Applying the Divine Principle to Real Life

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By Bruce Sutchar, UTS Class of 1985

bruce_sutcharRemember those kids who could tell you the 66 books of the Bible in chronological order? I always wondered if they knew how to apply those 66 books in their lives.

I became close friends with former Congressman Phil Crane’s sister, Judy.  She was like the only real fundamentalist that I have ever known.  She is married to a Hungarian Jew (an army buddy of Congressman Crane’s) and has a “Jews for Jesus” daughter.  She raised her children by always referring to the Bible (rather than Dr. Spock) for guidance.  When she needed to discipline one of her children she would always find the appropriate Bible verse.

I have often wondered the same thing about the application of the Divine Principle (which, incidentally, was the title of Dr. Young Oon Kim’s first book).  Many of our members have been excellent Divine Principle lecturers, but I wonder why we still have had so much in-fighting among our members, between leaders and members, and in our movement as a whole.

For me the most challenging part of the Principle comes from the chapter on returning resurrection where it says that sometimes God will allow an evil spirit to attack you through another person.  And if you can receive this persecution with a grateful heart, then both the spirit and yourself will advance.

I once gave a sermon on “loving your enemy” at an ACLC church and said that there are three words that everyone knows from the Bible, but almost no one lives.  In fact, other than Jesus and True Parents, I don’t know anyone that is even trying to live this credo.  The minister thought it was an excellent sermon, but as we drove home, my wife wanted to see how I would react in case another driver cut me off or some such maneuver.

Father often accused us of being a “pick and choose” movement—in other words, we personally decided which of his directions we would choose to obey and which we would ignore.  Ones like “learn Korean” or “don’t snack between meals” are two that come quickly to mind.

To apply the Principle to real life situations is to me, the real value of the Principle. It is really meant to be a principle for guiding your life, sent directly from God—rather than a mere theological treatise.  I remember the first time I ever gave a Divine Principle lecture, I was amazed at how much of the Principle I knew.  Likewise, it never ceases to amaze me when I read the Principle and discover a new part that I never realized was there.  I remember reading the section on “The Mission of the Messiah” where it says that Jesus would rather have one man who could lead a thousand than a thousand followers.

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Fostering a Strategic Relationship with China: A Unification Perspective

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China’s President Xi Jinping met President Obama at Sunnylands, California in early June.

By Mark P. Barry, Lecturer in Management, UTS

Mark Barry Photo 2In April 2007, I attended a conference that gathered at the Cheon Jeong Gung “Peace Palace” in Cheongpyeong for True Parents’ Day. After Rev. Moon’s Founder’s Address, I walked out to the Palace terrace with a Chinese guest and friend who was a retired senior officer in the People’s Liberation Army and head of one of China’s major think tanks. In the heart of Cheongpyeong, we discussed the outlines of a joint conference on cross strait relations held later that year in Macau. Given the significance of where we stood, I couldn’t help but feel there was a spiritual imperative behind the discussion of future efforts at cooperation with a Chinese delegate.

In 1998, I often showed my students a PBS documentary on China’s efforts to modernize from abject poverty. By 2010, China overtook Japan as the world’s second-largest economy. To some, we now live in a bipolar world of two superpowers, the U.S. and China. More than ever, China has to be reckoned with by the United States, by the two Koreas — and by the Unification Movement itself.

On a global level, U.S. relations with China must be handled very judiciously. But for North and South Korea, China is their large neighbor, which has inescapable implications. For the international Unification Movement, based in South Korea, it would be wise to foster a strategic relationship with China; that is how one must deal with a nation that may otherwise misunderstand you and cause difficulty.

Recently, China has begun to speak about a “new type of great power relationship” with regard to the United States, the established hegemonic power. What China means is to distinguish the “new type” from the “old type” of great power relationship previously witnessed in history. The question is how these two continental powers can take a different course than previous great powers who were in competition. In history, conflict and war between two major powers sometimes occurred not simply by the increase in material power of the rising challenger but because of the fear it instilled in the established power.

