Where Are We Going and How and Why?

By Michael Hentrich

In some ways it seems our movement is suffering from an identity crisis.

Many of us are not really clear about where we are going or how we are trying to get there and why, even if we are doing our best to unite with True Mother. (The “we” in this article addresses Unificationists who understand Rev. and Mrs. Moon as the True Parents of humankind and who strive to fulfill their vision and directions)

Everything Father asked us to do was for multiple purposes. When we did campaigns, for example, we did it for our own spiritual experience and development, to make a good condition for ourselves, for the movement, for America and the providence, and usually it was to help create social and political capital so Father could get more social and political leverage and influence.

In addition, it was also to create a mechanism by which to overcome the exploding world population (there are 1.6 million more people on this earth every week!). And, it was also to stir up, inspire and motivate the spirit world.

When we went to workshops, it was to improve our personal understanding, elevate our ancestors, and hopefully improve our level of enthusiasm and commitment to the providential life we live every day.

When we went to Cheongpyeong, it was to bring healing to our ancestors and other spirits who were dragging us down, clean up our own spirit, nurture us through the educational classes, and hopefully inspire and empower us to be more active and effective back home.

So, there were multiple reasons for everything that we and Father did.

What about our lives today? What are we doing and why? Where are we trying to go in the long-term and short-term? We like to do campaigns, events and programs. That is what we did for the past 40 years. We should keep doing them. We know how to do them. We can bring some guests. We felt good doing them and we could make a positive report to headquarters and to True Parents.

Did we bring success? It depends what we were trying to accomplish. What were we trying to accomplish? People participated in our campaigns, events and programs, but too often they didn’t go deeper with us and become members. Why not?

We tried to interest these people in studying the Principle, but many times they were not interested. Why not? Aside from our controversial image, one reason could be that we might not have a good follow-up plan and system for them to become members. Another reason could be that many times our campaign, event or program was lacking in transparency. We were not involving them in our campaign, event or program for the simple purpose that was given them. “Come to our free spaghetti dinner!”

Well, they may have come for that purpose, but we were not primarily interested in that. We wanted them to study the deep teachings of the Divine Principle. “Come to our marriage rededication.” But, in our minds, that was not even the tip of the iceberg. They came to simply rededicate their marriage, but we really wanted them to partake of the Holy Wine without an in-depth explanation of what it was really all about, and hope they would eventually do all five steps of the change of blood lineage, whether they fully understood what they were doing or not.

This is certainly not uncommon in the free-market society in which we live. One could argue that many, if not most, businesses, organizations, and advertisers do something similar to attract potential customers or clients. But, do we need to function this way when what we really have to offer them is God’s and True Parents’ love and the truth of the Principle? We cannot continue this methodology and expect the masses of people to respond to us. We don’t need to.

We have to unlearn some things and pioneer a more transparent way of going forward. Lots of people today invest serious amounts of their time and money in programs to improve themselves. We need mentors to teach us how to do that with True Parents and the Principle.

We might say, “Well, that sounds too difficult. We’ll just go out and get 430 people to drink the Holy Wine or juice. At least we did that much. Isn’t it successful?” It depends what we are trying to do. If we are trying to help people make a good condition for their spiritual lives, and help America make a good condition at the same time, then we might be successful. If we are trying to help people take the first of the five steps needed to remove their original sin and become engrafted into the lineage of True Parents, then we might be successful. If we are trying to make an impressive report that Mother will be inspired about, then we might be successful.

But, True Mother said: “Blessing 430 couples is not enough. Those 430 need to bless their own 430, and so on.” I heard it with my own ears. Why? She is trying to make a mechanism of blessing people that can beat the exploding population of the world. Such a geometric progression could potentially do it. But, we need someone to show us how to actually accomplish that; i.e., how to raise people up so they can multiply themselves. We need a good mentor to teach us how to be effective in doing it. The know-how is out there. We need to get it.

If we want to become “Owners of Cheon Il Guk (CIG)” (as we proclaim every time we say the Pledge), then reporting big numbers without real substance cannot be our ultimate goal and purpose. If we are trying to become “Owners of CIG,” then we have to be concerned about transforming people, starting with myself, and transforming families, and beating the population explosion at the same time. Many of us are not thinking on that level.

We need to stop and shift gears in our minds and hearts. We have not been thinking like owners. We apply ourselves to some given part of the overall task and feel satisfied with our efforts. But, the owner is thinking about the end-goal. That’s what it means to be an “owner.”

