Author Archives: Cheryl Petersen

Bathrooms for transgender

NPR reported that the Supreme Court will hear a case regarding the rights of transgenders to use their preferred bathroom.

In my half-century plus human experience, I’ve internalized the feeling that when I have to go, I have to go. I don’t care what sex the toilet, hole, or rock has been designated as set for.

I understand the dangers involved in this issue, but we are surrounded by dangers. A court ruling or sign will not stop the immoral rapist from entering a bathroom.

I pray to take a stand for humanity to express our highest ideal, to do to others as we’d want to them to do to us.

Quoting from science & religion to God, “The imperative aim of spirituality is to understand Life’s ideal and let the divine understanding impel your thoughts and actions as a part of humanity. Our ideal directs our lifestyles, not vice versa.

“Jesus is not God. He was born of a woman. His humanness caused his struggles in Gethsemane and on Calvary, but gave us an example we could relate to. His humanity negotiated rituals, stressing that life should be used to the advantage of spiritual growth.

“Don’t be confused. It will seem as though right and wrong are ever at strife in the mind, but victory rests on the side of invincible truth. We uncover backward thinking, not to injure humanity, but to destroy destructive thoughts.”

The monks were nice guys

The value of interfaith is being recognized and many of us are developing relationships with people from other faiths. This is good.

We also know the value of inter-cultures. School aged teenagers from different countries become exchange students. It adds to the realization that in general, we people are the same, though we look and act different.

Last week I noticed a blend between interfaith and inter-cultures. It all started when I listened to the third Presidential Debate between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. I was reminded of my childhood days when America truly distrusted Russia, during the Cold War.

The debate carried that odor of distrust toward Russia. I pondered, just how much should we trust Russians?

I didn’t beat myself up trying to answer that question, mainly because I know not all Russians are the same, either trustworthy or untrustworthy.Same with Americans.

Therefore, I put my trust in God. I pray my spirituality is clear enough to trust the trustworthy, no matter what ethnicity.

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In Jordanville, NY

Anyway, a few days later, I noticed an Open House invitation from the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Monastery, in Jordanville, New York. Jordanville is about an hour and half drive from my home.

I went to the Open House.

A little background from their website: “Holy Trinity Monastery was established in 1928 by Fr. Panteleimon, a Russian monk from St. Tikhon’s monastery in Pennsylvania.

“During World War II a group of a dozen monks came from Europe, bringing with them printing experience and a tradition which originated in the Pochaev Lavra in the Ukraine. Archbishop Vitaly was part of that group and became the head and Abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery, and construction of the Church and other buildings increased.

“Archimandrite Luke was elected the new Abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery on May 19, 2008.”

I met Abbot Luke. I listened to him and others speak.

I learned that during the Cold War, the Holy Trinity published church materials and smuggled them into Russia for the few surviving Orthodox members.

Millions of Christians were killed and imprisoned by Stalin.

Now that the Cold War is over, their printed material has adapted. “In the past, Holy Trinity published in the Russian language. After the Cold War, the decision was made to print in the international language of English, and our material is now being sent around the world, especially Asia, North and South America,” said Abbot Luke.

Moreover, Abbot Luke had just returned from a trip to Russia and was thankful to report, “There were six hundred Orthodox members at the church meeting, whereas there might have been ten when communism fell.”

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Iconography inside Holy Trinity

I was impressed. Not only by the byzantine frescos and icons in the cathedral, and the sizeable bookstore, but also by the demeanor of these people. I may not agree with their theology entirely, but their desire to cultivate spirituality was not only agreeable, but also a powerful wall blaster.

The wall between American and Russian, was gone. I sensed a wholeness. I didn’t feel some irresistible emotional notion to embrace every Russian, or American, but I felt a relief. Borders or religions can’t separate us because spirituality unites.

Quoting from science & religion to God: . “We don’t invent spirituality, but find our spirituality is inseparable from God.

“It’s wise and healthy to give less intelligence to materiality and more to spirituality. Don’t interfere with God’s government by thrusting in your own views as if they are better than God’s.

“Through inspiration and understanding, God reveals the spiritual knowledge that unlocks the resources of truth. Spirituality allows us to read the human situation correctly, with healing intent and power.

“Spirituality isn’t in limited supply. It isn’t controlled by a person or organization. The spiritual idea and its healing power can’t be monopolized. The widespread belief that only specific people are entitled to spiritual authority implodes in light of the Biblical stand that all believers “will be called priests of the Lord.”[1]

“Unity with God isn’t popular with the world, but it is fair to our self and merciful to others.”

