Hermeneutics and Unification Theology - Edited by Darrol Bryant Durwood Foster
Darrol Bryant: We want to begin this evening by giving people a chance to introduce themselves. I'll begin by telling a little bit of my story. I teach in the area of religion and culture at Renison College, the University of Waterloo, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. I'm originally from North Dakota where I grew up in a small town right next to the Canadian border. I went to Concordia College in Moorehead, Minnesota, a Lutheran school, where I studied philosophy and political science. Then I studied theology at Harvard Divinity School. In 1967 I went to Waterloo for the first time, where I taught at Waterloo Lutheran University for a couple of years. Then I spent a year with the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva, organizing a conference for young Lutherans from around the world. So I guess I've been in the business of organizing conferences for more than a decade. I returned to Canada to study with Dr. Richardson, who had been a teacher of mine before and had since moved to St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto. And that was the unlikely setting where I began studying Jonathan Edwards. It was an interesting time to be outside of America, in a Catholic milieu, studying America's greatest Protestant theologian.
Three years ago I went to the Unification Theological Seminary at Barrytown. I went with considerable misgiving, but was intrigued by what I found. Given my background in American religion, I read the movement in the light of the millennial movements and eschatological themes that have characterized American religious life through its history. At the time I went to Barrytown, I was just getting to the point where I was seeing Edward's millennialism as an unfortunate aspect of his theology. Then I found myself confronted again with a group that had a strong sense of living in a critical juncture in the history of the human race. All of Edward's great speeches about the dawning of the millennium here in America started to come back and haunt me again. I've spent the last three years reassessing that aspect of Edward's life and thought. This is especially problematical to me as a Lutheran. We Lutherans tend not to have a very strong doctrine, or any doctrine whatsoever, of eschatology. Lutheran theology tends to be centered fundamentally and totally on the doctrine of redemption. Consequently, the encounter with the Unification movement has led to an interesting process of reevaluation of my own theological heritage in conversation with a group of people who are centered in eschatological doctrine. That is the background that brings me to this conversation.
I'm here because I like the opportunity to orchestrate conversations, and to see the multiplicity of positions that get articulated, both from the various people who come to these conferences and the members of the Unification Church itself. You could say that I'm a moderator in search of the theology of the Unification Church. Once I get that nailed down, then perhaps I can be very clear about the content of these meetings. As it is, it seems, as I said to Stillson Judah, that every time we meet we have a very different conference because different people come and raise different questions, and in response to those questions the theology looks each time a little different.
Dagfinn Aslid: My name is Dagfinn Aslid. It's a Norwegian name. I was born in a picture postcard setting in western Norway where I grew up in a community which was very Christian. In my home town you might say we breathed Christianity -- it was just part of the life of the village. So I guess I could say I grew up Christian without knowing myself otherwise in a little fjord in western Norway. I left home for the first time when I was 18 to go to America in Wisconsin on an American Field Service scholarship. I ended up at Wisconsin Lutheran High School, a school of the Wisconsin Synod. So that started me thinking about what I believed. Then I went back to Norway and finished military service on the Russian border. After that I went to Paris for my studies at the Sorbonne where I enrolled in 1968 in psychology. At that time students weren't studying, they were throwing bricks. It was the time of the student revolution there. Police were chasing anybody they could find and I ended up going to Alaska. (laughter) There I fished for king crab and got rich, and bought a Harley-Davidson which I rode across America. I went back to Paris in 1969. I found that the whole university system had been turned upside down. In 1970 I was offered a job with a Norwegian radio station where I worked for a year as a reporter. From then on for about four years I traveled between Paris where I went to school, my home, and America where I went fishing. Later I lived in Paris earning my living playing Dixieland jazz. It was in Sweden in 1974 that I first met the Unification Church on the street. I heard a little voice asking me if I was interested in philosophy and religion, and I thought, "Oh, no, not one of those sects." But it turned out to be a very wise Moonie who could do a lot of listening as well as asking questions. At that time there were five members in the whole of Sweden. It was a different situation from what you see in America now. It was a small group of very idealistic people and that appealed to me. I was very moved by these people and their burning idealism. I had to locate for myself something meaningful to dedicate my life to, and what I found was something that not only had a lot of enthusiasm involved in it but also had an intellectual openness. Those two things together persuaded me to start working in Sweden. In 1976 I came to America and went to the Seminary in Barrytown, and graduated in 1978. Now I am at Claremont School of Theology and am finishing my Master's there, and then I'm going to the program at Claremont Graduate School in philosophy of religion and theology.
Lewis Rambo: My name is Lewis Rambo, I grew up in Comanche, Texas. If you ever saw the movie "The Last Picture Show," that will give you some idea of what it was like where I grew up. I went to Abilene Christian College in Abilene, Texas, served a year as minister of a Church of Christ in Reading, Pennsylvania, then went to Yale Divinity School for three years, and to the University of Chicago for a Ph.D. I taught at Trinity College, just outside of Chicago, for three years in the Psychology Department. In September, I moved to San Francisco Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) to teach psychology of religion and pastoral psychology. My interest is the conversion process.
Mark Juergensmeyer: I'm Mark Juergensmeyer, and I teach at the University of California at Berkeley, where I co-ordinate the Religious Studies Program, and at the Graduate Theological Union where I'm involved in the history of religions. I'm a Methodist by background. I come from southern Illinois, from a town every bit as boring as Comanche, Texas. I went to Union Theological Seminary where I worked with Reinhold Niebuhr, did graduate work in religion and society, and then spent a number of years in India. I just finished a book on religion and the untouchables. I'm interested in modern religions in India and I'm also interested in ethics. I'll be back in India this summer working on a book on the modern religious movements in that country.