If that is the case, then campaigns, events and programs can play a part in that end-goal process, but only a part. Blessing 430 people without helping them transform themselves in their minds and hearts will never get us to the end-goal. Going to Cheongpyeong and liberating our ancestors without then investing ourselves in transforming people and families back home will likewise never get us to the end-goal.

It seems to me we have two goals to concern ourselves with to be on the playing field as real players or owners.

The first goal is transforming people and families. Nothing will ever change in the world if we don’t do that. We should be able to invest in at least a few people and families before we die and help them to transform themselves, thereby multiplying ourselves. The key word here is “invest.” Father showed us what that word meant when he invested in the early disciples in the 1950s. He took them to beaches, picnics, movies, on mountain hikes, and spent hours and days talking to and teaching them. They were not casual acquaintances. Investing in people meant investing with the heart, personally, and not just giving them intellectual lectures, etc. Transforming one person or family into a son or daughter or family of True Parents is accomplishing something toward the end-goal. Campaigns, activities and programs which do not result in such investment are not contributing to the end-goal.

Attendees at the July 2018 Hyojeong Divine Principle Conference at the International Peace Education Center (IPEC) in Las Vegas, NV.

The second goal is beating the population explosion. That may be out of our league in terms of our skill sets, but that is why God inspired the Internet. Jesus didn’t even have a microphone or a pencil. Now things are different. The Internet cannot transform people and families by itself, but it can be a big part of the process of beating the exploding population. Literally millions of people can watch and learn about something that interests them, and in a very short time. Father said he wanted to teach the people of the world via satellite. He bought a satellite TV channel for that purpose. But, he never got the chance.

We are not all equipped to address these two goals. Young people know how to use the Internet. They may lack the passion and commitment to do so for the providence, but some do have it. They need the vision and goal sunk deeply into their hearts and minds. Those who can help educate such inspired young people need to do so as effectively as possible.

There is one other way we can seriously work toward the end-goal of personal and family transformation, although not addressing the exploding population. That is by creating good, effective, joyful schools for our children. They need to grow up with the knowledge, vision, and passion of the providence from a small child through their teenage years. They need to have it planted deep in their soul. It is almost impossible to raise children to have these things if they grow up in the fallen culture of the world that espouses materialism, free sex of all kinds, gender confusion, drugs, and irresponsibility. It can’t be done. How many of our children have survived the fallen-world culture, especially when they go away to college where they have their own bedroom, total freedom, and where Satan breathes down their necks with every imaginable temptation readily at hand? Few have survived.

We need our own culture. The Jewish people realized it a long time ago, as did the Catholics, Mormons and Muslims. All new religious cultures began to grow roots once they established schools for their children. We need our own good, effective and happy schools for our next generation. If not, there might not be many future generations. It is a serious concern of Mother, Father, and of me.

Overall, what am I saying can be distilled to a few simple points:

  1. Programs and campaigns are nice, but we need to invest in people, even if only a few people. We need to help them transform themselves. Nothing will happen without that. There is no substitute for this.
  2. We need to invest seriously in beating the exploding population of the world with the transformative teaching of True Parents. It can be done. Young people know how to do it. We need to empower them with the money, vision and passion to do it. If you can help in that area, do it.
  3. We need our own schools. We cannot let another generation grow up and wander away into the fallen world, looking for the intellectual and heartistic fulfillment they should have found here. After two or three generations of that, who will raise up the future generations? We cannot trash Father’s life like that. Campaigns, events and programs are fine, but we need to have our minds and hearts focused on the end-goal. That is why Father wanted us to call ourselves “owners of CIG.” It was not a label to honor our great past accomplishments as his followers. Without real owners in this game, CIG will never happen.
  4. Those who aspire to become leaders and owners of the providence need to equip themselves. They need to read books on leadership, get experience in public speaking, refine their relationship skills, and develop their hearts. They need to learn whatever skills it will take to get the job done effectively, and they need to get experience. There is no shortcut here. Moses was highly trained for his mission. God put Jacob through 21 years of training to win the heart of his angry brother. Get the training you need. Get serious. There are lots and lots of resources out there, waiting for us to use them.

