Category Archives: Spiritual journey

Get an independent view of God

Church is where I met a veteran who served in Afghanistan. I talk about it in my memoir, I Am My Father-Mother’s Daughter. Roland told me about when overseas, he got caught in a melee of explosions, and in his words said, “I remember sh*&#ting my pants and then waking up in the hospital.”

He recovered and retired from the army after twenty years.

Today, Roland and I mostly talked about God.

It’s weird because the word God is loaded too and involves a lot of wars and battles. But it also involves blessings and healings, and because I’m in the mood to celebrate July 4, I’m making a new connection.

July 4 is the agreed upon date we remember the United States Declaration of Independence, made public in 1776.

First, it’s important to recognize that a declaration is a far cry different from winning independence. Eight years of combat fighting was necessary before independence was won, so it stands to reason that a fight, or at least hard work, is required to win an independent thought about God, free of past mistaken thinking.

People’s views of God are vast and famous. But over the centuries many views are proven irrelevant.

Examples:

Because we can experience hell or heaven on earth, then God didn’t predestine us to heaven and hell after death. Might as well aim for heaven.

Because we’re still learning about everything, then we can’t say God created mortal human beings. Because we’re still discovering, we can say God created unseen spiritual beings.

Quoting from science & religion to God, “Let us prepare for the supremacy of Spirit—the government and law of universal harmony, which cannot be lost or remain forever unseen.”

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Freedom of the Press

Check out below this full-page ad in the New York Times, from the New York Times. Admirable.

NYT read many paperssmall

Freedom of the Press means freedom of the readers. We are the image of universal Mind. We reason with divine thoughts that meet our individual circumstances. We are the reflection of eternal intelligence. We have broad views and big pictures. We are the children of Truth and this enables us to read even those things we don’t want to hear.

Don’t get isolated on an island by reading only the words you want to hear, or that are familiar and adored. As the New York Times encourages, read, read, read. And if words don’t speak to you: dance other dances, paint different pictures, run many races, or embrace new friends.

Quoting from science & religion to God:

“Taken literally the words, “Clean your room,” produces decent results. But when dealing with less concrete concepts, open to wide interpretations, such as, “Be nice,” the results can vary. Spirituality comes to our rescue.

“Divine interpretation gives us the deeper meaning our hearts yearn for. Spiritual interpretation maintains our life purpose and makes our experiences, words, expressions—even myths—useful. It points the way to non-intrusive healing.”

I listened to Eva Schloss and Wonder Woman

The date varies each year, but Holocaust Remembrance Day will be May 2, 2019. This year it was April 12.

Different countries designated other days also to honor the victims, rescuers, and survivors of the Holocaust, defined as destruction or slaughter on a mass scale by Nazism.

A few days ago, I visited the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. On the third floor is the New Dimensions in Testimony℠ installation, a place where you can ask survivors questions and their full-size image answers.

After touring the exhibits, I watched the documentary by Davino Pardo, “116 Cameras.” With the audience, we also listened to a discussion with Pardo, Eva Schloss, and Michael ?, I didn’t catch his last name, but he was a brilliant moderator.

Eva Schloss is a survivor and an amazing woman. After World War II, her mother married the father of Anne Frank who wrote the book “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

I can’t begin to tell you her story, but when she was asked how she maintained her “resiliency” throughout her trials, Schloss answered, “I love nature, I love life, and it is love that keeps me going…I don’t want to see another war.”

I would say, Schloss learns and experiences spirituality. From 21st Century Science and Health, “Earth has little light or joy before Life is spiritually learned.”

It’s difficult to describe spiritual learning. We all do it differently. But we can.

The next day, after humbly listening to Schloss, I watched Lynda Carter perform her show, “Red, Rock n Blues,” at the Lincoln Center. She and her group were entertaining. But she too shone light on the power of love, although next to Schloss, Carter is a privileged woman of a different generation.

