by regular walks, climbing stairs.... So RantWoman was, cough, NOT charmed to learn that both her housing and her Home group had been assigned--WITHOUT CONSULTING RANTWOMAN--on the basis of assumptions about mobility problems. RantWoman considered the option of flying off the handle about this. Luckily RantWoman was so deeply soothed by an afternoon of waterfalls and views of the Columbia Gorge that RantWoman decided just to take responsibility for her own darn large muscle movement needs and to see ....

RantWoman discovered that she really liked her roommates. RantWoman discovered that she really liked the women in her home group. RantWoman's Home Group just laughed when RantWoman complained about people around her thinking she does not know when to quit. RantWoman is about to quit apologizing for this. RantWoman is a Quaker. RantWoman is becoming clearer by the day that when faced with comments to the effect that RantWoman does not know when to quit, RantWoman should simply say "Thank you!"

RantWoman's Home Group never accepted RantWoman's invitation please just to feel free to tell her to Shut up. On the other hand, they rearranged seating and made a point of speaking up for multiple members with hearing difficulties. They laughed VERY hard when another group member picked up RantWoman's acknowledgement that her capacity to appreciate that of God within others improves dramatically in the presence of chocolate. RantWoman discovered other people able, based on knowing someone else with severe vision issues, to talk serious blindness minutia. This is the kind of blindness minutia that RantWoman in the presence of hopelessly well-meaning gushy novices, is a terribly ungracious tour guide for. This is the kind of blindness minutia that bores other listeners silly even when there is some good reason RantWoman needs to inflict some details on them. RantWoman was grateful just for reasonably knowledgeable questions and respectful listening.

RantWoman loves that her experiences sound encouraging to a concerned grandmother. RantWoman would not mind missing out on one more Blind Person nearly gets run over story. RantWoman is grateful for two flavors of "say yes to love." This story came with exhortations for someone finally to get a guide dog. RantWoman thanks the guide dog owner's Friends for keeping a handle on their own fears and being centered about the guide dog exhortations. RantWoman for instance is really short on grace these days for other people's freakouts in the presence of her realities. RantWoman is RYING to be gracious on account of all this freaks her out too. Okay, RantWoman is trying. RantWoman is also okay about owning that her own interests in walkability and pedestrian-friendly environments are both personal terror and aggravation and "say yes to Love" in memory of someone else.  Maybe that has to be enough for one day.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Quaker NON-drinking game

Greetings from the Ministry of Mirth lately travelling in ministry to the Ninth Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology conference.

Many women from Northwest Yearly Meeting who attend this conference have connections with George Fox University, currently GFU, formerly George Fox College or with George Fox Evangelical Seminary. Time was, when RantWoman was permitting educational institutions to deluge her with promotional materials, she received something from George Fox. RantWoman registers the fact of this correspondence. RantWoman remembers being slightly intrigued; RantWoman also definitely remembers the required Statement of Faith being just too much for RantWoman. RantWoman cannot imagine going to college in earlier decades where youth were forbidden to drink, dance, even play cards with faces on them! Now, though, RantWoman is wondering whether knowledge of important points of history and custom would have made a difference in RantWoman's preferences. To wit: Beware the Snare of the Tricky, Tricky Bear.

A phrase RantWoman liked from another frined about the conference: spiritual hospitality. Perhaps drinking songs with upside-down drinking cups are also spiritual hospitality in the Barclay sense of the term.

Beware the Snare of the Tricky Tricky Bear

Understand, RantWoman heard the title of the game as "Beware the STARE of the Tricky, Tricky Bear." RantWoman is terribly, grateful, after her second trip in two days to the Pool with a View,  to have arrived back indoors at the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology conference in time to observe several of the assembled women seated in a circle around a table holding upside-down coffee cups from the dining room, chanting the words above, moving their upended cups back and forth and laughing uproariously, all without evern having touched a drop of anything more intoxicating than water.

Beware the snare of the Tricky, Tricky Bear indeed.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Haiku Tour Guide

RantWoman is happily home from the ninth Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology conference. RantWoman and the Queen of Spades are getting reacquainted. Rantwoman has emptied her luggage into the laundry and started in on various threads of reflections. RantWoman is starting with some moments mostly from a short spell of pre-conference tourism up the Columbia Gorge visitng waterfalls and scenic lookouts such as Vista House.

