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Everyday Spirituality

Everyday Spirituality

Near Death Experience

posted by Cheryl Petersen

I just finished reading the book Heaven is for Real, about a kid in a Nebraska family who consciously took a trip to heaven during emergency surgery.

As a parent myself, I had first to see through my anxiety while reading the book. I skipped portions to get to the part where the kid started telling his parents what he saw when he was in heaven.

Because I also had what is called a near death experience in 1998, I started listening to other people’s descriptions of their near death experiences. Many experiences are the same—white light, peace—but there are quite a few that are different which doesn’t surprise me since people all are different.

My near death was quiet and I only spoke with an aunt who died a few years before. Another lady I met had a terrible experience after a drug overdose but when she came back she change her life for the better. She cleaned up and started being a mom to her daughter. I would have never guessed she was a druggy, she was so clean and beautiful and articulate.

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The description of heaven given in the book Heaven is for Real, paralleled descriptions of heaven given in the Bible. I don’t think there is a right or wrong description of heaven and I pushed my mind past the appearances.  I am pondering the radical idea that life is not in the body.

Near death experiences answer this question from 21st Century Science and Health, “When will the error of believing that there is life in matter and that sin, sickness, and death are creations of God be exposed?”

courtesy todayandtomorrow.net

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Now.

Now, life is in God, Love.

The truth that life is in Spirit, not material atoms or energy, is being exposed.

Although we are trained to believe life is in the body, we read in Science and Health, “The brains electrochemical functioning is ignorant of the world of Truth—not wired to the reality of our existence—for the world of materiality is not cognizant of life in Soul.

“Praise is to God and peace to the struggling hearts! Christ has removed the obstacle from the door of human hope and faith, and through the revelation and demonstration of life in God, we are elevated to possible at-one-ment with the spiritual idea of God’s children and our divine Principle, Love.”

 

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Investing in Reconciliation

posted by Cheryl Petersen

The universe is a heady mixture of relationships. Not only are the stars, moon, and earth connected by an invisible force, but people are also constantly dealing with relationships. Our personalities and expectations determine the quality of our relationships however there is an invisible force that can override those personalities and maintain rewarding relationships whether in marriage, in church, or at our job. The force is apparent when we invest in reconciliation.

Reconciliation has a history. The Old Testament contains a record of priests killing animals and throwing blood on the walls to reconcile for sins. Fortunately, humankind has evolved out of that tradition. We can better relate to the New Testament thought on reconciliation. We read in II Corinthians, “From now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view…if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come…All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ.” (II Cor. 5:16-18, NIV)

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The Greek word for “reconciled” is katallagē, defined in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance as: exchange (fig. adjustment), restoration to (the divine) favor, atonement, reconciliation (-ing).  To invest in reconciliation is to act on the fact that Christly characteristics and expectations reconcile us to God, Love, Truth. In other words, God can’t be reconciled to the personalities and expectations of human beings. God is not of the human but of the divine and the human is exchanged for the divine, not vice versa.

An astonishing example of investing in reconciliation was given in the late 1990’s when the people of South Africa made a great effort to transcend the divisions and strife generated during the period of apartheid. Meeting the demand for justice and unity, former enemies came together but with the emphasis to uncover truth, rather than prosecute individuals for past crimes. Records from victims and perpetrators have been cataloged, new laws have been established, and humanity witnessed a semblance of reconciliation.

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If we have rocky, rotten, or evaporating relationships, there is a good chance that truth is being covered up and even buried. The untruths must be exposed because many human beings don’t want to be reconciled to lies. To hide or ignore untruths is a fake reconciliation. But, we can be honest and ever uniting.

For example, my husband and I still get on one another’s nerves. Yes, after thirty years. But we know to give one another space and invest in reconciliation. That sounds contradictory however it beats blaming one another or trying to appease one another. A profitable reconciliation is to regard our self and one another, not from a worldly point of view, but as one with Christ, Truth. This opens the mind to productive communication and understanding. We can admit our mistakes and move forward.

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When relationships have clearly broken, reconciliation can still occur. We can return to the experience of love while seriously remembering to reconcile each day with truth. Here is a list of truths I’ve noticed in the last few years:

  1. Forgiveness doesn’t excuse mistakes but aids in reconciliation.
  2. Divine Love comes with the wisdom to respect new ideas.
  3. Reconciliation is inevitable. A commitment to the inevitable is invigorating whereas resigning myself to the inevitable is wearying.

 

I’ve experienced reconciliation with religion also by reconstructing my view on it minus superstition and false reverences. It is inevitable for reconciliation to escape the old-time religion that we all are a bunch of lousy sinners separate from Truth, God. Religion is also escaping the nonsense that we are good human beings reconciled to God through human approval. But, Truth is paramount, not human approval. From 21st Century Science and Health, “If Truth is overcoming error in your daily walk and talk, you are a better person and can finally say, ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’[1] This is having our part in the reconciliation with Truth and Love.”

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We cannot reconcile ourselves to the past or to out-grown thinking. Reconciliation is not a matter of putting-the-old-back-together. We are one with God, not one with a human life, and can reconcile to truth right now and every day. Exchanging the human for the divine requires honest finesse and the result is strong relationships built on that which lasts.


