By Larry Moffitt
This topic is central to human happiness. A couple of “givens” obvious to you, but which I have to insist upon when speaking to my glitterati café society friends, is that when people die they don’t just go poof. They still exist in some form. Their conscious spirit lives on somewhere else. Some take their earthly baggage, and the worry lines on their faces with them, while others are able to put the past behind and start over.
The image of people sitting around on clouds, playing harps, is as clichéd as cops in donut shops, and I don’t expect to see that there. I think people have assignments and real work to do in the spirit world. They roll up their ectoplasmic sleeves and start taking names.
One of the most interesting dead people I know is Adolf Hitler, the poster child for evil, a man so wicked that today it’s against the law in Germany and Austria to have Hitler as a family name. They retired his jersey, so to speak.
I had read an article written by a man, Dr. Lee, who had died and was apparently communicating via an earthly medium with some recognized ability. He had been a scholar in his earthly life and had a general reputation of being truthful and trustworthy. In his messages from beyond, he said he had been assigned to visit all kinds of people and talk with them about their lives, what they did right and wrong, etc., and then report back to us, the so-called “living.”
I acknowledge that some people (but surely not you, gentle reader) don’t believe in the existence of a spirit world, and therefore don’t buy into the notion that spiritual communication is anything but bogus. Others believe everything.
By Jim Stephens
Three years ago I was sitting in bed praying. I had been thinking a lot about what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I was 62 and thinking 30 more years was about all there was left at the most.
The thought occurred to me to pray something like this: “Heavenly Father, I know your situation is pretty tough up there because things are so messed up down here. I’ve only got about 20 good years left that I might be able to help You. What can I personally do for you with the time I’ve got left?”
The answer came in a pretty clear understanding: “My children don’t know me. Even the ones who believe in me don’t really know Me. They have no defense against the attacks of the atheists, scientists, and evolutionists who claim science and truth are on their side. It is an all-out war for the minds and hearts of my children.”
I could feel there was vast loneliness, sadness and frustration in God’s heart with this situation.
“Proofs for God” were needed. Most believers, when confronted by atheists, had very shallow proofs for God and typically could only think of a few.
I felt like God wanted me to help with this situation. So I decided to write “101 Proofs For God for the Common Man.”
Each proof would be short so anyone could read it in two or three minutes. I would cover all kinds of topics from logical proofs to serious scientific explanations and the latest research. I would avoid heavy theological and philosophical proofs. I’d write proofs that even middle-schoolers could understand. I would do the research on the latest discoveries and summarize it for their easy understanding.
I chose to post each proof as I wrote it on Blogspot. Later, I created a website that contains the full list of them. My goal is to finish #75 by the end of the year and get to #101 by the end of 2015. Then I want to turn it into a book.
By Glenn Strait
“Do you think you can create a new culture of peace by sitting down?”
– Sun Myung Moon
From 1972-92, Reverend Moon invested huge resources in creating new culture. During this same period, he also invested vast resources in defeating international communism, while he simultaneously conducted major evangelical outreach efforts and established a global footprint of his movement.
The foundation for each of these components was a system of thought — Unification Thought, Victory Over Communism, and Divine Principle, respectively. My focus is Rev. Moon’s strategy for creating new culture.
In strategizing with God about how to usher in God’s ideal, peaceful and happy world, he determined his grand strategy would include a component focused on creating new culture undergirded by a new and comprehensive ideological framework built on the foundation of Divine Principle itself. Working directly with Dr. Sang Hun Lee, Rev. Moon elaborated upon Divine Principle to create Unification Thought to serve as that ideological framework.
My windows onto Rev. Moon’s new culture strategy were, from 1972-85, working on the core secretariat of the annual International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS), and, from 1985-2004, as editor for natural sciences of The World & I monthly magazine.
Rev. Moon’s strategy had originally intended The World & I to be the vehicle for spreading new culture, as the magazine published articles written by academics and other prominent people inspired by Unification Thought. These authors were to have gained that inspiration in Unification Thought through their participation in ICUS and other conferences spun from it. One of my objectives on the editorial staff of the magazine was to assure that this pool of prepared authors became writers for the magazine.