The future is ours if we decide to take it. Neo of the “Matrix” film asked the old spiritual woman (“the Oracle”) if he was really “the One.” She said, “You could be” (i.e., if you decide to be). The future is waiting for us.♦

Dr. Michael Hentrich (UTS Class of 1979) joined the Unification Church in 1975, received his M.A. in religious education from UTS, and earned his D.Min. from Cheongshim Graduate School of Theology in 2016. He has published numerous books, including The Divine Principle Study Bible for Truth Seekers, and lives with his wife, two children, and four grandchildren in Denver, Colorado. His website is DeeperDP.com.

16 thoughts on “Where Are We Going and How and Why?

  1. This article by Dr. Hentrich gives powerful insight about our situation and our needs. I am very grateful for all the ideas and suggestions proposed here. Working for PeaceTV and True Peace Magazine in Korea, I had the chance recently to travel to four strategic countries of Asia and see their best practices.

    My observations may be useful. Concerning the growth of the population and the need for mentoring, this is at the core of the strategic guidance given by Dr. Chung Sik Yong, the continental leader of Asia. He could catch these two points probably ahead of anyone. He has applied a systematic approach in some of the most promising nations of his region, and many members from Korea and Japan came to see in the field how he was conducting the Providence. Rev. Bakary Camara from Africa also came to the Philippines to study the HTM Providence and bring it back to Africa.

    Let me give a few more insights

    (1) Creative minority

    Taiwan is our third mission in Asia after Korea and Japan, pioneered in the late 1960s. After severe persecution, the movement in Taiwan started to be very successful in the 1990s. A few years ago, they acted as a “creative minority” (Arnold Toynbee). Whereas the country was considering adopting same-sex marriage, our movement approached the Christians of Taiwan. Though Christians are only 4%, they are very respected. The Christians were impressed by our views and adopted the slogans and logos of La Manif pour Tous in France (which brought huge crowds in Paris to to fight same-sex marriage). Finally, our members, the Christians and other religous leaders created a platform that brought a crowd of 300,000 people in Taipei. Dr. Robert Kittel reported extensively about this success. Based on this breakthrough, our HTM activities are supported by local governments in Taiwan.

    (2) Servant leadership

    I visited Cambodia in March, and was received by Rev. Hajime Saito, the special envoy to Cambodia. He is just 40, speaks six languages and shows an example of servant leadership. He is living in a huge center in Battambang, the second city of Cambodia. Every week, they give the Blessing to at least 430 couples. More than half of the couples complete the 40 days and the 3-day ceremony. They then attend “services” in public buildings (city halls, schools), and start to tithe. They are motivated to attend the Cheongpyeong great works coming to their country. I saw something amazing when I stayed in Battambang: about 70 young members are living in the center. They wake up for Hoon Dok Hae at 5 a.m., have their activiites in the day (many are students). Rev. Saito is living together with them, almost 24 hours a day, sharing the life, investing in their hearts. He speaks their language and can dance Khmer style. I asked him, “Who are these 70 young people?” he told me that they are the chidren of the couples recently blessed. This vision was so thrilling.

    (3) Living with others

    I visited Nepal in June. In this country, we have over 5,000 ambassadors for peace, and most of them are very active, empowered. Through the Family Party, Ek Nath Dakhal became a member of parliament and minister. Our movement in Nepal has played a decisive role in the democratization of Nepal. After the end of the Maoist guerrilla warfare which killed 15,000 people, the King stepped down and the country has become a federal republic. Our Nepali members are really living with the population. We often speak of living for the sake of others, but we also ceate barriers between others and us. In Nepal, our members really live with the population. They have several schools and offer many services, constantly. Our Saturday service is broadcast by national TV. The program is filmed in a special VIP studio, within the headquarters. Sometimes, they also interview local celebrities about family life. Most of our leaders in Nepal have completed their 430 couples and are training them to multiply. I could also interview two Nepali missionaries, one to Bangladesh (27 years old), the other to Pakistan (30 years old). I was impressed by their maturity and vision. Their culture is much more adapted to True Mother’s leadership than the patterns of leadership I saw in Europe and the Western world. It is a new paradigm. Without visiting Asia, you may not get this point.

    (4) Team work

    I just came back from the Philippines. We have two schools of excellence there. The Filipino movement has been a laboratory for the most innovative breakthroughs of our movement for many years, in witnessing, HTM, and youth programs. Our Filipino leaders constantly work together in humility with a powerful team spirit. Wherever I went, I was never greeted by one leader but by a leading team with a united vision. The same maturity that I observed in Nepal struck me. Every report is accurate, factual, concise, without unnecessary pathos. They just present the evidence, objectively. They seem to always be in a culture of briefing and debriefing that leaves no space for speculation, excuse or whatever. I visited the newly-opened HTM center of Commonwealth Barangay. I saw many new couples recently blessed, coming regularly to services, giving a tithe.

