Come on by Craft Shows

Just before Easter, you can find that special gift for others or yourself at  two Springtime Craft Shows:

Saturday, March 24th, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Binghamton University in New York

Sunday, March 25th, from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. at Wayne Valley High School in New Jersey

Stop by my vendor booth and check out the books I’ve written. Good reads about relationships, mindfulness, an Easter dog, family, women progressing along with men.

All books price listsmall


In a foreign land?

The prophet Jeremiah points to the benefits of following God from the start, rather than veer off into idolatry and spiritual apathy to be brought back on track through suffering.

Jeremiah warned Judah that Jerusalem and the holy Temple would be destroyed due to their spiritual apathy. The people didn’t heed the warning. The temple was lost and the people were captured and exiled to Babylon.

However, even in captivity, in a foreign land, the Israelites learned they could worship God. Of course, the spiritual apathy had to be overcome and attention given to divine spirit, but it was possible.

If we find ourselves in foreign territory, whether physical or mental, God is with us. Truth is with us. Spirit and love is with us.

Mentally, new ideas come to mind. The ideas may feel foreign, but it’s okay. God is with you, helping you understand the idea.

Jeremiah 30: 18-19

“Thus says the Lord:
Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob
    and have compassion on his dwellings;
the city shall be rebuilt on its mound,
    and the palace shall stand where it used to be.
19 Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving,
    and the voices of those who celebrate.


Tribute to Billy Graham

The death of American Christian evangelist Billy Graham deserves homage. I’ve only heard Graham speak a few times, over the radio or on the television. He didn’t really hold my attention. I have read books about Graham, they were nice. I’ve also read about his wife, Ruth Graham, because behind every great man is a great woman.

Graham is known for repeating, “The Bible says…” and, to be honest, those words don’t appeal to my thinking because the Bible is open to interpretation. Words in the Bible can say many things to many people and I have yet to meet someone who gets it always right. And words in and of themselves don’t have power.

So, Graham’s words didn’t enlighten or inspire me, but his integrity, perseverance, and dedication did and still will enlighten or inspire me. What motivated Graham? I suppose it was his love of God, family, and the Bible. And I suppose that is about all I have in common with this, which is plenty.

Article in Times Union, Albany, NY

Read below, my article on sexual misconduct, printed in Times Union, Albany, NY yesterday.

Finding the Power to say NO

While not excusing sexual misconduct in the name of religion, I dare say religion arms me in the fight against it, even when changes come slowly.

I welcome new policies targeting sexual harassment, even if it comes way too late for me.

In 1970s, I was sexually abused on the farm by a cousin, eight years older than me. I was clueless. I didn’t know to stand up for myself when he manipulated me to perform and endure oral sex.

Fortunately, I had religion to go to with questions.

I asked God, “What did you create?”

“Not a sex object.”

That answer gave me the courage to know myself and to say “No,” to my cousin. The sexual misconduct stopped. He and I worked together on the farm many more years.

Before MeToo took off, I told my story in my memoir, to expose this abuse of power with the hope that it will be replaced with judgment and integrity.

Power comes in many forms. In my case, the culprit was older and stronger than me.

I also encountered power in the form of church authorities.

By that point in my life, however, I’d found a decent man to marry and we were raising children and foster children, not without challenges but successfully. I felt my religion, Christian Science, provided guidance and built character. So I began revising a century-old book by the churches founder, Mary Baker Eddy, who pioneered the study of the human mind and the divine mind.

Word got around, as it always does, and I received a phone call from officials of my church. They threatened me with my church position if I published my writing.

I was torn. Do I follow the rules of human beings or of God? Well, what worked for me?

I had given power to the divine rules of spiritual courage and progress and found peace of mind with my history. I also found that God did not create or allow selfishness or futility but gave common sense and inspiration.

I published what I wrote. I’m a believer in rules. Human rules need to mirror divine rules. It’s not easy. Because human beings love the familiar, we follow what was said and done yesterday, without asking today whether it has been said or done well.

