Category Archives: Writing

Addition to regular posts

Hi everyone,

Along with my regular blog posts, starting on May 21, a free mini-Bible Lesson will be posted on Healing Science Today every Wednesday. Each lesson will be accompanied by this image of the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

bible study imageReaders can print a copy of the lesson and read it throughout the week (just don’t sell the copy, because that would infringe copyrights). Or, you can skip the lessons to the regular blog posts.

Each lesson will include a spiritual interpretation, rooted in Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health.

Modern Bible versions and the updated 21st Century Science and Health are quoted from, to ensure a more expansive reading of texts.

The Bible Lesson is designed to share food for thought. I hope you join me.


Cheryl Petersen




Presentation in Chicago

A great man

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, 1918 – 2013

 Deserving of mention, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, has always impressed me with grace and truth. His example attracted my attention years ago, and I am sure it will continue to do so. Grace and truth do not die. I quoted Nelson Mandela in 21st Century Science and Health, in a section that discusses our power and ability to overcome oppression.

From 21st Century Science and Health:

Restrictive regulations

We must continue to value our thinking, improve it, and understand its effect on mental and bodily health. Health insurance companies are recognizing the power of thought. Not only are the costs of psychiatry or counseling covered, but some policies also cover alternative health care costs. These examples are in harmony with our Constitution and Bill of Rights, with that immortal sentiment of the Declaration, “Man is endowed by his Maker with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Oppressive policies or agendas that restrict right thinking can be removed from power. No group of people, no policy, no drug, should be allowed to oppress.

Nelson Mandela wrote, “There was no particular day on which I said, From henceforth I will devote myself to the liberation of my people; instead, I simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise.”[1]

The above paragraphs are an update of Mary Baker Eddy’s statements in Science and Health, timely to her 19th century existence, reading:

“In 1880, Massachusetts put her foot on a proposed tyrannical law, restricting the practice of medicine. If her sister States follow this example in harmony with our Constitution and Bill of Rights, they will do less violence to that immortal sentiment of the Declaration, ‘Man is endowed by his Maker with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'”

“The oppressive state statutes touching medicine remind one of the words of the famous Madame Roland, as she knelt before a statue of Liberty, erected near the guillotine: ‘Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name!'”

[1] Mandela, Nelson. Long Walk to Freedom (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1994, 1995

The History of Spirituality II

Voute Hall, the dorm I stayed in

Voute Hall, the dorm I stayed in

Continuing my Boston College experience, our class went on to study Julian of Norwich. A 12th century figure, Julian gave images of hidden things and expressed the inexpressible through language. In the book, Julian of Norwich, we read what can be classified as “revelatory texts” rather than “illuminating text.” Often referred to as a mystic, Julian tells about her 16 visions and because truth can’t be pinned down, her prose meanders. Personally, I had to laugh because it reminded me of Mary Baker Eddy’s writing which can also meander.

Within two class period however, we broke down and analyzed Julian’s thoughts and came up with insightful facts. Julian glimpsed the nothingness of sin. She was optimistic and encouraged readers not to be obsessed with sin. Don’t live your life in a sense of failure. Contrary to the desert fathers who seemed depressed all the time.

By time the 12th century rolled around, the Catholic Church had grown some fairly straggly and bushy church creeds. A couple of Popes were fighting for the throne. Julian ran counterculture to the church, but yet didn’t condemn the church. She knew her visions came from God, not hierarchy in a church.

Her imagery of God highlighted the characteristics of: Father, mother, powerful, loving, courteous, willing, forgiving, devoted, and all-aware. She brings out a dynamic, rather than structural concept of God and church.

Next is my weekend venture.

Coming Home with Ideas

Sun Magazine hosts a series of Writer’s Workshops throughout the year. After attending the workshop in Massachusetts, at Rowe Conference Center, I came home and unpacked.

Clothes went to the dirty laundry and toiletries went into the bathroom.

During the weekend, Sun authors Gillian Kendall, Alison Luterman, Lee Martin, and Sparrow, along with editor and publisher Sy Safransky calmly, methodically, and patiently presented writing ideas they’ve found beneficial over the years. A glutton for ideas, I came home with an overstuffed head.

Compression. Detail. Pay attention to every single word.

There is no urge to put these ideas in the laundry or bathroom.

Could I put the ideas in the pile of bills, letters, and other important materials, that I will get to one day? No, they might get lost.

Maybe I can put the ideas on top of the piano. No, the cats might knock them over.

I could put them in the small corner cabinet with the glass door. They’d be safe there.

Compression. Detail. Pay attention to every single word. These ideas will only be found or safe if I practice them.

