Exploring Unification Theology Edited by M. Darrol Bryant and Susan Hodges
Dr. Bryant: I thought we might get more details about the style of life within the Unification movement.
Dr. Sawatsky: The one thing you haven't told us much about is the crash course that starts the program. Tell us the basic content, and who does the teaching. Especially the content. Is there a standard content?
Jonathan Wells: We use the Study Guide for the Divine Principle as a guide for our lectures. The Divine Principle is condensed and presented more systematically in the Study Guide. The Study Guide is much easier to read than the Black Book, I think.
Diana Muxworthy: Did you want a picture of what the work shop itself is like?
Dr. Sawatsky: Yes. I want to see what this formation is all about.
Diana Muxworthy: We begin with a personal one-to-one discussion of the Divine Principle. After that you go to a three-day workshop; from a three-day, if you wish, you go on to a seven-day workshop; if you wish, you can then go on to a twenty-one-day workshop; if you wish, you can then go on to a forty-day, and finally we have a 120-day workshop, which is actually a preparation for missionary work. The three-day workshops are the beginning. On the East coast, they usually begin on Friday night. It's different out West. I'm not familiar with their schedule.
In general, people arrive on Friday night and simply talk, and then sleep. We usually wake up about six-thirty and have exercises, a prayer or worship service, breakfast, and then we begin the first lecture which concerns the Principle of Creation. And then people are divided into small teams with a group leader to reflect on the Divine Principle. There's a break around three in the afternoon or so for sports. We play soccer and other games, depending on the season. The central concern is an understanding of the Divine Principle which includes living it also. Then, there are usually more Divine Principle lectures. Sometimes, instead of lectures on the Divine Principle, there's a talk on prayer, or a talk on parental fears or personal testimonies. Usually it ends pretty late. That's what the media picks up on. Midnight is the cutoff point, but usually so much is going on in the group that it's difficult to get people to sleep. Usually about one or two, things quiet down. We follow the same schedule until Sunday. But that varies, too. Sometimes it goes until Monday, depending on how much of the lecture still needs to be given.
Jonathan Wells: My experience teaching at a workshop has always been that I had to force people to go to bed. Everybody wants to stay up and talk all night, so we have to insist that they go to bed. I think that over the past two years we've been experimenting a lot with our training programs. The program Diana explained was evolved around November of 1974 when we began expanding from the three- to seven- to twenty-one-, forty- and 120-day workshops. We followed that program for about a year, maybe even better than a year and a half. Since about March of 1976, we haven't had the forty- and the 120-day training sessions.
Klaus Lindner: A very small percentage of the members went through the forty-day session. The structure itself is very flexible to allow for the needs of many different people.
Linda Mitchell: Yes. It is only recently that a program has been worked out. When I heard the Principle, there was no such thing as a workshop. There was a Center in our town run by two people. My brother and I would go over there and one night they would teach us part of the Principle of Creation, and then another night we'd just talk. It wasn't structured at all. I never had a three-day, seven-day or twenty-one-day workshop. I never had any kind of formal instruction.
Klaus Lindner: When I was in Germany, the initial training was very much centered around reading and discussing the Divine Principle. Not many people had very much teaching experience. They just read the book together or read it at home. Most of the book I read at home. Then I decided to join. That's quite a common experience for members in Europe.
Jonathan Wells: I joined in West Virginia, and I was a member for three months before I went to my first workshop.
Lynn Kim: I was a member for a year and a half before the first workshop ever took place. The person who taught me had to read me the book. He didn't know how to lecture. I don't know why he wanted to read it to me. I guess he thought the spirit would come through better if he read it; but I knew I could read faster, so it irritated me. (laughter)
Lokesh Mazumdar: In addition to the regular Divine Principle presentation there is a series of lectures called the Internal Guidance. The idea of Internal Guidance is to give an internal experience to the person. This way they would have a deeper experiential understanding of certain expressions in the Divine Principle, such as foundation of faith, and foundation of substance. Some people had a very good experience with that, and some people didn't. These lectures aren't in the Black Book. They are generally about God and his relation to personal experience.
Dr. Sawatsky: Is that still being used?
Lokesh Mazumdar: I don't know if it's being used right now.
Janine Anderson: Prayer is also very important in coming to understand God and our beliefs.
Dr. Sawatsky: Is there any guidance for your piety in written form or formalized in some fashion? I was asking yesterday about prayer books and hymn books, but what I mean now is a guide to piety.
Lynn Kim: Well, not really.
Klaus Lindner: Internal Guidance is a guide to a way of life.
Lynn Kim: Internal Guidance is just one person's experience with God.
Lokesh Mazumdar: The whole purpose of the workshop is to give the person an experience with God and to deepen his understanding. We also try, if possible, to give the person some sense of the role of Rev. Moon as the central figure of the whole movement and the channel for God, and we encourage him to develop some kind of a relationship with the other participants as brothers and sisters. But it doesn't always work out that way.
Dr. Sawatsky: It seems to me that these training sessions must be very, very important, though. When you come here to the Seminary you are bombarded by people from all kinds of other backgrounds: Calvinists, Catholics, Jews, and so forth. Yet there doesn't seem to be any shaking of the foundations for you. You seem to take it all, and yet maintain quite comfortably your own perception of what truth is. Someplace you must have come to a very solid sense of what you believe. That must happen in these training sessions.
Lloyd Eby: Well, it's partly from the training sessions, but more important is the common faith that we have, and the living of that faith every day. I think the ability for us here in the Seminary to be exposed to almost any tradition, to engage in creative dialogue and to question and explore, bespeaks a very strong faith on which we stand.
