“Concussion”: David and Goliath

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by Kathy Winings

kathy-winings-2I am not a football enthusiast. It’s because I simply do not understand the sport.

This may sound strange since I grew up in Indiana and Hoosiers love football and basketball — especially on the collegiate level. As a young girl, I enjoyed watching basketball because I understood the game. But football was another matter altogether.

As a member of my high school marching band, I had to play at all football home games. Imagine sitting there in the stands cheering our football team to victory yet not having a clue as to what was happening on the field. Tight ends, quarterbacks, safeties, wide receivers, centers, first and down; and what about those numbers that a player is shouting out before everyone goes head to head in the scrimmage. It was all Greek to me. Football just did not make sense to me.

And of course, my brother and father camped out in the living room on weekends rooting for (yelling, more like it) their favorite collegiate or professional football team. Needless to say, I had no clue who was winning or how they could win. My freshman year at Indiana University was much the same. All I learned about football that year was that the late John Pont, the head coach for IU’s team, was one of the top college coaches in America and that the varsity football players received special meals every day and drove around in brand new sports cars.

Though I still don’t understand football, I do know it has captured the attention and loyalty of millions of fans. I also understand there are billions of dollars tied up in the game and thousands of people earn their living from the sport, one way or another, and that football means millions of dollars in revenue for the cities that host a professional team. This does not begin to scratch the surface of the popularity and economics of the Super Bowl, where television advertisers pay millions to promote their product.

I also understand the furor caused by a quiet, unassuming forensic neuropathologist from Nigeria when he discovered what came to be called “chronic traumatic encephalopathy,” or CTE, after conducting autopsies on several former NFL players beginning in 2002.

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The Responsibility of True Parents’ Successors

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By Tyler Hendricks

14_12_CfE_Tyler 10.55.08 pmTrue Parents’ successors have the honor and responsibility to own and build Cheon Il Guk. As I studied some of True Father’s words on the subject, including statements going back to the early 1980s, three points emerged: One, that we all are successors; two, the notion of a central successor; and, three, the central successor’s qualifications and responsibilities.

First, God calls us all to be successors. True Parents come to lift us up into a relationship of parent-child with them. God and True Parents, like all parents, want their children to surpass them. Through the Holy Marriage Blessing, all blessed couples have the position of True Parents’ direct children.[1] The True Parents’ physical children, the True Children, and the blessed couples in general, are like Jacob and Esau, twins in True Mother’s womb, whether physically or sacramentally, in the “realm of the fourth Adam.”[2]  Thus, both True Children and all blessed families are entitled, by fulfilling certain responsibilities, to stand as owners of Cheon Il Guk, successors of True Parents.

I discern four such responsibilities that apply to all successors. Successors are to honor True Parents and True Children, who embody the ideal of God’s substantial Word, for it is through the reality of their oneness as a True Family of three generations that Satan’s accusations are overcome and all humankind may enter God’s direct dominion. On that foundation, all successors are to receive the Blessing, bless others, and work together to restore nations.

The Central Successor’s Responsibilities

Given Unification teachings regarding lineage, and human nature itself, most members have high expectations that the founders’ children will model God’s ideal. Father Moon supported this through statements such as, “The sons and daughters of Jesus’ direct lineage would have become the Popes.”[3] And Unification teachings lead us to expect the appointment of a central successor, as a couple, from among the 14 children.

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The Divine Nexus of Music and Mathematics

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By David Eaton

david_eatonI have this fantasy.

I’d love to see a debate on a liberal arts college campus between members of the sociology department, those who bemoan the heritage of European culture at every turn, and members of the music faculty who revere the music of Bach, Chopin and Wagner.

It would be fascinating to witness the spectacle of the sociology contingent trying to convince the musicians that they have it all wrong regarding the music of their cherished composers.

But do musicians in the academy really have it all wrong regarding Western culture? Are those who argue there may be “immutable truths” that govern music — its creation and realization — completely obtuse to sociological or cultural prejudices as postmodernists would have us believe?

Though we might debate the cosmological and metaphysical aspects of music, a cursory examination of music (regardless of cultural sphere) reveals that the laws and principles that govern music production are rooted in mathematics and physics.

This understanding dates back to Pythagoras in Greece and the Sumerians of Mesopotamia. Nevertheless, we have come to a point in our postmodern culture where any allusion to “certainty,” “universals” or “immutable truths” is, more often than not, met with skepticism, even abject derision.

This mindset originated with Nietzsche, Marx, Stirner, Hegel, and others whose abnegation of religion and “absolutes” infected Western culture at the beginning of the 20th century.

That pernicious legacy persists today.

Paradoxically, those who disparage religion love the music that is the progeny of a decidedly religious culture. Nietzsche, a cultural revolutionary and an earlier admirer of Richard Wagner’s operas, said, “Life without music would be a mistake.”

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A Second Chance: Love with Forgiveness

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By Jacob David

Jacob DavidLast year there was no Black Friday in Chicago.  A policeman had fired 16 shots to kill a 17-year-old African American man a year ago, but the video surfaced only after 400 days. In November as well, three people were killed at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs. In Mali, two men held 170 people hostage and killed 20 of them; the siege ended when commandos stormed the hotel, freed the hostages, and killed the attackers.  And, in Paris, 130 died because of a terrorist attack.

We live our lives in a time such as this.  Planes are being shot down.  And we hear from the presidential candidates messages of doom and gloom.  The safety of the world, and particularly the United States, is in jeopardy.  In the political arena, especially from the presidential candidates, we hear no encouraging words. Building a wall around our country won’t cut it.  The increased police presence at New York’s Port Authority bus terminal and Times Square confirms we live in fear.  A republic of dreams is gradually turning to a republic of fear. 

People ask whether there is any hope at all. There are very many of us who are busy trying to forget the grim situation around us making ourselves busy traveling back 2,000 years to that manger in Bethlehem – singing Christmas carols, giving each other gifts, preparing delicious dinners, and decorating our homes and Christmas trees.

In the midst of hopelessness, we are here to understand what hope means.

Our Scripture readings do not point us to Bethlehem or a manger.   They point us to the future.  They are helping us to a time when love will prevail and love alone will give us hope in our hopeless situation. The Apostle Paul speaks of love abounding and he thinks it is urgent because Christ is coming.  The psychologist, Eric Fromm, would say that “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”  Then we can better sing the song “Love Makes the World Go ‘Round.”

The actor, Peter Ustinov, did a great job describing what true love is, hinting at the character of God’s love:  “Love is an endless act of forgiveness, a tender look, which becomes a habit.”  Real love, God’s love is endless forgiveness.

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