Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hedningarna / Heathens Earworms

Why is a metaphysical question; RantWoman nevertheless wonders why she has Hedningarna earworms crawling around among concerns about public transit and digital inclusion.

RantWoman is unsure how Hedningarna came into her life.RantWoman recognizes that one should be cautious bisitng other cultures' folk traditions because one might wind up carrying along all sorts of associations one does not intend. RantWoman also recognizes that some in her circles will not want anything to do with a band whose name means "Heathens." And still RantWoman has earworms. Even worse RantWoman has earworms readers are invited to try for themselves without RantWoman intros to help pick! Try one. If that does not speak to you try another! It's the experience!

A Hedningarna instrumental.

Nordic dance fave Pornopolka


Min Skog

Tina Vieri 


Tass'on nainen, with lyrics and translation

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Spank Spitzer?

RantWoman presents the following seriously BAD Friend digression from her usual moral stewpot.

[Full disclosure (well, maybe not that full) RantWoman was a student at a certain Ivy League University during part of the time Eliot Spitzer was also a student. RantWoman has never met Eliot Spitzer but can attest that he was very active in the student government. RantWoman's only interaction with student government was to help student groups she was involved with panhandle the student government for money to support different speakers knowledgeable about issues and causes RantWoman was much more passionate about than the student government. RantWoman many times made successful pleas; other than that RantWoman has no opinion that she remembers of the student government.]

RantWoman learned recently that Eliot Spitzer used the name George Fox to book his room for the famous tryst that got him skadillions of dollars worth of free publicity. Okay, this was not particularly free publicity he might have WANTED, but it was free publicity.

Here  is the problem (one of RantWoman's many?): RantWoman has no idea whether Eliot Spitzer's choice of pseudonym was a conscious reference to one of the leading lights of Quakerdom or a CONSCIOUS desire to clothe himself in the mantle of Quaker integrity, but RantWoman would just like to spank Spitzer for making her have to think about the issue,even once, never mind over and over while he runs for office AGAIN.

Much as RantWoman could easily find righteous basis to spank Spitzer, she instead firmly, clearly directs her readers toward an item about double standards and the voice of women:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Exercise, Families, Saturday Plenary, MONEY

RantWoman DOES have an I voice. If readers are lucky, RantWoman will preserve her I voice out of an edited email. This item summarizes some circumstances feeding into the famous Saturday plenary at NPYM Annual Session where God needed to rearrange the agenda as well as some points RantWoman heard or did not hear spoken out of worship.

RantWoman notes that God still seems to be organizing several points related to how NPYM conducts Annual Session in addition to the content questions connected with the items being discussed. In other words, RantWoman means to post a couple other pieces of the picture separately and pointedly encourages readers to hold all the pieces when trying to understand why Friends needed just to work with God.

At an earlier plenary the Annual Session had approved creating a 1/4 time paid position to coordinate the entire Annual Session children's program, carry out the requirements of the Youth safety policy, and find people to staff programs for all age groups at Annual Session. This proposal emerged from an ad hoc committee in late spring and was circulated among Monthly Meetings and Worship groups before Annual Session. The proposal included straightforward job descriptions and suggestions about how to fund the work but did not address some points which RantWoman speaks to below..
RantWoman's Meeting heard an announcement about it almost in passing at the very end of June Meeting for Business and the actual proposal was distributed electronically the next week with the weekly bulletin. RantWoman read the proposal including a proposal to fund the first year of the position out of reserves and a request later for about a 17% increase per capita in Yearly Meeting dues assessments and a proposal in subsequent years to add an outreach component.
RantWoman sent the clerk of the ad hoc committee some questions:

--Should the outreach component begin immediately if only so that the person doing the work can identify counts of children and of adults who might be recruited to support the work to be done?

--Should there be targeted fundraising so that assessments do not have to be increased so much, particularly for Friends who never attend Annual Session?

--Does the proposal need to take into account other issues such as the Great Recession, our Yearly Meeting's practice of changing venues every two years to reflect our geographic size, addition a few years ago of an additional day?

--How does this proposal relate to several questions about attenders, identity as members of a Friends' community, membership coincidentally being thought about as the Committee on the Discipline works to describe current practice and to revise our Faith and Practice.

RantWoman did not expect a reply to her questions any sooner than Annual Session; RantWoman did not hear her question about numbers addressed at all one way or another in the plenary discussions of the paid children's program arranger position.

RantWoman remembers speaking to support the general thought of investng in youth programs. RantWoman also remembers urging Friends to go forward in faith about money even though for her some money parts of the proposal did not compute; at the time RantWoman was assured that discussion of the Ad Hoc Committee on affordability for families committee work would address RantWoman's concerns. This turned out not really to be feasible.

The Ad-hoc committee on Family Affordability was the focus of the agenda for the Saturday plenary when God and several young Friends rose to speak. There had been various questions about how the committee proposed to work to better understand the issue, what it was trying to accomplish and other ways to understand priorities. Process, content, how to listen to movements of the Divine were all muddled in Friends' questions about the proposal and ministry on the topic.

