Category Archives: Environment

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.”


Infomania doesn’t support women

How can we be more productive in conversations about sexual harassment and assault toward women? Don’t cater to infomania. And, do “be” the solution.

We need solutions, because sexual harassment and assault of woman is a problem, it’s been a problem ad infinitum. But infomania, or the desire to accumulate and process information, causes the brain to deceive us into working with the men who use their penis to think and act with.

How do we be a solution? Use information instead of letting it use us.

Contributing Editor at the Atlantic Emily Yoffe wrote for Politico Magazine, “This amazing moment has a chance to be truly transformative. But it could also go off track if all accusations are taken on faith, if due process is seen as an impediment rather than a requirement and an underpinning of justice, and if men and women grow wary of each other in the workplace.”

What is she saying? Take the time to give each accusation due process. Be just. Trust one another.

We can speak out for women’s progress and goodness, fully supported by divine Mind.

From 21st Century Science and Health

Civil laws are created to implement fairness and equity in our rights, but more progress is needed, to say the least. Civilization and Science stand strong on the side of justice and encourage the elimination of discrimination, however, every time an effort is made to remedy unfairness, we must make sure that the effort doesn’t encourage difficulties of greater magnitude somewhere else. Higher aims and motives, as well as improved mental character, must be considered as the feasible and rational means of progress.

Abstinence from debauched sexual activity leads to an advanced state of intellectual and cultural development in human society, marked by progress in the arts, science, and religion. Without integrity, there is no social stability and the Science of Life can’t be achieved.

Quoting from science & religion to God

We can spiritually discern and live by divine laws. We can outgrow false beliefs that work against progress. We can break barriers in ways that benefit humanity through an understanding of Spirit.

Walking on clouds

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”— Nelson Mandela

My granddaughter walked on clouds, through a puddle.

walking on clouds j

Who am I praising?

In Psalms 65 I read about giving praise to God.

I wondered, do I give praise to God? Or to a recipe?

Do I praise Spirit, or rituals?

Do I give praise to divine Mind, or human minds?

Verses 1 through 4 of Psalms 65 reads as follows:

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
    and to you shall vows be performed.
O you who hear prayer,
    to you shall all flesh come.
When iniquities prevail against me,
    you atone for our transgressions.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
    to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
    the holiness of your temple!

I keep reading and discover promises of wonderful results when praising God:

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
    O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas;
the one who by his strength established the mountains,
    being girded with might;
who stills the roaring of the seas,
    the roaring of their waves,
    the tumult of the peoples,
so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.



Dropped thirty degrees in half hour

By mid-morning, Saturday, it was sixty degrees Fahrenheit outside. The weather report predicted snow Sunday, so I busily set about planting cold season herb seeds.

I raked back a layer of leaves, revealing delicious dirt. After tossing seeds over the soil, the dirt was raked again to cover the precious seeds.

Walking to the neighbors, I collected pine needles to use as ground cover over the seeds. All work was done by noon.

After lunch the temperature began dropping as a torrent of rain fell. Puddles turned into mini-lakes out in the pasture. I could visualize the seeds being washed away, though I tried to remain optimistic.

Rain turned into sleet and snow. By 3 p.m. it was a winter wonderland here.

The beauty of the outdoors overshadowed the feelings of despair over my mornings work, surely wasted.

It’s still winter wonderland outside. I won’t know if any seeds come up until spring.

I decided to go with God, who gave me patience and the ability to plant more seeds.


March for good in human nature

I vote, but I don’t vote a party line and I always try to support whoever makes it to office with the intent to support our ongoing struggle to fight for justice and equality. I rankle when public servants impose their personal agendas on us.

Because this nation’s last presidential election was so, well, bazaar, I decided to make my way to the Women’s March, to unite for the sake of uniting.

While traveling to Washington D.C. on Friday, I sat in a truck stop diner eating lunch and watched and listened to the inauguration over the television. President Trump spoke pointedly against government status-quo.

But, my take-away on the inauguration was President Obama’s display of decency. A decency I hope never to forget and always to respect.

Come Saturday morning, I was on The Mall at 7 a.m. Words that come to mind to describe my observations until 6 p.m. are: impressive, well-organized, peaceful, offensive, and massive.

I chatted with Lisa Christopher. She told me, “I’ve lived in Washington D.C. for thirty years. I walk this street to work every day. This is big. I haven’t seen close to this big of a crowd since President Obama’s first inauguration. This is big. I was here yesterday during President Trump’s inauguration and it was nothing like this. I had to come see it for myself.”

Apparently, arrests were made on the day of the president’s inauguration. I was aware of no arrests on January 21.

The Women’s March pulled in an estimated 500,000 people.

Activist, Gloria Steinem, told us, “You look great. I wish you could see yourselves. It’s like an ocean.”

Steinem thanked the “hardworking visionaries. The women who led this inclusive march, one of which gave birth when organizing.”

Mayor of Washington D.C., the Honorable Muriel Bowser, talked about female empowerment and D.C. statehood. She told the crowd that women officials are more wrongly criticized than men, and when women are more harshly criticized for speaking up for equality, both women and men need to speak up for women.

The list of speakers goes on. Much of the language mirrored the condemnatory, self-serving agenda rhetoric touted by President Trump. But the majority demonstrated and gave voice and presence to integrity. I hope the same for new administration.

I personally knew someone at the March who voted for Trump. The voter wasn’t angry, but he listened to the marchers. I listened. We went to learn.

When the over-extended, fatigued human emotions were filtered out, a strain of awareness was apparent.

It was a show of we the people. Waking up maybe.

Singer, Alicia Keys, recited Maya Angelou’s poem, “I Rise,” before telling the crowd to respect mother energy.

Filmmaker, Michael Moore, encouraged us to join organizations, talk to our representatives, and run for office. He said, “Petition to run for any public office, whether for congress or the school board, be active.”

A few favorite signs I saw bobbing up and down in the crowd read: Trump, start leading, stop tweeting. All elections matter, local, state, national. I’m with her (next to a picture of the Statue of Liberty).

Once the speakers ceased, the mass of human bodies began walking to the White House.

The march was orderly, respectful, and powerful. We made way for wheelchairs and strollers without hesitation. There were some crude signs and language, but it didn’t barb the true purpose to unite and fight as we the people for the higher good.

During the hours required for the gathering to move, they chanted or rather yelled. The chant I remember: What does democracy look like? This is what democracy looks like.


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?


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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