Friday, April 30, 2010

It's only TWO pages

RantWoman is having one of those mornings when all the threads of her life are tangled in a big jumble and the RantWoman verbosity transmogrifying reflex is working at full power.

--RantWoman is the designated recipient for the reflection papers for the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference . RantWoman thanks everyone for the stream of papers arriving in her inbox and is quite looking forward to worship and sharing with everyone at the conference. RantWoman heartily exhorts everyone else to do as she is trying to do and finish their papers.
RantWoman is deeply touched by several writers' simple clarity. Simple clarity is eluding RantWoman. In fact, RantWoman is doing really well trusting the part about fanning flames and rebelling about points that seem to get the self-discipline part wrong. Unfortunately, if RantWomen herself does not always know what to do with the torrents erupting from her soul it is not necessarily reasonable to expect anyone else, even the best mentors to know either. So we continue to sit with...--and to EDIT.

--RantWoman has a thread in her email about "plain text." This is a computer reference highly topical for blind geeks, not for instance more blog roll about Quaker plain dress.

--RantWoman has commitments at Meeting both Saturday and Sunday. RantWoman means to keep them even though these events conflict with events outside Meeting related to RantWoman's bent toward peace testimony, radical equality, nuclear disarmament, justice and equal rights for immigrants. Under the circumstances, RantWoman is just meditating about "the Light and Power that takes away the occasion for war" and all the cross currents coming in, out, and through Meeting life.

--RantWoman continues to find herself not only inadequately versed in the history of splits among Friends but pulled more toward the frontiers of relationships among many different faith traditions, Friends and otherwise. RantWoman supposes this makes her somewhat ill-equipped even to hear the language of different traditions; sometimes RantWoman wonders whether she just handles the importance of such questions differently in the first place.

--RantWoman came to Friends from peace and justice activism and a lifetime of mainline Protestantism of various flavors. RantWoman is so grateful over time as her experience of the life of silent worship has deepened; RantWoman feels a lot less certain and experienced about Quaker practices such as clearness processes and even queries. RantWoman feels considerably less than well-steeped in these traditions. There is a "peace begins at home" aspect of this uncertainty that makes the theme of the conference feel very real but the whole of RantWoman's thoughts and experiences is not fitting into only two pages.

--RantWoman is having the umpteenth conversation with herself about the "why meet as women?" Over her life, RantWoman herself has been all over the map about this question: taking a lot of science and match courses at a university which, at the time was about 1/3 women, women-only political activism, plenty of mixed-gender activism.
RantWoman recalls being touched a few years ago when a Friend from her Meeting said an older rather academic Friend thought RantWoman came on a little strong. In RantWoman's more outspoken youth, she would have said "Kind of?" At the time she was touched when younger Friend just said RantWoman is nice about it at least.
Anyway, RantWoman has been on the planning committee a couple different times with a gap between. The question of mixed gatherings keeps coming up and there are less frequently regional mixed gender FWCC gatherings, but the leading to preserve the women-only space for this conference has been clear and strong and expressed very distinctly in several ways. Guys, if you want to get together and do narrative theology, there's absolutely nothing stopping you!

--RantWoman is still working on her reflection paper for the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference . The morning's first mental hiccups have to do with the title, "Walk With Me, Mentor, Elder, Friend."
RantWoman has not yet digested some comments from a Friend about the book of Job and the "walk with me" part. What the heck does that mean? The subject is highly topical in RantWoman's life right now and the reflection passages are not doing much to help. "Don't try to play God, get out of the way and let God work" is the thought coming to mind, but even that needs details to flesh it out. RantWoman's research geek instincts want more reading at least and the paper is due....TOMORROW.
RantWoman's other mental hiccup about the title has to do with the word "elder." RantWoman understands that the word is probably meant in the church tradition sense. Even that has a certain "what the heck do we mean" aspect, but RantWoman also notes the march of time the problem and some signs around many edges of the difficulties that come with aging. In fact, RantWoman should quit procrastinating and do something work-related about that topic. Instead, RantWoman is cross with a peer in her Meeting for being unwilling to face the "walk with me" part of being present about this even if it means being both observant of and a little forgiving about some lapses that probably need quiet watching.

--The reflection paper is only TWO pages. It does not have to be everything, as Russians say, from Adam and Eve to the crucifixion. In fact that won't all fit. So back to editing!


  1. RantWoman,

    Just a brief reminder to be gentle with yourself. I understand the impulse--conscious or unconscious--to compare yourself to others, especially as the papers start coming in... But go gently. God needs you to be you, and to speak and write in your own voice...

    Something tells me you know this already. smile

    And my heart aches to be with all of you at the conference. I want to say "So close but yet so far." Each time I sense a door opening, God speaks quietly into my heart and says Not yet, not now, not this year.


    Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

  2. Friend Liz

    It would be a blessing to have you when you can come though it rather seems to RantWoman that you are doing very important and powerful work in the Midwest as well.

    Thank you for the encouragement. Many of the papers which have come in have spoken deeply of things RantWoman needs to hear and to hold. This is a separate problem from what RantWoman needs to write.

    RantWoman is pretty clear she is going to have to trust that God can handle the RantWoman as firehose problem. RantWoman is seasoning leadings to publish on her blog the several papers so far which have crossed her mind but not been submitted to the conference website. Perhaps that is enough said for now.