Dr. Sawatsky: But it must be more than simply heartfelt faith. That faith must be well worked out intellectually, because the ability of you all to engage in conversation has been I think, rather unusual. There is a deviation from one person to the next, but it's deviation within a common framework.
Lynn Kim: I think you have to remember that most of us have been exposed to some extent to these other traditions and influences before. Many of us shopped around, looking for a meaningful belief that could absorb us. We chose Unification over everything else, but we're still open to investigating other ways.
Joe Stenson: There's a kind of solidness in relationship to the Divine Principle throughout our movement. Also, there's a kind of facility with language that we have gained because most of the things we do are very outgoing. For example, the twenty-one-day workshop includes seven days of lecture, seven days of fundraising, seven days of witnessing. You really find things out in talking with people. Most members are constantly talking with people about what we believe and what we think. The experience of fund-raising is very much like that, too. It's very much of a spiritual discipline.
Diana Muxworthy: Fundraising was a powerful experience for me. I was out on my own and I had to make a decision: do I believe in the Divine Principle and am I willing to go through this? To me, fundraising was a very spiritual experience in that it reaffirmed my faith. Every day I had to question what I believed.
Jonathan Wells: The 120-day training session that used to be taught here in Barrytown consisted of sixty days of lectures and discussion, then three weeks of fundraising and forty days of pioneering. For pioneering, they took us out with our equipment, including a portable blackboard and a bicycle, and left us somewhere. I got dropped in Stamford, Connecticut on a Sunday afternoon with twenty dollars in my pocket and instructions to set up a Center. So I just started from scratch. I slept out in a Lord and Taylor parking lot (laughter) and started from there. I was the only Church member in a town of 100,000 people. We are doing this all over New England. Later that summer and fall it was done all over the country. I'd say that most of the Principle that I know, I learned that way. (laughter)
Dr. Sawatsky: I think probably all of us that are teachers know that one of the best ways to learn anything is to have to teach it.
Lynn Kim: From the minute you know something you start teaching it. If you've heard one chapter, you go and teach it to someone. I was surprised to discover that on the sixth day of the seven-day workshop, they took people up to Albany and started them witnessing. Some went out in trepidation, and some of them were really eager. But it was a tremendous experience for all of them. They felt such joy and came back alive and bright and talking a mile a minute. You get into really good discussions, really practical. Your knowledge comes from your need to explain it to someone else.
Diana Muxworthy: Something that has really helped me is understanding that the purpose of the Church is not to become another denomination. The purpose of the Unification Church is to revitalize churches, to bring Christianity alive, to understand all world religions and to become a part of all of them rather than to become separate from all of them. So I've never felt that I'm against anyone. I really want to understand other people rather than fight them. I really want to understand them and help them and help myself, and together go towards God's world.
Dr. Bryant: Sometimes I am a bit uncomfortable using the word "Unification Church" since your official title is "The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity." Do you feel any uneasiness about using the term "Church," or does it signify some kind of change or development within Unification?
Farley Jones: I'd like to say just one thing about that. In the early 1960's we were known as the Unified Family. And in 1970, our charter of incorporation in the state of California specified three possible names for the organization: the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, the Unified Family and the Unification Church. We'd always been using the Unified Family. But in the 1970's we felt that so long as we kept the name Unified Family, we'd be generally perceived as a flower-children type group. In an effort to be perceived in relation to the Christian tradition we began to call ourselves the Unification Church.
Lynn Kim: Most of us around at that time really groaned and grumbled under the Church name because it made it difficult to witness to people our own age, mostly young college age people. We'd say "Church" and they'd say "blaah!" It was really tough.
Lokesh Mazumdar: I think that at that time the presentation of the Divine Principle was not so Biblically-oriented. It was simply the general Principle, the Principle of Creation. After 1970, it was much more Biblically-oriented.
Dr. Sawatsky: Do you mind explaining why that occurred?
Lokesh Mazumdar: I think it was just an expansion of the Christian foundation of the Divine Principle.
Klaus Lindner: Also, I think that the Divine Principle was not yet translated in the form that it is right now. And also, Rev. Moon was not yet here in America.
Lynn Kim: It was also due to the greater influence of the Korean movement. The missionaries had come, but left here, and had done whatever they could. Then Rev. Moon's presence brought the tradition of the Church as it had developed in Korea and Japan.
Dr. Sawatsky: That was more Christian than the early Church teaching in America?
Lynn Kim: Yes.
Linda Mitchell: In Italy, I don't think it is called a church. Do you know what the name of it is, Janine?
Janine Anderson: I think it's called an association in Italy, and also in France.
Klaus Lindner: It might be changed in Germany, but when I was there it was the Holy Spirit Association.
Lynn Kim: I personally feel very uncomfortable saying I'm from an association, (laughter) In Korean the word "church" doesn't have the same limitations as our word "church" does. It can be a church, it can be an association, it can be a group of people assembled for a purpose. It does happen to be the word that they've selected to use for the Protestant churches, but it's a flexible word in Korean.
Lloyd Eby: I think, too, that the relationship between the Unification movement and the Christian churches is a dynamic thing. It goes through many phases. We would never want it to be a separate organization. But it's one way to start being recognized as a member of the community of churches. But that's not, as you have gathered, the goal we want to reach. Now we're beginning to de-emphasize Unification Churchiness and to talk about aninterdenominational, inter faith type of thing.
Lokesh Mazumdar: There was an idea a long time ago that if the Unification Church wasn't able to bring about the unification of all the Christian denominations, then there would probably be the creation of an additional movement to bring the Unification Church and other Christian churches together, (laughter)
Dr. Klaaren: And if that didn't work, I suppose there would probably be one more church, (laughter)
Dr. Bryant: Could we turn this discussion to pick up the question of the place of Rev. Moon and the place of the Divine Principle? I'm still not clear about the place of the Divine Principle in relation to the Old and New Testament, or, for that matter, in relation to the sacred scriptures of other traditions. Is the Divine Principle a Third Testament? Is it a new systematic theology? Is it a new interpretation of the Christian scriptures?
