Time for a New American Unification Renaissance

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By John Redmond, Chief Financial Officer, UTS

IMG_9544I remember when we got the direction to return to our “hometowns” and make a tribal messiah foundation.  Looking around the room, one sister spoke for many when she said, “I grew up in five or six towns and my parents were divorced – where do I go?”

America has been the home of the seekers of new opportunity and new adventures since its founding.  Early settlers came for either God or gold, and sometimes both.  The waves of immigration that have filled America with every language and color have been good to America. The bravest and brightest often end up here as opposed to staying in a confined homeland of limited possibilities.

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Living in the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth

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“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”   Matt. 6:33

“Now is an amazing time, when human beings in their everyday life can experience the absolute realm of God… People will increasingly be able to perceive God. They will perceive the spirit world and the works of spirits… [P]eople will undergo definite changes to their character and become true individuals. They will no longer be self-centered in relating to greater wholes in the universal order of being. They will learn to be altruistic, living for the sake of others.”  

 World Scripture and the Teachings of Sun Myung Moon, Feb. 6, 2004, p. 25

by Henry Christopher, UTS Class of 1980

Henry ChristopherI joined the Unification Church three times before I decided to stay: in Boston in June 1973; in New York City just before Father’s speech at Carnegie Hall that September; and lastly, at Dr. David Ang’s center in Worcester, Massachusetts in spring 1974.

I left the Church even though I believed the Divine Principle and that Rev. Sun Myung Moon was the returning Christ. What drove me away was the chaotic way in which the Church functioned, which often resulted in sacrificing a loving and spiritual atmosphere inside the movement that was proclaiming True Love.

Over the fall and winter of 1973-74, while I worked in Florida, I began an intense study of the Bible and the lives of Jesus and Saint Francis. I wanted to become like them—to feel that same love from God that they felt, and to love others as they could. I was inspired by Jesus’ teaching that “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

By spring 1974, I had a showdown prayer with God on the beach, and made a commitment to dedicate my life to Him, and to start by returning to the Unification Church and to give it my wholehearted effort for three months, and see where God would lead me.

I worked very hard at fundraising, struggling to get my totals up each day, often with tears in my eyes at the end of the day. Dr. Ang then sent me to 100-Day Training at Belvedere, and almost before we could unpack, we went to Barrytown to prepare for the Three Day Prayer and Fast that was to take place on the steps of the Capitol Building on July 22. It was almost three months to the day that I came back to the Church.

The next morning at Barrytown, I suddenly saw the sun rising over the trees — a huge brilliant orange ball. My first thought was, “God, you have made such a beautiful world for us to live in which we love, but it is sad that we don’t feel thankful to you for it.”

In a flash, God poured pure love down my entire body from the top of my head right to the bottom of my toes. It literally washed away my sin, fears, and sadness—everything. In an instant, I was transformed. I felt so free and joyful I couldn’t believe what happened to me. I felt love for everyone and so happy to talk to anyone. No bad feelings or thoughts came to me the whole day on the trip to Washington and I went to sleep that night feeling wonderful. I thought this must be what it feels like to be a perfected individual of love.

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Is Russia More Aligned with God’s Will than the United States?

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By Michael Mickler, Professor of Church History, UTS

Michael_MicklerAnyone reading the news over past months cannot fail to notice that Russia has asserted itself in significant ways on the world stage. Some of its actions, such as sheltering former NSA computer analyst Edward Snowden, ran counter to American interests and prompted angry protests against America’s surveillance programs. Other actions, such as its intervention in Syria, helped the United States avoid a possible war, at least for the present. This article attempts to sort out these actions and others in light of what Unificationists would interpret as God’s will.

Rev. Sun Myung Moon declared the United States is the “elder son” nation in 1998. Most Unificationists understand this to mean that America is to be a model for the rest of the world, manifesting righteousness, upholding civil and religious liberties, and sacrificing itself or at least serving humanity. These ideals resonate with longstanding views of the United States as a “redeemer nation.”  America was great, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “because America is good.”  American democracy was, in Lincoln’s phrase, “the last best hope of earth.” In the 20th century, the U.S. saved the world from the twin evils of fascism and communism. In the process, it became the world’s lone superpower.

The idea of the U.S. as the world’s sole superpower seems almost quaint today, barely more than a decade into the 21st century. China has risen as a formidable competitor, militant Islam is on the march, North Korea regularly threatens the U.S. with nuclear weapons, Syria already unleashed chemical weapons, and America is not yet disengaged from wars of attrition in Iraq and Afghanistan much less from a global war on terror.  Internally, America is divided, mired in a government shut-down and debate over paying its debts. There is little question that Americans feel less secure today than at the turn of the century.

Many factors, both foreign and domestic, have hindered the United States in exercising its “elder son” role. However, two stand out.  First, U.S. leadership, especially since 9/11, has incorrectly interpreted the doctrine of American exceptionalism. Going back to the Puritans, the likening of America to “a city on a hill … a light to the nations” implied that it was the world’s great exemplar, the fullest embodiment of freedom, self-government and the rule of law. However, during the first decade of the 21st century, American exceptionalism has been reinterpreted to mean the United States was “above” or an “exception” to the law, specifically public international law, and privileged to act unilaterally.

Second, Americans have incorrectly interpreted freedom.  Again dating back to the Puritans, U.S. civil liberties have been securely anchored within a compass of moral values and the public good. America was great because she was good. However, in contemporary American society, freedom has come to mean the freedom to do most anything one wants so long as it doesn’t interfere with anyone else’s freedom to do most anything they want. As a consequence, the United States has become identified with moral decadence and individualism.

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Can We Create a World of Perfect People?

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Part II

By Jennifer P. Tanabe

JenniferTanabeIn my previous article I asked, “What would a world of perfect people be like? Is it desirable? Would you want to live in it? And is it even possible?” I discussed several possible reactions, and presented the Unification Thought (UT) viewpoint. However, I did not address the big issue of whether it is even possible. Yes, UT presents a positive picture of perfect human beings, but we all know the real world we live in is very far from that ideal.

Why do we have difficulty believing such a world is possible? I think one of the reasons is because of our misunderstanding of what it means to be “perfect,” an issue that was addressed in my first article. Are any of the characteristics of original human nature described in that article impossible to achieve? They are difficult, but not inherently impossible.

Then it comes down to our effort, and overcoming what can be termed our fallen nature, or our tendency to take the easier way instead of challenging ourselves to greater heights in relating to others and in doing good toward others. For example, “I can’t imagine it really” can be translated into “I won’t ever be perfect because I have this and that imperfection which I don’t think I am going to overcome in the foreseeable future, and everyone else I know is like that too.”

Perhaps one way to make perfection seem more attainable is to remember that we don’t have to achieve it in one step. Even in the ideal, with no fallen nature to get in our way, human beings develop through three stages of growth, over a period of say 21 years, to reach maturity. So, it certainly makes sense that as fallen people who face not only the original growing up, in an environment that is far from supportive of the ideal, but also the restoration of all our mistakes and that nourished our fallen nature, we might expect it to take time and to go through a number of steps.

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Figure 1

Here I am reminded of the diagram used to describe the “Law of Turning” in the Unification Thought theory of history (see Figure 1). This diagram illustrates how a united subject and object make progress in a particular direction that begins far from, even opposite to, the direction of goodness, but through a series of encounters with other subjects whose purpose and direction is closer to that of God’s, adjustments to the direction are made. Thus the direction of progress turns closer and closer toward being in alignment with goodness.

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