Unification News for April / May 1999

Where Are the Revolutionaries? [Part I]

Tyler Hendricks
April, 1999

Webster's dictionary defines revolution as "a total or radical change; as, a revolution in thoughts . . . A fundamental change in political organization, or in a government or constitution; the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler, and the substitution of another, by the governed." This secular source ignores the more fundamental reality of revolutions: religious revolution, but the definition would be parallel: "a fundamental change in spiritual orientation, . . . the overthrow or renunciation of Satan's government or Satan, and the substitution of God, by the governed."

Prior to external revolutions of which history is most aware comes the internal revolution of heart and thought. Prior to the American Revolution was the Great Awakening. Prior to the Glorious Revolution in England, and the Puritan Revolution before that, was the Protestant Reformation. On the other side of the page, prior to the French Revolution was the skeptical Enlightenment, and prior to the Russian Revolution were the utopian socialists.

If we look more closely, the revolutionaries of heart and thought also wrought external changes within their spheres of influence, changes that a generation or two later hit the big screen, as it were. Luther's revolution in religious thought immediately wrought changes in the northern German principalities. Zwingli and Calvin engineered revolutionary changes in Zurich, Geneva and other Swiss city-states. A generation before the Puritan revolution in England, the Puritans had set up their new model government in New England. And the evangelicals of the Great Awakening wrought local changes in church-state relations in the American colonies a generation prior to the Revolution of 1776.

I would like to look at the ministry of our True Parents, Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, in this context, and ask the question: what is the revolution that the world needs today? First, though, I’d like to look at the fate of revolutionaries in America today.

The Fate of Revolutionaries in America

The American society insulates itself against revolution by a three-stage process of privatizing, demonizing and domesticating. Revolutionaries are first relegated to the private sphere deemed proper to religion in a secular, value-free society. You can think what you like, publish what you like, but just keep it to yourself. Many groups remain forever in this sphere-I think of numerous neo-Hindu or neo-Buddhist leaders.

Leaders who amass enough following and vision to impact society enter the next stage: they are demonized by name-calling. Typical terms of opprobrium are brainwashing, cult and cult leader, slave labor, white supremacy, black supremacy, anti-democratic, etc. etc. Some groups remain forever in this sphere-and perhaps they deserve to!

The third stage in the American digestive system is domestication. Elijah Mohammed, whose Nation of Islam was for most of his life relegated to the demonization stage, by the end of his life was lauded by Richard Daley (Sr.), Mayor of Chicago. The Nation was, by then, safe for human consumption, at least in its home city. The Latter Day Saints have emerged out of the demonization stage and are fairly domesticated, as are earlier demonic cults in America such as the Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Scientists, Quakers, Rastafarians and Roman Catholics.

Domestication often involves economic success replacing the revolutionary dreams of the founding generation. John Humphrey Noyes sexual experimental Oneida Community, driven out of Vermont and harassed in New York, turned into a major manufacturer of quality dinnerware. The Amana Community, another nineteenth-century American experimental community, while not as radical as Noyes', nonetheless settled down to manufacture kitchen appliances. The Adventists are big into breakfast cereals. The hippies of the sixties turned into the entrepreneurs and school administrators of the 80s and 90s. Jane Fonda runs CNN. The temptation of American affluence can temper the revolutionary fervor of almost everyone. Domestication can also be called "entering the mainstream."

This is not at all bad. Essential ideas endure, in a distilled form, through the three-stages, and have their effect upon society at large, mixing with a multitude of other ideas from other sources. A critical factor here, perhaps the most critical, is the energy of the revolutionary vanguard. One wants two things: the ideas to remain pristine, on the one hand, and the ideas to gain currency, on the other. The ante-bellum abolitionists had to temper their advocacy in order to develop the political coalitions necessary to their ultimate success. The more domesticated, the more the ideas can come through, albeit in a more homogenized, socially acceptable form. And, in balance, the more the ideas remain in their pristine state, the less easy it is for them to gain currency-or, the more the vanguard must sacrifice to create the social space in which those seminal ideas can gain a hearing.

The Case of True Parents' Movement

One thing that can be said about Reverend Sun Myung Moon is that he is not going to be domesticated. Our movement, at least in America, has encountered numerous points at which we could have mainstreamed ourselves, opting for religious compromise, political leverage and economic advantage. But the Founder never goes that way. He is always pushing the envelope, leaving his followers, many of whom view things from the "it's time to domesticate" perspective, continually catching up. You want examples? I've got examples.

Among the numerous fields Rev. Moon is now pioneering, two stand out in my mind. One is his work with the spirit world, and the second is the arena of True Family Values-specifically, the revitalization of the institution of marriage among youth. These may seem disparate undertakings at first glance, but they are not. Youth are very affected by spirit world. In particular, without strong parental guidance and meaningful social goals, youth are "out there" open to influence from diverse sources on earth and in heaven. Look at MTV. What is the source of the images and messages of today's youth music and music videos? Spirit world, and much of it none-too-healthy spirit world. Consider the disasters in America's high schools over the past two years, with the latest being the killings in Colorado. We cannot explain it simply in human terms. There is no humanly meaningful motivation for such actions. The perpetrators desire not money, fame, power nor love. These are irrational actions, wrought by seemingly normal young people. There is nothing in it for them from any human perspective. Their actions mean that life had nothing to offer them.

