By David Eaton
Confucius once averred:
“If one should desire to know whether a kingdom is well governed, if its morals are good or bad, the quality of its music will furnish the answer.”
I contemplated his observation as I watched the telecast of last month’s 88th Academy Awards. If we were to substitute the word “music” with “cinema” or “culture,” the Chinese sage might be more than a bit angst-ridden given the tone and tenor of the Oscars.
Predictably, the show’s host, Chris Rock, pummeled the Hollywood establishment for its lack of racial diversity among the nominees — a major issue in the run-up to the Oscars. But not far from the surface was Hollywood’s seemingly incessant need to sexualize the proceedings. Comedienne Sarah Silverman’s riff on sexual intercourse viz. James Bond, and Rock’s quips, about helping the show’s music director “get l__d at the Governor’s Ball” and the panties of a female pop star in the audience, were reminders of Hollywood’s duplicity in matters of sexual probity.
I wondered how Chris Rock’s Girl Scout daughters reacted to Silverman and their dad’s overt sexual suggestiveness. Surely they were watching (as I was with my 21-year old daughter), and I cringed at the vulgar and completely unnecessary sexual repartee. But here again was an example of the in-your-face sexuality Hollywood both glorifies and aggressively markets while attempting to be viewed as virtuous on other social matters.
To be fair, the serious issue of sexual abuse was front-and-center at the Oscars with “Spotlight” spotlighting the problems within the Catholic Church (and winning Best Picture). “The Hunting Ground,” dealing with the problem of campus rape, was not nominated for Best Documentary Film, but the film’s song, “Til It Happens To You,” was a nominee for Best Original Song.
By Michael Mickler
Unificationists are, if anything, a people who take their history seriously. Reverend Moon continually spoke of divine providence in his speeches and sermons. Wolli Kangron (1966), translated into English as Divine Principle (1973) and Exposition of the Divine Principle (1996), also focuses to a large extent upon historical matters, devoting more than half its content to a comprehensive survey of salvation history.
Unificationists, likewise, are encouraged to view themselves as being responsible for “all the unaccomplished missions of past prophets and saints who were called in their time to carry the cross of restoration.”
A striking feature of Unification theology is its exposition of “parallels” in history. The basic premise is when a “central figure” fails to fulfill his or her portion of responsibility, God will set up another person in place of the former.
This applies not only to individuals but also to collectives. The Principle focuses special attention on “parallels of history” between Judaism and Christianity. It highlights six specific parallels:
- Israelite slavery in Egypt and Christian persecution under the Roman Empire;
- Israelite conquest of Canaan under the Judges and Christian conquest of Rome under the patriarchs;
- The United Kingdom under King David and the Holy Roman Empire under Emperor Charlemagne;
- The Divided Kingdoms of North and South (Israel and Judah) after Solomon and the Divided Kingdoms of East and West (Germany and France) after Charlemagne’s successors;
- Jewish Captivity and Return (from Babylon) and Papal Exile and Return (from Avignon, France);
- Jewish Preparation for the Advent of the Messiah (from Malachi) and Christian Preparation for the Second Advent of the Messiah (from Luther).
By Gordon L. Anderson
In the Divine Principle, the biblical story of Cain and Abel is seen as two brothers in a fallen family. Abel’s offering was accepted by God and Cain’s was not; Cain got angry and killed Abel and then fled his parents to start a new life. Abel is described as “closer to God,” but his consciousness is still that of an immature son and not a mature parent.
I often think of Cain and Abel as representing reactionary and revolutionary consciousness in the wider political spheres we see around us today. By “revolutionary” I mean the idea of “revolt” like Cain’s, and not peaceful revolution. These two different approaches to politics each claim to be right and when they compete with one another for political power, often end up repeating the “Fall” on a national scale.
Human society is always evolving as changes in science, technology and population lead to changes in human life. The reactionary refuses to adapt and looks for refuge in the past. The revolutionary recognizes the need for change but wants to violently jettison the past. The French Revolution and Communist Revolution in Russia are examples of “Cain-type” revolutions that led to violence and murder on a massive scale. By wiping out the traditional “reactionary” rulers, the Ancien Regime in France or the Czarist feudal system in Russia, and starting over, creating a new society, they ended up re-inventing many wheels and causing much evil, death and human suffering.
In developmental psychology, Cain and Abel attitudes represent typical responses of children who begin to compare and question at age 12 or 13. Children are born like sponges and soak up the environment of their parents and nurturers; they initially know no other way of life than the traditions they are given. However, as they begin to individuate, particularly in middle school, they begin to compare their lives to those of other schoolmates who came from different homes, with differences in wealth, discipline, religion, family integrity, etc.
By William P. Selig
It was early morning at the hospital when I was called to an elderly patient’s room. The son and his family had driven all night to be there. As I entered the room, it was as if a curtain was being drawn open, a spotlight appeared, the audience hushed, and the performance was about to begin. There were no introductions, not a single word was spoken. Somehow everyone “knew” me. Frankly, they knew me even better than I did – the chaplain is here.
In that spirit-filled atmosphere, my heart “heard” and understood that we were in the midst of a sacred moment. We stood around the bed and held hands. As a prayer came from my lips, in the background I could hear the weeping of the family and relatives. When I stopped speaking and opened my eyes, I felt like a spent rain cloud. Everyone was looking at me. After a moment, the patient whispered, “Thank you, pastor. Your words filled my soul.”
So many times I have seen how the power of prayer brings a sense of connection to God’s love and healing power. When a patient is lying in bed feeling distressed and anxious, prayer has the potential to provide spiritual healing and bring a sense of harmony and wholeness. Make no mistake. Spiritual pain and fear are just as real as physical pain.
My journey to become a chaplain truly has been a blessing. As much as God has used me to touch the lives of so many patients, family and staff, I have to testify that I too have been touched and my own spiritual growth has benefitted. More than once, I’ve wondered who gains more from the encounters: the patient or myself?