Tag Archives: Bible

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.

Prostituting ourselves

Although prostitution is ranked rather low on the scale of suitable employment, there are a couple of times in the Bible when prostitutes themselves ranked high in the work of God.

In the book Joshua, the prostitute, Rahab, saved the spies sent to Jericho to scout out the land before the children of Israel moved in.

I’ve never entered the trade of prostitution in its common definition, however a friend enlightened me to a broader meaning. Prostitution doesn’t only pertain to sex. It can be anytime someone sells their abilities, talents, or time for an unworthy purpose.

This broader meaning causes me to step back and ask myself as a freelance writer, Do I ever sell an article I wrote for an unworthy purpose?

Do I ever sell my time for an unworthy purpose?

Do I sell my talent to speak before a crowd for a selfish or shameful cause?

I don’t particularly want to prostitute myself. I don’t want to spread lame opinions. I don’t want to try to convert someone to a certain lifestyle even if I think its godly.

I want to use my skills for worthy things…like Rahab the harlot did.

“Then [Rahab] let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall. 16 And she said to them, “Go into the hills, or the pursuers will encounter you, and hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way.” 17 The men said to her, “We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours that you have made us swear. 18 Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. 19 Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head. 20 But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless with respect to your oath that you have made us swear.” 21 And she said, “According to your words, so be it.” Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.” Joshua 2:15-21, ESV

Rahab

Video on survival or salvation

This is a sermon I gave at the local Unitarian Universalist Church in Oneonta, New York.

Common Quirky Belief

Why am I told to the way to heaven is to believe Christ Jesus died for my sins? This dogma doesn’t compute; it needs a major overhaul. A serious piece of information is missing. I have no problem with believing in Christ Jesus or that his resurrection proved life eternal. In fact, I study his words and works all the time. However, I learn Christ Jesus lived and died to show me how to live; how to experience heaven within consciousness now. There is no gimmick belief that will produce a ticket to heaven.

Here is my reasoning.

First: it’s impossible for someone else to do my work for me. I cannot assume it was the death of Christ Jesus that allows forgiveness and heaven because people before his time were forgiven. People who lived centuries before Christ Jesus, walked with God and did just fine, some even ascended (Enoch, Gen. 5:24; Elijah, II Kings 2:11). So, I must live my own life of a spiritually progressive consciousness. I can’t assume the great work of others is enough to save me.

Second: the first reason is enough. I don’t have time to come up with more reasons because as far as I can tell, I have a ton of spiritual work to do. To say I believe on Jesus and that he died for my sins does not offer me a clean, white robe. He showed me how to get my act together and wash my own filth. Me, I, have to replace self-righteousness,  bitterness, and laziness with humility, spiritual courage, and health.

Fortunately, a heavenly life is a science to demonstrate, not some sketchy speculation or free ride.

Heaven isn’t a physical location, but a state of mind. Having the Mind of spiritual Truth, a.k.a. Christ, is the avenue to harmony, a revealed consciousness of heaven on earth—this computes.

Today’s teachings must keep up with the increased spiritual understanding and demonstrations of humanity. Christ Jesus did prove the necessity of sinlessness and forgiveness in a big way, however, we will not understand and live a more God-like life every moment by repeating some belief or following some code or ritual. Working out our salvation with God is a vital personal responsibility, is a right.

It’s not easy working out our salvation with God, but it helps to realize if Christ Jesus can do it, we can. This helps remove the tendency to give up, thinking Jesus did the job for us, or that Jesus was the only person who could do what he did. Life, truth, and love are impartially allowing us all to manifest God, good.

Unclogging the Wheel

People ask me if I teach classes on Christian Science. Currently, the Christian Science milieu is awkwardly moving into a new phase and so I answer, “No, I don’t teach Christian Science in a formal setting.” The demand at hand is to generate tools for continued learning and that is where my energy is placed. Teaching Christian Science requires more than a love of its logic and beauty. It requires honesty and a serious boldness to challenge some of the decades-old tenacious myths and misinterpretations that have grown up around Christian Science, around the book most commonly used to study Christian Science, and its discoverer, Mary Baker Eddy.

The book most commonly used to study Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, requires a pre-requisite course on 19th century history and language in order to be understood effectively. The history course allows for the undoing of established fiction that calcified into fact during the last half of the 20th century. Fiction, created and sanction by human beliefs, clogs the flow of understanding Christian Science. A few fictitious blockages are: the King James Version of the Bible is revered as closer to the truth than other Bibles, medical professionals work against Christian Science, the common person can’t discover and write about Christian Science, and Christian Science is authorized by members of a Church.