I am reminded again of the prescience of a college friend, Randy Reedy. Reflecting on the cycle of generational rebellion, and observing the colorful clothing, long hair and "love" rhetoric of the sixties, he predicted that the next generation would dress in all black, have super short hair and be pre-occupied with death.

In any case, Reverend Moon is working on both fronts-the spirit world, and the situation of youth today. Let us consider the spirit world work first. The Divine Principle, in its outline of the responsibilities of the Lord and all people at the Second Coming, mentions, almost in passing, that the Messiah's work will begin on the family level but will eventually encompass the entire cosmos-meaning the spirit world.

"Christ at the Second Advent will begin by laying, both spiritually and physically, the family foundation for the Messiah. He will then expand its scope to the clan, society, nation, world and cosmos. When this foundation is secure, he will finally be able to build the Kingdom of Heaven." (Exposition of the Divine Principle [EDP] 285-6) Cosmos here refers to the spirit world together with the physical world. What is the spirit world? It is the world of God, of the angels, and of our own ancestors. According to the Divine Principle, this work is to be carried out by "the people of faith on earth and in heaven" (i.e. people in spirit world themselves) who bear, after God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, "the third responsibility to defeat Satan, the fallen archangel, and complete the providence of restoration." (EDP 186) Thus, people in spirit world bear responsibility with us on earth at the conclusion of the providence. This is referred to as "the age of the providence to complete the cosmic foundation for the Messiah" in which God completes this cosmic foundation "by working throughout heaven and earth based on the Completed Testament Word." (EDP 185)

Over the years I tended to ignore such passages, or shelve them for future reference. But, as the turn of the millennium approaches, so too does the work of spirit world restoration, centering on the activities at Chung Pyung Lake. Why did I ignore those passages? There were many reasons, one of which was my Protestant upbringing. Protestantism bracketed the abundant spirit world of the Catholic faith, somewhat as Roman Catholic missionaries had cast out the spirit world of the earlier nature religions of primitive Europe. Zwingli and Calvin, in particular, the progenitors of the Reformed tradition, banned all holy days and saints days, removed all art and iconography from the churches, and turned over numerous church functions to the secular (read: rational, materialistic) state.

This clearing out of the religious authority that was based on rule over spirit world made way for the advance of science. Science became the new magician, transmuting base metals into gold. But spirit world is real and it will make its impression felt. Protestantism became a hotbed of charismatic leaders, messiahs and new religious movements, including various forms of spiritualism, beginning with the Zwickau Prophets, the takeover of the city of Muenster by the new King David, and proceeding from there.

Since Protestants had banned the multitudes of saints and angels, the standard spiritual interventions were viewed as being from a major biblical angel, usually Gabriel, sometimes an apostle, such as Peter or John, or God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. On the fringes, by the mid-nineteenth century in America, there was a craze in spiritual visitations and seances and, by the early twentieth century, the rise of Satanism with Alistair Crowley and his crowd. We can see connections here to Marx, Hitler and-yes, good old rock'n'roll music, at least certain strains of it. [For more on this lineage, see Michael E. Jones, Dionysus Rising.]

So the phenomena of the Protestant abandonment of spirit world and the rise of violence in American high schools are not two entirely different phenomena. Everything is connected. Littleton, Colorado, is the home turf of the Promise Keepers, a great and good movement to bring men to Christ. After a decade of mammoth success by the PKs, here, on their home turf, are some young men gone berserk. Coach McCartney may have an escape route: this is inevitable until the Second Coming. We Unificationists do not have that escape. It is our contention that God has given us the wherewithal to be able to solve it.

And so one thing Reverend Moon is doing, and asking us all, as the people, to participate in, is the resurrection of the spirit world. Release those resentful, angry, violent spirits that invade vulnerable youth. Our indemnity invested on earth leads to resurrection of spirit men (EDP 93). They return to earth to work with us (returning resurrection) only based on our indemnity on earth. So there is work for us to do on earth, offering, sacrifice. When our good works on earth are not enough-and they never are enough-conditions of indemnity are necessary and are made possible through the intervention of God in True Parents. This is basic biblical theology. Here Unificationism resonates with traditions such as Roman Catholicism, Hinduism and Buddhism, going back into shamanistic roots, and is at variance with the Protestant, Islamic and Confucianist worldviews, as well as anti-modern and anti-secularist. The Old Testament writers were well aware of spirit world and knew that it was a thoroughly wicked place-hence the sanctions against mediums and any commerce with gods other than the true God. Jesus was spiritually strong enough to overcome evil spirits, and he empowered his disciples to do the same. Thus the New Testament work of Jesus exorcising evil spirits, and the statements concerning saints and martyrs in spirit world and the holy city coming down to the earth from heaven in Revelation. As Jesus said, however, the bottom line is that what is bound or loosed on earth is bound or loosed in heaven.

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