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Everyday Spirituality

Everyday Spirituality

Selfie didn’t get in the way

posted by Cheryl Petersen

I was covering a story. The local Heart of the Catskill Humane Society’s annual meeting. The Society’s board of directors gave the public details about finances and that year’s events.

It costs $1,100 per day to keep the no-kill shelter operating and the people behind the operation are outstanding individuals.

I could barely listen, think, or write. I had a killer headache. I wanted to throw up. But, I wanted the story printed more than anything else, because Heart of the Catskill Humane Society sets such a good example in the community.

That’s all I could know: get the story. I sat there until I thought I had enough material for a story. The situation made me forget the tenets of my healing religion. The technical terms I’d learned in spiritual classes were meaningless. And, it was fine. I didn’t have to think about myself.

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I raised my hand and said, “I don’t feel well, but would like a picture for the newspaper before I go.”

The speaker’s face was full of love, the same love she embraces all the homeless animals with. Like an angel, she said, “Yes, please, come here. Let’s get you a picture so you can go home.”

I took a picture and went home to bed. Rest helped immensely. I wrote the story and it got printed, with the picture.

My own personal situation wasn’t so important it needed to take priority. I didn’t demand healing. I didn’t think I needed to analyze my environment or attitude or the ache. It may have made it more real, because it doesn’t feel real now. So why not continue being thankful for the reality of love in the community?

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From 21st Century Science and Health, Angelsall 3 on house climber small are God’s representatives. These ascending beings never lead toward selfishness, sin, or materiality, but guide to the divine Principle of all good, where every real individuality, image, or likeness of God, gathers. Resolved to pay attention to these spiritual guides they stay with us, and we entertain “angels without knowing it.”[1]

 

 

[1] Heb. 13:2

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The fight after the declaration

posted by Cheryl Petersen

With the July 4th Independence Day nigh upon us, I stop to think what to do about the Holiday.

Invite friends over? Bar-b-que hotdogs and hamburgers? Go for a motorcycle ride? Clean the house?

Deciding is tough, because the vision of “declaring our freedom” isn’t reflected by those activities.

declarationNot that I’m extremely bothered by whatever decision I make, but I do ponder the fact that the typical July 4 activities are stereotypical visions that add to a growing sense that our culture has failed to catch up with reality.

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Many of us know that when we find ourselves, or our country, in oppression, that we need to take a stand, and declare our independence. Although this is a first big step, it diminishes in light of the fact that we then have to fight for that freedom we are declaring.

We have to change out our bad habits. We have to stop enabling abuse. We have to start being accountable. We have to fight, and this fight should not be overshadowed by our July 4 activity.

We can cast off tired stereotypes of what it means to declare our freedom, not by freely doing whatever we want, but by supporting the fight for our freedom from mental and physical oppression.

We were given mental and physical freedom to live, love, and have meaning. In whatever activity we choose, we can advance that freedom by forgiving where forgiveness is required, by assisting someone else where assistance is needed, by releasing false expectations and expecting something bigger.

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Looking at how to be fair

posted by Cheryl Petersen

The disparity is obvious. The Pacific Northwest received little to no snowfall last winter and therefore their fresh water resources are greatly diminished. We here in the northeast received so much snow it’s all I did was shovel the driveway last winter. Plus, we are getting rain regularly now.

It doesn’t seem fair. But nothing in this human life has ever seemed fair. The only times when I feel as though fairness is exonerated is when I act as fair as possible myself.

I don’t mean I divide money amounts evenly between our children when giving gifts. I mean, when I am fair in my judgements and reactions.

Fairness is more apparent when I am open-minded when talking with friends, acquaintances, politicians.  Or, when I am unbiased when reading the newspapers and watching the television. Or when I am rational when I look at world conditions.

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People in the Pacific Northwest will learn better how to conserve water. I can conserve also, even if we have plenty of water in the northeast.

We don’t need to become super-afraid at the unfairness. We can take each situation and see our way through it with grace and fairness.

From 21st Century Science and Health: “Civilization and Science stand strong on the side of justice, and encourage the elimination of discrimination, however, every time an effort is made to remedy unfairness, we must be alert that the effort doesn’t encourage difficulties of greater magnitude. Higher aims and motives, as well as improved mental character, must be considered as the feasible and rational means of progress.”

waterfall

 

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On the offense team

posted by Cheryl Petersen

The cliché, “The best defense is a good offense,” makes sense even to non-sports people like me. It can be applied to ball games, military combat, and I believe, it can be applied to religion. Too much defense and there is a lack of vision for scoring, whether the scoring results in a ball through the hoop, peace of mind, or spiritual growth and healing.

How do we have a strong offensive team when it comes to spiritual goals and religion?

