June 2013 Newsletter

The Spiritual Naturalist Society

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


Greetings Society members!

First, I’d like to announce that our 501(c)3 status has finally been finalized and approved by the IRS. We’ve been waiting quite a while for this, but fortunately, it is effective back to March 22, 2012. That means any donations (including your monthly donation as members) on or after that date are tax deductible.

I also want you to know that we had a nice ad in this month’s Shambhala Sun, a major Buddhist magazine. I know of at least one member who has come to us through that ad. We’ll be exploring more avenues to reaching out to many communities in the future, thanks to your membership.

In other news, I’ve recently been booked to conduct another wedding service early next year. Fees I get for these go toward our Society and its mission.  Advisory Board member, Rev. Michael Dowd, is doing important preaching on climate change, which you can read about below. We have some new archive content and a place to have discussions about it, and some more news on our Compassion Fund, also below. Lastly, be sure to check out the new book club, which you can read about in this issue too.

It was so awesome talking with some of you at last month’s online member social! I’m looking forward to even greater things in the future of our Society and hope you’re getting the most out of your membership. Please feel free to contact me any time with any questions, suggestions, or anything else regarding our Society or Spiritual Naturalism!

Take care and best wishes friends 🙂

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 July 14th (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 July 16th (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.


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!
We are also hosting a forum discussion on this new essay Here!


Good news! Our micro-loan to Mwadjuma and her group of poor unbanked women in the DR Congo has been fully repaid. She has thanked us and the other loaners for helping to buy foodstuff which they sell to help support themselves. This has allowed us to make another loan to another woman entrepreneur in Africa, and her business women’s group, who will use it to buy six bales of worn shoes they will sell. This activity is not the primary mission of our organization, but we feel it is important to have a charitable element in all we do. Our Compassion Fund is very small, but thanks to our members and donors, we have been able to grow it some for this second loan. To learn more about our Compassion Fund or its beneficiaries, click here.

Please join us on the member forums to discuss these and other current topics!

Director Thomas Schenk offers this week’s question:

“Thanks to all who have responded to the first three questions.  There have been some really interesting replies and discussion. 

This time the question is considerably less philosophical:  What is a book (or books) that you have considered particularly valuable in helping you shape your understanding of spirituality, naturalism or the integration of the two?  What did you find particularly helpful or interesting in this book (or books)?”

Previous Discussion Question (you can still join in on this one too; or start your own!):


SNS Advisory Board member and evolutionary evangelist, Rev. Michael Dowd, wants all of us to know about his current plans and projects. Michael and his wife, science writer Connie Barlow, have been traveling around the country talking about climate change. Michael talks about how he “woke up” to the perils of climate change and decided it was the most important focus he could dedicate his efforts toward.In his sermons, Michael argues that our religious ideas must evolve to face up to Reality, so that we can do what needs to be done to ensure our prosperity and survival. He uses religious language to suggest that naturalists and scientists are serving the role of prophet.You can watch one of Michael’s excellent sermons here: http://vimeo.com/56939241

They are currently planning to be a part of The Great March for Climate Action, beginning in March 2014. “1,000 climate hawks will march from Santa Monica, CA, across the United States to Washington, DC. This will be the largest coast-tocoast march in American history.” Michael and Connie will be giving talks and sermons all along the way. To learn more about this event, see:

Some other important messages Michael wants us to know about:

“The Intergenerational Evil of Climate Change” (VIDEO):
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/03/05/1676151/video-intergenerational-climate-change/“Preaching on Climate Change”:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-michael-dowd/preaching-on-climate-change_b_2745317.html“Ecology Is the New Theology” (VIDEO):

“Connie and I just completed a several city tour for Kentucky IP&L last month”:

“…which I also mentioned in my latest HuffPost blog”:
“Hot Climate Scientists in Cool Places”

Thanks to the initiative of one of our new members, Ben Butina, an SNS Book Club is forming and you can be a part of it! The group has been talking about perhaps reading and discussing a chapter of their selected book every two weeks.  We have created a subgroup for the book club in the Society’s social network. To join in, please see this 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.

When Love Seems Absent
When Love Seems Absent

What to do if you should find yourself in a place without love…

What “Death is a Part of Life” Means
What “Death is a Part of Life” Means

Sometimes we discover new meanings to teachings each time we return to them…
The Integrated Practice
The Integrated Practice

Sometimes taking it all on at once is the best approach…
Three Transcendents, part 3: Community
Three Transcendents, Part 3: Community

In the third of this 4-part series, B.T. Newberg talks about community and compassion…


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!