Heavenly Parent and the God of Dual Characteristics

By Tyler Hendricks

Soon after the ascension of her husband, Rev. Sun Myung Moon (for Unificationists, Father Moon), Dr. Hak Ja Han (Mother Moon) said that God is Hanul Bumo, Korean for Heavenly Parent(s). She thus upended 2,000 years of Christian understanding as well as the normative understanding of her own movement.

Some criticized her pronouncement and used it to justify rebellion. None of those people, to my knowledge, provided a meaningful theological basis for the rejection of Heavenly Parent.

Happily, others, including Dr. Ye Jin Moon and Dr. Andrew Wilson, developed meaningful theological reflections on God as Heavenly Parent. In 2013, I published on this blog an inquiry on the subject, and I appreciate the responses to it from both Dr. Moon and Dr. Wilson. Since then, I’ve continued my exploration into the idea of God as Heavenly Parent.

My purpose here is to show that the doctrine of God’s dual characteristics in Exposition of the Divine Principle (henceforth, Exposition) supports Mother Moon’s appellation of God as Heavenly Parent.

The Ontological God and Economic God

I begin with an important distinction. I will be talking about the dual characteristics in terms of the beginning of creation, the God beyond time and space, which I term the ontological God. God in relationship to time and space is the economic God. I derive these terms from the Christian theological categories applied to the Trinity. There is the ontological Trinity, God outside time and space, and the economic Trinity, God in relation to time and space. The subject of this article is Exposition’s teachings on the ontological God, which it calls the causal reality.” (p. 15)

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A Response to Andrew Wilson’s Article on the Only Begotten Daughter

By Claude A. Perrottet

This recent article, “Why Does True Mother Call Herself the Only Begotten Daughter?” by Andrew Wilson suggests that True Mother has chosen to lower herself by taking on the title of Only Begotten Daughter in reaction to failure and opposition.

While acknowledging the many insights of this factual article, I submit that True Mother (Mrs. Hak Ja Han) has not lowered herself at all, but promotes this view much in line with her role as the first woman in history to fulfill the purpose of creation. Being humble, at least here, does not mean lowering oneself.

It is undoubtedly true that True Mother had no choice but to engage in a sustained effort to create a foundation for herself, just as Jesus and later True Father had been forced to do. And it is obviously true that True Mother had to start her lonely course under circumstances that were not the ones she or anyone would have hoped for (an understatement).

True Father was entirely victorious, but he was largely deprived of the fruits of his victory, and so were God and humankind. In True Family and our movement at large, fractures had begun to appear even before True Father passed on to spirit world.

I never had any doubts about the status of True Mother before, during, or after True Father’s ascension, and believe I am part of an overwhelming majority on this point. However, when we first heard the expression “Only Begotten Daughter,” several thoughts came to mind.

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Why Does True Mother Call Herself the Only Begotten Daughter?

By Andrew Wilson

Since August 2014, Hak Ja Han Moon, the widowed spouse of Rev. Sun Myung Moon whom FFWPU members call True Mother, has been proclaiming herself “the only begotten Daughter.”

The title itself is well-established in Rev. Moon’s teaching: “The only begotten Son needs the only begotten Daughter” (May 1968), and “The Messiah, who comes as the only begotten Son, must find the only begotten Daughter” (January 1989). Yet, Mother calling herself by this title has caused some members considerable consternation.

First is the matter of disabusing Christians that Mother is not equating herself with God. This is because Christians understand the scriptural title “only-begotten Son” to mean that Jesus is God. Consider the Nicene Creed:

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father…

Jesus was “begotten,” not at his human birth but “before all ages.” It means he is of God’s very substance (consubstantial), “God from God.” He is made of God-stuff, not mortal flesh and bone.

However, “only begotten Son” in Unificationism means something very different. First and foremost, Jesus is a human being.

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The Lost Lambs: One Mother’s Reflection on the Alienation of Unification Youth

By Maree P. Gauper

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the slopes and go in search of the one that has wandered off?”

— Matthew 18:12

The Unification Movement has no shortage of programs for youth. In addition to Sun Moon University in Korea, there is CARP (Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles), GPA (Generation Peace Academy), the Youth Federation for World Peace, the Crane’s Club, and many other youth-centered organizations.

When I see groups such as CARP or GPA at public events, they are truly an inspiration and are some of the loveliest fruits of the decades-long global investment of True Parents.

Yet there is a part of me that always hurts at the same time, a part that asks, “What about the other children?” I mean, the ones who were raised in the movement but became estranged.

I can think of so many families where all three, four or more siblings became completely disengaged from the church after high school. (Note: This is not a data-driven study based on scientific research. It is simply one mother’s personal experience and observations)

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Moving to More Widely Distributed Leadership and Decision-making

By Alison Wakelin

We are entering a time when the planets are aligned as they were a few years before the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and World War II. It’s hard to miss the chaos we are in, or the parallels with Britain, embroiled as it is in Brexit.

We also have some similarities to the period preceding the Reformation. This is good news, in that it offers the potential for something good to emerge. We are not doomed to fight another war.

What these eras have in common (and common sense tells us this about our time even if we aren’t swayed by astrological evidence) is they are all times that brought in a new order, economic and social, as well as spiritual. Whether we can avoid the war and fight on a purely theoretical level depends now on individuals, and our state of maturity.

The most hopeful sign is that women’s voices will be heard this time. Women in general represent a huge force on the side of peaceful resolution of conflict. The feminine side naturally seeks healing if there is pain and conflict, not to impose its will on the other. This path requires strength and self-confidence, and sadly has been obscured by the historical decision toward masculine dominance.