The resurgence of interest in spirituality and Mind-healing begged for a revision of Science and Health. Following Eddy’s pattern of revision and update (she revised her book over 300 times) 21st Century Science and Health was produced and is now going into its 4th edition. Click here for a free download of Some Misconceptions Debunked, to join the forward movement that is unclogging the wheels of Christian Science and discovering our innate ability to understand and practice Christian Science effectively, on our own with God.

Here is a recent letter I received:

Cheryl,

I got the kindle version of 21st Century Science and Health. I appreciate your work and your path. I am an acupuncture doctor. I have always been acutely aware of Mary Baker Eddy’s work. Until I ran across your work, though, I didn’t think a bridge could exist between my path, Eddy’s path, and especially the path of the institution currently designated as Church of Christ, Scientist. The fact that you recognize that doctors are often on a spiritual path (and NOT just evil mesmerists) is of immense importance!!

Your work is a breath of fresh air. Many thanks.

Sincerely,

R.N.

 

Got Married Back in the Olden Days

These are the flowers Doug sent me for our wedding anniversary, yesterday. A dozen roses, very beautiful. I would insert a picture of us on our wedding day, but we got married back in the olden days when they didn’t have digital cameras. And, I don’t have a scanner to scan the yellowing photo.

Doug and I are still going strong. But, being married hasn’t always been easy. The best advice that helped me see past the marriage troubles,  is advice that I found in the Bible, although because practical wise advice is available to the universe, I’m sure this advice is found elsewhere. The advice is basically, what God joined together, don’t bother separating; which coincides with, don’t bother putting together what God didn’t.

Now, what God put together isn’t particular human beings.  God is divine Spirit and deals with spiritual ideas and spiritual beings, therefore God put together compassion, humor, joy, appreciation, aplomb, tenderness, courage, and strength. God did not put together anger, arrogance, resentment, or impatience. And, because it is impossible to add a bit of anger to God’s creation, when I feel angry toward Doug, I back off and peace comes.

Doug has been living 3000 miles away from me since last October. He got a job in Seattle. I’ve been holding down the fort here in upstate New York. Thankfully, the advice I just mentioned above holds true even through space. In fact, divine Science teaches there is no space in Love, God.  Marriage signifies an individual and collective path of spiritual unity with divine Love.

Flooding in the World

Reading about the current flooding, especially the Mississippi River flooding, I can’t help but be reminded of a friend’s interpretation of the Biblical story of Noah and the Ark and the great flood. Noah was told by God to build a huge Ark and load it with his family, animals, and tons of food, because God decided to flood the earth to drown out the rampant sin going on.

My friend thought, If God only reveals goodness, and God is All-in-all, then the flood had to be a flood of goodness, a flood of love drowning out resentment and indignation.

For some reason this made sense to me. And, then one evening while cooking dinner, rather wearily, one of the children wanted my attention. I consciously was aware of impatience being triggered in my mind, and all of a sudden a flood of patience overcame me. I wasn’t specifically asking God for patience, but I did feel Christ (not a human man, but spirit) actively working in consciousness and that evening I responded. I gave the appropriate amount of attention to the child, finished dinner and the evening went better than fine.

So, how does this recollection of Love flooding us with patience help with the present flooding going on in the south? It doesn’t help, physically. But, all practical physical help comes from a mental impetus, a thought, therefore, I figure, a thought of Love’s flooding is better than the thought that the south is being punished as if God could send something bad. Spiritual thoughts are powerful, useful and lead to practical action when sent out to the universe.

Amateur Photographer Takes Pictures of Melting Snow and Cat

The temperatures here in upstate New York have been above freezing for the last few days. People feel as if they are witnessing a minor miracle. Myself included. I can actually see my infamous entire driveway for the first time in what feels like years, but has been months. All that fluffy, icy, bravura, soggy, sullied snow I shoveled is almost gone.

Because I would not put it past Mother Nature to cover the ground in snow tonight while I’m resting serenely, I decided to take pictures of the dirt this afternoon. And, to liven up the pictures, I located my photogenic and astute cat, Richard, and asked him to pose as an added dimension. He blithely accommodated me by giving me about 3% of his attention. I followed Richard around, taking a surplus of digital pictures, aspiring for one good shot. Here is what I came up with.

Richards bum

Richards side

Richards body

Richard with driveway behind him

Richards best shot, what a lovey

From 21st Century Science and Health:

“Open-mindedness and universal facts naturally trigger anything that is false to work against its self, bringing error from under cover. It requires courage to voice truth. The higher Truth’s voice is lifted, the louder error will scream until its inarticulate noise is forever silenced in oblivion. “’He lifts his voice, the earth melts.’[1] This Scripture indicates that all mortality will disappear before the supremacy of Spirit.