RantWoman promised some members of her public some haiku from RantWoman's text message haiku habit. RantWoman offers the following items, in a number of cases cleaned up compared to the typo-riddled lines originally emitted into the Twitterverse.

Rantwoman is holding a thought from Nancy Thomas: gratitude is a lifestyle choice. RantWoman hopes these small, occasionally annotated, snapshots speak to her readers.

#haiku   Summer invasion:
The allergies they are here
God bless the pollen!

#haiku   Another blessing?
Another goshdang blessing!
Just white cane travel!

RantWoman  emitted this item before going to Marge A's workshop about prophetic witness. RantWoman is pleased to hear that Friend Marge is working on making prophetic witness the theme of her next book. RantWoman plans to put herself in the way of further opportunities to reflect out loud as the book takes shape.

#haiku  Quakers twittering
Warning: prophetic witness
Comes all kinds of ways.

Columbia gorge
vacation from digital
except for texting

#haiku  Birds riding thermals
Birdwatching: an act of faith
What birds? What thermals?

#haiku Reprinted postcards
so hopelessly analog
bringing home the Gorge

From on top of the bridge
the midlife vision meltdown
can't clobber the falls

The next day; RantWoman was having trouble with the directions
 Not still, waterfalls!
Meditation exercise
with a lawnmower

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Grace with Batiushka Sergei (Father Sergei)

Living in the Life and Power: inviting, contemplating, enacting Grace

May it all be done heartily unto the Lord and through the assistance of his grace." Elizabeth Fry

1 Peter 4:10: As generous distributors of God’s manifold grace, put your gifts at the service of one another, each in the measure you have received.

“For me poetry relates to grace, and one of the major roles of the poet is to see and express grace, especially the grace of the ordinary. … On my good days I find grace in any number of places: a memory of my father playing Santa Claus, a lecture on Thomas Jefferson, the agony of a writing deadline, a noisy church service, being stuck in a river, losing a sock in the laundry, real and imaginary conversations and, of course, the relationships they represent. On bad days, I don’t find grace anywhere, but that usually means I’m not paying attention.” Nancy Thomas, preface, The Secret Colors of God: Poems by Nancy Thomas (Barclay Press, 2005), p. xiii.

This post is dedicated to Father Sergei from the blog post below, to my Deaf Muslim in-laws, to parallel fasts by chance lining up on the calendar, and to another country's rather different interfaith, interethnic theological stew.

Ferrener Husband and I were visiting St. Petersburg during the Orthodox fast before Christmas. Father Sergei visited the couple we were staying with several times. Between the couple being comparatively well off and visitors bringing food instead of spending money at restaurants, we ate comparatively well, except for Father Sergei. Father Sergei was not eating meat, eggs, sour cream. It was completely unclear to me where he was getting protein until one night he and Ferrener Husband and I decided to pay a visit to the newest gay bar in St. Petersburg. Over pistachios and compote, the cloyingly sweet boiled fruit drink which for many Russian defines fruit in the wintertime, Father Sergei's soul needed to breathe.

It was a year when Ramadan also fell during the same period. I would later learn my Muslim in-laws had idiosyncratic standards of observance. First, it's easy to fast during daylight if there is only 5 hours of daylight in a day. Second, apparently vodka does not count. Third, whether or not the parents will eat anything including nuts or the lovely imported mandarins we found at the market, the exotic  severely jet-lagged perpetually miscaffeinated visitor was expected to eat pilmeny, home-made meat dumplings for breakfast--with vodka, while being interrogated about abortion!

I THINK Father Sergei probably was enacting more Grace than I was, but maybe he should not push his luck.

Father Sergei came from a long line of Orthodox priests. Father Sergei was the youngest son, by tradition expected to enter the priesthood. 

Father Sergei's family had been sent to Siberia in Soviet times so maintaining the family tradition was important.

Father Sergei is also gay. As he put it while we muched pistachios and people-watched, his phone number was on the wall of every men's room in Helsinki. Father Sergei did not really talk about what his faith said about being gay or about Orthodox priests being expected to marry. Then there was his week of eight funerals.