Mike Mickler: And you were a teen-age evangelist.
Mark Juergensmeyer: Now, Mike, come off it. Mike was in the seminar I taught on the social scientific study of religious movements; and Jonathan and I discovered we knew each other 10 years ago when Jonathan was not in the Unification Church, but was something of a celebrity in the anti-war movement.
David Kim: My name is David Kim. At the dinner table Dr. Bryant already introduced me. I'm administratively in charge of Barrytown, but not theologically. My concern all the time is how to expand ecumenism. I like to call Barrytown "Ecumenism Seminary." I have that kind of a dream. Before I met Rev. Moon, I had a concept of "United Religions" similar to the United Nations structure. When I first met Rev. Moon in 1954, he already had the idea of the "Unification of Religions." I am really working hard to find the common ecumenical grounds through which we Christians can work together. Recently Dr. Lewis of our Seminary has been developing a project called "The Global Congress of World Religions." So far seven or eight private groups plan to work together and to sponsor the "Global Congress" project.
I hope you won't be influenced by my presence here. Actually, I'd like to be here as an observer, not to talk too much, but to learn something. Sometimes you people like to ask crucial questions directly to a close friend of Rev. Moon, and it is natural. But this is a theological dialogue between our seminary students and other participants. Therefore, instead of me talking too much, I'd like to remain as an observer as much as possible. Thank you.
Herbert Richardson: I'm Herb Richardson, and I'm a systematic theologian. I'm Presbyterian by denomination and Roman Catholic by sensibility and spirituality. I pray not only to Jesus but also to the Virgin Mary.
My family was displaced at the time of the Depression from Massachusetts to Ohio. My grandmother's name was Mary Margara McGwynn, from Ireland. The Richardsons represent the New England and Calvinist side of my character. My grandmother represents the Irish and Virgin Mary heritage.
My immediate family was non-religious. My father thought religion was good for comforting old ladies. My mother and I were not allowed to go to Sunday school. A couple of times, I protested and attended secretly. When I was 19, my father became very ill and almost died, and I started thinking about religious questions. On the basis of that reflection, I joined a local Presbyterian church. I had not read Calvin or any books on Presbyterianism. I had not undergone any kind of conversion in the evangelical sense. But there was some kind of inward commitment there.
Over the next few years, I got myself located theologically. By the mid-fifties, I was a real Calvinist, which I remain today. I got my Ph.D. at Harvard, studied in both France and Germany, and was invited back to Harvard to start teaching. That was in 1962. One of the most important spiritual experiences of my life was that Harvard held a large Roman Catholic-Protestant Colloquium in the spring of 1963 and I went to it. This meeting and close work with good Catholic theologians forced me to rethink everything. (My childhood view of Catholics came from my growing up in a Catholic ethnic ghetto, where we non-Catholics were a minority. The gossip was that we were free kids who went to public schools, while the Catholic kids went to superstitious parochial schools. The gossip was that their priests did dirty sexual things with nuns, and that the Catholic Church was controlled by a foreign power and it was a financial rip-off. When you met nice Catholic people, you had to explain that in your theory. So then we said, "Well, they're not very Catholic")
For the next six years at Harvard I taught all the courses in Catholic Theology. The college told me, "You can have the whole field." I taught St. Augustine, St. Anselm, St. Thomas, Authority and Tradition and other such stuff. As this went on I became more and more interested in Catholic theology and I also became more eager for the Harvard faculty to appoint a Catholic. Whenever we would look for a Catholic to be on the faculty, it always turned out that somehow they were not really "qualified." I thought this to be a bunch of nonsense. So I said to myself, "If you want some Catholic colleagues, why don't you go get them?"
So I went to teach in a Catholic faculty, St. Michael's College in Toronto. At that time Bernard Lonergan, Gregory Baum, and Leslie Dewart were there. It was a very good Catholic faculty. When I went up to St. Michael's, the reaction of some of my Protestant colleagues was that I was out of my mind and had sold out. They said, "You're ruining your theological career. Nobody will take you seriously any more. Don't do it." They actually asked me, "Do you really have the freedom to teach what you want in the classroom?" When in the mid-seventies I taught a course at the Unification Theological Seminary, I heard all the same things again -- this time against Moonies rather than Catholics.
All of the things that had been told to me about the Catholics when I was growing up, I was now hearing about the Moonies: that the Moonies are controlled by a foreign power; that they're really more interested in money than in religious things; that their thinking is not free. (In my youth we didn't call it brainwashing, but superstition. Then, we wanted to get the Catholic kids out of parochial schools so that they could make up their own minds.)
I want to say three more things and then I'll stop: I came from a secular family. I mentioned my father's illness that was at the time that I joined the Christian church. However, another positive factor was the influence and teaching of Jim Lawson, who was one of Martin Luther King's closest friends. Thus, my initial Christian commitment in a way was to King and what he stood for. For 10 years of my life Martin Luther King was Jesus Christ to me. I always felt that through the power of this man's life, I best understood who Jesus Christ was. I believe we must overcome racism, so I feel solidarity with the Unification Church's practice of creating interracial marriages.
The second thing that has attracted me to the Unification Church was my belief in Christian missions. When I was in India, I saw that the world has only two options: Marxism or Christianity. I'm with Unification Church partly because of its profound commitment to missions. This means not just converting people to Jesus Christ, but also building a unified world.
The third thing that attracts me to the Unification movement is that I believe that Jesus Christ brings new and transformed life. I believe the church must preach not just the forgiveness of sins, but also new life and transformed character. I'm a perfectionist. This means I believe that to establish the Kingdom of God on earth, there has to be not merely a better social structure but also better people. Part of the way that better people are formed is through the work of Jesus Christ in the soul, and the task of the church is to bring this to pass.