This was the point where a Weighty Friend spoke to a sense of unease in the room and a whole sequence of Friends spoke before a suggestion was made simply to go into worship and allow Friends to speak out of worship for the remainder of the time for that plenary. RantWoman spoke of her sense that the question before the group was how best to use our resources to draw our community closer to God and to each other.

(RantWoman also led a worship group. Email among Worship Group leaders after Annual Session indicates that several of the Saturday Worship Groups, though not RantWoman's were led to speak of the plenary within their worship groups.)

Here is RantWoman's email after Annual Session, in the spirit of Minutes of Exercise edited only minimally, and offered with RantWoman's name attached even though she is NOT the Recording Clerk: This is such Light as has come to RantWoman and RantWoman is specifically NOT speaking on behalf of the whole group.

This message is topical to the paid children's program discussion and to the Family Affordability committee. Friends are welcome to ask for clarifications or to forward. I do not want to make a blanket offer, but would also be willing to discern whether I have additional increments of time to devote to this work.Other than that, I am happy just to feed my thoughts into others' work and not necessarily expect responses right away.

As a process point, I am aware that I may be suggesting things other than decisions made in plenaries and I would remind Friends that Coordinating Committee (the representative body which meets a couple times / year between Annual Sessions) might be a place to consider adjustments to charge, scope of work, objectives for the newly approved position of children's program arranger.

Here I want to outline some stuff I heard, some stuff I did not hear, questions on my mind, and see how my thinking feeds into next increments of work.

To Friend Clerk of the Ad hoc committee on children's program coordination:

I did not hear ANYTHING in my report about your committee's request for numbers. I was hoping someone else would have the same thought in plenary; they did not so I am raising it here. I asked for data about numbers of people of different ages at Annual Session different years, different locations with a couple other before and after points in my ask.

To me a bunch of people looking at numbers CAN be really valuable and that is the kind of thing I wish Friends could wade into when an issue is framed. My request may or may not have been easily doable in the time between when I made it and annual session, but it's something to think about. In fact, in the car on the way home, I jotted down some other thoughts about making an analysis dataset from historical registration data. MAYBE I will elaborate especially if anyone else is interested in this idea.

I DID NOT hear ANY mention in either the Annual Session affordability or the Paid childcare arranger discussion of the survey done at the beginning of 2012 about families and Annual Session. The survey was HOPEFULLY going to collect input from people who do not attend annual session. Since the survey was done, even the fact of there being only a few respondents might be important in thinking about next steps. I heard LOTS of people talk in plenaries and otherwise about the value of Annual Session.

I heard some amorphous thoughts about care of Quarterly meetings as an idea not attached to particular actions. On the way home a Young Adult Friend mentioned Young Adults' interest in travelling among different Quarterly Gatherings. I wonder what opportunities there are for synergy with Outreach and Visitation, information sharing....

I heard and share a concern about sucking out Spirit either with too much business or in how we do business. I will send some thoughtsabout my Quakers go to Camp / Business Meeting EVERY DAY theme and will write separate emails about these thoughts.
I heard complete lack of clarity about a whole bunch of questions to do with assessments, various charges for Annual session. I think complete lack of clarity is actually a helpful place to start. I would find it valuable for the family affordability committee at next year's Annual Session to present a few different scenarios addressing both the length of Annual Session and apportionment of costs between assessments and things charged to those who attend Annual Session and even some different per person breakouts. For instance, I think it might be fine to ask all annual session adults to help subsidize children / families.

I heard voices of Monthly Meetings saying "ask us what we need, don't just ask us to keep seasoning stuff." (This is a reference to our evolving standing committees, all of whom seem to be sending out queries asking Monthly Meetings and Worship groups to season various questions.) I do not know whether there is a disconnect about the ask here but the "ask us what we need" is important.

I heard mention of lots of interest from Monthly Meetings in educational curricula and help with children's programs. I am not sure where that comes from but I have heard it before and for instance the paid children's program coordinator job description as written does not address that concern right away. Would anyone besides me find value in reconsidering elements of the job description?

Friend, Clerk of the Ad Hoc Committee, you talk about wishing more of your Meeting would come to Annual Session.

--Why do you think they don't? Are they not interested? Does no one do anything to promote? Is it only cost or are there other barriers?

--What if anything would a paid children's program arranger position contribute to getting more people specifically from your Meeting to attend Annual Session? Do Friends feel any call to think about this question with respect to other Meetings?

--Here is a blog post with my take on some possible barriers:

--I always have a reflex to try to spell out some "how do we know it works" criteria. I know God showing up is--and SHOULD BE--hard to measure, but things like numbers, repeat attenders, finances that balance might suggest some basics.

I hope these comments are helpful. I would be interested to hear Friends responses if led but I am also happy just feeding thoughts into the work.

Thank you all for your work.