“Truth never destroys God’s idea. Truth is spiritual, eternal substance, which cannot destroy the true reflection. Temporal sense, or error, may seem to hide Truth, health, harmony, and Science—as the mist obscures the sun or the mountains—but Science, the sunshine of Truth, will melt away the shadow and reveal the celestial peaks.

“We cannot be mesmerized by the flesh or hypnotized by human mind while practicing the Science of Truth which cannot be reversed, but the reverse of error is true. An improved conviction cannot retrograde. When Christ, Truth, changes a human mortal conviction of sin or sickness into a better conviction, then thought melts into spiritual understanding, and sin, disease, and death disappear.”


[1] Ps. 46:6

The Art of Re-inventing

Doug and I attended an Improv Comedy party at a friend’s house the other night, and had a grand time. None of us had acting experience. Some of the people, who generally have a reserved demeanor, turned out to be hilariously witty.

Improvisational acting is as old as time, and was rather popular during the 16th century, but soon faded into obscurity until the 20th century when Keith Johnstone and Viola Spolin re-invented improv as it is known today.

Johnstone was motivated to re-invent it because he felt theater had become pretentious, shunning the average person from attending it. Spolin added the touch of teaching through a series of games.

Okay reader, I’m going to zig-zag here, from discussing the history of improv, back to discussing the idea of “re-invention.” Too often human beings shy away from re-inventing, using the worn out cliche, “we don’t need to reinvent the wheel.” But, ponder these definitions from The Free Dictionary…

“To recast something familiar or old into a different form: “Call it reinventing the wheel or recasting old ideas, but these contemporary versions have a spirit and style all their own” (New York Times).”

To bring back into existence or use: reinvented the concept of neighborliness.”

The idea of re-inventing, or in my case, revising Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health, doesn’t come from a position of re-doing a work as if it was incomplete, but from a position of affirming our individual ability to discover and express the law of Spirit, manifesting spiritual growth. I have to discover for myself. I can’t rely on someone else’s discovery.

The ability to discover an embracing, renewing God is inherent to all people and the discovery is the experience.

If we only admire what other people discover, the discovery becomes obscure. If we only repeat the words of what great discoverers said, the words get lost.

So, let’s discover and experience: spontaneity, joy, wisdom, spiritual courage, well-being, peace, calm, and whatever else you can add to this list.

“Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there.” (Gen. 26:19, NIV)

“He first sought out and found his own brother Simon and said to him, We have found (discovered) the Messiah!–which translated is the Christ (the Anointed One).” (John 1:41, New Amplified Bible)

“Dear friend, listen well to my words;
tune your ears to my voice.
Keep my message in plain view at all times.
Concentrate! Learn it by heart!
Those who discover these words live, really live;
body and soul, they’re bursting with health.” (Prov. 4:20-22, The Message)

Handle Serpents as an Eagle

Most people are startled by snakes, or are at least given the creeps. Including myself. It probably has to do with the collective mentality setting up snakes as lurking evil. In the Bible, there is a story about Moses who had a staff and was told to throw it down on the ground. Moses did. The staff turned into a serpent. Moses was scared. However, he was then told to pick up the serpent. Moses did. The snake turned back into a staff.

A staff is something we lean on. A support. A tool to help us in our daily work. But the staff can’t be leaned on so heavily that it becomes deformed and useless. A staff also can’t be guarded and horded so closely that we neglect to use it properly.

Staffs come in a plethora of forms. They can be books, social status, economic schedules, diets, time, and so on.

We do not need to fear casting down our staffs. Because we do not need to fear the serpents. A snake is defined in Science and Health as subtle deceit, a lie. And, lies will grow, and bite, and sting, if truth is not known and acted on.

As revisionist of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health, I had to learn this lesson. A few of the staffs I leaned on were: 1) the book Science and Health; 2) a moral lifestyle; 3) church membership.

When I threw these staffs down, a glaring nest of serpents surprised me, lies such as: 1) Science and Health is not to be revised; 2) an immoral lifestyle disallows spiritual healing; 3) the church has a monoply on Christian Science.

I then picked up the serpents, with trepidation and after much research, and discovered powerful facts to work with. These facts are: 1) Science and Health states that revisions are “requisite,” necessary; 2) Science and Health was written for the public, not a church; 3) everyone, EVERYONE, has the ability to discover and understand the divine Science interpreting God and harmony. Divine Science doesn’t come through a book.

Well, I need to sign off here and get back to work. But, just a reminder, don’t be afraid to throw down what seems like such a wonderful support. Be strong as an eagle and take those serpents back up. God, divine Spirit, is right here, right now, guiding, guarding, and renewing us. And, we will find a more reliable human staff to lean on. A staff that includes everyone.

%d bloggers like this: