Wednesday, June 17, 2009

God Gender Torture Creation

RantWoman is feeling that primal nearly pagan thrill she nearly always feels at midsummer. If RantWoman were Catholic, she is certain there would be a saint for the occasion; thinking of this RantWoman remembers an electronic conversation with someone about Hinduism. The theme had been "chosen people complexes." When RantWoman's fellow writer wrote back something about Hinduism being more complex than Christianity, RantWoman wrote back something about "you mean chosen by many gods at once?" There was an electronic chuckle and RantWoman does not remember the next precise moment. IT did not result in any exchange about Hinduism and midsummer, a nexus about which RantWoman's ignorance thus remains large.

RantWoman does not particularly feel a need to dance in the twilight all night to observe Midsummer. A lovely outdoor concert accompanied by the rhythms of a babbling brook would do just fine. Instead RantWoman celebrated with a vigorous walk and a rousing round of dishwashing when she got home. The psychic journey, with themes from RantWoman's most recent Meeting for Worship for Business playing counterpoint in her head is a bit more layered.

Any resemblance between the following and actual minutes for RantWoman's most recent Meeting for Worship for Business are purely accidental:

Discipline: the Yearly Meeting committee seasoning revisions to our Faith and Practice is going to regroup. Despite the committee clerk's sunny prediction, a number of years ago that this work would be all done in two years, the committee will be regrouping in an effort to more precisely realize our vision of radical inclusion. We cannot come to unity about what we believe; therefore we will craft language that includes... We cannot even agree on a label for the committee: one Friend insists it be called the Committee on the Discipline; the committee clerk is uncomfortable with the word discipline. RantWoman herself oscillates between seeing the word Disciple and thinking of something more befitting the back page of RantWoman's favorite scandalous rag.

Torture: We are united in our opposition to torture. However we are nowhere near unity about WHY we are against torture. Some among us have trouble with the phrase images of the Creator as in "torture obliterates the image of the Creator in others." This number appears to include our current clerk. Others of us either think the image of the Creator in others could not possibly be obliterated by mere humans or cannot go forward unless images of the Creator are in our statement and will have big long tirades about not wanting to boil things down to The Big Bang. RantWoman herself again thanks some very wise Sunday school teachers who simply said "who knows how long God's days were then?" RantWoman still has no freaking idea how to extract from that something compact that could be put into the statement that goes with the minute. RantWoman observes us spelling out both views, kicking the problem off for further discernment at Annual Session, and RantWoman especially commends further worship in pursuit of unity. RantWoman also concurred with another restroom user who found the whole exercise torturous.

RantWoman restrained from further sarcasm to the effect that the rest of the world might or might not care about one more goshdang statement that torture is bad and we are agin' it. Those outside Quakerdom would more likely take notice if we all suddenly came out on television FOR torture. Okay, so some of us admit we have a list of people we might happily subject to waterboarding if offered half the chance. Let us just say it is divine mercy not to be offered.

Musical Interlude. The scene: a large auditorium during a Women's Music Festival. The first performer, a regular from the Women's Music circuit though which one RantWoman has no clue, performs a very rocked up "Kum ba yah MOTHERGODDESS!" The crowd applauds, whistles, cheers. Odetta, the next artist, strides onto stage in a great display of presence and dignity. She all but fumigates the stage and then says "Okay, now we will do it right!" Then she leads the crowd of half goddess-worshippers half psychic carnage from various religious wars in amore traditional Kum-ba-yah delivered in Odeta's trademark glorious style.

We now resume our normal Meeting for Worship for Business.

A witch? Oversight Committee recommends we offer membership to a self-described pagan Quaker witch. RantWoman knows there are other Quakers who thus self-identify. RantWoman thinks the word "witch" gets a lot of bad press though RantWoman also feels out of her depth when thinking about supposed patriarchal suppression of women's perspectives, the knowledge of women healers, and assorted other matters. Why would some women have put up with it if this was so universally bad? Did they just know not...?

This particular self-proclaimed witch is in fact a very warm person with an interesting story who has said many, many things that connect with RantWoman's heart and topics near and dear to her. About this person's biggest sin in RantWoman's eyes is changing her profile picture on a certain social networking site about more often than RantWoman changes her underwear and posting acres and acres of untagged photos on that same site. That is nowhere enough to get her onto RantWoman's waterboarding list let alone for RantWoman to want to exclude her from Meeting for Worship. However, RantWoman still could never stick the "witch" label on herself.

RantWoman's Meeting has previously shared worship both with people who protest nuclear submarines and people who maintain nuclear submarines. RantWoman's Meeting includes people who hold quite diverse views about abortion, real estate, Republicans, Democrats, non-ocrats. RantWoman herself has for a long time walked among goddess-worshippers, godless science addicts and supposedly soulless commies. RantWoman generally feels that Meeting for Worship is in the hands of the Divine and that sharing worship is good for almost anyone. RantWoman is also meditating about the unique ministry of being a Quaker witch in the wider world. RantWoman is meditating, but she herself has enough to do exuding Quakerly presence in the direction of thoroughly vexing soap operas at the Friendly Neighborhood Center for Extreme Computing.


  1. Sharing worship is fine, but if it can't help a Cratocrat change herself into a nonothat, what good is it?

    I mean, there's a woman in my Meeting who sincerely believes that we "have to" pass a health-bill designed to keep insurance companies healthy, because that's the only kind of bill we're going to get, and without some Nogood Bill we'll just go on dying like we're doing anyway (and the insurance companies? I myself expect they'll be fine.) She's been doing 'worship' for years; and she's a perfectly nice person aside from that!

    Are the soap operas you mention the real-world real-time walk-in-&-duck type, like riding the bus around here?

    I think my problem with saying "Torture obliterates the image of the Divine in others" would be that it leaves out: "Torture is muy bad for anyone frightened enough to seriously consider doing it to anyone." Frightened people are dangerous, yes?

    Mayhap the trouble with Quaker politics... is that we haven't, at least these past 300 years, gotten down deeply enough into the religious dimension of life to see that passing/stopping one good/bad law or another just doesn't come close to the cause of suffering?

  2. What a delight to have provoked so many responses. RantWoman will respond to some tonight and will reread and respond to others in the near future.

    For the time being RantWoman is squishy about too much personal responsibility and therefore she is also going to stick to the third person.

    RantWoman generally tends to post about the Friendly Neighborhood Center for Extreme Computing on There are several reasons for this: RantWoman does post SOME of the soap operas as well as other piquant moments. The Friendly Neighborhood Center... has all the many challenges of any average nonprofit and some others that may be unique. Also the Friendly Neighborhood Center involves other themes that RantWoman mostly keeps on that blog with occasional crosslinks.

    As for this or that law, RantWoman is generally for passing the sort of laws she is convinced God has delivered unto her. God peculiarly enough does not seem at times to deliver unto others the same laws delivered unto RantWoman. Go figure.

    RantWoman also thinks many strands of Quakerism are devoid of concepts like repentance, transformation, and even reconciliation. These deficits so far have not been enough to make RantWoman go back to being a Baptist, but they often lurk during some of the more repetitive and predictable offerings during Meeting for Worship. RantWoman being a Baptist would be comical since it would inescapably replay some themes and stories from days gone by; RantWoman also supposes since these comments come like clockwork at times during Meeting for Worship that at some point RantWoman may feel herself called to minister about these themes. Well....