Founder’s Address: UTS Inaugural Convocation


The following address was given by Reverend Moon at the Inaugural Convocation of Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown, NY, 40 years ago on September 20, 1975. Click here to watch the highlight video of the event.

by Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon

Honorable Mayor, distinguished guests, respected seminary faculty and students, ladies and gentleman:

It is my utmost pleasure to extend my warmest welcome to all of you present this morning at the Inaugural Convocation of our Unification Theological Seminary.

I deeply appreciate your coming here. I feel honored, especially because to my knowledge the attendeess here are, without exception, those who have been greatly concerned about the Unification Church. We have recently had the close attention of American society drawn to us, and the unreserved encouragement and support from many of you justified and strengthened our work.

As the founder of the Seminary, I want to assure you that we will do our very best to repay your friendship and good will toward us. May our mutual friendship be a lasting one in the divine will of God!

In history, there have been philosophies and religious doctrines working in the backgrounds of politics, economics, the arts and religion. Nevertheless, the reality is that they are all stalemated, resulting in confusion and chaos, without having brought about the realization of their promised ideal worlds.

Faced with this stalemate, people are turning in every direction in search of someone to take up the gauntlet for all people and pioneer a new way for humanity, straightening and guiding their direction towards a clear and achievable goal.

The people cry in unison, “Something is desperately wrong!” We have tried every possible way to diagnose and cure the sickness in society. We have finally concluded that the cause of the sickness is an internal disease and not external. By having emphasized the external elements, we have lost the intrinsic and central element of our existence. We are left without hope.

What is the intrinsic and central element which man lost? If we go back to the very beginning, we can readily understand that the greatest cause of the sickness is that man lost God, who is the very source of his life. With the loss of God, man lost sight of the absolute value and focal point of life.

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The Long Trek Home: Resolving the European Refugee Crisis

Refugees in Hungary2

by Kathy Winings

kathy-winings-2Thirty thousand, 12,000, 21,000, 3,000, 150,000, 442,000. . . These are just some of the refugee numbers connected with the current humanitarian crisis facing Europe. 30,000 – the number of refugees who have entered Croatia. 12,000 – the number of migrants who have entered Slovenia. 21,000 – the number who have been accepted by Sweden.  3,000 – the number who have drowned at sea while attempting to cross into Europe. 150,000 – the number who made it to Greece. The last number, 442,000 – the number of refugees who have arrived in Europe by boat.

Thousands are continuing to cross borders into Europe on a daily basis. Germany expects 800,000 migrants to reach its borders by year’s end. Each number represents a hope,  dream and vision for a better life, one safe from physical and emotional violence.  Even the United States is considering raising its annual ceiling of 70,000, the total number of refugees it accepts on an annual basis, to 85,000 in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017.  But that is a drop in the bucket compared with the vast numbers of men, women and children fleeing to Europe from Syria, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Eritrea, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere for a better life.

This is being hailed as a “humanitarian crisis of epic proportions.” What does it represent? What are the issues involved? Can it be effectively resolved? We have seen mass migrations before; what makes this one different?

First, this migration is occurring in the 21st century. It means more communication is taking place among the migrants by cellphones. As families and groups of migrants move, they are in constant contact with those who have gone before them, learning where to go, what to avoid and what to expect on the road ahead of them. Digital technology also gives them access to GPS, web maps and news.

Second, the reasons why people are migrating are diverse. Previous migrations were often defined by major or cataclysmic events such as war, devastating natural disasters or religious/cultural upheavals. This resulted in mass migrations defined by singular issues.

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Rationality and Unification

Unification copy

By Keisuke Noda

Keisuke_NodaThe idea of “Unification” is central to the Unification Movement. The current reality of the movement is that there is no clear path toward this ideal. This lack of a path, be it conceptual or real, is critical to a movement that carries the banner of “unification” both in doctrine and title.

This issue can be approached from various angles. I examine two types of “rationality,” instrumental and dialogical, and how they are tied to two different understandings of and approaches to “unification.” By highlighting the benefits of dialogical rationality and the type of unification associated with it, I call for further discussion of the idea of unification. This article makes a reference to Hans-Georg Gadamer’s “Philosophical Hermeneutics.”

Why Rationality?

“Rationality” is a key issue in philosophy. Why do we need to care about “rationality” in philosophy and otherwise? Reasoning supports the presentation of a case, justification of a claim, or the establishment of an argument. The question then is what type of reasoning is used, consciously or unconsciously. Whatever type of rationality is used guides the discourse at a most fundamental level, and is critical to understand what kind of reasoning dominates one’s process of thinking. When one solves math problems, for example, he or she may use calculative rationality; in making moral judgments, one may use “prudence,” which requires experience and a sense of balance.

Instrumental Rationality

What is the primary or even dominant rationality today? Martin Heidegger, Jürgen Habermas, and other thinkers identified it as “instrumental rationality.” They argue that instrumental rationality has been dominating discourse since modernity without our even being aware of it; that is, we use reason as an instrument to realize pre-set goals and purposes in the most efficient manner.