All I was doing, after listening to him dis my religion and dis my (Sometime to be Ex-Husband's religion was holding him in prayer / the Light / whatever upholding I could find! I expect it was not only me doing the holding.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Quakers: Afraid of Conflict?

RantWoman notes this blog item for:

--comments RantWoman neither agrees nor disagrees with about Quakers and conflict.

--comments about how conflicts are handled in one Meeting.

 RantWoman has enough trouble about the topic of clearness committees without having to have one go through Nominating Committee and Business Meeting too.

RantWoman quite likes other entries in this blog as well.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Comrade Kevin and a sex offender, grace and experience

RantWoman commends to her readers a blog called Comrade Kevin's Chrestomathy,

RantWoman esteems:

--occasionally trenchant essays about populatr culture

--Video clips even though RantWoman has not partaken

--items about trauma recovery, relationships, and interactions with disability and medical matters.
RantWoman got drawn in via  because of an entry about a sex offender seeking to worship with his Meeting. Alert readers will note lengthy items in the comments contributed by RantWoman.

Tonight RantWoman was led to probe further for entries related to Comrade Kevin's comments about his survivor experiences. A fast way to find some but apparently not all of the topical posts:

RantWoman especially credits this post for:

--a comment about how much the second wave of the women's movement contributed to there being space for people to talk about their survivor experiences. RantWoman read this and whispered in her head "YES!" RantWoman thinks the history behind this comment would be a terribly interesting thing to write. RantWoman thinks she herself is unlikely ever to assemble the leadins and patience to do so, but RantWoman would definitly put such a volume on her mean to read list if it existed.

--Some comments at probably the level of popular psychology but still about how men experience and handle trauma

--Gently honest comments about reluctance to speak to the other person victimized in his situation. Sincerity only goes so far; RantWoman understands the point of confidentiality and licensed professionals. On the other hand, RantWoman has been very grateful more than once when some kind of worship sharing has seemed both deep and very clearly held. Both parties have to be willing to embrace possibility and participate. That willingness is never to be presumed.

--Comrade Kevin writes of people in his Meeting, especially parents, losing all sense of perspective when a sex offender asked to participate and worship among them. . RantWoman has written previously of Business Meeting spending large chunks of time in TWO Business Meetings fussing over a decision about where The Safest Sex Offender on the Planet uses the restroom. RantWoman thinks some people in her Meeting found this to be confirmation that our process in all its discerning earnestness works, hallelujah. Can you maybe tell, RantWoman does not detect a large gain in safety as a result of this discussion. Everyone in the whole Meeting, or everyone with functioning eyeballs has their eyes on the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet. RantWoman wants people to be on the ball for circumstances, whether attached to someone already caught or someone not yet caught. RantWoman thinks as much may have been done as the community will bear on that front for now.  RantWoman will weigh a leading to check back about Meeting's capacity to interact with the this topic at some point in the future.
--Further meditation on Comrade Kevin's observations about people in his Meeting losing all sense of perspective. RantWoman finds herself, cough, amused by Comrade Kevin's Meeeting sending out a "here's some news; please keep it under wraps" letter to the whole Meeting. What exactly does that sound like will NOT happen, even in ideal circumstances? RantWoman remember that the future Safest Sex Offender on the Planet worshipped among us for a few months before asking for help with his alternative sentencing requirements. No one as far as RantWoman knows got restimulated in his presence. But after his presence was announced, clearly, forthrightly, in Business Meeting, for a time some people found it extremely difficult to be in his presence. The clerk of Oversight specifically set up opportunities for people with survivor issues to find counsel. The Safest Sex Offender on the planet acquired chaperones; Business Meeting seasoned at length an alternating weeks alternating Meetings for Worship regimen, and everyone settled in for some increments of decisions just taking Quaker TIME.
As a postscript RantWoman includes this item about Grace and forgiveness in ordinary moments and reflections about greater demands.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Excerpt from Sin Boldly: A field guide to Grace

Cathleen Falsani writes of being loved by  Sister Anunziata, an elderly, wheelchair-bound nun famous for loving everyone.