What was said and done yesterday about sexual conduct must change for the better.

A recent Barna Group survey led it to recommend that leaders in churches, entertainment, politics and the marketplace “wrestle” with the problem of sexual harassment.

I recommend we wage this fight with divine rules to bring dignity to humanity and strength to spirituality.

Cheryl Petersen lives in upstate New York and is the author of “21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: A revision of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health.” Her memoir is “I Am my Father-Mother’s Daughter.”

Come on by the Women’s Expo

I will be one of many vendors at the 9th annual New York Women’s Expo in Albany, February 24 & 25th.

The Expo is designed for women.

I see us expanding the definition of woman and women. We reflect compassion, insight, strength, wisdom, bravery, and integrity, equal to all people and increasingly.

I’ll be selling my books, in which you will find strong female characters:

I Am My Father-Mother’s Daughter: A Memoir tells about life as a girl working on the family farm, operating machinery and learning not to back down to authoritarians. $10

Zen Kitty and Other Meows is a booklet containing blogs and articles I’ve written in the past. Many topics are covered. You can read about the time I interviewed a monk who wanted to sit on my motorcycle. $5

Zen Dogs and Other Woofs is another booklet containing more blogs and articles, covering many subjects along with dogs. $5

from science & religion to God: A Narrative of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health is a briefer version of a spiritual book written in the 19th century about healing and divine Mind. $10

21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: A Version of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health is a full-text version of Eddy’s book on spirituality and self-determination. $15

A Foster Child Comes to Stay with Josie and Brooke is a children’s book, a true story about inspiration and the power of family love. $5

Magenta’s Family Christmas is a book written by Carly Hilios (my daughter) for young adults. Magenta is a foster teenager who learns more about the true meaning of family. $5

Location of Women’s Expo: Siena College Marcell Athletic Complex, Albany, NY

February 24 & 25, 2018

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

All books price list


Caring for Religion, Commentary in The Daily Star newspaper in NY

My article printed in The Daily Star February 10, 2018

Reading in The Daily Star about closure of First Baptist Church in Oneonta provoked flashback. I don’t know their circumstances, but my church community folded about fifteen years ago, and I now offer one piece of advice. Care for religion.

This is not to say religion hasn’t been cared for, but there is a difference between caring for religion and taking care of sacred centers or defending religious policies.

To care for religion isn’t to worry about religion. It isn’t to get distracted by thinking religion is dying. It’s not dying. Pew Research Center reports that 84% of the world’s population is religious-minded and it’s on the increase.

Religion is part of human life, like dirt. And, it is the religious-minded who provide the best care for religion. In other words, pointing fingers at the nonreligious-minded is silly. We don’t expect people who don’t own pets, to care for our pets.

So, how do we care for religion?

I started pondering that mystery when a teenager. I had plenty of time. I spent a gazillion hours operating tractors on the family farm, working the dirt. Plowing, planting, harvesting.

In between listening to Elton John on the AM radio, I’d think over narratives from the Bible, such as the parable of the sower, reportedly given by Christ Jesus. The storyline starts with a sower, throwing seed everywhere. Seeds on the road, on rocky places, in shallow soil, in thorns, and, yep, “on good soil.”

Despite my inclination to debate the waste and inefficiency of randomly throwing seeds everywhere—we used precision planters on the farm—I still was able to grasp the possibility of seed bringing “forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” (Matthew 13:8)

Arguably, religion has brought forth the fruits of spiritual texts, guidance, relief, wellbeing, and meaningful lives. But, the farmer in me knows that growing fruit depletes nutrients in the ground, big time, and diminishes soil.

That’s why farmers fertilize or amend soil, alternate crops, or leave the land fallow.

Nevertheless, it was that very strategy of caring for soil that moved my mind to care more for religion than for the soil depleting religious practices and policies. I’ll give an example.

