The Unification Community 100 Years After the Founder’s Birth: Are We There Yet?

By Franco Famularo

Where are we and where do we want to be?

By month’s end, the global Unification Family will celebrate 100 years since the birth of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and 60 years since his marriage to co-founder, Hak Ja Han, in 1960.

It might be helpful for us to take an honest look at where the Unification Community is at currently in relation to where it wants to be.

In this article, I draw comparisons between the early Christian movement and where it stood after the birth of Jesus in the year 100 A.D. and the Unification Community in 2020. Estimates of the growth of early Christianity are referred to.

Of course, there are different approaches one can take to assessing the current situation. One can be totally optimistic and conclude that the movement founded by True Parents is far beyond God’s expectations. One can be consumed by idealism. On the other hand, some may consider a more pessimistic view and conclude that the Unification Movement is not growing as rapidly as it could. Some may even say that it is in decline.

Is the glass half full or half empty?

More that 40 years ago, Rev. Moon asked a gathering of members, “Why are we here? What is our purpose?” Various answers were entertained until one young 20-year-old in the front row responded: “To restore the world,” to which the founder responded, “That’s right. We are here to restore the world.” A tall order by any measure.

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Religion as a Dream World and the Next Century of Unificationism

By Incheol Son

According to Chinese tradition, a sage named Chuang-tzu (莊子) once had a dream of a butterfly. In it, he became a butterfly flying over a garden and enjoyed the beautiful scenery:

Once upon a time, I, Chuang-tzu, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.

This story reminds me of the movie, “Inception,” where the people of reality become significantly confused from cyberspace. People need the “kick,” the only way to show whether the world one belongs to is physical reality or cyber reality. In particular, what impressed me was the scene full of the poor lying on beds in a dark room, connected to a device that enables them to “live” a happy cyber-life. Watching the movie in a dark theater, I was confused after it ended, wondering whether I held the kick in my pocket to return to reality.

Sigmund Freud discussed in his book, Dream Psychology, the will to remain in a dream. When the desire to remain in a dream is so strong, the dream itself twists all the physical senses caught into a dreamer. Light, sound, smell, and touch are transformed into properties in a dreamy scene.

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Passing on Our Religious Tradition to the Next Generation

By Jennifer Tanabe

My new publication, The Quest to Pass on our Religious Tradition to the Next Generation, co-authored with Dr. Rollain Nsemi Muanda, discusses the difficult challenge faced by all parents of faith in passing on their tradition to their children. The following is based upon excerpts from this book.

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When we think about passing on our religious tradition to the next generation, we can assess how successful our parents were in passing on their religious tradition to us, their children. If we happily accepted our parents’ religion, there is no problem. The job was well done.

However, in many cases, including both of the authors, the children do not accept the religion of their parents, never committing fully to the beliefs, values and traditions. They pursue their own quest, searching for answers that they did not find in their own parents’ faith tradition. They may reject outright their parents’ beliefs to join a different religion, or even embrace atheism. In such situations, how should the parents respond?

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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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The Interdependence Ideology Meets the Sharing Economy in Our Community

By Incheol Son

The ideal of “One Family under God,” for we Unificationists, can be quickly realized, at least technically, through adopting principles of the “Sharing Economy.”

The Sharing Economy is a platform-based economy by which people can enjoy economic benefits by sharing idle resources which we possess and operate every day, like a car, a vacant room, etc.

I clearly recall Rev. Moon saying in a speech, “You don’t need to worry about where to stay when you go abroad because Unification Church members are everywhere. You can simply stay at their home or the local church, where you will be served a decent meal and given a bed. You may feel like you’re at home.”

This is what Rev. Moon described as a dreamlike scene that we would enjoy. If Father had been attended by high-level entrepreneurs at that time, the Unification Church might have been the first mover to operate a platform like Airbnb. Actually, his foresight has come true already in this era.

The founders of Airbnb, an enterprise of the so-called Sharing Economy, actually started its business with only three air beds, which had long laid idle in a closet, and providing breakfast in their rented apartment in New York. The company grew rapidly within a very short time. It’s because there is plenty of demand out there. There are so many who prefer a home-like accommodation rather than a commercial hotel.

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The Unification Movement’s Next 100 Years

By John Redmond

The 100th birthday of Rev. Sun Myung Moon next February seems a fitting time for reflection, assessment and a reorientation to our shared providential course.

To do the topic justice, it’s necessary to back away from the disappointments, challenges and victories of the present, and give ourselves a comfortable seat to try to look with God’s eyes at the progress and potential of our relatively young Unification Movement.

Learning from history

There are several ways to plan for the future.  One is the religious way, to trust that God is in charge and close your eyes, do what you are told and go along for the ride.  Counter to that, leftist intellectuals may be certain they can manipulate history and force society into a pragmatic scientific paradise.

My preference is the method discussed in the Divine Principle, where patterns of history combined with human responsibility and God’s inspiration direct history toward tragedy or triumph.

It’s instructive to look at history and identify the success path of movements similar to ours to see what worked for them and how they broke through to become embedded in the culture to achieve their goals.

If we look back over the last few thousand years, there are several movements that lasted beyond the life of their initial prophet and created a significant impact on history. Buddhism, Confucianism, Judeo-Christianity, the early American Puritans, and Marxism all have a similar development pattern.

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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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The Korean Wave Matters: K-Pop Band BTS and the Providence

By Incheol Son

Recently, a Korean boy band hit the world stage and many of the youth generation have fallen in love with them. They’ve become so famous that even this band of seven boys was surprised to see the global level of reaction to their performances, far more than they anticipated.

The band is BTS. Their name comes from the English acronym of 방탄소년단 or BangTan Sonyeondan, literally “Bulletproof Boy Scouts” in Korean. They won the Billboard Music Awards for Top Social Artist for the past three years. They are almost like the Second Coming of the Beatles, at least for our present generation of young people.

This year, at least 100,000 fans in each city they toured turned out. In particular, they filled Wembley Stadium where Queen performed live in 1985. Their fans have created a kingdom-like quasi-religion of their own. On the Internet, such as YouTube, the band’s fan club is called the ARMY.

Fans are especially amazed by the dramatic growth of the band. Their production company was not one of the three major companies in South Korea. As they sang in “Silver Spoon/Baepsae,” there used to be a golden rule in the South Korean entertainment industry: a band should be promoted by one of the top three K-Pop companies to gain global popularity. But, BTS started at the bottom. And none of the seven boys was from the capital, Seoul.

They were initially ignored after their debut because their music was totally different from prevailing trends. But because of that ignorance they went on to win the Billboard award, as sung in “DDaeng.” The boys show their fans a humble attitude while singing “I Need U,” “Best of Me” and “Illegal/Dimple.” And they recently released the song, “Boy With Luv,” dedicated to their fans.

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