A Needed Reset for Liberal Culture

By Gordon Anderson

The rise of Donald Trump, Brexit, Geert Wilders, and Marine Le Pen can be seen as a reaction to the failure of Western liberal establishment culture to successfully lead the transition to global society. These popular figures do not represent a higher stage of development, but a return to the last successful level of social development—nationalism.

We could say it is a reset. A “headwing,” or integral, worldview should supply the necessary elements that liberalism has so far ignored in its zeal to create a more just and inclusive world.

A Fall at the Top of the Growth Stage

Unificationists can view this nationalist retrenchment as a fall at the top of the growth stage in Christian culture. Reverend Moon observed  in 1960 that Christianity in the West had reached a peak and needed guidance to move the world to the next level. The cultural revolution of the 1960s sought equal rights, freedom from oppression, environmental sustainability, global harmony, and true love.

These were reactions against limitations in traditional societies that needed to be transcended. However, those who led the social revolution did not have solutions but reacted like children who had matured enough to sense injustice, but not enough to develop a parental heart or a responsible approach.

While a few extraordinary figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mohandas Gandhi sought to move to the next stage of development on spiritual foundations, the masses engaged in social movements that sought political solutions—solutions based on the force of law. The result was, in Unificationist terms, “a reversal of dominion.”

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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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Resentment, Multiculturalism and Identity Politics

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By David Eaton

david_eatonDuring the post-World War II era the influence of multiculturalism and identity politics in the West became a pervasive and potent force in politics, academia, sociology, and culture. So-called “social justice warriors” (SJWs) have taken activism on a variety of issues — race, gender, ethnicity, sexual preferences — to such extremes that it is near impossible to engage in reasoned debate or discussion without finding oneself mired in invective-laden exchanges drenched in political correctness.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy explains that the term “identity politics”

“…has come to signify a wide range of political activity and theorizing founded in the shared experiences of injustice of members of certain social groups. Rather than organizing solely around belief systems, programmatic manifestos, or party affiliation, identity political formations typically aim to secure the political freedom of a specific constituency marginalized within its larger context. Members of that constituency assert or reclaim ways of understanding their distinctiveness that challenge dominant oppressive characterizations, with the goal of greater self-determination.”

There is an emphasis on the need for various social groups to use political means to attain social justice — justice not necessarily based on principle or universal truths, but rather on “political formulations” or an affiliation with a particular political party that will legislate according to a specific set of concerns. Current iterations of multiculturalism and identity politics can be traced to Marxism and the Cold War, particularly the Marxist ideological tenets of the Institute for Social Research at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, known as the Frankfurt School.

As the Industrial Revolution led to the emergence of a substantial upwardly mobile middle class, the issue of economic disparity between rich and poor — a main Marxist premise — began to dissipate, hence the revolutionary urges exploited by earlier Marxist revolutionaries were mitigated.

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Providential Necessity of the Only Begotten Daughter

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By Andrew Wilson

No doubt the years since True Father passed have been difficult for True Mother. But it should not surprise anyone that her course would be difficult. As the Original Eve, she is the pioneer for the entire female gender. She has obstacles to overcome that are uniquely her cross, which True Father, as a man, did not have to deal with. Proclaiming herself the Only Begotten Daughter is her way of directly facing this task.

Mother has no victorious representative of womankind as her feminine forbearer. In fact, she alone carries the burden of all the pain of womankind through history, going back to Eve. Mother has to deal with the fact that after the Fall there was no respect for Eve whatsoever. People have a better feeling about Adam; he was somehow redeemed by Jesus as the victorious Second Adam. But not Eve. She was always associated with the Fall and failure.

At the Fall, Adam was brought low because he followed Eve. The woman led the man to ruin. This led to the widespread view that no woman is worthy to be the leader of men. As a result, fallen societies always put men on top, while women were treated miserably, even as the man’s property to do with as he wished.