In the Light.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Memorials, evaluating

1. RIP Manila envelope.

By the end of Annual Session this year, RantWoman's manila registration envelope was full of important things like:

--the Annual Session program

--extra query sheets and the worship sharing guidelines for her worship walking group

--a half-completed evaluation form

--copies of the Daily Bulletin under new editorship

--a stack of new FCNL bumper stickers. RantWoman occasionally meets people with bumpers to put bumper stickers on. More importantly RantWoman goes about taking notes in different meetings on different legal pads. FCNL bumperstickers are among the things RantWoman in "Let our lives speak" mode likes to paste on the back of tablets. Note to self: probably there are lots of ways to get more bumperstickers.

2. RIP Evaluation?
Alas, RantWoman's manila envelope somehow did not make it back to Seattle with her. RantWoman is not afraid to attach her identity to most of her opinions. RantWoman also tends to have more to say than fits in the spaces on evaluation forms but there is no electronic option available. So in the interest of the "how do you do that" thread of Quaker gatherings, RantWoman feels called to share more evaluation elements here.

3. "Let the dead bury their dead?"
Today's topic: Meeting for Worship for Memorials.

This year Meeting for Worship for Memorials bumped against the plenary where God needed to rearrange the agenda. RantWoman PROMISES to say more of what came to her from that but today she needs to start slowly. The main point for now: Meeting for Memorials was shorter than average anyway.

This year instead of reading the full memorial minutes, the Meeting for Worship for Memorial opened with someone reading the list of names, which for various reasons including a very recent death of someone who was not a member wound up not being complete. RantWoman is glad to have heard names added. RantWoman was glad to have a sense of time and space for Friends to offer more individual ministry in remembrance. RantWoman  (urk!) came in late and was grateful someone reread the list of names again towards the end of the time.


RantWoman misses the "let our lives speak" aspects of reading Friends' full memorial minutes. RantWoman often LIKES the things she learns about people's lives, even people she does not know. Posting memorial minutes in tiny print on a wall in a noisy plenary room is not a substitute. RantWoman definitely assumes she is not the only one put off by tiny print on a wall or who just needs to hear something out loud and held by the whole group.

Also, RantWoman thinks offering at least something from each Friend's memorial minute would create a fuller sense of these Friends being present to those who attend. RantWoman wonders whether it MIGHT be possible to read a paragraph or two from each minute at the Meeting for Worship for Memorial.

4. RantWoman is seasoning a list of tweaks to suggest about various aspects of the Annual Session program. One that comes to mind is just to have a space somewhere during every time slot for open worship. RantWoman MIGHT think to put notebooks full of memorial minutes, epistles, and state of society reports in this room on a table so that people might have an opportunity to sit, read, hold worshipfully.


Thank you for reading.

In the Light.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Random Reflection Rising from NPYM Annual Session: Let's have a Party?

RantWoman thanks a Junior Friend in her worship-sharing group for the message from which the leading to pose this question arises:

If becoming a Quaker automatically came with your choice of tatoo and location for the tatoo, what would you tatoo and where on your body would you tatoo it?

RantWoman is VERY high. RantWoman's nerves are zinging with ideas.

God(dess) showed up at NPYM Annual Session in the middle of Quakers go to Camp Business Meeting EVERY DAY. God(dess) showed up in the voices of young adult Friends who have grown up in our Yearly Meeting, in the form of seasoned Friends who spoke Truth, who held silence, and who worshipped together. God(dess) showed up in business between plenaries, in learnings, and in muddle.

God(dess) showed up in an Interest Group about the Quaker Language Barrier, that sociological / anthropological line between jargon fetishism and group coherence. The group did only some on Quakerese and did even more about some of the same big Meeting challenges in RantWoman's Meeting: transportation, scheduling meetings, varying comfort zones about electronic communication. Knowing one is not alone is a mixed blessing.

God(dess) showed up Sunday when Breakfast Bible Study could not stay on topic. Topic was I Kings and all sorts of dramatic doings with Ahab, Elijah, Elisha. RantWoman can ALWAY stand to shore up her Biblical knowledge but God(dess) saw fit to require Annual Session to share our dining space with Really Different people headed to a classic car show. Blame the car show people? Slaughter a yoke of oxen? Oh, there are still 11 more yoke so we're still rich and let's have a party. Jesus comes back after, as one group participant put it, "getting tortured to death:"  don't messa around about revenge; let's just have a party (?!?!?!)

RantWoman hopes other bloggers who were there will provide a more detailed account of the exact turn; RantWoman wants to concentrate on sharing the Light which has come from the plenary, subsequent events at Annual Session, and the ministry of car ride conversations.

Regarding the car ride conversations, God(dess) has a twisted sense of humor:

The ONLY excuse for it to take 6.5 hours to go from Forest Grove to Seattle is that God MUST have needed more work out of Annual Session! Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

LGBT Group on campus of Fuller Theological Seminary: reprint from AP

LGBT Group Finds Acceptance at Evangelical College
by Sarah Parvini
Associated Press

Saturday Jul 13, 2013

PASADENA, Calif. -- Nick Palacios struggled to get his conservative
Pentecostal parents to accept him as a gay evangelical Christian for nearly a decade before his family found a common ground through faith.

