Beyond Partisanship: A Proposal to Bring Our Divided Family Together Again

 

By Jack LaValley

At a recent scholarly gathering, one participant concluded it is likely the current divisions in the Unification movement will continue indefinitely. In this article, I propose a four-pronged approach to end the polarization between the disparate groups and bring them together to fulfill the highest aspirations of Divine Principle.

I do not intend to criticize any individual, institution or leadership, but want to present a conceptual framework upon which we can overcome the historical challenge of denominational/religious division we face.

First, I discuss how reinterpreting “True Family theology” changes the rules for who can be involved in putting an end to the conflict.

I identify how the conflicting groups can shift from position-taking to problem-solving and move beyond sterile debate to engage in genuine dialogue.

I suggest a third, alternative narrative to move us beyond the limiting narratives we’ve been told thus far by the conflicting groups.

Finally, I recast the conflict in terms of a need to heal broken relationships and strengthen bonds of love between family members.

The three groups involved in the conflict (Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, Family Peace Association and Sanctuary Church) employ a variety of tactics to defend their positions, such as: assuming their group is always right; giving no possibility the other parties have parts of the answer to end the conflict; always trying to prove the other party wrong; listening to find flaws and refute arguments; defending “our own version of the truth;” seeing only one side of the argument; looking for weaknesses in the other’s position; creating a winner/loser mentality; and, seeking a conclusion that supports one’s own position.

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