Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

A Query for Martin Kelly ( of Quaker Quaker and )

Martin, dear Friend. I know the limits of thy interest in process as a Friend, thee believes that once thee has judged me, thee needs not hear any thing from me, no clearness, no point of view from me, thee writes me out of thy community, and bans me from thy blog and the on line publishing thee is in control over. Well, let us give thee more power, let us say thee is a judge, does thee need a jury, defense lawyers, would thee deny a defendant a voice in thy court? Let us say thee is the president, would thee deny courts to thy enemies, would thee not give an ear to those thee has decided are a threat to our nation? Martin, think about it, what is the limit of thy mistrust of process, in the smallness of thy power in thy life.
Those who wonder why I persist, remember, it took over three hundred years to grant rights to Americans who are not White, and we are not there yet, time is not important. I don't give a pass to someone who denies another rights, just because he is a Quaker or a friend. I also don't withhold my love. I am not angry at thee Martin, nor have I judged thee... I just think that thee should consider Quaker process, censorship and isolation are not Quaker process.
In my opinion, thee might first try seeking peace before proclaiming thyself a peace activist.


At 1:57 PM, Blogger earthfreak said...

Hey Lor

You sure sound angry,

And I think I can understand that.

But it does seem that this is going a bit far.

I am slightly concerned by the "leadership" position that Martin seems to have among (some)quaker bloggers) and was sad to see that some people's personal lists of quaker blog links has been replaced by a link to Martin's list, in a tacit assumption that it is comprehensive, which gives him a certain responsibility (should he accept it) to be universalist in linking blogs (once it is not his list, but THE list)

I also have concern about the fact that it seems that he excluded you from a workshop that you felt you were eligible for without a cause that felt clear and just to you. (I have a concern about that happening anywhere within quakerism)

I still don't completely understand what went down between you two, but I am a little concerned by your response. I have seen you liken it, elsewhere, to rape, and would caution you. Rape is a terribly terribly personally violent crime. I doubt that your experience with Martin is at all similar. And I think that as a man stating that it was indicates your own lack of comprehension rather than anything about Martin.

I do understand your frustration. I am on my third year of obsessing about a woman who did me wrong and refused to hear me out, apologize, or otherwise treat me as a human being. It is a very painful thing. Fortunately, we don't have to interact with her, unfortunately, she has completely shaken my faith in my own ability to love, to be loved, and so on. There are differences in the level of intimacy, but much of what you say resonates with my experience.

What do you want? have you contacted Martin personally? Is there any quaker body that could oversee a clearness process between the two of you?

I certainly hope that you find a way to come to peace, but I would ask you to proceed with caution when posting your opinion of what might motivate Martin in a public space.


At 2:02 PM, Blogger earthfreak said...

I also wonder if you're sure that you're banned. It's my understanding that people can post things to quakerquaker, and it's not all Martin's decision. I also saw some ground rules (like it has to be about quaker stuff) - perhaps you haven't posted anything of that sort in a while????

email me if you want, I do want to see this come to a peaceful resolution.


At 3:00 PM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Hi Pam:

Do email me...

I have contacted him one to one, he refused to even tell me the core issue, let alone meet for clearness, then a few Friends tried, then Powell house spoke to him, then I tried a confidential attempt at clearness on line with Friends, all to no responce from him. It is the role thee points to, as a sort of clearing house of Quaker thought that makes this so alienating, rather than angring,
as to the rape comment, I agree. I was reacting to a another comment, and do write to me, and I will tell thee more on this, and I do appologize, comepletely and separately for the comment... but, do write.

At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Nathlie said...

