Author Archives: Cheryl Petersen
Etta is in her eighties. An amazing woman who taught dance to our daughters when they were children.
I helped Etta last year when her husband was dying. It was a tough time, but she made it through and credits God’s love for being able to get through the death with grace.
On the phone yesterday, Etta told me, “Some days I miss Robert and wish he was here. Then I stop myself because I remember when taking care of Robert I would wish for time for myself.”
We laughed at the craziness of human mind, always wanting, always wishing.
We talked some more and she helped me put a positive spin on something I’d been writing, a desire I’d been working on for weeks.
Connections such as these are powerful and make life purposeful.
The only way something of historical significance can be preserved is to take care of the ideas behind the building, object, landscape or artifact. Preservation is more than simply maintaining a physical building or object. The spiritual significance must also be preserved because historical preservation is a mental achievement.
Individuals and municipalities try to retain history by renovating buildings and earmarking them as historical landmarks, however, when I visit these landmarks, there is no preservation of the human actions, feelings and emotions connected to the past. I can only imagine what the past was like.
Most buildings and objects of the past are gone or fake. Buildings burnt down or were torn down because all physical objects come to an end. And when a historical landmark is retained and looks like the original found in old pictures, new material was used to restore it.
Humanity does have a wealth of historical significance. We can learn from our past. I hope to learn from the past so as not to participate in the demise of historical significances. But, it requires us to stop trying to preserve a physical unit. It requires us to re-discover the ideas of significance and again express them newly. Historical preservation is a mental action first and foremost, therefore significant history can be preserved because it isn’t reliant on the ever evolving/devolving physical matter.
Quoting from science & religion to God
“Don’t discount the spiritual idea in order to preserve beloved rituals and past successes. And don’t abuse a truth to infuriate another person.
“Throughout history and in a multitude of cultures we find it is Mind that saves. Only when we depart from the true idea, does demoralization seep in and distract us away from divine Mind.
“Miracles can happen anywhere and at any time, because Mind is ever-present. Miracles are natural.
“Spirit is fully capable of making the body harmonious.”
We read in I Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” This knowledge oftentimes leads me to pray for more courage to stand up against the world, as if the world causes my problems. However, when no healing results, I switch out my prayer and stop lying to myself.
I very well could be dealing with my own apathy, not a lion.
I pray for courage to become less apathetic.
It’s the story of Joseph that taught me this lesson. It’s not the story of the personal Joseph, but the story of how he was connected, more specifically to Moses and the Exodus of the children of Israel.
The personal Joseph has been put down as a hero who saved the people of Egypt and Israel. Joseph has also been put down as a villain who enabled a population to be dependent and enslaved.
As far as the Exodus, there is no conclusive historical evidence that it’s massive movement even occurred, but again, I learn my lessons from the bigger picture, the myth of it all, if you will.
Joseph, an Israelite, was sold into slavery as a teenager. In a zig-zag almost unbelievable way, he ended up ruling the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, because he had a dream that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.
During this famine time, Joseph’s family was moved to Egypt so they too wouldn’t starve to death. After the famine, Israelites lived with Egyptians. I can only guess that the Egyptians felt relieved the famine was over and the Israelites felt appreciative for being saved. Years passed. Centuries passed.
Maybe resentment crept in, but the Egyptians started feeling impinged upon and began asking the children of Israel to do jobs around the place. I suppose the Israelites could have done the jobs out of appreciation, but it dawned on me that at some point a few of the Israelites probably felt like the Egyptians could do their own work. Bucking the majority of Israelites who wanted to keep the peace, the few went along with working for Egypt.
The asking quickly became demanding and the Israelites became slaves. Resentment or not, apathy to keep the peace played a role in this high action saga. I tell myself, this wasn’t a case of the Egyptians kidnapping the Israelites and enslaving them, it was a case of the Israelites becoming so lethargic, even though their physical bodies were actively at work in the fields, they were so spiritually lazy that they were basically self-enslaved.
By time Moses came on the scene, the Israelites were fully isolated in Egypt. They had no energy or ambition to seek and stand with their God. They were visionless, except one woman who birthed Moses and took extraordinary measures to save him.
It was a lot of rig-a-ma-roll, but Moses grew up and eventually led the people of Israel out of Egypt and the saga continues.
Anyway, if I catch myself following a peaceful routine and even planning my day so that routine remains, I try to snap myself out of the pending apathy. I do not want to use spirituality to make a comfortable mortal life. I do not want to try to use spirituality to preserve a past. There is no such thing as a peaceful mortal life.
Spirituality is powerfully useful to reveal mental and interconnected peace. Our physical situation is peaceful only when those around us are peaceful to an increasing degree also. I can’t isolate myself from others and I don’t want to isolate others from me. With this in mind, I pray and find there is no famine of spiritual ideas to move forward and respond to this human life with courage and confidence in God, Truth, Love.
Are you a peeping tom?
A fancier title for a peeping tom is a voyeur, a person who obtains sexual gratification from observing unsuspecting individuals who are partly undressed, naked, or engaged in sexual acts.
A broader definition of a voyeur is a person who habitually seeks sexual stimulation by visual means. Or, a prying observer who is usually seeking the sordid or the scandalous.
Whether looking through windows or on the internet for scandalous visual stimulation, we can ask ourselves, Can I look for something else? Can I see something other than the scandalous?
Yes, you can.