It's because I see the Unification movement struggling to fight racism, to support missions, and to create better people that I identify with it. I don't have any particular beliefs about Rev. Moon. It's more the Unification movement and theology that I like. But I don't have any problems with Rev. Moon either. At the Unification Seminary, I had a chance to speak with Rev. Moon, so I said, "Rev. Moon, are you the messiah?"
He replied, "Dr. Richardson, I'm going to answer your question. But first we have to know what the messiah is. The messiah is someone who strives with all of his heart, his soul, his mind, his will, to build the Kingdom of God on earth, to do the will of God on earth. / try to be the messiah; you should try to be the messiah too; we should all try to be the messiah. "
As he said this I thought, "I see. This is the Old Testament concept of messiah as a community of righteous people."
The idea that God wants us all to be messiahs, that is "Christ to our neighbors" is part of the Christian tradition. For example, Luther said it. So, I don't see the Unification Church as a new religion, rather, I see it as a renewal movement within the church.
Durwood Foster: My name is Durwood Foster. I'm Dean at the Pacific School of Religion here in Berkeley where I also teach systematic theology. I'm amazed at how our various pathways cross and double back upon themselves. I think it was a decade ago that here in this hotel for the first time I encountered the Rev. Moon. Korean friends had asked me to come along with them to hear his presentation. I had seen, just a few days before that, an article in Time magazine about the visit to America of this new messianic figure from Korea who claimed to be the Messiah returned. So I came along and heard the address that night interpreted by Col. Pak. I was very fascinated and impressed. On that occasion the Rev. Moon did not settle or even discuss the question of whether he was the Messiah, but he did announce he was launching a campaign to recapture America for God. He was sending out thousands of young people to go across the country in that mission. I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the young people I saw here on that occasion. I wonder where they all are now.
I am from near Plains, Georgia, some 40 miles from the home of Jimmy Carter. It's become a kind of picture post-card since 1972, but a rather different one from Dagfinn's. I was reared in that part of the Bible Belt. Like some of you, Herb, at least, I came from a non-religious home. My parents were not affiliated with a church at all. But somehow I was converted -- so I had something to do with conversion from an early age -- to the born-again type of evangelical Christianity of the Deep South. And I still have some of that in me, though as I went on from there to the Navy, and then to Emory University and took up the study of psychology and philosophy, I wandered far from my evangelical experience, or at least from the frame of reference that had gone with it.
Feeling the need to get myself together spiritually, I went next to Union Seminary in New York. Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich especially, and some others also, helped me to put together a new theological perspective. I continued my studies after the M. Div. at Union by going abroad to Heidelberg, so my path crossed with Mr. X's at that point. Then I came back and finished the doctorate in New York at Union and Columbia. I taught for a couple of years at Union after that, then went to Duke, where George Baker was, for a while. At Duke, I taught in the field of history and phenomenology of religion, which cultivated in me an interest that had not been activated hitherto, and I think it laid the groundwork for some of my response to the new religious movements, the Unification Church as well as a lot of others. It certainly laid the groundwork for my affinity with Stillson Judah who was teaching in that field when I came to Berkeley to teach systematic theology. It led us eventually to take a trip together to India. He was writing a book on Hare Krishna, and I was pursuing the theme of inter-religious dialogue, which I have been for the last decade or so increasingly interested in. I've taken part in a number of dialogues, including the one that finally crystallized into the GTU. Through conversations among faculties that at one time were much more scattered, we decided some 15 years ago there was no good reason why we shouldn't begin merging our teaching programs.
I have many interests that have already been mentioned and am not going to recapitulate all of them. Herb states extremely well some of the reasons why I find the Unification movement arresting, challenging, and constantly interesting. I came out of a sort of evangelical experience, as I've indicated, where one wants redemption. But partly because I joined the Methodist Church eventually and, theologically, because I got involved in the theology of Albrecht Ritschl, the theme of the Kingdom of God, the reign of God, became extremely important in my thinking. In my personal perspective and faith and commitment, I think of myself as living and working in and for the Kingdom of God, so there is an eschatological dimension. It's not primarily, or exclusively, an other-worldly kind of eschatology. But it does mean that I feel an alliance with any kind of movement that is working towards the creation of the unification of the human race, that is working to bring down the walls of hostility. For me the normative symbolization of this is the Christ, but I see any energies and efforts and commitments that are working towards this end as being in deep affinity with my own spirit and interest. That provides a bridge -- at least I've always felt this, sincerely -- with members of the Unification Church whom I've met, people like Mike Mickler and a lot of others.
Stillson Judah: I'm Stillson Judah. I'm Professor Emeritus at the GTU, and presently also at Pacific School of Religion. My main field is history of religions. I started my career in seminaries as a librarian at the Pacific School of Religion. I then eventually became librarian at the GTU. The job there involved trying to put together the nine libraries. I also became professor of history of religions at the GTU, until I retired.
My whole interest in the history of religions parallels in some ways my whole interest in all of the new religious movements. When I was about 12 years old, I was going to a Methodist Sunday school. I didn't find satisfaction there. I told my parents this, and they said I would have to have some type of religious training, and so, I found through an ad in the papers the following Sunday some lectures on Theosophy. I wanted to attend them and my parents took me. This introduced me to the whole theosophical library in Seattle, Washington, which was a library of works on all of the great religions of the world. I became interested then not only in Theosophy, but in the broader aspects of the whole study of world religions. I then began to gravitate into one group after another. I attended the True Mother Movement for a while, I dabbled a little bit in spiritualism, I sat under various Yogis for several years at a time, spent a summer with Krishnamurti over on Bainbridge Island, and thoroughly involved myself with the whole field of the history of religions. I had no problem, of course, as far as my parents were concerned, because I took them right along with me wherever I was investigating. However, when I was midway along in my undergraduate courses in Oriental Studies at the University of Washington, I came under the influence of Dr. Herbert Henry Gown, professor of oriental studies at the University, who was also an Episcopalian priest. Through his teaching, which I enjoyed very much, I gradually swung back to Christianity. Eventually, you might say, I was reconverted back to Christianity. I became a member of the University Christian Church in Seattle, Washington, primarily because the neighbors had great admiration for the minister. I can't say that it was a spiritual conversion, it was rather an intellectual one. Yet I've always had a great deal of interest in and certainly feel the great importance of what I would consider a genuine spiritual conversion.
