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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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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Battle of the Sexes in the Unification Movement

By Michael L. Mickler

The Unification Movement (UM) is embroiled in a battle of the sexes.

It began with the passing of Rev. Sun Myung Moon (True Father) in September 2012 and intensified as his widow, Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon (True Mother), consolidated her position as head of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) and the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA-UWC or Unification Church).

The battle lines are drawn between True Mother and her eldest and youngest living sons, Hyun Jin and Hyung Jin Moon, both of whom lead break-away organizations. Conflicts among these three leaders and their followers have led to the fracturing of relationships among the movement’s membership and leave-taking by some with little or no resolution in sight.

In this struggle, gender has become a flashpoint of contention. True Mother made it clear after her husband’s passing she would assume direct authority over the UM.  Her sons condemned her presumption and stated definitively that neither she nor any female will ever be in a position to inherit True Father’s authority or lead the UM because of their gender. Thus, the dynamic of gender conflict in the post-Sun Myung Moon UM has been one of matriarchal assertion and patriarchal reaction.

This article outlines patterns of matriarchal assertion and patriarchal reaction in the UM. The concluding section proposes gender-neutrality as an alternative model of UM leadership.

Matriarchal Assertion

True Mother’s assertion of authority followed a four-stage trajectory in the years following True Father’s passing. These included 1) her assertion of leadership; 2) a critique of masculine leadership; 3) altered practices and innovations; and, 4) theological interpretations from a matriarchal perspective.

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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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The Royal Road to Original Design: Divine Principle Post-Foundation Day and the Questions to be Asking

By Kathleen Burton

The 2013 advent of Foundation Day for the Unification Movement was the pinnacle of achievement of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han Moon, known as the True Parents, accompanied by True Mother’s instructions in January 2013 to pray to our Heavenly Parent. A plethora of questions arise with this declaration.

Heavenly Parent means the recognition of Heavenly Mother as well as Heavenly Father. How do we develop a relationship with Her? How is Her essence different from that of Heavenly Father? How do we expand our understanding of God’s dual characteristics in light of “Our Heavenly Parent”?

These ontological questions clearly point to a serious contemplation of a veritable cosmic paradigm shift in our understanding of the Godhead in the Unification Movement as we begin our journey of discovery toward God’s true essence of both femininity and masculinity. This “Royal Road” explores the need for a gender-balanced view of God and Divine Principle coupled with an equally important understanding of the more fundamental aspects of God’s internal nature and external form and how they are manifest in harmony with the gender-balanced  concept of “Heavenly Parent.” This is the process of getting to the Ideal. The journey on this royal road of inquiry and discussion requires asking questions and waiting and listening for Heavenly Parent’s reply.

True Parents’ Foundation Day victory has ushered in an era where long-awaited events, the foundation for which the Unification Movement founders and membership labored tirelessly, were achieved.  Unificationists believe Lucifer surrendered in 1999, and both the end of indemnity and end of the restoration providence were declared. These events, culminating in the advent of Foundation Day itself, establish a turning point for the study of Divine Principle. It pivots the providence from a linear restoration understanding, beginning with the Human Fall and quest for salvation through restoration history, toward what could be termed “The Royal Road”: a pursuit of God’s original design as discussed in Chapter One, “The Principles of Creation.”

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Women, Science and the Future of Unificationism

By Alison Wakelin

Transitions are difficult, as both the Unification movement and world are discovering right now.  Restoration mode has given way in emphasis to further revealing of the Principles of Creation, and science is now coming into its own as a source of new insights for a new age. While it may be challenging to let go of previous modes of operating as a spiritual movement, we find deep truths emerging today in many fields which must be incorporated into any realistic and comprehensive future for Unificationism.

As women have become more involved in the academic and scientific world, a general picture is emerging of the differences between a man’s perspective and woman’s perspective. I remember my boss asking 20 years ago, “but what is women’s science?” I couldn’t tell him back then, but now I would be able to reply that women see things from a more holistic perspective, they often think more in pictures, more intuitively, and take in the whole of a situation at once.  Men tend to think in a more linear fashion, work out truths sequentially, and build up a worldview according to this method.

As a means for freeing people’s minds from the domination of the church in the early days of Western European science, the more male-oriented methods worked well, cutting out an ever-expanding corner of truth that held its own in rational circles, and gradually taking over as the predominant worldview in the West. However, its own success has brought us to a day when it is not unusual to find accomplished scientists asking if maybe science has simply tied itself up in its own strings. With uncountable solutions to the currently popular string theory (a highly theoretical mathematical scheme that regards a one-dimensional string as the most fundamental building block of matter), and no way to distinguish between these solutions, this has to be a valid question.

