The Hoon Dok Family Church Breakthrough in Brazil

Home Group Festival

By George Kazakos and Glenn Strait

“I want all of you to learn from the Brazilian [and Philippine] situation and take it with you back to your home. …If you are willing to change, miracles can happen.”

True Mother during the Foundation Day 2014 meetings (paraphrase)

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Right now in Brazil many people are joining. Their strategy does not involve new individual ideas. We have heard most of the ideas and strategies before. What is distinctive is the way it is being done, not what’s being done. We Americans humbly need to learn from our brothers and sisters of FFWPU Brazil.

In the post-Foundation Day era of Cheon Il Guk when “True Parents have perfected, concluded, and completed the providence of restoration [through indemnity] and have begun a new era” (True Mother, “Korea Global Joint Worship Service,” May 11, 2014), we can expect to discover new openings for personal and collective growth.

The Brazilian Hoon Dok Family Church model appears to demonstrate one such opening by integrating some of the functions of Inreach, Outreach, and Education into the mutually reinforcing components of Small Groups, Witnessing, and One-on-one Divine Principle Teaching.

Within that model, revitalization of the church community, though profound in itself, is likely not as significant as the witnessing breakthrough that taps directly into the networks of new members. This development would be essential for achieving their growth pattern of starting slowly then later accelerating rapidly.

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A God of Second Starts

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By Tyler Hendricks

tyler_hendricks_edited-1We find ourselves in 2014, when the spirit of “we’re marching to the blessed land of Canaan with delight” is a little harder to come by. We no longer have the power of True Father shielding us. As a consequence, are we bound for demoralization and decline? Or will God’s revolutionary movement maintain and grow?

Let me start by saying that the church was just as messy before I joined as it is now, but somehow God worked through it to save my life. God’s given me more than one second start. God also does that for churches as a whole.

When it comes to second starts, the Jesus movement has had many. It is a religion that continually renews and reshapes itself. Pentecost was the first episode. The foundation for that was that the followers, although demoralized, united in prayer and fellowship. The Holy Spirit came, and Peter gave it a voice in the public square. Even if the dramatic sermon recorded in Acts, Chapter 2, didn’t really save 3,000, what the early Jesus community accomplished changed the world.

They were able to articulate the core gospel, which turned lemons — the crucifixion of a discredited Messiah — into lemonade: salvation through the resurrected Christ who shed his blood to redeem you from sin. Peter and the early community affirmed everything that had come to pass, while giving a dose of judgment to those who murdered Christ, and called it all something God would build on. Then they gave a simple prescription for what the people should do: repent, accept Jesus, be baptized, and follow his way.

The next great reshaping was Paul’s ministry, and I won’t go into that or the 2,000-year story of constant new starts, but will mention one that I observed — the Jesus movement emerging out of a stagnating Protestant mainstream in the early 1970s. This movement gave us mega-churches, cell churches, independent Bible churches, the Religious Right, and, oh yes, Christian rock.

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The Meaning of Humankind

God and Eve Detail

By Dave Tranberg

Dave TranbergWe exist in a world in the throes of great conflict, wherever we turn, internally and externally. There seem to be nothing but conflicting worldviews, animosity and strife. How human beings view ourselves is at the core of this conflict, and also the basis of progress we make towards becoming a true and peaceful society.

At the root of these different points of view is the conceptualization of exactly what humanity is. Are we just a lump of animated carbon? Or an animal? Are we God’s child? Or a “god” in our own right? It seems every culture, ethnicity and race has a different view of this important question.

The ramifications of this point of view cannot be overstated. Every action we take, as individuals, families, societies, and even as a world, depends on the answer we adopt.

The materialist-humanist side of this argument relies on old theories of reality based on Newtonian physics of the last century. The religious side of the controversy tends to rely on scripture, itself millennia old.