[1] II Tim. 4:7

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Selective Hearing, Selective Religion

posted by Cheryl Petersen

courtesy Frank Plant emptykingdom.com

Why is it that my husband can hear me think, “The cookies are done,” and yet he can’t hear me verbally repeat over and over, “Please don’t wash my blouse with the mudroom rugs”? He can be on the other side of the farm and know to come home and get a warm cookie. But, standing together in the laundry room, while using the blouse and mudroom rugs as visuals and verbally explaining not to wash my blouse with the mudroom rugs, he can’t hear me say, Please don’t wash my blouse with the mudroom rugs.

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Selective hearing is a hoary trait known to humankind. It can be funny but usually it is annoying. People apparently choose to ignore things that they don’t want to hear while accepting only those things they want to hear. Our ears still work but the words bounce off the mind when they are not what we want to hear. The habit has been around a long time. We read in the Bible, “With their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears.” Matt. 13:15, ESV)

There is more to selectivity than can be written here. It is not only an entrenched habit, but also an ability, maybe even a blessing. If I am listening to music while driving a car with a loud engine, and my mind is mulling over the grocery list, I’m glad to be able to hear my husband say, “Cheryl, slow down, there is a stop sign up ahead.”

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Curiously, the activity of selectivity percolates into religion. Religion was generally designed to encourage the discernment of Spirit and immortal being. Sadly, selective religion rears its ugly head and takes us in the opposite direction of discriminating against anyone who doesn’t live up to a particular human ideology—an ideology that its promoters can’t even live up to. It is one thing to be discerning when it comes to religion however quite another thing to discriminate.

Religion is unfolding, evolving. To repeat constantly outgrown religious ideals or rituals is the same thing as ignoring progressive healing instruction. What was selected today as pertinent to religion may not be useful tomorrow. The human need must be met with a living religion that embraces all humankind. We read in 21st Century Science and Health, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need. Do not imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number of people or for a particular period of time, since to all humankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good.”

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Mindsets No Longer Living in the Past

posted by Cheryl Petersen

Mary Baker Eddy was a household name one hundred years ago—Christian, preacher, author—a Joel Osteen or Joyce Meyer of the 19th century. However, Eddy’s main book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures made some rather bold statements for a time period filled with horses, buggies, and a scientific field that stressed the solidity and stability of matter and physical laws.

Circa 1900, before women had the right to vote, imagine reading these words from Science and Health, “The astronomer will no longer look up to the stars,—he will look out from them upon the universe…thus matter will finally be proved nothing more than a mortal belief.” Not only was Eddy refuting a static material universe and its indelible physical laws, but she predicted that humankind would harness the ability to travel into outer-space.

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The first half of Eddy’s life was spent grasping a system supported by divine law, able to allow us to overcome physical laws of limitation and sickness. Eddy discovered the system to be metaphysical. She spent the last half of her life broadcasting this understanding of divine law to the masses. People studied and applied the mental power and quite a record of healings was racked up, even among members of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, established by Eddy in 1879.

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During the 20th century, Christian leaders, e.g. Aimee Semple McPerson and Frances and Charles Hunter, also emulated divine healing powers. The Hunters book, How to Heal the Sick parallels the intent of Science and Health even though the approaches differ. But why does it seem as if these charismatic healers are a thing of the past? Why isn’t Christian healing more systematic today? Is it because of the human minds tendency to live in the past?

Mary Baker Eddy warned against living in the past because it produces a hypnotic state. A mind stuck in the past becomes suspicious. It starts to rely on that which it should avoid or it becomes confused. Eddy admonished, as recorded in Miscellany, “Other minds are made dormant by [living in the past], and the victim is in a state of semi-individuality, with a mental haziness which admits of no intellectual culture or spiritual growth.” Is this lack of intellectual refinement contributing to the dying churches?

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Living in the past also tempts personality worship. Human beings fixate on the personalities of Christ Jesus, the apostles, Mary Baker Eddy, the Hunters, or even modern day healers. The fixation cripples self-sufficiency.

Paul told the Corinthians, “One of you says, ‘I follow Paul’; another, ‘I follow Apollos’; another ‘I follow Cephas’; still another, ‘I follow Christ.’” (I Cor. 1:12, NIV) Christ isn’t a human personality. Christ isn’t a human culture or language. Christ is forever, undivided. To follow Christ is to live in the now. Eddy counseled in a Message for 1901, “Follow your Leader only so far as she follows Christ.”

A fixed familiarity with personalities tends to buffer the impact of divine law. We think we know it all because we have stories and scenes etched into our consciousness in regard to these great healers. Our minds become static—although often disguised as devoted. It takes a mental earthquake to shake the mindset stuck in the past to wake up to a new reality that includes healing.

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Human mindsets must be revised. Today we no longer need to argue for the insubstantiality of matter. We are now dealing with quantum energy fields. We read in the revision of Eddy’s book, 21st Century Science and Health, “While dwelling on a physical plane, human terms must generally be employed to speak of the things of Spirit. It takes time for human thought to adjust to the higher meaning.” During the 20th century, mounting evidence was collected to verify the fact that matter isn’t solid and physical laws are subordinate to metaphysical laws therefore human terms are adjusted accordingly. No longer living in the past, we can continue to reach and experience the higher meaning, including metaphysical Christian healing.

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