Insights from the Bible for a Scripture of True Parents

By Andrew Wilson

I recently returned from a conference in Korea that asked, “What should be in a scripture that testifies to Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon as True Parents?”

In considering this question as a biblical scholar, there is no better starting point than to examine the Bible and its testimony to Jesus Christ. The elements of that testimony made the Bible an effective witness, which spread the faith of Jesus to the more than two billion Christians throughout the world.

There are many elements to that testimony which make it effective. For example, the Gospels make effective use of narrative, present Jesus’ words as short, pithy sayings, and convey his teachings through parables and incidents that are short and easily impress themselves on the mind. Words of Jesus are interspersed with his actions, creating a dramatic narrative.

There are also conversations between Jesus and his disciples that convey his teachings. Finally, there are theological assertions about who Jesus is. Through these literary devices, the four Gospels in little over 100 pages convey a clear impression of Jesus and his work.

I would like to see a scripture of this sort written. I envision it would not be an extensive anthology like Chambumo Gyeongour current scripture of True Parents. To keep it concise, it would have to be selective rather than comprehensive. Designed to move the heart, it would be short enough to be easily digested by all people of the world.

However, I leave aside this issue of style and form, although it deserves attention in its own right. Rather, I explore certain issues of content, focusing on three points: 1) The historical context of the advent of Jesus and its significance for True Parents; 2) the lack of historical context for the advent of True Mother; and, 3) the issue of endings.

The Historical Context of the Advent of Jesus and Its Significance for True Parents

The Bible includes as historical background the providence in the Old Testament that culminates in the Jewish messianic expectations and prophecies about the Messiah. These it weaves into its accounts of Jesus.

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The Unification Pater-Materfamilias

By Alexa Blonner

The Paterfamilias motif has dominated world religious history.  It is most obvious in the Roman Catholic Pontiff, but the senior male as the “family” head, holding chief responsibility for carrying out householder and state religious rites and other duties, is a familiar one in most cultures.

The True Parents doctrine of the Unification faith represents a unique innovation.  It replaces the Paterfamilias with a Pater-Materfamilias.

Surprisingly, the Unification True Parents are barely mentioned in the chief Unification text, Exposition of the Divine Principle (EDP), but the concept increasingly featured in the sermons and other homilies of the founder, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, to emerge by the end of his life in 2012 as perhaps Unificationism’s most seminal and distinguishing theological principle.

The True Parents doctrine has been further refined under the leadership of Rev. Moon’s wife, Hak Ja Han.  Indeed, without this doctrine, it is unlikely Mrs. Moon would have been accepted as leader of the Unification movement following her husband’s death.

Paterfamilias

The Roman paterfamilias classically exemplifies the status of the father or male elder as the socially dominant figure. Pater, or “father,” is an Indo-European word that stems back many thousands of years. By a range of evidences, the Indo-European kinship system was patriarchal, patrilocal and patrilineal.  This patriarchalism had cosmological justification. Women were related to the raw, untamed processes of nature while men were associated with the progressive civilizing force by which nature could be tamed.  The male was thusly construed as being the more important of the two genders and deserving precedence.

Among the paterfamilias’ duties was that of priest.  It was his responsibility to faithfully and accurately execute the household religious rites. The Roman Emperor, who from imperial times was also the Pontifex Maximus, or State High Priest, was like the Paterfamilias of the Empire.  He was both the Empire’s administrative and religious caretaker.

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Applied Unificationism Celebrates Its 5th Blog-iversary

The Applied Unificationism Blog was founded five years ago today on May 1, 2013, hosted by Unification Theological Seminary. Its purpose is to explore the application of Unificationism to the wider world, but also occasionally posts significant articles on theology. It generally posts a new commentary article every Monday.

The Applied Unificationism Blog is broadly read by Unificationists in the U.S., as well as in Europe, Korea and Japan. One major leader termed it, “The best thing out there,” referring to its focus and discussion of how to apply Unificationist principles to today’s societal problems. Any article on the site is available for automated Google Translation from English to dozens of supported languages.

