Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tact, Diplomacy, Integrity, Eldering, Accessibility, Communion

Dear Eye Roller Friend,

Many among us are grateful your new bicycle to Meeting regimen is getting you to Meeting in time for you and God to show up and shut up at 9:30 worship just like everyone else. We know how much you appreciate silence and we hope you are finding that worship nourishing.

Thank you also for sharing with RantWoman your side of the latest written round of communications between you and a certain committee. To be honest, RantWoman could find ample grounds to concur with the tone of your side of the correspondence. That, of course, would be part of the problem.

So, um, you do realize, RantWoman MIGHT not be the best person to come to for advice on the tact and diplomacy front? Right? For instance, in terms of you and God getting words line up to hold the obviously interesting seking going on in your head in ways others know how to share, RantWoman is unpersuaded that your most recent letter is the way to start. RantWoman is not at all sure what to suggest but she definitely recommends sitting further with the problem.

RantWoman is all about what one blog commenter calls Diversity in Prayer. RantWoman herself is former Clerk of the Committee on Doing Sudoku in Meeting for Worship Committee over at the Association of Bad Friends. Lately that committee has been subsumed into the all-purpose Be Present with Distress, Difficulty, and Discomfort--And Like It Committee.

This seems to be an equal opportunity, single standard of Truth, testimony on equality something in it for everyone committee. In this case, something in it for everyone definitely includes you and an exhortation to consider what else besides silent worship you need to take care not only of your soul but of circles of struggle and seeking around you. RantWoman would actually suggest two things: specific study of and social interaction about some form of shared reading and a hearing test. RantWoman would suggest this but she is too busy being self-absorbed herself to go into further detail here.

RantWoman definitely continues at least some of the time to esteem your ministry of audible eye rolling as a really nice accessibility feature. RantWoman's experience is that the communion of waiting worship is actually fairly interactive, as Friends take up and hand off the message, sometimes verbally, sometimes in gestures and glances.

RantWoman has the impression that Light in individual messages arrives unevenly. Lots of people roll their eyes, and some even do so joyfully during Meeting for Worship RantWoman definitely feels more included when some of the eye-rolling comes with sound effects. RantWoman, though, is more than willing to sacrifice this particular connection in hopes that you are getting what you need from the silence in the other worship.

Plus RantWoman still needs you and more so everyone else to get some big points about accessibility--so RantWoman is again clawing her way past the clucking about you into more conversation on her own behalf.

For one thing, RantWoman is spending her energy dealing with another accessibility conundrum. RantWoman's nerves get fried when she is in rooms full of lots of people talking in pairs. RantWoman has talked to a number of people both sighted and blind who have this problem.

Unlike people who are merely monolingual, RantWoman has considerable ear for different rhythms and tones of different languages. Whereas monolingual people are bothered by people speaking in other languages nearby, at least part of the time, RantWoman finds this helpful. RantWoman's brain just filters rhythms and tone patterns she cannot understand.

RantWoman is also aware of some in her community who LIKE lots of talking in pairs, talking one on one where both parties can lipread. God bless these folks. RantWoman knows they are miserable in large meetings because they cannot hear. They cannot hear whether or not the Meeting sound system is turned on and working. They cannot hear whether or not they have or are using hearing aids. They cannot hear, but they can lipread. God bless them.

And we are not even going to go further into matters of shared vocabulary in words, in experiences, PERHAPS with enough mirror neutrons at least part of the time to interact without preconceptions or implanted prejudices of one's own with the reality of others' experiences without having to go there oneself. But RantWoman is getting ahead of herself.

What is really vexing RantWoman right now, though, is a yearning for gathered Meeting for worship for business, for Friends listening deeply, for people to come to new understandings as different people offer testimony as to shared questions, for the kind of verbal communion where everyone partakes and everyone's words flow into something new. RantWoman is finding herself nostalgic for elementary school where everyone is to share one at a time, not with the whole class in a hubbub at once.

RantWoman thinks, okay she is just going to say it, that movements of the holy spirit are a little bit being stifled by Friends' desire to go to lunch. Now what?

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