Unification News for

April 1998


Unification Brainstorming - Letter to Editor

Dear Editor:

I just received the Feb. issue of Unification News and wanted to express that it was very encouraging and refreshing to read the article "Blessing ĎBrainstorming Sessioní held at UTS."

The reason the article appealed to me is because for a long time (too long) I have hungered for a more honest, open approach to issues of faith and practice in the Unification Church. I understand the need for a certain amount of hierarchy, absolutes, pure faith and obedience, etc. But in order to be truly comprehensive and encompassing (which is what Iíve always thought we were all about), at some point it does become necessary to balance out the ultimates with reality. As this doesnít appear to be one of Fatherís roles to play in the dispensation, I think it is up to us as individuals and as a collective whole to have the courage to do it. After all, we are messiahs too in our own right, arenít we?

The UTS article was a cautious and tentative approach to this kind of needed direction-one that I not only applaud but beg you to continue. Please, donít let it end there! I realize that our church has strong Oriental roots and that prohibits the uniquely American practice of doing your dirty laundry in public. Iím not looking for that. I donít think that kind of practice benefits anyone except talk show hosts who make money off other peopleís misfortunes. What I am looking for, hoping for and agitating for is a balance. It took my many years to grasp that the Oriental way, although it works on some levels, is not the ideal either. Itís very hard to evolve if we are unwilling to face certain realities for what they are, as individuals, families, cultures or an international movement.

True Parents have given me personally so much. The Divine Principle has changed my life. The vision of Godís Kingdom on Earth has given me so much hope. But at the same time I consider having this understanding to be both a burden and a privilege. I cannot just indefinitely go along with the party line because Iím not a party liner. If I were, I would have never become a Unificationist in the first place. I probably would have stayed Catholic or become a fundamentalist Christian. Weíre different and weíre supposed to be more evolved. But just how this evolution manifests is not so simple. In fact, it is very complex, very confusing and very, very challenging! But, hey, did God say it was going to be all milk and cookies???

Persecution from the "outside" we can handle just fine. But honesty and courage from the inside...to face our problems, our barriers, our doubts, our confusions...this seems to be forbidden territory. You are almost forced to leave the church to be able to do that (Sound familiar? Any other recovering Catholics out there?)

I say, go for it! Take the risk, take the plunge. Guaranteed youíll make some mistakes, step on some toes, take some flak, but Iíll bet you anything your circulation will increase! I, for one, would renew my subscription!

Itís not necessary to provide a forum for people to air their resentments, bitterness and gripes. Thatís not what Iím proposing here. Always, guidelines are needed and a focus toward a common goal. But there needs to be a willingness to address the sticky issues that unfortunately wonít go away by ignoring them. (What happens eventually is that the people finally just go away!)

Bill Lay wrote such a wonderful summary of what Iím certain was a meaningful and liberating experience for many. But guess what? A lot of us need that experience, too! But, sadly, it is not available. For the most part the Unification News comes across as a sanitized version of the Providence...so do the church services, or at least they used to; I donít go anymore so I canít speak for the present. Iím not saying that we have to dig for the dirt but neither do we have to sweep it under the rug and pretend itís not there. It should be possible to be mature and honest about some of the real struggles we face in a way that does not contradict nor threaten our faith but instead strengthens and empowers us as a people.

We are pioneers. Thereís no doubt about that. But true pioneers can only lead by example. Sometimes Iím not really sure just what it is that weíre pioneering: a way of life, an understanding of life, wishful thinking about life??? You know, it was searching that brought me to the Unification Church and itís the continuation of that searching which keeps me going. Iíd like to see the "church with all the answers" begin to ask a few questions as well. The Bible promises us, "Ask and it will be given." I believe that. Iíve experienced that. So now, Iím asking you to ask. (Does that make sense?) Iím also saying, Donít be afraid.

Bill Lay put it beautifully when he concluded that as "people discover that their perceptions are widely shared, the difficulty comes in trying to implement changes afterwards." Where do you begin, how do you begin? Well, for starters, let me ask why your paper does not have a Letters to the Editor column? Even an insignificant small-town newspaper has that, even Cooking Light magazine has that! Why? Because although the publications reserve the right to choose and edit what they print, at least the readers feel they have a voice and some sense of "ownership" and are not just passive recipients of the news. Why donít you use my letter as a first? Iíll be your mailbox will be flooded in no time!

I heard Rev. Barrett from Chicago give a wonderful talk last Sunday at the American Leadership Conference on just this point. He explained that God gave Adam and Eve a position of ownership (portion of responsibility) by making them co-creators. And yes, He took a risk by doing that, but even so, how could He have done otherwise? I think your paper would benefit by following Godís example in this way. Right now your recipe is lacking salt. Too much gives you high blood pressure but not enough makes the food taste bland.

Kathleen Close, Arlington, VA

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