Unification News for March 1999

Students of the New Eden Academy Respond to the Divine Principle

As part of the Religious Education Program, students at the New Eden Academy were asked to write personal reflections on statements which bear new meaning when seen from a Divine Principle perspective.

The statements were taken from a collection of "Jeopardy Game Questions" about the Divine Principle which were put together by Dr. Kathy Winings.

Here are a few examples which may be of interest for our readers. The selections were made by Dr. Dietrich Seidel, who oversees the Religious Education Program at the New Eden Academy.

by Takami Koya:

"Children of parents who are blessed by True Parents are not automatically born perfect." I think blessed children are in a harder and stricter position, because we have responsibilities. The world tempts us blessed children more and many follow. Many blessed children have already fallen and are being affected by the people around them. Many of us want to have more fun and be free, but troubles of smoking, drinking, drugs, stealing, sexual relationships, violence, etc., are rampant and the ages are getting younger. Satan wants to tempt us blessed children more because we are in a closer position to God and God has hope in us. I remember a speech a girl made on a Pure Love Alliance tour. She was talking about her friend and on how she got AIDS by having just one relationship with a boy she really liked. She talked about how her friend regretted all she did and that the boy had left her easily. I thought it was scary and could feel how close Satan is. We teenagers are at the most dangerous age and Satan has the easiest chance to tempt us. But we have to take responsibility for what we do and take care of ourselves. Nobody is perfect. Our parents raise us up and teach us about good and bad, but we have to listen to them, and also understand why we have to think for ourselves and help our spirit-self to grow. I think it’s actually hard to do these things, but I think we could try by praying, helping others, studying the Divine Principle, etc., little things we could do in everyday life. All of God’s children were created to become lords of creation and we should be proud and make effort.

"Our spirit grows only while we have a physical body." This is true, and if you think about it, it’s scary. Our everyday events are recorded forever and will stick with us forever. I think everyone has done something they wish they had never done. I regret my sins every day and it’s a lot of pressure. Maybe many blessed children feel the same. I think there are even some who couldn’t take the pressure and left the church but that doesn’t solve anything. I have made many mistakes in the past, I could never forget, but still, there is a future. I could start again from now on by trying hard to make my spirit grow and make up for the past. Well, we can’t really make up for the past because the past is the past but we still have chances and God would never betray us. He loves everyone and knows what is best for us. Now is the most important time for us and also the hardest. But I think we could help each other to provide encouragement for our spirit to grow, not only for ourselves but for our friends and people around us. I think helping each other is what is important for making our spirit grow. Of course, there are more activities we could do, but I think that to help others is one of the most important things for our spiritual growth.

"The serpent in the Garden of Eden was a spiritual being." He was once an angle but he couldn’t get over his jealousy toward Adam. Adam had everything Lucifer wanted: a body, God’s love, the world, and—most of all—Eve. The serpent wanted what Adam had. I feel bad for him and kind of understand how he must have felt, but still, what he did was wrong. Adam and Eve were wrong, too. Everyone must have experienced jealousy over something. Some people try to do something about it by trying harder. If you think about in a different way, it could help you grow into a better person. Lucifer the archangel disobeyed God and became Satan. Sins can be traced back to the Fall which occurred between Even and the serpent. Sin is the condition of act which creates a common base with Satan. I learned this from our trip to Belvedere. I have committed lots of sins in the past, but I am thinking and trying harder to be closer to God. I know God would watch over me and sometimes give me answers when I need desperate help. Not maybe always but I believe He watches over everyone and even over people who do not know Him.

"True Father did not receive the Divine Principle without a lot of struggle." No one could imagine how much he struggled. He must have had lots of attacks from the spiritual world and people around him. I think he is a strong and great man to succeed in what Jesus couldn’t do. He had been treated really badly in the North Korean prison camp. He was not like other religious leaders who tell their believers that only their religion is the right one, but instead he taught and tried to bring all religions together. He is the closest to God and understands how hurt God is. One of the great things about True Father is that no matter how cruelly he has been treated, he would forgive these people and pray to God for God to forgive them. He would teach us to love and forgive someone no matter how much they may hate and treat us badly, which is not an easy thing to do. True Father was able to do this. This is one of the big reasons he succeeded in catching people’s hearts, and still is. True Father teaches us God’s words on how God is hurt and that He has hope in us. That we should try our best to make God happy and build the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. I think it’s possible but it’s all up to us. I think the students at New Eden Academy are struggling but they are trying their best to make themselves better people and make God proud.

