Unification News for September 1998
One God, One World, One Family
by Cathi Close-Arlington, VA
The first time I came across the teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon was through a book of his speeches entitled, New Hope. I was eighteen years old and wandering through the college campus at U-Mass in Amherst. The Unified Family had a table of books they were lending and the cover of that particular one caught my eye. I could use some hope, I thought. I took it home and as I read the speeches I was quite amazed. While so much of what Rev. Moon was saying was difficult for me to comprehend (and still is!), I remember thinking this guy really knows what heís talking about!. In other words, he "spoke with authority, not as one of the scribes or Pharisees." (and he still does!).
I decided right then and there to join this group, whatever it was. Boy, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. God knew, though, and He pushed me right along.
As I look back over the years and experiences, both good and bad, I like to think in terms of the Native American concept of time. Progress and growth are not looked upon in a linear perspective but as concentric circles that are ever-expanding and evolving. Picture a spiral that gets wider as it gets higher.
Now, when I consider my own and the many, many lives which have been touched throughout the world with this same message, the organizations, the campaigns, the families, etc. that have multiplied, I find myself in a parallel place on the spiral of my life .... once again of questioning, wondering and struggling to understand our purpose and the complexities of Godís providence. (This isnít a first. Iíve been here many times before.)
What is the role of the church? How do I or donít I fit in? Is the church as an institution really going to change into something thatís not a church? Will merely the external form change or will there also be a transformation within? Will there be any encouragement toward or opportunity for reflection and renewal? Just as the caterpillar must go through the chrysalis stage before opening itís new wings to fly, and a baby spends time in the womb before birth, so also Jesus spent three days in the tomb before the resurrection. No matter how much we like to believe we are making progress, we cannot evolve without passing through the same cycles that affect everything in the universe. Preceding new life there is always a time of darkness, a time of going and growing within. There is always winter before the spring, darkness before dawn.
I have a lot of questions now and not all of the answers. I have some of the pieces of the puzzle, I think, but the puzzle also seems to be getting bigger. Instead of aggressively challenging myself to find answers to every question all at once, I feel that it would be more fruitful to reflect instead upon what I do know and to build upon that.
Recently my husband and I took a trip out West to look at possible areas to relocate to once our house in the DC area sells. We stayed with and met members in both Colorado Springs and the Denver area. Along with spending time looking at real estate, we also had the opportunity to have interesting discussions with these members about some of the various aspects of our life of faith. I found that regardless of to what degree a person is involved in church activities, regardless of our own personal perspectives or priorities, there is a real genuine element that binds us together. Even if we had never met each other previously, it didnít matter. There was a comfortable and secure feeling that we were brothers and sisters. We were family. We have True Parents in common and God as our parent. What a blessing and comfort! This is so precious to me because it is one thing that endures even when everything else seems to be changing.
These somewhat simplistic truths, I find in life, tend to often be the most profound at the same time. Consider that, compared to friends, family members donít choose each other. (Sometimes mates donít either!) We can be as different as night and day and often donít even get along. However, when times get rough, it more than likely will be our families that we turn to for help and support. Itís interesting that no matter how dysfunctional families are these days, still the busiest time at airports is always during Thanksgiving weekend. Itís not because itís the yearís biggest weekend for business trips but because people all over our country are traveling to be with their relatives. Why is this? Families are fundamental. It goes back to the original intention of our Creator. As He invested His love and hope into each one of us, he also created a loom with which to bind us together. He created families. So, like brightly colored threads, even though we are individually beautiful to behold, together we can weave a tapestry that will become a splendid masterpiece of itís own.
It will be a long time before this world and cosmos are completely restored and healed and love flows to every corner of the globe and beyond. A long time before all families are close to being ideal. Who knows how long before the need for religion and churches no longer exists or jails and armies become obsolete? There are still many challenges before us. There will be successes and yes, defeats as well. Happiness and also suffering. Itís nowhere near over yet. Along with the privilege we have the responsibility and burden to be a part of this heavenly healing effort. However, in our eagerness to reach out to as many others as we can, letís not forget our own. Along with outreach and campaigns we *must* pay attention to the needs of each other. Within our immediate families, within our communities, within ourselves. There are wounded among us and itís imperative that we acknowledge and tend to those as best we can.
I find myself asking a lot of questions these days. I love True Parents. I love Divine Principle. I respect the many accomplishments of the Unification Church but I also have valid concerns about some of the problems we are confronted with. Itís not easy in this church, or any church for that matter, to bring up doubts or differences. These are often viewed as a lack of faith or weaknesses. This is the typical nature of institutions. I once heard the comment made that if institutions and governments changed as fast as individuals did that there would be total chaos. I had to think about that one. It made sense but at the same time we ultimately need to work toward a balance.
Iím hopeful about the possibilities of the Family Federation of World Peace. I look forward to a new concept that can expand well beyond the boundaries of any one particular faith or outlook. At the same time, itís important to retain a solid foundation and stability. We donít want to be wishy-washy but clear in our values and practices. We also need to create the space to acknowledge our differences and weaknesses. We do have them and if we simply try to pretend they donít exist, whether as individuals or as an organization, then they are going to simply come up from behind and pull us down. I hope that we can find a way to balance these many needs and to create not only another organization but a genuine bridge that can support us all and carry us toward our destiny.
To revive the long forgotten knowledge that we are all truly one family of brothers and sisters under one loving God. Isnít this our ultimate purpose? Witnessing, evangelism, public relations, marriage rededications, service projects, conferences, educational seminars, spiritual traditions, etc. All of these efforts have meaning only when they can result in the tangible building of Godís true family.
I recently came across a decorative magnet that I bought to put on my refrigerator. It says:
One prayer - peace ; One hope - harmony; One dream - understanding.
Iím sure this is desire of all people and of God, Himself. I hope that the FFWPU can be successful in reaching out to not only embrace all cultures, races and religions but also will inspire and motivate others to work actively toward building Godís Kingdom on this earth.
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