Sunday, March 31, 2013

Guatemala: threatened with resurrection

The Cut to the Chase version: please hold the trial of former Guatemalan military strongmand Efrain Rios Montt and a co-defendant in the Light. This is a domestic trial in Guatemala for crimes of genocide against indigenous communities and other crimes.

The fact that this trial is occurring in Guatemala in the context of the Guatemalan justice system is a remarkable moment of shining the light of justice on awful things from the nation's history.

Read on for specific links. RantWoman confesses: she reads as much now with her "Auntie" hat on as with anything like the ardor and insufferable passion of her youth. RantWoman is holding thoughts of what Brother in Law might be willing to go anywhere near in conversation and thoughts of what Irrepressible Nephew Really SHOULD Care About. RantWoman gets to hold the possibility that the biggest thing either of them might care about would be a desire perhaps to travel to Guate to see Irrepressible Nephew's Guatemalan abuela while she is still alive to see.

Of possibly less importance would be Rant family gratitude that the gods of holiday eating rituals have already smiled in such a way that Christ will be risen and Easter gets celebrated this year in family fractions. One fraction retires at home recovering from ongoing radiation therapy. One fraction is still open to Divine Leading. One fraction will happen with some important local Guatemalan connections and without the opportunity for RantWoman to cause conversational distress speaking of disturbing things: the new Pope and the Argentinian Dirty War as well as the Rios Montt trial. RantWoman is pretty sure RantMom's reaction to either theme would be "Oh RantWoman, must you?" or perhaps "Oh RantWoman, would you please translate....Oh, Must you?"

RantWoman spent a good portion of the 1980's walking around wearing buttons emblazoned with such moments of truthtelling as "Your taxes pay for torture, rape and murder in Central America." RantWoman is STILL just a walking,talking living breathing yucky topics festival. RantWoman recently vexed someone she thought might be able to be present in the conversation with a question about the trial of former Guatemalan military leader Efrain Rios Montt. RantWoman was blessed basically by an exhortation to figure it out her own darn self.

Here are some links from the world wide infoglut to get started.

If the news is too much, perhaps Julia Esquivel's poem "They have threatened us iwith resurrection" will suffice.

First in English

and in Spanish

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Esther Mombo, Kenyan Theologian Reedwood Friends Church April 4-5 Let the Living Water Flow

RantWoman is ECSTATIC to have the following invitation at last  in electronic format:

April 5-7:
Portland, Oregon.
Reedwood Friends Church.

With Esther Mombo (Nairobi YM Kenya)
Friday 6-9 pm & Saturday 10 am-5:30 pm

plenary sessions, small group discussions, singing & workshops

Includes snacks & lunch on Saturday.

Child care and some home hospitality available for Friday and/or Saturday nights

Esther Mombo is a lecturer and deputy Vice Chancellor Academics at St Paul's university Limuru, Kenya. It is here that she teaches African church history and theologies from women's perspectives. She was born and brought up in a Quaker home with her grandmother the late Enis Mugesia who was among the first Quaker converts in her village. Enis served in the women's meetings and was one of three or four women who carried out prison ministry among female prisoners. Esther was influenced by Enis Mugesia in her early days and in her choice of ministry that she undertook in theological education for herself and for the work she does today.
Her highly-regarded writings have been on such diverse topics as women's issues, HIV/AIDS, Christian-Muslim relations, and poverty in Africa. She has contributed in the development of different programmes including a first Masters Program in Christian Response to HIV/AIDS and others. She has made significant contributions to developing women's ecclesial leadership through theological training and contributed to different books including A Historical Analysis of the roles and status of Abaluyia women in Kenyan Quaker Christianity 1902-1979 and Harahamisi and Juma: The Development of the Women's Meetings in East Africa Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers).
She has spoken in different conferences in different Christian denominations, including the World conference of friends Kenya 2012. She is a graduate of Friends Theological college, St. Paul's, Limuru; Trinity College, Dublin; and Edinburgh University. She says, "Society is changing and has crucial issues that affect humanity. As a theological educator I hope to inform the work that women do."

Each adult is asked to contribute $40 to cover the costs for the program. Friends with financial limitations are encouraged to come and contribute as you are able.

