Articles From the April 1994 Unification News
UTS: Mount Horeb, The Mountain of Calling For Moses
by Shinobu Ishimaru-Barrytown, NY
"I am a Japanese Christian". It sounds strange in Western society (in Japan too), but this phrase has described me since my birth. My parents converted to Catholicism as teenagers right after World War II. They met each other in the Catholic Church and married. After my twentieth year one more strange label was added to my self description, "Unificationist". A Japanese Catholic Unificationist, that is my religious identity.
Presently, one of the most important periods of my life is coming to a conclusion at the Unification Theological Seminary. When I entered UTS three years ago, I set the goal of my Seminary life to find my second calling from God. My first calling from God took place when I entered the Catholic Seminary in Japan in 1980 in order to become a priest. Within a year I discovered that the second coming had already taken place, and that his name is Sun Myung Moon. My spiritual father, a 1992 UTS graduate, taught me this new message while we were in the Catholic Seminary. After joining the Unification Church he had returned to the Catholic Seminary in order to make a bridge between the Unification Movement and the Catholic Church. After being taught the Divine principle, I began to share in his ecumenical vision.
We began to share the message with other students, resulting in a worried response form the Director of the Seminary as well as the Bishops of Japan. In 1983 my spiritual father was banished from the Catholic Seminary. One of the main justifications for his dismissal was the charge that the Unification Church wanted to invade the Catholic Seminary in Japan as they had done in the USA. Is it true? This charge seemed to foreshadow my destiny to come here, UTS. I was permitted to stay in the Seminary for a few more years, but I felt imprisoned. I believed that the best way for me to serve God was to become a priest, so I stayed and learned patience, humility and prayer. During those days the fact that there were Unificationist missionaries in Communist countries was my only consolation. I shed tears for Jesus Christ and for the Catholic Church. However, in spite of my effort and prayer, I went through the same course as my spiritual father when I was expelled two years later.
From that day on, I realized that the road to priesthood was closed to me. It also meant that my vision to bring the Catholic and Unification Church together became more difficult. As a result, I had to wander throughout the desert of "Midian" like Moses. Moses got married to Zipporah and she bore him a son in the wilderness of Midian. During those days I also received the Blessing. When my wife conceived our first son, I arrived at UTS.
UTS is my place of calling as Mount Horeb was for Moses. Whenever I recalled the Catholic church, I wept in my mind, as Paul confessed great grief and pain in his heart (Romans 9:2). I held great expectation to meet God and True Parents at UTS and to receive my second calling. In fact, I feel this has just recently been fulfilled, nearly three years after my arrival at UTS.
From the first term everything that happened here at UTS was new and inspiring, those experiences will remain as sweet memories. I learned many things from the President, Faculty and other students here at UTS. To encounter others in a meaningful way is growth. Living and studying among students from such varied backgrounds helped me to reflect on myself and my nationality. American, British, Korean, German, Eastern European, Filipino... I built lasting friendships that drew me beyond the borders of my own nationalism. In terms of religious boundaries, the faculty is composed of many denominations, there are the Unificationists and non-unificationists, Catholics, Methodists and Greek Orthodox. Also represented are visiting guest lecturers from all the world faiths. Having teachers with different theological orientations helped me to integrate vast areas of thought which helped me to overcome denominationalism. I realized that if my goal is to help Christianity, that I have to be able to understand the full scope of Christian faith and experience.
The grand finale of my UTS experience was the Annual President S.C. Kim Oratorical Contest. Eight finalists were chosen from the preliminaries. As a non-native English speaker, I didn't imagine that I would make it to the finals, let alone come in second place. I was worried about my ability to speak as I am nearly "dumb" in English. After the finalists were chosen only one day remained until the finals. This was a crucial time of preparation for me as I practiced and practiced my prophetic sermon. I really felt the spirit and God's heart in my topic: "Where there is no God, people suffer". In my conclusion I said that God sends us to lead people out of individualism and immorality. As God gave Moses his mission on Mount Horeb, I felt him give me mine through my own words. It was a meaningful moment for me. It was the most wonderful experience to feel God, here at hand.
If you want to hear God's voice again, come to UTS. The Spirit of God is moving over UTS to find a resting place, a home in your heart. Gratitude and glory to UTS, Mt. Horeb.
Shinobu Ishimaru is a Divinity Senior at UTS.
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