I've watched this develop on your blog with some fright. From what I can piece together, there was a workshop being held for young friends. It seems from the edited letter of Martin's that you posted that he said the workshop was for Young Friends and that an older Friend would be welcome if they were a respectful presense. Martin seemed to think that the way you were posting on some young friends blogs and the way that you were replying to them on your own blog was not respectful and so he seemed to feel your presense would not be a respectful one. I don't see how that makes him a racist or a rapist. (and I agree with Pam. as a survivour of sexual violence I think such rhetoric does nothing for your cause and doesn't do much to further your claimed position as an understander of the oppressed.) After the rude raving I have seen on this blog in the past few months I am not suprised in the least bit if he doesn't seem to want to expose himself to more of the same until you calm down! I used to really like this blog but now its like

I hope your start feeling better soon and can get some quiet time. And I hope that after a while you and Martin can have a respectful conversation but I dont see that happening to soon if you keep on like this.

-Nat in the uk

At 3:33 PM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Dear Nat:

I niether called him a racist or a rapist. I invite thee to email me for a personal note, on the topic I would share with Pam.

I did say we need clearness as his reference vague as it was, to an eairlier post struck me as possibly anti semetic, and that the supposidly rude treatment of two young Friends mentioned in his note, was not seen by them as such, one of whom I had lunch with the other day for over two hours.

Again... I have contacted him personaly, had friends contact him and an institution contact him and he is comepletely obstanate. So, I only say, that as he promotes his blog as a Quaker function, he should avail himself of Quaker process.
PS, do email,

At 8:02 AM, Blogger earthfreak said...

Hey Nat-

In all fairness, I think that Lor has "cause" - that doesn't really "justify" the rants, but it explains it, I think.

I did something similar with this woman, who I had tried and tried and tried to have a peaceful conversation with. I still fantasize occasionally about starting an "IHATE*****" blog, to enumerate her evil deeds, but I haven't yet.


It is maddening, to be dismissed when you feel the need to be heard. Then you act like a kook, and the people who are (finally!) paying attention to the issue sympathize with your tormentor. It's a tough spot to be in. Peaceful resistance of some sort would seem the best path, but what is one to do?

I have a similar perception of what happened, though I didn't think that Lor's age came into the rejection of his enrollment. (as an aside, I question Martin's seeming tendency to describe "young friends" as his age and younger, as someone of (I think) similar age, I think this is somewhat disingenuous, as I am not a "young friend" anymore - I also wonder about ageism, quakers have certainly shown me that old people can be continually open to miraculous change, and it saddens me to draw such an arbitrary line)

And, I guess I really do question the evaluation of Lor as a non-respectful presence. I was reading all the blogs at that time, and I saw him question people, but never berate them or attack them (so this is all the more out of character) - I would have had no fear of attending such a conference (If I'm young enough) with Lor there. In fact, I think I would have felt safer, because he has been a voice for a sort of universalism among what I experience to be often exclusive and sort of mean christianity.

As to the rape thing, yes, it's just inappropriate. Racism as well. I am surprised to hear that someone who has actually experienced sexual abuse would liken this to that, and I think it's still different to live as a woman, who face the real threat of rape on a daily basis, though I do know that men get raped too.

At 9:30 AM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Dear Pam:
Thank'ee for the kind comments, and again, thee is right about the difference, as the threat of power aspect IS very different.

My error, which I acknowlege in the use of that comparison was about the life changing violence of being forever uncomfortable in what should be safe environments, that the violence Joe faced was the hate and intent to separate which continues long after the pain of the Gay bashing event, and it was, the unconcious, ( and even unthinking, I am afraid ) relating it to the separation out I experience still - decades on... but, thee is completly right, the differences are extreme.

Again thanks...
Thy understanding words are a great comfort.

At 12:54 PM, Blogger Amanda said...


I really, really do not want to get involved in the conflict happening here but I do feel the need to say this: I thought your posting on my blog WAS disrespectful and inappropriate, and I emailed you to tell you so, at which point you kindly desisted, which I appreciate and take as evidence of your good will and well-meaning. But I think it is disingenuous of you to say that "the two young people who you were supposed to be rude to didn't think you were rude." I thought you and your friend Joel were very, very rude on my blog, and I am not surprised if other people thought so as well. You co-opted my blog to rant at length on a subject which I did not want to discuss at that time or in that manner, and you opened me up to violent and hateful criticism from "Joel" on opinions I had never expressed or defended. I also stopped blogging for an extended time because I did not want to open myself to a repeat of the incident, which made me hugely uncomfortable and upset, and I had hoped that most of this had blown over.

