Better expectations, better Halloween

pumpkin 2017Do you have your Halloween pumpkin carved yet?

We carved a pumpkin a few weeks ago when our granddaughter was here. Always aiming to carve a happy face.

Happiness on a pumpkin shows me that superficial happiness is something less than the power I give it.


Eating chocolate makes me happy. But not really. Knowing this fact allows me to improve my expectations. Instead of expecting chocolate to give me happiness, I can expect truth and love to come with happiness. I can expect honesty and a willingness to try something new to come with happiness. Maybe eating an apple is good.

Quoting from science & religion to God:

“How we interpret life affects not only our outlook and expectations, but also the consequences.”


Religious experiences without religion?

Apparently, both the religious and nonreligious can receive, dare I write, revelations of truth, commonly referred to as religious experiences. A growing body of statements show that people of all backgrounds have experienced extraordinary moments of transcendence.

For millenniums, these extraordinary moments have been interpreted through religion and thereby are usually referred to as religious experiences, however, nonreligious folk are able to experience and interpret the experiences in their own ways and words, yet an underlying similarity exists: moments of wholeness, light, peace, understanding. Without fear.

These moments of embracing love are available to everyone. How can we better share them?


Retrospecting the Reformation

October 31 has been noted as the 500th anniversary of when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and thus was the sufficient beginnings of what is now referred to as the Reformation, or the beginning of the Protestant Movement.

It wasn’t a pretty sight. Fortunately, Luther wasn’t alone, but it all came about with turmoil.

It didn’t matter if Luther’s intent was to reason with church leaders, who were restricting God’s mercy to the ritual of indulgences. Church leaders determined Luther was an irreligious heretic, no longer someone to listen to or include.

Luther himself may have felt a bit sacrilegious for what amounted to addressing the convictions of church authorities and pointing out the backwardness of false promises linked to indulgences. But he stood his ground and brought attention to new ideas about God.

Religion advanced. And human beings slowly followed, despite the destruction that comes with high-strung emotions. Time and experience help justice and mercy win. New ideas were entertained and put into practice over the following centuries.

Pew Research Center reported recently that the theological differences of the 16th century have tempered over the years, “And while the Reformation led to more than a century of devastating wars and persecution in Europe, both Protestants and Catholics across the continent now overwhelmingly express willingness to accept each other as neighbors and even as family members.”

While not denying that the profane in religion needs to decrease, respect goes to the likes of Martin Luther who personified the good in religion.

People who stop defending old ideas, we are open to new ideas. Newness is normal, healing.

New ideas are revealed when religion is no longer workable. What are the new ideas today? Can we entertain and manifest the new ideas sooner than 500 years?

Spiritual glance at both, front story and backstory

My neighbor Robert, told me a thought provoking story. True story.

The front-story: Robert took care of his step-mother the last few years of her life.

Robert told me, “She was afraid to die. Finally, one day, she asked me, ‘Do you think I’ll go to heaven?’ I told her, ‘If you don’t go to heaven no one else will.’ And she died peacefully a few weeks later.”

Now, Robert didn’t end the story there. He also gave the backstory saying, “My step-mother was a bitter person. She made my growing up hard and miserable. In my 20s, I went from one terrible relationship to another until in my 30s when I stopped what I was doing, even became celibate for a few years, to figure out a better way.”

He figured it out. “Love. Love is life and truth,” said Robert, who has been in a loving relationship for more than 20 years.

See, the backstory is necessary to understand the front story. Otherwise, we’d be tempted to believe we could just repeat Robert’s words and offer peace to someone afraid to die.

The step-mother’s fear came from religious teachings, showing yet again that religion isn’t perfect, but nothing in this world is. She was taught her behavior in this world affected whether or not she’d go to heaven.

Not all religions teach that strategy. Mine doesn’t. I believe heaven is a state of mind, of divine Mind, Love, God, and I can unite and rejoice with God now.

I also believe it was Robert’s earlier spiritual progress that transformed his heart and enabled him to voice those words to his mother with a healing effect.

From 21st Century Science and Health, sixth edition

“Put an end to the chatter in your head and calmly enter spiritual consciousness. In the refuge of sincere intentions, you must deny sin and affirm God’s allness. Become committed, “pray continually,”[1] and go forward with a pure heart to work and watch for wisdom, Truth, and Love. Such prayer is answered insofar as you put your spiritual desires into practice.”



[1] I Thess. 5:17

Nurture respect already in place

Archeologists have uncovered evidence interpreted to link not only ideas but also actual inscribed words in the Bible back to thinkers and writers who pre-dated Biblical authors.

In his 2016 publication of the book, The Cities That Built the Bible, Archaeologist and Biblical scholar, Robert Cargill gives tangible examples that show some ideas and even words, in both the Old Testament and New Testament, can be traced back centuries before biblical authors were even born.

Correct. Scriptural words were not traced back to God, but to other human beings.

No, no, no, this is not an argument against the presence of God and it isn’t a burial of the Bible or religion. It’s a release.

What if we stopped fearing or revering religion and its accompanying materials? What if we doubled up our efforts to cultivate the respect for one another already in place? What if we acknowledged a truth presenting itself anew for the sheer fact it identifies with ongoing purpose and eternal life?

From the introduction of Sixth Edition of 21st Century Science and Health:

“Truth is ever-revealing itself, it can’t be stopped. It embraces and moves us. With respect to all truth-seekers, I share 21st Century Science and Health.”— Cheryl Petersen

best cover


Cheryl Petersen

Brooklyn Book Festival

What a fabulous day at the Brooklyn Book Festival, last Sunday.

Met wonderful, unprejudiced minds. Sold books. Had fun with the family.

booth carly and teens.jpg

Our daughter also sold her newly published fiction for young adults, Magenta’s Family Christmas, click below to order

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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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