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Our four-year lease is up early next year and several Board members are looking for a new place for CRT. That doesn't mean we will move, it just means that we're looking. While I have mixed feelings about moving the center, I'm just going to roll with the punches and learn to live with whatever decision the Board makes -- Louie Louie* notwithstanding.
But -- have we been here four years already? It seems like only last year I was riding along Tom McCall Park and stopped at the Salmon Street fountain to catch my breath. I sat next to a rather pleasant woman who was reading a book called The Philosophy of Humanism. Having been an independent atheist for most of my life, I asked her, "What is the philosophy of Humanism?"
She proceeded to assess the book, rather than describe it, but the conversation quickly turned to the new atheist center that she and her friends were opening. She said, "The discussion is whether to call it 'Center for Rational Thought' or 'Atheist Community Center.'"
I replied, "The 'A' word has a lot of stigma attached to it." She said, "That's the main reason why many want to call it 'Atheist Community Center'; perhaps the people around here will finally get used to the word -- and the people."
I went to the next planning meeting and introduced myself. I mentioned that I was involved in the Rational Recovery (RR) program for substance abusers. Several people became enthusiastic when I spoke of RR's struggle against state-mandated Twelve Step attendance. Many CRT members wanted RR in the center's portfolio. I had more on my mind than that: I was looking for an established group where I could fit in.
And fit in I did. It didn't happen overnight, but I kept showing up and now I have a place where I can be with my own kind -- philosophically. And you can, too. Come down and join us some time.
Copyright ©1995 Cliff Walker; Portland, Oregon