Before we consider a few key points to help answer that question, it’s vital to recognize that we must first break any bad habits of being on the defense. That might sound simple, but it isn’t.

There will always be criticizers of truth seekers, spiritual travelers. And, we can sometimes get really good at defending our spiritual position or rebounding after we’ve been attacked. However, emphasis on defense causes us to become our own worst enemy and as a result, our own spiritual growth is resisted.

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Ironically, opponents can walk off the field and go about their own life while we spend all the time defending our beliefs.

This has become apparent in some religious institutions, even the one I grew up in.

Members in declining churches spend too much time defending their rituals, their favorite passages, and ways of thinking, so much so, they score very little if any spiritual progress and experience. Unwittingly, the defensive attitude created a powerful imagined bogey-man. Real opponents aren’t even necessary and the church falls into oblivion.

Yes, we have to defend ourselves, however, defend, but move back to the offense team.

A few strategies can be taken from basketball.

Avoid focusing too much on the one-on-one aspect of offense, rather than the team aspect. In other words, don’t take things so personally. Get a world view of spirituality and remember it’s an ever-operating force allowing us to progress toward an immortal consciousness and experience. You aren’t the only one progressing spiritually and we can help one another.

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Be a part of the game, instead of standing around and watching the action. Or, don’t only be a spectator. Be involved and pro-active with the goodness occurring in and around you.

Look to pass before looking to shoot. In other words, keep an eye on the opponents while yet assessing who on your team is in the open to make the score. Contribute to the best opportunities. This may require supporting another religion or a new way of doing things.

Keep your cool — don’t commit a cheap and foolish foul after making a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. When it happens, snap back into the game of life and let spirituality guide you, not frustration.

The list of key points could go on, but when I follow even these few, I notice an uptick in spiritual thoughts. I am better able to pass over mistakes made by other spiritual travelers and this in turn helps me feel as though they too will forgive me my mistakes. It can also open the door to new ideas, new options.

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For example, conservative political commentator and columnist, Patrick Buchanan wrote an article on June 1, entitled, “Christian culture under assault in this country.”

Jesuit-Missionary-Pierre-Jean-De-Smet-sluBuchanan noted in his article that Saint Louis University (SLU), “will remove a heroic-sized statue of Fr. Pierre-Jean De Smet S.J. from the front of Fusz Hall, where it has stood for 60 years.”

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Historically, after entering the priesthood in year1827, Fr. De Smet was responsible for the establishment of many missions in America.

Recently SLU faculty and staff felt the De Smet statue became an item of controversy, representing, “a history of colonialism, imperialism, racism and of Christian and white supremacy.”

Buchanan comes across as a bit put out in his column, as if Christianity is being attacked. But that is my defensive interpretation, whereas I get on the offense team and think he has given us an opportunity to become more accountable for our world views.

I don’t have to get upset. I can strive to improve my attitude and behavior to match the evolved Christian view that all people are created equal and are equally loved by God.

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I can affirm that moving the statute to the university’s art museum can’t ultimately promote or destroy Christianity. The statute only influences human beings if they let it.

I have the choice not to stereotype the university staff for being cowards, and I have the ability to appreciate still the statute of De Smet along with other artistic expressions that depict religious truths. Even more, I can use or develop my own ability to express religious truths artistically.

For example, I can craft my newspaper articles by carving out integrity, moral courage, and selflessness.

Previous Posts

Selfie didn't get in the way
I was covering a story. The local Heart of the Catskill Humane Society’s annual meeting. The Society’s board of directors gave the public details about finances and that year’s events. It costs $1,100 per day to keep the no-kill shelter ...

posted 6:46:09am Jul. 07, 2015 | read full post »

The fight after the declaration
With the July 4th Independence Day nigh upon us, I stop to think what to do about the Holiday. Invite friends over? Bar-b-que hotdogs and hamburgers? Go for a motorcycle ride? Clean the house? Deciding is tough, because the vision of ...

posted 8:30:37am Jul. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Looking at how to be fair
The disparity is obvious. The Pacific Northwest received little to no snowfall last winter and therefore their fresh water resources are greatly diminished. We here in the northeast received so much snow it’s all I did was shovel the driveway ...

posted 8:53:22am Jun. 25, 2015 | read full post »

On the offense team
The cliché, “The best defense is a good offense,” makes sense even to non-sports people like me. It can be applied to ball games, military combat, and I believe, it can be applied to religion. Too much defense and there is a lack of vision ...

posted 8:20:21am Jun. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Finding the sacred
Some things in life, we treat as sacred: relationships, spirit, the earth, our work. We are bewildered when other people treat them irreverently. Deep down we know the truth of the matter, that we must treat our earth with respect, otherwise ...

posted 8:08:26am Jun. 14, 2015 | read full post »

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