Now, as an openly gay seminarian, the 29-year-old hopes to carve out a similar acceptance for other gays in the broader evangelical community through his role as president of the nation's first LGBT student club sanctioned by a major evangelical seminary. The group, called OneTable, formed last fall at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, one of the world's largest multi-denominational seminaries, and has attracted about three dozen students.

"It quickly became apparent to me that I was going to be OK and that I wasn't going to have to forsake my faith for my sexuality," Palacios said of his struggle for acceptance.

"I really hope that people will see Fuller and OneTable as a model of what the body of the church is supposed to do in this situation."

Fuller's stance has created ripples in the larger world of Christian colleges and seminaries, where a growing number of gay evangelical students are asserting their dual identities with underground clubs and nascent political activism. Last year, for example, a group called the Biola Queer Underground was quashed by Biola University, a small, conservative Christian school in nearby Orange County.

This fall, the LGBT group plans on staging rallies to combat the Biola's longstanding policy on homosexuality - that sexual relationships are reserved for heterosexual marriage - and address what many students call a campus climate of fear and shame.

Some activists have hailed the approach taken by Fuller as an important step forward for gay rights. Others say it's an empty gesture unmasked by the school's fine print: Students can "come out" but they can't have sex, be politically active or challenge a school policy that states homosexual sex is "inconsistent with the teachings of Scripture."

Richard Flory, a researcher at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California, said Fuller's acceptance of the group, while unique, is more about symbolism than about a move toward true tolerance.

"It sounds like they want to have it both ways: Jesus loves you as you are, however there are limitations to what you can be," Flory said. "It's like sticking your toe in the deep end of the water to see what happens."

Fuller's community standards states that "sexual abstinence is required for the unmarried" and marriage is between one man and one woman.

Nevertheless, Fuller's decision not to push back against OneTable is a critical step toward acceptance for gay evangelical students, said Justin Lee, the executive director of the Gay Christian Network, which tracks the burgeoning movement. An increasing number of young people have been coming out on Christian campuses nationwide, whether they are accepted or not, and Fuller's move acknowledges that and provides a touchstone for students who would otherwise keep their sexuality a secret, he said.

While some Christian colleges across the country have accepted LGBT student groups, Fuller is the first evangelical seminary to do so, Lee said. In February, one prominent evangelical school, Wheaton College in Illinois, officially recognized a support group for students who have questions about their sexual orientation.

Fuller has a total of about 4,500 students, with 100 denominations represented. In addition to the main campus in Pasadena, regional campuses are located in Menlo Park, Sacramento and Irvine in California; Colorado Springs, Colo., Phoenix, Seattle and Houston.

OneTable is only on the Pasadena campus.

Palacios and other Fuller students say they aren't out to be political - they are aware of the group's limitations, and choose to accept them.

OneTable fits into the greater conversation at Fuller, which is committed to helping students understand that sexuality is part of being human, said Juan Martinez, who oversees the approval of the seminary's student groups. Martinez does not take issue with Fuller's LGBT students as long as they accept the school's guidelines of being both celibate and non-political, he said.

"If you are ready to make that kind of commitment, then we're ready to walk with you," Martinez said. "We're not going to turn around and say, `No. You can't be here because you like girls or you like guys as opposed to the opposite sex.'"

Many evangelical Christians disagree with Fuller's decision to allow the club, however, and say it's simply not possible to be both gay and evangelical.

Fuller is not acting in the students' best interests by sanctioning the group and should instead be teaching reorientation as the students' best option, said the Rev. Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian organization.  "It's possible to change any or all of these attractions," said Sprigg, a former Baptist pastor. OneTable's genesis comes at a time when gay rights and the intersection of faith and homosexuality are at the forefront of national - and global - conversation.

The Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the federal law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman in June. The same month, the president of Exodus International, a Christian organization once dedicated to helping homosexuals repress same-sex attractions, apologized to the gay community for inflicting "years of undue suffering" and shut the group down.
For Palacios, Exodus' end struck a personal chord. Ten years ago, after confronting him about his sexuality, Palacios' parents saw Exodus as a chance for their son to change - they thought the organization could "reorient" him. For years, Palacios armed himself with biblical verses and religious texts he could use to defend his identity as a gay Christian. Now after years of their son refusing to repress his sexual orientation, Palacios' parents have become more accepting and were even amicable toward a former boyfriend.
"Just as it has taken me the better part of 20 something years to figure out the blend of faith and orientation I can't expect my friends or family to get it that quickly," he said.

Some straight students at Fuller have also embraced the chance to discuss faith and homosexuality openly. Samantha Curley, 25, the group's former president, said hearing about her friends' struggles made her a better Christian. Before starting at the seminary, she said, she didn't have any gay friends.

"I think that's ultimately what faith does," she said. "Jesus wanted us to experience the full expression of humanity. I'm fearful of what will happen if we don't learn to do that in the church."