My graduate work was largely in the field of Hinduism, Buddhism, and particularly in the languages that these religions involve. I had six years of Sanskrit in my studies of Hinduism and Buddhism. Then when I came to the Pacific School of Religion, after becoming librarian there in 1955, I also became professor of the history of religions. I began to teach in the field, but still I had this great interest in all of these new religions. So in 1957 I began my first serious research while on a sabbatical leave with a Rockefeller grant to study the metaphysical movements in America. This eventually came out in book form 10 years later as The History and Philosophy of the Metaphysical Movements in America.1 It dealt with all of these movements that I had been so much involved in.
Then when the sixties came along I became interested in counter-cultural religions. Durwood Foster first got me interested in the Hare Krishna movement. I was invited to attend a conference back at Princeton University on new religious movements, and I was thinking, what should I really work on. We were going to lunch and we saw these young men dancing and chanting outside of Sproul Plaza. He said, "Well, why don't you do a study of Hare Krishna movement?" I said, "Now that's a good idea." I immediately started an investigation there -- participant observation -- and I worked out a questionnaire with a sociologist who was a member of the Hare Krishna movement who was also doing graduate work for her Ph.D. under Charles Glock at the University. We worked out very carefully this five page questionnaire so it would be acceptable to the sociologist. We tried to work this out so that we would have all of the counter-cultural aspects that I wanted to bring out in the questionnaire. That became the basis for a sociological and religious study of the Krishna movement.
The next thing I became interested in was the Unification Church. Back in 1962 I met Miss Kim2 when she was out here doing her first missionary work in the Bay Area. It was quite interesting. She came up to the library one time, and we became acquainted, and she brought out this long tape. I listened to three hours of this tape on Rev. Moon and the whole movement. Of course, it wasn't called the Unification Church at that time as I recall. It was very strange sounding to me because here was this Korean who was considered the Lord of the Second Advent. At that time, I wasn't very interested in the Unification Church because it didn't seem to be doing anything. There was no great interest in the community. Certainly at that time it was rather small. But it was in the later sixties that it began to really move. I became interested then, because of a friendship with David Hose who was one of the leaders in the church here. He asked me why I didn't write a book on the Unification Church, as I had on the Hare Krishna movement?3 Having gotten the proper credentials from President Salonen4 so that I could visit the various centers, I made a national survey of the Unification Church. I visited 16 centers all over the United States, and did hundreds of hours of interviews in addition to getting the statistical information.
I was particularly interested at that time to try to do a work like the book I'd written on the Hare Krishna movement, but I wanted to broaden it out. I wanted to include the same type of material for the Unification Church as I had for the Hare Krishna movement, so that I might have a basis of comparison. I also wanted to include a broader aspect, you might say a look into the psychological aspects of the whole movement. So we added a whole extra page of questions on what would be of interest to psychologists. Then, very interestingly, this whole controversy concerning mind control and religious conversion came up. Well, I looked at my data. I had at this time 158 single-spaced pages of just plain data from the questionnaire alone. I looked through all this data and felt that what I really had was something very important, because I could trace the history of all these various individuals in this survey, and I could see just exactly what motivated them, why they went into the Unification movement, and so on. Then I became interested in slanting the whole book to make a thorough study of the process of conversion. This is what I've really been doing the past several years.
To do this I wanted to use the models given by Lifton, Edgar Shine, Sargant and others who have written extensively on mind control. I wanted to take their models and see how my data fit into those models. I came up with some very interesting conclusions. I found that if you leave off a part of the model they had, you get a very interesting theory of religious conversion which is quite different from what they would consider mind control. So I've come out with the positive result that it is not mind control. What I think I have developed and can prove by empirical data is a theory of conversion, based on needs which are present, certainly, in a period of cultural change such as we have today. The whole phenomenon is examined in terms of the particular changes that are taking place in America today. I'm hoping eventually to get the book finished.
Holly Sherman: My name is Holly Sherman. I was raised in Columbus, Ohio, and I went to college at the University of Colorado from 1967 to 1971. My major was art. I was raised an Episcopalian. I was agnostic during college. Then in 1973 I was traveling up the coast of California, and I was in Morro Bay, and a lady there invited me to come to her church. Though I hadn't been to church in many years, I felt inspired to go. I went and had a conversion experience. It was an Assembly of God church. It gave me faith in God and Christ. Throughout that year I was trying to deepen my faith and find out what it really meant. I went to many different churches and different Christian groups. A year later I met the Unification Church. I went to a lot of the different lectures and dinners and workshops and seminars, and again at one of the seminars I had another experience where I felt very clearly that God was telling me this was where I should be and what I should be doing. That was almost five years ago. Since that time I've really been developing a deeper and deeper relationship with God. That's what has kept me in the Church. I also believe that the Unification Church offers the best hope for the world. I came to the Seminary one year ago. This is my first year, and I have one more to go.
