The Words of In Jin Moon from 2009

A Religious Life Is Very Much Like That Of A True Artist

In Jin Moon
May 3, 2009

The following is a transcription of Rev. In Jin Moon’s sermon at Lovin' Life Ministries held at the Manhattan Center in New York City on May 3, 2009.

Good morning, brothers and sisters. And good morning to you, in the New Jerusalem and West Rock Family Churches. I’m delighted that you will be joining with us here at the Manhattan Center at Lovin’ Life Ministries this morning. I’m glad to see you once again.

I just came back from Japan, where I attended the 9th Annual Youth Concert for Ideal Families and World Peace. This was a project that I had started nine years ago, when my second son, Rexton, won the Grand Prize at the IBLA International Competition for pianists. This was an adult competition that he entered almost as a joke. His Russian piano teacher said to me, “You know what, he’s probably not going to win anything, by why don’t we go and have a great time!” So my second son wasn’t really looking toward winning anything. He went [to Ragusa-Ibla, Italy] for a great experience and in preparation for possible future competitions. But, surprisingly, he ended up being the Grand Prize winner that year. And he was only 11 years old.

So since he had won the Grand Prize, competing with the best of Julliard, Curtis, and other outstanding conservatories from all around the world, he was awarded a recording contract by Athena records as well as a worldwide tour. One of our destinations just happened to be Tokyo, Japan. After we found ourselves in Japan, I asked him, “You know, your grandfather always talks about living a life of service, and now that you have won an incredible and prestigious award, what do you want to do with it?” And this 11-year-old boy told me, “It might be really good to do something on behalf of the young people of Japan.” So he had his professional concert at Tokyo Opera Theater, but afterwards, the next day, he held a concert open to the public, which was attended by a lot of our Second Generation. Thus started the Annual Youth Concert for Ideal Families. Since then we have been going back to Japan year after year.

For seven years we built up the credibility of the concert series, having hundreds of choirs throughout all of Japan that we’ve supported and sponsored competing with each other every year. All throughout the year, these hundreds of choirs compete to be able to perform at the next youth concert, where top three choirs get to perform.

What started out was a group of ragamuffins, kids who were thinking about maybe possibly singing but weren’t really trained to do so. But we had a great volunteer, a mother professor who really treated this ragamuffin bunch of kids as her own and nurtured them to incredible professionalism. So by this year, the eighth year, they have become quite a phenomenon in Japan that they were awarded an invitation to Embassy Row in Tokyo, Japan. They performed for different embassies, but at the same time in our spirit of servicing the world with our talents they did a lot of outreach programs. The kind of outreach programs that they did was visiting old folk’s homes where old men and women are literally waiting to die. These beautiful Japanese children, beautifully dressed in kimonos, had so much love and respect for the elderly that they did not only perform for the elder folks but they spent time with them, eating, drawing, and playing together with them. Each visit is a full-day event.

These people who are just waiting to die felt renewed and re-inspired. They were moved to tears, knowing that Japan is in great hands because they could see the love, the care, and the desire to service elders in such a beautiful way. They felt like these kids are imbued with the spirit of God and understand the importance of treating each and every human being as a vessel of the divine. They were re-inspired that they are leaving their country to worthy hands.

This is something that has been going on for the last nine years. When I went back to Japan, we had the top three choirs perform again. What I like to do in my family is incorporate the best of Japan. I think of us as an American family because we live here, so I want to introduce a little bit of America by having my children perform. My daughter performed Debussy and Scriabin; two of my boys rocked the house down playing Eric Clapton and Three Days Grace, believe it or not. The Japanese children had an incredibly wonderful time.

We have often heard people call music the universal language. I am a big believer in that. I believe that one of the most important things that we can do as parents is introduce our children not just to the beauty of the English language or to the elegance of mathematical formulas or language but to the divine language, which I call music.

In Romans 1:20, it says that you can see God, you can experience his eternal power and his divine nature, through the things that he has made. Emily Dickinson said, “Invisible like music, but positive as sound.” That’s what music is. Even though we can’t see God, many times we can feel God through music. When you are sitting before these incredible choirs who are so professional even though they are just little kids, and you hear them singing their hearts out, you cannot help but experience God. Your emotions start moving because emotion is “energy in motion.” It’s the eternal energy in motion that is set to a language called music. Not only am I inspired, but the children are so inspired. After every performance, they come to me and say “Arigato Gozaimasu. Thank you very much., I felt God tonight. I really felt our Heavenly Parent tonight.”

