Hooked on Words: Live Better, Help Often, and Wonder More The Humanist TheHumanist.com

Those are the words that got me hook, line, sinker, bobber, and whatever else a fishing rod has…a reel, is it called a reel!?! I’m not so good at fishing, but I am extremely good at taking the bait. The Sunday Assembly, started by two British comedians, has what we need and what we deserve in a secular community. There are other organizations that serve a similar purpose, but I feel that this one has something special. I think it’s the heart! But it could be the spleen. Their motto, “Live Better, Help Often and Wonder More”, hits as hard as a specific former boxer that partakes in the culinary delights of oratory organs. Let’s break it down:

Live Better: Who’s going to argue with that? We can all strive to be kinder, softer, be more understanding of others’ current situations and even other worldviews.
Help Often: As often as we can, why not help others? Even if it’s an infinitesimally small gesture in the grand scheme of things. Nothing that I can think of comes closer to our evolutionary journey as a species; than lending a hand to our fellow Sapiens.
Wonder More: Endless curiosity is the key to growth and enlightenment. “Wow” is a word I always like to hear! It means genuine interest and a desire to find answers. Even if the answers are beyond our grasp. Especially if the answers are beyond our grasp!

The coolest part is that this motto can be interpreted in your own way and, barring anything overly drastic, will always be positively enacted.

I have had the honor and privilege of attending the Detroit branch of this incredible humanistic congregation and now I’m even part of the leadership board. It all started during a pandemic. This little thing happened in 2020 that caused a lot of kerfuffle. A microscopic pest interrupted my work schedule and left me with some time to think. Too much time to think. That’s a dangerous opportunity for thoughts to creep in. Luckily, they were good thoughts. Thoughts about how I could help others who were non-theistic, and/or struggling with issues of doubt and disbelief. I had been an avid fan of the Atheist Community of Austin productions for a few years by this time and had heard of Recovering from Religion, which was brought up at least once an episode. I submitted an application and got to work on the gradual training program to become a peer support agent on the helpline. By the next year, I had a lot of calls and virtual support meetings under my belt, which emboldened me to take a forward facing opportunity with RfR. I became an Ambassador for the organization and eventually took on the vacant role of Ambassador Director. One of my endeavors was reaching out to other groups and presenting our resources to potential clients, volunteers and influencers. This led me to Sunday Assembly Detroit.

I had a chance meeting with an American Atheists rep while tabling at BAHACON, a humanist conference in Sarnia, Ontario. He passed me a name and number for the then-president of Sunday Assembly Detroit, Austin Edwards. I reached out about an opportunity to represent RfR in a virtual presentation and I was met with the most positive reception in my life. Austin, is one of the kindest, sincerest and most thought-provoking individuals I have met. We share a lot in common, including that we’re both married to theists. After my speech for their group, I was left in awe of the questions and interaction I received from their members. It was as if they were a collective mind that was open to all thoughts and feelings. Something I had never witnessed in any other setting.

I was beyond excited when it was announced that Sunday Assembly Detroit was going to start hosting in-person events again, and I was eager to attend with the family. There is a kids’ program like Sunday school, but instead of hearing hollowed out Bible stories, the children learn about scientific theories, stories of humanity and kindness—and literally shoot off bottle rockets. My kids are always keen to go and see the activities planned for the day. Play dough dinosaur sculptures and chalk wall art are always favorites and my oldest son says he loves the fact that he can be himself at Sunday Assembly. The talks are always interesting, relevant to the human condition, serve to satiate the desire for connection, and are immersed in contemporary culture.

There are other events, both regular and sporadic, that help to promote community and interconnectedness, including monthly Cuisine and Conversations. Which are exactly as they sound. A book club that elicits strong emotions and fosters exhilaration for secular literature. One of the most memorable experiences I’ve had with Sunday Assembly Detroit was an adults’-only after-hours at the Michigan Science Center. The museum thinks it’s a good idea to give grown-ups alcohol and perform various experiments under little supervision. It was fantastic!

Now that I’m a board member, I am able to peek behind the curtain and see the magic formula that pieces the assembly together. Or as the current President, Joe Bochinski says, “how the sausage is made.” I’ve gotta say, even as a token Canadian in a mid-west American group…I’m loving the sausage.

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Finding my way to Sunday Assembly Detroit.
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