Thursday, August 17, 2017

What Have we Done / Senzeni Na

RantWoman is for the present somewhere between reflexively holding in the Light and ignoring:

--the most recent Islamic State outrage this time in #Barcelona

--the parade of heavily armed Nazis and the car attack on counterprotestors in #Charlottesville

--Various threads of recent protests in Seattle including an echo of elsewhere in the form "Officer, if we agree the stick on my sign is a weapon, do I have a second amendment right to keep carrying it around?"

--Re North Korea #DPRK, is North Korea a cheap way for China to antagonize the US? Should threatening nuclear war by tweet be a violation of Twitter Terms of Service? Should the Terms of Service just include a disclaimer. This platform may not be suitable for sensitive international negotiation and Twitter is not responsible for the outcomes if you insist on trying to use it that way"?

--No, RantWoman still has not read Google dude's MANifesto. Sight unseen, RantWoman is torn. On one hand, RantWoman suggests that Google dude be assigned to a project with a female manager and a team that is 50 % female for the duration of his working life. On the other hand, should Google Dude express even the slightest willingness to serve on the Still Didn't Get the Memo Committee on Email Immoderation, the Committee on Discernment, Leadings, and Nominating, could probably find him a place there. meanwhile, RantWoman has not been tracking but thinks it would be Just Fine if more men would speak out as men about Google Dude.

Now to what is really on RantWoman's mind:

How is it God and the Google and the former choir director at RantMom's church between them served up something RantWoman clearly needed and would not have known even where to look?

How is it RantWoman has never until now heard of

Senzeni Na  ?

Senzeni Na means " What have we done. It has been described as the South African Equivalent of We Shall Overcome. RantWoman finds the phrase "What have we done" theologically curious to say the least. RantWoman is not going to get that thought through in the near future, but is definitely filing it under needs further chewing..

Here is a Wikipedia Entry
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senzeni_Na%3F

Here are a number of videos in some cases with the descriptive text copied. The Google is bountiful about videos; RantWoman is curious why none of the videos she has sampled so far mention that a group of women sang this song nonstop outside the building where the Truth and Reconciliation Commission met, for the entire duration of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. RantWoman is also vaguely mulling the concepts of Truth and Reconciliation as a whole bunch of labels are getting flung around with respect to identity and people in the United States.

But the videos and in some cases, the short descriptions posted with the videos.
https://youtu.be/j5xp2j0F3wg

With info in Portuguese
https://youtu.be/VS1H4si1igI

Cape Town Youth Choir
https://youtu.be/5fDU1PYWT8A

Stanford Talisman Youth Choir 2016
https://youtu.be/5DkGyhchzYk
The title translated into English is "What have we done?". A well-known South African anti-apartheid protest song, “Senzeni Na” has been sung since the 1950s, and reached the height of its popularity in the 1980s. Since then, “Senzeni Na” has been sung across the world by choirs of all races and colors but has a message that has been particularly poignant for Black South Africans.

https://youtu.be/U8wrRMnxZXM
This song, more correctly spelt as “Senzeni Na?”, means "What Have We Done?. It is a South African anti-apartheid folk song of unknown origin in the Xhosa/Zulu language. It has been around at least since the 1950s, and it reached the height of its popularity during the 1980s. Activist Duma Ndlovu compared its influence to that of the American protest song, “We Shall Overcome". It is commonly sung at funerals,

Other nuggets that also came with Senzeni Na:
RantMom's church got some kind of a Renewing Worship grant through one of their denominational channels. They used part of their money to bring back their former choir director, now a professor of music for a workshop.

RantWoman can totally see why former choir director reminds RantMom of RantDad as a young professor, down to the crew cut, updated just a bit. RantWoman is impressed that academic work included study of the cultures of song and revolutions in Eastern Europe.

RantWoman does not particularly want to think of growing up in a police state. RantWoman is delighted though to think of a teenager finding freedom in his Dutch Reformed Church upbringing by delving into the centuries of hymn tunes catalogued in the back of his church hymnals and in stories of the Old Testament.

Other nuggets from the exercise:

Consensus about worship: intentional gathering in community to connect with each other and encounter God. (Look: they're Presbyterians. RantWoman describes herself as theologically multilingual and can definitely handle these terms. RantWoman was struck by the agreement of several groups in slightly different terms.)

Hymn tunes carrying over across centuries and without regard to language.

The value of singing in languages one does not know as  a way of widening the circle of community.

RantWoman curiously is still not doing so well about "We Must All Sing TOGETHER." On the other hand, RantWoman hates it when she is one of the loudest voices trying to sing. RantWoman can usually hear when she is not in tune and has not the foggiest idea how to fix the problem beyond adding pipe organ enough to bury...