What we in the West have accepted as basic truth is coming unraveled, and our political systems are failing to deal with the situation because they are in fact part of the old order. Very simplistically, conservatives want to hold on to the status quo, progressives want to create a new world order, and President Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (a quick learner, to be sure) aid and abet the destruction of the old order by challenging all norms.

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Emerging Women’s Ministry

By Grace Selover

Jesus taught the early Christians that they should open their eyes, look closely at the fields and realize the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few (Matt. 9:37). Indeed, the current situation of the Unification Church is as pressing as it was in Jesus’ ministry.

With the Vision 2020 deadline approaching, there is immense demand for the workers of God to labor in the field of evangelism and ecumenism for the Unification Church, particularly in pastoral ministry. From the visitation of individuals to pulpit supply of the church, from the revival of church life to influential contributions for society through Heavenly Tribal Messiah ministry, more activists are needed.

Where can we find these activists?

Currently, there are women who are lay leaders in local churches working behind the scenes. They are organized to support and revitalize the life of the church and provide pastoral care to church congregants in support of their pastors and church ministries. They reach in to current congregants to help them become more engaged in the vitality of the church, as well as reach out to new members and the general public by identifying, helping and serving their needs. They consult, educate, cultivate, communicate, and evangelize with members, converts and supporters.

These women juggle multiple tasks and roles of being a mother, wife, daughter, and sister at home, as well as a team leader, counselor, mentor, cheerleader, and friend in the church setting. Many times, those roles and responsibilities leave them feeling exhausted. But their biggest challenge and limitation is they feel unsupported and unappreciated.

There are two sides to the phenomenon currently in the Unification Church. On one hand, there are many lay women leaders in the church who have worked voluntarily for decades, supporting their local church ministry, keeping church life going, and maintaining the church to be functional in the local pastoral ministry.

On the other hand, even though they have the experience, ability and capacity to lead, they are often overlooked or ignored. They ought to be appreciated, accepted and acknowledged formally as teachers, lecturers, preachers, evangelists, assistant pastors or even pastors.

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Solving Unsolvable Problems

By Robert S. Kittel

True Mother (as Unificationists call Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, wife of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon) recently concluded her world summit tours. The first continental-level event was held in January 2018 in Senegal, Africa, and the last in December in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The hallmark of these summits, as well as programs in Korea, Japan and America, was her proclamation that she is the only begotten daughter of God. She wanted to make this bold statement on the world stage and in front of heads of state and government as well as distinguished leaders in all fields.

Including both the first and last summits, eight sitting presidents, prime ministers and monarchs attended. Additionally, in the audiences were former heads of state and government, deputy prime ministers and vice presidents, government ministers, speakers, members of parliament, elected officials, other high-level dignitaries, along with eminent religious leaders. It was a collective victory for God by us all.

In announcing she is God’s daughter at these summits, True Mother is solving one of the most critical problems of our time. In societies around the world and throughout history, women have been raped, trafficked into prostitution, beaten at home, murdered, unwillingly impregnated, and forced into life-threatening abortions (mostly when the fetus in their womb was known to be female).

The solution to the way we mistreat women will never be fully addressed through the power of police, the number of prisons, the verdicts of courts, more laws, or even the fear of capital punishment. These have been tried but the problem remains unsolved.

The lasting solution is a fundamental change of attitude towards women, incorporated in a new heart and culture. We need something original and innovative; something never thought of or done before.

No woman in history ever proclaimed on a global stage that she was God’s only begotten daughter. No woman ever invested so many resources in making this bold statement. True Mother’s investment of financial and human resources is unparalleled. At the age of 76, she is investing all her energy. For older people, extensive travel, changing time zones to distant locales, and walking through long airport corridors is very difficult.

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Innate Conscience and World Peace

By Jeanne Carroll

As a young child, my friends next door had their grandmother living with them. She was a plump white-haired lady who spoke with a lilting Irish brogue. I so enjoyed listening to her speak.

One day my mom let me know that I shouldn’t talk to her anymore because we didn’t like her.

Shortly afterward, I broke a lamp. When asked by my infuriated mother if I did it, I simply said, “No.” I learned that by going against my inner voice and lying, I deflected punishment.

In summer 1964, I was eight years old. I happened to walk by a TV and saw men fighting on the streets with police officers. There were riots in New York and that scene sent a shudder of fear up my spine that I never had felt before. I knew someplace deep inside that this should not be happening.

On September 11, 2001, after watching the plumes of black smoke rise from the buildings of lower Manhattan from my window, I was sickened by the thought I would someday have to forgive the people who were responsible for that terrible devastation. Like all people, I wrestle with my conscience.

In a world where technology is king, it is easy see how the tools that humans are born with could be overlooked. As a long-forgotten super power, our conscience patiently waits to be used to its full potential.

Some consider “innate conscience” to be the basis of a philosophical debate, that conscience is formed only as an individual is introduced to family, society and culture. I maintain that innate conscience is a birthright bestowed on all humans equally. It is recorded in the Bible that after God completed each day of creation, God saw that it was good.  Therefore, all creation is the embodiment of God from birth or from the beginning, not only after maturity, religious ceremony or some other stipulation.

“Internal nature and external form refer to corresponding inner and outer aspects of the same entity” (Exposition of the Divine Principle, p. 17) which are in place at the time of birth. God desperately wanted an object partner in the form of children to love and to be loved by, embodying goodness. God, just as any parent, could take delight in them from birth. All people were born equipped with an inner knowing of their personalized innate conscience.

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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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