Monday, May 27, 2013

Interesting video about the Sikh community and Sikh schoolchildren in the Kent school district

RantWoman highly recommends the Cultural Navigators series mentioned in the beginning of this video about the Kent WA school district, one of the most diverse districts in WA. RantWoman hopes her readers will also look for other videos in the series.

RantWoman appreciates this video for a concise presentation of many facts about Sikh beliefs and practices. RantWoman especially is interested in the carrying of the Sikh sword by those including children who have professed their faith: the sword is considered an important responsibility, and the school district has an interesting way to accommodate that responsibility.

Can anyone besides RantWoman identify a couple member of the dominant culture behaviors that some might find annoying?

The link: 

The embed

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Item about eldering

RantWoman recommends both this specific post and several links via the comments for a whole range of points about eldering, not to mention use of the term Overseers (arrrgggh!).

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Faith Action Network Spring Summit

RantWoman is unsure how many of her readers live in western WA and might be interested in attending the Spring summit of the Faith Action Network. The last time RantWoman attended she found it very gratifying to hear what other people of faith are doing; RantWoman also found it humbling to carry a banner on behalf of all the things that Friends do.

RantWoman highly recommends the spring summit of the Faith Action Network, Sunday June 2, 3- 5 pm. Seattle First Baptist Church

RantWoman also recommends that Friends concerned with interfaith witness not limit that work only to the Faith Action Network, but that is a separate conversation.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dancing our Beloved Dead; Beltane Belatedly

RantWoman thanks A Quaker Witch, for the perfect thing to do with beloved spirits bouncing around in RantWoman's psyche and presence over the last few weeks: let them dance.

Dancing with our beloved dead at Beltane

Anyone who thinks RantWoman is just an insensitive pushy overpowering bitch about all this is invited to complain as loudly as he or she feels entitled. But first you must get in line and dance and dance for an hour or several. THEN, only then may you complain.

The state of the Meeting, one more time

Beloved dead, or not yet; war zones

Beloved Dead, while recording

Beloved Dead, Belonging

Beloved Dead: Doris

Dances with our Beloved, Doris


RantWoman again draws Friends' attention to dear Doris, a STALWART at Friends Committee of WA Public Policy Steering Committee meetings during Quarterly Meeting. This past time, Doris just beamed as she arrived. Seeing her made RantWoman SO happy there was much waving from the Recording Clerk.
Even more delightfully, RantWoman was assigned to room with Doris and her youngest sister Florence. RantWoman is feeling deprived because Little Sister's medical matters are more tiresome than average right now; RantWoman was touched just to soak up octagenarian sister vibe. The sisters giggled for 10 minutes when RantWoman confessed that if Little Sister were around, she and RantWoman might stay up all night giggling.

RantWoman is also holding tenderly reasons each shared with RantWoman that she worries about / frets over / just thinks the other sister is maybe a little batty. Please hold tenderly the thought from Facebook "Thank you for ordering the Crazy Cat Lady Starter Kit"  and the point that someone MIGHT not find that funny.

RantWoman did not really ask to have a roommate who needed to go to the hospital late on Saturday night; RantWoman is VERY grateful to lots of Friends who stepped in to handle different pieces. The stepping in is part of why Quarterly Meeting seemed so well held--in spite of....

Invitation to Serenade Doris, who it turned out was not long for this world.
Because we love her
Because she loves us
Because music speaks to her heart
Because our hearts long to ease her journey
Because she cannot visit with all of us

Gather and sing
songs from the Quaker song book
(extra copies will be there to share)
Sign the memory book
You may bring cards or poems to other items
to slip into the book if you like
Bring instruments if you are so inclined and can follow the music

Date:   Friday, May 3, 2013
Time:  Singing will begin at ~ 6 pm.
(You can still make the Peace vigil at the old Federal Building from 4 
- 5

Outside Doris' home

CAR POOL and park a ways off -
please reserve parking near her home for handicap accessibility

Finally, from Doris' daughter
Dear friends and family,
Please pass the word that Doris passed over, peacefully, around 11:20  p.m. on Friday, May 3, 2013. We tried to compose a "To:" list, hoping  that each of you who receive this, will know others who will want to
know, and pass the word.

