September 2013 Newsletter

The Spiritual Naturalist Society

September 2013
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Hello dear members!
This month was a month of transition in many ways. We are transitioning to a lot of new features and modes of working, and this has actually slowed us down a bit, but the result will be a much more robust organization ready to do even more in the next year.
The first thing to note about September is that this month marks our one year anniversary! It’s hard to believe everything we’ve seen develop over the past year, all the new people we’ve met, and more. You can click here to read my anniversary message.
Tomorrow I will be presenting a meditation and short presentation on Spiritual Naturalism at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas. This is a good opportunity to introduce many new people that will be at the multi-faith chapel to our philosophy and practice. Most of you aren’t in Houston but I wanted everyone to know this is happening anyway. Public presentations in other areas may become possible as our local chapters spread and grow.
I also have good news about the video chat system I mentioned in the last issue. It looks like we are going to be able to afford this platform (Adobe Connect) which will have great advantages for (a) our members to interact and get to know one another better, (b) our staff to work more efficiently together, and (c) the spiritual naturalist course we’re developing (and other future courses) to be more interactive (learn the latest news on this course below). And best of all – it’s super easy for members to use without the need to download or sign up to anything.
As a part of our anniversary celebration, we will be publishing an anthology book of articles from our first year soon. This will be available in print form, and as an e-book.  We will sell both in our amazon shop but Supporting Members of the Society will get the e-book for free and the print book at a discount. I have decided to delay its publication in order to get in something from another author that will add even more value to the book. Stay tuned for more news on this.

And, we are proud and thankful to announce that SNS has an expanded new staff. While we are fortunate to have many wonderful volunteers who have contributed in many ways, this team consists of volunteers of a more regular nature, who will be taking over key functions of the Society. This will allow us to do even more with more things going on simultaneously. The staff consists of:

Michelle LeBlanc, Executive Assistant
B.T. Newberg, Education Director
Matthew Copple, Membership Director
Darren Bell, Editing Director
Lee Fitzgerald, Outreach Director
Thomas Schenk, Director at Large

and, of course, myself as Executive Director. Many thanks to these kind folks for their wonderful efforts. Please note that these folks still have need of further volunteers in their department so feel free to let us know if you are interested in helping out with our mission!

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…

– Tuesday October 15th (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!

What the Buddha Taught (Chapter 4) – from our book club
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!

Our poetry had been listed at the bottom of the Arts & Music page, but now we have added a new sub-page to the archives just for poetry! You can get to it by going through the Arts & Music page. And, many thanks to the Society’s Executive Assistant, Michelle LeBlanc for sharing this poem, which is our newest addition…

POEM: “More toThis Life”, by Michelle LeBlanc
As many of you know, we are busy designing an online course of Spiritual Naturalism! Our new Education Director, B.T. Newberg is heading up the effort, and sends this report:

The introductory course is making progress.  We’re in the initial stages of laying down course structures and deciding on means of assessment, after which we’ll begin to determine course content.  Thanks to collaborative efforts, original ideas have been substantially elaborated and improved.  We’re aiming to make the course highly engaging, effective for different kinds of learners, and above all practical.”


We’d like to let you all know about a book that is going to be coming out in mid-2014, which will include interviews with “some of the world’s leading philosophers, scientists, theologians, apologists, and atheists” including Dr. Susan Blackmore, who is on our Advisory Board. The book is by Dr. Gregg D. Caruso and it will be called “Science and Religion: 5 Questions“. If you’d like to keep up with news about it, you can like the book’s Facebook page here:



Don’t forget to check out our SNS Book Club!: 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.

Compassion hacking: rooting out the attribution bug

Compassion hacking: routing out the attribution bug
There is a bug in our thought process that often blocks compassion. Here’s how to deal with it…
The Ultimate Context
The ultimate context
What is the self? What is its greater context? Thomas Shank explores this and other questions…
Celebrating our first anniversary!
Executive Director of the Society, DT Strain, gives an overview of what’s been accomplished, and where we’re going from here!
Why God is important
Why God is important
Is experiencing the present moment and the awe and wonder of reality enough for social creatures like ourselves? Sigfried Gold deals with how an imaginary god can help with answering these questions…

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!