What this implies is that trust-building between the two great powers is vital for the success of a new type of great power relationship. President Obama’s June meeting in California with Chinese President Xi Jinping was a start. The challenge is to find a way to share responsibilities and resolve current problems. China and the U.S. need to identify common ground in the realm of ideas and philosophy, as well as in the sustainability of existing markets and the economy.

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For Peace between Israel and Palestine, Headwing Politics

Netanyahu and Kerry

Secretary of State John Kerry (right) sits across from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center), and, to his left, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, in Jerusalem on June 29.

By Andrew Wilson, Professor of Scriptural Studies, UTS

WilsonThese days Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a man caught in the middle. He seems to have come around to the understanding that peace with the Palestinians is a necessity to preserve Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state. Yet he is beholden to members of his own Likud party, which includes rightists like Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon. Danon recently stated on Israeli TV that there would never be a Palestinian state and the Palestinians would be governed by Jordan. Since Netanyahu apparently cannot find enough support for peace negotiations from his own base, if he truly wishes for peace, he has no choice but to reach across the aisle.

Netanyahu governs in a coalition with centrists like Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, an advocate of negotiations, and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, whose party’s surge in the polls early this year came at Likud’s expense. Lapid sees peace with the Palestinians as a desideratum for Israel’s economic future. Yet his coalition also includes Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, whose settler movement seeks permanent Israeli sovereignty over the entire West Bank. In June, he told a settlers group that the idea of a Palestinian state had reached a “dead end.”

And then there is the feisty right wing of Likud led by Danon. At a party nominating convention in May 2012, he organized a group of pro-settler Likud stalwarts to challenge Netanyahu and nearly deprived him of leadership of his own party. Netanyahu was forced to scramble back, which led to his short-lived alliance with Kadima Party leader Shaul Mofaz. Early this month, hardliners gained control of the Likud party. Netanyahu now has to govern with this fragile coalition, making domestic politics an ever-present problem. It goes a long way to explaining his recalcitrance, despite U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s five visits to the region since taking office to jumpstart peace talks.

Netanyahu needs to reach across the aisle, to politicians like Shelly Yacimovich, leader of the Labor Party which won 15 seats in January’s election. She is a strong advocate of peace talks, and two months ago met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and told him it is necessary to start peace talks immediately.

This is the nub of the argument I presented in a blog post last month on the website of the World Policy Institute. It is a strictly political argument; what, then, does it have to do with applied Unificationism?

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Before the Sweet Chariot Swings Low, Create Happiness

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(This contribution appears courtesy of the Faith Fusion blog)

by Larry Moffitt

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Going to room temp

No matter who you are, how rich and good looking, how well you clean up after working in the garden and how much you like those danged long walks on the beach – someday you’re going to wake up dead.

You will no longer be a physical person, and will from this time forward, be a spiritual person. From the perspective of the family you left behind on earth, you will be kaput, you will have died, croaked, “shuffle[d] off this mortal coil” (in the words of Bill the Bard).

“Gone to room temp,” in the words of Larry Moffitt.

Religions differ on what happens next, but pretty much all of them insist that life on the earth is not all there is. Whatever we call it, the sweet chariot will swing low, grab you and take you… somewhere.

Furthermore, nearly all religions understand that your destination depends on how much effort you put into getting things right. Jesus said the greatest commandment is that you love other people, so that’s a clue. Jesus also seems to say at various times, that all you get is one shot at life. My Buddhist friends say you not only get unlimited “do-overs,” but that you actually have to repeat it until you get it right.

I’m not sure which one I like best for creating happiness. I’m looking for a religion that gives you refunds on broken hearts.

Think of it as a journey

Life is one long road trip buddy movie, starring us. We travel around and learn from each other. We have adventures. Everyone we meet is a test to see if we can love them. Especially those of other races and cultures – that’s where it gets real. They don’t make race erasers; you have to find it in your heart to make them family.

