The Spiritual Naturalist Society maintains its public articles, members-only materials, and other content through the skilled work of its contributing writers. Writers for the Society include those listed below. In addition, the Society is open to receiving work from various guest writers on an individual basis. If you are interested in applying to volunteer as a contributing writer, or would like to write or submit a one-time piece, please read our writer’s guide and then contact us!
SNS Writing Team
Leigh Anderson is recently retired after working 30 years in the aerospace industry, with degrees in computer programming and Cultural Anthropology. A well traveled native Texan, she lives there now near much of her extended family. Her interests include comparative religion, though she prefers not to label her beliefs specifically. She instead blends parts of different traditions and religions to craft her own individual spiritual outlook. Leigh volunteers at a local State Park and enjoys family outings, kayaking, hiking, photography and numerous outdoor activities. The Administration Director is responsible for communications, logistics, volunteer management, scheduling, and other administrative functions. Leigh is also Admin Director for SNS and a former Council member.
Dennis Oliver was raised in a Humanist home. His adolescent rebellion was to be religious, and he’s never quite gotten over it. His pilgrimage took him to a variety of Christian commitments (Quaker, Presbyterian, Methodist, ‘Evangelical’ and Roman Catholic). This also included a variety of service (pastor, consultant, seminary professor, etc.). One continuity through all of these was a calling to support those who were spiritual seekers, and he has met many from each configuration. Dennis returned to a humanistic framework in 2002 in the form of Buddhism. He is an ordained monk with the Order of Pragmatic Buddhism.
Thomas Schenk (current Council member) is on the Board of Directors, serves as Editing Director, and has contributed more than 80 articles. As a teenager more than 50 years ago, he began a quest to realize a deep spirituality free of supernaturalism. Towards that end, he explored world religions and in particular Zen Buddhism and at university received a B.A. in Anthropology, with a focus on the religions of earlier cultures. (He also has a M.B.A.) In SNS he finds an organization with people who share a goal similar to the one that inspired him as a youth. He spent much of his career as a research administrator, most recently at the University of Minnesota, and is now retired. [Thomas Schenk’s articles]
Daniel Lev Shkolnik is a Humanist speaker and community organizer. He hosts Re-Enchantment, a podcast that explores various ways of finding wonder in a secular age and promotes Humanistic and naturalistic interpretations of spirituality. He holds a degree in sociology from Yale University and lives in New Orleans.
Eric Steinhart grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania. He received his BS in Computer Science from the Pennsylvania State University, after which he worked as a software designer. Many of his algorithms have been patented. He earned an MA in Philosophy from Boston College and was awarded a PhD in Philosophy from SUNY at Stony Brook. He has taught at Dartmouth College and William Paterson University. His books have concerned Nietzsche, the logic of metaphor, mathematics, and life after death. He has published several dozen academic articles. He has been interested in using new computational concepts to solve old philosophical problems. He is especially interested in new and emerging religions. He loves New England and the American West, and enjoys all types of hiking and biking, chess, and photography.
Jeff Worthy, a native of the Pacific Northwest, has been a secondary level teacher of literature/composition, college preparatory research writing, and comparative mythology for 22 years. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Washington State University, and a Master of Education degree from City University. In his classes, he specializes in ancient Greek, Roman, and Celtic philosophies and cultural dynamics. He has interests in a variety of spiritual paths and philosophies, including Greek and Roman Stoicism, paganism, pantheism, and druidry to name a few, and his research led him to discover Spiritual Naturalism, with which he felt an immediate and powerful connection. His other interests include reading, writing fiction and poetry, rock collecting, mindfulness meditation, playing the Celtic harp, and traveling with his wife and two children. [Jeff Worthy articles]
Past SNS Writers
Jay N. Forrest (D.Min.) is a Spiritual Naturalist and a Humanist Meditation Teacher. Jay is the Education Director for the Spiritual Naturalist Society, as well as being an ordained Humanist Celebrant and a member of the American Humanist Association. Jay is a Certified Meditation Teacher, having been trained in both Zen and Vipassana meditation practices. Jay has taken courses in Buddhism from Harvard University, Princeton University, and the University of Virginia. He is also on Staff at the Secular Buddhist Association. Jay did his undergraduate work at Central Bible College and Berean University, and received his Doctorate of Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Christian University. Jay is the author of a number of books including Practical Buddhism: Wisdom for Everyday Life and Secular Buddhism: An Introduction. He is also on staff at the Secular Buddhist Association. [Jay Forrest’s articles]