This morning, she felt better than she had in days, and was sitting up  smiling, lots of energy around 9 a.m. But she was still extremely clear that she did not want to embark on any kind of hospitalization. She just
thought that because she was feeling so much better this morning, perhaps she had a few more days to say her good-byes. But she also expressed, many times, in the past several days, what a wonderful, full life she had had, and how she was ready to go.

One of the last experiences she was awake and alert for was a "serenade" by Friends and friends, who gathered in her backyard at 6 p.m. Friends hymnals were passed around, the window was open, and Doris's little cat Sunshine sat on the windowsill and looked -- a bit astonished! -- at the gathering. Mimi Freshley led the group with her guitar.

About thirty people began singing; as the minutes passed, more and more joined in, until there were nearly 50 people standing outside her window. As each person passed by the window, she could see their faces.
She smiled and waved.

The caregiver who was present with her in the room said she'd never seen anything like it,  in all her years as a caregiver.

I was so privileged to receive hugs and blessings on her behalf, afterwards, as well as flowers and cards. Later that night, when she became very sleepy, I read all the cards aloud to her. I think the love came through.

Later in the evening, I talked to her softly for about an hour, remembering good times, treasured moments, and then sang lullabies, as her breathing grew quieter and quieter. I knew immediately when she moved into the Light. "Go toward the Light, Mom," I said, as if she didn't know. "I love you." As if she didn't know.

You have all been blessings to me and to Doris, in her latest adventure. One thing I always honored about her was that she kept changing, kept growing, throughout her life. And now I see she still is.

In Love, Peace, and Joy,

Our Beloved Dead, Belonging

RantWoman is still basking in her rich Worship sharing experience recently at Quarterly Meeting. The theme was belonging, and the opening plenary featured many Friends' reflection on whether they hold membership, where they hold membership, where they feel strongest sense of Quaker community. The topic probably needs its own blog entry, but RantWoman is stuck on her beloved dead theme.
One time membership matters is marrying; another is burying. People can get married in the manner of Friends even if neither partner is a member of a Meeting. If a couple wants their marriage taken under care of Meeting, at least one person must be a member of Meeting and there is a clearness process. And, and.

RantWoman would find it frighteningly easy here to digress to her continuing implacable twitchiness about her Meeting's State of the Society report as perpetrated during last month's Meeting for Business.
Marriage Equality? What's that you said?

Our Meeting has only been talking about and in various ways on record in support of marriage equality for a couple decades. Our Meeting and our Yearly Meeting have been on record specifically in support of full civil marriage rights for 15 years so it's KIND OF big news that WA voters approved Referendum 74, becoming the next of several states to enact marriage equality.
WHO CARES whether Friends from our Meeting did much in support of this campaign this year? WHO CARES what choices individual couples make as far as legal paperwork? One of RantWoman's twitches is just that RantWoman has heard one half of  the couple who wrote this year's State of Society report more or less assume that all is fine and easy in spite of, to RantWoman's ear, very many struggles still.

Oh wait, not end of digression. RantWoman remembers a recent membership transfer for a weighty Friend whose name is attached to the digression at a Quarterly Meeting; RantWoman remembers the same Quarterly bumped against the memorial for a weighty Friend from RantWoman's Meeting. RantWoman remembers the departed as a bit of a blowhard, a nice blowhard, but... RantWoman also remembers that that Friend found RantWoman oh, a bit much. He has lots of company.