    These four trips have been the most educational workshop of my life. Dr. Yong is surrounded by a team of very powerful leaders, such as Julius Malicdem in the Philippines (with dozens of first class leaders), Dr. Lek and Dr. Khamol in Thailand, Dr. Robert Kittel, Ursula McLackland, Rev. Hajime Saito in Cambodia, and many other leaders in this country, Ek Nath Dakhal and Santosh Paudel in Nepal, and many others. These people really work in synergy with a long term vision. They don’t boast about anything, they just set goals and work hard to achieve them and are accountable. I enjoy this Unificationist culture. I believe that much can be applied elsewhere, it is definitely not “cultural”: Taiwan is Confucianist and Buddhist, the Philippines are 90% Christian, Nepal is 80% Hindu, Cambodia and Thailand are Buddhist. The thing is the quality of leadership.

  2. Thanks so much for your thoughtful piece, Rev. Hentrich, and for your inspiring response, Laurent.

    While the testimonies from Asia are indeed inspiring and powerful, there is an “elephant in the room.” America and Western culture is so vastly different from Asia that what works in Asia will not work here. The main reason, in my view, that we were so successful in membership growth in the 1970s and into the 1980s is we built culturally relevant outreach strategies. Chief among these was in Oakland, but I participated and helped build equally successful activities in other parts of the UC and then in CARP. Main point: culturally connected.

    So — without meaning to denigrate the power and impact of Dr. Hentrich’s piece in any way — I suggest two additional points:

    1. We must create a culturally relevant/connected face to Americans and Westerners. The way the movement is now, very few in the West can connect. Take a look at the cultural make-up of those that we do manage to attract. Almost without exception, they are recent immigrants or the children of recent immigrants. We will need a massive public-face overhaul if we are to reach the masses in America and the West.

    2. Related to this is a question for Dr. Hentrich: How do you propose to achieve what you are proposing? I would assert that, first and foremost, our national organization, such that it is, would need to spearhead any activities that will move us in new directions. Unfortunately, calls from members for support from HQ for new developing new and exciting directions have been ignored. Several years ago, the National Council convened a very important Conference on Strategy at East Garden. Very detailed strategies were outlined by a group of 20 very capable folks with vast experience. Not a single thing in the plan submitted was ever acted upon or even discussed. Our HQ as presently configured is mainly a group that focuses on ensuring America’s proper attendance to True Mother and Korea. That is not a bad thing — it is the essential vertical component — but it should not be the only thing. The horizontal component is missing almost entirely in America.

    I have spoken at some length with Dr. Robert Kittel, the coordinator of much of the activity that Laurent mentions. He assured me that all of their activities are culturally connected from one Asian country to the next. In other words, they do not just have the same approach in every nation.

    Thanks again, Dr. Hentrich. I sincerely hope you are successful in expanding your ideas and having an impact.

    • Henri,

      I think our movement is almost immune to any input on bigger strategy issues. The Confusian and Eastern idea of attendance and events as a prime means of advancing the Providence almost precludes this, in my opinion.

      However, local communities of faith and initiatives can and are making a difference. The Blessed Family Ministry is an exception to this as a centrally initiated program. The pornography and marriage retreats which are organized and funded independently are good examples of this.

      Healthy local communities of faith such as that in Denver where Michael Hentrich lives are prime examples of what is needed. People long for and need connection and community. They are not looking for theological answers. They also seek experiences instead of ritual and dogma. To grow, we need to provide this.

      I tend to think we need to help people live in a very complex world by equipping them, instead of insisting that they come to our events and go our way. Providing a home base of sorts, a welcoming place that also allows them to participate, make an offering of their choosing, something that is sustainable for them, will allow them to remain connected.

      I think reintroducing something like the Educators’ Conference again could provide a place for people involved in local initiatives to meet and share best practices. I have communicated this to quite a few of our national leaders, but as usual, they are busy with other concerns, events and “attendance”-related activities as well as the very real and complex financial and schism-related issues.

      All of this will take time, patience and faith.

  3. Michael,

    While I agree with much of what you are saying — we do absolutely need to invest in people, for example — I feel there is another underlying reason why we don’t know where we are going.