The instrumental use of reason is common in the technological era, which seeks efficiency and control. Its exclusive focus is gaining what you want in the most efficient and cost-effective way. This type of reasoning is efficient and effective in handling material. Modern technological developments and production were so successful, they argue, that we consciously or unconsciously adopted this type of reasoning in all spheres of life.

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Let’s Start Selling the First Blessing Again


By Graham Simon

gs-1308Running a successful business is not easy. Statistics show that 50% of new businesses fail within the first five years. Companies wishing to survive in a competitive marketplace have to ask themselves such basic questions as:

  • Are the management, organization and financing of the company fit for purpose?
  • How can we best market our product or service?
  • Has the sales force sampled the product or service and are they sufficiently motivated to go out and sell it?
  • How great is the demand for the product or service we are offering?

While a spiritual organization may be very different from a firm, there are many parallels too. Any spiritual organization that seeks to grow through proselytizing can usefully look at itself and ask these same four questions. This approach is particularly pertinent when attempting to discover why the Unification Movement has failed to grow in the West over the past quarter century.

Let us address each question in turn.

Are the management, organization and financing of the movement fit for purpose?

In the U.S. and UK of late, a lot of change has occurred in the management, organization and financing of the FFWPU. In the UK, the FFWPU is constituted as a charity. The trustees of the charity have successfully turned around the finances of the movement over the last five years. Last month, the membership was presented with a detailed proposal, which had been more than nine months in the making, for the restructuring of the UK movement. The proposal sets out a plan for improving both the operational management of the charity and fulfilment of its providential aspirations. However, while all of this is important, it is not essential to the expansion of the Providence, because if any one of us is truly motivated, we are quite at liberty to franchise the “product” that the FFWPU is offering and sell it ourselves. We call the franchise tribal messiahship.

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Reimagining: Getting Back on the Bus

Bus at ASU

by Jeff Kingsley

KIngsley copyThe red carpet had been unraveled, and the enthusiastic crowd greeted the bus as it rolled onto the Belvedere holy ground last summer.  As it came closer, I could read the words clearly emblazoned across the front, “God’s Hope for America: Remember · Revive · Reimagine.”

Reading those words made my mind wander back to a time when I was 24 years old and was listening intently to a lecturer, not much older than I, speak about how God had intended the world to be a much better place — a place in which God’s love and heart would be at the center of all societal interactions (i.e., political, economic, artistic, medical, etc.) rather than a never-ending quest for more money or greater power and prestige.  I was so inspired by those words because several months earlier I had taken a leave of absence from my graduate program in search of such a group, and I knew then that I wanted to become part of this noble crusade.

Now, seeing this bus, 34 years later, I wondered if, through all the difficulties and disappointments, both on a personal and institutional (church) level, this vision were still possible to achieve.  And if we should keep striving to achieve it, how can we “reimagine” in order to accomplish that?

As part of a “reimagining” process, I think we need to begin by asking certain questions. How can we present a consistent message to the public which reflects our unique Unificationist perspective?  What could someone who walks into one of our churches for the first time see, feel and experience which could not be found anywhere else?  How can we express our message in a way which will inspire more people inside and outside (even those who have left) our Church to want to take an active role in our Movement?

The distinctive message which I believe we should clearly and consistently present to the public is that God’s desire, from the very beginning, has been to realize the kingdom on earth in a substantial way.  Reverend Moon emphasized that message in many of the early holy songs that he wrote, such as “Garden of Restoration.”

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Into the Future: Why We Need to Create an Alternative Service


By Jack LaValley

Jack LaValleyIs it possible our current Sunday service is lacking some core elements of persuasion and conviction that speak to the heart of our need for rebirth and salvation?  Are few new people joining our movement through our Sunday service because we don’t offer them what they really need, when they do show up?  If so, what can we do about it?  A specific kind of alternative service can help us attract and hold more “first-timers” and bring spiritual renewal and revival to our ranks.

Robin Debacker conducted a survey that gathered information from Unificationists about their Sunday service experiences. Contacting individuals via private Facebook messages, she collected 350 responses over a four-month period — two-thirds from the 50+ age group, and 103 from second gen.  Responses came from 195 cities around the world — 38 states in the U.S. and 32 countries.  In summer 2014, the survey results were discussed on this Blog and presented on her website dedicated to that project. Key facts gleaned from her survey were:

  • Nearly 25% of those surveyed do not attend a Unification service, and have distanced themselves or dropped out entirely.
  • 70% of those who indicated they attend a service on a regular basis said they are not inspired, and do so out of a sense of duty, or for social reasons only.
  • The majority of second gen respondents said that most of their second gen friends are not interested and do not attend a Unificationist service. Of those who do attend, many said they are searching for more open and honest discussion, more practical application, and more second gen leadership.