Burying works a little the same way: Meeting might or might not hold a memorial for an attender but definitely will not write a memorial minute, even if the attender has been a member of a community for decades. Burying a loved one can also be a time that draws someone to become a seeker among Friends. Finally, RantWoman notes that a community might involve many people grieving loved ones.  RantWoman has found herself clearly and repeatedly called to draw Friends' attention to thess poinst recently. Perhaps that is enough said about this flavor of RantWoman needing to be true to her Light and true to her experience.

But, back to Quarterly Meeting, and beloved dead who show up as RantWoman comes BACK from Quarterly Meeting. There is a time warp. as whatever vehicle RantWoman is riding in drives back into cellphone range after Quarterly Meeting.

Beloved dead, about the Recording clerk

RantWoman elders her Meeting's Recording Clerk, based on multiple RantWoman experiences, including RantWoman's heroic vexation of the Recording clerk during last Meeting for Business....add an exhortation: if something RantWoman says is not clear consider the options of either just letting God work on it or asking for clarification. RantWoman cannot read faces. RantWoman cannot read minds. If someone is upset or not understanding things a lot of the time someone has to use their words. Otherwise, as another blind person RantWoman is in a lot of meetings with says, RantWoman can offend you with impunity whether she means to or not.

No, RantWoman is NOT just taking up space for herself.  RantWoman  had occasion to think about a number of people in our community who she knows are grieving the loss of a loved one. RantWoman actually did not do this to start because she was overflowing with empathy. RantWoman did it because she made a list of people she needed to talk to and realized several of them were grieving. Then as RantWoman poked at various thoughts arising from that, she recognized that in fact there are even more people in our community who have lost loved ones over the past year. THEN RantWoman decided she should just say some prayers for awhile AND think about what space the topic might need in community conversation.

Okay, so you read on. How about a request to be held in the Light after the fact. The hold in the Light after the fact point is part of RantWoman's sometimes shit happens and the interpreter gets to keep on talking or the recording clerk gets to keep on recording thread.

RantWoman heard that people spoke last week of Doris Ferm of Bellingham who
passed away the Friday after Quarterly Meeting. Doris was a STALWART of
FCWPP Steering committee meetings and she just beamed when she got there this last time even though she was an hour late. RantWoman wound up rooming with her and her 80-year-old sister. That all
wound up being very sweet in a geriatric chaplain and passing of generations sense but that is another story.) But the real kicker came late in the meeting when people were talking about interest groups planned for the next day, one usual one about legislative matters and one about gun-related deaths. A couple people looked at death records for like 5 years and discovered that suicides outnumber homicides and all else by about 5 / 1 across the state. They planned to do an interest group about it and were chattering away chirpily.

One problem for RantWoman: a few years ago a friend of hers shot himself. He had MANY tough circumstances and barriers about getting help. He was able to buy the gun he used despite having been hospitalized multiple times the previous year for suicidal depression. Some of the time when gun suicides come up, RantWoman just thinks "better access to mental health care..."  Some of the time brain just leaves the room! RantWoman's brain was leaving the room at that point in the FCWPP meeting. Even worse, someone else in the room, RantWoman knew from listening around Meeting, might also be having a really rough time. RantWoman looked at that Friend at one point and had definitely guessed correctly, but the Friend was across the  table and saying anything would have been

Luckily at that point RantWoman did not have to try VERY hard to focus enough for what was needed in the minutes.

And the Clerk is not sure about there being a God.

And RantWoman has a pretty versatile concept of God getting things done all kinds of ways, but it was only after the brain leaving the room moments repeated themselves the next day at the actual interest group that RantWoman managed to email the presenters with concern about sensitivity if people have stories the presenters say they are interested in. One of the presenters got the  point immediately; the other one RantWoman is not so sure.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Beloved Dead or not yet; from war zones. Mothers' Day

Rantwoman notes the passing last year of Arthur Satherwaite of Pullman Moscow Monthly Meeting. Arthur is one of the last men who came to the northwest as conscientious objectors during World War II. At the most recent Quarterly Meeting,  RantWoman was presented an opportunity she lamely declined to read more of Arthur in smudgy newspaper clippings on a poster board. RantWoman also roomed with Arthur's widow Florence and her sister but that is another story.