In its five years, the AU Blog, as it has become known, has posted over 275 articles nearly every week in 11 categories. It is followed (by email, Facebook or Twitter) by 800 regular readers; is read in 200 countries or territories; has received over 270,000 total page views, posted nearly 2,700 reader comments, and nearly 60,000 referrals to its articles from search engines alone and 27,000 from Facebook. Some articles have generated a large number of site hits in just 24 hours — in several cases over 1,700 in a day.

The AU Blog’s top three articles all-time are: “Morals and Messages from Harry Potter: Lesson Learned,” “The Only-Begotten Daughter,” and “Same-Sex Marriage: A Unificationist Response.” Other popular articles include: “Toward a Headwing Idea for America,” “You’re Not Really an Adult Until Your Father Dies: Reaching the Highest Stage of Filial Piety,” and “God as the Heavenly Parent of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother.” Popular regular authors include Dr. Andrew Wilson, Dr. Michael Mickler and maestro David Eaton.

The Blog recently ran a series of commentaries by three different authors on the topic of gun control in America. AU Blog articles are often re-posted by the FFWPU International Headquarters site and by the FFWPU-USA site and gain even broader readership.

Original written contributions of 1,500-1,800 words are encouraged to be submitted by Unificationists, current and former UTS faculty, and interested others. Quality commentary or op-ed pieces are sought, written in a lively manner, on a wide range of subjects in which the writer exhibits a strong degree of familiarity with the subject matter. Broad topics include politics and economics, religion and spirituality, gender issues and the family, and culture and the arts. The Blog especially encourages article submissions from second generation Unificationists. It also posts occasional film and book reviews, and collections of poetry.

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Filial Piety to God and True Parents

By Andrew Wilson

True Mother calls the culture of Cheon Il Guk “hyo-jeong culture.” Hyo is the Korean pronunciation of the Chinese character 孝 (Chinese pronunciation xiào) meaning filial piety, and jeong (정) is a pure Korean term meaning a deep connection of heart to one another.

Dr. Thomas Selover, in a brilliant paper presented at a PWPA conference in Korea in February, described hyo as defining our vertical relationship to God and True Parents, and jeong as our abiding connection of heart to brothers and sisters horizontally, extending to all humankind. Thus, to have hyojeong is to have a mind and heart devoted to Heaven and that also connects us to everyone in our family and to our community, nation, world, and cosmos.

The two concepts hyo and jeong naturally create a world that is a perfect sphere because God and True Parents, the object of hyo, have love that is universal and impartial. True Mother said as much when she declared at the opening of the HyoJeong World Peace Foundation, “I will expand the foundation to give equal benefits to mankind, making people know the original meaning of heaven and of our Heavenly Parent.”

Thus, in loving God and True Parents with filial piety, our jeong, manifest in living for the sake of others, also becomes universal. It does not discriminate or show partiality to family, tribe, race or nation, because it is imbued with the universal love of God and True Parents.

Here I focus on the concept of filial piety. The etymology of the character hyo, 孝 is commonly described as a son, 子 (Korean ja, Chinese ) carrying an old man 老 (Korean no, Chinese lao) on his back.

Several deeper spiritual meanings of hyo have been suggested; one takes the topmost strokes as a cross, while the intersecting horizontal and diagonal strokes resemble an A-frame carrier that a man in old Korea might have used to carry a load on his back; hence the whole character depicts a son carrying the cross of the providence. Or, the topmost cross is the Chinese character for the number 10, meaning completion, which gives a similar meaning: carrying the burden of completing God’s Kingdom. Certainly this has been True Parents’ heart in attending Heavenly Parent.

What’s important to understand about filial piety is that it mainly describes an adult child taking care of his or her elderly parents. It is not to “honor your father and mother” by being an obedient child while you are young and your parents are in their prime and in command.

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“I Have an Issue with That!”

By Andrew Wilson

The other night, I felt Rev. Moon say to me, “My son marrying me off — I have an issue with that!” To which I thought, “That’s for sure!”

Many Unificationists have heard about the goings on in the breakaway Sanctuary Church, where on September 23, their leader, Hyung-jin Moon, decreed True Mother divorced from True Father and then proceeded to “marry” True Father to Mrs. Hyun-shil Kang.

