“Scaffolding” the Principle

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by John Redmond

JohnRedmond2Instructional scaffolding” is an educational term that borrowed its imagery from bricklayers and construction workers.  Scaffolding is a temporary structure for workers to stand and climb on so they can build, repair or restore a more permanent structure.

In educational terms, scaffolding is temporary support given to students to help them approach a complex subject by building on things they already know.  A five-year-old student learns about animals starting with cats and dogs.  They can then associate these understandings with lions and wolves.

Abstract concepts can be explained by similar substantial relationships.  For instance: “The relationship between humans and God should be like the relationship between mind (heart) and body.”

All teachers use these tools both intentionally and subconsciously.  Jesus used parables and Reverend Moon used many examples and analogies, often acting them out.

Where to place the scaffold

An important concept is that the “scaffold” be constructed in the “zone of proximal development.”

This means the teacher has to be familiar with the cultural, intellectual and emotional level of the student and use appropriate models to reach him or her. Instruction for elementary students that depends on them knowing advanced math will fail.

The Divine Principle text uses many examples and analogies appropriate to college-educated Korean Christian audiences and has been re-edited many times to strengthen the bridge to different cultures and audiences.

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The Will of God and Thanksgiving

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Abridged from a speech given February 12, 1978, New York, NY

By Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon

All of us assembled in this auditorium have various, different backgrounds. We have had different ways of life in the past and come from various cultural backgrounds, and furthermore, in your ancestral lines there are combined a variety of situations, traditions and cultures. Even now our way of life is varied because of our different cultural backgrounds.

Even though our histories are different and our ways of life and traditions are different, our goal is the same. We have one common goal around which we gather together. The most important thing to determine is whether or not that goal is self-centered or world-centered. Indeed, our common goal is the benefit and well-being of the entire world. That common goal is truly the aspiration of all mankind, and some day when we reach that goal everyone on this earth will be happy. That ideal goal cannot happen by money alone, and no matter how much knowledge or power you might possess, they will not make that goal possible either. That goal must be everyone’s aspiration, something which makes everyone on this earth happy and protects their well-being.

What is that common goal; how can we define it? We commonly call it love. We are talking about love here, and must decide whether that love is man’s standard of love or whether it transcends man, whether that love should be changing and tarnished by time, or eternal and unchanging in character. Our common goal must be love, a love which must be eternal and absolute and unchanging in quality. If that kind of love is our goal and if there is a God, then it must be linked to Him.

The question is whether we as men can obtain that kind of love. If that permanent and eternal love is an obtainable goal, then we must consider first that the prerequisite to that love is the existence of God. Why couldn’t an almighty and eternal God make that love prevail with men? Why hasn’t it been fulfilled already? That is the fundamental question which all religious men of history have struggled with. The Unification Church is no exception; however, unlike the rest we know that mankind could not obtain this permanent and absolute love of God because of the fall of man.

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“Bridge of Spies” and Teachable Moments

By Kathy Winings

kathy-winings-2I was just a small child when the Berlin Wall and Cold War took center stage in the news. Though my parents did not speak of such things while I was growing up, my father did talk about the “Red Scare” and “those Communists.” Of course, I would not understand what that meant until I was much older. I could not even imagine the level of fear that many people must have felt during this period of American history with its talk of spies and counterespionage.

I do remember hearing about a pilot, Francis Gary Powers, who was shot down and captured by the Russians. But I did not know the full story and had no idea of the maelstrom that surrounded this episode in history – at least not until I saw “Bridge of Spies.”

Director Steven Spielberg, together with writers Matt Charman, Ethan and Joel Coen, has captured the intense feelings of the Cold War era and the issues surrounding the trial of a real-life Russian spy, an American U2 spy plane pilot, and an American student caught on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall in his latest movie.

This excellent film tells the story of a successful Brooklyn, NY, insurance attorney, James B. Donovan (played by Tom Hanks), who is asked by the U.S. government to defend captured Soviet spy Rudolf Abel, who was tried for espionage in 1957. In the minds of many Americans, Abel is the personification of all that was evil in the Soviet regime. In this post-atomic bomb era of fear, the average American citizen is certain their government will do the right thing and simply sentence Abel to death, teaching the Russians a lesson they would never forget.