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Will Burley

The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.
~ Eric Hoffer

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Free Nelson Mandela?

Free Nelson Mandela

Free Nelson Mandela

Free Nelson Mandela

RantWoman notes that Nelson Mandela is set to turn 95 next week. Regular Mandela medical bulletins are reminding RantWoman of Mandela's 26 years on Robben island, of the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, of other sorded details of South Africa today. RantWoman does not think all of that is why the message above was echoing in RantWoman's head during Meeting for worship recently after several Friends who attended WPC13 facilitated a discussion in Adult Education about themes from the White Privilege Conference.

RantWoman approached the session certain that she had lots more on her mind than might comfortably emerge during a one-hour session; even so, RantWoman felt Friends' efforts were well held, well led.

Before we get back to Mandela, perhaps the most concise takeaways from this Adult Education Session:

Friends spoke of all sorts of intersections:
  --family connections to the deportation of the Japanese during WWII
  --an interracial same-sex relationship
  --a Hispanic family in a community on Long Island
  --whether the conference encompassed mainly white-black issues or whether hispanics', muslims', Asians' experiences were reflected
   --A sense that problems for one generation look very different to other generations who have grown up in different environments.
  --Recognition by others besides RantWoman that our country is becoming increasingly multiethnic and multicultural. Instead of a White Privilege Conference at some point what might be needed is more of a White People Adjustment Conference.

RantWoman WISHES the session had gotten to:
   --more about what is equity and how issues look to different people
   --more about the call out / call into dialogue spiritual center / how to sweat with our different personal challenges dynamics of the conference.
   --More about "I didn't tell you about my day," micro aggressions, and macro effects of micro annoyances.

Even without the "would be nice to get to" issues above, RantWoman came away from that session with thoughts about two whole months more of topics that Adult Ed might invite people to speak to. RantWoman gets to take that up with Adult Religious Education.

But back to "Free Nelson Mandela." RantWoman was in college and graduate school during the era when it was fashionable for young caring students everywhere to demand that their institutions divest from firms doing business in South Africa. RantWoman thinks advocating for the cause was valuable on many grounds, and RantWoman understands why one might call people out: a friend of RantWoman's once remarked that one reason white liberals from the US love to talk about South Africa is that at least people there are bigger racists than in the US.

RantWoman has similar opinions about the sudden renewed impetus to rename our Unmentionable / Oops Well committee. RantWoman WANTS to honor the faithfulness of the person who raised the issue. RantWoman thinks the idea is kind of a nice "Thank you for coming to town" gesture in honor of the White Privilege Conference. AND...

RantWoman  thinks the exact proposal is badly seasoned. RantWoman thinks the badly seasoned proposal has now come to Business Meeting twice and the Unmentionable / Oops Well committee has gotten clear feedback from more people than just RantWoman that more work is needed.

RantWoman began with a simple information request about historical usage. RantWoman has NO interest in some internet vote of how many Meetings use which of several alternatives proposed. RantWoman is interested in an articualte sense of WHY different variants have been chosen. What canst thou say, indeed? Harrumph!

RantWoman further repeats her point about hopes that renaming the Unmentionable committee and dealing with one small associated cleanup in our meeting's bylaws is not all our Meeting needs to do to think about privilege.

But why "Free Nelson Mandela. RantWoman will certainly be among those celebrating Mandela's life and mourning his passing whenever it occurs. But his work continues near and far. RantWoman hopes that her Meeting will not be in such a hurry to be loudly visible allergic to a few words to forget the Spirit behind the point of thinking about a change and what all we might need to include..Even worse, RantWoman does not apologize for going all Word Nerd on the situation, trusting that there is Light to be had during the quest for a new committee name..

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Signs: 100% Quaker. Oatmeal Content Varies, Flavored with Free Will Astrology

RantWoman is meditating upon the following signs and miracles or lack thereof:

Message in recent Meeting for Worship from Pema Chodron, something like "breathe in the pain and care of the world, breathe out joy and peace."

Oh great, the only breathe out message that is showing up right now is a dragon, breathing fire, a very focused centered dragon, but still a dragon breathing fire.

Oh Holy Jesus!

There seems to be a great deal of "the porridge of the Quakers" getting disseminated through our nation's commodity food streams. RantWoman lives around many people who regularly feed themselves from these resources. Many of RantWoman's neighbors disdain "the porridge of the Quakers" and leave their weekly distributions about for RantWoman and other oatmeal inclined neighbors to pick up. RantWoman feels cheaply blessed.

Oh great! RantWoman is well fed and full of energy. LOOK OUT WORLD.

RantWoman is seasoning the following item from a horoscope awhile ago:

Free Will Astrology for the Week of Amay 22
CANCER (June 21–July 22): Don't take yourself too seriously. The more willing you are to make fun of your problems, the greater the likelihood is that you will actually solve them. If you're blithe and breezy and buoyant, you will be less of a magnet for suffering. To this end, say the following affirmations out loud. (1) "I'm willing to make the mistakes if someone else is willing to learn from them." (2) "I'm sorry, but I'm not apologizing anymore." (3) "Suffering makes you deep. Travel makes you broad. I'd rather travel." (4) "My commitment is to truth, not consistency." (5) "The hell with enlightenment, I want to have a tantrum." (6) "I stopped fighting my inner demons. We're on the same side now."