Mrs. Kang, who in December last year joined Sanctuary Church, has the distinction of being the first disciple Rev. Moon made in Busan after he finished writing Wolli Wonbon. Further, True Parents had blessed her to St. Augustine in 1998.

The strangeness and irregularity of this event is beyond question. We have heard of children wanting to divorce their parents. But this is even stranger: the youngest son, who claims authority from his deceased father and has a quarrel with his mother, divorces his parents from one another. Then he weds his deceased father to a follower who is submissive to his will.

His motive is to establish his claim to be his parents’ sole heir, and it is quite convenient for him if his mother is out of the way. That the parents whom this son are divorcing are the True Parents, who in the past stated publicly he was to succeed them as leader of the church, is the theological overlay providing Sanctuary supporters with a justification for this deed. Yet it only makes this human farce more unsettling.

Like all members of FFWPU, I can testify that Mrs. Moon remains devoted to her husband and never ceases striving to fulfill the goals that God asked him to achieve during his lifetime. I have ample reason to believe that the True Parents of Heaven, Earth and Humankind are eternally one, love each other deeply, and that God fully participates in their love.

Furthermore, it is the bedrock of FFWPU theology that the eternal oneness of True Parents is the core and foundation for God’s Kingdom to be established throughout heaven and earth, and without that oneness there is no Kingdom. Also, the eternal oneness of True Parents is the basis of the Blessing that has defined our lives and affords all of us the hope that we as Blessed Couples can become eternal citizens of God’s Kingdom.

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Theological Developments in the FFWPU since the Death of Rev. Moon

By Andrew Wilson

This article discusses Mrs. Hak-ja Han Moon’s effort to assert her leadership and put her particular stamp on the Unification movement. Known as “True Mother,” she is emerging as an institution builder. If one likens Rev. Sun Myung Moon to Joseph Smith, then Mrs. Moon can be viewed as the movement’s Brigham Young.

She has faced opposition, because while both Rev. and Mrs. Moon have the theological status of True Parents, in practice members of the Unification Church made Rev. Moon, whom they regard as the Lord of the Second Advent, the focus of their devotion. There had been little reckoning with the prospect of his passing and how they would regard the leadership of his widow, who today is the remaining True Parent on earth.

The Question of Succession

At the time of Rev. Moon’s death in 2012, many members expected Mrs. Moon would merely lead from behind while training a designated male heir to take over leadership of the movement. Rev. Moon had made the issue of finding a suitable heir a matter of serious concern during the previous decade. But those efforts were unsuccessful.

The eldest son, Hyo-jin Moon, declined the position due to past overindulgence, which contributed to his early death from heart failure in 2008. Ironically, because he returned repentant as a prodigal son, he now occupies a place of honor among the True Children. The next living male heir, Hyun-jin (Preston) Moon had been widely regarded as the heir apparent, but that same year Rev. Moon appointed his youngest son, Hyung-jin (Sean) Moon, as president of FFWPU, and at a ceremony in January 2009 he and his wife stood behind Rev. and Mrs. Moon wearing crowns. The following year, Hyun-jin broke from the Family Federation to form a rival organization. Hyung-jin continued as president until early 2013, when he had a falling out with his mother and moved to Pennsylvania to set up a rival church.

Thus, while few members of FFWPU anticipated that Mrs. Moon would take the reins of leadership for an extended period of time, after the sons who were designated as heirs refused to work with her, most members gravitated to her. They were willing to accept True Mother’s authority after her husband’s passing because it fit with the church’s core teaching that Rev. and Mrs. Moon stand side-by-side in the capacity of True Parents.

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The Mission of the New Truth

By Tyler Hendricks

Rev. Sun Myung Moon spoke on both sides of many matters.

He considered God to appear as Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother, but addressed Him only as Heavenly Father.

He referred to himself and his wife, Hak Ja Han Moon, as being free from original sin and as having original sin.

Father Moon consistently proclaimed that the wholesale success of his movement was imminent and yet spoke as if successive 40 year courses were inevitable.