The Sunday service program model still remains the primary weekly gathering in the Unificationist faith community. Yet that model has failed to be the gateway program to persuade and convict the “unchurched” and “spiritual” seekers to become intimately involved with our faith community. Some  have “joined” through Sunday service, but not that many.  In some areas, efforts have been made to use home church, tribal messiahship or small group models to address how to “bring non-Unificationists into the fold,” but such efforts have yet to gain the prestige or influence of Sunday service.

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Evangelical, Congregational and Blessed

TF speaks outside 1960

By Tyler Hendricks

14_12_CfE_Tyler 10.55.08 pmOur Unification movement exemplifies two church models, and serves as a case study of their effect on church growth. Church growth has regular causes that can be discerned by examining churches that are growing. Church decline also has regular causes that can be discerned by examining churches that are shrinking. The defining characteristic of most growing churches is that they have one mission, that being evangelism, and congregational polity. Most shrinking churches have multiple missions and hierarchical polity.

For a church to have an evangelical mission means the church is organized to proclaim the good news (the “evangel”) and to bring others to salvation through it. Congregational polity means that the members of the local church own and govern the local church.

To have a hierarchical polity means that pastors are employed and directed by a central authority. Through the pastors, the central authority, which owns all properties, guides the planning, schedule, strategies, style, etc., for each congregation. Such churches tend to have multiple missions and pay little attention to evangelism.

Thesis #1: The Unification Church grew when and where it had an evangelical mission and congregational polity

Founding of the church: The Unification Church grew from one spirit-led man starting a local congregation. The church had an evangelical mission and congregational polity. He taught and preached a God-centered biblical vision for world transformation. He prayed incessantly. His mission began with a vision of Jesus; people who joined testified that it was the spirit world that led them to him. He loved and served others to bring them into his church, sleeping and eating little, giving up his family, worrying not about physical needs. That was how it started.

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Good Leadership and Good Management: Why, How, What


By John Redmond

JohnRedmond2One of the great ironies of many successful religious movements is that they almost always start from failure — from a secular and mainstream point of view.  Christianity had its charismatic young leader crucified as a rabble rouser for tipping over the tables in the temple. Christians spent years in intellectual gymnastics explaining how the messiah was born an illegitimate child and killed as a criminal.

The Pilgrim Fathers were driven out of England, as were many of the other colonists who settled in the New World.  The Latter Day Saints (Mormons) were driven westward to the American desert to die, their founder lynched and religion mocked.

Yet these movements found multi-generational success in preaching, modeling and promoting the values and doctrines that gave them fulfillment and improved the culture around them.

This doesn’t happen by accident.  Successfully attracting and maintaining believers over multiple generations and changing the values of a culture requires a combination of good leadership and good management, and they are not the same thing.

Leadership requires communicating and validating a shared vision to a group of people you may or may not control. Reverend Moon could cast that vision, and many people, even those uncomfortable with his management style, could agree with that large and inclusive ideal and, perhaps more importantly, sense the heart behind it.

Management is the control of money, processes and people to achieve a desired product or outcome.  I’ve never been impressed with many Unification managers, who mostly mean well, but have little success or training from the real world on which to base their decisions.  They mostly default to Theory X management, micro-managing the behavior of their members rather than nurturing their goals, activities and creativity — or they swing to the other side, to religious-based trust and out-of-control management systems.  A movement with a great vision but poor management may succeed, but its progress is measured in millennia rather than years.

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How America Can Help Reunite the Korean Peninsula

True Parents Kim

By Mark P. Barry

Mark Barry Photo 2In May, Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon, speaking in New York, asked America to fulfill its role to help reunite the Korean Peninsula. She said:

…[T]he United States needs to fulfill its responsibility. In order to do so, Korea and the Korean Peninsula needs to become the top issue for the United States. …The homeland of God, Korea, needs to become one nation. And I hope the United States will stand on the forefront of this great task.

Now is the best opportunity yet for the U.S. to take forward-looking steps to make a breakthrough in Korea. August 15 is the 70th anniversary of Korean independence — and of the division of Korea, for which America bears a great share of responsibility. It is clear no other nation can make the difference in bringing about reunification.

Last month, the U.S. reestablished diplomatic relations with Cuba which were frozen in the Cold War since 1961. It also reached a nuclear agreement with another long-standing enemy, Iran, with the hope it will lead to an evolution in Iranian behavior. Now is the time for America to encourage, with seriousness and focus, the two Koreas and the regional powers — Japan, China and Russia — to establish permanent peace in the Peninsula.

On July 27, the three Korean War veterans in Congress, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. John Conyers, and Rep. Sam Johnson, introduced legislation calling for a formal end to the Korean War. As I wrote two years ago on this blog, a peace treaty is necessary to end the 1950-53 Korean War, and is the requisite first step toward eventual reunification. Little has changed since I wrote those words. But the opportunity for the American President to take bold actions in his final year and a half in office should not be missed.

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