Oh, holy JESUS, RantWoman, are you SURE?

RantWoman has been looking at blog hit statistics.RantWoman is really not sure why a post about MGoF holiday billboards attracted a phenomenal number of hits. RantWoman suspects the attraction is not some giant number of people suddenly interested in Quaker bilboards. RantWoman considers it more likely there is some Google map / branding thing going on, but RantWoman is perfectly prepared just to run iwth what she's got and turn over what the MT thing is supposed to be saying and to whom.

RantWoman notes that her post about cuddle puddles enjoyed a recent uptick of hits.

RantWoman is intrigued that a post from a TED talk by a domestic violence survivor attracted a whole bunch of hits. There is a tell EVERYONE subtext of that link. RantWoman so far has refrained from Tell EVERYONE. Hold RantWoman in the Light. Hold EVERYONE else in the Light too.

Oh Holy Jesus!

Or maybe hold everyone in the Light while RantWoman exclaims "what is it about my face that causes people to need to tell me about their restraining order issues?"

RantWoman has been thinking about Irrepressible Nephew being most assuredly a preteen, for a FEW more months, thinking about life as a teenage RantWoman.

In that vein, RantWoman is TOUCHED to have sparked the following reflection:

RantWoman means at some point to go a different direction with that prompt an d Bob Dylan, "ah, but I was so much older then. I'm so much younger than that now...." but RantWoman is SO grateful it meant something to someone else.

RantWoman has been basically a fat four-eyed nerd since approximately age two. RantWoman remembers life as a teenager in her faith community with, um, apprehension after the fact. The nicest girl RantWoman's age never came to church because of child custody issues. The two girls who did come thought RantWoman was a tiresome nerd; RantWoman returned the favor: they seemed like snotty empty-headed party animal twits, and impression RantBrother underscored because they all had similar interests and talked to each otehr fine. RantWoman can concede the limits of her Light; these girls no doubt have grown up into fine human beings with no more Issues than RantWoman herself.

Except for the wonderful but not entirely approachable Bernie and Doris of Jr. High, Sunday school was taught by a sequence of perfectly fine thoughtful men but they were men; RantWoman's best grounding as a young woman came from an Older Woman who observed the aforementioned girls being snotty and after that made a point of saying Hi to RantWoman EVERY time we saw each other. That alone was HUGE. Still, it took RantWoman a LONG time to be able actually to talk further about her own spiritual life. There is more to go with this but RantWoman is not going there just now.

RantWoman's Quakerese filter is functioning very badly. RantWoman has some weird brain circuit firing peculiarly and turning ALL Kinds of messages into "shut up." RantWoman does not know whether to be amused or chagrined that it is working really well even for dear old Isaac Pennington.
...Isaac Penington, ... advised:
Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations one against another; but praying one for another, and helping one another up with a tender hand, if there has been any slip or fall; and waiting till the Lord gives sense and repentance, if sense and repentance in any be wanting. Oh! wait to feel this spirit, and to be guided to walk in this spirit, that ye may enjoy the Lord in sweetness, and walk sweetly, meekly, tenderly, peaceably, and lovingly one with another. And then, ye will be a praise to the Lord.

RantWoman is remembering a moment from one of the fire department disaster preparedness presentations she went to while adjusting to midlife vision meltdown. RantWoman had a spectacular flashback to a previous housefire. RantWoman had to sit with the flashback only a few minutes to realize it came with a message that needed to be heard by the whole room. RantWoman feels the same way about Issac Pennington; RantWoman is feeling pretty strongly called to elder several people in her Meeting.

Oh Holy Jesus!

RantWoman's Meeting is populated with several people who are too eager to insist on forgiveness without being able to give space for what forgiveness is needed about. There are times of danger and serious interpersonal challenge where just babbling about forgiveness is idiotic, It might be necessary. It might be powerful, but it might not be all of what is needed. If someone is standing on RantWoman's foot by accident it's possible can forgive them but it's still appropriate to ask them to move. RantWoman is grateful to borrow someone else's words about attending to her own integrity and others' woundedness. RantWoman needs her readers' forebearance about testing whether that comment is needed in their own lives rather than insisting on more details from the gospel according to RantWoman.

Besides, look world, RantWoman is not a Quaker because of being any good at this peace and love stuff. RantWoman is a Quaker because she needs all the help she can get. That means DON'T OVERDO IT. RantWoman can forgive a LOT but it's a WHOLE lot easier to forgive when there is some interaction with a desire not to have to keep forgiving new occurrences of the same problem.. There RantWoman goes with more God as personal butler expectations, but anyway....

