Friends Journal recently published (Friends Journal June/July 2014:25-26) an edited version of this letter to FJ in its most recent issue which I submitted in March 2014:
March 15, 2014
1216 Arch Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19107
As a nontheistic f/Friend and a member of San Francisco Friends’ Meeting, I greatly appreciate Quaker vision and community and caring, as well as the centering and gathering of unprogrammed Quaker Meeting with F/friends. My positive experiences with a) evolutionary biology (thinking about this as salutary, personal experience), and b) the, for me, parallel-with-Quaker-Meeting, ‘relaxation response meditation, as biology’ in the Harbin Hot Springs’ warm pool (my actual anthropological field site for ethnographic books that I’m writing), inform my nontheistic Quakerism and move me toward nontheistically Friendly shared seasoning. The notion of God -- for me among Quakers since the mid-1970s -- has never held much meaning, whatsoever, and I’m sympathetic, and find some unity, with the more than a decade-long active conversation focusing on ‘nontheism’ on the nontheistic Friends’ email list, as well as in face-to-face NtF gatherings.
I continue to learn to experience centeredness and gathering while connecting inwardly in unprogrammed Quaker Meeting, and among Friends generally, in the light of nontheistic f/Friendliness - which I personally think of and experience as f/Friendly biological 'relaxation response’ meditations. And it's particularly the enjoyable parallels between a) soaking in the Harbin warm pool, and b) sitting in Quaker Meeting, in what I'm calling, again, their "de facto 'relaxation response’ meditations, biologically," that are significant for me and that I'll continue to enjoy exploring with Friends.
San Francisco, CA
See, too, this related blog entry from March 2014:
Black-headed ibis: 'Before' and 'after' of some emails to the Nontheist Friendly planning group email list of my draft to Quaker "Friends Journal"
Hi Oz and Nontheist Friends,
I'm glad to say the letter I submitted to Friends Journal entitled something like - "A Nontheist F/friends Letter: Unprogrammed Quaker Meeting and Soaking in the Harbin Warm Pool as Enjoyable Biological Meditations" - when I submitted it, was published in edited format in FJ recently (Friends Journal June/July 2014:25-26) ... Thanks Os (who also published a poem in this edition) and nontheist friends for your group contributions to this.
I decided to post my original letter here - http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2014/06/natural-hot-springs-nontheist-ffriends.html - with some great photos of hot springs as well, and which I think is more interesting, drawing parallels between the enjoyable gathering, centering and releasing that occurs in the Harbin Hot Springs warm pool and Quaker meetings, as biology.
(Just returned from a Haverford College Quaker educators' gathering, and vis-a-vis Friendly-informed World University and School as well - http://scottmacleod.com/interlingual/worlduniversityandschool.html - which was also salutary).