    Before Foundation Day, Unificationism was on the cutting edge of God’s providence. However True Parents (Father and Mother) completed that providence. Even before his death, Father proclaimed the end of restoration, and Satan himself repented almost 20 years ago now. Foundation Day 2013 marks the end of the providence of restoration. However, we, individually and collectively, have not acknowledged this and continue on as if nothing has changed. We still function in a restorational mode with ever more campaigns and conditions. We have lost our relevance because we are out of touch with the spiritual dimensions of the new time we are living in.

    We are spiritually stuck in the past and consequently no longer on the cutting edge. Of course we feel lost. My two cents.

  4. Every blessed child (BC) should know the model course to bring the fallen archangel to submission; the fulfillment of the three blessings by the BC is the condition whereby the parents of the wilderness can return to their promised position.

  5. Having a lifelong interest in education, and working in public education, I feel that public school education has diminished our Judeo-Christian heritage as well as our Unificationist orientation. So, I do support a private religious school movement.

    Dr. Hentrich has made a great contribution to the biblical understanding of the Divine Principle and I have just ordered his recent definitive text, The Divine Principle Study Bible for Truth Seekers. This is a response to my prayer request that God clarify my purpose.

    The message I am hearing is to revive and restore our work partnering with Christian pastors and leaders. We need to reclaim America as a Judeo-Christian nation that will accept True Parents as the ordained revivalists who came to enhance another Great Awakening, together with Christianity. We are not just relativistic interfaith. We are a supra-Christianity that embraces the various world religions, such as Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism — and ensures them religious freedoms that other countries do not have.

    We are in a time of conscience in which we rely on God’s guidance to respond to each of us uniquely. And, our True Mother is affirming this purpose and asking for Christianity to be present for the Nassau Coliseum revival. The followup is ours to take on.

    • Donna,

      Yes, I totally agree with this: “We are in a time of conscience in which we rely on God’s guidance to respond to each of us uniquely.” For me, this means God’s will can now be manifest through a collection of individuals, such as in the #MeToo movement, rather than needing to be mediated through some central religious authority.

      • Your conclusion, David, then is that God’s will may be manifest through a collection and/or a central religious authority.

        As for the #MeToo movement, it quickly became a typical witch-hunt in which, as in Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s campaign, persons are hounded on the basis of mere suspicion.

        • John,

          My conclusion is that post-Foundation Day, God is now free to connect to anyone directly without mediation. So a consequence of the end of restoration is that God is no longer constrained to work through central religious authority and may or may not continue to do so. This frees God to act in ways that were not possible before. Of course, we still have our portion of responsibility so individuals might not act appropriately on that inspiration.

          One of the key changes for me has been our developing understanding of God as Heavenly Feminine as well as Heavenly Masculine. God’s action in the Divine Feminine should then also change our human social interactions and the role of women in society. The #MeToo movement is in accord with this and shows how God can work outside of religious authority to bring needed social change in line with Her will. You may dismiss it as a witch-hunt but in pretty much all the high profile cases I have seen there is truth behind the accusations — just as there is in sex abuse cases involving Catholic priests. This is a real issue. All these things that have been hidden now need to come out into the open and God is using the #MeToo movement to show us we need a change in attitude.

        • John and David,

          I think John was referring to specific cases when “presumption of guilt” is concluded rather than “presumption of innocence” until proven guilty. Not all cases are witch-hunts; but there are some in which the use of victimhood can be a mask for emotional vengeance, false accusation and/or political lynching. One of our church missionaries living under a communist regime was subjected to false accusations of a sexual nature. Government operatives even planted exotic underwear in his home and then came and arrested our missionary. A person can be paid or cajoled to give false testimony that, without other witnesses, may seem credible. Fortunately, our missionary escaped from jail and probably had to work “underground” for future safety.

        • Donna,

          We have to take things case by case. Presumption of innocence works both ways in this kind of situation. If we presume the woman is guilty of false accusation then that too is a travesty of justice. Where is the presumption of innocence for the woman, or in many cases, women? This is compounded by a history of presuming the woman is guilty going all the way back to the Fall narrative and Eve. The #MeToo movement is needed to bring balance here.

  6. Though Heavenly Parent responds to us “uniquely,” the basis of that response is predicated on truth, and we understand that truth transcends gender, racial, cultural or ethnic differences. As Henri Schauffler points out, our attempts at harmonizing Oriental and Occidental psychologies/attitudes (one of the goals of art, according to True Father), remains a central quest. As we know, attaining a better understanding of what is true with regard to our unique abilities and aspirations requires constant prayer and study.