As a young person who is exploring what Christianity means to me personally, I did find much of the way you expressed your openings here and on my blog to be rude and unkind and intolerant, even when I entirely agreed with many of your points. I am personally a universalist, and I don't personally worship the man Jesus as divine, but I found your rhetoric on the subject painful. I hate to disagree with Pam, who I find to be a sensitive and powerful source of important queries, but I have not recently found your blog to be:

"a voice for a sort of universalism among what I experience to be often exclusive and sort of mean christianity"

As a universalist myself, I find Lor's recent expressions of universalism, with their demeaning and inflamed language involving racism and Nazis to be exclusive and mean. Again I stress that I'm not a Christian in any way that would be recognized by most Christians, nor do I deny the violence that has been done in the past (and continuing in the present) in the name of God. Even with all those caveats I found these writings to be intolerant of and unkind to those good-hearted and open-souled people who find deep meaning and power in their Christian faith, and in their deep-held personal convictions of the particular divinity of Jesus.

I'm not mad about this any more - I told Lor how I felt, and he reacted well and quickly by stopping the rude behaviour on my blog. As far as my (largely involuntary) part in it goes I consider the case closed now, and don't really want to discuss it further, but I really did not feel that I could let the comment pass. I don't want to be quoted, even anonymously, (and honestly it's fairly transparent and always has been) as saying things or holding opinions that I have not said or held.

I just want the record set straight, Lor, because I know you value truth. I also know it pains you deeply to hurt other people, and so I find it troubling that you continue to deny that your past blogging might have been hurtful, rude, or considered disrespectful. I of all people have great faith in your intentions and your inherent goodness and kindness of heart, and again, I'm not angry.

I consider Lor a friend and an inspiration in many things, which is why I even bother with this comment at all.

Thanks and with best prayers for peace,

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Dear friend, Amanda:
I also don't intend to speak at length about that aspect here, it is somthing that if there is a need for clearness should take place, I was more refering to the conversation I had with Jeff, the other day, and I am surprised that thee feels my answers were rude to thee...

At 1:24 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

In that case, I'll resend you my email of Jan. 9th where I explained all this, and we found resolution. I said "This is rude, please stop." and you did, which I greatly appreciated.

I know you were referring to Jeff, I just didn't want to be lumped in there with him, as I did find your behaviour to me rude, even if he did not.

Thanks again for your understanding,

At 6:28 AM, Blogger Lorcan said...

Dear friend Amanda, this comment from thee is the crux. "I just want the record set straight, Lor, because I know you value truth". One person does not "set the record straight" or know the "truth". Only God's perspective is the truth, one by one, all we can be is honest. Without the processes we Friends have lived by for centuries, we don't even come close to approaching truth, and we loose the trust in each other's honesty. When Friends and friends cut themselves out of the process of clearness we stray from all hope of the unity of God.

As thee says, the issues are past, and I hope completely don't separate thee and me. We did not come to clearness, but rather agreed to distance on this, not on our friendship. It is not the best Quaker process, but it is alright, it seems with us.

What is not alright is for Friends to keep divisions alive by not approaching clearness or forgiveness, but vilify someone and run from the process. It is no different than slapping someone and running. Thee and I chose forgiveness, with unanswered issues, but we have not closed our hearts to each other, though we seek to be gently cautious with each other.

I don't find any unity on thy reading of my comments on the destructiveness of objectification of our spiritual teachers, while I accept the honesty and deep faith of thy seeking, and accept the intentions of thy concerns, but that there is not unity between us on this, there is forgiveness even in the face of an inability to seek clearness on this.

There is a difference.
thine in friendship


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