When a child, my parents introduced me to Christian Science, defined as an infinite force of divine spirit interpreting harmony to the universe.

As a religion however, it was established by Mary Baker Eddy late 19th century. Early records show churches prospering and members enjoying noteworthy healing and advancements in the study of both human mind and divine mind.

I, myself, experienced tangible benefits from the religion. These fruits, so-to-speak, were self-satisfying until the 1980s when I was first surprised, then grieved, to see churches headed toward their deathbeds.

To be honest, it took me years to stop reminiscing or trying to relive the glory days even if they were in my imagination. It took me years to stop advocating for a human ideology and start advocating for improved religion or convictions.

In my situation, I carried an unfounded conviction that Christian Science required radical reliance on prayer for healing. Why did I have such a conviction?

Good question, and I didn’t get good answers. So, I confronted language used by both admirers and critics of Christian Science, either excusing or condemning going to doctors or not. I traced the language to a sentence in Eddy’s textbook on Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She wrote, “Only through radical reliance of Truth can scientific healing power be realized.”

A 19th-century dictionary showed me that the word “radical” has, well, radically changed in meaning during the last one-hundred years. It meant, pertaining to the root or origin, and didn’t carry todays weight of extremism.

But the regrettable notion of “extreme prayer,” paled next to the mistake of grossly confusing reliance on Truth with reliance on prayer.

Sure, prayer is a big component of Christian Science, but prayer is not synonymous with truth. And this new conviction sprouted. I could see it and hear it.

More accurate language was used to discuss and write about religion, teaching me indirectly that spiritual texts also aren’t synonymous with truth, but are interpretations. The conviction multiplied.

Religion is not synonymous with truth. Science, politics, and the media are not synonymous with truth. These institutions aren’t even sources of truth but are methods to discover and share.

Unfortunately, these methods can be used to notice and share information that does little or no good, even harm, to humanity. That is why we should be careful before repeating information. That is why our institutions need continual care.

Historically, proper care doesn’t come from anger, complacency or arrogance. Care comes from insight, education, and an openness to take the time to listen to others to learn where they started from and how they got to where they are. It comes with courage to outgrow the old and wear the new.

Posted online January 9, 2018, Barna Research reported that, “In a post-truth climate, the challenge, particularly for faith leaders, may be to find that balance between encouraging positive signs of introspection while confronting wholly subjective approaches—whether in interpreting facts, discerning truth or practicing faith.”

After reflecting on the bygone Baptist Church, I felt positive respect for its 185 years of singing praises and serving the community. I also was urged to confront and rethink that parable about the sower.

Remember that sower mentioned above, sowing seed willy-nilly? Is it telling me that my religion, or religion in and of itself, isn’t the only place where seed was sown? I’m feeling a growing conviction that seed is everywhere, ready to bear fruit. Let’s get the soil ready.

Bio: Cheryl Petersen lives in Delhi. Her books are “21st Century Science and Health,” “from science & religion to God: A narrative of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health,” and “I Am My Father-Mother’s Daughter.”


Have you ever felt as though you were obstructed? Or had an obstruction that kept you from breathing, swallowing, or moving?

In a perfect world, there is no obstruction. But we don’t know a perfect world. Obstructions are in the imperfect. Therefore, they can only obstruct that which is imperfect such as arrogance, hate, and inequality.

Now, return to the perfect world. It’s unobstructed, flowing, moving, fluent, affluent in equality, love, and humility.

Can we know this so well that we feel it manifested?

With Christ.

Quoting from science & religion to God:

With the light of Love, let’s now review a spiritual interpretation of Psalm 23.

[Divine Love] is my shepherd; I shall not want.
[Love] makes me lie down in green pastures.
[Love] leads me beside still waters.
[Love] restores my soul.
[Love] leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for [Love is] with me; [Love’s] rod and [Love’s] staff, they comfort me.

[Love will] prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [Love] forever.

%d bloggers like this: