Category Archives: Review

Springtime Poetry

Moving.
Bursting through the cold hard ground.
Flowers. Grass. Weeds.
Unstoppable.
Spring.

Moving.
Cultivating. Weeding.
Bursting through cold hard minds.
Faithfulness.
Unstoppable.
The living Mind. Us.

Psalm 85
“Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
    and righteousness looks down from heaven.
The Lord will indeed give what is good,
    and our land will yield its harvest.
Righteousness goes before him
    and prepares the way for his steps.

“Don’t be startled at the brisk claims of evil. Evil is the belief that good is absent. Instead, think it natural to love good. Cultivate the reality of health and spiritual power.”—from science & religion to God: A narrative of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health, by Cheryl Petersen

April is National Poetry Month.

RNA Conference and Hadestown

After two years of limited public involvement because of covid, I attended two public events back-to-back. The annual conference for the Religion News Association (RNA) in Bethesda, Maryland, and the Broadway show, Hadestown, in New York City.

As a writer wanting to write more productively, the RNA speakers enlightened me on how the war in Ukraine is influencing the religious scene. Panel members also clarified why the word, cult, becomes an obstacle to spiritual solutions, and showed the importance of deep research as counter to repeating unresearched/shallow information.

Every speaker was on a panel of three or more speakers. Each giving their own perspective on a specific issue. In other words, they addressed more than the superficial aspects of religion that tend to divide, and addressed the deeper issues of religion that allows for the discovery of resolutions and meaning.

Panel members talked about how easily the human mind automatically stops discovering, just by hearing or reading, a word, such as Russian, woman, queer, Christian, atheist. Unfortunately, that is how the brain works. Too familiar of, or unfamiliar words, stop the brain, despite the brain’s self that believes it’s inspired or right.

Writers and readers want to discover. Most of us don’t want to write to justify an opinion. We don’t want to read to justify an opinion.

I interpreted what I heard as a reminder that writing and reading can be expansive, creative, profound, and inspiring because divine Mind is capable of imparting creativity, profoundness, and inspiration.

At this point, I was fortunate to be able to meet up with my sister. We drove to Manhattan together, where we met my daughters and attended the Broadway show, Hadestown.

Hadestown is a musical, with extraordinary choreography and acting. It proved creative, profound, and inspiring.

First of all, André De Shields was superb in his role of Hermes. The man is in his seventies! On stage. Singing, acting, standing, moving. For two-and-half hours. I sat on my bum the whole time, in awe but later forced my brain to discover, not a man with great genes but a man who apparently keeps discovering strength and power and joy.

The story-line of Hadestown follows the path of how mortal situations can bring us to hell on earth. And how imagination and trust-in-good brings us to heaven on earth.

The hubbub encircling Hadestown is that it is a sad story, but I see it as the story of mortality. Yes, mortality can be sad, but life/immortality goes on and compels us to discover the truth and love that explains a life of meaning.

Meaning and discovery require new stories, new words, new songs, and new choreography. But this newness is possible and it’s happening. Right before our eyes. We can’t stop the infinite from infinitely expressing truth. Otherwise, truth wouldn’t be infinite.

From Proverbs: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

New book! Now published

Click here for “The Second Husband,” a historical fiction by Cheryl Petersen, in kindle or book format, at Amazon

Defies gravity with grace

My observation of how the spiritual laws of beauty, grace, and perseverance overcome the physical law of gravity.

Social Media and the dark side

First posted at Community of Christ, Scientist

Most of us have heard of the dangers of social media and internet addictions.

A new book, published 2022, author Bradley Staffens discusses this problem in the book, The Dark Side of Social Media.

The book is short and yet gives plenty of examples of how social media “tears at the fabric of society.” The information is, well, rather dark.

Very briefly, the subjects of enacting policies to restrict social media, and, treatment for those who are addicted, are addressed.

I’d like to address mental treatment from the standpoint of divine Spirit in control. From the standpoint of light, or enlightenment, being more real, more powerful than darkness.