[1] Ex. 19:6; Isa. 61:6; Rev. 1:6

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Fresco inside Cathedral at Holy Trinity

Fixing past mistakes

I make mistakes. Sometimes, I don’t know I make mistakes until much later in life.

Mistakes are blunders, gaffes, misprints, or errors. They can also be misunderstandings, over-estimations or underestimations. I’ve made the mistake of simply failing to appreciate true values as expressed by people around me.

From 21st Century Science and Health: If mortals are not progressive, past failures will be repeated until all wrong work is erased or corrected.

Some mistakes can be fixed. I can fix a misprint on a webpage.

But some mistakes can’t be tangibly fixed. I can’t return to the past and appreciate the true values as expressed by people around me. To doggedly try to fix that past behavior is vain. It leads to guilt and shame. But, to pretend my mistake didn’t happen also leads to guilt and shame. And guilt and shame clog our thinking. This is when it’s time to live in the now.

From 21st Century Science and Health: Take the time to look past the fading, sensational pictures. Gain the true sense of life. Rest your gaze on the unsearchable realm of Mind. Look ahead and act as possessing all power from Truth and Love in whom you have your being.

Thankfully, we are driven to seek something greater.

I want to yield to something greater than a humanlike power. And this requires unclogged thinking.

The humanlike God is presented oftentimes in the Bible. Paul recorded in the book of Acts:  “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill.  In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.  For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17: 29-31, NIV)

But this wording doesn’t make God humanlike. Just like my past failures to appreciate truth don’t reduce God to being unable to lift me up out of a past mistake.

God is Godlike, Spirit, Love, Truth and powerful to lift up. And Paul, along with millions of other spiritually minded, stretched their minds to be Godlike.

Paul distinguished between humanlike gods and Godlike God, between mistakable humans and us as understanding individuals. We read in Acts: When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!”  Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker.  The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.  But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting:  “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them.  In the past, he let all nations go their own way.  Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”  Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them. (Acts 14: 11-18, NIV)

It’s a struggle between the human ego and the desire to stand with the divine Ego, or God. But I can live in the now and appreciate the good around me, carry that appreciation to the past and the future. I can because God is divine Mind, all-knowing Mind.

From 21st Century Science and Health: It is the prerogative of the ever-present divine Mind, and of thought which is in alignment with this Mind, to know the past, the present, and the future.

 

God invasion

An invasion is usually associated with armed forces, or the infiltration of a large number of people or things.

When we hear the word, “invasion,” our brains are quick to picture armed forces, or an infiltration of a large number of people or things.

We read in the news, or remember typical headlines such as:

January, 2013, France deploys thousands of ground troops to Mali, a former colony in Africa, to reinforce aerial strikes, in an attempt to quell a coalition of disparate extremist groups.

Thirteen years ago, President Bush announced military operations to disarm Iraq.

In 1935, venomous cane toads were released into the Australian ecology with the hope they’d control the destructive can beetle population. A total failure. There are now millions of poisonous toads hopping around northeastern Australia. When visiting Australia in year 2007, I remember walking at night on the sidewalk, trying not to step on the pests.

Then of course, there are stories galore in the Bible relating to invasions. A few examples are, grasshoppers, bands of Moabites, or the Israelites invading the land of Canaan.

Invasions generally assume there is an outside force, however, do we ever self-invade?

Do we ever self-assault our humility with pride?

Does hate raid and occupy our love?

Does revenge infect our forgiveness?

Do we ever self-attack our divine purpose in life?

Invasions are real to the human mind. The determination to let go of the human mind’s reality and take on a new spiritual reality, causes us to think along new lines. Here is a statement from 21st Century Science and Health worth contemplating, “Computer software can’t inform the programmer. The stomach, heart, colon, and lymph nodes don’t inform us that they are nauseous, diseased, cancerous, or invaded by malignant tumors. If this information is conveyed, human mind conveys it. Negative information certainly doesn’t come from immortal Mind and it can’t come from inanimate matter/energy. God’s “eyes are too pure to look on evil,”[1] and physicality has neither intelligence nor sensation.”

Gotta love the guinea fowl

My husband and I rescued a couple of Guinea fowl, after their tribe of twenty was picked off by predators or hit by cars on the road. Needless to say, they are fairly wild.

Fortunately, we have three chickens that welcomed the guineas.

Two issues I’m dealing with:

They roost in the tall trees behind the house, which is sort of safe, but it’d be safer if they slept in the hen house.

Also, we have a 500’ foot-long driveway and the guineas want to walk down and stand in the road. Probably because they lived near a major road in the past and were familiar to the traffic noise.

Our neighbors drive slowly but when I see the guineas down by the road, I tromp down with a couple of long sticks. I hold the sticks out to each side and herd them back. No rushing. I observe the tree leaves turning bright oranges, reds, and yellows. I watch the guineas. I think. I wish the guineas would break their habit.

