Religious Naturalist Association Newsletter April 2019

Dear Friends, When I first went out on my own practicing law I complained that it was “feast or famine.” Either nobody walked in the door, or I was so busy I couldn’t see straight. Now I have come to see that it isn’t just law practice that causes that problem, but life. Or maybe it is just something about me.

So I’m happy to report that we have had an onslaught of new members lately, and in my role as secretary that has kept me busy. I love the job, because we get such INTERESTING members. Since last I wrote the newsletter, I’ve welcomed new members from 14 US states and one other country, and probably a dozen different occupations. That did not of course add any new states, since we long ago reached the “all 50 states” stage. Nor did it add any new countries, though it brought our Australia contingency to 10.

Again it may be just me, and perhaps you will consider it a bit provincial, but I find I am really interested in how we sort out geographically. Some of you picked up on that interest and apparently shared it, because you responded to my enquiry in the January newsletter about “local listservs” and we now have three of them set up, called respectively the TennesseePlusRNAnet, the VirginiaPlusRNAnet, and the TexasPlusRNAnet. In each case the “plus” means RNA members can sign up if they live in or adjacent to the named state, or have some significant association with it. Each group is somewhat small (ranging from 10-17 members), and the conversation is sporadic, but it is fun because you realize you are exchanging ideas and introductions with folks not far away from you, and the pace of the conversation is relaxed.

At this early stage, listserv contact is the goal, but 3 members of the Virginia group got ahead of the curve and had a meet-up. Here’s their report:

On March 31, three of us (Partap Hiestand, Mike Jawer, and Mark Iredell) met at a tavern beside the W&OD trail in Vienna, Virginia. We had at first planned to bicycle on the trail, but it was a bit rainy so we just tacked on a short walk. However, we had a fascinating almost 3-hour lunch discussion together in the tavern. I can’t remember all the topics we covered, but some topics were interoception, that is the intimate sensing of the body state, plus what are health, consciousness and free will. In other words, we hardly skimmed the surface. We hope to meet up again within a month.


Our most general groups – Facebook and RNAnet – are also very active, so much so that in RNAnet each of us has to learn what to


read and what to scan. But we all agree that there is no requirement to read every post, and we are tolerant of lapses in attention, yet someone always manages to say something that rivets our attention. Good conversations also break out on Facebook, and it is a wonderful forum for sharing links, poetry, photos, and questions. The Clergy Group is quiet lately, but has a new influx of young members largely because Ursula Goodenough and Michael Hogue co-taught a seminary class about religious naturalism that intrigued all the students and prompted several of them to join RNA.

All of which is to say if you aren’t in one of these groups and want to be, please let me know. If you want to volunteer to help set up a group for your state or area let me know and I’ll help. Likewise, if those of you in other countries than the USA want to set up a regional list let me know and I’ll help on that as well.

Michael Cavanaugh, Secretary