I’ve started with what I know to be true. Many, perhaps millions of people, know and use the internet properly, for connecting with friends, for work, for school, for violin lessons, or for sharing ideas about a God of love.

A common thought behind this conflict between light and dark is that human beings have free-will.

Let’s take a look at free-will, as a theory. Defined as, the capacity to choose or act the way we want to, independently of natural or divine restrictions.

The history of free-will began, say three thousand years ago, with philosophers, who analyzed the complex issues of human desires and choices.

A thousand years ago, about twelve-hundred years after Christ Jesus lived, a churchy guy, Thomas Aquinas, began attaching this philosophical theory of free-will, to Christian theology.

In other words, the theory of free-will, didn’t begin with Christian theology.

And because, no matter how many laws or policies or internet restrictions are invented, people still find a way to become addicted.

So, I wonder, what the heck?

If we’re created in the image and likeness of God, does that mean God has free-will? Does that mean God randomly chooses to behave nefariously or act as an addict?

Well, those questions are answered when I mentally get my facts straight.

God isn’t the image and likeness of human beings.

God is Spirit, Love.

So, contrary to what my limited physical senses say is true, our true nature is the image and likeness of spirit and love.

From the Bible, I John, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

I think that free-will is better defined as the desires of the flesh.

Whereas, the will to do right by our true spiritual selfhood and by humanity, is the will that remains.

It’s not easy, doing the will of God, making rules to guide the vulnerable to freedom, using self-control to help humanity rather than harm humanity, loving our self and others the way Christ loves. But it’s possible.

The will of God. It’s ours. It’s free.

Audio Bible Lesson

Christian Science Weekly Bible Lessons are now in audio, released every Wednesday at…

Anchor

Spotify

Apple Podcasts

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Pocket Casts

Radio Public

Christian Science weekly Bible study, read from the Bible. With a spiritual interpretation from 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, a contemporary version of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health, read by Cheryl Petersen, author and copyright owner.

Skydiving for a gift

I stared at the certificate. A certificate for tandem skydiving. It was a gift for my fortieth birthday from my husband. Good grief. Jumping out of a plane and parachuting to the ground?

We lived in southeastern Washington state at the time, and from a private airport nearby our family orchard, a guy offered tandem skydiving. I don’t remember the guy’s name. What do I remember? Entering a small airport facility and obligingly watching a safety video. Then, scrawling my name on scores of papers to sign off any future liability claims on the guy and his small business. I admit, I didn’t read the paperwork, too impressed with the reality that this gift indeed came with risks.

I remember donning a one-piece suit, very lightweight and colorful. I wore my farm boots and mittens, knowing it would be colder higher in the air. We walked to a personal aircraft and the guy humfed-phoofed open a door. He attached a halter to his upper body then attached a halter to my upper body.

One last click and we were securely attached together. The guy directly behind me. We slid in and sat on the floor of the plane. No seats.

Through anxious eyes, I noticed the pilot was sitting on an upturned bucket. The question came to mind of, a bit rinky-dink don’t you think, Cheryl? But on the farm, rinky-dink was common especially when something broke and a job needed to get done ASAP.

The motor revved. Blades twirled. The plane moved forward and lifted off the ground. The pilot knew what he was doing.

As the plane gained altitude and circled, my heartrate increased. Paralysis set in.

The guy behind periodically looked at his watch, which included an altimeter. I could see the watch because we were attached and when he stuck his arm out, the watch was inches from my face.

A couple of times, he said, “It’s okay if you want to back down now. Say the word and we will go down.”

I almost did say, go down, but later figured that the paralysis that kept me from speaking was more my desire to accept this gift despite the risks.

Then he said, “I’ll open the door and count out loud. On three, jump and arch your back.”

My brain could not process his words along with my desires and fears and wonderings about the children’s piano lessons later. My mind, however, stopped listening to the “me” brain. I had to obey the immediate need so kept repeating as a reminder: On three, jump and arch my back. On three, jump and arch my back. On three, jump and arch my back.