And, you don’t need to snoop around to do so. A voyeur is an observer. You are using your vision for communication, however, the satisfaction is short lived. To look for the sordid is to communicate the sordid, and it internally makes us feel nasty, cheap, and despicable. Therefore, look for that which has more meaning. Look for qualities or character that really satisfy.
When we look for decency, patience, and honesty, we will find it. We don’t even have to snoop around to find it. I can sit on a bench in the middle of a busy park and watch people to find they are getting along and working together. I can see forgiveness and wisdom and courage. It may not stimulate me sexually, but it does stimulate me spiritually and the satisfaction of being spiritually stimulated lasts.
If it is difficult to switch out looking at spirituality rather than sex, write down qualities worth looking at and practice doing so. You can and will see beauty, not the brutish. You can and will see form, not distortion. You can and will see respect, not prying. You can and will communicate that respect for others and yourself.
The eye of truth and love is at work. It sees integrity, not scandal.
The distressing news about a gunman killing 49 people in a gay bar in Florida prompts me to express sadness and alertness. The notion that murder is an answer is very sad, and demands vigilant alertness. I want to see the bigger picture so as not to fall into the trap of spiritual amnesia.
Spiritual amnesia comes from broken memories consisting of a few imprints, whether detestable imprints or our favorite imprints. It’s an easy trap to fall into because our human minds are so limited, however, we can courageously and constantly stand with truths to counter these supposed answers that bring so much pain.
The gunman allegedly was affiliated with Islamic extremists and acted on homophobia. On the flipside, the gunman acted on tightly bound fundamental beliefs that heterosexuality is the one right and only way to live humanly and human beings who don’t conform to it will be damned.
Tearing apart those beliefs, if a person does believe heterosexuality is right, fine, they can live that way, but to impose their belief on others or disallow a loving relationship with others who think differently, is painful, unloving, ungodlike.
While we deal with this current gross tragedy, let’s not forget to break apart fundamental beliefs in their emerging stages at all levels, even those beliefs going on right now under the radar. Divorce won’t establish one right and only way of relating. Excommunication won’t promote a right and only way of behavior and thinking. A scientific invention won’t become a cure-all. Acting on those beliefs is also disastrous to humanity’s wellbeing.
Everyone seeks their understanding in different ways because there is no one describable truth to stand on or establish.
Spirituality broadens our views and keeps us from forgetting truth and love as it constantly unfolds. And, I’d like now to share some news so as not to be negatively influenced by my sadness. I do know personally a Muslim community in which are people who are loving and tolerant. I know a Muslim man who purchased a restaurant from a gay couple who he respects and appreciates immensely for their support and help in the business transaction.
I will not forget the good images.
Quoting from science & religion to God:
“People who insist on proving another method wrong, as if their way were the only way, will end up living out their condemnations. Like the person who adamantly opposes abortion, calling it murder, killing a doctor who performed abortions.
“The malicious instinct and morbid curiosity, with intents to kill morally and physically even fellow human beings, is unloosed, in order that the false claim of mind in matter might uncover its own crime of defying infinite, spiritual Mind.
“Does God create a material human out of Spirit? Does divine Mind commit fraud by making man and woman free to do wrong? Does God then stand on the sidelines waiting to reward the pious and punish the wrongdoer? Would anyone call it wise and good for God to create people and then condemn them to remain servants? Did God create human beings and challenge them to take control of, and dominate creation? No. No. No. No. No.
“God remains forever and is our Mind. We can’t lose Mind. Our relationship with God is indestructible. We can admit these facts even if they aren’t supported by human beliefs. Our spiritual senses can detect our unity with the one Mind and its manifestation of truth.
“Prayer is a mental exercise involving spiritual understanding, not human understanding. Our prayers start with faith in God and become deep and conscientious acknowledgments of Truth. We acknowledge a knowingness that we are the image and likeness of Spirit, in full unity with Life and Love.”
The Bible is used for many things, good and bad.
Maria Stewart (1803-1879) used the Bible to defend her right to speak. At a time when the public consensus declared women were to be silent in church and public. Before 1832, when Stewart spoke before an audience of women and men, she was orphaned by age five and became an indentured servant, bound to a clergyman until she was fifteen.
At fifteen, she began supporting herself by working as a servant. She married in 1826, but her husband died in 1829. Her inheritance was taken from her. Six months after her husband died, Maria Stewart felt a transformation. She experienced a religious conversion in which she became convinced God was calling her to become a “warrior” for God and for freedom and for the oppressed Africa.
God may have an ambiguous reputation, however, when a person is left alone after being treated sorely unfair, it helps to have someone or something to rely on for support. God.
While mass consciousness touted Bible verses that implied it godless for women to speak up, Stewart used Bible verses that reinforced her right to be equal and to be one with God.
We pick and choose our Bible verses, only it’s best to do so with a good intent for the whole of humanity, for the exercise of tolerance and ethics.
Why make vigorous claims that the Bible says we are doomed if we don’t follow outgrown social rules?
No one follows all the rules in the Bible. We can’t. We have no desire to offer 10,000 sheep for burnt offerings. Bigamy and a man with 200 concubines is ridiculous today. There is no inferior human being. Women are completely able to spiritually interpret Scripture or sacred text of any kind, and write and speak on the subject.
Using the Bible for exclusion, isolation, and restriction is a bane. We can use the Bible for equality, spirituality, justice, and happiness.
II Timothy 1:7, ESV
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
From science & religion to God: A briefer narrative of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health
“The law of Truth annihilates idolatry and improves social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes. Spiritual metaphysics equalizes the sexes, annuls curses, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.”