RantWoman's witness about the Peace Testimony is considerably more heterodox than mere memorials for a conscientious objector. One time on a way to a meeting, RantWoman found herself riding with someone whose son is a diplomat. At the time he was serving in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. RantWoman was obliged to mumble something like "I am holding you both in the Light because your kid is in a war zone. It does not matter what I think of the war!"

Recently, during RantWoman's last spell of coffeemaking for after 11:00 worship, RantWoman had occasion to greet a young man who grew up in our Meeting. The young man now serves in the military. Some of the time he is a machine gunner. Some of the time he is a recruiter. RantWoman cannot decide which job role is more in need of prayer.

In closing worship at Quarterly Meeting RantWoman was given a message calling to mind Arthur and the young recruiter / machine gunner and the following further thoughts..

It is the age of poverty draft, excuse me all volunteer army. Women now serve in combat. Servicemembers can be openly gay.

--What in the way of peace witness is needed for Quakers of today?

--What are Friends' thoughts or leadings as far as questions of universal service?

--Is there any place in our Meetings or our Friends' organizations where youth can look while seasoning such questions?

Many thoughtful well-centered Friends may wish to stop here. Friends willing to digress slightly and bear with more of RantWoman's intemperate rantings are invited to read on:

RantWoman notes two comments not recorded in the official record of a threshing session about structure in January:

--Someone suggested abolishing Peace and Social Concerns committee and assigning all their work to Worship and Ministry. RantWoman, who STRIVES to do all sorts of witness from a well-grounded spiritual center thinks on one hand that is a brilliant idea. On the other hand, RantWoman thinks her Meeting's present Worship and Ministry committee should find that idea terrifying, that capacity to do this is not what first leaps to mind about Worship and Ministry committee, and that her Meeting can appreciate the gifts of Worship and Ministry WITHOUT expecting them to tiptoe a single hair beyond their Light, like for instance to offer spiritually centered guidance about conscientious objection.

 --Someone else afterward suggested abolishing Worship and Ministry. Can anyone guess who or why? RantWoman does NOT suppose their work would get assigned to Peace and Solcial Concerns. But what IS needed?

Does this question occur to anyone besides RantWoman?

Beloved Dead, Restated

The State of RantWoman's Meeting, once more with or without feeling:

In particular the beloved dead, annotated
Rich Beyer, a widely enough known artist that Friends can use their search engines their own darn selves.
Bill Hansen
A whole welter of Beloved Dead when RantWoman went to look for a post about Rice Bucket Friend, including beloved dead from RantWoman's life as a teenage Baptist.

Fran Hain
Fran had two husbands. RantWoman is not sure whether only one or both did things like smoke-jumping as conscienscientious objectors during World War II.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

RantWoman feels called to take a break from other matters roiling her soul. RantWoman specifically invites Quaker content providers to participate in Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

--RantWoman honors and reveres many weighty Friends who are paper only people. But RantWoman is impatient and prefers things she can access independently.

--RantWoman is deeply grateful to Friends publications that have electronic versions. RantWoman becomes crabby in the presence of various Quaker info streams that exist only on paper with no options for electronic access.RantWoman recognizes that this point of view comes with challenges. For the time being RantWoman is humbly holding in the Light improvements in these realities.

--RantWoman deeply appreciates Quaker blogs.

--RantWoman appreciates a wide variety of sound and video archives. --RantWoman becomes crabby when all kinds of content is published only on paper. RantWoman TRIES to make allowances for old material that is out of print. RantWoman TRIES to make allowances about this but succeeds unevenly. RantWoman thinks Quakers have a lot to say to the world today but unfortunately a lot of the world is digital and just won't find or interact with paper.