Walter Hearn: My name is Walter Hearn. Ginny and I have been trying to figure out how to identify ourselves here. We have various connections, but we finally decided we should just say we are consultants to Richard Quebedeaux. (laughter)
Ginny and I are a free-lance writing and editing team, although we haven't always been that. It impresses me to hear how "'together" everyone here is, even though they are from such different backgrounds. Maybe I'm the first outsider, as it were, because I came from a natural sciences background. I'm a biochemist. You are all excited about theology, but I often refer to myself as a metaphysical minimalist. As a matter of fact, theology in itself is of little interest to me. I'm not sure I'm even very religious in the standard definition of the term. But before I became a scientist, I was a Christian. And so being a Christian, my relationship to Christ has a prior claim on my life. Most people would express that in theological language, I know. In fact I became a Christian when I was very young, probably about 10. I grew up in Houston, Texas, and was introduced to Christ through the Southern Baptists, which many people regard as the poorest way. But I've always been grateful that I spent the rest of my life in a non-Christian world where my understanding of Christ could be sharpened up by being under critical scrutiny of people who thought I was a little off. I spent most of my life in secular universities. There may be some advantage to becoming a Christian before puberty, because it's good to learn to pray under all kinds of internal and external environments. I feel I've learned to pray under fire. Being a Christian in a secular undergraduate school and in the natural sciences was a good experience for me. And being one of the few Christians that I knew at that time in the natural sciences was a good experience. I went on to graduate school, and there I discovered a group called the American Scientific Affiliation which was an organization of evangelical Christians who were scientists and technologists. I became a member while I was still a graduate student. I've been a member for about 30 years now. It's meant a lot to me to know Christians who think and pray about the same questions -- especially about the questions that I'm concerned about as a scientist and as a Christian trying to interact with the methodology and data of science.
I did my Ph.D. at the University of Illinois. I spent most of my career teaching at Iowa State University in Ames, although I was also on the faculty of the Medical School at Yale for a year, and at Baylor Medical School in Houston for three years. In 1968, I had a research leave which I took at the University of California. At that time I was investigating a problem that I was one of the world authorities on. Unfortunately, it's a subject that most people find difficult to pronounce, so I won't bring up what it was. One of the authorities was at Yale and I'd already been there. The other was at U.C. Berkeley, so I did my leave out here. That year was the hot year, and especially hot for us because we lived in an apartment on the corner of Telegraph and Haste, right above La Fiesta Restaurant. We had to remember to close the windows before we went to work to keep from being gassed out by the time we got back. We were at People's Park, the second Sunday, I guess, that people were out there working on it. The morning of the great disaster, we were woken up by a noise. We were on the top floor, where the manager had said, "You don't get as much tear gas up here." We thought he was joking when we rented the place. We heard footsteps on the roof that day and it turned out to be police snipers up there. We looked out to see the people putting up the fence and we realized we should get home early that day to close the windows. So we had that adventure in Berkeley. I had let my hair grow long then to blend with the scene, and have saved quite a lot of money since then. My last haircut was in August of 1968 -- that's $300 or $400 worth of haircuts.
We went back to Iowa State. The condition of my leave was that I had to go back and teach for two more years there, or else pay back the half salary that they had let me out on. Ginny and I were thinking over our calling as Christians, and we were praying about what we should do with the rest of our lives. We had a strong feeling that we had some writing to do. I had other motivations for leaving the university. One was that I really wanted to work with Ginny. We wanted to share a profession, work together. Although I drew Ginny into my life at the University as much as I could, I always had students over to our home and so forth, she had not been trained as a scientist. So it became clear that if we were going to share a profession, it would be easier to make a writer out of me than a biochemist out of her.
In 1972 we left the University and moved to Berkeley through a remarkable set of circumstances. The Lord found us a wonderful house here; we call it the "troll house" because it looks like it's been built by trolls. And that's where we now do our writing.
Some years ago, in 1967 I guess, we began experimenting with a family-centered rather than church-centered style of Christian life, and we are continuing that experiment. People say, "Where do you go to church?" We say, "Well, we're in a small house church." I have the feeling that what the Lord primarily wants us to do is worship where we live and where we work. If one can find someone to pray with and begin a community of Christ's love with, that's where your energy as a Christian should be focused, your attention should be there. I tend to regard church as a sort of last resort, or third alternative, if you can't do what's really important. And therefore I think there should be a lot of moving across the boundaries of church organizations. No theologian I've ever discussed that with has liked that idea, so I thought I'd throw it in to stir up a little conversation later.
Once I read that at the founding of the Smithsonian Institute, there was a question of what it should be devoted to, and in settling this question, they said people who do science should be interested in three things. One is working out the laws or relationships of science and understanding the principles of science. Doing research, in other words. Another is teaching the principles to people who haven't worked them out themselves. The third is applying these principles to practical uses. I spent 20 years or so working out for myself the principles of Christianity, I spent maybe 20 years or so speaking to people about Christ and what it means to be a Christian, doing some evangelistic speaking, mostly on university campuses. And now I think I'm in a phase in which I'm really concerned to work out, in practical day-to-day life, what difference it makes that a person is a Christian. I'm really concerned with demonstrating that I'm a Christian, rather than advertising the fact.
Virginia Hearn: My name is Virginia Hearn. When I thought about what I would say about how we happened to be at this conference, I said, well, I guess we're here as Richard Quebedeaux's consultants. But I thought further, well, I'm Richard Quebedeaux's spiritual director. I keep exhorting him to pray and trust the Lord that He will provide. And Walter's here as Richard Quebedeaux's economic advisor. We've been in the field of writing and editing for a number of years now and Walt was able to counsel Richard on how to save hundreds of dollars on his income tax.
Herbert Richardson: That's practical Christianity.