To make matters worse, this patriarchal attitude belittling women was inscribed in scripture, which led believers to justify it as if it were God’s way. The Bible, after all, was written by men. We search the Bible in vain to find the name of Noah’s wife, Lot’s wife, or the names of Adam and Eve’s daughters. No angel stayed the hand of Jephthah when he offered his daughter as a human sacrifice (Judg. 11:34-40), the way it stayed the hand of Abraham when he was about to slay Isaac. Polygamy became a norm, the atrocious practice even perpetuated in the modern era.

Men made things worse than they needed to be, continuing to harshly judge women while making themselves the arbiters of faith despite their own wrongdoing, and thinking their attitude justified by scripture. Such male attitudes towards women continue to this day.

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A Principle Viewpoint on the Only Begotten Daughter

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By Andrew Wilson

Recently, Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon (True Mother) has been making a point of designating herself by the title “Only Begotten Daughter.” This term designates her special status among all human beings in history by lifting up her unique relationship with God that preceded her position as True Parent.

The title is founded upon Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s words, where on several occasions he spoke of True Mother as such. Therefore, on his authority, there should be no disputing True Mother’s declaration that she is the Only Begotten Daughter.

Also, True Mother finds this title appropriate to her own life experience. She testifies in the Chambumo Gyeong that throughout her early life she felt God’s special love. When True Mother was born, her mother, Hong Soon-ae (Daemonim), had a dream in which the late Rev. Kim Seong-do, founder of the Holy Lord Church, came to her and told her to raise her with special care because she was not her own but God’s daughter. When she was six, after Rev. Heo Ho-bin, founder of the Inside the Womb Church, had been imprisoned, Rev. Heo’s mother took her aside and gave her a special blessing, saying, “You are Heaven’s bride.” From a very early age, Mother knew she had been born with a special destiny and identity.

Those experiences made True Mother who she is, long before she met True Father. Hence, when True Father first met her, he said, “Heavenly Parent, I’m so grateful that You could present to me such a precious daughter.”

During the 52 years True Parents were married, True Mother could rely on being objective to True Father. But after True Father ascended, she found it necessary to make the point that she also stands on her own foundation.

The title, Only Begotten Daughter, serves this purpose. With it, she expresses her determination to stand on her own. It also gave her strength to overcome the many trials that came upon her after she became True Mother. It is thus a fitting description of who she is.

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The Paradox of Religious / Denominational Unity

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By Keisuke Noda

Keisuke_NodaUnificationism calls for the “unity” of religions. The Divine Principle (the Principle), the main text of Unificationist teachings and their systematic exposition, presents the Principle as the “new truth” to unify all religions/denominations and argues its superiority based on its capacity for unity.

Ongoing denominational divisions in the Unification Movement (UM) seem to be paradoxical, however, appearing as counter-evidence for this claim, raising questions regarding Unificationism’s capacity for unity and claim of religious superiority. Divisions run deep in relationships between families, friends, and communities, and the issue requires serious attention.

Denominational rifts raise the question of the concept of unification. What do we mean by the unification of religions and denominations? What forms does unity take? Is it a feasible goal or merely an aspirational vision? These questions require a serious exploration of the Principle.

Contrary to some opinions, the Principle’s key concepts and theses are ambiguous and there are diverse approaches to the Principle.

This article highlights the trans-conceptuality of God in Unification Thought (UT) as a possible interpretation of the Principle that may open the door to unity. I explain how this concept in UT implies the limitation of all conceptual, linguistic, and experiential understanding of God, including revelation. By imposing limits on the finality of knowledge, this perspective opens up a broader horizon in Unificationism to see the living God’s diverse works in others.

The unity of religions/denominations has socio-political-economic dimensions as well. I focus on the aspect of faith alone and propose a perspective as a step towards a complex, historical problem. I do not argue it is the definitive path for unity, but maintain such an approach can open up the possibility of unity and other interpretations of Unificationism.

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Does the Unification Movement Flourish More Under Republican Administrations?

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By Michael L. Mickler

Mickler full-sizePundits and candidates continually debate which of the two major political parties is better for the United States, particularly on the economy and keeping the peace.