Lloyd Eby: In my opinion, that question is difficult for us to answer. The relationships between the Divine Principle and the Christian Scriptures are dynamic. The question, I think, would suggest that there's a static answer to that question. I don't think we have that answer. In other words, I feel equally comfortable reading the Black Book or reading the Study Guide or reading copies of Rev. Moon's speeches, or reading the Old Testament, or reading the New Testament, or reading the Koran. I feel equally comfortable with any of these, and I use them all either as guides for spiritual life or guides for intellectual reflection. It certainly is the case that there is a kind of primacy to Rev. Moon's person, and to his words or to his speeches that I suppose we wouldn't give to the other writings. Let's put it this way. If there were a question which required us to give precedence to one source of truth over another, then we would probably give that precedence to Rev. Moon because he is a living being and can therefore give a particular response to a particular question in a particular context. He can be more specific than a written text. I suppose we would give second place to the Black Book version of the Divine Principle although I've heard some of our own members say that the Black Book has serious problems in the way it's written. I agree that there are problems with it.
Dr. Bryant: Okay. However, it seems to me that there must be -- and maybe it's just a problem of articulation -- some principle which allows you to say it doesn't matter whether you read the Koran, the Old Testament, or the New Testament. I can't quite believe that. You're not reading these texts as if they were texts that just happened to cross your table. Right? You read them in the light of some other truth.
Lloyd Eby: The principle behind our reading would be the conviction that truth is eternal and unchanging, and that throughout history one can find expressions of truth. There is truth in each one of the world religions. Although truth is eternal and unchanging, the process of revelation is an historical one. We believe that now, in the person and in the message of Rev. Moon, we have the fullest expression of truth. Yet, wherever one finds any kind of religious experience in the history of mankind, one will find at least some part of the content of that truth. We would see the divine principle as a principle underlying the whole process of creation and the whole process of human restoration. Everywhere, in creation and restoration, the divine principle is at work.
Klaus Lindner: I would say that it's true that we find the divine principle when we read the Bible and when we read the Koran. Therefore, we can read all texts confidently, because we have a basic principle. We learn more about the divine principle through reading in other religious traditions.
Dr. Bryant: Would it be wrong to say it this way: the divine principle is the revelation, and you see traces of that revelation in other religions, other traditions, other experiences?
Lloyd Eby: I wouldn't want to say it quite like that. I would say that the divine principle is a principle underlying the whole process of creation and the whole process of restoration of the universe and that one can see traces of that in every kind of revelation. So it's not a revelatory principle; it's a principle underlying the process of creation and the process of restoration throughout the universe. Wherever one sees expressions of that in any kind of revelation, one is seeing expressions of that principle.
Dr. Bryant: But is it not the case that you are building more definitely within the Christian context than you are within the Buddhist, or the Hindu?
Lloyd Eby: I think the answer to that is once again both/and. We have people in the Church who had no Christian background, but were Buddhist or Shinto; and yet their understanding and appreciation of the divine principle is at least as strong as that of people who come out of the Christian tradition. We would say that the reason we give a primacy to Christianity is because it is the closest expression of the Principle.
Farley Jones: I have a feeling that that statement shortchanges our perception of the role of the Judeo-Christian tradition in the Divine Principle.
Lynn Kim: And of Christ Himself. I think, Lloyd, that you misunderstand the teaching of the central providence and the crucial providence. The central providence of God throughout history and the only one in which He, Himself, has consistently invaded mankind's history is the Judeo-Christian tradition. You have Buddha saying, "I meditated and I understood"; or in another religion you have somebody saying, "I perceive that society works this way." That is not God invading history as He has in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The Judeo-Christian tradition is the history of God desperately trying to transform man.
Joe Stenson: I think we make a distinction between what we would term Adamic religion, or religion that comes in the line of Adam, which is as Lynn says the direct revelation of God to man, and an archangelic religion like Islam or Mormonism. In these latter, a revelation comes by way of an angel; but the Judeo-Christian tradition sees the central providence of God moving throughout history. The archangel religions are from a high realm of the spiritual world, and their knowledge of truth is very close to God's. But they're built around the side of that central providence perceived by the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Dr. Sawatsky: I heard you pray in the name of Jesus. You weren't praying in the name of Buddha. "When salvation comes, to Jesus I return," somebody said.
Klaus Lindner: The Christian tradition is something like a red thread in history through which restoration is to be accomplished. But other religious traditions also lead mankind in other parts of the world, to a level as high as they can reach. At the time salvation is being accomplished, the other people in the world should be on a spiritual level from which they also can understand what's happening. At the time of Jesus, for example, Israel certainly was prepared to understand Jesus; but the whole world, the Roman Empire, was prepared to spread the message, and the other religions prepared other parts of the world. We don't see Buddhism as against Judaism or Christianity, but as a preparation for understanding God's revelations through Judeo-Christianity.
Tom Selover: The Divine Principle says that in this time, a new understanding or a more completed understanding, has to come in order to clarify the Bible and all religions.
Dr. Sawatsky: Are we speaking of the Last Days? These are the Last Days, right?
Dr. Bryant: Some of the things I've read, suggest it's not through the Judeo-Christian tradition, but through Rev. Moon, that we get the glasses, that we get the message decoded. The Bible is a coded message, right? Rev. Moon decodes it. It's his revelation.
