November 2012 Newsletter

The Spiritual Naturalist SocietyMEMBER NEWSLETTER
November 2012
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Hello members and volunteers! We had cause to be thankful this Thanksgiving, as November has been another good month for us. This month we exceeded 1,000 followers on our Facebook page! We also welcomed two new writers: Nancy Wisser and Thomas Schenk, who will thankfully join our other writers in publishing more articles and materials (thanks to Nancy & Thomas and to all our writers). We also hosted our first live chat. In that text-based chat, Advisory Board member Ted Meissner provided another means of meeting using Adobe Connect, which we plan to use in the future for more virtual get-togethers. Any members are welcome to use our text-based chat room at any time (link here). You’d just need to coordinate with others on when you’d like to be in there. Feel free to use the Member Forums to do this, and let us know so we can let the membership know. As for the Adobe Connect option, this requires a host so we need to schedule these ahead of time, which we will be doing, but Ted has offered to let us use his organization’s account (our partner organization, the Secular Buddhist Association). Many thanks to Ted!

We also have more news on the local chapter front. As we’ve written before, we have local chapters in Houston and Portland. Now we can announce that we are establishing a new South New England chapter to be organized by Heather Wiech, and a new fledgling chapter in Berkeley! However, we are taking a “build it and they will come” approach on the Berkeley group, meaning we’ve scheduled their first gathering and people have joined the group and RSVP’d, but we’re still looking for a local organizer to moderate the discussion. If you would be interested in moderating a monthly discussion group at your local coffee/tea house, please let us know. We aim to be a valuable national organization providing value for all members anywhere, but having a local chapter in your area is a welcome bonus.

Lastly, I want to let you know that in December we’ll be holding our first annual Membership Drive. If you’re seeing this newsletter, it means you’re already either a member (or a volunteer/contributor), of course. But as members you should know everything that’s going on in the organization. So, throughout December we’ll be promoting membership to all of those who subscribe to our public articles, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and to the general public. One thing you can do as a member is to help us spread the word and encourage like-minded friends and family!  Wouldn’t it be great if members decided during the annual membership drive to try to help us get just one member each?  The support you members give the Society is so important to covering costs and will eventually be critical in helping us provide even more services and fund projects – all of which ultimately boil down to helping to make the world a happier, more compassionate and wise place.  On a side note, if you’re a contributor or volunteer for the Society but not yet a member, I hope you may consider becoming one during our annual membership drive 🙂

I hope you enjoy all the other updates and new materials in the rest of this month’s newsletter below. Now I must get back to working to make the Society something that will be an even better service for you!

Sincerely with love and thanks,

Daniel Strain
Executive Director


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!

This month we are proud and thankful to add a collection of papers contributed personally for our member educational archives by professor of philosophy and religious studies, Dr. Marian Hillar. You can read more about Dr. Hillar’s background on our volunteers page. The following can be accessed through the members area of the website, in the philosophy/wisdom section, but direct links have also been provided here for your convenience…

Numenius and the Hellenistic Sources of the Central Christian Doctrine

Michael Servetus: Champion of Humanism and Freedom of Conscience

Is A Universal Ethics Possible? A Humanist Proposition

The Concept of Logos in Greek Culture

Philo’s Logos Doctrine: Bridging Two Cultures and Creating the Philosophical Foundations of Christianity

The Ethics of Philo of Alexandria (20 BCE to 50 CE)


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

How do you stay Mindful throughout the day? Please share!

What does Enlightenment mean to you?


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.

Hurricane Sandy: A Spiritual Naturalist take on tragedy
Hurricane Sandy: A Spiritual Naturalist Take on Tragedy

Whether suffering ourselves, or dealing with others who are suffering, how do Spiritual Naturalists deal with tragedy?…

The Other Resource
The Other Resource

Thomas Schenk explains why it is time to harvest our internal resources: love, friendship, religious experience, beauty, truth, and goodness…

The Power of Gratitude
The Power of Gratitude

Gratitude reminds us of what is truly important. Jennifer Hancock reminds us what’s truly important isn’t stuff – it’s the people you surround yourself with…

How to Stay Mindful
How to Stay Mindful

Learning effective teachings and wisdom is great, but how do we stay mindful throughout the distractions of the day so real transformation and integration is possible?


There are many stories, articles, and items of interest around the web from our partner organizations and others in which our members may be interested. In this new section of the SNS Member Newsletter we’re listing a few of the high points for you! If you come across an item of interest your fellow members may be interested in, please email us!

Our Story in One Minute
Composer John Boswell has created another marvelous musical composition and video montage.

Finding Time for Family
An excellent article over at the Humanist Community at Harvard

What is Metta?
The Secular Buddhist Association’s article on loving-kindness

Want to Help Someone? Shut Up and Listen!
Thanks to the Charter for Compassion for alerting us to this TED talk by Ernesto Sirolli


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!