Friday, June 5, 2009


It occurs to RantWoman that in connection with preparations for the next Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference it would not be terrible to assemble some e-material on eldering. It would occur to RantWoman that this is a good idea, but RantWoman has way too much ahead of this in queue to do today.

RantWoman confesses that she has already posted the results of one recent effort to elder her about her practice sometimes of doing Sudoku in Meeting for Worship. RantWoman was proud to accept the role of Clerk of the Committee on Doing Sudoku in Meeting for Worship Committee at Facebook's Association of Bad Friends. RantWoman realizes that this failing is not of the same scale as some proudly proclaimed there, but RantWoman feels that is as much obvious failing as she will willingly contribute. Unwillingly may be another matter! As for the redundancy in the committee name, both RantWoman's Monthly Meeting and Yearly Meeting as well as some other bodies have committees with just about that level of redundancy and that appears to be an element of some flavors of Quakerese.

RantWoman finds herself reflecting on another hypothetical instance of eldering. RantWoman's Meetinghouse used to have an absolutely lovely salmon-colored azalea at the edge of the walkway at the entry to the grounds. A couple of years ago while the tree / bush/ whatever azaleas are was in glorious full bloom, some unknown miscreants came along at some unknown time and hauled it away. They hauled it away in a way that broke all the stalks and almost certainly killed the plant.

On the scale of global barbarities, one unquestionably could do worse, but several Friends were justifiably affronted and mortified. What to do in this situation? RantWoman advocated calling the cops and making them come and take a report just in case there was a band of azalea-butchering barbarians loose in the city, but RantWoman thinks that did not happen. What else to do?

RantWoman is an enthusiastic consumer of all manner of possibly un-Quakerly material. Well RantWoman is a Quaker and she consumes it, therefore.... However, be ye forewarned some of RantWoman's tastes might curl your hair. A local rag called The Stranger offers its pages as a forum for weekly anonymous rants and the azalea-napping seemed prime candidate for excoriation in that medium. The Wrong Azalea RantWoman did not write the headline; she would have done better.

RantWoman was mainly venting her own spleen; she did not mean this as a test of who else among the weighty of her Meeting also read The Stranger but her efforts were recognized. When asked she of course readily claimed credit. The following good-natured conversation ensued: "Does thee need to be eldered?" "I dunno. Would thee like More overt reference to (our site) or less? Would thee like MORE unQuakerly language or less unQuakerly language?"

You dear readers might get the idea from these examples that RantWoman is not fully receptive to eldering. RantWoman is inclined to let time and other posts take care of that possible misimpression. Let us just say that RantWoman has once or twice just felt tremendously ministered to by different generations of Quakers speaking to their experiences in previous times. Sometimes the precise words are one matter. Sometimes it is also just the fact that these Friends have come through these events still centered and clear as Friends.


  1. I have a suspicion thee will like Wendy Cope (from a thin volume given to me some Christmas by a brother-in-law)

    Kindness to Animals

    This poem was commissioned by the editor of the Orange Dove of Fiji, an anthology for the benefit of the World Wide Fund for Nature. It was rejected as unsuitable.

    If I went vegetarian
    And didn't eat lambs for dinner,
    I think I'd be a better person
    And also thinner.

    But the lamb is not endangered
    And at least I can truthfully say
    I have never, ever eaten a barn owl,
    So perhaps I am okay.

    Wendy Cope, _Serious Concerns_
    Aside from that. why Sudoku in meeting? Sokoban seems much superior! But seriously, I take up so much of my time with intellectual fidgets, that doing one during worship seems excessive. Wert meditating on the state of mind that causes/results-from doing this activity? Trying to see God better with an indirect glance? What what?!

  2. RantWoman liked the poem very much. RantWoman went through a phase but now is not a vegetarian. RantWoman likes lots of vegetarian food just fine and often eats it by choice even when meatier options are presented as well. However, RantWoman is descended from proud farm stock, the sort of stock that gives thanks for the animal and then eats with appreciation.

    What is Sokoban? RantWoman can use a search engine too but is not necessarily into acquiring new intellectual fidgets, especially since the ones she has already get her into enough trouble.

    Why Sudoku? Although RantWoman has discovered unexpected spiritual resonances, RantWoman really cannot claim many spiritual motivations at the beginning. RantWoman likes the seeing God through an indirect glance thought, and RantWoman has an entry here about custody of the eyes and other visual worship that comes up in connection with Sudoku. The sudoku is a combination of visual practicalities and obsessiveness.

    First it is not just any old teeny tiny sudoku. RantWoman has to be able to read the sudoku and has to have enough room to write with her preferred fat pens. Somewhere on this blog is an entry that explains both RantWoman's particular visual challenges and some especially piquant ones in the Worship room at her Meetinghouse. Sometimes RantWoman uses Sudoku to help her settle down her eyes and body.

    Sometimes RantWoman arrives at Meeting for Worship with a puzzle half-done from the bus or with some other obsession clanging at her soul related to her bus journey. In the best cases the Sudoku is the emotional equivalent of cleansing one's palate at a wine-tasting.