by Romin Johnson:

God and Friendship How do I identify God’s presence in my friendships? This is a question I have thought about a long time. When I’m with my friends, I can feel God’s presence sometimes—sometimes faintly, other times strongly. When I do something I shouldn’t have, and my friend is there with me, I can feel God in my friend’s frown or "tsk-tsk" look. At such times a friend is like my outer conscience. Other times I feel God’s presence in a good, congratulatory way when I’m with my friends. If my friends and I are playing football and I score a touchdown, my teammates come over and congratulate me, and then I would feel His presence. It’s as though he’s praising me through them. But God also relates to me personally. There are things I do on a daily basis to develop my friendship with God. Right now, my friends and I are doing a 100-day midnight prayer condition until Thanksgiving [1998]. And, although Thanksgiving is next week, I think I should make an effort to continue some type of prayer condition. I make an effort to pray in thanks to God at each meal. I feel that my friendship with God is becoming better and its is also getting a lot easier for me to communicate with Him. Whenever I need help, I say a little prayer and God helps me. For example, sometimes when I lose something, like my meal card, for example, I would ask Him to help me. I would say something like "Heavenly Father, please help me find my meal card so that I can eat and become strong and healthy to be of better love and service. Thank you, Heavenly Father, have a good day, and let everyone else in this world have a good day. I pray for True Parents and in their Names I pray. Amen." Suddenly, I feel better I know exactly where my meal card is.

by Christina Weber:

God’s Presence in our Friendships: In what ways do the contrasting Biblical stories of Cain and Abel, on the one had, and Jacob and Esau, on the other, illustrate for me the task of restoring human relationships, and what are the lessons I can learn for building my friendships?

Cain and Abel were the original siblings in the family of humankind. They were the template for all other sibling-sibling and friend-friend relationships for the rest of humanity as their parents Adam and Eve were the templates for all male-female relationships in the future. Cain and Abel were to set an ideal example for the future generations of a friendship which could withstand the strain of jealousy and conflict should such obstacles arise. They however failed this task. Cain killed Abel out of jealousy and anger. This caused the template for siblings and for friends to be lost as well as the template for male-female relationships with Adam and Eve.

Jacob and Esau were God’s second attempt at a template or example for humankind. In this case the template was successful when Esau forgave Jacob, overcoming his jealousy that Jacob had received what belonged to Esau and hadn’t earned it. Jacob learned to work hard and earn what he received while he was working for his uncle. Jacob also learned humility and showed his brother the respect he owed him. Though this second try was successful, it could not undo the original failure because it was not the stem that all people would descend from, as was the Cain and Abel relationship. Jacob and Esau were only one bloodline and the many others which existed in the world would not inherit it. God then had to work through this one bloodline which eventually developed into the Jewish people in order to bring about the Messiah to restore all of the bloodlines of the world under him.

"What can I do on a daily basis to develop my friendship with God?" To develop my relationship with God, it is important to speak with God daily in a non-formal format. Speaking to God as you would normally speak to another person helps God seem more real than simply a figure spoken about in church once a week. Don’t just pray stereotypical prayers as most do. Don’t just talk to God about being holy and obtaining God’s goals. Speak to God about problems in your daily life and ask for help. I know that’s also common, but talk to God about spiritual troubles. It is pointless to present yourself as holier than you really are. Try to admit your faults openly and ask for help as you would with a friend. Being a "God-fearing" person seems to be the goal of some religions, but I think that is quite the opposite from what we should be doing. God is forgiving and will love you no matter what. Tell Him your faults and dilemmas without fear as you would tell a good friend whom you’re sure will support you.

Talk to God about what you are happy with, not just your problems. Let God share in your happiness sincerely. Don’t just thank God because you feel you should, or just as a reflex. Tell God when you are happiest, the way you feel like rushing to the phone and telling your best friend that the most amazing thing has just happened to you. Share that enthusiasm with God. I am by no means saying you shouldn’t call up that friend on the phone and spend an hour praying instead. Simply let God share in your happiness by thinking of Him while it happens. God does not replace your friends; He wants to be a part of you and your friends, and wants to share in these relationships in good times and bad.

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