Another trip around the Sun is nearly complete and the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, is coming on December 21. For thousands of years, humans in the northern hemisphere have been celebrating winter solstice because the days begin to get longer. Most of the traditions that we are familiar with came to us from the
Greeks, Romans, Celtics, Norse, and a few other pagan societies. These pagan traditions include such things as hanging wreaths, decorating evergreen trees, caroling, gift giving, burning a yule log, kissing under the mistletoe, and more. All of these traditions had some pagan meaning centered around the winter solstice, or the “rebirth of the Sun.” The legend of Santa Claus might have been based on the worship of Odin, the Norse god of wisdom. But do you know where the image of a jolly old man with a white beard and a red suit originated? Coca-Cola! For centuries, many different images represented Santa Claus. Then, in 1931, an advertising agency working for the Coca-Cola Company commissioned an artist to paint a Santa for a Coca-Cola advertisement. The artist got inspiration for the image above from the poem, “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Thus, it began.
Speaking of winter solstice, RMA is hosting a big event on December 21, the Winter Solstice Celebration. The star of the show will be a delicious turkey dinner. But if you are vegan, don’t worry, there will be a vegan option. There will be a cash bar so you will have an opportunity to have a drink and mingle with heathen friends while you check out the silent auction. Speaking of a show, after dinner there will be an “Atheists Got Talent” show. If you can sing or play an instrument, do stand-up comedy, or do a dramatic reading of prose or poetry, there is still time to sign up. There is also time to donate something for the silent auction. This will all take place at the Rosedale Community Hall, 901 11th Ave NW, at 6:30 pm on Thursday, December 21. Adult tickets are only $20.00. Please pay in advance by going to the Meetup page and clicking on the phrase, “Tickets are just $20” and that will take you to PayPal. This is a family event and children under 12 can pay $5 at the door. You won’t want to miss this one.
Lois’ Pick: You Can’t Get to Heaven in a Mini-Skirt. Yes, there really is a podcast by that name. In fact, it is Canadian. Two women, Jessica and Sarah, who have been lifelong friends, host the podcast. Jessica was raised in a casually Catholic home and Sarah in an evangelical Baptist home. They met when they were about 12 years old. Sarah, being very devout, invited Jessica to her Christian activities and Jessica was converted. When they became adults, they moved to opposite ends of Canada, and both deconverted. Still friends, they decided to do a podcast together to talk about their own experiences and delve into various aspects of religion. They also interview guests who have had challenging experiences with religion. They approach their podcast in a light-hearted manner but they dig into some very intense topics. Check it out, you might enjoy it.
Note: Some events might not appear on this list because they are not yet confirmed. Check the Meetup page to find any new events that might be planned during the month.
Wednesday, December 6
Skeptics in the Pub
First Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p
Please take note that Skeptics in the Pub will be on Wednesday this month due to special events at the Trolley 5 Brewpub. Other than the change of date, it will be the same, entertaining event. There will be videos on a topic that will stimulate discussions; there will be food and drinks; but best of all, there will be great comradery with like-minded friends. You can find us in the private Barrell room at the Trolley 5 Brewpub, 728 17th Ave. SW.
Thursday, December 7
Life Without Religion - Online
First Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm
Life Without Religion (LWR) is a peer support group where we discuss ordeals that we face because we stopped believing the teachings of a high-control religion and/or we have to deal with family or friends who are still immersed in religion.
The upcoming holiday season is especially difficult for ex-Christians because families expect us to participate in holiday events and the subject of belief often comes up and causes a conflict. As well, just being at these events and hearing prayers and discussions about religious beliefs triggers painful emotions. The opportunity to discuss these incidents with others who have had to deal with similar situations can often help us to better cope with the season.
Our meetings on the first Thursday of the month are online and members receive the Zoom link by email, a day or two before the meetings. If you are not a member of LWR but are interested in joining, contact Lois at email@example.com.
