Religious Naturalist Association Newsletter
Dear Friends, From the beginning of our association, diversity has been one of our goals. We still have work to do in that area, but we are VERY diverse when it comes to our present and past occupations, and reasonably diverse geographically (mostly US but with a significant worldwide presence). If you are a new member or haven’t seen the newsletters on those topics and are interested, write me a note and I’ll point you to them.
But today I am musing not so much about diversity per se, as about how it influences and enhances my life. Just knowing you are out there, that I’m not alone, and that we are in association together accomplishes that to a significant extent, but it is in our on-line discussions that I am astounded, over and over again, with how much I benefit from my association with you, your amazing backgrounds, and the wonderful insights you have on life.
For me that comes mostly from the RNAnet discussions. To be sure, they can sometimes get into philosophical weeds, and when the discussion gets intense we all have to be prepared to skim without reading completely, or even delete when we are really busy. But even skimming those conversations usually makes me glad I did, and when I read closely, a light comes on for me quite frequently, based on some really articulate explanation of something I hadn’t thought deeply about. Even on topics where I thought I knew something, a novel comment or chain of reasoning or back-and-forth between experts and non-experts just delights me. Our diversity means that everyone in the conversation is an expert of sorts, as we bring fresh ideas from our own experience and then sit back to watch other participants weave our ideas into an overarching approach, or correct errors of fact or emphasis. While each of us has our pet theories and emphases, somehow we manage to keep one another honest, find balance and perspective, and leave the conversation not only better informed but downright inspired. And that is true whether we are talking about matters of utmost importance like global warming, or more philosophical matters like how to think about consciousness or morality.
On our Facebook forum similar conversations often break out, but I sense that the real excitement there is postings of links to profound talks and videos and articles that are intimately intertwined with our interests as religious naturalists. My only personal regret is that I don’t take advantage of those links (and the ensuing conversations) often enough, but my hope is that this forum is as big a turn-on for many of you as the RNAnet is for me. Facebook is also amazing in the way it consistently snares surfers who later become members of our association, so keep those postings coming!!
All of which is to say THANK YOU for your contributions to my life. I hope you too are having some of your own needs met by association with the rest of us, and please know that your officers are always interested in hearing how we could do a better job of being useful to you as you journey through life. And as always, please let me know if you are not on one of these forums (or the Clergy forum, if you are or have been Clergy) and want to be.
In the way of news, I’d like to lift up two new books by our members. One is Jerry Stone’s new book “Sacred Nature” (I wrote the Foreword so if you want a teaser let me know and I’ll send you that much). The other is Don Crosby’s new book “The Extraordinary in the Ordinary: Seven Types of Everyday Miracle.” Both are available on Amazon, and both need to be on your religious naturalist bookshelf. Hopefully we’ll discuss these books on Facebook and/or RNAnet, so get ready.
Michael Cavanaugh, Secretary