Virginia Hearn: I'm another midwesterner. I grew up in southern Wisconsin. I grew up in a family that was very diligent in church attendance, but in a generally liberal tradition. I think in so far as I understood the Gospel through my church background, it was bad news for me, not good news. I thought I had to try very hard to be as good as I could, and if my good deeds outweighed my bad deeds, then hopefully, I would make it in the long run.
I went to college in Ohio, a college vaguely related to the denomination in which I grew up. There, through a dormitory Bible study, the Gospel became clear to me. It became real. Although I wasn't aware of what was happening to me at the time, I would say that that was my conversion experience. I began to read the Bible avidly, and in particular, I was influenced by Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF). There was no IVCF group on our campus, but I read a lot of their literature, and I would say that Inter-Varsity literature preserved me for the Christian faith because it answered the kinds of questions I had. It gave me the understanding I wasn't getting from any other source on that particular campus.
In time I became an editor with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship in Philadelphia. I hadn't prepared to go into journalism, but I think I was simply a born editor. In junior high and high school, teachers always pulled me out of the group to rewrite other people's material and to put subjects and verbs together in a coherent and correct way. Working as an editor was a turning point in my life. I didn't know that I was an editor but I really "found myself" in that work. I've been in editorial work ever since.
I have had a sense almost everywhere I've been since then that "the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places."
That's certainly true of our life here in Berkeley and the other places we've lived together. We now do editorial work as free-lancers; we've probably done 70 or 80 books for many publishers, mostly religious, but also a number of secular publishers. We've done such things as foreign language textbooks, systematic theology, books on psychology, missiology, spiritual biography, devotional life, Bible study, eschatology, contemporary issues, you name it. We are the anonymous figures in the background who have polished up the writings of a lot of well-known scholars around the country, and some not-so-scholarly writers.
My own second book was published this year. I've done two books in what you could call the "biography as theology" genre. In the 70s I've also been active in what is known as the biblical feminist movement. I've done some speaking and writing in that area. I'm very concerned about sexism in human relationships and in particular in language. Walter and I are in the process of working out an egalitarian marriage. Many people tell us that our marriage is the only model of marriage that appeals to them, that they personally would find acceptable.
We're also in the very early stages now on two new books. One is on conversion, a certain kind of conversion. I'm going to be spearheading the work on that. We're also going to be doing a book on simple lifestyle. Walter's going to take the lead on that one, somewhat along the lines of Ron Sider's book, Rich Christians in the Age of Hunger, but more personal. We're in a phase right now of new directions in our life, because a long-term project on which we have been working has terminated. We're excited about what is ahead, and have seen God bring first one thing and then another to us. We're thankful for that. We have had, as a result of our Christian commitment, an exciting and meaningful life. We're rejoicing in that, and we're very expectant about what lies ahead.
Jonathan Wells: My name is Jonathan Wells. I graduated last year from the Unification Theological Seminary, and am now attending the Yale Graduate School where I'm working for a Ph.D. in theology. It's very interesting for me to be here because in many ways, it's like a home-coming. I dropped out of college in 1963 and became a New York City cab driver. (By the way, I'm a coast man, I'm not a midwesterner.) I became a New York City cab driver, and got drafted. I spent two years in the Army. When I got out in 1966, I came to Berkeley. For a while I sold counterculture newspapers on street corners on both sides of the Bay. I showed old movies in seedy movie theaters. I finally became a student at the University of California. This was in 1967, the summer of flower children and the swell of the anti-war movement. While I had been in the service, I had gotten a good look at the U.S. military and couldn't see any good reason why we should be in Vietnam. So when the Army called me back in 1967 for reserve duty, I refused. What Mark was referring to before was a speech that I gave here at Sproul Plaza in 1968. The day that I was supposed to report for Army reserve training, I gave a speech to a crowd of 1,000 people or so, with TV, radio and newspapers, strongly stating my opposition to the war and to the military. I half expected to be arrested right on the spot, but the Army was too smart for that. At that time, I was living in an apartment over on Northside, Scenic and Virginia, and I was attending classes. One day I walked out of my apartment to go to class. And as I was walking by the Pacific School of Religion, a big black limousine pulled up, three plain clothes men jumped out, put me in the back seat, took me over to the Presidio Stockade in San Francisco, where I spent the next four months in solitary confinement. I was finally court-marshaled and sent to Leavenworth. This was quite a "cause celebre" because I was a Berkeley student. I went to Leavenworth in 1968. I got out in 1969, and got back to Berkeley just in time to see the beginnings of the People's Park confrontation.
At the time, I was quite active in the anti-war movement and the left in general. But what I experienced during 1969-70 actually soured me quite a bit: the violence and the turn the whole idealistic movement of the '60s took that year. It was an important year for me. It was the year I graduated from Berkeley, but I realized that once we pulled out of Vietnam, the world was still going to have problems. There was more to it than that. I got involved in various Marxist groups, including the Communist Party, because actually that was the only viable alternative, it seemed to me. I found that these were the people who were really serious and far-sighted about the social changes that were going on, especially here in Berkeley in those days. I found them impressive for their seriousness and dedication, but ultimately heartless. The best thing I can say about the ideology that was motivating them is that it was heartless. That, among other things motivated me to move out of the Bay Area and head for the hills, literally. I went to Mendocino County and became part of that counter-culture scene and grew my hair long. Up to that point I looked like I do now. I lived in communes and started reading all the books that people read in those days, and still do. One book I read, in particular, was called Be Here Now, which some of you have seen. It is a book that's a blend of Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Confucian, Judaic and Theosophic ideas. But the thing that impressed me was where the author quoted from the first commandment: "I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." And I'll never forget the day I was reading that page, that particular page, up in the mountains of Mendocino County. I was completely by myself and really praying and trying to understand where my life was headed and where this country was headed. That one sentence struck me so powerfully, that it was at that point that I began to believe in God. I put aside all those Neo-Buddhist, Confucian and Hindu books and read the Bible. For the next two years, as I lived again in various locations in Mendocino County, I devoured the Bible and fell in love with it and prayed. I just loved Jesus so much, partly because I could really empathize with what He went through, having gone through on a much smaller scale a similar idealistic, self-sacrificial journey of my own.