In America we have American Idol, right? I don’t know if you have heard, but in Britain they have a show called Britain’s Got Talent. There was one contestant who literally had me in tears. Her name is Susan Boyle. Has anyone heard about her? She’s not what you would call attractive. In fact, when I first saw her coming out on stage, I thought, “Is this a joke? Is this a man?” I asked my son, “Is this a comedy act that they put on as a warm-up?” Then my son said, “No, keep on watching.”

Then Susan Boyle came out and talked a little bit about herself, and I realized, oh, she is a woman. And then the camera panned the audience. So it wasn’t just me, brothers and sisters, it was the audience, too. They were looking at this woman like, “Can this woman really sing?” You can just see some women with their mouths wide open, trying to figure her out, just like I was. Even the three judges that were supposedly judging her were looking at her askance, wondering whether she was going to be able to pull it off or not. But then the music started, and she sang one of my favorite songs from Les Miz. When she hit that first note, you could hear a hush in the audience. All the unbelievers, all the people who doubted, just suddenly became speechless. For the next – I don’t know how= long -- she swept us away in waves of emotion, this energy in motion, and I could not stop crying. I was crying so profusely my son was giving me tissues but also dotting his eyes as well. She brought the house down.

Then, of course, after the song was finished, she became an instant celebrity. And what happens with celebrities? They found she’s never been kissed. So there was all this talk about “OK, we’ve got to find her a boyfriend. Maybe one of the judges will take her out.” But they’re having great fun with her.

The power of her voice! Where did that invisible talent come from? It came from God, our Heavenly parent. But it must have been years and years of dedication, endurance, and persistence; it must have been years and years of sowing that one more practicing session, maybe in the shower, while she was cooking, or while she was walking to church. That constant diligence to master her art allowed her to bring the house down on a show called Britain’s Got Talent.

I would like to create the Youth Concert series here in the United States as well. One reason why I feel that art is so important for children is because it teaches discipline, persistence, and endurance. When my kids started their piano lessons, their scales weren’t much to talk about: a lot of wrong notes, a lot of uneven notes, and very unpleasant to the ears.

My older brother was fifteen when he was learning how to play the guitar, and I was twelve years old. My mother said, “You know what? I would love for both of you to go back to Korea and do a little bit of schooling. Could you accompany your brother to the Little Angels School of Korea?”

So off I was sent. One of the first things that you have to do, since this is an art school, is decide what art you want to study. And I wanted to study painting because that’s my other love. But my mother said, “No, I want you to try something new,” so she plopped me into ballet class, which I absolutely abhorred, but I still did it anyway. My brother got to choose an instrument, and he chose the electric guitar.

I remember when he first brought it home, one of the first songs assigned to him was “Jingle Bells.” He said, “In Jin, get over here.” So I said, “Yes, Elder Brother, what can I do?” He said, “Sit.” I said, “What?” He said “Sit!” and then he plugged the cable into the amp and to the guitar and said, “When I practice, I need an audience.” (Laughter) So there I was, a twelve-year-old girl sitting on the floor, looking at my brother. Every time he played a phrase, he would say, “Clap!” A couple of times I said, “Elder Brother, that was a wrong note,” and then he would say, “Shh! Clap!”

So after weeks of him playing tunes that I really couldn’t quite make out, with “Jingle Bells” sounding something like “Jingle Sci-fi Movie” or something extraordinary, I still had to clap. He kept on going. This man would not stop. There was one evening when he said, “I have to learn this song because I have to perform it but I haven’t really had a chance to practice it as much I would like. So, we are going to practice until midnight.” It was five in the evening.

So I was counting all the hours and asking myself, is my elder brother really going to be able to pull it off? Is he really going to be able to practice for that long? And to my absolute amazement, he kept on going, like a Duracell battery. In the ninth or tenth hour, his fingers started to bleed. I said, “Elder Brother, tissue? Band-Aid?” meaning, “Can I go out of the room?” But he just said, “Sit.” And it went on till midnight. There was blood on the guitar strings, crustified by now. His fingers looked like something out of Aliens, but there was an incredible look of satisfaction on his face. He said, “Now I feel one with the music…Clap!” We celebrated together, and I heard that next day at school his “Jingle Bells” could not have been more sublime. I said to myself, “That’s what it takes -- blood, sweat, and tears, to really master something.