Lynn Kim: That's the Last Days aspect. You remember, in the final days you will see clearly, though now you see darkly; and Jesus says, "I have many things to say to you, but I cannot say them now, you cannot bear them yet." Now those things are very clearly and easily opened. In the Last Days, we will not believe in God, but we will know God. He will be a real part of our lives.
Lokesh Mazumdar: One thing that's central is the role of Christ, the role of the Messiah. Most other religions have a central figure too, but that figure is usually the avatar or some sort of spiritual leader -- one of many who have appeared consistently in different ages at different times when the need came. Now, Christianity was not meant to be Christian. Christianity was meant to be universal, just as Judaism was meant to be universal. But that never happened, and so, when we talk of Christianity today, we're talking about Christianity as it is, whereas in reality the value of Christianity should have been universal. This is where the role of the principal revelator, the role of Rev. Moon, the role of the central figure in this particular age who decodes this message, comes in.
Lynn Kim: But once you have that clear, the things that Lloyd said are perfectly true: you see the Divine Principle as describing the principles of the universe. Through it we can understand any religion, and see how it fits into the universal picture.
Dr. Clark: You people are in a very unique position in relationship to the other religions we've been talking about, because your oral tradition is still going on. You said before that Rev. Moon's voice itself is still the primary thing, even above and beyond the Divine Principle. When Rev. Moon dies are you going to have something like an apostolic succession for Church leadership? Will the person at the head of the movement retain Moon's position as the living voice of authority? Or will the Black Book become more central as a kind of text as happened with the Christians in the years after the first few centuries?
Diana Muxworthy: I think the Divine Principle can be considered as the theology of the Church. The tradition Rev. Moon is transmitting through his words and through his speeches places more emphasis on personal spiritual growth. His words aren't directed at changing the Divine Principle or saying anything different from the Black Book, but are concerned with relating the Principle to each individual in his life and in his struggles to attain a clear understanding of God. I think that his speeches will be used in the same fashion even after his death.
Klaus Lindner: Many of his speeches are directed to specific situations. The speeches don't actually change anything that's basic to the Divine Principle. They elaborate. Points become much clearer as more examples are used to illustrate them.
Dr. Sawatsky: Would it be possible for me to say that the Divine Principle is essentially right, that I believe in the notion of family, of world community, etc. as you do, but to say that I do not accept Moon as the Revelator, as the new Messiah?
Jonathan Wells: I'd like to answer that. I have a very difficult time separating Rev. Moon from the Principle. Not that they aren't separable, but the Principle is a theory, and in fact our Study Guide says it's like a scientific hypothesis. You test it the way you test a scientific hypothesis -- by experience. If we had just the theory, it would be very interesting, but I doubt very seriously if we would have a movement. That's my personal opinion. The fact that Rev. Moon has managed to embody that Principle, for me, makes the movement. Now, if he were to part visibly from that Principle, so that he and the Divine Principle as we under stand it were at odds with each other, I think the movement would fall apart.
Dr. Clark: If they parted, but not when he dies.
Jonathan Wells: That's right, not when he dies. But if he were to desert the Principle, I don't know what might happen. But the fact is, they are one. He is the embodiment of what he teaches in the Principle. Now, I can test the Principle independently of Rev. Moon. But when I see Rev. Moon fulfilling the direction of that Principle and showing me that a human being can do that, that really gives me hope.
Dr. Sawatsky: That's interesting. Now let's get straight what he's speaking about here. You start out by speaking of the Messiah. Is Rev. Moon the Messiah?
Jonathan Wells: Well, we talked about this yesterday. Some people say he is, some people say he will be, and some people say it's not even determined yet who is or who isn't. I don't find it necessary to think of him as the Messiah. I think of him as the champion of the Kingdom of God. My relationship with him is on many levels. But I can see him as the point of the spear that's opening the way.
Dr. Sawatsky: Do you relate to Rev. Moon in terms, say, of your piety? Could you pray in the name of Rev. Moon?
Lloyd Eby: Yes, in the name of his position actually, more than in the name of his person.
Christa Dabeck: To me it seems that God appoints central people through history, and whether they will be the Messiah or not depends upon whether the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven happens. Maybe you've heard this over and over again, but it's very real to me. To me, Rev. Moon is the potential Messiah.
Diana Muxworthy: What I believe is that he can establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. To me, he has been anointed by God to deliver this truth to mankind. He is a union of the word and the deed, and for that reason, he's a Messiah figure. But for me, the test will be whether the Kingdom of Heaven on earth is established or not.
Dr. Richardson: Now, I'll just say one thing about this. One of the things that I've learned from this kind of discussion is that the questions we Christian theologians ask are raised out of traditional Christian theology. We're asking, "Whom do you say that he is? Is he the Christ or not?" We're coming from that traditional Christian kind of theology where we say, "I believe Jesus is the Christ, and He has uttered the Word." Now, I don't see that as the way this group works. It seems to me that here's a place where one has to fear biased theology. Let me just pick up what Diana said. The question isn't whether he's the Christ; the question is whether the Kingdom of God is established on earth or not. To the question "Do you believe Rev. Moon is the Messiah?" the answer is not yes or no; the answer is that I feel that I am able now to live better since I understand God's purpose more clearly, etc. The test of whether he's the Messiah or not is not what these people say about Moon, but whether they themselves are living in a transformed way. I think even we see that the impact of these people on us is not directly related to what they believe about Rev. Moon. We keep saying that we're impressed with the kind of people here, and with the kind of life they live. My testimony would be: I don't know whether Moon is the Messiah or not, but I feel a certain strength, invigoration, and clarity about a number of theological ideas. I think you can say it's not just Moon, but something out of this group that has made me a better person. I think that's the form in which the answer to the Messianic question is proposed by this group. That is essentially their offering. If we were to talk about it in the terms of modern theology, we would say they are attempting to get away from understanding faith as a mission of doctrine which is essentially what we're pushing on them. Rather, they are trying to get to faith as life lived in the Kingdom way. I think that's the whole mood of modern theology, and that's what makes this movement very, very modern.