Today, we have clear scientific evidence for the ancient origins of man, yet the religious side of the controversy does not have a way to digest that evidence. On the other hand, the materialist side has no answer for the endlessly malleable, creative and faithful nature of mankind, other than “chance.” This is a very unsatisfactory answer for most people.

What is needed is an understanding of humanity that takes both views into consideration: humankind’s connection to the natural animal world, as well as the origins and ramifications of our eternal, spiritual nature. We must clearly explain “man the animal” and “man the eternal spirit.”

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BBC Interview: Twenty Years After the Death of Kim Il Sung

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 Dr. Antonio Betancourt meeting President Kim Il Sung in January 1994.

Kim Il Sung passed away 20 years ago on July 8. The BBC World Service broadcast an interview (click here to listen to the full interview) with Unificationist Dr. Antonio Betancourt on meeting President Kim five times (on the foundation of Reverend and Mrs. Moon’s visit with the North Korean leader in 1991), being in Pyongyang when he died, and, with Dr. Bo Hi Pak, attending Kim’s state funeral. Dr. Betancourt is currently Director, Office of Peace and Security Affairs, UPF International, in Washington, D.C., and Secretary General of the Summit Council for World Peace. A nine-minute podcast of the BBC interview may also be downloaded here.

In an analysis of the missed opportunities 20 years ago upon Kim’s passing, AU Blog Managing Editor Dr. Mark P. Barry posted an essay on NKNews.org, the leading site for researchers and journalists on North Korea, that provides an overview of what could have happened on the Korean Peninsula over the past two decades. Dr. Betancourt provided valuable assistance in the essay, and a great debt of gratitude is owed to Dr. Bo Hi Pak for his unique insights in Chapter 21 of Messiah: My Testimony to Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Vol. II. London’s The Guardian newspaper picked up Dr. Barry’s article days later, providing a vastly wider online readership, and he was also interviewed at length by South Korea’s OhMyNews (Korean only).

— The Editor

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The World Peace Center in Pyongyang (photo taken in December 2011 upon the 20th anniversary of Reverend and Mrs. Moon’s visit). The Peace Center was later used to receive condolence visitors upon the passing of Reverend Moon.

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What is “Attendance”? Musings on a Core Unificationist Practice

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By Andrew Lausberg

75995_459821110372_999357_nAccording to the Unification Principle, the Completed Testament era is the one in which human beings are to resurrect both spiritually and physically, justified by attendance. As one of the fundamental concepts of the practice of Unificationism taught by Reverend Moon, a clear understanding of “attendance” seems critical.

When looking at the question “What is attendance?”, one has to factor in Korean and, to a lesser extent, Far Eastern culture. On the other hand, Korean culture alone cannot provide a complete answer to this question because it has never yet risen to the level of a Completed Testament culture. The answer must bring together Completed Testament elements (as introduced through Father Moon, e.g., the supremacy of true love, purpose of creation, human responsibility) with the Korean context (Confucianism, Korean history, Korean character and environment).

In Korean, the word we use to signify attendance is 모심 — [moshim] (attendance, pronounced “moe + shim”) or 모심생활 [moshim saeng hwal] (attendance life/practice). Moshim derives from the verb 모시다 [moshida], which is related but not identical to the Japanese concept of [haberu] 侍る. The cultural interpretations of Korean and Japan are different when dealing with “attendance.”

Considering Korean culture, we should recognize that it comprises both “fallen” aspects, which we should avoid, and “original” (unfallen) elements we should learn to recognize and embrace. Unfortunately, just as is the case with Unificationists from other cultures, Korean Unificationists can also fall into cultural traps. A fallen expression of “attendance” in the Korean mode would be, for example, the expression of false loyalty, or the giving of reports designed to make Father (or the leader) “happy” but which, in fact, misrepresent how things actually are. This corrupted form of attendance is the semblance of loyalty at the cost of true inner service. It pays lip service with the primary goal of maintaining one’s position or perks, or avoiding difficulty.

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