The door went open. I gasped. But on three, jumped and arched my back.

Motor noise was replaced with strong wind. I couldn’t breathe. Air would not go in or out of my nose or mouth. I held my mittened hand in front of my face to block the wind force. Allowing me to breathe.

I looked around. Held my arms out. Completely unaware of the guy attached to me behind.

I listened to beyond the wind. Unseen air currents spoke. Ah-ha, thank you for supporting me, I thought. Then I recalled the guy behind me. He knew how to work with the unseen force, without trying to control it.

A parachute whooshed open. Silence.

I identified an existence intact with the vast landscape of sky, farms, houses, trees, and roads. It countered, no, it encompassed, my familiar yet limited picture of our home community, of which for decades, I’d only absorbed from the ground or inside a plane. This new picture showed the possibility of more. More wholeness.

Soon, we landed in a circle marked out on the ground, within walking distance to the airport, where my husband and two daughters waited to take home a shaky, giddy wife and mother.

I was exhausted for two days. Pretty sure I used a year worth of adrenaline that early clear morning when I accepted a gift that came with risks, kind of like accepting the unseen yet powerful gift of forgiveness for being hurt or hurting others while working to meet the immediate need.

Everyday Heroes

I suppose I have heroes. I can quick think of: Jesus, Mary Poppins, Yoda, Wonder Woman,  veterans, Bill, Olive. But I knew Bill and Olive personally. I connected with Olive through church and I connected with Bill through fruits and vegetables.

While living in Washington state, I managed a farmer’s market.

One dry, hot morning, a man limped over to me, wearing a broad grin that matched his magnified happy eyes behind glasses. His limp didn’t cause me to think he was elderly, although he was, because he was strong and upright. It was the limp of…what’s the word?

“Hi, I’m Bill,” he told me before asking. “I live on Garfield Street and have a big garden with extra fruits and vegetables. Can I become a vendor?”

“Are you the person with the grape rows covered in nets?” I asked.

“Yes,” he marveled.

“We live on Garfield Street too, and I always notice gardens,” I explained.

Ca-clang, clink. We were securely attached. It was as if we’d known each other forever.

I told Bill he could sell his fruits and vegetables at our stand, where my husband sold sweet cherries. In no time, Bill showed proficiency. We could rely on him to run the stand. “Can we pay you?” we asked.

“I don’t want your money,” he told us. “I want something to do. I retired a few years back and I need work, I need to think and count or I’ll get stupid.”

Bill had energy not only to sell at the market twice weekly, but also drive up Garfield Street to help us on our orchard.

When our girls entered school, Bill’s house was the drop off for their bicycles before walking over a dirt path to the school. He made sure the tires were filled properly and the chains were oiled. Bill was my peace of mind, as I knew he was watching the children like a caring wise hawk.

Like Olive, Bill lived into his nineties and died before the turn of this century. They talked about life “outside” the 1918 flu epidemic, the great depression, World War II, the Asian wars, no electricity to homes, births, deaths, fads, family dysfunctions, financial losses, financial gains.

To clarify, neither Olive nor Bill was stoic. By no means. Olive and Bill expressed feelings, not as if they owned those feelings, but as if those feelings come and go. They could be serious or humorous.

Olive and Bill treated life from the position that all human events are neither unprecedented nor uncertain. Neither precedented nor certain.

Olive and Bill caused me to ponder transcendent feelings and events.

“I learned to weld and build fighter planes during World War II,” Olive told me once with the same humble, matter of fact tone that talked about going to the grocery store.

“When I had a wife and two kids, we sold everything, bought a trailer and truck, and drove around the country to find jobs. One job was teaching myself how to lay cement and build a tarmac,” said Bill with the same aplomb that sold fruits and vegetables as if it was a rich adventure.

My heroes.