Dr. Sawatsky: One problem here. I don't know that that's the direction of the question because I don't think that's a sufficient test: that people just make a confession that they're now living in the Kingdom way. I think you're right that by coming here, we experience something unique or something that's very appealing or affecting or something like that. But I know a lot of people who say that they live in a Kingdom way, and that's not a sufficient answer. I think what we're trying to elicit is some peculiar kind of understanding that cannot be articulated here.
Dr. Clark: It doesn't seem to me it's so different from what the early Christians experienced. They lived as if the Kingdom were there in the hope that imminently it was going to be consummated. I guess one will have to know more about what exactly the signs and marks of the coming of the Kingdom are going to be in their external forms, rather than simply talking of transformed life as if the Kingdom has fully dawned.
Lloyd Eby: I want to respond to what you were saying. Suppose I believed in establishing the Kingdom and so on, but I just don't accept Rev. Moon. Well, that's really okay. If you're willing, let's build the Kingdom of God. If Rev. Moon is the central figure in that project, then I think it will become apparent at some point. I'm not worried about whether you think it's so now or not. And in fact, if it turns out not to be so, if the Kingdom gets built, that's okay, too. In a sense, it's too bad if you don't believe in Rev. Moon because then you might be able to do more to build the Kingdom than you would if you go on an independent track. I think we're clear that the main thing is accomplishing a new lifestyle. There's no point in making some kind of faith test of whether you're in or out. The point is, what are we going to do together? We'll see what we have when we get there.
Dr. Sawatsky: What if I start a new group called the anti-Moon Unification Church?
Lloyd Eby: Now that would be counter-productive, (laughter) Don't attack the Unification Church. If you have a better idea about how to build the Kingdom -- and Rev. Moon has said this -- go ahead. If Rev. Moon finds out yours is better than his, he'll follow you. He has said that over and over, and I think he's sincere. I'd like to emphasize again that it's not any one isolated element that answers this question. For example, living in a Kingdom way is a pretty important part, but it's much more than that. I think when we say we test the Principle, we test it against our reading of the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavadgita, and every other religion, and against history and what we know of human nature. If we all come to the Principle and accept it because we have come to an understanding already, that shows us that the Principle answers a lot of questions we had and puts together a lot of pieces that were isolated. Then, in combination with the example of Rev. Moon, these things all work together.
Jonathan Wells: I would like to say that I believe that as Unification ideas are accepted, and as individuals try to actualize them, they will learn from their own experience that Rev. Moon is the model. He's the one who showed me that it can be done. Now, the only way anybody can learn whether or not that's true is to try it in their own life. You don't have to be part of the Church, but if you try to live the Divine Principle, you'll find out that he has done it and made it possible for you to do it. The Divine Principle is not just intellectual, it's a guide to dynamic, revolutionary action.
Lokesh Mazumdar: Let me say something, just briefly. My parents were Hindus. I grew up in a Hindu home. The school was a Salesian Catholic school, and I went there for twelve years. I was not indoctrinated, and I went for one year to a Jesuit college. Most of the people in my class in school were either Protestant Christians or Catholics or Hindus or Sikhs, or Zoroastrian. Okay, that is my general background, (laughter) Then I came to America. When I was introduced to the Divine Principle lectures, I just refused to hear. Why? Because I thought they were going to convert me to Judaism because they were talking about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. I was expecting something of a universal nature, and I just couldn't get beyond that point. I just stopped at Moses, (laughter) After that, when the talk drifted over to the New Testament and what that means, I felt that everything was beyond my conception, my imagination, and my background. Yet something told me that I had to go beyond my limits. Finally, I was able to see very faintly. I was able to see that this in fact goes beyond Judaism, and goes beyond Christianity, and goes beyond Hinduism and goes beyond Sikhism. I was able to see that the Unification Church movement was struggling to get up from the tribal level to an international level. Some Christians can understand the whole of the Principle in one sitting, but a Hindu cannot. He's going to have to accept a lot of things, hash out a lot of things, and dig into a lot of foreign ideas. However, I would like to stress that beyond the people involved, beyond the theology involved, there is a certain spiritual pressure, a spiritual presence that is, I think, the Spirit of God. Because of the Spirit, all people can come to an understanding of the Principle.
Jonathan Wells: I've noticed one thing about Rev. Moon in his behavior and his teaching. Ask him a theoretical question and he somehow always gives you a practical answer. With the exception of something like the Madison Square Garden speech which is a theoretical speech, he is constantly giving practical advice or giving challenges to activity. He never talks about theoretical things apart from practical things. There's something about his mind that works that way. He has a very practical mind, a mind in which theory and practice are intricately bound together. You can't separate them.
Lynn Kim: As Jon was saying, the Divine Principle is in a sense, Rev. Moon, and is in a sense autobiographical. We talk about history and the course of Moses and Cain and Abel and Abraham. These figures in the Old Testament and the New Testament are, in a sense, prototypes for the kind of struggle we have to go through ourselves. The struggle between Cain and Abel happens first on an individual level. How can I subjugate what in me is more ungodly and let the godly take over inside myself? Then, in relation to another person, I'm Cain sometimes and sometimes I'm Abel. I have to restore these relationships. And then you move to more and more complex levels. Somehow, symbolically, you re live the whole of the divine principle. When you understand Rev. Moon's personal life and the course that he's gone through, you see that every ounce of his personal testimony is the divine principle. He has lived Cain and Abel, he has lived the course of Jacob, he has lived the path of Jesus. So in that sense, the truth of the divine principle is in the living of it.