Hold us ALL in the Light.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cities, Churches, God, Real Estate matters

RantWoman is growing impatient with the plodding evolution of a discernment process in her Meeting. RantWoman means to elaborate in a separate post or more likely in several posts.

RantWoman today simply wants to talk of a vision where the whole community, not just some small committee might have the opportunity to read some of the same materials, chew them over in conversation, and let the chewing feed the different pieces of research and discernment likely to be involved. RantWoman would like to know whether others share this vision, but RantWoman is for now clear in her own Light regardless.

RantWoman has a vision of an electronic resource where people might both contribute articles, videos, and other materials and participate in conversations. RantWoman envisions a resource where public processes might be tracked by collecting the public record agendas and videos.

RantWoman would kind of like to light a fire under someone to make a shared effort, perhaps even a cleaner and more simply tagged effort than RantWoman's blog but again RantWoman is not doing well about patience and frankly has a leading just to collect info here and trust that the collecting will increase the chance of finding things on RantWoman's mind more than once.

RantWoman will try to post with queries and invite comments. RantWoman moderates comments and hopes mainly to have a very light touch about moderation, to spare her readers the ads and bizarre hateful bile that occasionally shows up behind the Blogger scenes.

By way of launching this collection, two resources that swam out of recent RantWoman Twitter streams:

NY Times article about city congregations, their buildings, and the real estate market

What do Friends consider important as far as historical preservation, connection with history?

What do Friends consider appropriate financial stewardship?

Another resource: a lecture by Diana Butler Bass at the Chattauqua Institute about cities and the Bible. The language may or may not speak to everyone, but RantWoman finds it an interesting presentation about cities and the Bible.


What language do Friends find most helpful in talking about the spiritual dimensions of a process that is going to involve complex vocabulary from a number of different public policy and economic domains?


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Avis Wanda McClinton speaks History

Wonderful interview with Avis Wanda McClinton of Upper Dublin MM by Madeline Schaefer  who grew up Quaker  Found on SoundCloud.

Madeline Schaefer interviews Avis Wanda McClinton

RantWoman notes that it is useful, challenging... to hear the voices of Uper Dublin MM in their own words. RantWoman will hold further observations in the Light.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Property Discernment Committee Charter Before and After


Property Discernment Committee Charter AFTER as approved in January 2017 Meeting For Business


The Discernment Committee for the UFM Campus will facilitate a discernment process about how best to steward our property and worship space as the landscape and needs of our neighborhood, Meeting, City, and Society of Friends change.

The Committee will seek ways to proceed in this discernment that are spiritually nourishing for the Meeting, that draw on the gifts and leadings of our community and that draw in outside expertise as needed.

The Committee will gather input from Meeting individuals and groups about our collective priorities.

The Committee will facilitate thorough research and analyze potential options, such as remaining as-is; selling; or partial or full redevelopment by the Meeting.

This committee or designated subcommittees will present findings at least twice yearly to the Meeting; and support incremental discernment and unity in decisionmaking.

We convene this committee recognizing that there may be several years' work involved and seeking Divine guidance for its work.

Property Discernment committee charter: the BEFORE version
The Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of UFM's Campus will support the Meeting as we discern how best to steward our property as the landscape and needs of our neighborhood, Meeting, City, and Society of Friends change. The Committee will seek ways to proceed in this discernment that are spiritually nourishing for the Meeting. The Committee will: gather input from Meeting individuals and groups about our collective priorities; thoroughly research and analyze potential options, such as remaining as-is, selling, and partial or full redevelopment by the Meeting; present findings regularly to the Meeting; and help bring the Meeting to unity about what option to pursue. When a sense of the meeting is reached, the Committee will recommend next steps for the Meeting, which may require continued work of the ad hoc Committee.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A First Time at Meeting for Worship story

RantWoman here collects another "First Time at Meeting" item complete with various moments of Quakerese in the article and the comments.

Holly Kozelsky First Time at Meeting

This account is of Meeting for Worship.

At the recent #NPYM2017 Annual Session, rant Woman collected more data about at least one newcomer being wowed to visit for the first time on a day when there was Meeting for Business. The newcomer was very positively impressed with how a challenging topic was handled.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Practice Tips for Vocal Ministry

In an effort to leave words of wisdom in their original form, unencumbered by RantWoman message Manglement, RantWoman is posting some items in their own words. Here RantWoman has permission from Joe Snyder to post the handout from an interest group on vocal ministry.



