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Everyday Spirituality

Everyday Spirituality

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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Reciting Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream Speech

posted by Cheryl Petersen

With a poignant sonorous voice, Reginald Brunson recited Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. “Every Friday before the Martin Luther King, Jr.  Holiday, I recite the speech at South Kortright Central School,” said Brunson. “I also delivered the speech at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ceremony in Oneonta on Sunday.”

South Kortright Principal, John Bonhotal, includes Reginald Brunson as a regular guest to recite King’s speech every year at the school. The audience for the Friday production at South Kortright School consists of Kindergarteners through fifth graders. Students from the fifth grade participated with poster cards that illustrated a timeline. “Important events from 1929 to 1983 were written on each poster card,” said Azalyn Brunson, fifth grade student and introducer of Reginald Brunson.

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Brunson stands before the listeners, commanding attention as he draws in his breath. The words are familiar yet so potent they require concentration. Brunson comes to the part of the eight minute speech, repeating with appropriate intonation: “It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

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“But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”

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“Every time I recite the speech, the audience has my attention,” said Brunson. “To touch hearts is my goal. I work with the fact that the audiences in upstate New York are non-minority.” Brunson grew up in South Carolina and was the minority. He remembers the signs clearly stating, “For White’s Only.” “There were seven of us kids in y family and at first we went to a segregated school.” Brunson was in the seventh grade when school segregation was diminished.

“Growing up in central South Carolina was totally different from growing up here in the north,” said Brunson. “There is no comparison and I chose to raise my kids in the north. They didn’t have to be exposed to the prejudices more common in the south. A lot of progress has been made, I love my country, but more progress yet needs to be made.”

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Brunson and his siblings were growing up at the tail end of what is now known as The Great Migration, the relocation of more than 6 million African Americans from the rural South to the cities of the West, Midwest, and North from 1916 to 1970. The Migration was one of the greatest numbers in history. African Americans left their homes to relocate where there were more satisfactory economic opportunities and less segregationist laws. The burgeoning industrial age was a resource for employment especially during the World Wars. The Great Migration came with problems however such as poor working conditions and competition for living space. Racism and prejudice still existed but African Americans began building their own niches of black urban culture that grew to exert enormous influence. “I remember the marches and the day Martin Luther King Jr. was killed,” said Reginald Brunson. “I was eight years old when I watched King die. I don’t forget it.” Years later, Brunson was asked to recite the “I Have a Dream” speech and he memorized it. “I don’t forget it,” said Brunson. “The words and meaning are in my long term memory to stay.”

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“I’ve torn apart the speech, realizing what to emphasize,” said Burnson. “I’ve watched videos of Martin Luther King Jr. giving the speech.” Burnson utilizes his background in theater during the oration. He realized his love of theater while in High School. He went on to study accounting and theater at what is now Winthrop University, in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Since moving to Hobart, he has been involved in many productions in and out of Delaware County. Plays of notice are: Witness for the Prosecution, Twelve Angry Men, and Out Town along with a one-man act at Franklin Stage.

“Martin Luther King Jr. had given the speech 5 or 6 times before the Washington D.C. event,” said Brunson. “I recite the final version which King had developed to a full power.” Martin Luther King Jr. gave the final speech August 28, 1963, fifty years ago this year. Brunson has given the speech at a multitude of places. “I will recite it next month when our family goes to Carolinas for vacation,” added Brunson who is scheduled to give the address in Charlotte, North Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, and his hometown of Sumpter, South Carolina.

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“I’m excited to visit South Carolina, it’s been a while since we’ve been back,” said Brunson. “But, this is home. I love Delaware County. The people in Bloomville, Hobart, and South Kortright are the salt of the earth. They’ve always had my back and they are my family.” Reginald and his wife, Cynthia Hillis Brunson, have a home in Hobart. They have six children and three grandchildren. “I love them all,” adds Brunson.

A fulfilled promise to Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

 

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Zen Kitty

posted by Cheryl Petersen

I am a cat. I was born potty-trained. I know how to bury my refuse and stay clean.

You are a person. You were born innocent. You do know how to clear yourself of guilt.

I live in upstate New York where rocks and grass make for an impossible ground to dig in. The person I live with supplies me with a litter box full of litter he keeps cleaned out.

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People can live in circumstances that cause them to make mistakes and become guilty. However, God supplies them with the knowledge to overcome the guilt with their innate innocence.

You don’t lose your innocence, just like I won’t lose my ability to potty outside. When it snows, I am out there doing my business.

Innocence is constantly being supplied by God, Truth. You can yield to this innocence and heal the mistakes and guilt.

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Within the framework of innocence and truth, your thoughts and behaviors will be humble and honest and healthy.

From 21st Century Science and Health, “At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know yourself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Love is a protective covering. Wear it! Wrapped up in love, human hatred can’t reach you. The confirmation of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity.”

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Divine Healing in Practice

posted by Cheryl Petersen
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