The Words of the Wright Family
Global Village Inn
Hello. My name is Forrest and I am the moderator for an Internet List Service by the name of Global Village Inn (GVI). GVI is a chat group for people who have, or have had, a close affiliation with the Unification Movement (UM). It began more than a few years ago and has gone through several evolutions. Its purpose has been debated to death and what seems to be the direction it is now taking is as a cyberspace community with roots in the UM.
I am the moderator for the group but actually it is an unmoderated service. I see some people scratching their heads. What this means is that people post e-mails that are sent world wide without my approval. I read all the posts but only after they have been sent. How I moderate is through three rules: no personal attacks, using asterisks for those nasty little cuss words if one must use them, and no one can post GVI material to other places without the consent of the author. The first two rules are easy to monitor. If someone breaks the rules I first warn them and if they continue to break the rules I give a week's vacation, after which the perpetrator is returned. Posting of GVI material to other places is difficult to monitor but is also part of my job.
My most important task however is to determine who may join the list. What is a close affiliation to the UM? I get many requests and most I welcome. For example, "...two years on MFT and then I left but I want to talk about my experience." Or, "I was blessed at Madison Square Garden, have four children but now work for IBM." I also ask for a reference and this helps me to know a bit more about the people who want to join GVI. The one restriction for allowing someone to join is whether or not a prospective candidate has worked actively against the UM. The most glaring activity of course being exit counseling. There are however various shades of what would constitute work against the UM.
Some could say that those not tithing and actively pursuing UM goals are working against the UM. For most of us on GVI that might be a bit extreme. More of what is difficult to determine is if someone spoke in a local church or school, not as a member of an anti-UM organization but just to criticize their experience. Is this active work against the UM? Once I let someone on and there are any questions, that person is grilled until either they leave on their own or the group decides they are acceptable.
This in essence also is what becomes the focus of our discussions on GVI. What is your read on the True Parents? Korean leaders? What happened to the early idealism of the American Movement? What is the meaning of the mega-blessings? Many of the battles - food fights as some fondly term battles - center on these issues. How far can I criticize True Parents without being disrespectful? Can I in fact criticize True Parents? What happened in the 1970's?
On the other hand some people are looking for old friends; some are searching to validate their experience with the UM; sometimes we just share recipes for chili or recommend a good book or movie.
I find there is a distinction that can be made generally about the people on GVI. There are Unificationists that are defenders of the faith, there are fence sitters that are interested in the paradox found in Unificationism and wonder what their future holds and there are Post-Unificationists. A Post-Unificationist is what we call someone who has gleaned things from the Divine Principle and True Parents but seeks to go their own way. Of course this leads to a good topic: what is the difference between Post-Unificationism and apostasy?
The most difficult part of being the moderator is to determine when someone has gone completely off and begins abusive monologues against the list. I find all points of view interesting and have found the community spirit of GVI helpful in my Moon quest. Abusive monologue can come from both sides of the fence. In my experience on GVI I have seen both abusive defenders of the faith and abusive Post-Unificationists expelled from the list. This means more than a one week vacation. It means the moderator has determined that someone has lost their ability to communicate in a civil manner and is therefore no longer welcome on the list.
I guess I could be called a Post-Unificationist. I was married at Madison Square Garden in 1982 after joining in 1974. Since 1982 I have been on a quest, taking from Divine Principle and my experiences what I can digest and moving on with my life. Understanding the direction the UM has taken, for me is not easy.
Talking about my experiences with others who have shared the UM lifestyle, is valuable and enriching. That common bond provides a kind of magic to our discussions. We on GVI have instituted a tradition we call "Bodily." In cyberspace we open our hearts in sometimes intimate ways to people that we know and to some that are new friends. Bodily is where we meet together in the flesh to share a meal and a beverage together. It can be a very amazing experience putting a face to someone that you have only gotten to know via the computer screen. In any event, it is wonderful to meet together with old "Moonies" and see how that "brother" or "sister" has done with their family, career and hobbies (also waist lines and hair lines...).
That is my story about GVI. Here are some words from several of our GVI community:
HR writes: Well, some GVI'ers think the DP is the revealed truth for the cosmic age. And since some GVI'ers don't think of the DP in that way, it makes for interesting discussions which can only be resolved through demonstrations. As the demonstrations are pursued, methods of application begin to reveal themselves. As these 'methods of application' or techniques begin to bear fruit we can see what 'works' and what doesn't work.
JM writes: The Internet is of course playing a big role in the homogenization of cultures. The U.S. leads the way (what else is new) with over 23 million hook-ups. Canada, surprisingly (small population) is next at 1.6 million. Japan and the U.K. are in a virtual dead heat at around 1.4 million. Germany is in fifth place. I wonder if GVI participation by nation reflects these numbers. Finland is the world leader in Internet connections per capita.
The Internet is a wonderful resource and brings the world to your home with just a click of the mouse. Discussion is free, well almost in this context. I am grateful for the chance I have had to meet old friends and find new ones through the Internet. And I mean, we are indeed talking world wide.
Is GVI the cutting edge? I don't know but I enjoy it.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Very truly yours,
Forrest A. Wright
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