Since our launch in September of 2012, we have published numerous articles, made many new friends, and begun the foundations of a community of Spiritual Naturalists. We have many more exciting plans in the works. But as we continue this diverse work, it is sometimes easy for newcomers, even members, to become unsure of the ‘big picture’. Whether you are a long-time reader or member, or whether you are new to us, I’d like to share our vision with you.
Anyone can read what we mean by ‘Spiritual Naturalism’ on our website (link here). They can also read about some of the practices in our Resources section, and much more in our member archives if they choose to join. But what may be less clear is: why are we here and what are we trying to do as an organization and as a community?
Not just a website
Many people first come to know of us through our main website or our sites on Facebook or other social sites. And, at first, we may appear to be similar to many blogs or online publishers. But the Spiritual Naturalist Society is more than just a website. We are a spiritual home for naturalists, and an organization dedicated to building a community of fellowship. We are in the process of building more chapters, working on plans for classes, and have online tools so members can interact directly.
Not just a publisher of articles
Our articles could be looked at as our ‘weekly message’ for both the membership and our visitors. Beyond that, we are constantly building our archive of educational and inspirational materials, and looking for more projects, local and national, to help promote spiritual practices that reunite the sacred and the natural. Ultimately, our aim is to increase happiness and well-being in the lives of people – real transformation through the cultivation of both reason and compassion.
Who are we here for?
The thing that makes the Society so exciting is that we are providing something that is extremely rare, yet important to a new and growing people. More and more people are questioning the beliefs on which they were raised, and wondering about meaning, purpose, and wisdom. They are a part of the modern scientifically-minded world, but they don’t want their lives to be merely about consumerism and pop culture. Humans have a deep need for the profound, for wonder, for meaning, for contentment, and for a sense of the sacred – but for many today, accepting unfounded dogma is simply too high a price to pay for it.
You might be a Christian, a Buddhist, a Pagan, a Humanist, a Taoist, and so on. In each of these traditions, there is an emerging segment that views the world rationally and yet retains the rich sources of inspiration and wisdom that can be found in many places. If you are interested in a spiritual path of peace and compassion, that is fully naturalistic and rational, then our Society is for you.
What is expected of you?
As a member:
For those who choose to become members of the Society, they are also choosing to become members of a community. As such, membership is an opportunity to be a part of building an organization and all of the services and projects that only a combined contribution of financial and other resources can accomplish.
In addition to dues, there is an expectation that members will keep up with the happenings of the Society by reading the monthly newsletter, and to come and be a part of our community by engaging other members at the online monthly Member Social. Members should be aware of our educational archives and to offer their thoughts on content. Members should also become a part of ongoing conversations on the nature of Spiritual Naturalist thought and practice which form our think tank, benefiting the future of the movement. Some members may choose to become a volunteer in one of several areas.
But most importantly, members are not merely paying a few bucks a month to have access to some additional articles. Our members are people who are excited by Spiritual Naturalism as a way of life. Joining the Society should be accompanied by the intention to make changes in your schedule to take into account meeting dates and to try out various practices and share your progress. Your spirituality is a path and we hope there will be a sense of movement along that path. In the Society, we help one another in that journey as well. If you simply sign on for the automatic dues, and make no other changes to your activities or participation, then in a few months you will most likely notice the draft on your account, and cancel without ever realizing most of the benefits of membership. If you do decide to cancel your membership, we request and expect you to send us a letter to let us know why you are leaving, as a courtesy and to help us address any issues you had.
As a volunteer:
For those who have the time, ability, and impulse to be a part of what we are doing as an organization, they can become volunteers. These include our writers, local chapter organizers, archive contributors, and Directors. Volunteers are expected to be dependable, attend planning meetings, and do what they say they’ll do. If they can be good examples of members and help facilitate our community, that is also greatly appreciated.
As a Chapter Attendee:
We have several local chapters around the United States, and plan to continue building more. At present there are a few hundred people who have signed up to these local groups through our pages on Meetup.com. Each of these local chapters has at least one monthly regular event, and sometimes more. Anyone is welcome to attend these events and they are not required to be members of the Society in order to be “members” of the Meetup groups (though their membership is appreciated, should they choose to join). As a part of a local Meetup group, you are expected to make an effort to attend, RSVP accurately to the events, and update your RSVP status if your plans change. If you don’t see a local chapter in your area, all we need is someone like you to volunteer to be a local organizer by contacting us.
As a Subscriber:
Many more people are subscribers to our public articles, even though they are not members. Some subscribe by liking our Facebook page and others who want to be sure to get notice of all articles subscribe through our website by email. We greatly appreciate and value our subscribers as well. If you are a subscriber who is as inspired by Spiritual Naturalism as we, and if you enjoy these articles, we hope that you will: (a) appreciate that you are getting a quantity and quality of articles found in many paid magazines, (b) share them with others, (c) leave us comments at the bottom of the articles to let us know your thoughts and continue the conversation, and (d) consider giving back in some manner, to help us continue in what we are doing, whether that means giving the occasional donation or becoming a member.
As a visitor:
Still many times those amounts of people are visitors to our sites. You too are welcome and appreciated. We hope that you will consider subscribing with your email, ‘liking’ our Facebook page, following us on Twitter, or possibly even becoming even more involved. And telling others about us is always appreciated as well.
We challenge you!
We are people on a mission. We have a mission in our own lives as practitioners and explorers of a vibrant and exciting path, as members of a growing community, and as planners for an organization. We challenge you to become a part of our mission – the mission to heal the divide between that which is rational and natural, and that which is sacred and profound. We challenge you to walk the Spiritual Naturalist path by incorporating helpful practices into your own life. We challenge you to become an active member of our Society!
If you have questions or comments, you can leave them below, or you can contact us at any time for a one-on-one dialogue. We wish you the best, friend, and hope for peace and love in your life.
The Spiritual Naturalist Society works to spread awareness of spiritual naturalism as a way of life, develop its thought and practice, and help bring together like-minded practitioners in fellowship.