Internal Memorandum (NPYM IT Committee)

npym-it-discuss content may be forwarded by any subscriber.  I'm sharing a recent memo (by me) here to give a snapshot of a regional body of Beanite branch Friends taking care of IT / business.

From: kirby urner <>
Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2016 12:26:43 -0700
Subject: update on Regional Directory design (future plans)
To: npym-it-discuss <>

Given all this working out with the role-based emails at NPYM, I see the need for our database to keep start and stop dates with every role.

Even requests for timely updates from an announcements list, could eventually time out, and need to be renewed, free of charge.

People lose interest or move on.

We've likely all had to mess with mailing lists that gradually fill up with undeliverables, if not actively maintained.

The design for the regional database I'm behind, proactively maintains just about everything, short of membership, in terms of start and stop dates.

In the case of members, we normally consider that relationship ongoing, unless actively laid down, yet in principle laying down and picking up again is doable, and so should be recordable.

Regarding membership, our NPYM data schema should allow for "being a member" off and on, independently of "through which Meeting". I've already suggested some possible scenarios wherein that might occur. So there's a need for datetime fields there as well.

We need start and stop times for all our clerking and committee positions. Sometimes we'll use NULL and leave it empty. We don't know the future.

This addition of a strong timeline dimension was my primary innovation in the mock-up, which actually gives realistic snapshot output for some Multnomah Meeting committees, during a specific time window:

With such records, you could easily reconstruct who was serving on what committee when.  That's pie-in-the-sky in today's IT-poor era, but someday we might have more interest in IT. As a clerk of the IT Committee, I'm not out of character in hoping that might come to pass.

Having our myriad slates auto-generate from the database such that any smartphone with the right URL could browse the current (or a past) slate, for NPYM at least, if not each Monthly Meeting, is the worthy end goal. If smartphones can do it, big screen TVs can do it.  They're all just differently aspect-ratioed and scaled versions of the same generic device.

We'd need a front end for HTML views (more cosmetic), and "back door" URLs for pure JSON, for those needing bulk data for their spreadsheets or whatever.

Does that all sound like gobbledy-gook?

Check out this example of a Python Flask application and follow links to learn more.

(at this time a "teaching application" I use with my on-line classes, new course starting Sept 20, already full I think, plus you need to be from California for that one).

Apigee does a good job explaining the importance of APIs as a kind of contract with the general public. Things break when it changes, so best to define it and stick to it, maybe changing the implementation.

As Quakers, I don't think we're immune from making binding commitments from time to time, as led by our testimonies, and ultimately the Spirit.

Having our Directory available on any smartphone would illuminate "who are the NPYM Friends" in the area.  That's the kind of information NPYM should be up for sharing. That'd be "being the Quakers the world needs us to be."


Views: 286

Comment by Keith Saylor on 9th mo. 1, 2016 at 1:22pm
What's so awful about having committees I wonder?  People sound so retreating around here, as if "no structure" were somehow more virtuous.  God is all about outward forms, just look around."

"Picture me in a bar somewhere, not over-drinking, thumbing around in my smartphone, getting lost in outward forms sometimes. :-D"

Hello Kirby,

Okay, I picture me driving up to PDX from my home here in Bandon, Or. on the south coast and meeting up with you at The Rose in the Pearl District or maybe at the Holocene. I think it is on Morrison?

Some DJ is conjuring up a combination of house and progressive trance to warm up the crowd. I have my normal plate of french fries with a tall cool glass of milk from a local non-GMO, grass fed dairy farm.

To begin our discussion, oh wait!, she's playing Going Wrong; Armin van Buuren with DJ Shah feat. Chris Jones! It's an oldie relatively speaking but I enjoy it.