The written text of Esther Mom's address at the 6th World Conference of Friends in Kenya

A wonderful interview in Reform magazine from the UK

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Who do you say I am?

RantWoman hereby celebrates the election of a new Pope, a Jesuit who has chosen his Papal name to remember St. Francis of Assisi's focus on the poor and humble by invoking.....Robert Barclay, educated by Calvinists and Jesuits, ... and John Woolman. RantWoman needs to get a couple Quaker in-jokes out of her system; RantWoman also promises she DOES mean to poke and probe at what the living presence of the Holy Spirit asks of her Meeting or at least of RantWoman.

Furthermore, RantWoman hereby celebrates both Nominating Season and the season of drafting the State of Society Report. "Celebrates" is a peculiar word. RantWoman is wondering whether she has been fed some weird too much of the truth serum of quinoa, guacamole, and 4 stars spicy salsa or whether some stray bedbug left over from last year's contingent has just been scouring her email:

Recent email from....Conflict is a Gift of God Friend:

"We are facing a significant down-tick in participation this winter -- worship attendance is down almost 20% from last winter. "


Thank you for sharing this concern. I appreciate info about something I would not necessarily have noted.

--To what might we attribute this decline?

--the annual flu / crud being worse than average both in firs instance and in tendency to recur?

--a significant number of Friends called to travel because of deaths in their families, work, pleasure?

--the exhausting barbarity that passes for work schedule for many working age Friends

--the expense and tiresomeness of travel by car or bus

--childrearing, eldercare. grieving, medical events all the matters lurking amongst us trying our spirits right now

--The demands and darned inconveniences of aging. We have many weighty wonderful but rapidly decrepitating elders. Without in the least making any effort, for instance, to ask Rantwoman's permission (Rats. RantWoman would not grant it anyway) many of these weighty souls are beset by hearing loss, rheumatism, Parkinsonism, various forms of vision meltdown, digestive obstructions, dyspepsia, disinclination to leave the house, and multitudinous other distresses. A certain Pendle Hill pamphlet may well go on as to "Hallowing our Diminishments" but what if Friends really need is "Howling about our Diminishments"?

--weird weather?

--people coming once and not feeling led to return?

--People besides RantWoman sometimes feeling bored and stifled by all the beloved Friends in Adult Religious Education who are certain they have things figured out and need to say so instead of listening when some of us don't?

--People afraid of being accosted by someone loudly calling them to the community of coffeemaking?

--People who want other people just to shut up and go make coffee and don't deign to listen about spiritual matters or who demand conversations about spiritual matters predigested according to each person's individual tastes?

--Fear that Nominating Committee will try to draft them for something frustrating that does not feed them spiritually...?

--Something else which has somehow evaded the fog and blur of RantWoman's oh, so limited Light?

Have you considered whether you should also perhaps share your concern with:

--the clerk of Meeting?

--members of Worship and Ministry?

--members of Oversight?

--the clerk of Finance Committee?

--someone on Nominating Committee?

--random people who those listed above do not necessarily talk to

What would YOU have us do about this? Any guesses what others might feel led to do about this?

--Different format activities?

--Weekly invitations on Facebook so that all the people who Beliefnet tells are Liberal Quakers know how to find us? Oh dear. That means presuming we have something to offer a world hungering for spiritual communion. Actual agents of contagion? (See below)

--Potlucks at arbitrary intervals, perhaps featuring random rambling moments from RantWoman's dorky documentary collection, disaster preparedness, other slightly demented entertainment?
--The harangue a month Saturday brunch club?

--some sort of neighborhood based gathering / witness and gardening party

See some of these ideas definitely speak to Rantwoman and RantWoman is having problems finding other Friends who either share her enthusiasm or are willing to be carried along, say for the sheer privilege and delight of hanging out with RantWoman, the joy of walking in the Light....?

Recently RantWoman saw something connected with flu season about infection control and different religious practices including communion. Having read Barclay's Apology last year, RantWoman might offer one comment about infection control through spiritual rather than physical communion, including HOPEFULLY the immune boost from just showing up around one's community.

(Disaster Preparedness Brain also recalls encountering a story of one community whose residents during the 1918 flu epidemic were too scared of contagion to go out and care for each other. Guess which community suffered a much higher than average death rate!)