By John Clark
There is a lot of turmoil these days, both in our church and the world at large. It is a time of tremendous change. No one can confidently predict where we will be in five or ten years. To be a good ancestor, we should take responsibility for making a lineage tradition that will help guide our descendants through turbulent times and good times. Each of our descendants should feel a personal identity as part of a blessing lineage working to make true love foundations on the earth. This is what I want to accomplish as a first generation Unification Church member.
We have long preached world peace through ideal families, but what exactly does our ideal family look like? Are we known for creating such families or merely for organizing conferences that promote them? Are we better at making great families or at sacrificing our families? Our children would be best qualified to answer that last question. We need to be a movement that creates great families.
The world at large is also facing many problems. Economic crises and war threaten our future. It is easy to get depressed by the trend of current events. We need to demonstrate a strong way to survive and prosper through difficult times.
We should seek to distill our faith in practice so it is an undeniable truth in our children’s consciences. One of the great ethics of our faith is the true love lineage. We should give our children many happy, unforgettable family experiences when they are young so they will naturally want to seek happiness by continuing the same family tradition with their own children. True love lineage has a strong identity and responsibility for all family members.
Many of our youth programs would benefit by using true love lineage as the basis of their curriculum, rather than a general schedule of Divine Principle lectures. Long boring lectures probably drive most young minds away from the church and captivate only a small percentage of the children’s imaginations. If they are excited from the workshop, they can read a certain number of pages in Divine Principle every day the rest of the year as homework.
By Josephine Hauer
The Psychology of Prayer: A Scientific Approach, by Bernard Spilka and Kevin L. Ladd, New York: The Guilford Press, 2012. Excerpted from the Journal of Unification Studies, Vol. XIV, 2013. Dr. Hauer (UTS Class of 1990) is a family specialist with the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Psychology of Prayer: A Scientific Approach offers a dense yet remarkably useful tour de force through the last 30 years of social scientific research on prayer. It is a major contribution that highlights the expanding role of prayer in the psychology of religion. While authors Bernard Spilka and Kevin Ladd view prayer as a critically important personal religious activity, their discussion is uncompromisingly scientific and offers substantive insights and recommendations for an empirical study of this rich human experience. Locating prayer as a psychological phenomenon, the authors offer a straightforward conceptualization: “Prayer is the psychology of religion in action and literally reflects virtually every facet of behavioral scientific psychology, from its neural roots to complex social responsivity.”
This book is a useful introduction to the various ways researchers have approached prayer psychologically. My own experience of prayer seems to be more expansive than the categories covered, but this is understandable since empirical approaches necessarily slice up experience into quantifiable pieces. People have been praying for thousands of years, and it is heartening to see that social scientists are beginning to chart this vast territory replete with religious and psychological meanings.
Spilka and Ladd accomplish a remarkable undertaking, given the range of studies critically scrutinized. As respected leaders in this field, these authors stake out prayer’s central place in the psychology of religion….
⇒ Click to read the full book review from the 2013 Journal of Unification Studies.
By Jack LaValley
American Unificationist faith communities need to adopt a new model for worship. This will solve three major headaches currently facing our American movement: lack of numerical growth, aging local congregations and the absence of a compelling and persuasive national vision.
Robin Debacker’s recent article, The Present and Future of our Unificationist Sunday Service, provides a clear indication it is time for us to earnestly consider creating a new style and kind of worship program. I also believe the 1996 inauguration of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) in Washington, DC, marked the beginning point for the American movement to create and adopt a different model and style of worship.
A proposed new model
Under the old Sunday service model, we understood we were meeting to “hear the word of God” delivered through our local pastor (or someone else who volunteered to deliver a message). Through hearing the word, we would be edified and encouraged to better ourselves in all areas of our lives. Under the new model I’m proposing, the worship service style we’ve been using for the past 25 years will stop. Instead, we would start meeting as a faith community once every five weeks (maybe shorter or longer). When we do come together, we will do so with a different orientation and purpose for why we’re gathering.
This proposed new model calls for us to gather together and experience the presence of God as Blessed Central Families, without the burden of inherited sin and where all people can be “reborn” by receiving the Blessing from True Parents. Such a gathering will be, in effect, a recognition ritual where we share in how God’s love is revealed and experienced within the context of “Blessed Family Life.” Children will be recognized. Husbands and wives will be honored. Parents will be praised. Friends and neighbors will be invited to participate in this joyous gathering and they will want to return again and again to get more of the same.