This would all be a lot easier if we could get a more clear connection to the other side. I’m not complaining (okay, I’m complaining), but surely the relationship between the physical and spiritual worlds was not originally meant to be this foggy. Personally, I blame the talking snake.

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An End to World Hunger?

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By Michael Mickler, Professor of Church History, UTS

Michael_MicklerJesus said the poor will always be with us. He didn’t say they had to starve. Ending world hunger was one of Rev. Moon’s consuming passions. “Feeding others” was a deeply-rooted tradition in his family of origin and a persistent theme throughout his life and ministry.

In his autobiography, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen (2010), Rev. Moon devotes several sections to the problem of hunger. In an early section, “The Joy of Giving Food to Others,”  he states:

By the time I was born and was growing up, much of the wealth that my great-grandfather had accumulated was gone, and our family had just enough to get by. The family tradition of feeding others was still alive, however, and we would feed others even if it meant there wouldn’t be enough to feed our family members. The first thing I learned after I learned to walk was how to serve food to others.

A later section titled, “A Grain of Rice is Greater Than the Earth,” describes his experience of hunger, in fact near-starvation, in a North Korean labor camp.

Rev. Moon’s upbringing and experiences led him to conclude, “True peace will not come as long as long as humanity does not solve the problem of hunger.”

He addressed the problem directly in two of his autobiography’s concluding sections. In the first, “Solution to Poverty and Hunger,” he took the position that “Simply distributing food supplies by itself will not resolve hunger.” He instead advocated a two-step approach: “The first is to provide ample supplies of food at low cost, and the second is to share technology that people can use to overcome hunger on their own.”

In the next section, “Going Beyond Charity to End Hunger,” Rev. Moon voiced a more internal perspective. He asserted, “The important point is concern for our neighbors. We first need to develop the heart that, when we are eating enough to fill our own stomachs, we think of others who are going hungry and consider how we can help them.”

In his view, “To solve the problem of hunger we must have a patient heart that is willing to plant seeds.”  As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen highlights a number of his initiatives. These included the purchase of trucks to be used for the distribution of food to the poor in the United States; projects to process and store large quantities of fish; research into high-protein fish powder; a model farm project in the outback of Brazil; and support for technical schools and light industrial factories.

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Should Unificationists Follow the Mormon and Jehovah’s Witnesses Model?

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Mormon missionaries

By Tyler Hendricks, Ecclesiastical Endorser, Unification Church of America

dr_tyler_hendricksMost growing churches possess an evangelical mission and congregational polity (self-governance). Churches that are not growing tend to be those with hierarchical structures. For this and other reasons, our churches today should adopt an evangelical mission and congregational polity. But, it behooves me to note exceptions: churches that are growing with centralized structure, specifically the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Why should our churches not adopt a vertical model like theirs?

Let me briefly describe their model. They strongly promote evangelism. They have an assimilation system and excellent evangelical and educational material provided by the central office. Their worship services are standardized. Almost all their leadership is unpaid. They are family-friendly and teach a high standard of morality. Advancement in the hierarchy is by appointment.

What’s good about this model is the culture of evangelism, clear membership standards, excellent evangelical material, lay ownership, ministry by volunteers, family friendliness and high moral expectations.

There are two obvious discontinuities with our Unification Church system: we have seminaries and paid clergy; they do not. But those points are not essential. What is essentially wrong with their model is that it is sectarian. They have embedded their message and sacrament into their organization, and admit of no salvation outside their organization. The Unification Church could easily follow this path, but that would be a betrayal of Rev. Moon’s vision. For that reason, I would reject their model.

The salvation of the Second Advent, the Holy Marriage Blessing, transcends our sect. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t welcome people to join the Unification Church. May it grow and prosper! But one need not join the Unification Church in order to receive the salvation of the Second Advent, although you need to be part of some faith community. The salvation we offer is an in-breaking of God comparable to that of Jesus Christ, for which every faith tradition is a preparation and which every faith community can house.

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