--RantWoman greatly esteems Quaker authors who make their work availabe through Amazon. RantWoman is aware of MANY issues for authors. Nevertheless, RantWoman is FAR more likely to interacti with authors' offerings if she can access material independently. RantWoman for example thanks John Calvi for making his forthcoming book available through Amazon and in electronic format!

RantWoman apologizes in advance that her offering here is raggedy, disjointed, probably overpowering, and generally WAY TOO MUCH. RantWoman encourages Friends to trust your Light and read selectively from the following links for today.

A general enough item about Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Worth reading because it has a couple simple ways people can try to access web content without relying on a mouse.

Friends who want to wander further into the topic are invited to use your search engines or click on links within the article.

RantWoman likes the Our Daily Bread site for providing material in LOTS of formats with LOTS of ways to adjust presentation.

A random good news about new paths to Kindle accessibility / bad news about the federal government item.

RantWoman notes that Global Accessibility Awareness Day is only about accessibility of electronic content;Accessibility is a MUCH bigger area than that, so do what you can, do the best you can, but don't get complacent after dipping toes in only slightly.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Why? Perspective

RantWoman, that guy in your Meeting who is about to be done, Done, DONE with 10 years of Department of Corrections supervision, the guy you refer to as The Safest Sex Offender on the Planet, why do you call him that?

--First, it was not always so. RantWoman now shorthands her initial coffee hour conversation over a decade ago with the future Safest Sex Offender on the Planet as "I really need to be in treatment." RantWoman is unsure whether the applicable concept was minimizing or blaming the victim. RantWoman at the time had a lot of both going on around her because of another personal situation. The outline of the proposed participation in a faith community as part of treatment sounded entirely reasonable to RantWoman. But because of RantWoman's personal situation, she was clear simply to make another introduction and to get out of the loop.

--The exact crime the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet pled guilty to is an act of nonpenetrative sex enthusiastically enjoyed by many many pairs of consenting adults everywhere. The problem: things which are wonderful between consenting adults are NEVER okay between an adult and a much younger child.

--Here we trot out LOTS of psychological terminology and measurement tools and invoke Science. The Safest Sex Offender on the Planet's offense was a crime of opportunity, a child he was around because of a dating relationship. The Safest Sex Offender ... never sought out other victims. The Safest Sex Offender underwent lots of psychological and physiological testing as part of his treatment. One of the conditions of our Meeting's willingness to work with the future Safest Sex Offender on the planet was that he signed a release allowing a practicing clinical psychologist in our community access to MANY treatment documents. This was never stated explicitly in Business Meeting as a requirement; the psychologist simply took steps about the release; RantWoman would say that this work was key to community confidence at a number of points.

So for example, many test endured by our offender were outlined in sometimes exquisite detail in Meeting for Business. All of the tests indicated no predatory inclination whatsoever. In other words, the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet fits the profile of others with very low risk of re-offense. On top of that, the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet is in an age group where, if reoffense has not occurred so far, it is very unlikely due to age alone.

--A key moment in our Meeting's walk with the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet was that he wrote a letter that was read in Business Meeting specifically acknowledging responsibility for his actions. RantWoman does not remember whether the alternate weeks schedule of attendance at our two worship hours arose before or after the letter, but RantWoman does remember a sense that the letter was important in the evolution of things.

--At this point, the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet has unquestionably done his work about the matter of acceptable adult behavior. Plus he has spent the last 10 years in therapy groups filling his head with information about the ways guys mess up and dire consequences for messups. The Safest Sex Offender on the Planet has a Lifetime Safety Plan with a certain amount of boilerplate text reminding him and everyone else that he is always at risk of reoffense; he takes VERY seriously the terms of his Lifetime Safety Plan including commitment to stay away from places frequented by children unless he is with someone familiar with his offense, to limit incidental contact in public, not to date women with minor children, and not to be in homes where there are minor children unless the children's parents (RantWoman would edit to say parent, guardian or caregiver) are aware of his offense.

