First Gathering, “Hoping Against Hope”: Thursday, November 3, 7pm, Brew Merchant, Holland, MI
“You don’t live on the earth; you are passing through it.”Rumi
“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received—only what you have given: a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice, and courage.”Francis of Assisi
“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.”Ursula K Le Guin
“Zen pretty much comes down to three things—everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention.”Jane Hirschfield
“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”Kurt Vonnegut
“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received—only what you have given: a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice, and courage.”
“Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but ‘steal’ some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.”
“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.”
“Zen pretty much comes down to three things—everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention.”
“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world revolves—slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”
“Blessed are the curious, for their curiosity honors reality.
Blessed are the uncertain and those with second thoughts, for their minds are still open.
Blessed are the wonderers, for they shall find what is wonderful.
Blessed are those who question their answers, for their horizons will expand forever.
Blessed are those who often feel foolish, for they are wiser than those who always think themselves wise.
Blessed are those who are scolded, suspected, and labeled as heretics by the gatekeepers, for the prophets and mystics were treated in the same way by the gatekeepers of their day.
Blessed are those who know their unknowing, for they shall have the last laugh.
Blessed are the perplexed, for they have reached the frontiers of contemplation.
Blessed are they who become cynical about their cynicism and suspicious of their suspicion, for they will enter the second innocence.
Blessed are the doubters, for they shall see through false gods. Blessed are the lovers, for they shall see God everywhere.”
“In so far as one denies what is, one is possessed by what is not, the compulsions, the fantasies, the terrors that flock to fill the void.”
Still Processing is an experiment in community. People need community. Life is precious and wonderful; confusing and painful. Change and evolution are critical. Death and new life are connected. Joy, hope, and love are everything. A better world is possible. This community will try to imagine and enact a better world.
Still Processing does not operate from any single faith tradition, philosophical tradition, or political identity. All sources of knowledge, curiosity, and goodness are needed in the quest for a better world. We welcome curious and kind atheists, theists, and agnostics. We welcome and affirm people of any sexual identity, gender identity, and racial identity. We know that people from marginalized groups have so much to teach us about joy, love, acceptance, resolve, and resilience. We need you.
Still Processing is, and will always be, improvisational. We will never be static. We believe in truth, but we acknowledge that truth will always be beyond our grasp. We aim to attune our desires to the whisper of goodness inside each of us, and perhaps, to the whisper of goodness that calls to each of us. We do this with humility and courage.
Our goal is to live between truth and meaninglessness. We recognize that possessing truth makes us dangerous to others. Thus our truths will always provisional and tested in practice. We resist meaninglessness, not because it is easy, but because it ,too, is dangerous.
We hope against hope. We love for the sake of love. We strive to maintain a worthy struggle, a struggle rooted in honesty, decency, integrity, hospitality, and service to others. We believe that the maintenance of this struggle is a kind of victory to be proud of.
We reject all forms of hierarchy, dominance, prejudice, hate, cruelty, and violence. We reject patriarchy, misogyny, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, nationalism, and religious supremacy of any kind.
We welcome you to the process.
Josh has spent his whole life learning and teaching. His formal education is in Christian religion, with an emphasis on biblical interpretation. After finishing his PhD in Old Testament in 2012, Josh’s curiosity expanded far beyond Christianity and the Bible. Josh continues to be acutely interested in the concept and possible reality of God. For Josh, the question of God insists on being asked and explored. It refuses to let him be, so he has stopped trying to be free of it. But now the possibilities are wide open, which has given Josh great hope and energy. Josh’s current interests Include, but are not limited to: consciousness, neuroscience, behavioral psychology, psychoanalytic theory, “death of God” philosophy, existentialism, spiritual development, mind-body connection, psychedelic research, and gender and sexuality.
Josh works as peace activist and thought leader. His focus is on educating people on the injustice of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and Palestinian people. And this injustice is reminiscent with so many injustices in the U.S. and throughout the world. He brings groups on tours of Israel/Palestine. These tours show people the brutal realities of the Israeli occupation. The tours also teach folks about the difficulties of understanding the history of ancient Israel and the life of Jesus as illumined by history, archaeology, and the Bible. He also leads online courses on the questions of God, the good life, and spirituality. Josh recently finished a documentary, entitled “The Law and the Prophets,” detailing the mechanisms of oppression utilized by Israel to oppress and silence Palestinians.