Practice Tips for Vocal Ministry in Meeting for Worship

 

Have one or more regular spiritual practices during the week, daily if possible: prayer time, meditation, journal, physical activity with prayerful centering, etc.  Be watchful in these times for leadings to ministry.

 

Get a good night’s sleep before Meeting.

 

Spend time in prayer and preparation before Meeting.

 

You may eat a good, but light breakfast before Meeting.  Some prefer to fast.  You may wish to be judicious in the use of stimulant beverages.

 

Arrive at Meeting early and find a seat where you can settle into worship.

 

Find a position where you can park your body for an hour or so without having to pay much attention to it.  This may take some practice.  (all of these things may take some practice).  Arrange your face in a pleasant (smiling?) visage.  Some find that attention to the position of the hands makes a difference.

 

As others enter the room, greet them inwardly with love and hold them and their condition in the light.  This may open either the other or yourself or both to receptivity.

 

Opening oneself up to vocal ministry includes opening each member of the body to that option, praying for the process, praying for each one who may be called, praying for the state of the Meeting as a whole.  It may be considered a collective process.

 

Breathe.  Inward breath prayer may be helpful.

 

Centering tools may include an inward mandala or a fixed spot on the wall, floor or ceiling, inward repetitive prayer or song.

 

As ideas, thoughts, leadings come, examine and bless them and let them go.  If they persist, begin to let them be molded into something that may be a message.

 

Pay attention to physical signs.  Many experienced ministers report such symptoms as quaking (we are not called Quakers for nothing)  or trembling, sensations of warmth (maybe on the palms of the hands), sweating, shortness of breath, lightness or light, etc. that seem in indicate authenticity and urgency of a message. 

 

Examine the message.  Is it coming through you, or from you?  Can you deliver it without a lot of first person singular pronouns?  Is it from the heart, from experience?

 

Be attentive to those around you.  Are any likely to be holding you in the Light?  Are there any you need to be holding in the Light?  How does this address the urgency of your message?  Is someone else in the room going to deliver this message?

 

Pare the message down to its essentials.  Eliminate introductions or explanations.

 

Stand up (if able) and deliver the message with your head raised in a clear voice loudly enough to be heard by those in the back of the room and those with hearing disabilities.  If there is not enough power in the message to drive you to your feet, you may wish to sit with it a while longer.

 

Either just before or just after standing, it may be helpful to take a moment or two of inward prayer: eg “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord.”

 

It is good to keep Lewis Carrol’s admonition in mind: “Begin at the beginning, proceed until you get to the end, then stop.”  It is good to sit with the message long enough to have a reasonably good idea of where the end is before you begin.

 

While it may be helpful to do some inward post message analysis of one’s message or delivery, it is best not to dwell on this.

 

Be grateful to and bless those who held you during the delivery of your message.

 

Continue to hold the message and the Meeting in the Light.  You have just dropped a big rock in a still pond.  This includes holding those who will be called to deliver additional messages, and the messages themselves in the light, even before one knows who and what they are.

 

Sometimes messages may be difficult for or incomprehensible to you.  It is OK to just hold the message and the messenger in the Light and not even pay attention to the words.  This is important and powerful work.

 

Ministry can be spiritually, emotionally, and physically draining.  This is normal.  Take care of yourself.  Friends and allies may be useful after Meeting as a shield from those who may want to have an intellectual discussion about the message despite your drained state.

 

Also, be prepared as people approach you after Meeting, that what they heard may not be what you think you said …. and it spoke deeply to their condition.  This is a Mystery and a sign that you have been faithful.

 

The practice of vocal ministry is, indeed, practice.  One will make mistakes: outrun one’s guide, fall short of the mark, go on too long, etc.  While not to be shrugged off, these are inevitable and if attended to, make us more competent servants the next time we are called.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Bathing for All Genders

What's a RantWoman to do?

RantWoman finds this item a highly on-point presentation of issues related to sweat lodges and cultural appropriation.

Spiritual Appropriation Films Explore Cultural Appropriation by New-Agers

AND

RantWoman is aware of several cultures where some kind of group bathing / public steaming is deeply rooted and enjoyed by many. So, RantWoman would love to formulate some understanding of sitting together with spiritual intentions in steaming places that is free of cultural appropriation baggage and that  could be realized easily at Quaker gatherings.

But for now RantWoman will humbly offer comments about all-gender restrooms at #npym2017:

The restrooms in RantWoman's dorm all had doors on stalls and lovely shower curtains. They were also designated all-gender. So RantWoman did not even ask and simply set about taking showers--and holding a caregiving situation in the Light. The only awkward moment: connecting discretely with one's towel after showering.

