Author Archives: Cheryl Petersen

Gotta have experience

Israel mapMy cousin and his wife have been living and working in Israel. At the recent family reunion, they showed us pictures. Clean. Comfortable. “Don’t believe what you read in the media,” they said. “The people are normal, they go to the beach, have families, and farm just like we do here in America.”

Experience is a powerful tool, when experienced in broad terms. My cousin and his wife didn’t just visit Israel and make a conclusion based on first appearances. They didn’t just live there to be served. They worked and participated in the society.

They could not help but find similarities. People helping people. Love.

Life experiences reveal a love we can share in.

Fostering love in the desert

Mother_son“Are you sure you want to walk with me?”


“It’s about 90 degrees out there and you know how far I walk,” I added.

“I know, I’m coming with you,” said Dak, the foster child who came to live with our family that year.

Was I surprised when Dak started petering out about half way through the walk? Yes and no. He was a sturdy 9-year old and had come on the walk with me before. But, Dak had a penchant to want to prove himself stronger, smarter, and faster than he really was, more often than not, getting himself into trouble.

We, previous foster parents, and social workers all strove to bring balance to Dak’s life. But one mile from home, he stopped in his tracks. Dak had sweat one drop too many. Something triggered and he sulked.

I remember sulking in the same way when I was a teenager after realizing I wasn’t getting my way.

But that day, we were on a desert trail. Not a high traffic area. So, I picked Dak up and started carrying him. His grouched weight strained my 115 pound slim (read non-muscular) physique. I started suffering.

Was my love for Dak’s safety carrying the load even though I was suffering? Probably not, I was pretty pissed. But the faith in me knows that God loves Dak. And the realist in me knows this human experience reeks with suffering; so much suffering in fact, that I’ve searched the Bible for meaning.

At the Pool of Bethesda, Christ Jesus healed a disabled man who had suffered for 38 years. Interestingly after the healing, “Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.’” (John 5:14, ESV)

In this case, Jesus attributed suffering to sin. On one hand, it appears as though suffering serves to draw us away from sin and closer to God, life and love. But on the other hand, suffering isn’t posed as an agent to God because Jesus stopped the suffering of the man before fully knowing if the sin was stopped.

What about the times when innocent people suffer?

Prior to his crucifixion, the innocent Christ Jesus told Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” (Matthew 26:38, ESV)

I take his “watch” instruction to mean stay awake to God, to life and love, mainly because Jesus went on to show the result of staying awake to God, rather than being mesmerized by, or trying to manipulate the drama and suffering. Although he experienced horrible human suffering, Jesus passed through the suffering alive and useful.

Suffering may get our attention but it doesn’t have to keep it.

Instead of letting suffering use me, I use suffering to repent or think differently.

As I carried Dak in the desert, my attitude cooled off. I gave God the pissy feeling to deal with and felt thankful for the fact that God loves Dak. Mercifully, Dak relaxed and offered to walk on his own and the whole incident never became a thing.

Reversing prayer

Do we sometimes get things backwards? backwards

Do we confuse the beginning with the end and thereby get nowhere?

I’ve been told to pray for healing.

Prayer first, healing next.

But what if God is already healing? What if healing is happening right now?

What if the healing is first and prayer next?

These questions give me the idea that my prayer could be different than praying for healing. I can pray to wake up to the healing that caused me to pray and be thankful for God’s healing.

Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers, Luke 17, English Standard Version

11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Marijuana in New York

New York State is mulling over the legalization of marijuana. It’s a tough decision for some. My background doesn’t include marijuana so I have no personal experience other than being around a few other people who smoked it in the distance.

I don’t see the legalization of marijuana as right or wrong. I wish the suffering in the world wouldn’t necessitate temporal relief in the form of marijuana or any drug especially when they can be addictive.

The plight of addiction, or giving your mind to a drug, is unappealing. It generates the belief that marijuana can be helpful at times.

The belief that marijuana can be switched out for the opposite belief, that marijuana can be harmful. But, I’ve learned through the study of divine Science, not to vacillate back and forth between beliefs but to remove belief and hold to spiritual truths.

By habit, if the human mind focuses on the object at hand, marijuana, great debates ensue and policies are made. Then we wonder why marijuana is still an issue. Why does it creep back into the lime light?

It’s not the physical marijuana.

It’s “belief” that pokes its head at us. The belief that marijuana is good or bad.

Dissolve the belief. Don’t trade the belief for another belief. If you thought marijuana was helpful, don’t trade it for the belief that it is now harmful. Dissolve the belief that marijuana has power of any kind.

