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Everyday Spirituality

Everyday Spirituality

Giving Clear Directions

posted by Cheryl Petersen

On my way to an interview, I called for directions and was told, “I live on Del Ave.,” then was asked, “Do you know where Del Ave is?”

“No,” I answer scanning the map in my mind.

“Drive over the Bridge and turn left,” came the answer.

I did so in my mind map and replied “Oh, you live on Highway 18.”

“No,” was the retort.

My mind immediately ignored Highway 18 and started looking for other “lefts” to take on my mental map but was getting nowhere. The speaker continued to talk and finally I said, “That really sounds like Highway 18.”

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“Well, Del Ave. does turn into Highway 18, I mean, yes it is Highway 18,” was the comeback.

I roll my eyes and go get the interview yet ask myself…Do I sometimes know the details of a subject so well that I neglect to see the bigger picture and thus confuse others?

From 21st Century Science and Health, “We must exercise our faith in the direction taught by the Apostle James, when he said: “Religion that God and Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”[1]


[1] James 1:27

 

 

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Celebrating Black History

posted by Cheryl Petersen

Black History is nearing an end. Our community newspaper has printed a series of profiles celebrating the milestones and individuals in American black history. Here are a few:

James Weldon Johnson. Born 1871, the second of three children, James Weldon went on to become a future teacher, poet, songwriter, and civil rights activist  While still serving as a public school principal, Johnson studied law and became the first African American to pass the bar exam in Florida. Johnson—displeased with the racial stereotypes propagated by popular music—enrolled at Columbia University in 1903 to expand his literary horizons. In 1916, Weldon was offered the post of field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He went on to assemble three ground-breaking anthologies: The Book of American Negro Poetry (1922), The Book of American Negro Spirituals (1925), and The Second Book of Negro Spirituals (1926).

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Lucy Stanton Sessions (1831-1910) Lucy Stanton was born as a freed inhabitant of Cleveland, Ohio. She is believed to be the first African American woman to graduate from college, attaining a degree from Oberlin College in 1850. After college she moved to Columbus, Ohio, and became a Principal to a school. Life entailed more moving during a time when she taught fugitive slaves. Later in life, after a divorce, she remarried and the family moved to Tennessee where Lucy Sessions continued her philanthropic work, including serving as president of the local Women’s Christian Temperance Union. She and her husband later moved to Los Angeles, California before her death in 1910.

Charlotte E. Ray was one of seven children. She was born in 1850 in New York City. She was raised by a father who was a minister and active in the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad. Charlotte Ray received her education at the institution for the Education of Colored Youth in Washington D.C. and went on to teach at Howard University. She earned a law degree in 1872 and became one of the first black women to be admitted to the District of Columbia Bar and argue cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. She became involved in the women’s suffrage movement and joined the National Association of Colored Women., inspiring many to transcend the strictures of racism and misogyny.

“Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:9, ESV)

 

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Oat Grass for Cats in the Winter

posted by Cheryl Petersen

Our spiritual journeys can feel like one step forward and two steps back sometimes however quite often the one step forward is a magnanimous leap that adds to our spirituality.

I’m pleasantly amazed to see how non-intrusive answers come to my mind enforcing my conviction there is a Mind greater than my human mind. A few months ago, an image of my cats eating grass during the summer flashed through memory. We’ve had a cold snowy winter and therefore I went to town and bought some oat grass seed along with some potting soil.

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After arriving home, the cats and I planted oat seeds and began watching them grow in the house. No eating lessons were required. The cats go to the grass every morning and sometime in the evening and snack on the grass.

I’ve since learned a few theories as to why cats like eating grass.

  • Grass contains folic acid, an essential vitamin for bodily functions that also assists in the production of a protein that moves oxygen in the blood.
  • Because cats are carnivores and clean themselves, thus accumulating quite a build-up of hair in the digestive tract, they will eat the grass to assist in regurgitation thus helping them eliminate indigestible matter making them feel better.
  • Another theory is that grass acts as a natural laxative.

In line with the laws of nature, we don’t yet understand how we eat and live without agriculture. From 21st Century Science and Health, “Scriptures inform us that sin, or error, first caused the condemnation of humankind to till the ground.” But religion can also teach us that, “Scriptures indicate that obedience to [Mind] will remove the necessity to rely on material food, air, or technology.” The key is obedience to God, not trying to get rid of agriculture.

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Les Miserables in a new light

posted by Cheryl Petersen

Reviews of Director Tom Hooper’s big screen adaptation of Victor Hugo’s book, Les Misérables are almost as entertaining as the film. The reviews exhibit barbed, bazaar, candid opinions that human beings are vulnerable to express.

Last weekend, my husband and I ventured out for our quadrennial date and actually got in a vehicle and drove to the Walton Theater to watch Les Misérables.

For a little background, I read Les Misérables decades ago. Loved it. But clearly, I didn’t remember every detail therefore whenever I’m drawn back to the ideas in Les Misérables, through other movies or renditions, I learn something new about broken dreams, religious values, unrequited love, sacrifice, and redemption. The many versions of the book add to the scope of Victor Hugo’s donation to the advancement of humanity.

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I haven’t found a reviewer yet who echoes my impression of the 2012 musical rendition of Les Misérables.  I don’t lean toward the passionate exclamation, “Nothing short of breathtaking, triumphant and beautiful!” I also don’t lean toward the review quipped by Alistair Harkness who commented, and I’m abridging here, “Bombastic, overblown, overlong, needlessly convoluted…” His remark seems backward. The French to English language version of the book, Les Misérables, contains 530,982 words. The 2012 film, scripted by William Nicholson, Herbert Kretzmer, Alain Boublil, and Claude-Michel Schönberg, managed to effectively garner at least 250 pages into a 3 minute song. Bravo.

The 2012 Les Misérables impressed me with the fact that time/space and the human language are surmounted with the use of lyrics, music, acting, and visuals. All these layers together produced a grand effect that are provoking the human mind to grow out of its own codes, expectations, assumptions, and flawed views.

Previous Posts

Good dissolves bad
Sometimes, I just feel bad. Bad about myself, or life, or my situation. I can figure out why, for example, it’s because of hormones. But giving it a name doesn’t get rid of the bad feeling. Science and religion both discuss the value of positive thinking and it has proven to be a good s

posted 9:54:06am Mar. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Keeping mercy
Deut. 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations. (English Standard Version) Know now then that the Lord your God is the only true God! He is the faithful

posted 8:07:29am Mar. 16, 2015 | read full post »

Fishing Salmon River
Once experts realized genes aren’t stable and can mutate, the human mind took off in multiple directions, some not so good. Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) have become popular, although not exactly admired. Many of the plants and trees we grow have been forced selected. For example,

posted 7:46:08am Mar. 10, 2015 | read full post »

Inspiring person, Rosamond Carr
Not what I’d classify as a religious person, but spiritual, Rosamond Halsey Carr tells her story in her book, Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda. Published in 2001 and read by me last month, I recommend this book as a picture of woman’s self-realized independence, inner splendor, and ou

posted 7:15:03am Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

A star gymnast
Film, The Gabby Douglas Story (2014), captured many of the emotions that surely were experienced before medals were earned at the 2008 Olympics. Gabby’s family, already at a level of impoverishment, sacrificed for Gabby Douglas to continue training. And, although tempted, Gabby didn’t give up.

posted 7:43:20am Mar. 01, 2015 | read full post »

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