Thursdays in Black

Thursdays in Black #TiB aims toward a world without rape and violence. Historically, the movement is traced to the 1970s when Argentinian women protested for protection from violence and rape. Flowing and ebbing over time, Thursdays in Black has spread globally. March 15, I attended a panel discussion at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City. Hosted by Ecumenical Women of the United Nations, a panel discussion. Four men dialogued on progress and potential for a world without gender solicited destructive behavior.

Toxic masculinity was defined broadly, not necessarily by gender or male human beings, but by attitudes; threatening attitudes that bully and harm. I talk in my memoir, I Am My Father-Mother’s Daughter, about negotiating the attitude of masculinity. Here is the chapter:

Keeping It Straight

The farmer’s market got a reputation. Officials from other markets, including from the Seattle Pike’s Place Market, visited Pasco to watch its operation. I’d give them tours and answered questions. They took notes. The standard comment to me was, “I can’t believe you don’t have theft problems.”

The comment tempted me to pat myself on the back. I diligently prayed for honesty and believed my prayers had positive effects. Cash was the main currency. In the crowded hubbub, purses were opened and closed. Pants pockets were dug through for money and dollar bills were handed to farmers, who threw the money in shoeboxes and crates.

In an apron tied around my waist, I carried thousands of dollars from paid vendor fees, even serving as the local bank for change. Theft was only mentioned once.

A vendor noticed a pair of handcrafted wooden earrings missing from his rack. Two weeks later he told me, almost incredulously, “Cheryl, those earrings reappeared on the table.”

My prayer for honesty was fine and good, but I knew the people and atmosphere had a lot to do with it. The customers genuinely appreciated the fresh produce, handed to them by the very people who put their hearts and souls into the products. The vendors were from family farms, not corporations. There was no middleman to dilute the authenticity. The good outweighed the bad.

Not that it was all hunky-dory. Irritation, jealousy, and plain old weariness crept in periodically to throw us off guard. Fortunately, we’d help one another get back on track quickly, even when we didn’t know it. Like the time a woman helped me correct myself.

It was a scorching August day when more than seventy vendors showed up. I wiped salty perspiration from my eyes and was menstruating, not always a trouble-free task for me. I moved cautiously so blood wouldn’t start rolling down between my legs. People kept asking me for help, keeping me from walking across the street to where the bathroom was located.

I watched three vendors walk up to me at once, all talking, or rather complaining. When they were standing within an arm’s reach in front of me, I held up my hand, palm out as a stop sign. They stopped and quieted. I pointed to the person I figured would be the quickest to deal with. “I need change for this $50,” he said. I made the change.

I pointed to the second person, who said, “I need plastic bags.”

“You can buy some bags at stall three,” I answered, and then looked at the woman who stood with an agitated, indignant expression on her face.

“You told me to sell from stall fifteen and there is no way I can get in that stall. Do you see all these people? I have a truckload of peppers and tomatoes and need to get them out of the sun. It’s impossible to get in stall fifteen. I’ve tried. There’s no way.”

In the middle of her verbal explosion, I saw a thought pass through my head that harkened unmistakably: Women like you are why we are considered the weaker, dumber sex.

Though feeling annoyed, I said to her, “Please take me to your truck and I will help you.” I followed and asked her if it’d be okay if I backed her truck into stall fifteen. She gave me her keys and within two minutes she was selling her produce, relieved and happy.

Oddly, I wasn’t happy with myself. I felt a bit chastened.

When walking to the bathroom. I quickly realized I’d judged the woman alongside the thought that some women feed male chauvinism. I’d spent my life dodging male chauvinism because plenty of men treated me with prejudice, as if I was weak and dumb. So, why would I entertain what amounted to a male chauvinist thought?

Later in the day, I took the time to answer that question the best I could. It dawned on me chauvinism wasn’t gender specific. It was simply narrow-mindedness, a laziness that doesn’t help others. I would be adding to it if I accepted that thought about the woman that had passed through my head earlier. I mentally re-routed my thinking to admit it was chauvinism that annoyed me, not the woman. I affirmed that I didn’t help the woman because she was daft, but because I could help her in a way she understood. We were equals.

It was an exercise in breaking apart thoughts and reconnecting useful thoughts to get a more inclusive picture. The exercise helped me later when reading the Bible at home.

I read the story about Elisha who met a distraught mother in debt. She was about to lose her sons as payment for the debt. Elisha asked, “What do you have in your house?”

The mother had some oil.

Elisha instructed her to borrow a bunch of jars. When she poured her little bit of oil in the jars the oil multiplied miraculously. She sold the oil and paid off the debt.

It was the question, “what’s in your house,” that shifted my mental strategy. Instead of thinking and acting from the premise that I lack, why not ask what I have?

I had food, shelter. I even had stuff in storage, nearly forgotten. We certainly had family love. And then whomp, the thought to foster children landed in my creaked-open mind. I needed to share family love.

I went to the phone and called the State Social Services Department. A social worker came to our house to start the process of licensing me and Doug as foster parents. She examined our house, nodding in approval. Where I saw puny, she saw modest. Where I saw ugly, she saw practical. Where I saw cheap, she saw affordable and clean. Within a few weeks, 2-year-old Junior came to live with us.