This is an age when the young people’s favorite phrase when you ask them, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is, “I don’t know.” Or “What are you feeling like doing today?” “I don’t know.” Or “What do you hope to be doing in a month or two?” “I don’t know.” There is almost a feeling of being lost out in the open sea, as well as a feeling of complacency and being satisfied with mediocrity. But the great thing about art is that it encourages young people to set up a schedule, to practice discipline, to develop and show effort. If they do this on a daily basis, they can become an incredible artist who is worthy of standing in front of a stage demonstrating their precious God-given talent by sharing this beautiful universal language with an audience. How much more beautiful than that can life be?

About the artistic life of my children. At the beginning, my husband said to them, “All right, if you are going to take piano lessons seriously and you are going to have your mom drive you to all these piano lessons and we are going to be investing in your future, I would like you to draw up a schedule.” So for many years we had a strict 8 o’clock rule. They could eat breakfast at any time, but when the clock struck 8 both my children who play the piano had to be on their pianos at different ends of the house. When that clock went “tick,” that’s when they knew they had to start practicing.

There were good days, and there were difficult days, but the schedule never changed. In a month or two, their scales actually sounded like beautiful waterfalls. Within a year, they were performing pieces that my husband could not master in ten years of piano lessons. And he was terribly proud of the children. It was this consistent effort and investment in becoming a great artist that allowed my second son Rexton to win the Grand Prize and that allowed my only daughter Ariana to go on to win many incredible prizes, including the First Prize at the Stravinsky Competition in Chicago.

When I share these stories about my children, I am not standing here to brag. I’m saying, “Look at what children can do; look at what two little kids in In Jin’s house could do.” Think about what your children can do or what these groups of choirs have already done in Japan. They have become little ambassadors for their country to the world. They have already developed really great habits of setting goals, understanding the value of delayed gratification, and investing in something because you believe that you can truly be great.

These are all the lessons that I think our children need. If you come across one day somebody on the street or sitting next to you on the bus, and somehow you strike up a conversation and start talking about your kids and the other person says to you, “Well, my child, niece, or nephew doesn’t know what they want to do with their life,” maybe you want to encourage them with, “Have you ever considered music lessons? Have you ever considered art lessons?” These are wonderful tools for children to develop great habits, become great masters themselves, and in the process experience the divine.

I have often thought that a religious life is very much like that of a true artist. It takes daily care, daily nurture, and daily effort to live the correct way of life. I know many times life is difficult, and God puts many obstacles in our way to give us an opportunity to overcome them victoriously and learn something new.

When I was a little girl, I used to always walk around with a little notebook where I put down my thoughts, my feelings, and the things that I noticed. One day I remember sitting on a rock near the tennis courts at East Garden, where we grew up. The sky was so blue, with almost no clouds, and I was thinking, “What kind of a person do I want to be when I grow up?” I wrote down in this little notebook of mine, “I want to be a wise mother.” That was my life’s purpose. I was conversing with my brain, asking myself, “How do I define what a wise person is?”

Then I started looking at my father in my mind. I think of my dad and my mom as a wise man and a wise woman. What is it about my dad that truly makes him wise? Maybe because I come from another country, learning English, what I love to do with the alphabet is take it apart, move it around, and play to see if I can formulate a new word.

On this day I thought, “Let’s look at WISE as an acronym.” So in my mind I understood the word wise to mean, when I thought about my father and mother, he or she who loves the World (W) with Integrity (I), Service (S), and Excellence (E). So, for a little girl back then, that’s what being wise meant, and that’s how I saw my father and my mother.

I have often been impressed to look at this man’s life. He is a man of integrity, meaning he is a man of character. Not a day goes by when he doesn’t start buttoning his shirt from the top down. He has specific rules; the right foot goes inside the sock first, and then the left. Even when he gets up from the chair, the right foot goes first. I remember when I was little, I had enough nerve to tell my father, “Father, that’s really restrictive. Why do you always do that?” Then he said, “This is my way of reminding myself to be a man of integrity, to be a man of character, to always remember God first, and to remember that in every action and every energy in motion -- emotion -- I am thinking about God.”