Here we get to a collision between the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet's safety plan and other realities: the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet and several members of the RantFamily all live in the same neighborhood. There is never going to be more than casual incidental contact between the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet and say, Irrepressible Nephew and his parents. The Safest Sex Offender on the Planet is not, for instance, going to be hanging out at Little Sister's household watching soccer in Spanish. But we all might bump into each other and members of Little Sister's household are attuned enough to people's behaviors that some of them might wonder about the Safest Sex Offender's moving away from incidental contact.

The Safest Sex Offender on the Planet is of course going to use his judgment about need to disclose his status, but RantWoman had to put her foot down: there are good reasons, like other people's worse issues why the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet's old offense, adjudicated, treated to the best of his and the DoC's ability is NOT necessarily the worst problem of anyone's day. Nephew and his parents are empowered as best as they and RantWoman can help bring about,in ways that SHOULD detect not only issues caused by the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet, but also issues caused by all the other sex offenders out there. RantWoman thinks too much detail in connection with just living in the same neighborhood will not be helpful to anyone.

--RantWoman weighs all this with another point: there is an advantage to "everyone" knowing of one's situation. No one is going to ask the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet to watch their children. LOTS of eyes can also be a guard against both new offenses and possible false accusations. In other words, the past is never over, but the Safest Sex Offender is highly motivated not to re-offend. People who have been worshipping with him, talking about him in Business Meeting, etc. are highly motivated to watch for anything that even faintly looks like a new offense; fellow worshippers are also highly motivated to keep an eye out for false accusation. How could he not be the Safest Sex Offender on the planet?

--RantWoman has even been known to say that she has slightly fewer worries about the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet than she does about someone else she interacts with. That individual has never been accused of inappropriate BEHAVIOR. He loudly and flamboyantly proclaims interest in specific categories of pornography. His name pops out of search engines in connection with lawsuits about his tastes. RantWoman generally says "Thank you SO much for telling me; I SO wish I did not need to know" RantWoman also advises this guy and does everything she can to ensure that this guy is never, ever, under any circumstances alone with a child. But people like this are one reason RantWoman really, really favors keeping the Safest Sex Offender on the Planet in perspective.

RantWoman has a lot to say about other elements of community safety; that gets to be said in another post. In the meantime, another self-interview question:

RantWoman, what do you think it means that all those people have been willing to watch one sex offender but we cannot find enough adults to staff our childcare programs?

Good question. Not one that RantWoman remembers ever getting articulated in a public forum but here is what rises for RantWoman.

--Actually a large number of people willing to watch--and at first worship elsewhere with--one sex offender might be neither here nor there as far as staffing the children's programs. Some adults are not gifted / led to work with children in the first place. Adults worshipping elsewhere at another time are still available if willing on First Days to help with children. RantWoman sees a good well-staffed children's program as vital for a worshipping community but is unsure that fewer people watching one sex offender would automatically translate into more adults available to work with children.

--RantWoman sees the large number of people willing to watch one sex offender as a large number of people willing to include him somehow in community. RantWoman also sees this large number as people willing to provide eyes both to guard against future offenses and to help create a sense of safety for people restimulated in his presence.

RantWoman hears in the question about all those people willing to watch one offender thoughts about whether RantWoman's Meeting a little bit lost perspective as far as monitoring zeal. The thought as definitely occurred to RantWoman, especially late into the Safest Sex Offender's program. For better or worse the thought has never made it out of RantWoman's mouth and especially not in anything like acceptable Quakerese. The Safest Sex Offender on the Planet, for what it's worth has also been putting up with our Meeting about the whole issue.

RantWoman is enough of a wonk to think of some kind of study noting actual new offenses and any relationship between likelihood of offense and features of different congregations' monitoring might be an interesting exercise. But that is a conversation for another day.