My room was on the second floor of this house

My room was on the second floor of this house at Rowe Conference Center


Humility Recognized

As a freelance writer, I meet some amazing people and get to write about them. Yesterday, I spoke with W.M., a man who, after working for 46 years at our local Electric Cooperative, was awarded a prestigious award.

On one hand, W.M. was amenable to being interviewed but on the other hand, he doesn’t require an award. He loves to work hard and to care for the community. His ability and willingness to do so is the reward. We read in 21st Century Science and Health, “Humility, honesty, and charity have divine authority.”

While trying to get a picture of W.M. this is what he gave me. Oh, he posed as I asked also, but we had fun.


The Farmer Who Started Traveling, Contestant

Here is the essay I wrote that is now in a contest. You can register and log on to vote at

The Farmer Who Started Traveling

I grew up on a farm and my dad, who was no chauvinist, taught me how to operate equipment, prune trees and irrigate. I loved being outside. It was almost impossible to get me off the farm. Mom did, however, sneak in a few lessons teaching me how to boil, fry and bake potatoes, so I wouldn’t starve when I was living on my own.

To no one’s surprise, I married a farmer and continued my routine. We had children and raised them on our farm. But when our children were grown, they coaxed me to venture out.

One daughter was attending college abroad. She convinced me to meet her in New Zealand. We went hang gliding—floating in the air is divine—and hiking the Tongariro Crossing, a nineteen kilometer all-day trek over volcanoes. It was a challenge but I made it.

Being the cheapskate I am, it wasn’t difficult for my daughter to convince me that we would stay at hostels and rent economy cars to save money. Thankfully, the young people at the hostels didn’t give a hoot about a forty-five-year-old mom hanging around. I wasn’t like other people my age who were staying at B & B’s and eating at fancy restaurants.

A few years later, our other daughter suggested she and I visit Marrakech, Morocco. I had to look at an atlas to see where Morocco was (south of Spain). Do you know they grow apples there? I discovered the farms in the country produce a plethora of fruit, vegetables and spices. My daughter and I even took a cooking class to fully appreciate the foodstuff.

Life on the farm prepared me for travel: I pack light. I don’t wear makeup and can get away with few clothes. I only need one pair of sturdy shoes, the pair I wear. So, when I walked through customs at the airport, an attendant asked me, “Did you pick up your luggage?”

“It’s all in my backpack,” I answered, pointing to my school-sized backpack hanging on my back.

The attendant said, “You should write a book on traveling light.”

Maybe, I’ll do that.

My infamous backpack

Dear Readers

We are aware that Shakespeare’s writings have been kept alive because of interpretations and revisions. The list of Shakespearean cultural creations is endless and includes paintings, television, music, and dance. Modern versions of Shakespeare’s writings have been cast in today’s vernacular and settings—“The Taming of the Shrew” resulted in “Kiss me Kate,” and “Romeo and Juliet” was transformed into “West Side Story.”

For this reason, 19th century’s classic book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures was revised. Its author, spiritual leader and healer, Mary Baker Eddy gives a seminal interpretation of God to all seekers of truth. The teachings found in Science and Health has proven to substantiate spiritual healing through the study and practice of divine Science.

Unlike Shakespeare, whose writings have been kept alive for almost 400 years, Eddy’s writings have been buried—and in a matter of only one hundred years—under a false utopia of literal conservatism upheld by religious tradition. The fatal mistake of regurgitating 19th century words indirectly disallowed the collective readership, educated in the 20th century, from actually reading or interpreting the spirit of Science and Health. The repetition of outmoded terminology and references snowballed into dissatisfaction and readers dispersed.

At the turn of the 21st century, a self-governing, yet liberal society of readers revisited Science and Health with the courage and accountability to read and interpret the spirit of Eddy’s writings, minus the attached addendum of religious authoritarianism. The readers negotiated a new language, revised the vernacular, discovered the teachings of divine Science, and experienced the intended healing. True to God, our selves, and the English speaking world, an updated version of Eddy’s Science and Health was adopted and titled 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

In the beginning, 21st Century Science and Health was authorless, a collaborative work in progress. Other readers joined the effort to bring meaning to passé language, until it was admitted that I, Cheryl Petersen, had the strongest inspired conviction to manifest one of the “the requisite revisions of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” (Quote from Eddy’s Science and Health, page 361) For legal and practical reasons, my name stands connected to 21st Century Science and Health, now in its 4th edition.

Predictably, 21st Century Science and Health is taken as a threat to those who regard themselves as purists, loyal to Eddy. This attitude automatically assumes anything other than the 19th century language of Eddy is contaminated or incorrect, even dangerous. However, the attitude that insists on the letter actually paralyzes itself from really reading or expressing the spirit.

