Tuesday, April 17, 2007

If you want to get a hat get a head

This is actually a top hat not bad for a self portrait. Well if I didn’t take pictures of me nobody else would. I am actually hard at work on a field trip to Armley Mills.

I wear a top hat all the time

Really digging this Local and Regional History vibe! I could have gone to New York! I could have gone to Ibiza! I could have gone to Thailand! But no on Saturday I went to Armley! Keep It Real!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Magick, Freedom and a Sense of Power!

"'People doing it say "there is something magical about this lifestyle
to me... because it is living an alternative, it's living a
contradiction to all the standard programming and the way that
everyone expects you to be. Whenever you are doing something that is
different from the norm, there is a magic to it, a freedom and a sense
of power."'"

(from Loving More: The Polyfidelity Primer by Ryam
Nearing quoted by Gyan Nisarg in article Communal Sex Lib in turn
included in "Sexyouality - Challenging the culture of Monogamy" edited
by Merrick and published by Godhaven Ink)

Indifference Is NOT the Same as Caring

The article below is published in the April/May 2007 newsletter of Carlton Hill (Leeds) Preparative Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (the not so pecular people called Quakers).

Indifference Is NOT the Same as Caring

In December 2002 an attender at Carlton Hill was severely ill. A small group of Carlton Hill Friends, I being one of them, did what they could to help. This resulted in a state of rather messy conflict between me and the said attender, which, is still ongoing, (read permanent). For this reason I felt unsafe to attend meeting for worship, and was only attending when on door keeping rota, once every 8 weeks. The meeting was not initially unsupportive. The small group of Friends helping said attender were of some support initially. Some later proved to be broken reeds (Isaiah 36:6 if you must)

What really hurts, however, is the reaction, or rather lack of any reaction I have had since I first became infrequent in attendance at Carlton Hill, and then began a prolonged period of not attending Meeting for Worship or any other activity in the Meeting House.

What is really shocking is that, I understand that I was on the door-keeping rota and there was no reaction for 3 months to my not turning up to do door-keeping (the reason being that I did not have a copy of the door keeping rota). Does Carlton Hill PM not even value Friends prepared to be on the door-keeping rota? It hurts that Friends went out of their way NOT to get in touch with me. Likesay nobody phoned, nobody wrote nobody emailed. My contact details were in the yellow book. So much for being a Society of Friends!

Then in January 2004 I passed a Friend in the street outside the Meeting House who said “Bluebell we missed you”. This really really hurt! and just as I was considering a return to Carlton Hill…. I know when I am being bullshited! Quit the hypocrisy Friends!

I came to Carlton Hill wanting to belong. For 3 years I tried everything, I did not turn away anyone who reached out to me, though I could name Friends who I reached out to and did not reach back to me. Friends! It would seem that while professing to be Friends we do not befriend the person in the next pew. Especially not if they are “different”. So much for being a Peculiar People!

Likesay, I will be back to Meeting for Worship, but Friends! when I do return, don’t tell me how much you care when you do not, or you will get a bit of good old fashioned Quaker plain speaking from me. Likesay, indifference is not caring.

Britain Yearly Meeting’s Epistle 2003 said that we should ask the question how much community we have in our local meetings and how open and welcoming we are. The level of true community at Carlton Hill is disgracefully low. On the whole, Carlton Hill PM is a false community. Don’t get me wrong, probably better than most meetings in BYM. Why is it as Quakers that we are, probably quite good at building community at national and international level, and pretty lousy at local level?

Conflict within Carlton Hill has been badly handled. There is a bulging carpet because too much has been swept under it. This is again a sign of false community. Again, there is a myth that messy conflict is the worse place to be, when it is often, probably always, healthier than false community.

One Friend described the Plymouth Brethren Assembly that he had attended as a student as outwardly welcoming but rigidly hierarchical underneath. Sounds a lot like Carlton Hill (apart from the outwardly welcoming bit). Another thing I have learned about how Carlton Hill seems to work in practice is that a Committee is a group of individuals who all believe that nothing can be done who resolve to take no action. That is of course if it actually meets. Ah commitment problems...

And don’t get me wrong. In this ocean of snow, there has been, if not a sea of palms, at least some moving signs of hope, such as the card sent by one Friend after I was badly attacked (resulting in head injuries and a broken skull). Also my overseer has been supportive through my prolonged accommodation crisis (though I have had to badger him to be so, and I really do not have the energy). I feel I have been tolerated in my time at Carlton Hill. But tolerance is not enough. Indifference is not caring. We are a worshiping community insofar as we are a true community and no further.

Bluebell Eikonoklastes


ENFP - "Journalist". Uncanny sense of the motivations of others. Life is an exciting drama. 8.1% of total population.
Free Jung Personality Test (similar to Myers-Briggs/MBTI)

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