Friday, August 14, 2015

Release? Reject? Continuing Revelation.

RantWoman has been holding the following blog posts about the decision by the NWYM board of elders to "release" West Hills Friends for continuing faithfully to be out of unity with the NWYM Faith and Practice standards about same-gender relationships.

To be blunt: the NWYM Faith and Practice proscribes Same-gender relationships; West Hills Friends is open and affirming. West Hills Friends just recently celebrated the marriage of one same-gender couple, welcomes another couple who used to be part of RantWoman's Meeting, and faithfully persists according to their Light.

Readers can read for themselves; RantWoman apologizes but she canot find the link for a statement by Becky Ankeny, Superintendent of NWYM.

RantWoman has also come to realize, she herself has a little bit been refusing to get it. Twice recently, in spite of clear streams of words before RantWoman in multiple social media fora, RantWoman has tried to elicit a sensse that the question of same-gender relationships and God is settled. Clearly it is NOT:

Full marriage equality is certainly the law in the state of WA. So if Friends are led to work together for example about common concerns related to criminal justice or climate change, they may have simply to leave marriage equality alone as a focus for policy work.

RantWoman's Meeting has also been discerning some matters related to our QuEST fellows program and Quaker Voluntary Service. Part of the conversation has been pitched as "training the next generation of Quaker leaders. RantWoman takes vigorous exception to that phrasing and would much prefer speaking of one of many ways to invest in the future of the Religious Society of Friends.

One of the points of discernment to RantWoman's ear is how to broaden support for the program to include all the unprogrammed Meetings in Seattle as well as at least one Friends church. In either case, even if the program is open and affirming, even if everyone who may be involved with the program is welcoming of LGBTQ people, friction will still occur.

Parents who had not previously considered the possibility of an LGBTQ child will be invited to meet a same-sex partner. Other parents will be introduced to a child's new gender identity and pronoun gender preference. One term for this: continuing revelation.

People will still come to the program trailing whatever religious understandings they may have growb up with.

And many states still teach children that there is no safe way to have gay sex.

And Supreme Court ruling or no, county clerks in some states refuse on religious grounds to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples. And when couples get marriage licenses, they may still find that the local baker refuses to sell them a cake.

Quakers, too, in RantWoman's experience sometimes gamely do their best to work and pray together and then step on each other's toes and have to balk some more and pray together some more and go forward. So in the world of RantWoman it is well not to take for granted any of the realities that people in urban Seattle revel in, to remember that the world is very different surprisingly close to home.

Maybe someday NWYM will experience the kind of opening and release that rantWoman felt early in her life at her Meeting as the Meeting came to unity about calling same-gender relationship marriage; maybe that sense of release will wash away whatever hurts and rudeness might have occurred along the path. Maybe grief over abandoning traditions that try to bind what cannot be bound will give way to Divine openings.


And in the meantime...

and this item about a Quaker pastor and his brother's wedding, while RantWoman is trying to restrain herself about pastors and Quaker weddings....

And another post for the collection:

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