Why service? He has been living for the sake of others for his whole life. He has always been giving of himself to the whole world, to the whole movement, never thinking about himself. Can you please point out to me someone who has spent over $2 billion alone to build and support the Washington Times because he believed it was an important tool to fight communism? I don’t believe I know anyone else who would do that. So he’s not only a man who says what he says, but he is a man who does what he does.

And he is a man who’s always striving for excellence. I don’t know how many times he pushed his sons and daughters, including myself, to be the best students, the best art students, the best that we can be in a chosen field of study or chosen area. Don’t be satisfied with mediocrity. Try to be more than what you thought you could do.

A lot of people can say that they know someone who is true, but what is the test of something being true? If you put a true person in Case Study A, he will still be true. If you put this person in Case Study B, he will still be true. If you put this person in Case Study C, he will still be true No matter where you place this man or woman, he or she will still and always be true. That’s what it means to be a true man or a true woman.

When I was going to school, a lot of kids would say, “Oh, you’re a Moonie. Your father’s a businessman. He has so much money. You guys live in a mansion.” And I would often reply, “If you had 14 children, you would need something a little bigger than a cottage. And my father is always thinking about other people, too.” It wasn’t just the children who were living there; there were brothers and sisters living there together with us. If that’s not one family, I don’t know what is. But maybe by some people’s standards it was a mansion, it was high living. But then if my father is really true, then he will be true no matter where he is.

Brothers and sisters, this is a man who not only lives in a big house but who has been in and out of prison six times in his life just because he wanted to preach the word of God. And the sixth time, when he was thrown into prison at Danbury, Connecticut, it was just because he was trying to teach the American people the importance of having moral values, the importance of having a solid family unit that a good society can be built on.

I remember I was 18 years old when my father was incarcerated in Danbury, Connecticut. My 18th year of life is literally a blur for me because when my father went to jail, he said, “In Jin, I want you to work with the distinguished leaders of the civil rights movement and the luminaries of the American clergy and together create a religious freedom coalition so that we together, as ministers of God, can fight this injustice that the American government is putting upon your father.”

I remember working with people like Dr. Lowery and Dr. Abernathy, so many wonderful clergy. They literally took me under their wing; I became like their adopted daughter. I learned so much about how incredible these people were, and I heard their stories about how they were called by God to enter into ministry.

But one of the most profound things for me as a daughter to witness was to go and visit my father in prison, to see him as a prisoner, in prison garb. We had only a limited number of hours to see our father. I remember he was always making sure that the other prisoners went out to see their visitors first, always making sure that the other families who came to see them had water and a place to sit.

The other five times that my father was in prison were before I was born, but this time I saw it with my own eyes. I’ve heard stories about my father being in a concentration camp in North Korea, thrown there by the communist regime because communists don’t believe in God and my dad was preaching the word of God. I remember stories that my father would be in a place where there was just a concrete block wall with one urinal, a bucket, and nobody wanted to sit next to the bucket.

Everyone would fight to be the furthest away. But I’ve heard stories that my father, because he was thinking about the discomfort of other prisoners, volunteered to sleep next to the bucket, making more room so that people would not fight. I heard stories about my father giving up his little bowl of rice, what they call rice balls in Korea. They gave out only one a day, made out of very tough, nearly inedible barley. People fought over these rice balls. When somebody died mid-bite, another prisoner would scoop it out of the dead man’s mouth and eat it. I remember stories about my father many times going hungry because he had given his rice ball to somebody who was weak or sick, day after day.

I remember stories about my father scrubbing the urinal with a little brush he found somewhere or rolling his prison clothes into a ball and scrubbing the area as clean as he could because he was thinking of the other people. If that’s not a true man, I don’t know what is. The communist prison officials realized that this man was true. They thought they were sentencing him to death because nobody survived these camps. Hungnam in particular was known for being a place where people went in but never came out. But my father persevered for three years. He was liberated by the UN forces, by the American soldiers, when he was scheduled for execution. Thus, he has huge gratitude to this country of America.

