Justice Can Restore True Community

By Alison Wakelin

Three years ago, I joined the Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow in the state of Delaware.

My thinking was the criminal justice system is vulnerable to being dominated by accusation, the primary tool with which the angelic world has dominated humankind, so that would be the best place to focus on bringing change and healing.

I have since learned a vast amount from interactions with prisoners, law enforcement and corrections, as well as many of Delaware’s highest officials, that has confirmed my original hypothesis.

Unificationists, more than anyone, understand that everyone is a child of God, and God cannot be happy until all are restored to their original position. We cannot simply stand by unmoved while God’s children are suffering, unaware of their true identity as divine beings. We have to search out the root causes of this vast suffering that has come through the criminal justice system, and heal the underlying wounds through truth and love.

Our present criminal justice system

The criminal justice system in America has expanded its reach to the point no one is immune to its presence in his or her life.  Having reached a situation where massive incarceration rates have negative consequences on a state’s budget, many states have begun to incorporate reforms in response to soaring U.S. statistics.

While this has usually led to a slight, sometimes even large, reduction in incarceration rates, it has left in place supervision over millions of lives by the criminal justice system, as well as millions of people deeply in debt to the state. These developments have disproportionately affected the African-American community, and America’s poor, both white and black.

The African-American community is dealing with issues within the criminal justice system that derive from a complex history of loss of every basic human right: identity, freedom, the right to protect one’s own family, even self-determination. Resolving some of the disparities in policing, sentencing, and in ascribing guilt or innocence is only a step towards justice.

The bigger issues cannot be disentangled from the daily lives of African-Americans without being addressed at the deepest levels. And the white community cannot really do more than offer opportunities to allow for healing. The healing must take place from within the abused community, as reclaiming its right to power is a huge step that must occur through the process.

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Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother: Two Gods or One?

By David Burton

In Divine Principle, one of the first principles in Chapter 1, “The Principle of Creation,” is that of resemblance whereby we deduce things about the characteristics of God from common characteristics of everything we observe. That we observe male and female beings suggests that God as described by Divine Principle is a God of both masculinity and femininity in a way quite different to the traditional Christian view of God.

However, until relatively recently we have inherited our common operating perception of God directly from Christianity and prayed to a Heavenly Father, not a Heavenly Mother. Then, five years ago, Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon asked us to start to pray to Heavenly Parent rather than Heavenly Father. For me this was a sea change and wakeup call to the fact that the view of God in Divine Principle is not the traditional Christian view of God.

My wife picked up on this first and often had to remind me who I was praying to during family prayers. Coming from a Christian culture praying to a Heavenly Father was totally ingrained for me and a new word for God quite disconcerting at first. Praying to Heavenly Parent is significantly different because it also acknowledges the Divine Feminine presence in the Godhead. It pushes us to come to grips with the content of Divine Principle that suggests God is both male and female.

Since 2013, there has been a growing awareness within Unificationism that we need to deal with God as Heavenly Mother as well as Heavenly Father. Personally coming to accept God also as Heavenly Mother has been part and parcel of my accepting Mother Moon in her leadership role in the church.

Accepting the Divine Feminine is not without issues of its own, though — not least of which are the mental ontological contortions involved with imagining how male and female can be combined into one substance.

The underlying reason for this perceptual difficulty is much deeper than personal imagination of a mental image. It goes to the philosophical roots of the Christian tradition. More than just being difficult to imagine, accepting Heavenly Mother in addition to Heavenly Father is in fact ontologically impossible within the context of traditional Christian monotheism.

In this article, I explore why that is so and posit a potential solution based in Divine Principle and science. We accept Divine Principle as a “New Truth” but struggle to articulate exactly how it is new. This issue of Heavenly Mother cuts directly to the core of the newness of Divine Principle.

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Climate Change: Rethinking the Debate

By Rob Sayre

The debate about climate change has mirrored the political divide in the U.S., with the political party in power standing behind their own understanding and agenda.  President Obama signed the Paris Climate Accord and in June, President Trump pulled out of this international agreement to limit CO2 emissions and reduce the worldwide temperature by 2°C.

At the heart of the disagreement is whether or not the rises in temperatures are manmade. Over 30,000 scientists and others insist no. Just as many other scientists, including those from NASA, say yes.

The U.S. military is already planning how to respond to rising sea levels regardless if this is due to man’s activity, natural forces, or both. Pope Francis in his encyclical on climate change, exhorts us: solving climate change means protecting the planet and vulnerable people, and we must hear “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”  Faith can guide us. “The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains – everything is, as it were, a caress of God.”  Other religious views provide a similar outlook.