Okay, to start. If I were to say that based on the first quote above, you equate "no-structure" with the experience of consciousness anchored in and conscience informed by direct participation with inshining immanent Presence (inward Light) without regard for outward political, religious, economic, or social forms, prescriptions, creeds, teachers, ministers, committees, bureaucracies, etc., would I be misrepresenting you?
Comment by Kirby Urner on 9th mo. 1, 2016 at 5:33pm

Nice, listening to that Armin van Buuren track right now, with Full Sail amber I forgot to finish last night, so stowed for later... pleasantly cool and overcast today.  I'm fine with Autumn.  Been driving mom around, to a nice committee of support ladies, Quakers near Lloyds Center, not far from "Quaker ghetto" (our nick for Irvington).

Maybe that'd be off on the wrong foot though Keith, that equating of "no-structure" with God-consciousness.  What you, a Quaker, describe as "consciousness informed by direct participation" sounds a lot like Buddhism's "detachment" however translated ("disinterest" sounds wrong).

What God did, given half a chance, was Create (we use the noun form: Creation). Given energy, conserved, there's the urge to build sandcastles.  Yes, they're all meaningless [1], yes they pick fights with each other, but what else is there to do, right?

In other words, I wouldn't put it beyond the Prescence you describe to wish for structure, and get it, using humans as a means (another tool). 

We spend hours grooming our pets, arranging flowers, strutting stuff.  Vanity, vanity all is vanity.  Then we make a sin out of it (vanity), so we can be even *more* vain appearing to be striving to be even beyond vanity.  Wow aren't we great [angel snicker (they're mean)].

Put another way:  why diss form and structure, if we're really free from it?  To decry it or put it down is still too ambivalent.  Why not embrace what we've got?

To use Quakerese more, I don't see the harm in having elaborate committee structures as long as they're malleable, in tune with the times, and that takes skillful (mindful) clerking and business-oriented participation, or call it "obedience to Spirit" (to use older language).

I like the idea of Quakers continuing to train one another in the art of clerking, alternatives to violence, using workshop formats, lightning talks and so on, and communicating about "Spirit led" -- much as we do here on QQ. Ours is a vibrant subculture that needs refuge in a world that has mostly never heard of our heroes, our big names.  We've got our eternal flame to keep lit, like these other lineages, all around, up and down the beach, a veritable Milky Way of eternal religions.

Having committees with "ex oficio this" and "minute taking that" is like a playground with actual playground equipment.  Yes it's fun to jump up and down in an empty desert sometimes, but even that gets old when you don't have swing sets, or teeter totters, or those things they call "jungle gyms" (I called 'em "monkey bars") -- outward forms all. 

Why begrudge them a soccer ball at least?  But then what do we do with it, how do we share?  Rules are born.  The rest is history.

What I think important though, to balance my defense of "outwardness" is I want us to all be fine with any number wanting to sit it out and not hotly contest in this or that stupid battle. 

Say we don't care to be lawyers for Liberals, or Hicksites or whatever brand of loose screw or nut.  We'd rather hike in the forest and feed the deer with leftover morsels, or whatever.  Alone and unhindered by the jabber jabber of ceaseless committee work. 

I want to honor and respect that consciousness and sometimes get there myself, away from the silly Babel Tower (we never give up, do we?).  But sometimes it's time to come down from the mountain and serve as a carnival geek -- good stories in there too.

[1]  (nice touch, the faded photo in the attic look)

Comment by Keith Saylor on 9th mo. 3, 2016 at 9:52am
Hello Kirby,

I hope this will help further the discussion. Thank you for sharing "Dust in the wind."

"Maybe that'd be off on the wrong foot though Keith, that equating of "no-structure" with God-consciousness ..."

"... I wouldn't put it beyond the Prescence you describe to wish for structure, and get it, using humans as a means ..."

My intent in asking for clarity from you on whether you equate participating in immanent Presence without regard for outward forms as a way of experiencing no structure is to help me better grasp how you understand the testimony.

For example, if the testimony does say to you that participating in immanent Presence without regard for outward forms means participating in no structure, then, I feel it needful to further explain the nature of the witness to which I am testifying.