Josh lives in Holland, MI with his wife, Nicoly, two daughters, Mahalia and Luciana, and dog, Jim.
Throughout his life, Marlin has had many roles. He has been a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a student, a teacher, a coach, a salesman, a pastor, a campus minister, a mission co-worker in Israel/Palestine, a care pastor. But in all and about all, he is simply a human being. His faith tradition has been and will most likely continue to be Christianity.
Marlin’s quest for being human involves an openness to truth from many sources. He longs to be in community with a group of people who believe that truth, while illusive, is a necessary endeavor, the endeavor of a lifetime. Truth is best sought in community with others who share a desire to grow and evolve.
Marlin is curious by nature. He has many questions and many doubts. He wants others to help him to become better person, and he wants to be affirmed in this process. He desires to be guided by a variety of people who have expertise in a variety of areas: philosophy, psychology, archeology, theology, astronomy, and all the other “ologies” that both inform and inspire us.
Most importantly, Marlin is a learner, a teacher, and a storyteller. He is confident that anyone reading this and feeling some pull toward what we are trying to develop here, is both learner and teacher as well. Join us and we’ll learn together from an abundance of guides. Transformation is not only possible, it is essential.
Marlin lives in Holland, MI, with his wife, Sally.
We know the community will be full of people with great insight and creativity. We welcome your imagination, expertise, artistic expressions, and questions. Please share your wonderings and confusion with us.
Sages and experts
We welcome anyone from any field of study or artistic expression who can help us understand the grand experiment of life. Their intellect and intuition are welcome here.
The earth and everything in it
This planet is a wonder. As far as we know, there is none like. The great wisdom of plants, animals, insects, soil, all of it, is a gift. We will try to listen and learn.
The known and unknown universe
We have only scratched the surface of the majesty of the universe. We are open to new discoveries and their lessons.
OUR FIRST GATHERING
“Hoping Against Hope”
November 3, 2022 | 7pm @ Brew Merchant in Holland, MI
Our gatherings will take place on the first Thursday of every month at 7pm at Brew Merchant in Holland, MI. They will last about an hour. People are welcome to come early and stay after. Beverages will be available for purchase.
These gatherings will be organized around a theme, beginning with “Hoping against Hope” (Nov 3), “Revolutionary Love” (Dec 1), “Faith Beyond Belief” (Jan 5). We are open to suggestions for future gatherings, but possibilities include: “God After God,” “Discovering Whiteness,” “Deconstructing Gender,” Consciousness and the Self,” “Deconstructing Jesus,” “Deconstructing the Bible,” “Stages of Faith,” “White Christian Nationalism,” “Ask Us Anything,” “How to Have an Enemy”
Josh and Marlin will use a variety of resources at the gatherings: music, podcasts, TikToks, meditations, poems, conversations, stories, and anything else we can imagine. We hope to bring in guests to enrich our gatherings with their wisdom and expertise.
Josh and Marlin also intend to hold town hall gatherings in which we discuss a podcast episode, book, topic, or current event. These events will happen in addition to the monthly gatherings. These town hall gatherings will begin in January 2023 and happen intermittently, depending on interest.
Still Processing is a registered 501(c)(3). It cannot survive without financial support. Current expenditures include: building rental ($400), sound and video equipment ($3500), video production ($3500/gathering). Our desire is to have each gathering taped and then professionally produced and edited. This video of the event would then be available online. We do not intend to livestream our gatherings.
In order to bring experts and sages to our gatherings, we will need to pay them. This could cost anywhere from $1000 to $5,000. We would also like to do occasional two-day seminars featuring an influential thinker. We expect this would cost anywhere from $5,000-15,000.
Currently, Still Processing has no paid employees. Josh and Marlin are volunteering their time and energy to the community. We have a board of directors. Josh is the executive director of Still Processing. Our desire is for this to become a full-time salaried position with benefits (approx. $80,000) as soon as possible. Still Processing will also need someone to handle all of the financial and tax issues, which we expect to be a part time position. Finally, our hope is to hire a second full-time person to help guide the community with a salary and benefits package of approximately $80,000. In the end, then, we hope to have a budget of about $250,000.