Why do habits seem universal? Animals and humans alike are challenged by habits that place us in danger or shame us. I don’t know why, but I do know that I definitely see habits improve when I work with patience and encouragement rather than human will-power or threats.

It requires me to look past my own expectations and see what tiny step I can take that the guineas understand. So far, I’ve removed obstacles and I leave feed corn near the hen house. They are becoming more comfortable, more receptive.

But a key element to success is to call upon a higher source of patience and encouragement since my human reserves are rather puny. When I lose my patience, its gone. I have to look to God, an unlimited source of goodness, to re-coop my patience.

The patience of God flows freely and is available to us all.

It’s no wonder Paul told the Hebrews, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”—Hebrews 10

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gineas and chickens.jpg

 

 

 

What do you want?

The stronger want will rule over the weaker want.

But it’s hard to know what we really want because we generally have so many wants.

We want mindfulness. We want happiness. We want health.

In all honesty, we also want status, ritual and money.

Due to the unsure human nature, those wants get twisted. We all know someone who compromised their integrity with the wants of self-interest and status. We all know someone who was intimidated by leaders for the want of money. Thereby, true wants don’t manifest and people have status and money, but live and move in a small cliques with even smaller effectiveness in the world.

From Ezekiel, “‘You say, “We want to be like the nations, like the peoples of the world, who serve wood and stone.” But what you have in mind will never happen.”

Our wants also get twisted after bad experiences and we then, don’t want. We don’t want to lack mindfulness, we don’t want to be unhappy, and we don’t want to be sick.

Starting from the “don’t want” scenario, our actions tighten into a vicious struggle against the enemies we have created; the self-created enemies of mindlessness, unhappiness, and sickness. We become defensive and isolated.

No doubt, human wants vary and vacillate, sporadically and according to circumstances. Their end results are death and the expectation of death. Therefore, we want to turn away from human wants and put our hope and faith in the want of Life, Truth, and Love, God.

“We want to keep our immortal consciousness open to spiritual existence and to our God-given powers.”—from science & religion to God

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus counsels on wanting life and love.

Want to feed. Matt. 15:32 Give people the help they need, not the help you think they are supposed to accept and give back.

Want to settle accounts. Matt. 18:23 Don’t expect others to meet your terms, listen to others with a mind that gives forth truth and life.

Want to serve. Matt. 20:27 Don’t want to be great, famous and popular.

“Our limited knowledge of matter and its energy is not mind or intelligence, it doesn’t coexist with Mind. Spiritual knowledge is what we want and it is gained through spiritual sense. There will be turbulences as the evidence of spiritual sense conflicts with the testimony of physical sense, but the storms will roll away and reveal peace. The supremacy of Spirit entitles us to antidote the chaotic existence of relativity with Truth and Love.”—from science & religion to God

closeup fall leaves elm street

 

 

Dealing with our own garbage

I grew up on our family farm, located out in the boonies of southeastern Washington. We lived far from town or a landfill. So, we had a garbage pit on the farm. It was a large hole in the ground, where we took all the household garbage. Every couple of years, Dad would push dirt over the hole. I cringe to write that bit of my history

On one hand, we were conscious of not creating terrible amounts of garbage, because none of us wanted to live in a bunch of crap.

Anyway time passed and between society getting on board with community landfills and garbage dumps becoming more accessible, we did stop burying our own garbage on the farm.

When I moved off the farm and into town, I put my garbage outside the apartment and a big truck drove by to pick it up and haul it to the local landfill. Wow, to have others deal with my garbage was handy.

But was it so handy that I got slack in dealing with my own garbage? Did I create more garbage than I should have?

Probably.

Thankfully, when recycling became the fad, I was already on board. Recycling keeps me aware.

I also wonder about mental garbage. Anger, resentment, ridiculous expectations, narrow mindedness…

Am I dealing with my own mental garbage, or am I leaving it around for other people to deal with?

I don’t want to live with my own mental garbage. I don’t want to make others deal with my garbage. I can create the least amount of mental garbage possible. I can sort through it and recycle that which can be used again. For example, my ability to develop good habits may have been packaged in narrow mindedness, or focusing, but after my good habit was developed, I could throw the narrow mindedness into a bin to be broken down and re-created as paying strong attention in some other area needing improvement.

If I have resentful thoughts, I don’t need to talk about it and litter other people’s minds. I can throw it out by disliking the evil that brought about the resentment, while still loving persons or places involved.

I want to be aware of frugality and wisdom. I want to be aware of my own garbage and not expect someone else to deal with it.

moon and snow

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