The nature of the witness of participating in immanent Presence itself in itself directly and without the mediation of outward forms like prescriptions, creeds, faith and practice, yearly and monthly meeting, is a way of existence wherein participating in immanent Presence itself in itself becomes that which structures life and relationships. So, while this participating is a withdraw from outward structural forms, it is not participating in a structureless way of being.

How does this structure manifest? This is the mystery of this way of participating. It is the relative interplay between the increase and decrease of the glow of inshining Presence. Should immanent Presence fade, for example, when anger manifests in reaction to another's behavior this fading or inward movement is in itself guidance. The fading is the dis-ease while anger is merely a symptom.

This interplay in awareness of immanent Presence is literal and direct spiritual participation. In this literal participation, the participation in itself is sufficient to guide, discipline, and nurture. Outward political, social, religious, and economic, structural forms are replaced as a working contextual framework for spiritual guidance, nurturing, and growth. Participation in immanent Presence itself in itself literally replaces outward forms and is the contextual framework or structure.

When you ask and observe:

"What's so awful about having committees I wonder?  People sound so retreating around here, as if "no structure" were somehow more virtuous.  God is all about outward forms, just look around."

Participating directly in immanent Presence in the conscience of men and women and, through this participation, the resulting retreat from outward forms and coming directly into immanent Presence itself in itself is not an experience of having no structure. It is an experience of being or conscious restructured into a different contextual framework altogether. It is an experience of being of a different mind. In this different mind, outward political, religious, and social institutional form has relatively less value because the direct awareness of immanent Presence working in the conscience assumes the role outward forms once served making them like dust in the wind.
Comment by Kirby Urner on 9th mo. 3, 2016 at 12:26pm

Yes Keith, what you say resonates with me.  Some people call it a "moral compass" however I prefer "gyroscope" and like your "fading" versus "immanent" as a sense of steering or being steered. 

As the local on-the-ground human, the "little me", I get to take a last step and close some gap, by doing my little part, speaking my mind or whatever, however it's more like following directions, with the way opening on ahead (or not, in which case Quakerism advises I wait expectantly, as if at a red light, for a next cue or sign). 

Moses did more than follow his own nose when the Red Sea parted, and no, I don't need that story to be literally true, to put a Quaker spin to it.  I don't need it to be not based in something that really happened either, meaning fine if they squeaked through at low tide or something, in an Egypt differently configured thanks to climate change.

However, it's easy for intuitions, true leadings, to "reify" meaning they become hard fixed goals no longer based in God's spinning, but in ego, a slow beast, behind the times somewhat by definition.  One becomes a hero in more of a soap opera sense, overly self-interested ("am I rich yet?"). One is left "holding a brick" i.e. some dead thing, and the cross may not be so light anymore, or life as joyous. "Waxing and waning" is another description of this sense of context.  One's whole world (Universe) is affected.

I therefore agree with Howard, that a Meeting may find liberation in sweeping the place clear of cruft and starting over in a more spontaneous fashion.  Forrest and I also have respect for "Spirit led" as a lifestyle.  I'm not sensing much to disagree about, as we engage in our various projects.

What you provide is the promise or reminder that living this way is not a one time vision on a mountain someplace, with the rest of one's life one of blindly acting on one's interpretation in that moment. 

Varieties of religious experience matter, we need to have those, and waiting for the way to open is woven into the Quaker's business-oriented fabric, is much more than some afterthought bolted on later.  The process of doing business is worshipful, takes contemplation, reflection, an inward attentiveness, a kind of mindfulness.

We need structure simply to move around, rules of the road, whether pedestrians, drivers, cyclists or in some other medium, as pilots or captains.  Signals are exchanged, responses needed.  That's structure.  One may fly through it with a sense of immanent Presence, or with a sense of loss in not having that, or simply a need to have it more, to keep from fading out (or wiping out) in the Matrix.

Comment by Kirby Urner on 9th mo. 22, 2016 at 12:48pm


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