Sigfried Gold, author of tailoredbeliefs.com, is a ‘born-again atheist’ who invented a non-existent God to serve as his higher power in a Twelve-Step recovery program. He prays fervently, consults his non-existent deity for guidance, respects religious people, and does other things that, in his words, “unfortunately and unintentionally mystify and piss off many non-spiritual atheists”. He agitates for a world in which every person, no matter how skeptical or idiosyncratic, can find a suitable community to help her live according to her own values, and where religious difference sparks curiosity, not animosity. Professionally he designs information visualization software to help people understand complex data. He has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a Master of Arts in Biomedical Informatics. He lives in Takoma Park, MD with his wife and two children. [Sigfried Gold’s articles]
Jennifer Hancock is author of, The Humanist Approach to Happiness: Practical Wisdom, Jen Hancock’s Handy Humanism Handbook, and The Humanist Approach to Happiness: Life Skills Course. She writes a freelance column about Humanism for the Bradenton Herald newspaper and publishes the Happiness through Humanism blog and podcast. She is also a speaker, specializing in Humanism, ethics, morality, and what motivates us to be better humans. Jennifer Hancock describes herself as unique in that she is one of the few people in America who was actually raised according to Humanist principles. Her upbringing gives her a distinctive approach to the promotion of Humanism. This has led people like bio-ethicist and author Torben Riise, Ph.D. to claim that she is “one of the finest minds in Humanism” today. [Jennifer Hancock’s articles]
Brock Haussamen is a retired English professor living in New Jersey. Over the last couple of decades his interests have turned to assisting those in poverty and to thinking about how nature and science’s description of it can suggest answers for spiritual questions. At his blog, 3.8 Billion Years, he explores the history of living things and the consolation, direction, and guidelines for right and wrong that it offers. [Brock Haussamen’s articles]
B.T. Newberg is an author, editor, teacher, and husband. Since 2000, he has been practicing meditation and ritual from a naturalistic perspective. Upon leaving the Lutheranism of his raising, he experimented with Agnosticism, Buddhism, Contemporary Paganism, and Humanism. He now blends all these experiences into his life as a Spiritual Naturalist. After founding the community blog HumanisticPaganism, he currently writes the column Naturalistic Traditions at Patheos and contributes writing and course design to the Spiritual Naturalist Society. Professionally, he holds a master’s degree in education and teaches English as a Second Language. Having lived in England, Malaysia, Japan, and Korea, B. T. Newberg currently resides in the place of his birth, Minnesota, with his wife and cat. [B.T. Newberg’s articles]
Daniel Scharpenburg is an independent dharma teacher living in Kansas City. He gives online teachings through the Open Heart Project. His writing has appeared in Lion’s Roar, Patheos, Tattooed Buddha, and Elephant Journal.
Dr. Gleb Tsipursky runs a nonprofit that helps people reach their goals using science, Intentional Insights (www.intentionalinsights.org); authored Find Your Purpose Using Science, the forthcoming Reach Your Goals Using Science, and other books; regularly writes for popular venues such as The Huffington Post, Salon, Lifehack, The Plain Dealer, as well as for peer-reviewed academic venues; and serves as a tenure-track professor at Ohio State. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. [Gleb Tsipursky’s articles]
John Vervaeke is an award-winning instructor at the University of Toronto. He is an engaging speaker and available for lectures and media appearances. He is knowledgeable about a wide range of topics including wisdom, mindfulness meditation, psychology, cognitive science, foolishness, artificial intelligence, general intelligence, rationality, popular media, and Buddhism & its interaction with Western society and psychology. His website is www.johnvervaeke.com. [John Vervaeke’s articles]
Amelia “Émile” Wayne has studied the intersections of religion, history, and culture for eight years, and spent two years teaching undergraduates in various Humanities courses as an adjunct professor. Émile’s personal spiritual quest flowed along lines of inquiry laid out by research, and eventually led them to seek out a form of religion which could counterbalance Émile’s tendency toward intellectual abstraction by a radical affirmation of lived experience. Émile is currently pursuing a PhD in Philosophy and Theology at Drew University. Their goal is to contribute to the emerging discourse of Religious Naturalism. Other critical engagements include the New Materialism, Queer Theory, Process Philosophy, and Ecstatic Naturalism. While not studying or teaching, Emile enjoys mystery dramas, bread baking, and craft beer.
These and other guest writers occasionally appear in our public articles, and their bio’s can be found on the pages with their articles…
Poep Sa Frank Jude Boccio
Arthur G. Broadhurst
Donald A. Crosby
Maggie Jay Lee
Matt Van Natta
In order of service, with the current editor listed last…