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

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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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