Dr. Klaaren: Ina sense, what we've been talking about is what is new. Some people say that what's new is Rev. Moon. Others have other ideas. What is new in this movement? One way to come at that is not to look at ideas, but to look at what you are doing in the light of what I want to call the central ritual of your movement. If you look at classical Catholic Christianity, you see that the sacraments taken during the Mass are the central corporate ritual on which everything rests. There are periods in Catholic theology or in Catholic history when even theology seems a kind of commentary on the Mass. In classical Protestantism like Lutheranism and Calvinism, the central ritual is preaching. Preaching is so central that people in those traditions don't even see it as a ritual, as a symbolic way of talking about God. Then there's another tradition in which the gathering of people themselves in the name of Jesus or of the Spirit is seen to be the primary ritual. This is so for the Anabaptists, so that the worst thing we could do to a person is put a ban on him and put him outside the community. That amounts to putting him out of the church. I'm not looking at things theologically, but rather taking a perspective from the history of religion. From that perspective, what's new about your movement?
Lynn Kim: I think one of the simple things would be the stress on the family. You do not enter heaven as an individual, but you enter heaven as a family. Integral to your spiritual development is the entire family experience, particularly the development of the parental heart. We feel that the family is an eternal bond, an eternal relationship that will continue. Now we seem to be a community of individuals, but that's a temporary stage. We see nuclear families developing their relationship, but not closing in on them selves. The family is moving in God's direction. Through the father and the mother particularly, as far as we understand God as being both masculine and feminine, God can manifest His heart fully in the world around Him. Then this God-centeredness will multiply into communities of families.
Diana Muxworthy: In one sense, I think that the family emphasis is not really so new as it is a revival. I think that the kind of things that we're trying to do, for example, seeking God on an individual level, are not really new. Men throughout history have sought a deeper relationship with God. We want to see that manifested on many different levels, and so we're working in an active way to first develop our relationship with God and then to multiply that spirit out from families, to the society, nation and world. I don't see it as being necessarily any different than what the Christians wanted to establish. I think the Christians were prevented from expanding on more than the church level. I can't say that we're new, we are just redoing what was the original desire of Christianity.
Lloyd Eby: I'm not sure that we really have a central ritual. But there's a sense in which we have marriage as the central ritual. If you want a central ritual, that's it. Yet there's a sense in which each of the things that we do is at least for that time, for that place, a kind of central ritual. We would feel that whatever we're doing at a particular time in a particular place should be a kind of ritual. We do have a very strong sense of commitment to the family.
Dr. Sawatsky: Can I make one observation? It would seem to me that that question about the central ritual would have to be answered in relation to the timetable that we're dealing with here. It seems that many ritual elements from other traditions get brought into this, but they get transformed, partly in relation to time. You know, we've always had families. That's not a new idea; but it becomes a very new idea when it is brought into the context of the Third Adam. There are certain possibilities that open up.
Dr. Klaaren: That's right. It's similar to the result of classical Protestantism. It isn't that Protestants give up sacraments, nor that they cut the number from seven to two, but that they re-orient what they do sacramentally according to the Word. I would like to ask what's new in ritual and practice here.
Lynn Kim: What do you mean by ritual?
Dr. Klaaren: Well, I mean rituals like the sacraments or the Mass. A Jesuit priest says the Mass practically every day and his whole life is centered on that. I know a lot of Protestants who not only preach every Sunday, but seem to preach all week long, too. (laughter) There's a primary way of relating to God which stands forth in these different traditions, and I'm not clear what that is for you folks.
Diana Muxworthy: I'd like to give my own view. I attend an Episcopal Church every Sunday. The Episcopal ceremony is an hour long, but the minister can only speak fifteen minutes. Rev. Moon sometimes talks four or five hours at a time. So I began to think about liturgy and ritual and our Church. I began to realize that the new ritual which we have is the fact that there is no ritual, that one's own life is the ritual. Right now, to me, ritual is a lot of baloney if there's not a commitment in your inner heart to what is going on at that time. I see Rev. Moon and God and the Divine Principle asking me to live what I believe. We have a service with Rev. Moon on Sundays in New York. There is no ritual other than singing and praying and listening to him, and then, immediately after that, going back to work to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. That is the ritual. But I see now, of course, that things like the wedding ceremony can be seen as a ritual. This morning we woke up for Pledge Service at five o'clock, which is, you know, a service which we offer God on Sundays as a sacrifice of our sleep. Witnessing is a ritual too. It's the work that we're doing to establish the Kingdom on earth, and to practice what we speak.
Joe Stenson: I just have one thing to say. I think that the rituals in traditional Christianity are the physical acts which connect you with Jesus, through the Catholic Communion and the preaching of the Word. I think the ritual that's most profoundly enacted in each of our individual minds is a living of a life in relationship to Rev. Moon and what he represents which is the coming of the Kingdom. He is the man who is spearheading the way towards the Kingdom of Heaven, and I think our ritual is life in connection with the person who is the central figure.
Lokesh Mazumdar: I want to point out one thing that brings out the difficulty of this issue. One should view this in two contexts: one is the context before the Restoration, and one is the context after the Restoration. Quite often we're asked this question: Can you point to something as a sign of the Kingdom? What is the manifestation of the Kingdom? If I could open my heart and if my heart were good enough, that might be a sign. But quite often, we don't have anything to point to. We don't say, "Well, now, here's our community, we're living such and such a way, we're self-sufficient in this aspect, and we have a dynamic relationship with one another." I wouldn't be able to point to somebody and say, "See that person carrying the box of candy, that's the embodiment of the Kingdom." (laughter) It's hard to say "This is what life is going to be like in the Kingdom: you'll be witnessing from six in the morning (laughter), or teaching the Divine Principle. " You know, what kind of a kingdom is it where you're giving lectures all day long? (laughter) So, a substantial part of the movement at this time is engaged in the work. This work is somewhat different from living the life in the Kingdom. It's working toward that. Now, it is hoped by God, I'm sure by Rev. Moon, and by most of us that we will be restored. The seeds of the Kingdom are planted inside, and eventually will grow and take root in and around us.