While Schloss wears a tattoo on her arm, stamped as a Jew in the concentration camp, and suffered terribly, Carter portrayed Wonder Woman in a 1975-1979 television series.

They both raised children and talk of the power of love and talent and truth.

Eva Schloss

Davino Pardo on left, Eva Schloss, and Micheal at Museum of Jewish Heritage 2018

 

Book recommendation

I just finished a book that portrays fairness and intelligence. It also allowed me to get to know Islam a bit better because the author grew up in a Muslim home. I want to rid myself of bias or prejudice against other religions and this book helps.

The book title is, The Blindfold Horse: Memories of a Persian Childhood, and it’s written by Shusha Guppy.

The first chapter is about a blindfolded horse and to be honest, it confused me some because I don’t really see how it tied into the rest of the book. But the chapters are short, so I was able to get to the second chapter quickly and read about Guppy’s life and memories, which were written very well.

I could identify with her life in that God, love, trust, friendship, and courage are important.

Guppy talks about the dangers of religious fundamentalism and how it sadly affected the Persian countries in 1979, when the Shaw was overthrown, and religious authorities took control.

The book reminds me of the importance of keeping state and religion separate and to put God before religious organization. It reminds me to follow divine rules before I follow church rules.

I recommend The Blindfold Horse.

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.”

Using rather than being used while learning to walk

calvin crate doorOur grandson is learning to walk. He lifts himself off his hands and knees by climbing the gate of their dog’s crate. The gate-door however swings freely and our grandson loses his balance and falls.

Unperturbed, he climbs back up and with joyous determination uses the gate to strengthen his balance. In other words, he no longer lets the swinging gate use or control him.

From 21st Century Science and Health:

“We must begin however with more simple demonstrations of control and the sooner we begin the better. The final demonstration takes time for its accomplishment. When walking, we are guided by the eye. We look before our feet and if we are wise, we look beyond a single step in the line of spiritual advancement.”

“This new-born understanding that neither food nor the stomach, without the consent of human mind, can make us suffer, brings with it another lesson, that self-indulgence, gluttony, or bulimia, are sensual illusions and can’t give satisfaction. These phantasms disappear as we better understand our spiritual existence and walk the line of a balanced life.”

“Enoch’s perception was not confined to the evidence before his physical senses. Therefore, he “walked with God”[1]—he ascended—he was guided into the demonstration of life eternal.”

 

[1] Gen. 5:24; Heb. 11:5

Eliminating radical thoughts for peace

Radicalized religion has our attention. What else does it want?

War with religion? War with those of us struggling to practice a religion of love and a life of meaning?

I doubt it. No matter how much destruction radicals inflict upon religion, radicalized religion would be destroyed if they messed with religion.

But we can ask, why did radicalized religion reach such a crisis point?

Perhaps it’s because our religious policies are failing us.

Perhaps it’s because religion is divided by creeds specific to human behaviors and thinking rather than specific to worship of God.

Perhaps it’s because we are so busy lighting candles, reading Bible lessons, and maintaining buildings rather than increasing spirituality and correct interpretations of spiritual texts?

Thing is we need to do more because radicalized religion doesn’t only bother the religious. The nonreligious are also afflicted since radicals aim at anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

The nonreligious try to stop the radicals with bullets. How can the religious help?

It is time for religious thinkers to take the baton and run the race that eliminates radicalization by designing relevant policies and practices. It is time for religious thinkers to hold off defending their beliefs and go full force advocating the love of Christ.

The new ideas that come with progress don’t mean we give up lighting candles or stop reading sacred texts.

The other night I attended a village prayer vigil. We came together with our differing religious backgrounds.

Scriptures read were: I John 4:7-8, 18-21 and Isaiah 58.

A moment of individual prayer was respected.

And we all sang together a couple of times. The departing song was:

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. Everywhere I go, let it shine, let it shine. Won’t let anyone blow it out; I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. All around the world, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

prayer vigil

 

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