July 2013 Newsletter

The Spiritual Naturalist Society

July 2013
Visit your Society’s website at www.SpiritualNaturalistSociety.org


Greetings dear members! This month we have some exciting new additions to the archives and the forums, as you’ll see below. I’d like to thank John Vervaeke and new writer Sigfreid Gold for their contributions. Sigfried has an interesting take on atheist prayer, which you can read more about on his website. I’d also like to thank Director Thomas Schenk who has been writing both articles and starting interesting discussions for us for some time now.  Both Thomas and Advisory Board member Rick Heller have had birthdays recently so happy birthday to them!  This makes me think maybe we need to add member birthdays to our calendar (with permission of course).

I am currently in the process of screening some possible new additions to our writing staff so hopefully will have something to announce soon. There might also be another local chapter on the horizon, but it’s in very early stages.

Most of you are aware of the member vote currently being held, regarding some changes to how we define membership and supporting membership. So far, 19 votes have been cast, 5 of you are yet to vote, and there are 2 who joined our Society after the vote info was sent out. I’ll be emailing them info on this asap.  On August 5th I’ll be counting up and announcing the outcome so stay tuned 🙂

Lastly, don’t forget to join us in the live Member Social chat in our social network on Tuesday, August 20th, 7pm!

With love and thanks 🙂

Daniel Strain
Executive Director

UPCOMING DATES (Please mark your calendar!)
You can also see our calendar anytime by going to the Community page…

Sunday August 11th (7:00pm CST): Planning Meeting
If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts of our organization, join us in the chat tab of the SNS Member Network for a meeting discussing programs, expenses, etc. SNS Directors are required to attend, but it is open to all members. The planning meetings take place on the 2nd Sunday of each month.

Tuesday August 20th (7:00pm CST): Monthly Member Social
Join us for casual conversation and socializing in the chat tab of the SNS Member Network! Getting to know your fellow members is on of the benefits of our Society so we look forward to chatting with you! Our Member Social happens on the 3rd Tuesday of each month.

Please join us on the member forums to jump in on these discussions!

Ever had a “religious” experience from music?
How can science and spirituality be integrated?
Is there a middle ground on meaning/purpose?
What do you say to your children about Spiritual Naturalism?
What books helped you understand spirituality or naturalism?
Lebowski’s Rug

The following are some of the most recent pieces added to the membership’s growing archive of inspirational and educational materials. Please feel free to discuss what you think about these with the other members in the Society forum!

One of our own members, John Vervaeke, is an award-winning instructor at the University of Toronto. 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. You can read more about him on our Archive Contributors page and his website, but here are two of his videos we’ve added to your archives this month. Thanks John!…

The Cognitive Science of Wisdom
Chi Explained Without Magic

One of our Directors, Thomas Schenk has also added this piece, for which we are thankful!

Nature Based Spirituality and Our Sense of Value  (there is a link at the end of this to a place you can discuss this essay)

And one of our friends on Facebook, Roger Butts, has submitted this poem, which has been added to your archives and reproduced here for those that may enjoy it…

THIS I BELIEVE (Roger Butts)

I believe in jazz.
Structure and improv. Call and response.

I believe in healing.
I have seen it so often–among many of you, in my own life.

I believe in story. “Once upon a time.”
I believe everything you ever needed to know could be found in a parable.

I believe with the Psalmist that we–you and I and all of us–can know the beauty of the lord in the land of the living.

I believe in dreams. I believe in dreamers.

I believe in something bigger than me, call it god if you’d like. I do sometimes. I believe in a god the name of which is many and never to be known but one that I call: Love that will not let us go. Fellow sufferer who understands. Holy Spirit. Spirit of Life. The inner voice of wisdom. The still, small voice. The center who listens and knows. The god who can be found in the creative movement. The one who calls us to our best selves.

I believe, more than anything, in people. People who grow. People who snore. People who curse. People who build and give and grow. People who fail. People who love, and love again. People who know wisdom occasionally.

I believe in the Chesapeake Bay. And the sea. I believe in the rising sun. And my children’s smiles. And I believe in you, in Thou. In life.

I believe that anyone at anytime can know the holy way, the good way in life. That each life is holy for its own sake. We are what we’ve got, and I believe that we have more power and beauty and love and compassion than we realize.

We have been thinking about adding a bumper sticker to the SNS shop, but what should it say? What would be a good but brief enough thing for a bumper sticker to let others know about us? Please contact us with your ideas!

Don’t forget to check out our SNS Book Club!  Right now they are discussing Chapter 2 of “What the Buddha Taught”: SNS Book Club Link

Articles the Society has publicly published recently, as part of our mission to help others by sharing helpful wisdom and practices for better lives. If you’d like to get notice of these as they are released, please subscribe to the Society blog by clicking here if you haven’t already.

Are you really meditating?
Are You Really Meditating?
There are many kinds of activities called “meditation” and you want to be sure you’re practicing the one that addresses your needs…

Testing a naturalist’s faith
Testing A Naturalist’s Faith
How can naturalists benefit from things that seem to test their beliefs?…

Daily Fruit
Daily Fruit
Thomas Schenk, on his recent 60th birthday, writes about attention, intention, and the gift of life…

It’s Not Fair
It’s Not Fair
Jennifer Hancock gives her approach for dealing with the fact that life just isn’t fair…

Three Transcendents, part 4: Mind
Three Transcendents: Part 4 – Mind
In the final part of this series, B.T. Newberg describes how the mind can be a source of transcendence…


Don’t forget, if you haven’t already you can like our page on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for more content and up-to-date info. You can also check out our Local Chapters page (here) to meet spiritual naturalists in person, or start hosting a local gathering if there isn’t yet one in your city by contacting us. Thanks so much for your kind support and your membership in the Spiritual Naturalist Society!