    The “ism” in Godism, according Father’s definition, means “way of living.” For politicians that means the way of governing, for the educator it means the way of teaching, for the artist it means the way of creating or performing, etc. Godly virtues need to be in the social equation. Though I agree that reviving Judeo-Christian ethics is vital, we can see in the Judeo-Christian sphere there is now a great “confusion of values” as all sorts of behaviors snd pathologies that once were considered “sinful” are increasingly tolerated –considered acceptable, in fact. The fear of being stigmatized as being bigoted, racist, homophobic, xenophobic or sexist has paralyzed many Christian denominations. The constant capitulation to secular humanist (politically correct) rationales is not helpful, no matter how well-intentioned. Our BCs are being affected by this mindset as well.

    I’m reminded of 2 Timothy 4:3: “For the time will come when people will reject sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own lusts, they will gather around them teachers who will say what their itching ears want to hear.”

    Without knowing God’s truth, we can become compassionate about, and value the wrong things (St. Augustine’s warning).

  7. I rejoice that Dr. Hentrich has raised questions which are both theoretical and very practical and concern the providential role of our movement.

    One question raised in the discussion has come from Henri Schauffler and is related to culture. Namely, what seems to work in Asia may not be applicable elsewhere. I am deeply aware of this. I would like to give answers based on observations in the field. When I was in the Philippines a few days ago, they told me something interesting: they started to pioneer the huge Tribal Messiah work that we see today, and at first, their accomplishment was seen as “typically Filipino” by other Asian leaders. “You have a Christian foundation and a Latin heritage from the Spanish colonization” they were told. However, later on, other nations imported some of the Filipino techniques and adapted them in the Cambodian or Nepali context. And the disciples have become better than the master. What matters therefore, is to have an open mind, a real curiosity.

    When Rev. Bakary Camara from Africa visited the Philippines, he lived in a center and studied how they do. Then he asked Dr. Julius Malicdem to go with him to Africa and start the HTM activity in earnest. For me, this is a divine attitude. Reverend Camara was not sure if it would work in Africa or not, but he tried and he adapted.

    Let us consider the question of immigrants. Part of me acknowledges that this is true. In Europe, David and Paricia Earle are very famous successful Tribal Messiahs in the city of Birmingham (UK). They are often consulted for their modus operandi. One might say that they have mostly blessed immigrants rather than purely British citizens. We cannot deny that.

    But I also interviewed Joe and Sun Willett, from Kentucky, one of the very first couples in the West to have blessed 430 couples. Mostly they have blessed mainstream Americans, thanks to a very deep commitment and investment, and again, I am so grateful to Dr. Hentrich for his insights on investment.

    The “immigrant factor” may be seen from a different point of view. As we know, Japanese mothers in Los Angeles (belonging to Kodan), found a way to witness to American students on a one-on-one basis. They have brought many young mainstream Americans to the Principle. As Japanese wives, living in a foreign land, they were divinely inspired to save young men and women from the USA. It is beautiful. True Mother was happy.

    Another “immigrant” whom I met is Martine Massner in the Czech Republic. She is French and is the national leader in the most atheistic nation in the world. Under her leadership, Prague has become one of the only capitals of Europe where smart students are witnessed to, join the church and are blessed. I met them in 2013. Most of them had very strong spiritual experiences with God and the truth. I asked some leaders in Europe if they were interested to study this phenomenon. They agreed.

  8. Michael,

    As far as the population issue goes, I think we know what works. Educating girls and women, empowering them to form small business ventures via micro-loans and providing low-cost birth control can help lower birth rates and population growth in the poorest areas.

    For Europe, Japan, Korea, and many other First World countries, low birth rates are the looming problem. In some of these countries, the birth rate is so low that a crisis of a very different nature is looming in less than 40 years. Immigration many be the solution, but how this is done and each nation’s unique situation make this a very complex issue.

    The UM’s role may be in its ability to bring together faith leaders from many backgrounds. The UM, however, does not partner well with other organizations. It often seeks to use its partnerships to bring people to our events and involve them in our goals. We many need to learn to be part of a team to participate in the solutions to these and other issues.

  9. Michael,

    As far as schools are concerned, there are folks in the Bay Area, Bridgeport, CT, Maryland, and New Jersey who have significant experience in this issue. As part of an Educators’ Conference, I am certain many good outcomes could emerge from a meeting of experienced people and new ideas.

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