Leah and Carly didn’t mind a stitch when we moved their clothes dresser out of their bedroom into the kitchen so we could fit a crib next to their bunk bed. The girls had fun showing Junior the swing set and forts.

Unexcitable by physical color, shape, or size, Junior ambled as fast as his chubby legs could carry him to keep up with the girls. He adored hugs and book reading time.

Junior helped solidify in my mind the concept of a Father-Mother God that cares for us all. With a divine Parent, the temptation to condemn his human parents died off.

We continued fostering children for the next fifteen years.

I learned that I never lost what I didn’t have. I learned that I can increase what I have.

ecumenical panel against violence

Four member panel

ecumenical show of hands on violence

Audience raises hands if knows of or experienced violence against women and girls

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Ecumenical Women meet

On a whim, I attended an orientation for Ecumenical Women at the United Nations, last Saturday.What impressed me most?

  1. That I was unaware of this infrastructure to helping women and girls.
  2. That I am now aware of large scope of Ecumenical Women at the United Nations.
  3. Our need to reach the potential of women and children.

During a panel discussion, a woman from Sweden spoke. I couldn’t help but notice the contrast yet similarities between her dialogue and the woman next to her, from Brazil. Sweden is pro-women and equality. Brazil lags behind in women’s rights and equality yet women know the power of connecting and reaching for greater possibilities.

Lopa Banerjee, Director of Civil Society Division of United Nations Women spoke. In the photo below, courtesy of Ecumenical Women of the U.N., the Reverend Dionne Boissiere thanks Banerjee for speaking. I liked when Banerjee showed how policies insisting on equality and better care for women and girls is an investment, not expenditure. (I am the person in the background, wearing a white shirt and holding a blue book. Clapping)

at ecumenical women

Radio interview, Monday

A heads-up:

The Warwick Chamber of Commerce Director interviews me about my books on Monday, March 11, at 12:30 p.m.

WTBQ (local Warwick station)

AM 1110

FM 93.5

snowy tree march 2019

Reviewing Christian Science, 3

Q. Is there more than one God or Principle?

A. There is not more than one God. Principle and its idea are one, and this one is God—omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Being. Omni is adopted from the Latin adjective signifying all. Therefore, God combines all-power or potency, all-science or true knowledge, all-presence. God’s reflection is child (man and woman) and the universe. The diverse manifestations of divine Science indicate Mind, never human mind, and have one Principle.—21st Century Science and Health

 

Think of this: A classic and Biblical definition of Principle is as follows; In a general sense, the cause, source or origin of any thing; that from which a thing proceeds; as the principle of motion; the principles of action.

One Principle, or one God, isn’t intended to divide as if one is better than another. One is one-and-only yet inclusive.

To have one God, one Mind, offers human beings a more unified way of processing thoughts. Typically, we process thoughts in our own way according to our beliefs and backgrounds. However, to have one Mind, shows the promise that we can offset our differences by recognizing the unique and inclusive mind of God.

When religious leaders asked Jesus the Christ by what authority he did the things he did, Jesus asked them, “John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin?”

The church leaders wouldn’t answer because they’d have to admit their hypocrisy and desire for human approval.

“[The church leaders] discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.) So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”—Mark 11:31-33

So, Jesus didn’t answer their first question. He wasn’t interest in one-upping someone else, he was interested in doing the will of one God.

One Principle keeps the competitive spirit healthy, we can be a good-sport. One Principle paves the way for fair compromises between partners. One Principle shares principled behavior and thoughts.

purple flowers small

In northern New Jersey?

Come on by the next show I’ll be selling my books at:
Sunday
March 3rd, 2019, 10:00 to 5:00
Paramus High School Spring Craft Show
99 E, Century Rd., Paramus, New Jersey

NY Women’s Expo

Hey,

If you’re near Albany, New York, come on by the New York Women’s Expo. In its 10th year.

Cheryl Petersen will be selling her books as an exhibitor. Her books give voice to the bigger picture of woman as daughter, sister, mother, and grandmother, contributing value to society and enriching human history.

Siena Marcelle Athletic Complex
515 Loudon Road
Loudonville, NY 12211

February 23 & 24, 2019

Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 10am-4pm

All books price list

Reviewing Christian Science, 2

Q. Are the terms, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love, synonymous?

A. They are. They refer to one absolute God. They are also intended to express the nature, essence, and fullness of Almighty God. The attributes of God are justice, mercy, integrity, wisdom, goodness, and so on.—21st Century Science and Health

 

Think of this: Synonymous means equal, identical. The synonymous terms used to define God, give breadth and depth to consciousness. The terms, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love, expand possibilities and expectations. They remove us from the trappings of human minds, which always come to ends.

The God unseen by physical eyes may seem abstract, however our imagination exceeds our physical senses. Some people call this ability the third eye, or sixth sense but it’s the ability to know and understand God as infinite or divine Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love.

It also helps to know what is NOT synonymous. Truth and the Bible are not synonymous. Christian Science and churches of Christ, Scientists are not synonymous. Christian Science and the book, Science and Health, are not synonymous. Human spirit and divine Spirit are not synonymous. Human emotion and Soul are not synonymous.

Christ is not synonymous with Jesus, but Christ is synonymous with Truth.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.“–II Corinthians 2:14-16

lily red and buds

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