People began to realize that if you put Reverend Moon in jail, not only will he not die, but he will come out with a whole new congregation. Because Koreans are a very stubborn bunch of people, they had to stick him in prison five times before they realized that every time they sentenced the man to death, he kept coming out with a new congregation. The American government tried the same thing. They stuck my father in Danbury. Within a year, as predictable as day and night, he came out with a new congregation.

There is something incredibly unique about this man. I was having dinner with one of our movement’s leaders, and he said, “Sometimes it’s very difficult to understand your father, but one thing I must admit is that there has been no one like him before, and there will probably be another man like him in years to come. He is a singular phenomenon. He was quite unique. He must be a gift from God.” I said to this leader, “I am so glad to hear you say that.”

We don’t always fully comprehend the significance of this incredible new providential push that my father is making. Of all the places that he could choose in the United States! Why not the Appalachian mountains, or Yosemite National Park, one of all these beautiful places that show the grandeur, power, and divinity of God? But my father has chosen Las Vegas as the place to invite people to have conferences on building families. I remember my siblings and I were joking that this is kind of strange. Why Las Vegas? Then we thought, before we can understand why, we can pray about it.

My father asked me to be the keynote speaker at the conference to kick off this Las Vegas providence. I really had to pray about it because in my mind there was a dynamic going on, thinking, “Okay, Father wants it, it’s got to be. But why?” Then it dawned on me. I thought, Las Vegas is like a metaphor for life. Las Vegas was built in the middle of a desert, almost like a mirage when you catch sight of all these hotels and casinos rising up from the dust of the desert. Isn’t the desert waiting for that wonderfully refreshing rainfall? The rainfall, the eternal spring of life, if you will, that comes with God’s word and understanding of God’s love?

I thought, that’s really poetic. Father wants us to be the spring of life, to give new life and meaning to this desert called Las Vegas. Then I was thinking, why is it that so many people refer to Las Vegas as Sin City? It’s Sin City because things are done in the dark, things you wouldn’t do in front of your wife or husband. It’s interesting how the running commercial for the city is, “Whatever you do in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas.” That’s the understanding Americans have of what Las Vegas is, so a lot of people refer to it as Sin City.

If you put Father somewhere many thousands of years ago in the proximity of what is considered an example of Sin City, let’s say, Sodom and Gomorrah, you know what my father would do? He would go straight into the center of the city, probably with a bucket and some cleaning agent, and scrub the toilets and the floors, preparing the city for its spiritual cleansing by tackling the external cleansing first. This is what my father would do.

Characteristically for my father, he picked the city in America called Sin City to start as the place where he wants to begin scrubbing the toilets and the floors to prepare the city for the spiritual nourishment that is to come, when people realize how incredible it is to understand God, to experience love, and to realize that they are living in this blessed country called America. It’s not something that we should just take for granted and enjoy for ourselves, but bring to the rest of the world.

I thought, what Heavenly Father wants to do is take the noun sin, something that’s dark that you want to hide, and insert a little bit of heaven by adding the letter H and turning the noun into a verb by adding "ing." He wants to turn the Sin City into a shining city of God. A shining city on a hill, which our forefathers dreamt about when they first came to this country, is what our Heavenly Parent and what our Father and Mother are asking us to realize in our lifetime, by turning Sin City into a shining city of God, a shining city of light where things are no longer dark but are illuminated in the light of the Lord. In the light of our Heavenly Parent, and in our True Parents, we can become proud Americans and share the importance of family values with the rest of the world.

Etymology was my little hobby in high school. When you take out the “ing” that makes “shining” into a transitive verb, you have shin. So here you have the word that was originally sin injected with a little bit of heaven by adding the H. But the interesting thing is, you know what the shin is on your body? It’s this wonderful bone in our leg that helps us walk, move on, move along. But shin in Korean can mean “you,” and it can also mean “faith.” The name that everyone in the third generation of my family shares is Shin, meaning “faith,” just like the second generation of my family share the name Jin, meaning “to march forward.”