At the same time I was consciously looking for spiritual companions. In Mendocino County at that time there was a powerful Jesus commune. I also had contact with the Guru Maharaji's group and I had contact with the Unification Church. I was weighing all of these alternatives in addition to many others. I had come from a science background. What I felt myself looking for was a spirituality that was faithful to my reading of the Bible, faithful to my scientific background and also adequate to this need that I felt for social change in America, the need that the communists were unable to meet. The Jesus People that I met there didn't have it because somehow their ideology was too much in conflict with my scientific background, and the feeling I got from them was just a bit too dogmatic and exclusive. The feeling I got from the Guru Maharaji people was one of peace and love. But it didn't have any backbone to it, and therefore couldn't provide any kind of foundation for social change. But the Unification people had somehow just the right combination. The more contact I had with them, the more impressed I was with them as people. I should point out that my first contact was hearing a lecture by Dr. Durst in Oakland. Then later I heard Rev. Moon speak at Berkeley. And finally, after about a year and a half of praying and reading the Bible and checking into all these different groups, I decided to join the Unification Church. That was in 1974. So since that time I've been doing the things that Moonies do. Since going to the Seminary, I've been to a number of these conferences. In fact I was at the first one that Darrol attended. And I find them to be constantly a surprise, because something new happens in each one of them. They're never the same. So I'm looking forward to this one as well.
Neil Duddy: My name is Neil Duddy, and I come from a fairly a-religious New England family in Massachusetts. I grew up in that kind of environment; but just as I was heading off to the university, I began to consider the person of Jesus. A number of my friends were grass-roots Christians. I thought about it for a while. I took the very simple approach of a teen-ager thinking about who Jesus was: either He was somewhat deluded, a deceiver, or telling the truth. I thought His life backed up the notion that He was telling the truth, so at that point I had a fairly good conversion experience.
When I was going to the university, I tried to build a bridge between my academic studies and my faith. That forced me to do a lot of double homework, and I didn't find I was able to come up with resources that were adequate. So I went to a seminary in Philadelphia, Westminster, and was encouraged in building that bridge. It was a very constructive time, and I think what helped me most during that time to prevent my faith from becoming an exercise in mental gymnastics and scholasticism, was that I became involved with Young Life and Inter-Varsity. They had social concerns, and there I found some pretty good avenues for living my faith, and from that I developed a view of how the mind really works: an understanding of human rationality mixed with some of the other pleasures of life -- like Woody Allen says in Manhattan, the noncognitive things of life. I got married, and the marriage was very good, too.
At that point we were interested in going to Nigeria. About a year later I was going to be involved with an indigenous seminary there doing New Testament studies. Then they had a couple of political coups, and we lost contact with the folks that we were interested in being with. We worked in a church in North Carolina for about a year. The work went well, but it lacked some of the qualities that I think were most helpful to Linda and me, and so we came to Berkeley. I'm currently interested in new religious movements from the sociological perspective -- that's been pretty engaging for the past several months. Linda and I have just finished a book on Witness Lee and the Local Church5, a theological overview on an odd sociological group. My particular point of interest this weekend is hermeneutics. Our time in Nigeria would have been spent studying contextual hermeneutics; what constitutes Christo-paganism or indigenous Christianity, and cultural influences on different themes in Scripture. I'm interested to see how the Unification Church relates to that. I hold the biblical affirmation that we were created in the image of God, that all men are valuable and should be upheld and honored. And in that spirit, I'm interested in open and honest communication.
Linda Duddy: My name is Linda Duddy, I'm a transplanted Easterner having been raised mainly in North Carolina and Virginia. My spiritual pilgrimage has been a quiet one. I was raised in a home with Christian parents. I regularly attended Sunday school and vacation Bible school. As an adolescent I had a very emotional attachment to the saviorship of Jesus Christ, but it wasn't until I went away to the University of Wisconsin in Madison, in the Bible study of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, that I found an intellectual affirmation of my faith and my commitment to the lordship of Christ in my life. Seeing how I'm one of the youngest people in the group, I don't have an extensive background career-wise or educationally. Neil and I moved here approximately a year and a half ago.
For the past year I've been working with a Christian counter-cultural newspaper called Radix, formerly Right on, and I've just left Radix to do some editorial work I want to do and the change will also give me a little more free time. I look forward to attending some New College courses and dabbling in hobbies now. I'm here primarily because I not only like to read about such movements as the Unification Church, but definitely need to attach warm human beings to the theology to keep things in perspective.
Yoshihiko Masuda: My name is Yoshihiko Masuda. I was born in Japan. My family has an eclectic background: Buddhism, Confucianism, Shintoism all mixed together. In my family there's a Buddhist family shrine, and a Shintoist one as well. In daily life we practice Confucian ethics. In my high school days I was interested in Christianity and I read many Christian books. Then I entered Tokyo University, majoring in political science. I wanted to become instrumental in building a better society, or ideal society, so I wanted to study how to build the ideal nation and the ideal world. Right after entering the university, I was wondering which club I should join. That was 1965. CARP, the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles, the student club of the Unification Church came to campus and spoke. I was very impressed. When I attended a Divine Principle lecture, I was invited to a one-week workshop. I attended it and was very moved. I was impressed by the character and personality of the members. I was invited one month later to a two-week workshop, and I decided to join after those two weeks. That was my freshman year. I moved into the CARP center and one year later, I worked for a year as a pioneer missionary in Japan. Then I returned to the university. I graduated and worked as a director in a local Church center. In 1973 the Unification Church invited 100 Tokyo University -- mostly graduate -- students to America for the first International Leadership Seminar. I came as one of the staff for the 40-day Seminar. The Japanese students studied in the Bay Area. After the seminar, I was supposed to go back to Japan, but Rev. Moon told me to stay here in America. I've been working in America since then. I attended the Unification Theological Seminary and graduated with its first class. Since last September, I've been studying at the GTU, doing historical studies as a first year M.A. student.
