The Words of the Smith Family
A Response from Civil Society
Director, Office of Institutional Development
Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace
The family is not just the cradle, but maybe because Iíve had a number of children, I would say that the family is the womb of our world. Itís the place where our world is nurtured and takes form and shape. So the family from this perspective is automatically involved with all those things -- love, sexuality, and the human passions.
But when we put it in the right context, itís one of those things that we can imbue the sacredness of this family, the God-given passions, the God-given reality of the things that weíre most interested in.
On our deathbed are we going to say, I want to be equal? If there was one thing you could do tonight, what would you want to do? Weíd want to experience and taste love. In my experience for a number of years, being involved with this rather "infamous" man, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, he is probably the most challenging person I have ever met. Luckily Iíve met him while fishing and we caught one rather big fish together. It was only 910 pounds. There have been bigger ones caught. But he addresses some of these core issues very directly. And he speaks to the reality of our life.
As we heard from Dr. Wilson as he reflected on many of the religious leaders, how you can look at all the religious traditions and you can see their essential truths, but the big problem is we havenít found a way to implement. Weíve listened all day to many of these issues very nicely enunciated by the U.N., but what we hear again and again, the big problem is, what do we do about it? How do we implement these ideas?
The thing that I find most exciting about the focus on family is that itís looking at the vehicle to implement the very things which will allow us to create peace and a culture of peace on this earth. What is the most creative relationship a human being can have? Itís the husband-wife relationship. We know what it means to create through that relationship. The potency of that is very important to use and to put in its right place. Weíve got this huge U.N. building here. Weíve got thousands of reams of papers that have been written by this organization. We have so many activities that all of us have been involved in, but it all comes back to the basic point of how do we make accessible to every single person on the face of this earth, not just those of us who have doctorates or who have been able to go to school, not just those of us who have the opportunity in an economically sound country, not just those of us who happen to have had the many broad experiences that we may have, the opportunity to come here and talk about world peace. We need to make world peace and the making of world peace in each personís life available to every single person on the face of the earth. We must understand family in that context: that every single person builds peace through the day-to-day relationships within the family.
The U.N. has outlined that perhaps we could break down some of the main problems. There is violence, whether it be wars, sexual violence, domestic violence, intolerance. Next we have poverty, which we have discussed today. They are the negatives. If we flip them over and try to look at what are the solutions to these negatives, what is the opposite of violence? Peace is one of those things.
Iím going to put it in another way, in terms of human maturity. I want you to think, using the family as a model, about the immature child who sees another person with a toy will say, itís mine, or, I want it. If theyíre a little older, siblings will measure the amount of water in a cup. If theyíre a little older still then you begin to see the process where that natural selfishness begins to grow and go outward, until eventually we have a parent who will -- what? Do for others. Counting the cost for the child? Hopefully not. Sometimes we do, in our inadequacy or our immaturity, but the ideal is that we move beyond that.
If we are truly parents in our growth, in our maturity and character education, if we become truly parental, we will not violate one another, but are there simply to genuinely give for the sake of the other. A very simple rule to aspire to live by is to live for the sake of others. Perhaps some day we could do a database search in Rev. Moonís speeches and count the number of times heís said that. It would be countless times, yet itís such a simple rule of thumb. What would love do now in this situation? Live for the sake of others.
Poverty. In a way we could look at the flip side of poverty as abundance. The marriage relationship can either be one of taking from the other or one of genuinely dialogical, creative relationship. Itís not a relationship of entropy. The marriage partnership is one of the most powerful generators of human and social capital. When we say, where can we get something to go out and do this work? Where can we get money? Where can we get whatever? Perhaps one of the first places we need to look to is within the family, within the very, very creative relationship. Money will flow. Human beings create money. Money didnít create human beings. As we mature ourselves, as we find the real source of energy, as we turn to the right relationships that can allow us to find that transformative relationship, then we find the energy. Money is just another way of putting energy in your hand in exchange, so you can keep it until you need it to get something or move something later on.
When we look at the marriage partnership and the family situation as really the core place where we generate and transform, it gives us a place where you and I can work on transforming our society.
What is one of the most challenging relationships to transform? Does anybody have a spouse? Have you ever experienced the challenge? We experience the challenge, but itís also out of that that we can grow, can develop ourselves, our abilities of diplomacy, our strength of character. The marriage partnership is a place where we learn how to make peace.
The third area is really the area of sustainable development. Even in mundane household duties youíve got to keep things moving. Itís essential to families that thereís money coming in or food coming in, for sustainability. The family is the place where we learn these things.
I want to finish here. As Dr. Walsh said, there have been a whole series of conferences that have been an opportunity for people to begin to look at some of the words of Rev. Moon. That can be challenging, and thatís good. It can challenge us to activate our own intellectual passions, our own religious passions, and our own sexual passions if necessary, but keep them in the right place, okay? But the family is that place.
I want to finish by reading two quotes from Rev. Moon. There are perhaps some more exciting quotes that I could have found, but I just wanted to give you a little glimpse of taking the time to really look at these very internal points as we look at these issues of freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, environment, our shared responsibility within this very major institution. Just some simple things on marriage and family:
Why do we get married? Very simply, we marry in order to resemble God. What is the purpose of marriage? Is it simply for men and women to live together? The purpose of marriage is the perfection of their minds and hearts, the perfection of their love. Through marriage they can achieve that goal. When you declare to the world that you are married, you are actually declaring the initiation of your venture to perfect your mind and heart and love. When you die, you are supposed to have accomplished all of that in your married life and be qualified to go to a place we could call heaven.
Then, we need to connect these very internal things with the public reality of our situation here in the United Nations:
The family is the starting point, not the nation or the world. This is where heaven on earth literally begins. Not conceptually but literally. It is the building block for the kingdom of heaven. That is where the place of love, life, and lineage begins. What does heaven on earth mean? It simply means peace, happiness, unification, and the ideal world. All of these things begin from the family, not from the nation and not from the world. The seed of peace, happiness, and unification is within the family. There our mind and our body, man and woman and their children must all become one.
I thank you very much for your kind attention.
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