However, the American government sees it differently. As a potential powder keg, it is believed Abel should receive the best defense possible, or at least have the appearance of a strong defense to guard against any retaliation from Russia. What the government does not account for is Donovan’s strong sense of right and wrong. Though it is a foregone conclusion Abel will be found guilty, Donovan has the foresight to convince the presiding judge to sentence Abel to prison rather than condemn him to death.

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The Need for a Critical Edition of Reverend Moon’s Words

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By Andrew Wilson

WilsonIn the history of religion, the work of collecting and preserving the founder’s words normally becomes a priority in the years immediately after his passing. Thus the Gospels were collected and written some 40 years after Jesus’ passing, and the leaves of Muhammad’s revelation were collected as the Qur’an within 20 years of his death. This same priority is emerging in the Unification movement.

Although the UM enjoys all the advantages of modern technology for preserving and publishing the words of the founder, technology also makes it easy to edit those words before they reach the printed page. The question of possible distortions introduced by editors, or allegations of such, becomes even more acute in light of the current controversies over Reverend Moon’s words pursuant to claims over succession.

The FFWPU has been consciously setting up a corpus of official writings, all based upon selections from Moon Sun Myung Seonsaeng Malseum Seonjip (Sermons of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon), but the large corpus of his sermons given over more than 60 years, even some of the texts in Malseum Seonjip, may suffer from distortions. There is need for scholars to establish a critical edition of the Rev. Moon’s sermons that preserves what he spoke in exact detail.

Having been involved in editing Rev. Moon’s translated speeches for over 20 years, I learned some of the challenges the task of translation requires. For example, for World Scripture and the Teachings of Sun Myung Moon (2007), the translation work occupied the editors and their staff for two full years. Korean and English are so dissimilar that translation between them is extremely difficult. Furthermore, Rev. Moon had a unique vocabulary and often gave his Korean words shades of meaning distinct from secular Korean. However, while it is well known that many existing English translations fall short, I came to recognize that there are problems in the underlying Korean as well.

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The Prescience of C. S. Lewis

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by David Eaton

david_eatonI’m a latecomer to the writings of C. S. Lewis, but through the prompting of my eldest daughter, I finally took the plunge. Putting the finishing touches on my own book, I was looking for several religious-based literary references regarding the perils of postmodernism that might support some of my contentions regarding music, aesthetics, radical egalitarianism, multiculturalism, and the pervasive influence of the celebrity-industrial-complex.

Lewis’ work, especially, The Screwtape Letters (1942) and its sequel, Screwtape Proposes a Toast (1959), provide a trove of insight in the examination of the whys and wherefores of our “fallen” condition in the context of “right and wrong as a clue to the meaning of the universe.”

Lewis admitted that writing The Screwtape Letters was simultaneously the easiest, but least enjoyable work of his career. He apparently went into deep depression after writing it. Given the brilliant exegesis of how the “Lowerarchy” of Satan effectively infects the human soul, it’s no wonder why. The Cold War was the backdrop of the sequel and the narrative of how leftist, neo-Marxist thought subverted academia and the intellectual class in the West underscores Lewis’ work here. The sequel is more ideologically-charged than the original and the perspicacious insights are like a punch in the gut that leaves you breathless — and somewhat forlorn.

The Screwtape Letters are a series of 31 letters written by a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew, Wormwood. The nephew is a younger and less experienced demon, tasked with guiding a man (called “the patient”) toward “Our Father Below” (Satan) and away from “the Enemy” (God.) As Wormwood’s mentor, Screwtape explains many tricks-of-the-trade to his young charge in the process of inculcating him with methods of “the Lowerarchy” (Hell).

In the preface to The Screwtape Letters, Lewis states there are “two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall” when we contemplate Satan. One is to deny Satan’s existence, the other is “to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest” in him. The first error is Satan’s greatest ploy — if he doesn’t really exist, why fret about him? The second error is that we too easily create common bases with the dark side by our “unhealthy interest” in him.

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