Joe Stenson: If there is a ritual to be pointed to, then perhaps we would speak of the wedding ceremony which, as I mentioned yesterday, combines a lot of elements of different sacraments. But our understanding of ritual is, I think, different from the various traditional views. The Catholics view the ritual itself as giving one life. The ritual gives life to you so you go to Mass every Sunday, and if you miss a Sunday, you've lost standing with God. With our view of ritual, I think that the reality of the relationship with God is already established, and the ritual is just a statement of that. We come together and we symbolically go through various actions that state what has already happened. For instance, someone might have already reached a point where he should be married, and say, for various reasons, that can't take place. It might be postponed a year or so. But he has nevertheless already arrived at that point. His relationship with God is already developed to that point. So the ritual itself doesn't give life, but states what has already happened.
But I do agree with the others: our central task is the building of the Kingdom of God.
Jonathan Wells: According to the Divine Principle, this age is the age when the spiritual and the physical come together. I would say that it is happening now. The very essence of establishing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth is that of putting those two worlds together.
Klaus Lindner: The Kingdom of Heaven that we are expecting is actually nothing other than what should have come into existence if the Fall hadn't happened. The Kingdom of Heaven on
earth is the perfection of the principle of creation, for example, individual perfection, perfection of the family, perfection of the relationship of man and the universe.
Dr. Sawatsky: What are the institutions in the orders of creation? Obviously, the family. Is the state part of the Fall, or is it part of the created order? My assumption is that it's part of the created order in Unification thought.
Farley Jones: Our vision is a world without national boundaries. There might be some administrative boundaries, but we have a vision of a world without state boundaries.
Rev. Calitis: There are some things I don't understand when you talk about creation. Creation means things like flowers, birds, trees, hills, my wrinkles, my height, my weight, and St. Paul says that these things will not inherit the Kingdom, but that they will all be transformed. St. Paul is quite clear, you know, when he's talking to people who are dying. Before the parousia, Paul is saying, "Well, don't worry, nobody has an advantage, because you're all going to be transformed." What's going to happen to the hills, what's going to happen to the trees, and what's their point and what's the point of people who are still living in this world in relation to those who are in the spiritual world?
Lloyd Eby: Why don't we turn this question around and ask what your vision of the Kingdom of Heaven is? And why don't you go out and work to build it? This is more important than the question, "What's it going to look like?" I think that it's some thing that encompasses everything. Creation clearly is not just the flowers and trees and grass, but also the buildings because every created activity is a part of God's creation working through man.
Rev. Calitis: That's fair enough, Lloyd, what I'm getting at is a certain confusion -- at least ambiguity -- that runs through your talk about the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. You seem to take the language of eschatology very literally. Rather than understanding Paul's language as meaning, symbolically, that there will come a future state when God's relationship to His creation will be dramatically altered. You take that language literally. Aren't you confusing two modes of discourse: the literal and the symbolic?
Klaus Lindner: There are actually two Kingdoms of Heaven. There is a Kingdom of Heaven on earth, and one after we die. Once the Kingdom of Heaven on earth is established, there will still be a Kingdom of Heaven after we die. If those two are not distinguished, a confusion arises.
Joe Stein: We combine both kinds of discourse. The reason is our view of the messianic mission is both spiritual and physical. When we discuss the mission of Jesus, we say that He came not only to create a spiritual Kingdom, but to create a physical Kingdom. The concept of transformation for us would basically move in the direction of the right use of individuals and creation. It is not a view of bodies and trees suddenly changed into spiritual matter. The world as it is has the capacity to be the Kingdom of Heaven on earth if we rightly use it.
Dr. Bryant: Is your view of the Kingdom on earth centered on the change of attitudes or the change of structures? The way you are talking now sounds like you area group that puts the change of attitudes first. Once you get right relationships with God on the level of the individual and families, then the Kingdom has come. The world then remains essentially unchanged structurally. It's just that it's occupied by good people, God-centered people. Is that your view? Would you have businesses that are like other businesses and schools that are like other schools, with the difference being that no one will be cheating and no one will be dishonest? If that is your view, it does not seem to recognize the stubbornness of the world of social institutions. It seems naive. For example, do you really believe that working in Budd Automotive in Kitchener, Ontario, is building the Kingdom of God and that the only problem with Budd Automotive is that the people working there don't have the right kind of spiritual relationship with God? And if they had that, they would be happy to work at Budd Automotive because that's the way we're producing cars for people to drive around in? Is that your view?
Linda Mitchell: May I respond to that? I've thought about that. I don't think that any of us has a final answer. I think that this is pure speculation on our part. The one thing that I see happening within our movement at this time is that one person does not always dig ditches, and another person always does another thing. But our view is centered in a sharing of the joy and burdens of building a society together. Once we're in the middle of the Kingdom of Heaven a certain number of people would still have to do automotive work. If you have to be there, if you have to spend one month in an automotive factory, I don't think it would destroy you. I think that all people can experience joy even in doing those not-so-pleasurable things. We can experience joy because we're doing it for the sake of other people, and doing it with a different heart.
Dr. Bryant: So the structures, the institutions are okay?
Linda Mitchell: No. But the heart of the problem is our relationships with God and others.