Implicit in this beautiful language of English, God is giving us a clue. Sin City can be transformed into a shining city of God and a shining city of light when it starts walking with this new faith that God is offering us. God is signaling to us that this is not just about our generation. This is about the first three generations. Each generation seems to love naming its own -- Generation X, then Generation Y, Generation Z. Now we’re up to the millennials, which basically is the “show me the money” generation. But why not raise up a new generation of young people that is going to inherit this true love of God that wants to turn the Sin City of Las Vegas into the Shining City of Las Vegas and carry forth with the new faith, determination, and diligence required to make each of us an incredible work of art? I think that’s what God is asking us to do, brothers and sisters.

This is an incredibly exciting and at the same time challenging time, when my father is always saying, “Next we have to do this; next we have to do that.” My father is conceiving all these things that need to be done to meet the providential time line. The only thing we need to do is to believe. It’s in the belief of a young child, of practicing each day that same 8:00 o’clock-sharp discipline, that same 8:00 o’clock-sharp determination, that same 8:00 o’clock-sharp effort that is going to turn this child into one of the greatest artists that the world has ever known. It is going to be our faith, each and every day that reminds us that we are here for something other than ourselves and that we are here to make this nation great. We are here to wake up this nation, to remind itself of its true heritage, which is God, our Heavenly Parent.

Recently there was pandemonium in New York City when some people arranged to take a picture of Air Force One against the backdrop of the Statue of Liberty. They wanted to spend a great deal of money capturing that image. So you had Air Force One flying around the air space of New York City, and the people who saw it were literally going crazy. They thought it was another terrorist attack. People were vacating office buildings in New Jersey. When I saw this I could only close my eyes with the realization that New York City and America are still suffering from the post-traumatic stress syndrome of 9/11 happening on our shores.

We thought something like that could never happen. We became too complacent. Maybe we became too arrogant in our external minds. Maybe we didn’t realize that true might and power come from God, our Heavenly Parent. When I saw this knee-jerk reaction by New Yorkers, turning almost into scared rabbits because they saw a plane circling in their airspace, looking as though it was going to hit different buildings in the city, I realized that something like this could happen again. If we don’t recognize that’s where our true power comes from and that our duty as a nation is to unite all religions together as one family, then 9/11 can happen again.

If we want to raise a generation of peace that is going to usher in a new millennium, we cannot be idle. We have to educate our children to think of more than themselves. We have to educate them that living for the sake of others is a good thing, that respecting others’ faiths, families, and cultural heritage is a beautiful thing. In that way the young people of the world can come together and say, “No more do I want to see wars and fighting and mothers, brothers, and children dying on the streets because we cannot coexist.”

We need to be more than a world that merely coexists. We must be a world that loves each other and truly cares for one another. It starts from us as parents, but we also need the help of the young people. Together, the First, Second, and Third Generations can create wonderful families of our own, but also do something for our country by helping turn Sin City into the Shining City and thus claim our true internal power that makes us divine in the eyes of God.

Brothers and sisters, I hope you can join me on this wonderful Sunday morning in remembering God, our Heavenly Parent, in remembering our True Parents, and really asking ourselves, “Let’s be wise people.” Let us truly be wise. Let us decide today to be those human beings who love the world with integrity, service, and excellence.

Interestingly, many years ago the man that I consider to be the Renaissance Man, Leonardo da Vinci, scribbled in his notebook series that he called the Milanese letters that he was thinking about a figure called Katarina. Some have thought that she might have been a house servant that worked in his home for three years, or his widowed mother, who came to live with him in her later years. When he was in one of his thoughtful moods, he jotted down, “Wisdom is the daughter of experience.”

If a life well lived, full of wonderful, difficult, hard and joyous experience, can really turn a person into a wise person, then I want to be a woman who possesses wisdom. Brothers and sisters, let’s remember that being wise is not about ourselves, about sucking in knowledge, but is in the beauty of experience, the beauty of sharing. It’s the process that makes us truly wise.

I hope that you can go on from this Sunday morning, live a wise life by serving the world with integrity, service, and excellence, and become part of a community that can be an example to the world. Maybe my father might call some of you to help in Las Vegas to help him inject a little bit of heaven, so that selfish leisure can be turned into family leisure and family entertainment, something you don’t have to hide, something you can enjoy together with the family. How wonderful would that be!

So, God bless. Thank you, New Jerusalem and West Rock, for joining us. Have a blessed day. 

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