The Woolman reading group this year is getting a really different spin on infection control and particularly sometimes deliberate exposure to small pox.

Put this all in the salad slicer with someone's definition RantWoman read recently of being an elder as "agent of contagion for the Holy Spirit." What might "agent of contagion for the Holy Spirit look like around our Meeting?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cat Ministry, Physicists, What Canst thou say?

The after action report from Meeting for Worship last First Day, wherein God again stumbles over something sheparding a message from Eye Roller Friend and the Holy Spirit still herds multiple messages into a single mosaic:

Warm sun

RantWoman's brain and perhaps others' also well watered from Adult Religious Education as to considerations of Christ, Love, Authority, Experience...

long interval of blessed silence

Nasturtiums in Salad Friend: "...experience (movements of the Holy Spirit) without needing to understand...."

(apparently ministry of audible eye rolling from Eye Roller Friend.)

eruption from Eye Roller Friend about asking questions the right way along with words which sounded to RantWoman's admittedly muddled ears like dismissiveness of Nasturtiums in salad Friend.

a message or two

Eye Roller Friend leaves worship

kids enter

3-4 more messages

(RantWoman seasoning one untidy one that gets its own post and one shown below..

Close of worship

The part of RantWoman's spiritual compost heap that resonated with Nasturtiums in Salad Friend's message but never emerged as ministry, from the gospel according to Facebook infostreams:

This week some an item about Schodinger and Heisenberg and a cat drifted through RantWoman's gaze on Facebook.

RantWoman found herself delivered of peculiar Light: RantWoman could not care less how famous Schodinger and Heisenberg are as physicists; RantWoman would not leave any cat she cared about around either one of them.

Schodinger is the guy for whom the cat in the box is either dead or alive when one opens the box. RantWoman understands the point of thought experiments but does not need an either / or binary state cat. RantWoman needs to welcome a cat into her life, put up with a certain cat's wacky psycho kitty brain wiring, care for and be cared for by her, mourn her when she passes away. This is way more complicated that the binary state cat in the box.

Heisenberg is behind the Heisenberg uncertainty principle: is the cat a wave or a particle? If one measures things one way she is a wave; if one measures another way, she is a particle, never both at once. (Try explaining that to The Queen of Spades, or maybe just stay out of her way when she is doing pigeon patrol out the window.)

But if RantWoman spends too much time just thinking about is she a wave or a particle, RantWoman forgets to do really simple things like feed her, make sure she has water and a clean catbox...

Last first day RantWoman succumbed to voices wanting tidy messages and not necessarily repetition. In RantWoman's experience at least sometimes new elements wind up adding something for someone.

What canst thou say as to physicists, worship, cats?

Now, as to again eldering Eye Roller Friend, adapted from RantWoman's email to Eye Roller Friend, previously shared with Friends who think God should arrive in worship in approximately 30-second sound bytes, and now shared with the entire blogosphere:.

Dear Eye Roller Friend,

I am sorry you left Meeting for worship early. If you really were having trouble sitting still, it was probably the right thing, but you missed a couple messages expressing something new to RantWoman's ears, care in your direction as well as a nice one from someone RantWoman did not recognize speaking, to RantWoman's ears,to part of your point about how nice it is just to frame big questions different ways.

You also missed a plea from Worship and Ministry to direct questions about worship to them. Do you have any questions you might direct to them? When might you direct a question to Worship and Ministry rather than, say direct unmediated conversation with a person whose messages challenge you? (Do you have any clue how RantWoman might answer that question?)

Thought question of the day: what would it take for you to find words for your important thoughts without for instance sounding, even to RantWoman's jaundiced ear, a little like you were picking on a sweet little old lady? Please bear with the "little old lady" characterization. RantMom has gone, completely without asking RantWoman's permission, and turned into a little old lady, and Nasturtiums in Salad Friend is older and littler than RantMom. What would it take to have more patience to bear with... at least more of the time?

For furtther background, Mr. Nasturtiums in Salad Friend had a stroke awhile back and has been in assisted living ever since. This has meant huge adjustments for Nasturtiums in Salad Friend. RantWoman is sad that Nasturtiums in Salad Friend no longer has the energy to set up her beads at Friends events so Friends who do not know how to talk to each other can do something physical and hang out together and sometimes find words for a lot more or sometimes just hang out and learn a few tricks of beadwork.

