Dear Members of Religious Naturalist Association, We three officers take turns writing the monthly newsletter, and when it is my turn I always plan to write some profound philosophical observations about naturalism, but fortunately for you I always get sidetracked into something less interesting but more immediate. This time I got to looking at our geographical demographics, and thought you might be interested in knowing where your fellow members live.

So what I did was to take a map of North America, and in the margins I listed all the countries outside North America where our members live, with the number of members entered beside each. On the U.S. states and Canadian provinces I entered the number of members in each state or province. Then on the map I drew a horizontal line at the level where 50% of our members live north of the line and 50% south of the line. Next I drew a vertical line at the point where 50% of our members live east of the line and 50% west of the line. That would have given us an approximate “center of gravity” for North American members, but just to be sure I drew similar lines from southwest to northeast, and from southeast to northwest. If you are wondering where the 4 lines cross, or how many people are in your state or country, open the .pdf attachment named 2016map. If by chance you can’t open the .pdf or it isn’t attached, write me back and I’ll send a personal copy.

At this point a bit of demographics like this is only a curiosity, but one of these days, when we decide to have our first religious naturalist conference, maybe the point of confluence will be a good place to start looking for a venue. Those of you who live near that point, in fact, might write me and tell me of any venue you know about in the area, and I’ll start a folder on it. (If anyone knows a venue that might be both convenient and inexpensive enough to consider even though it is outside our geographic center, let me know that as well.)

Speaking of conferences, we’ve added a new feature to our website, under the Activities banner, called Members’ Recommended Events If you’d like to let others know about a forthcoming RN-relevant conference, art or museum exhibit, concert series, seminar series, etc., please send a short notice of same, including a URL to the full website descriptor, to Todd Macalister at and he’ll post it. The pilot posting — announcing the upcoming IRAS conference — has been recommended by member Karl Peters.

Finally, a word about the good conversations we’ve been having on IRASnet. We’ve been all over the map (the philosophical one, not the geographic one), but member Mars Lewis (who lives in New Zealand, by the way) has given particular focus by hosting and facilitating a discussion of Part II of Loyal Rue’s book “Nature is Enough.” You can join RNAnet by dropping me a line, and then if you wish you can go the the GoogleGroups page for RNAnet and catch up on that (or any other) conversation. Thank you, Mars, for keeping us focused (most of the time – we can be a rowdy group).

As always, please know that comments and ideas and questions are welcome. Have a great month.

Your humble secretary,
Michael Cavanaugh


2016 Map