Saturday, December 9
Ping Pong and Games Night
Enjoy a relaxing evening of ping pong and other games or just enjoy the company of friendly people. Bring a dish to share or pitch in $10 for pizza and snacks. This is what Ping Pong and Games Night is all about. If you decide to go to the game night, go to the Meetup page, click on “Attend” and you will receive the address of the host the day before the event.
Monday, December 11
RMA Coffee Chat
Second Monday of every month at 1:00 pm
Enjoy a cup of coffee (or whatever you prefer) and a chat with friends without even leaving your house. The topic of conversation is up for grabs and it changes easily. Everyone has a chance to express their thoughts or change the topic. It is always friendly and fun. You can join Coffee Chat by just clicking on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84275927773.
Thursday, December 14
RMA Book Club – ONLINE
Second Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm
Do you love to read and enjoy discussing the books you have read with others? Then you must come to Book Club. The book that the Club is reading this month is Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, by Max Tegmark. What is artificial intelligence? For that matter, what is intelligence. Is a machine intelligent because it can do math hundreds of times faster than a human? Can a machine learn? What does it mean to learn? Is memorizing the multiplication tables learning? What are bits and bytes? Is AI a danger or a boon to society? You might find answers in the book or you might just find more questions. Join us for a fascinating discussion? (Pssst, you are welcome to come even if you haven’t read the book.) Just click on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87322462666.
Sunday, December 17
RMA Monthly Board Meeting
Third Sunday of every month at 1:00 pm
You might be surprised to find that the RMA Board Meetings are open to all. Every bit of input and ideas helps make RMA a more compassionate, flourishing society. Your input counts. We want to be the community that the “nones” can enjoy and feel a part of. Just remember, only board members vote on motions.
The board meeting will be at the Calgary Central Library in meeting room 2-05A. You can get more information on the Meetup page.
Tuesday, December 19
Life Without Religion - In person
Third Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm
As discussed above, LWR is a peer support group for people experiencing the consequences of leaving a high-control religion. Because it is much like leaving a cult, we have been discussing cult expert, Dr. Steven Hassan’s BITE model of authoritarian control. We have reached E, the control of your Emotions. How do cults and churches control or manipulate your emotions? Some of the techniques are very deceptive. In discussing the subject, we will better understand one of the ways that religion controlled us. And by understanding, we might be able to undo some of the damage. Also, understanding how our minds were manipulated might help us to forgive ourselves for believing such nonsensical things.
The location of the meetings will be sent to LWR members the day before the meeting. For our out-of-town members and for those who, for any reason, cannot come to the in-person meeting, a Zoom link will be in the email, also. If you are trying to cope with difficulties caused by religion and are not yet a member of LWR but are interested in joining, contact Lois at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, December 21
Winter Solstice Celebration
Annually around December 21
For millennia, societies around the world have been celebrating the winter solstice. So, let’s keep up the tradition. Join us for a turkey (or faux turkey) dinner and entertainment. Spend the evening with a friendly bunch of heathens. Throughout the evening, there will be a table of items for a silent auction. This is your chance to get a good deal and support RMA at the same time. And you certainly don’t want to miss “Atheists Got Talent.” You will have a great time. The celebration will be held at the Rosedale community Hall, at 901 11th Ave NW. To purchase a ticket, go to the Meetup page and click on “Tickets are just $20” and it will take you to PayPal. For children under 12, just pay $5 at the door. See you there.
Monday, December 25
Movie Night - Online
Fourth Monday of every month at 7:00 pm
Yes, the fourth Monday of December is on the 25th. Some people think there is something special about that day and some of you will be persuaded by relatives to spend the evening with them. But for those of you who will be staying home and would enjoy a comedy documentary, join us for Movie Night. We will be watching the documentary, Being Canadian, written and directed by Calgarian, Robert Cohen. After living in the United States for a while, Cohen was frustrated by how little Americans know about Canada. He decided make this documentary to tell people what it means to be a Canadian. He tells his story in a humorous way and includes interviews with some well-known Canadians. Join us; it will be entertaining. The link for the event is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82967440312.