RantWoman is NOT nostalgic for Nasturtiums in Salad Friend's habit when RantWoman was new to her Meeting. Nasturtiums in Salad Friend was clerk of Peace and Social Concerns and she regularly brought the entire box of good cause solicitations arriving every month to Business Meeting for help dealing. Rantwoman is VERY grateful that the community eventually took steps to recognize shared responsibility and over time evolved a number of practices related to solicitations.

Nasturtiums in Salad Friend like many among us, tends to have the same messages in slightly different words but RantWoman is grateful sometimes to be surprised by new seeking. RantWoman wrote Eye Roller Friend and counsels forebearance. RantWoman has no idea what to suggest to Eye Roller Friend about alternate wording. But read on.

Thanks also for sharing your comments after worship. I joke about your ministry of audible eye-rolling being a nice accessibility feature BUT I still do not consider it particularly a marker of disciplined worship. ...

Last First Day RantWoman personally did not notice. Nasturtiums in Salad Friend is one of several weighty elders dealing with the isolation, aggravation, frustration of hearing loss. For better or worse, it's POSSIBLE she herself did not hear Eye Roller Friend; maybe other elders nearby did not hear for the same reason. But RantWoman knows some people find interruptions during vocal ministry rude, disrespectful of the Light even if Light is not arriving to the interrupter. RantWoman considers it entirely reasonable for a member of Worship and Ministry to talk to Eye Roller Friend about that.

(RantWoman has also heard the word intimidating though not necessarily attached directly to Eye Roller Friend. RantWoman expects that people new to speaking in worship could easily find audible eye rolling intimidating!)

To rephrase RantWoman's question at the top, what would help you offer your own answer to the Margaret Fell What Canst Thou Say / Jesus to Peter Who do you say I am question alongside the answers suggested by Nasturtiums in Salad Friend or others in Worship?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Princess Dress?

RantWoman is fitfully in her own fashion observing National Women's History Month. This item includes actual historical women.

And this post is dedicated, among other things to Irrepressible Nephew. Before Christmas Irrepressible Nephew was in the middle school play. Anyone remember middle school where some of the girls (Oh Quaker Auntie...) are about 8 feet tall and the boys, well, aren't? Hold Little Sister in the Light for getting her underwear in a wad about the number of girls in male roles. And enjoy the Bible!

For the record, Irrepressible Nephew does not own anything that could remotely be considered a Princess Dress. His father, who definitely exhibits many layers of tenderness, still probably would not let him out of  the house in such a thing if he did. This is fine with Irrepressible Nephew. His preferred standard of couture is as close to naked as possible anyway.

But here is Bible half hour

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bullying hurts / ASK a kid

For every kid who has ever been called a name and every adult who knows a kid:

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Nerf War Morality Moments Conflict Resolution Gaps

Nerf War as path to Presbyterian salvation?

RantWoman THINKS she has survived the latest family spell of "Oh Quaker Auntie, Irrepressible Nephew is up to his eyeballs in weaponry but would you please teach him about peace?"

RantWoman THINKS she has survived, but does not recommend anyone push their luck. Asi es mi testimonio.

To review:
Some previous incidents summarized here:

--A couple Christmases ago, an interest in forging weaponry on the kitchen flooor: Nephew somehow immediately lost interest in the idea upon Auntie suggesting that tin foil and cardboard might add up to a truly awesome and theatrical arsenal.

--A little over a year ago, the birthday blowgun presents got put on time out for all of Christmas vacation because of something that happened at school the day before vacation. RantWoman offered heartfelt prayers about the incident at school, but, oh rats, did not in the least lament the blow guns being on timeout.

--More recently, last December in connection with the Middle School play, nephew got to craft swords from fiberglass tubes and then to tell Auntie all about swordplay choreography one Sunday on the bus to our respective faith communities. RantWoman almost managed to rationalize the swordplay in the name of Nephew being recognized among his peers for his endless creativity. Almost. Nephew has a large menagerie of small pets. One of the fire belly toads apparently found fiberglass dust too much and succumbed as a result of one spell of Nephew sawing on tubing. May the toad rest in peace.