Hindsight could claim that creativity, spirituality, and dignity, as expressed in revisions and contemporary versions, were actively rebelled against in the 20th century under the guise of keeping Eddy’s words pure. Gatekeepers were allowed to guard Science and Health, which in turn unwittingly circulated the claim that only a select few can understand and teach from the book.

Fortunately, at the turn of this century, readers threw off this claim and reclaimed their right and responsibility to think and interpret for themselves with God. The reclamation not only dissolved fears of wrongdoing, but also exposed the non-existent safety net of believing the letter has more power than the spirit, or that church rituals have more power than living life for others and not just a few likeminded purists. We readers today are dynamically praying when we are reading. New perspectives are coming to light and energizing us to shine in the world with multifaceted forms of love.

Classics would not be studied or taught on a tangible useful level were it not for revisions, crib notes, and cultural creations. Eddy’s 19th century language was intended to teach divine Science. The insidious notions that Eddy’s writings are pure, or that a revision changes the spirit of a teaching, are destructive and hypocritical, implying that no one could ever discuss or express divine Science in other words or art form other than what was produced in the 19th century.

Readers of 21st Century Science and Health are sharpened to the reality that Eddy’s writings are only her interpretation, inspired that it is, but that every reader is also interpreting what they read, see, feel, hear, taste, and know. We can courageously stand by God, divine Spirit, and assert our freedom to discover and experience divine Science, spiritually interpreting God, Life, practical to our everyday situations and wonderings.

ASJA 2012 Writer’s Conference in NYC

Late last night, I returned from a trip to New York City where I attended the 2012 Writing Boot Camp, sponsored by the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). My daughter, Carly, who lives in Seattle, Washington, came with me. Needless to say, the two days of intense panels and trainings, aimed to further our freelance writing careers, provoked interest, humor, and overloaded brains. I have three takes on the Writers Conference.

From the writer in me: The Conference went for 3 days, but we only signed up for 2 days. The variety of panels and topics was broad, including: Copyright laws, Women’s and Men’s Markets, Writing Description, Research Skills, Interviewing, Corporate Markets, Social Media, the list goes on. Carly and I split up and collected as much information as possible.

Gretchen Rubin, author of the book, The Happiness Project, was the luncheon speaker. Writers, publicists, and editors of top-notch magazines and newspapers were on the panels and freely shared ideas. I realized more so that rejections are common, so don’t give up on your writing and keep submitting material but follow all the submission guidelines.

There were hundreds of us attendees roaming around The Roosevelt Hotel, making effort to get to know one another. But, subject matter was more aimed toward secular writing and because I am more inclined to write about God or religion or healing spiritually, I probably will look for another type of Writer’s Conference to attend next time.

From me as a person: The ASJA upkeeps an ethic I felt was important. During the panel discussions, the moderator would expect the speakers to be honest. No sugar-coating. Writing is hard work, sometimes too wrapped up in luck, often not profitable, but rewarding.

As tired as we all were at the end of the day, humor could still be found. We were able to laugh at ourselves. For example, attendees must want to escape the room quickly, because before each session, the aisle seats would be filled first. Everyone else had to say “excuse me,” and squeeze around them to sit in the empty seats over to the wall. Once, only once, did I meet a lady, Darlene Fuhst, who actually sat near the wall and I didn’t have to climb over her to find a seat. We laughed and she let me take a picture.

Carly at Grand Central Station in NYC

From me as a mom: Because my daughters have the best sense of humor ever, going anywhere with them is fun. We easily maneuver our way around foreign territory, share clothes, and we know exactly when to run to catch a train (without spilling our coffee), try something new, or stop and eat a snack. We don’t argue. We don’t buy souvenirs. And, without speaking a word, one of us can hand-off all our belongings to the other to go help a mother carrying a child and baggage up stairs. Also, Carly’s input helps me develop ideas, not just accept one idea as if it was the gospel truth.

Cutting the Umbilical Cord

As a writer, I respect the advice given by other writers. Author, Annie Dillard explains in her book, The Writing Life, the importance of cutting the umbilical cord with words we cherish, adore, and worship. Why the strong attachment? Because we climbed a mountain to see those words.

Writing isn’t easy, at least not for me. Sometimes, I tell my husband, it’d be easier to dig a ditch to China than to articulate the ideas swimming around in my head and inspiring my heart.

But, when I do finally write down something that makes so much sense to me and even was part and parcel to a fantastic spiritual healing, I need to remember Dillard’s words and sometimes cut the umbilical cord. Let the words go. They only mean that much to me.

Writers benefit readers, but only when we speak to readers, rather than listen to our own favorite words. It’s not the end of the world to cut the umbilical cord.

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