Even in the West, certainly since the early days of quantum physics and relativity, there has been a secondary track within science, based on the idea that matter itself is in some sense conscious, or at least has some kind of internal nature.

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The Ethics of Care

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By Keisuke Noda

Keisuke_NodaThe ethics of care is an emerging discipline developed by feminist ethicists in the latter half of the 20th century. It has gradually gained support from non-feminist ethicists and is now examined not as a feminist ethics but as a possible general ethical theory.

Care ethics has three main characteristics:

  • It views the human being as interdependent, who values caring relationships and recognizes the family as the primary setting where interdependence is evident and caring relationships are cultivated.
  • It recognizes the moral value of emotional feelings and emotion-based virtues such as benevolence, empathy, receptivity, and sensitivity.
  • It acknowledges the moral value of partiality in intimate relationships, such as those defined by family ties and close friendships.

This article considers each of these characteristics, notes criticism from traditional ethicists, examines the Unificationist perspective, and suggests that it offers the basis for a global ethic.

 Interdependence. Major proponents of this theory such as Carol Gilligan, Virginia Held and Nel Noddings argue that dominant modern ethics, such as Kantian ethics and utilitarianism which they characterize as ethics of justice, were built upon the assumption that the human being is an autonomous, rational, independent individual.

Care ethicists disagree. They point out the fact that no human can survive without caring adults who nurture and raise him or her at the early stages of life. Later in life, one also becomes dependent upon others who take care of them. It is an illusory view, care ethics theorists argue, that a human being is independent. Rather, they argue that an adequate ethical theory must be built upon the understanding that human beings are essentially interdependent.

This insight is similar to the Unificationist understanding of co-existence. One’s identity is not an isolated, atomic entity. It is intertwined with others.

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God and Politics

By Scott Simonds

SSimonds_1The old adage that polite conversation should avoid politics and religion to maintain friendly relationships has never proven to be truer than during this election season.  Rather than civil discourse about the issues of the day and better approaches to addressing them, the election has become a mudslinging contest over which candidate has the most baggage and would be most disastrous in office.

Worse yet, anybody who speaks on behalf of, or against, one of the candidates is branded a bigot, a misogynist, a hog at the public trough, un-American, a fool, atheistic, even satanic by guilt through association.  Friends and relatives easily get caught up in the fray and even religious communities, Unificationism included, have become deeply divided.

As tempting as it is to base a decision on who has the better character in this election, no candidate rises to the level of a Washington, Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt or Reagan.  At this crossroads in the American narrative, this crucial moment of decision, it behooves us to look at contemporary issues in a very broad historical context — that is, a providential context, past, present and future. The theme of the ever progressing nature of God’s providence is expressed in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (KJV):

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;…
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

The political pendulum swings back and forth.

Government grew, during the Great Depression and World War II, for example.  And it receded, during the 1990s under the Republican Congress.  Often, the economy grew together with government expansion.  Automobile and airplane manufacturers exploded in the aftermath of the military buildup of the Second World War.

Although government grew after the Depression and during the war, so did private industry.

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True Mother and the Work of the Holy Spirit

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By Andrew Wilson

WilsonTrue Mother, according to the Divine Principle, is the substantial Holy Spirit. Now that True Father is in heaven, True Mother remains on earth, like the Holy Spirit was after Pentecost.

After Jesus Christ died, the primary subject partner that guided the early church was the Holy Spirit. In this parallel period after the death of Christ at the Second Advent, True Mother can be expected to lead the church and do works that are similar to those the Holy Spirit did after the death of Christ at the First Advent.

Accordingly, one way that we can appreciate True Mother and her works during these years following True Father’s Seonghwa is by understanding her mission in terms of the mission of the Holy Spirit. It is this role that I will address.

In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit fulfilled a number of missions in the years immediately following Jesus’ death, including: (1) bring the disciples to internal oneness with Christ; (2) promote evangelism to grow the church; (3) raise up new leaders; (4) establish new ordinances; and (5) clarify the meaning of Jesus’ words for the church. Let’s examine these five missions of the Holy Spirit and compare them with the work of True Mother over the last four years.

1.     Internal Oneness with Christ

Saint Paul describes the internal work of the Holy Spirit in the 8th chapter of Romans. The essence of this work is to bind Christians with Christ. Paul wrote, it is the Holy Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8:15-17). The Holy Spirit brings Christians into a parent-child relationship with God.

The Holy Spirit loves Jesus spiritually. True Mother loved True Father conjugally. Through the Holy Spirit, Christians are reborn as God’s adopted children. True Mother gave us rebirth as God’s direct children. True Mother spent three years to attend True Father on our behalf (in Korean Confucian tradition it is the children, especially the sons, who are supposed to mourn their deceased father for three years).

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