Next, RantWoman needs Friends' forebearance about assorted brain malfunctions.
RantWoman has been blessed with a built-in very badly calibrated idiot detector. It works like one of those new iGizmos with cameras front and back. The idiot detector goes off all over the place right now. Sometimes there is no actual idiot. Sometimes the idiot is in front of the idiot detector. Sometimes the idiot is behind the idiot detector. Sometimes the idiot detector is blaring because there are idiots all over the place. But RantWoman rides the bus. The idiot detector always gets a vigorous workout on the bus and by the grace of God hundreds of thousands of people get from A to B on the bus idiots or no idiots. RantWoman is thinking that if we all hold that thought it will somehow also shed Light.

Free Will Astrology for the Week of May 29
CANCER (June 21–July 22): Here's a thought from philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein: "A person will be imprisoned in a room with a door that's unlocked and opens inwards as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push that door." I'd like to suggest that his description fits you right now, Cancerian. What are you going to do about it? Tell me I'm wrong? Reflexively agree with me? I've got a better idea. Without either accepting or rejecting my proposal, simply adopt a neutral, open-minded attitude and experiment with the possibility. See what happens if you try to pull the door open.

Free Will Astrology for the Week of ....
CANCER (June 21–July 22): "In order to swim one takes off all one's clothes," said 19th-century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. "In order to aspire to the truth, one must undress in a far more inward sense, divest oneself of all one's inward clothes, of thoughts, conceptions, selfishness, etc., before one is sufficiently naked." Your assignment in the coming week, Cancerian, is to get au naturel like that. It's time for you to make yourself available for as much of the raw, pure, wild truth as you can stand.

Again with the spiritual striptease? REALLY?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Annual Session Ad Copy, too late and too early

Ad copy: Why should YOU consider attending Annual Session:

How will Annual Session make you / your Meeting more open to movements of Spirit, better steeped in God's currents, more full of daily centering and prophetic witness?

What will you bring with? What might you take away?
Look world, RantWoman actually does NOT prefer to offer ad copy after Meeting for Worship about “why should YOU consider attending Annual Session” on the last day of registration. RantWoman prefers to weigh in a lot sooner, like maybe January so families who need to request vacation time and fit things into a tight budget have a prayer of doing so. RantWoman further points out that these days RantWoman goes to Annual Session already wearing too many hats, determined not to take on more hats, and aware that there are hats attached to fun, rewarding doable work which RantWoman wishes would find other heads. This year, RantWoman went so far as to tell Worship and Ministry that if heads who might be inspired to take on some of this work apply for money, they should get money ahead of RantWoman! Guess who got her full grant request approved!

Ad copy, such as it is:

LOTS of ways to renew connections and nurture spiritual growth including Friend in Residence, Interest Groups, Worship Sharing, singing, singing, singing.

It’s Quakers go to camp! Business Meeting EVERY DAY! ?!?!?

It’s our youth needing to get together.

1. RantWoman remembers the Central Friends calling adults out last year. The latest CO mass shooting occurred during last year’s Annual Session. The Central Friends were the ones whose epistle called Friends’ attention to this outrage. RantWoman has been holding that concern all year as Friends Committee on WA Public Policy talks about different aspects of gun violence, suicide, shootings in the headlines and which states have most well-developed restorative justice and violence prevention programs; RantWoman admits this energy from our youth also causes her to invite youth to talk to Friends Committee for WA Public Policy about leadings which might develop further.

2. RantWoman remembers Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting last year, the one where urban families all got smoked out by wildfires in the area. Two business meetings did need to happen, but the youth who had come from many less urban places also implored the adults who came to please stay so the youth could also have time together as Quakers.

RantWoman has been holding these thoughts while considering a large proposed dues increase to fund planning of the youth and children’s program at Annual Session. See “it’s Business Meeting EVERY DAY.” RantWoman has some probing questions about Annual Session and planning youth programs and has duly made, basically, a data request; RantWoman also finds herself wondering whether a good youth program at Annual Session might depend on outreach and nurturing local Meetings and Worship Groups all year. RantWoman has two further possibly controversial thoughts:

1. RantWoman suggests that NPYM do targeted fundraising to support both immediate outreach and work focused on youth programs at Annual Session. RantWoman’s Meeting has been able to invest from a large donation to pay First Day School teachers. A more stable program with more consistent participation has bloomed because of this. In other words, there are youth whose families theoretically might come to Annual Session precisely because we are investing all year. RantWoman thinks targeted fundraising could share the costs of this outreach. The proposed dues increase also just looks really dramatic.

2. RantWoman is all for good Annual Sessions, BUT RantWoman notes that some Yearly Meetings only have large gatherings every other year. RantWoman remembers a couple years ago when a proposed minute arrived about overpopulation and was left hanging without final action after being transformed into concerns about overconsumption. RantWoman thinks Friends should test the thought of having large gatherings only every other year and investing our travel time and other resources in activities closer to home on the off years.