Cheater of exercise, confesses

I have a confession. I did not watch television for more than thirty years. That’s not the confession, but the prelude into the confession. I now watch television and am addicted to the show, The Good Witch, starring Catherine Bell.

When unplugging the television decades ago, I knew I wasn’t missing out on anything important in life. It was fine that I couldn’t answer television clues in crossword puzzles. We found other activities and low and behold, a lot of things around the house got done. Hobbies were taken on. And we developed the gift to gab.

We weren’t complete luddites. Remember VCRs and DVD players? We had a VCR then a DVD player and would watch a movie once a week.

But last winter, our children, now young adults, did their magic with our old television set and a thing called a Rooku, or maybe it’s spelled Roku, either way, it feels like I’ve been rooked by streaming movies.

Streaming appears easy. Until we’re searching for a movie we like. Not easy. Nearly impossible. Fortunately, options come up and we can test a movie. If, after three minutes, we’re bored of the cussing, lust, and morbid curiosity, we switch it out and find script featuring intelligence, respect, and good humor.

Coming across television shows happened by chance. In July, when the weather turned hot and humid, I stopped going outside for my daily walk. Still wanting to exercise, however, I started walking in place in the sitting room and powered on the television.

Most of the TV shows confirm that we didn’t miss a blooming thing the last thirty years. But finding The Good Witch was lucky. Mainly because walking-in-place tempts exercise cheating.

When I walk outside, time flies. Wondering happens. Inspirations flood my mind. I relish the fresh air, birds, trees, bushes, nice lawns, decorative mailboxes, cloud color schemes, meeting neighbors.

Walking inside, in place, is another story. Time drags. Five minutes feels like crossing the Atlantic in a rowboat. I “exercise cheat” big time. So, I make myself watch one show. The Good Witch keeps me honest. And entertained.

The shows fictional character is Cassie Nightingale. She wears $899 dresses and high heels. Good humor right there. Her clothes have no ketchup stains and her house and car are always sparkling clean.

The characters manage to stuff so many adages or truisms into forty-two minutes that I feel as though I’m in a room with prophetesses, prophets, Confucius, any Dalai Lama, Margaret Fuller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Eleanor Roosevelt, and my grandmother. But I don’t mind training my brain with wise and positive words to help discover and communicate the good in human nature.

My TV watching isn’t to disregard the bad in human nature. Bad things happen. And I hope to goodness we all get through it victoriously. In the meantime, the weather is cooling, and I’ll be walking outside soon. Wondering.

Hmmm, Did I ever see Cassie watch television?

Christian Science Review, 9

Question. What is intelligence?

Answer. Intelligence is omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. It is the primal and perpetual quality of infinite Mind, the all-inclusive Principle—Life, Truth, and Love—named God.

Think on this: Because we’re trained to believe that the mechanism of the human brain controls intelligence, we therefore experience not only intellect but also stupidity, since the brain runs extremes.

However, the view that recognizes intelligence as attached to the human brain is dying.

Animal and bug brains show intelligence. Moreover, people see intelligence expressed in the survival behavior of plants or in outer space systems. As our views of intelligence expand, we indirectly stop looking for objects resembling the human brain and increase the possibility of discovering intelligent life on earth and in outer space.

Time spent measuring intelligence, for example, IQ testing, will be replaced by testing thoughts, to make sure we employ divine thoughts and not human thoughts. Divine thoughts, grounded on infinite Mind and Love, result in a wisdom we can identify with and put to work in everyday life. Whereas, human thoughts, based on human history and wants, eventually find dead ends.

As for intelligence in the form of information or news, it is our right and responsibility to weigh the information with unbiased honesty and spiritual courage, the Christ-spirit. It is our right and responsibility to use our God-given courage to wrap our self in Truth, which comes with new truths each day.

Intelligence is knowledge, presence, and power. It has no beginning and no end. Spirit is intelligence and we Spirit’s image and likeness.

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”—Colossians 3:1-3

 

 

 

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