The Words of the Cooper Family
One thing that is basic for Unificationists is to know True Parents. Who are Rev Moon and Hak Ja Han Moon?
Where do I really stand with them? How important an issue is this for me to work out.
Sometimes people have idealized them, based on a warped understanding of perfection, for some they are a crutch with which their life is propped up, is that wrong? Maybe that is fine. For some the challenges True Parents' family have faced have just been too much. Some of us are just grateful for the marriage blessing. Maybe you are inspired by Rev Moon's talks, or maybe for you he spoke too long. Maybe you had a chance to meet him and you caught something priceless in that moment. Maybe you never met him but you had a dream, maybe some of the criticisms and accusations make you uncomfortable. Perhaps you read something he said and it didn't make sense to you, and that bothers you, and you can't find a solution to that. And then, maybe through the Divine Principle teaching, through that new revelation you came to believe in True Parents, maybe not.
I don't want to presume anything right now about where you are with True Parents. But my sense is that us working out that question in our heart is key if we want to be an Unificationist.
Our congregation at 43LG in West London over the next month or so is going to have a go at exploring this vital question. Having the right understanding will make all the difference to where we end up.
Unificationists are exhorted to let the world know about True Parents. Hak Ja Han Moon has been repeating this request repeatedly in Korea over recent months. Later on we can ask "Why does she feel this is so important?"
But let's back up from that for a moment. Let's take a step back.
Before anything, in order to let others know something or somebody we need to know it first.
There is a lot riding on this word 'know'.
Do you know True Parents, and if you don't, why would you feel the need to let others know?
If I am going to a Christian church, but I feel I don't know Jesus in my heart yet, probably and hopefully no one is going to encourage me to testify to Jesus. If they did, I would feel something was strange and superficial about the request. I would move away from that church.
Sometimes I get the feeling there is a big group of people walking around in the Unification Movement feeling guilty about something they don't need to feel guilty about.
If you don't know someone, you can't tell other people about them. It's as simple as that.
If you tried despite your ignorance, you would do a bad job and probably make the situation worse.
Now there are a number of us who believe that we deeply know True Parents (True Parents). If you are one of them I want to encourage you to put yourself in the witness box for a minute.
This is just for those of us who believe that we believe deeply that True Parents are the return of Christ and have established a new covenant with God. The rest of us who feel more unsure, can just sit in the gallery and enjoy the show.
Here is the question for the believers: Are you happy and willing to walk up and take your place in the witness box, are you comfortable with that? You don't know what the prosecution is going to ask you, but nonetheless are you confident about your story and that the jury are going to believe it?
The reason I ask this is that no lawyer puts a witness for their own case in the box unless they are sure they have a good testimony. They need to have a story that is going to convince the jury that they are dealing with facts, that what they are saying sounds more like the truth than anything else they have heard from the other side
So, if it were truly the case that we are willing to step up to the box, why can so few of us speak about successfully testifying? (winning over the jury).
We should start by focusing on getting to know True Parents, and asking and finding out for ourselves who they are, before we start to try testifying.
When I am asked to do something I need to have confidence if I am going to be able to do it properly and I will ask myself a few questions about the task at hand. Firstly, "am I able to do it well?"
Kids are great at this critical thinking approach to life:
Parent: "Please pause the Simpsons."
"Please turn on the light on in this room."
"It's too dark just with the TV on."
However many times we ask children to just 'do as we ask' as parents, we will find that their natural inbuilt DNA tells them not to. The reason is that they were created by God to do things with purpose, and not without reason.
Certainly we should be more like kids when it comes to the big questions in our adult lives. We should ask, why?
When the purpose is assumed to be known, assumed to be understood, assumed to be obvious, ask WHY?
If we were a bit more generous, and gave people a bit more space to investigate who True Parents really are, we might get a powerful evangelic surge, an outpouring of God's spirit on people.
When you want to understand what something is really about or experience what it is really like you go to the source, the founder, the pioneer, the root, the starting point.
If you want to understand the original motivation and purpose of the unification movement you will need to investigate Rev Moon's life. For yourself. You will also need to study his words. Not read them. Study explore and question them.
He has not even always seen himself as all-important to the Unification Movement: "Whether I am here or not doesn't make the Unification Church win or lose members. There is the truth, the Divine Principle, and anybody can learn and teach the Principle. It awakens people to a deeper understanding of the work of God and a more fulfilling personal relationship with God."
A book I like to read the end of sometimes is Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church by Frederick Sontag. He travelled all around the world interviewing Rev Moon's early disciples, visiting our churches, speaking to new members, meeting the movements' detractors, in order to uncover what lay at the heart of this controversial but successful growing movement, in the late 1970s…
And then at the end of his investigation, he does an interview with Rev Moon. 9 hours long. At one point Rev Moon says this: "In a way then, The Divine Principle, this new revelation, is the documentary of my life. It is my own life experience. The Divine Principle is in me, and I am in the Divine Principle."
Sontag knows that the reader is interested in where he as a sociologist comes down in his opinion on his subject matter. He says it is not necessarily relevant to the book, but decides to indulge his reader. He describes how especially in Korea and Japan, when he had finished conducting his research in a church center he would be asked: "so, now you know so much about our church, are you going to join our church?"
His answer is brilliant, and tells us a lot about this verb "to know" and forces us, however committed we believe we are to True Parents, to reevaluate where we stand, and how much we actually know.
His reply went something like this: "Now that I have studied and listened to all of you, let me tell you something about your theology that I believe I am able to understand. Rev Moon never intended to start a church, but to bring unity between different church denominations and different religions….so it makes no difference at all whether I join your church or not, but rather what is far more important is that I am one with his cause…."
This post, though a bit long, is an attempt to take a more serious approach to responding to the repeated request by True Mother: 'to let everyone know about True Parents in the next 7 years'. We won't get even close to it, unless we dig a bit deeper. We need to be ready as we dig to come across a few hidden treasures and also a few old skeletons.