The Foreword to God’s Will and the Ocean, Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s collected words on the ocean providence, notes,

“The Third Blessing exhorts humankind to take its proper position in the universe: ‘. . . and replenish the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and of the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ Thus humankind indeed becomes the God-centered caretaker of the world, empowered by the benevolent love of God rather than greed and selfishness. In essence, these are the responsibilities of humankind, and when respectively fulfilled, they become the wonderful blessings of life.”

If we substitute stewardship for dominion, I think we get the essence of what Father Moon taught about man’s proper relationship with the Creation.

One Metric is Not Enough

Worldwide temperatures are too broad a metric to use as a decision-making tool. This one metric is being used to guide nations worldwide to make significant policy decisions and monetary investments. The scope is too large and while not inaccurate, it is less relevant and helpful in making decisions. Does anyone use the average temperature of their country to determine their current driving conditions? Of course not. We use more relevant and local predictive tools. And so it should be with climate change.

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The Wounded Healer Paradigm: A Spiritual Approach to Conflict Resolution

By Drissa Kone

The term “wounded healer” was first coined by psychologist Carl Jung. It described the healing of the patient while the healer himself is in pain. For most people, the immediate reaction to hurt and pain is the fight or flight paradigm.

The flight or fight human response is similar to what animals do when in danger. From this perspective, protecting oneself, and in most cases, taking revenge against one’s oppressor became highly valued.

The flight-fight response was challenged by an alternative response to threat. Victor Frankl, the 20th century psychiatrist, impacted the world with his view of the stimulus and response to suffering and torture. He himself was tortured in a Nazi concentration camp and while enduring suffering, he discovered the truth about human response to pain and hurt.

He said: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” In fact, in a conflict situation, we can chose to flight or fight but also to treat our opponent as a patient, a person who is also hurt and needs help. Frankl’s experience in the concentration camp opened a new paradigm to resolving conflict in our everyday relationships.

Conflict is a sad reality of our everyday human experience. Historically, religious conflict has often led to misunderstanding and division between people. The Unification Movement, founded in 1954 by Rev. Sun Myung Moon, which aims to bring peace between people from different faiths and cultures, is facing internal turmoil. Though the Unification Movement has been a major advocate of unity among religions, it currently faces internal division and conflict.

Could the wounded healer paradigm be applied to the current conflict to bring the divided family back together again?  Can the conflict be seen from a spiritual dimension? A spiritual approach to conflict includes the search for human soul, which also extends to the death of ego and the emergence of the spirit.

During the first 40 years of its development (1954-94), the Unification Movement flourished under the charismatic leadership of Rev. Moon. Father Moon’s wife, Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon, began to take a more prominent leadership role in the worldwide movement with the establishment of the Women’s Federation for World Peace (1992).

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Experiential Education: Making the Classroom Relevant

By Scott Simonds

I’ve been a fan of experiential education since I was in high school.

I remember sitting in algebra class factoring quadratic equations, thinking, “Why am I learning this, how will I ever use this in the future?”  The teacher didn’t explain what a quadratic equation was used for (determining the area of a rectangle if the sides are increased).  That would not have mattered to me unless I was expanding the floor area of a room and had to determine how much ‘70s-style linoleum I had to order.

Although I can do the math now, over the past 63 years of my life, I never had to use it.  I have difficulty remembering events and dates, except those that recur in historical movies, like “The Guns of Navarone” or Ken Burns’ documentaries.  Movies, biographies and historical novels have been more helpful to me than history text books.

Robert Fulgham wrote All I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  Learning to read and write, and a little math, opens the door to lifelong learning.  Certainly, classroom instruction has its place — I wouldn’t want to be operated on by a surgeon who learned only by trial and error — but even the surgeon’s book learning is connected to observing surgical techniques.  The surgeon acquires volumes of knowledge pertaining to the art of saving lives and improving health through a combination of study, observation and practice.

I’m partial to experiential learning because I had the good fortune to be born into a family that urged us to push the boundaries of exploration from an early age.  Our family moved to Alexandria, Virginia, when my father was appointed to a position in Washington, DC, by Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine.  I was 13.

Dad got me a job working at the Smithsonian.  I was very excited.  I pictured myself putting dinosaur bones together or hanging space capsules and bi-planes from the ceiling of the Air and Space Museum.

The job turned out to be cleaning up and organizing the pharmaceutical division of the Museum of Science.  It was interesting to see spring-loaded gadgets used for bleeding, hand-cranked drills for relieving pressure on the brain and remedies derived from animals burned to ashes (lizards that retained their shape).

But the lasting impressions I have are about what was happening outside on the grassy mall.  There were anti-war demonstrations and marches on poverty.

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