Hot water: Quakers of all genders expect hot water. This does not mean, for one restroom, there was any God as personal butler model of divine presence or any plumbing staff around to oblige. There was however the soul-purifying opportunity to COPE and an excuse just to ask others to chance a tiny bit more natural olfactory experience than one might mean to impose. Are we feeling pure yet?

Minutes Cookies News

RantWoman! Do NOT squelch the energy and joy of this wonderful young Friend.

B-b-but if I do not say anything.... How about may I please mouth off in square brackets?

Look, RantWoman, you are probably going to ... whether I say anything or not, so if you really really MUST have a middle-aged snit-fit would you maybe please TRY to be kind?

RantWoman usually uses Noms de Blog rather than real names especially when RantWoman writes of things that may be pure message manglement. In this case, RantWoman wants to lift up the wonderful Young Friends statement and is unabashedly quoting extensively from two Facebook posts. Readers who want to find the Facebook posts should be able to come up with helpful search strings.

Quote 1, [annotated]:
Four years ago a Friend and I planted a seed of trans inclusivity in front of a room of about 40 Quakers. [um,. er, How about "tilled the soil of trans inclusivity"? RantWoman so likes words that follow that she will overlook]  Many people took that, tended it, did their own work, and today our Annual [Yearly] Meeting, (aka regional group of Friends encompassing  [UNPROGRAMMED] Quakers within Oregon Washington, Idaho, and Montana) became the first Annual Meeting to pass a Minute (aka statement) on trans inclusivity. We update our Faith and Practice (book of religious guidance) every 12 years [uh, we update our F&P as led. The latest revision has taken 12 years], and the Minute passed [the minute was approved / Meeting came to Unity in just enough time to make it in to the next generation's incarnation of Faith and Practice.

This journey has been so incredible. Seeing elderly people use the words "gender non-conforming," "squish" and "non-binary" with ease, and hearing some of them say that their lives would have been very different had they had that language when they were young. Seeing young trans people come out of the closet in to communities where they are supported and loved. Having cis people buy trans people ice cream and bake them cookies for their emotional labor. There was a lot of frustrating stuff and hurt and pain that went along with it, but oh my goodness, we passed the Minute and made a commitment to keep working through the hard stuff.

[Do you remember how the commitment is to be worked on further?]

Here are some lines from the Minute:

"North Pacific Yearly Meeting understands that the Divine Source is leading our Meeting to honor the gender identity and expression of each person, as understood by that person. We understand that gender may be fluid and changeable. We recognize that when we embrace the Light within the full spectrum identities in our Meeting, our worship deepens and our community is enriched...We extend our loving care to people of all genders, including, but not limited to, transgender, genderqueer, cisgender, gender fluid, agender, gender non-conforming and intersex persons, their families and friends. We will continue to educate ourselves and our communities and take appropriate action to bring about a more equal world."

Quote 2:
Our collective Quaker Meetings of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana just became the first Annual [Yearly] Meeting to make the affirmation of trans people a tenant of our faith. [The "first" part is mildly in dispute, thanks to the formation the day before of the new Sierra Cascade wholly open affirming Christ-centered Yearly Meeting involving Friends from OR, WA and possibly CA. See https://www.scymfriends.org/2017-epistle/   “We are led by the Spirit to commit ourselves to recognizing the full participation of LGBTQ+ people in all aspects of the life of the new yearly meeting.”]

Here is the statement by the Young Adult Friends (18-35) about the importance of approving this statement.

"The young adult friends want to give our support of the trans inclusive Minute. We are coming of age at a time when more trans people are living their lives as their full authentic selves than ever before, and we want to honor and respect the gifts that trans people bring to our community. We recognize that with this increased visibility comes overwhelming discrimination. We mourn the loss of human potential that comes when trans people are forced to spend their energy struggling to survive in this harsh world rather than discovering and nurturing their personal light. We want to live in a faith community where young trans people can use this time in their lives to discover their passions, to learn and to grow, and to build the foundation upon which they base the rest of their lives. Specific and explicit inclusion of all genders is imperative in our community in a world where the default culture remains dangerously intolerant.
This is also a plea for intergenerational unity on this issue that is defining for our times. We deeply need and want the support of our elders and acknowledge the critical role of queer, trans and gender non-conforming elders in our community. We want our faith community to be a place of respite, that provides a safe harbor for trans people and works to shape the rest of society towards justice.
We recognize the importance of centering those impacted by multiple oppressions, and want the passage of this Minute to be the first step towards creating a Quakerism that is fully welcoming to people of color and people of all social and economic backgrounds, both trans and cis.