By Scott Simonds and Megan Simonds
In my previous article, “The Freedom Society: Headwing Thought or Tea Party Politics?”, I said I would next take up the issue of government spending on human services.
The political right advocates for smaller government, addressing domestic issues of poverty and healthcare through private enterprise.
The left advocates for government agencies and programs to provide healthcare, a safety net for people temporarily in need and ongoing support for citizens who cannot “enjoy the blessings of liberty” independently as social responsibilities.
The right claims that government power should be limited to the common defense, brick and mortar infrastructure, law-making and law enforcement. For them, government’s basic purpose is to protect individual rights and freedoms and should keep its hands off the free market system.
Although there is nothing inherently wrong with this worldview, it is not complete. The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution includes the phrase:
…[To] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty…
The right argues that protecting the free market system is promoting the general welfare. But is there such a thing as equal opportunity in a purely capitalist society? Do the values derived from capitalist principles, such as independence, self-reliance and faith, apply in every circumstance?
In fact, values such as “justice” and “compassion” (for those who cannot survive independently in civilized society) often conflict. Success and failure, right and wrong, are not as clear cut as some would have us believe.
By Bruce Sutchar
As we grow into adulthood our adolescent anger subsides beneath our productive lives, but at some point it could begin to rear its ugly head once again. One day you just lose it — you start yelling at a clerk in a store, something you had never done before. Then you begin yelling at people on the phone (like computer repair people) and your kids begin to wonder why you are always yelling, on the phone or at their mom and them.
Some people get continuously frustrated driving and began to develop anger for people who, for example, drive slowly in the left lane. They would drive by them very closely in the right lane and give them a dirty look and sometimes even slow down in front of them until they moved into the right lane. At night some even turn on their bright headlights from behind until the other car finally changes lanes.
Most of these people already had college or even graduate degrees. None had ever gotten into trouble before the above incidents either as youths or as adults. So why all this anger and detrimental behavior?
What is anger? It can be hurt or frustration at not being able to get one’s way. Psychologists say that when a man is hurt he expresses anger and when a woman gets angry she expresses hurt.
Some people develop different levels of what is called a “Don Quixote Complex.” That is, they think that they can change someone else’s behavior. In reality, the only thing that they can even possibly change is maybe themselves. Some people arrogantly think the world should acquiesce to their needs and desires while others narcissistically believe somewhat similarly, that the world revolves around them.
Divine Principle teaches some very simple lessons. Terms like “love your enemy,” “love your neighbor,” “live for the sake of others,” and “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matt. 7:3)
by Kathy Winings
An old adage used to be that there were two constants in life: death and taxes. For the 21st century, it seems that we have two new constants: cultural conflict and food. The news is replete with stories of the latest cultural clash, whether it is Palestinian/Israeli, Black/White, Muslim/Christian, Ukraine/Russia, and on and on. There seems to be no end to the cultural conflicts.
Then there is food. Food plays an important role in our lives. The popularity of top shelf cooking shows attests to this point. Food sustains our life, it comforts us during stressful or difficult times and it brings people together. It certainly isn’t by accident that food has played an important role in Christian ministry and spiritual life. Whether it is the feeding of the 5,000, the Last Supper with the disciples, or Holy Communion, food has been intimately connected with worship and liturgy. This is also true for other faith communities. Food’s ability to reconcile humanity — whether to God or with each other — and to heal our emotional and spiritual wounds is well understood.
This is what makes The Hundred-Foot Journey, based on a popular novel by Richard C. Morais, such a powerful and inspiring movie. Produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, and directed by Lasse Hallstrom (The Cider House Rules; Chocolat), The Hundred-Foot Journey presents the challenges of getting along in our multicultural world and how food can be the vehicle for reconciliation and forgiveness during times of conflict as it focuses on the dynamic of a family from India and a French restaurateur.
The Kadam family business is food. The second son, Hassan, brilliantly played by Manish Dayal, is singularly blessed with a gift for cooking, a gift he inherited from his mother. Hassan is just beginning his training as a chef when his mother is tragically killed during a riot that also destroys the family’s restaurant. Having nothing left, the Kadam family leaves India and resettles initially in Great Britain before finally settling down in a small village in the south of France.