If God has, after Divine fashion handled previous moments of fascination with armaments, RantWoman is trying to figure out what to do with The recent Nerf War--at Nephew's church!

The Nerf War?

At church?

Lord have Mercy!

RantWoman does not want to go too far in claims of success. RantWoman simply notes (spoiler alert?) that the middle school boys at Irrepressible Nephew's Presbyterian Church have FINALLY gotten around to conducting a multiply postponed Nerf War. RantWoman has not had an opportunity to quiz Irrepressible Nephew about the matter; apparently, like many good events for his age group, the occasion involved a sleepover and the need, the next day, to sleep off the effects of the sleepover. RantWoman has learned secondhand from RantMom that sleeping off the sleepover is why Little Sister and Nephew were not on the bus last First Day.

Back up.

One blessing about Little Sister and Irrepressible Nephew's church is that there are enough kids to have Sunday school classes of substantial size. RantWoman is pointedly not commenting about whether or not scheduling a Nerf War is the first thing she might think to do with a nice cohort of middle-school aged boys. Ever since the Nerf War was announced, though, Nephew, Little Sister and even RantMom have been all over scouring the neighborhood secondhand stores for the latest in Nerf weaponry including the Nerf rifle, a Nerf pistol, and a Nerf hatchet for decapitating Zombies who have somehow gotten mixed up in this.

RantWoman has been a little surprised at RantMom. RantMom in the RantChildren's youth had eccentric approaches to some aspects of conflict resolution but tried to hold a pretty firm line about weaponry. With irrepressible Nephew, though, RantMom is just as much into the hunt as Irrepressible Nephew and Little Sister. Can we say enabling?

The Nerf war has been scheduled, postponed, rescheduled a number of times. RantWoman has not found that circumstance lamentable. Nor does RantWoman necessarily lament reticence in the face of RantMom's enthusiasm in the quest for additions to the arsenal.

RantWoman does permit herself numerous exclamations: Oh Good Lord. Ay. Dios Mio

Thank heaven Nephew's father, Guatemalan Brother-in-Law is on the ball and apparently appalled. For one thing there are whole bunch of telenovela / intercultural soap opera elements in the lives of Brother in Law's extended family including, RantWoman thinks some violent deaths among Brother-in-Law's several siblings in his homeland. For another thing, brown-skinned kids get shot sometimes in these parts for carrying things a lot more innocuous-looking than the Nerf pistol Little Sister and Irrepressible Nephew were wanting to show off on the bus recently on the way to our respective houses of worship.

The day of the Nerf Pistol show-and -tell, RamtWoman SO needed practice not hyperventilating. It was Sunday morning. The bus driver is used to the routine of picking up RantWoman and then frequently a couple stops later Little Sister and Irrepressible Nephew. Those aboard the bus learned that the Nerf rifle is partly painted bright orange so that, at least in theory, no one could possibly mistake it for, say, a real assault rifle.

Also RantWoman learned about the zombies and the fact that they can be decapitated with Nerf hatchets. RantWoman thinks she has to be glad for time to wonder how the zombies got mixed up in things. Why do there have to be zombies? What on earth is a Quakerly perspective on imaginary undead beings who can be done in with foam hatchets? What about zombies that might NOT be susceptible to foam hatchets?

RantWoman realizes, MAYBE one thing to do is to encourage Nephew to talk a little more with his father. And RantWoman is going to vacilate between two trends respect for the experience of thinking acrose lines of culture an experience as opposed to parenting envy for another 12-year-old who came up in conversation because he and his brother are learning shared responsibility about conflict resolution on a considerably more sedate path.

Oh Quaker Auntie....

Friday, March 1, 2013

Leslie Morgan Steiner: TED Talk; Crazy Love

Leslie Morgan Steiner, TED Talk
Leslie Morgan Steiner, blonde Harvard grad with MBA who works in marketing. Smart blonde woman in fashionable black leather dress giving a talk. One visual of a gun.
Includes frank, specific discussion of domestic violence incidents and patterns.
If a potential partner talks about a hisotry of abuse, DO NOT try to handle it alone.

The Book link on Amazon

The Video for people who like a visual