Dissolving belief is difficult because the human mind loses its hold when it no longer has anything to cling to. But, spiritual truths are present and available for recognition by our spiritual senses. And, spiritual truths give us a sense of progress. They help to eliminate constant regression.

Spiritual truths come across as abstract, but they lead past belief into understanding.

For example, attributes of divine Spirit include selfless joy, purpose, and honesty. I can see and feel these attributes around certain people. When I focus on them and try to express those attributes myself, interest in, or judgment of, marijuana fades. Humanity has the wisdom to use temporal powers properly, not abusively.

The spiritual attribute of wisdom also exists and if the vote comes to the public, I will assess the situation according to the current circumstances and make a decision nearest to spiritual truth, but without the belief that marijuana is helpful or harmful.


Sacrifice to resolve tragedies

A local Village is celebrating its 60th year of Emergency Medical Services. What started in 1954 has touched the lives of many people and continues today. While interviewing Jerry, he said, “Oh, the best parts are I can get up early in the morning, 2 a.m. and it’s my weight lifting. I carry people to the ambulance. But seriously, in reality, it’s pitching in and helping others.”

And, he meant it. Jerry retired from police officer work and immediately joined the local EMS squad. “Idleness is not good so I went through the training and joined what I found out was a group of the best people ever to work with. Many of the other volunteers are still working to make a living and yet when that siren or buzzer goes off they go answer the call to help.”

Coming onto the scene of a tragedy tightens stomachs however these volunteers are found overlooking the horribleness that sometimes happens in life and help to the best of their ability. It reminds me of a true sacrifice.

Facts fill out an answer from church leaders

lop-sided tree can be filled out

lop-sided tree can be filled out

Oh boy, oh joy, time again to round out the facts concerning seminal textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, first written by Mary Baker Eddy in the 19th century.

A statement from the leaders of First Church of Christ, Scientist, has been brought to my attention. Their statement, found in the 2014 July edition of The Christian Science Journal, answers the question: “Should Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures be changed to keep up with the times?”

The Q&A appears to be one-sided. Therefore, I would like to offer another viewpoint.

I would also like to defend Mary Baker Eddy. The answer given by the church leaders immodestly speaks for Mary Baker Eddy as if they personally know what she is thinking or would say.

Speaking on behalf of someone not present grates the reader’s senses, both physically and spiritually, and there is nothing wrong with figuring out why.

Mary Baker Eddy authored the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures to explain what she termed Christian Science, a.k.a. divine Science, the Science of Christ, spiritual Science, or Christ Science. She revised her book hundreds of times until her death in 1910. Basically, she changed her words numerous times while keeping the complete explanation of Christian Science intact.

Mary Baker Eddy’s published book can’t be changed, but it can be updated and published as a new version with the new author/authors name/names. To advance Christian Science as presented by Mrs. Eddy, revisionists have interpretations of Eddy’s writings to work with, and God. Quite enough.

For the last one hundred years, people have been interpreting Mary Baker Eddy’s writings. Every conversation, every lecture, every article or testimony, every answer, encompassing the subjects of Science and Health and Christian Science involves interpretation. Thinkers, practitioners, teachers, and lecturers, and church leaders, repeat in their own words, what they interpret in Eddy’s writings.

I myself interpret Eddy’s writings, literally and spiritually. The spiritual interpretation inspires the clearest literal interpretation, whether read or written. The spiritual interpretation frees us from the belief that a human being was perfect. Mary Baker Eddy made mistakes and more importantly, she corrected them.

The spiritual interpretation also disallows us from establishing the unwritten church commandment: Thou shalt not read any other Science and Health but Mrs. Eddy’s.

I understand the feeling of being healed after receiving an inspiration while reading a book, however over-emphasis stressing the claim that “reading Science and Health heals” gives the wrong impression to readers ill-equipped to understand the meaning. Who wouldn’t love to simply read a book and be healed? But this is not the case.

To write as though Christian Science and a book is the same thing misleads readers. Christian Science involves metaphysical rules, like mathematics, and mathematics is not in a math book, no matter how clearly that math book teaches how to add, subtract, divide, and multiply. Reading a math book won’t solve math problems.

On another note: oftentimes Mary Baker Eddy is quoted, a habit that fragments Science and Health.

Therefore, to express the usefulness and wholeness of Science and Health, I’ve published the book 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, now in its 5th edition. I’ve discovered that paraphrasing the letter assists the reader in focusing on the spirit of divine Science.