He referred to Mother Moon as queen of the universe and as hopeless without him.

Through database searches of Rev. Moon’s speeches, Unificationist scholar Dr. Jin Choon Kim found numerous examples of divergent statements. On some topics, Father Moon’s words are 100% consistent. On others the divergence is 95% to 5%, 80% to 20%, and as much as 50%-50%.

Rev. Moon’s words provide plenty of citations to justify the claims of any number of sects to be his sole orthodox successors and to excommunicate those who choose to follow his words that justify the opposite position.

The Introduction to Exposition of Divine Principle states this exact dynamic provided justification for Christians to divide into hundreds of denominations. “Divergent interpretations of such symbolic and metaphorical Bible verses have inevitably led to the division of Christianity into denominations.” (p. 11) It provides both an analysis and a solution to this problem.

Analysis of the Problem

One, scriptures are susceptible to diverse interpretations. In the Bible, the cause Exposition of Divine Principle points to is that it is written in parables and symbols which can be interpreted in different ways. Father Moon’s words also are susceptible to diverse interpretations.

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Our Alignment in the Era of True Mother

By Andrew Wilson

These days Unificationists may ask themselves, “Where are we in the providence? Where is God’s work headed?” When Reverend Moon was alive this was not a pressing issue, because he set the direction and we could simply follow.

But since he passed on in 2012 to take his place in heaven, things on earth have not been so simple. Furthermore, in 2013 Foundation Day arrived, proclaiming the victorious conclusion of the providence of restoration, but where did that leave us?

In my experience, every time Father made a providential announcement, it typically took three or four years to comprehend its meaning. It’s the same today; we needed some distance in time to understand what has happened since the dramatic events of 2012 and 2013.  Now in 2017 we can begin to see more clearly how the providence is changing and where it is heading.

Of course, the most obvious change is that Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, True Mother, has begun putting her stamp on the movement. Also, we are coming to know God not just as Heavenly Father but as Heavenly Parent, and some of us are exploring what it means to relate to God not only as Father but also as Mother.

Change has always been a feature of God’s providence. Reading the Chambumo Gyeong, we can see the movement has passed through different eras, from the early days of pioneer missionary work, to the 1980s when we confronted communism, to the 1990s when we developed an interreligious and international family movement for peace, to the 2000s when we could witness the dawning of God’s royal sovereignty.

As the providence advanced from one stage to the next, we had to change our mindsets to adapt to new realities and challenges. So what is new about the reality of this era, and how should our mindset change to better align with the era of True Mother?

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“Fences” and “Hidden Figures”: Finding Purpose in Unexpected Places

By Kathy Winings

kathy_winings_3_profileTwo recent films, each nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, help white America understand the challenges and struggles of black America from different perspectives. On the one hand, “Fences” is a story that shines a light on the challenges and issues faced by black families in the 1950s. On the other hand, in “Hidden Figures,” we have Hollywood telling the amazing story of three immensely talented black women who made invaluable contributions to NASA and the American space program.

August Wilson has been called one of the finest American playwrights of the 20th century. His plays have highlighted and brought to life African Americans in everyday roles dealing with everyday issues including love, struggle, duty, and betrayal. The impetus behind his plays was so white Americans could begin to see African Americans in a different light; see them dealing with the same issues that define life for most whites so that whites just might treat African Americans differently. “Fences” was one of his best-known plays for which he received both a Pulitzer and a Tony award.  In 2016, “Fences” came to the big screen directed by Denzel Washington.

“Fences” is the story of Troy Maxson, a sanitation worker in 1950s Pittsburgh.  Portrayed passionately by Denzel Washington, Maxson is a bitter man whose dream of becoming a professional baseball player died early on because he was too old by the time Major League  Baseball began admitting black players. As a result, after spending time in prison, he now struggles with his own ambitions to find success in his job and as a man needing to feel vibrant and loved. Yet, he looks for this, as the proverbial song says, “in all the wrong places.”

His main support is his long-suffering wife, Rose, played brilliantly by Viola Davis, who won the 2010 Tony for best actress in the role and the 2017 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the same role (her Oscar acceptance speech was deeply moving).

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