During the most recent election cycle, Hillary Clinton claimed, “The economy always does better when there’s a Democrat in the White House.” On the other hand, it has been pointed out that all of the major U.S. wars in the 20th century—World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam—were entered by Democratic administrations while Republicans began détente and ended the Cold War peaceably. Partisans on both sides argue their positions, mostly to the bewilderment of the public.

If the situation is murky with respect to the economy and war, Republicans and Democrats have settled into less ambiguous postures vis-à-vis religion. Gallup Poll research shows, “Very religious Americans are more likely to identify with or lean toward the Republican Party,” whereas “non-religious Americans” are significantly more supportive of the Democratic Party, the exception being Black Americans who are “very religious on average” and heavily Democratic.

Pew Foundation research indicates the same. A recent study showed, “About two-thirds (68%) of white evangelicals either identify as Republicans or lean Republican” while “61% of those who do not identify with any religion lean Democratic.” This has led to a “God Gap” between the two parties.

Still, the question is whether Republican administrations lead to the flourishing of religion in general or, for the purpose of this article, to the flourishing of the Unification movement.

Simply put, “very religious” American churches and organizations, which include the Unification movement, do better under Republican administrations but not because of Republican administrations. Rather, the social forces and conditions that sweep Republicans into power are the same ones that reinforce values and goals of “very religious” Americans.

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“Collateral Beauty”: A Conversation with Time, Death and Love

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By Kathy Winings

kathy_winings_3_profileThe death of a child is probably the most devastating experience a parent can go through. This is made all the more devastating when the child is very young and has just begun to spread his or her wings.

This is the experience of Howard Inlet (Will Smith) in the new film “Collateral Beauty.” Howard’s whole life has been turned upside down with the death of his six-year old daughter. Unable to deal with her death, Inlet, once the creative force behind a successful New York advertising agency, withdraws completely from life. Over the year following her death, he only comes to the office to create massive and intricate domino-like designs that he proceeds to topple once the masterpiece is complete. He retreats so far into his grief that he does not eat or sleep, does not communicate with his business partners and friends, sits alone in a dark apartment, and cycles recklessly through the city day in and day out.

During one of his daily cycling rides, Howard appears to stumble on a support group for parents who have lost a child. He finds himself periodically sitting in on their meetings only to leave if asked to share about his experience. Over time, he begins conversing with the group’s director (Naomie Harris) who also lost a child, a six-year old daughter, to cancer. It is during one of their conversations that she shares a concept that helped get her through her grief. This concept is the phrase “collateral beauty.” As she describes it, collateral beauty is recognizing the possibilities of meaning and beauty that are all around us even in the midst of death and pain. But Inlet cannot move past the pain of his loss and cannot or will not acknowledge what happened to his daughter.

Trying to salvage a now-suffering business and also wanting to reach out to their friend, Howard’s business partners Claire (Kate Winslet), Whit (Edward Norton) and Simon (Michael Peña) take the drastic step of hiring a private detective to follow Howard in the hope of obtaining evidence that can be used to force him to turn over his controlling stock in the agency.

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What Does “Begotten” Really Mean? How Misunderstanding Words Can Lead to Unnecessary Division

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By Franco Famularo

ro.vis1b_3343.famularo.f51The English word “begotten” is problematic for Unification teaching both within the Unification family and in efforts of Unificationists to reach out beyond Unification circles – especially, but not limited to, Christians. This article seeks a mediating position.

There are too many lessons from history that demonstrate how one letter, one word or one phrase led to divisive misunderstanding, and in some historical and exceptional cases, violent conflict.

For brevity, consider that the Christian church in the third and fourth century eventually split over the use of one letter.

Was Jesus “homoousios” (ομοούσιος) or “homoiousios” (ὁμοιούσιος)?

Without knowing Greek, it is easy to miss the nuances. However one of the main issues at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. was whether Jesus was of the same substance as God (homoousios) or of a similar substance (homoiousios). The letter “i” made all the difference.

This led to the split between Arius, who believed Jesus was of a similar substance but not God himself and Athanasius and those who eventually aligned themselves with Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicea and concluded that Jesus was of the same substance — God himself.  In the view of Nicean Christianity, Jesus is God.

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