How we observe can expand our observation

My sister, Denise, is computer literate. My younger brother, Brent, is, well, not. So, when I found out that Brent was visiting Denise, who lives 3,000 miles from me, I asked her to set Brent up to video/chat with me.

Brent looked like a deer in headlights. I spoke. Pause. I spoke again. When he realized it wasn’t a recording, he answered. After about 10 minutes of talking and laughing, he snickered and said, “This video/chat is pretty neat.”

From 21st Century Science and Health, “Observation, invention, study, and original thought are expansive. They should promote the advancement of human mind out of itself to a consciousness that escapes mortality.”

Denise and I had no intent to show Brent the “latest technology.” Our spiritual intent allowed for an observation that swallowed up the mortal elements of mystery, space and time.

What was “pretty neat,” was the closeness of our sibling love and affection.

Love stands

build loveHuman organizations are built with prejudices; the fewer the prejudices, the stronger the organization.

Marriages are built with prejudices; the fewer the prejudices, the stronger the marriage.

Prejudices become outdated and are oftentimes replaced with new prejudices or a different quality of material such as fear or courage. Depending on the elements used, the structure stands or falls.

The Tower of Babel was built with a prejudice for homogeny. Everyone was to speak the same language, look the same, and act the same. It fell. (Genesis 11)

The Temple of King Solomon was built with spiritual obedience and pride of power. It eventually fell. (II Chron. 3)

The religion of love was built by prophets and sages and the common people. It still stands. The religion of Love has been through rocky times, hell and high water. But it still stands. I see and feel love, not built with hands, but by what I call God.

Genesis 1:31 (ESV)

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”






Still spry and snappy

???????????????????????????????A recent trip to Tuscon, Arizona, brought cool views. Good thing too, otherwise I would have melted from the atrocious heat.

At the Manor, I participated in a Senior Prom.The latest hoopla at the Manor involves Lawrence (93-years old) and Jane (88-years old). Lawrence and Jane are newly coupled.

They spent hours selecting their attire for the prom. Jane purchased new shoes. The details were shared at lunch prior to the prom dinner. All the details, except one.

While at the Senior Prom, this new couple sauntered onto the dance floor. Okay, it was an ultra cautious sauntering, but while on the dance floor they snuggle and nuzzled.

It reminded me of this from 21st Century Science and Health, “The error of thinking that we are growing old, and the benefits of destroying that illusion, has noticeable results. Most of us have met someone considered old, but very much young in mind/body/spirit. These people have been interviewed and questioned. Are they lucky? Is it their genes? Is it the food they eat? Maybe or maybe not, however, they usually always attribute their longevity to a positive and loving attitude.”

Returning to our table for a break after the song, Jane filled us in on the last detail concerning her shoes, saying, “These damn shoes have rubber soles, making it hard to dance.” But, the shoes didn’t ruin the evening, which again made me laugh because the rad event wrapped up at 7:30 p.m., time for bed.

cactus and palm treesI also visited the Desert Museum. The anomaly of seeing palm trees in the desert didn’t go unnoticed. It wasn’t a mirage or illusion. Bring a little water to the ground and plant a tropical tree, an it can grow. Again from Science and Health, “It is made plain that decrepitude is not according to law, nor is it a necessity of nature, but an illusion. There are many examples of perpetual youth, untouched by time, in the world. These examples furnish a useful hint to the ingenious mind that might work with more certainty than when Bill Gates[1] tapped into instantaneous and seamless communication and commerce around the globe by means of computers, unrestricted by the obstacle of time…Impossibilities never occur. Years don’t make us older. Our convictions manifest on our bodies, so why not have a sprightly conviction?”


[1] William Henry Gates III, philanthropist, author, and former CEO and current chairman of Microsoft, (1955– )

The sensibilities can expand

Marrakesh, Morocco lived up to its reputation for reconciling its prestigious past with contemporary dynamism. As visitors a few years ago, we ate from rooftops, peering over to see stucco walls and plain yet practical metal roofs, decorated with satellites. We walked the mazes within Medina (Old City), passing donkeys pulling carts and people talking on cell phones.

The beauty of the past and present embracing one another intermixed with a pluralist equilibrium. Different faiths coexisted and commingle. I felt the advancements made in religion, science, and business was working to undermine the intolerance I hear about all too often in the media.

I noticed the different culture stirred my sensibilities, however, those very sensibilities expanded and adapted and I met some very wonderful people and discovered we have much in common.


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