Dr. Bryant: In the Kingdom of God on earth, do people continue to die?
Lloyd Eby: Yes, sure.
Dr. Sawatsky: But people will not be sorrowful over death?
There will be no tears?
Linda Mitchell: Right. The spiritual world is much greater and much broader and more beautiful than the physical world.
Dr. Sawatsky: Do those in the spiritual world live through the goings on of the physical world?
Linda Mitchell: Not necessarily. This earth is the scene of the process of restoration. Man's purpose on earth is to grow to perfection, then to have a family, and then to fulfill his responsibilities for the world. Once man has done that, then he can go on to the spiritual world and live a much fuller, more beautiful life.
Dr. Clark: What happens to people who die before they fulfill any or all of the blessings?
Mike Jenkins: They work through people who are here, cooperating with and helping them. By helping them, by trying to influence them in some way, they can also receive the benefits of their earthly partner. Also, I've begun to realize that if what I believe is that the spirit is eternal, then eternal life is even more real than my own lifetime.
Dr. Bryant: Okay, I can get that, but one of the things that now starts to slip away is the notion of a physical restoration that I thought was so absolutely central to Unification thought. Instead, it sounds like the world remains as it is, but our attitudes change. The first time we talked about physical restoration it sounded like you expected some actual transformation of human nature and the world. As Juris once asked, "Do perfected people get colds?" Certainly, when you talk about a physical restoration and perfection it sounds like it should entail a change in our fleshly nature; and now it sounds like it's getting very spiritualized again, that it's simply a God-centered relation. Am I misunderstanding you?
Tirza Shilgi: I think that you confuse two things. I think that there's a physical world and a spiritual world, both of which existed from the beginning. Restoration has to be accomplished in both the physical world and the spiritual world. Because of the Fall, fallen people have gone to the spirit world. Therefore, all the consequences of the Fall are there as well. Both the physical and spiritual worlds are in need of restoration. We don't know about the spiritual world in any detail. But we do know that the main essence of the restoration is the correction of the order of things, the internal order of things. The Fall introduced a certain self-centeredness which started to draw energy and love inwardly, into people. People became preoccupied with consuming things. People therefore became deprived of things: deprived of love, deprived of this and that, because everyone acted like a drain. The whole theme of restoration is a reversal of this pattern so that a person will be a source of love and energy rather than a drain of love and energy. With this internal reordering, things would start moving in a much more harmonious way, the way they do, for example, in nature. In nature, things correspond to that principle of give-and take. I believe that this is the very purpose of being. When that order will be changed we don't know in detail. It will take time and we will have difficulties. We will experience hardships, but there will be a point behind it; things will be moving towards their right order.
Lloyd Eby: Besides, you have to understand that things are not singular, but dual. Duality runs through everything, so that if you think in only spiritual terms or in only physical terms, you make a mistake. You must understand that when we're talking about spiritual things, in the Unification view, we're simultaneously talking about physical things because they belong together.
Jonathan Wells: I agree. And I'd like to add that spiritual effort is directly and immediately manifested on a physical level. For example, you can go down to 42nd Street in New York City and look at a junkie standing on the sidewalk. Look in his face. What you see is a reflection of his spirituality. Then look at one of us. We're not perfect, but we're a lot different from that junkie, and it's visible. There is a difference, and it's visibly manifested; and the Kingdom of Heaven is manifested in this way, too.
Rev. Calitis: But let's be clear where my question comes from. The Christian vision it seems to me is that at one point, the thing that is mortal, the created order, will achieve immortality; and that will be done by a transformation which will create a new heaven and new earth which is one single thing, rather than two types of things.
Lloyd Eby: But in Unification, it is one single thing. But any single thing contains two aspects.
Rev. Calitis: Yes, but in your view everything is to be done by the sweat of your brow and is possible. But aren't material things really in opposition to spiritual purposes? I know that my body doesn't express all that I'd like it to express spiritually. I blush. I can't run as fast as I'd like. My body is supposed to be for relating to others and in fact, it distances me from others, because it isn't a perfect expression of the spirit. Where do we find a body which is a perfect expression of the spirit? In the Christian tradition, the view has been that this perfect harmony of body and spirit is not achievable through the cells and the chemistry of our bodies as presently constituted. Rather the belief is that we would have to have a rather colossal transformation: not just one that can be worked out in history, but one that is achieved by an act of God, a creative act of God again.
Lloyd Eby: Right, and I think that same thing exists here. In Unification theology the restoration can't be accomplished apart from the person of the Lord of the Second Advent.
Farley Jones: I'd like to say something. I don't think we envision the Kingdom of God to be the world as it is with individuals having different attitudes. We believe that at the point when people come into a fuller relationship with God, with their own true and original natures, they will create a very different kind of world on earth, very different from what we have now. We'll create a world that reflects the original beauty and purity of the human spirit. Thus, for example, New York City will not be New York City as we know it. Cities, if we even have cities, will be very different places.
Dr. Bryant: That's very important. I would hope that the Unification notion of the Kingdom of God on earth would not include a lot of things like Budd Automative. (laughter) At the same time, this gives us some insight into why you people are so anti-Communist. You see them as rivals. As Professor Richardson mentioned earlier, the Christian churches don't have a sociopolitical alternative. The force in the modern world that you see as a rival is Communism. They have a secular Kingdom of God on earth that's coming, and they've got a way to get to it. Most Christians, on the other hand, don't hold that notion anymore. Their Kingdom of God is beyond this world.
Tom Selover: That's why the final teaching about how to overcome Communism is not through war. We want to do what they want to do, but on the right foundation. Most people become Communists, it seems to me, because of a desire for social transformation. And we're aiming at that too, but on a God-centered foundation.