This item is excerpted from a book called  \Sin Boldly: A Field Guide to Grace   

Another post about grace as forgiveness and all the times in ordinary life never mind extraordinary circumstances when it is hard to forgive, when geting unstuck is it's own mire.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Beyond Diversity

Blog as Filing Cabinet:

Beyond Diversity 101

Movement and bodywork as part of dealing with one's 'isms.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Grace Recycled

RantWoman herewith reposts a reflection paper from a previous Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference.

The post contains lots of grace.

RantWoman has felt just as held many points in her life.

RantWoman greatly esteems the example of Nelson Mandela and his scholarly educator discipline for himself and for other students / activists in prison with him.

And RantWoman is most assuredly struggling right now with themes such as:

--Take care of that of God within you (even when it shows up as Inner Blowtorch?).

--Recognize the Holy Child of God within others. (Okay, so we have this thing called the Peace Testimony. But some of us have no bleeping clue how to talk to each other. Now what?)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Who gets to Stand Their Ground?

RantWoman feels no leading to editorialize; RantWoman has a clear leading to post this as is. It contains many requested actions RantWoman has no problem uniting with including:

--Support for the Violence Against Women Act

--Support for people of all orientations having access to appropriate domestic violence services regardless of immigration status.

--Support for the defense committee in this case.

Radical Women denounces race and sex bias in Marissa Alexander case

June 5, 2012

As battered women often discover, the system that should protect them is frequently their worst enemy.

Marissa Alexander, a 31-year-old African American mother of three living in Tampa, Florida, tried to follow the rules. She had a restraining order against her estranged husband, who had a record of abuse toward Alexander and other women. She had a legally licensed gun and had never been arrested. In August 2010, only nine days after having given birth, Alexander fired a warning shot into the wall of her house when her husband threatened her life. For this, a Florida jury convicted her of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after only 12 minutes of deliberation. On May 11, 2012, a judge rejected Alexander's "stand-your-ground defense" and sentenced her to 20 years under Florida's mandatory minimum sentencing rules. Stand-your-ground laws permit a person to use force in self-defense if they believe they are in serious threat of harm.

According to a number of studies, African American women suffer higher levels of domestic abuse than any other ethnic group, most likely as a result of the stresses of poverty and discrimination. Black women are murdered by their partners at a rate three times that of white women. Jobless or low-paid, with a well-earned distrust of the criminal justice system, and a history of discrimination from health and social service institutions, abused women of color often have few resources to draw upon.
Women of all races who fight back against abuse find little sympathy from police, courts, or media. In states where police are mandated to make an arrest in domestic violence situations, arrests of women have risen dramatically. Women are now nearly 20% of domestic violence arrests although men are acknowledged to commit 95% of the abuse. Black feminist Sharon Angella Allard has observed that the Battered Woman Syndrome defense, which has been successfully used in court to justify why a woman killed or took action against an abuser, is often denied to Black women. Why? Because the stereotype of Black women as "domineering, assertive, hostile and immoral" hinders a judge's or juror's ability to believe that a Black woman acted in self-defense. According to Allard, Black women are twice as likely as white women to be convicted for murdering abusive husbands.

The racist and sexist double standard exists at every level of U.S. society. It took a national outcry for the killer of African American teenager Trayvon Martin to be arrested after he invoked Florida's "stand-your-ground" law. Meanwhile, Congress is balking at reauthorizing the federal Violence Against Women Act, in part because the act contains new provisions that would help protect queers, Native Americans and immigrants.

Radical Women demands the immediate release and pardon of Marissa Alexander, passage of the strengthened Violence Against Women Act, and an end to race and sex discrimination in the criminal justice system. In addition, Radical Women calls for massive increases in funding for jobs, aid to families, and shelters and services for everyone fleeing domestic violence regardless of their sexual orientation or immigration status.

Radical Women encourages supporters of women's rights to sign the online petition to pardon Alexander at . Information on how to donate to Marissa Alexander's legal defense and write to her in prison is available at .

National Radical Women Office
747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone: 415-864-1278 * Fax: 415-864-0778

Donations are needed and appreciated. Please contribute online or mail a check, payable to "Radical Women" to 5018 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98118.