Walk with Me: Mentor, Elder, Friend
From: Martha Paxson Grundy, Tall Poppies: Supporting Gifts of Ministry and Eldering in the Monthly Meeting, p. 27, Pendle Hill Publications. Many Friends today are crying out for spiritual mentors, for ministers and elders who are lovingly steeped in our tradition. Some Friends hunger for a deeper relationship with God, for a connection with a divine power that heals and empowers. We long for wise and loving role models and examples.”
“Ah, but I was so much older then; I’m so much younger than that now.” Bob Dylan
From: 2 Timothy 1:5-7 I’m reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois, then in your mother Eunice, and now, I’m certain, in you as well. That’s why I want to remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God didn’t give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, of self-discipline.
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled." Plutarch
In previous centuries, many Friends kept journals of their travels and experiences in faith. Blogs are this century’s equivalent. I blog about Quaker matters at rantwomanrsof.blogspot.com ,. RantWoman, my blogosphere alter ego, can be a little out of control. Exhortations to self-discipline are one thing; at the moment RantWoman is doing way better about fires to be kindled. RantWoman demands a voice for this conference.
Q. RantWoman is a pseudonym. Many Quaker bloggers hew to the Testimony on Integrity. They blog under their own names. They use only the first name and last initial of other Friends they write about. Would you please discuss your use of pseudonyms to speak of yourself and others?
A. Testimony on Integrity? RantWoman can easily imagine that some Friends think she tells way too much of the truth. The pseudonyms are intended to protect the reputations of those subject to RantWoman’s affectionate and occasionally scathing opinions.
RantWoman often writes about herself and others when they are not necessarily at their best. Lately RantWoman has been seasoning challenging matters and people of great gifts in a spirit of love and truth. RantWoman believes in continuing revelation and the transformative power of the divine. RantWoman always wants to leave room for such transformations and the liberating possibility of forgetting one’s former self, at least for awhile.
Q. Please discuss relations between the worldwide information deluge and Quaker traditions.
A. Quaker traditions are of course considerably older than the worldwide web. RantWoman can no longer easily read print so RantWoman’s computer and the worldwide web are a Godsend when it comes to help reading and forming ideas about Friends traditions.Unfortunately, the worldwide information revolution is careening along so fast, RantWoman does not even see easy mentors to help become clear about what the internet and Friends traditions ultimately mean for each other.
RantWoman is not sure how long one is supposed to have worshipped among Friends to have been “steeped in our traditions.” RantWoman comes from a Meeting with a high percentage of people who are not necessarily steeped in Friends’ historical traditions. This on top of technological upheaval lends both perpetual freshness and a certain fluid edginess to thoughts of making Friends’ traditions real. On top of all that, RantWoman at times is even having trouble telling the difference between divine leading among Friends and playing God. So perhaps we should just sit with these questions in extravagant verbosity all over the internet for awhile.
Q. How long has RantWoman been blogging?
A. Just over a year. Blogdom had been beckoning for awhile. RantWoman got a late start partly because of a digital inclusion issue. RantWoman cannot even enter the blogosphere without extra accessibility tools and it took awhile for RantWoman to organize all the pieces she needed to make that happen. This meant RantWoman was out of the loop when other Quakers were setting up their blogs. When RantWoman assembled the necessary tools, her leading to blog was so strong, she just plunged in; it was only later that she went to a workshop, met other Quakers who blog and connected better with the miraculous world of Quaker blogs.
Q. Has RantWoman sought any kind of oversight, say a clearness / support committee?
A. At first, RantWoman went all George Fox on the situation, scribbling all over the medium of the age with total abandon. RantWoman has submitted a request for a support committee. This was a large enough number of months ago that RantWoman thinks someone should have responded. However, the topical committee has a lot else on its plate right now.
RantWoman notes that George Fox did not ask his Meeting’s permission to fill his journal with a lot of badly-written meditations. RantWoman is not sure she likes comparing her writing style with George Fox’s, but she is getting clear feedback suggesting the comparison is topical and has in mine some Friends of both spiritual perspicacity and editorial talent to ask for help corralling matters. RantWoman occasionally considers whether it is her Inner Teacher or just her Inner Child at work, but RantWoman is lurching forward anyway.
Q. RantWoman writes a lot about vision loss and blindness. What’s the story?
A. RantWoman’s eyeballs, in flagrant disregard of Quaker testimonies against games of chance have fallen prey to DNA Lotto and, without asking RantWoman’s permission had a spectacular midlife meltdown. This experience added whole new casts of mentors and mentees, and kind of shook up what it means to walk with RantWoman.
RantWoman considers herself lucky on many counts. RantWoman also thinks of a Pendle Hill pamphlet “On Hallowing our Diminishments.” Some of the time RantWoman thinks of this pamphlet. If RantWoman ever wrote a pamphlet on similar topics, it would be called “On Howling about our Diminishments.” RantWoman also grumbles about having to add an extra query about the availability of Quaker materials in accessible e-book formats. If RantWoman still has not run out of grumbles, she can meditate about the lacunae in the ADA, the hassles of needing help and accommodations from those around her,, numerous other themes.
Q. Your blog has lots of tags one might expect among Friends, but how come the single most frequently occurring tag is called Compost?
A. See comments above: RantWoman writes about herself and sometimes about others when they are not necessarily at their best. RantWoman most assuredly believes in the transformative power of the divine. Enough said?