The Birth of American Music

By David Eaton

While attending the 6th World Media Conference in 1983 in Cartagena, Colombia, I had the opportunity with several other musicians to meet with UTS founders, Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon. In the gathering, Rev. Moon expressed interest in the creative process pertaining to musical composition. He encouraged us to study and master the classical tradition, calling it “the foundation” upon which we could carry out our creative endeavors. He then suggested we combine the best elements of other genres — Rock, Jazz, Gospel, Folk — with the classical tradition in an attempt to create “New Age Music.”

In recollecting that meeting, I came to realize that in many ways American music was something akin to what Rev. Moon alluded to. Owing to America’s immigrant nation heritage, American music is a rich amalgam of highly varied styles and influences that arrived from many places. In a very real way American music is “World Music.”

When the Pilgrims landed in 1620 they not only brought their faith tradition, but also the music that accompanied it. Some of the earliest musical expressions of colonial America were Christian hymns sung in churches and schools utilizing the technique known as “shape-note” singing. Many of these were eventually published in 1835 in the hymnal known as Southern Harmony, including the “Garden Hymn,” a song known to Unificationists as “Song of the Garden.”

Eighteenth century Appalachian folk music was also indicative of the cross-fertilization highly evident in most American music. Immigrants from Scotland, Wales, England, and Ireland brought their ballads, jigs, reels — and their instruments — with them, and these musical influences found their way across the land.

Gospel Music also had religious roots. The “call-and-response” mode of music-making dates back to the early 1600s. As it evolved from 17th century Negro Spirituals and field hollers, it was the Christian revival movement and Holiness-Pentecostal movement of the late 19th century that spawned this new genre. Gospel historian Robert Darden noted the first published use of the term “Gospel” to describe this music style was in 1874 when Philip P. Bliss edited a revival songbook titled Gospel Songs for use in evangelical meetings and revivals.

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The Battle for Dominion over Time: Thailand’s Many Calendars

By Ronald Brown

Of all the parts of creation that God gave us dominion over, time continues to remain the most elusive.

A calendar is one of the universal building blocks of all religions. For any new religion to succeed or ancient religion to endure it must prove its ability to have dominion over time. The prospect of an endless and meaningless succession of days, years, and centuries, is unsupportable for human beings, to say nothing of religious communities. Calendars are like maps placing an individual and a community firmly in a flow of time that began with the Creation and will end with the Millennium.

In late December and January, during my academic break, I traveled to Thailand. What could have been a pleasant month of travel, beach, wine, dancing, food, and fun turned into a research-filled period. My research was stimulated on the first day in Bangkok when the man at the front desk prepared the receipt for my $7 a night room.

The Confused Calendar of Thailand

He took out his book of receipts, filled in the sum in Thai Baht, misspelled my name, stamped it, and handed it to me. I stuffed it into my pocket and went to my room where I crashed on my hard bed and slept the entire day. It was only later that evening as I was writing my daily journal entry that I glanced at the receipt. I took out glue stick, covered the back of the receipt with glue and attached it to the page. Only then did I notice that he had miswritten the date: the month “12” and day “30” were correct, but in place of 2016 he had simply written “60.” I thought he had simply made a mistake and wrote “60” instead of “16” and thought no more of it. But this strange date stuck in my mind. I had to find out what “60” meant.

The Buddhist Calendar

My second encounter with the wild world of Thai calendars was by accident. Having checked into my hotel, I set off to explore the neighborhood. I strolled up a major road and stopped in the middle of an elegant bridge spanning one of the many canals that crisscrossed the city giving it the name “The Venice of the East.” I glanced at the elegant Thai script that announced I was on the Mahatthai Uthit Bridge and noticed the year of construction was 2457. Puzzled, I checked my handy travel guide and read it was constructed in 1914.

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Women, Science and the Future of Unificationism

By Alison Wakelin

Transitions are difficult, as both the Unification movement and world are discovering right now.  Restoration mode has given way in emphasis to further revealing of the Principles of Creation, and science is now coming into its own as a source of new insights for a new age. While it may be challenging to let go of previous modes of operating as a spiritual movement, we find deep truths emerging today in many fields which must be incorporated into any realistic and comprehensive future for Unificationism.