It’s two contradictory extreme writing exercises:

1. Daily Bulletin editor. 1 page, 2 sides, a deadline, God and LOTS of people with opinions about what should go on that page every day. Someone with even the slightest inclination to be a petty tyrant might be a good match for what is needed.

2. Epistle Committee. The fun parts: Epistle Committee gets to read all the epistles from all over the world. This is a great opportunity for naturally introverted Quakers who do not just burst into spontaneous conversation every time they find themselves in a flock of people. One contributes by reading quietly on one’s own and by seasoning with a committee how to send a sample of the year’s gathering out into the wider world. The downside: reading the epistle in plenary where God and 300 people all want to help edit one’s STUFF.

Ad copy HIGHLY specific to RantWoman’s situation that probably ALSO speaks to at least a few other Friends.

RantWoman’s annual session lately has come with bonus interactions with campus tech support staff when RantWoman has encountered difficulty interfacing with campus computer networks. RantWoman considers it a great good thing that over time she has acquired more of her own technological prerequisites AND also received appropriate technologically competent and otherwise astute help, particularly dealing appropriately with the presence of RantWoman’s assistive technology from the tech support staff of every university where Annual Session has taken place.

It’s a really awesome place to hang out while living with a long succession of medical issues. RantWoman is not sure the Quaker spa angle is the BEST marketing she can come up with, but….

If you are not interested in RantWoman’s experience on this score, please stop here, check out and get about discerning what Annual Session might have to offer you. If you want testimony to community in spite of multiple forms of difficulty read on.

2012: PLU Reports back from World Gathering; Benigno Sanchez Eppler. Many messages of renewal in closing worship and work to get there. RantWoman broke her arm a week before Annual Session. RantWoman spent all of Annual Session seesawing between pain and the downsides of different painkiller regimens. More than enough said. RantWoman held daily one-person worship lethargy events during Worship Sharing time. RantWoman is deeply grateful that every day someone sat down for a visit and that someone was willing either just to help RantWoman tie up her hair OR let RantWoman teach them how to French braid. RantWoman in passing also particularly upheld epistle committee and participation by one youth attending with his grandparents and masterful attention from his age group leader.

2011: PLU RantWoman’s attention and Light were needed by situations not suitable for specifying in further detail except to say this was a blessing as far as channeling scorching opinions of other matters.

2009, 2010: U of MT. RantWoman was Daily Bulletin editor. RantWoman has written previously of her long life history with the University of MT campus. RantWoman loves having Annual Session in Missoula, and RantWoman also always has to tend to layers of memory.

2008: Oregon State. Great swimming pool. Same great dorm windows that always irresistibly draw people to sit and dangle their legs several stories above the ground. RantWoman has decidedly mixed feelings about the allure of these dorm windows and visitations to Annual Session by state police who prefer to err on the side of caution as far as gravity and potential lawsuits.

2007: Reed College. RantWoman thinks, looking back that by this year she at least had taken up with Ambassador Thwack the Badly-behaved White Cane. RantWoman THINKS she was in pretty good shape, but her roommates, Grandma and granddaughter had some rough moments RantWoman found herself unsure how to uphold. RantWoman learned after the fact that those organizing Annual Session need upholding as far as relationships with our venues. RantWoman thinks that is enough said about the change in venue for the next year.

2006: PLU abbreviated session before Friends General Conference. RantWoman was very glad to get to go to the FGC gathering. RantWoman also was glad to help about accessibility. And RantWoman was not yet speaking up for herself as far as desire to consume Quaker print in forms accessible for her. Sigh. But half the allure of Gathering was just a big break from other family members’ medical issues.

2005: PLU. RantWoman had some role related to Interest Groups for Annual Session planning. RantWoman does not think she fulfilled it brilliantly. On the contrary, RantWoman thinks it MAY have been at least a mixed blessing that RantWoman left Annual Session 2 days early to fly to MT and tend to RantMom after cancer surgery. RantWoman also thinks she had some undiagnosed eye yuck because the eye yuck was finally diagnosed after RantWoman returned from MT in September.

2004: U of MT. Two months out from surgery for detached retina. Face still swollen with a serious “my doctor got paid to do that to me bruise.” RantWoman spent lots of time falling asleep in plenaries or on whatever furniture was handy in air conditioned spaces. RantWoman was blessed by a travelling companion who asked her thoughtfully whether she ever considered having an anger management moment. No, not in the last 11 seconds or so. And what about a service python? RantWoman considers the idea of a service python so deliciously inappropriate that she grins every time it comes up. Thank heaven RantWoman does not try to get into a cab with an actual python though.

2003: U of MT: RantWoman’s other arm was still in some kind of cast or exercise regimen. RantWoman apologizes for not remembering who were Friends in Residence….

RantWoman is grateful to feel well-held in many ways; RantWoman does NOT think she could have handled all her own circumstances if, for instance, she also needed to tend to a child. RantWoman thus finds yet another reason to be humble and seek Light about what exactly Annual Session offers others and how to make those blessings more apparent when people are choosing whether to attend. RantWoman also darn well wants to interact with the questions more timely with respect to future years!