As women have become more involved in the academic and scientific world, a general picture is emerging of the differences between a man’s perspective and woman’s perspective. I remember my boss asking 20 years ago, “but what is women’s science?” I couldn’t tell him back then, but now I would be able to reply that women see things from a more holistic perspective, they often think more in pictures, more intuitively, and take in the whole of a situation at once.  Men tend to think in a more linear fashion, work out truths sequentially, and build up a worldview according to this method.

As a means for freeing people’s minds from the domination of the church in the early days of Western European science, the more male-oriented methods worked well, cutting out an ever-expanding corner of truth that held its own in rational circles, and gradually taking over as the predominant worldview in the West. However, its own success has brought us to a day when it is not unusual to find accomplished scientists asking if maybe science has simply tied itself up in its own strings. With uncountable solutions to the currently popular string theory (a highly theoretical mathematical scheme that regards a one-dimensional string as the most fundamental building block of matter), and no way to distinguish between these solutions, this has to be a valid question.

Even in the West, certainly since the early days of quantum physics and relativity, there has been a secondary track within science, based on the idea that matter itself is in some sense conscious, or at least has some kind of internal nature.

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An Encounter with the Holy Trinity: “The Shack”

by Kathy Winings

It is not often a reflective and innovative film that is deeply theological comes to the big screen – and is worth our time and attention. But “The Shack” fits this bill nicely. Not unlike “Heaven is for Real,” “The Shack” reminds us we are never alone, that God is always there with us. And what “Heaven is for Real” did for reimagining the spiritual world, “The Shack” does for the holy trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The movie tells the heart-wrenching story of Mack Phillips (played by Sam Worthington), a family man who must endure the disappearance and presumed death of his youngest daughter and make sense of a loving God.

The film begins with a brief but critical glimpse of Mack as a young boy who witnesses his abusive yet church-going father beat his mother at the slightest provocation. After Mack confesses to the family pastor about the beatings, his father beats him again, pushing the young boy to take drastic action, which turns into a secret that haunts him throughout his adult life. Mack’s wife, Nan (Radha Mitchell), knows he has a secret eating at him but she cannot convince him to talk about it. Nor can his neighbor, Willie (Tim McGraw), a faithful and God-loving man.

As a loving husband and father, it is clear Mack cannot seem to come to terms with a God who is there for us, loves us and to whom we can turn. After all, why did God allow his father to treat his wife and son so terribly? Would an omnipresent loving God really do that? Because he cannot find answers to his questions about God, he forms an uneasy truce with God. At the same time, he feels his wife’s faith is strong enough for both of them for the time being.  What is interesting is his wife’s nickname for God. She calls him “Papa,” with her children following suit.

A catalyzing event occurs one summer when Mack takes his three children camping to their favorite lake while his wife must stay behind. During this fateful trip, his youngest daughter, Missy, suddenly disappears while Mack is focused on saving his other daughter and son who become trapped under their canoe while boating. One moment she is there coloring her pictures and the next minute, she is gone; a parent’s nightmare.

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The Real Four Position Foundation as Discovered in Theoretical Particle Physics

By James M. Powell

After escaping concentration camp in Heungnam, North Korea in 1950, Dr. Sun Myung Moon wrote the book, Ideal of the Circular Garden of Harmony. This text, lost during the Korean War (1950-53), was re-written as Original Text of the Divine Principle and eventually translated into English as Exposition of the Divine Principle (EDP) in 1996.

As you will see, the “Circular Garden of Harmony” refers to the underlying harmonious circular structure of the cosmos, the “garden,” at the elementary level.

In my previous AU Blog article in November 2016, “The Science of Spiritual Life and Death,” I stated there exist in the Principle theory unsubstantiated, or at least unverified, claims. In this article, I state this in relation to the Four Position Foundation specifically as the so-called foundation of the life of all beings.

What is the foundation of the life of all beings? What proof do we have that the Four Position Foundation is the fundamental foundation of all physical beings, all spiritual beings, and even God?

For example, theoretical and experimental particle physicists might ask to show how the Four Position Foundation applies to the plentiful assortment of elementary particles that make up the cosmos at the smallest scales. But do we have a model for that? We do. It’s the Four Position Foundation.

I’m not referring to a vague model into which we roughly fit some broad concepts like only plus and minus, but discovered forces and particles and their interactions in a mathematical structure that works. It must be a mathematical structure because, according to the Principle, one aspect of God’s nature, the Logos, the blueprint of the cosmos according to the theory of the Principle, is mathematical.

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