When I entered Tokyo University, I was attracted to Marxism. There were communist groups there, but I was very disappointed by them. They were violent and so divided. Even though they all believed in Marxism or communism, they were always fighting and kicking one another. In seeing their character and personality I was very disappointed. At that point I attended a Unification lecture, and I agreed with the purpose of the Unification Church. I, too, desired not only the perfection of the individual, but also the perfection of the world. You should reach a goal of individual perfection, as well as the perfection of the world. I liked this purpose very much. I wasn't sure about the details of the theology at that point, but I agreed to work with them. Also, Christianity when it came to Japan didn't emphasize the importance of the family, and so there had been conflict with the predominant Confucian ethics which are very strong. Unification theology emphasizes the importance of the family, and there's very little conflict. I like that point. Shintoism is almost dead in Japan, but Confucian ethics remain strong. Confucianism is not treated as a religion: in high school and junior high, Japanese youth study Confucianism as classic literature.
I've worked in the Japanese Church for eight years and in America for six years. I was married two years ago and now I have a little baby girl, 10 months old. I am very happy to be a member of the Unification Church even though there are many controversies surrounding it and we are sometimes persecuted. I have great hopes in the Unification movement. I'm very excited to be here tonight.
Mike Mickler: My name is Mike Mickler. I'm also a student at the GTU. Here in the Bay Area, I've had the opportunity to speak in a number of classrooms about my experiences in the Unification Church. So I've shared my story a lot, and I'd like to do it as briefly as I can here. Harvey Cox wrote a book that came out a couple of years ago called Turning East. Maybe some of you know that book. He said that young people who joined new religious movements, particularly Eastern groups (the Unification Church wasn't mentioned) were looking for three things: first, "guru" or teacher, second, "dharma" or teaching, and third, "sang ha" or community. As I reflect on my experience, those are the things that I was looking for.
I'm from the Midwest, Cincinnati, Ohio, and my family was non-religious. The kids were to make up their own minds. I went to Wesleyan University and majored in English. I did an M.A. in English at the University of Cincinnati and taught freshman English for two years. At the end of that time, I was at a spot where I had to think about what I was going to do. I did not want to go on for doctoral studies at that time, but what was I going to do? Actually, there was nothing to do. I wanted to make a contribution but there seemed to be no outlets. I was rather miserable at that point. I had no larger meaning or structure to my life. Then I happened to pick up one of the Don Juan books by Carlos Castenada and began reading metaphysical literature. I had been depressed to think that reality was solely physical, and that this was all there was. Reading metaphysical literature was my quest for "dharma," credible teaching or interpretation of reality. Also, I decided that I needed a teacher. I felt very acutely that I needed personal guidance. At that time, I was into Ken Kesey. He had led the "Merry Pranksters" in the Bay Area and his story is chronicled in the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe. I decided, "I'm going to find Kesey." Since I wanted to be a writer, I thought I could be his disciple. I wanted a community as well. My family had no church or religion, and we had no larger community with which to relate. My parents had friends, but we just weren't integrated. I had thought of joining an Israeli kibbutz.
In that spirit, I traveled to the West Coast and ultimately found my way to the Bay Area. I went to Palo Alto where I worked unloading trucks. I roomed with a guy who was using marijuana and LSD, and I felt I should explore this too. One night we took LSD. I had never done that before. It wasn't having any effect, so I went to sleep on the couch. I woke up at 11 o'clock and the LSD was having a tremendous effect. I felt very disoriented; I got up and walked to the bathroom and looked in the mirror and it wasn't me. That was the bottom line. Here I was already miserable, and now I didn't even have control of my faculties. That was the end. So, what did I do at that point? I don't know why I did this, but all of a sudden I just started calling out for Jesus, just like this, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, you've got to come, you've got to come." Right away, immediately, at my right shoulder was an incredible presence. I knew it was Jesus that had come to me. I didn't see anything. There wasn't any visual imagery at all, but I knew it was Jesus. An incredible sense of peace radiated out toward me, and love. I was really moved by that, and also then Jesus bent over and whispered right into my ear some words. What He said was, "I am your big brother." That's all. "I am your big brother." Those words really struck me, because I'm the eldest son in my family. I have three brothers and one sister, but I had never had an older brother. I was the first to go through everything. It didn't matter: adolescence, dating girls, shaving first, everything. It was a joke in my family. I found it difficult to go through these transition phases. I always wished I had an older brother to go through first, or to help me through. So when I felt Jesus say that to me, I felt "Wow! Jesus is my older brother!"
That was very, very meaningful, but it was not a conversion experience. I was not about to go out and join a church. It was a wonderful experience, but I had nothing to integrate it with. Jesus was great, but that was it. Then the whole cycle started over again. A week later I thought of going down to Los Angeles, but then I got this urge to go to Berkeley instead. That's where I met the Unification Church. I really feel saved by the Unification Church. There I basically found a lot of things I was talking about, a teacher, and a community. More importantly, I was also opened to a continued experience of Jesus Christ. Since joining, I've attended our Seminary, and now I've come to the GTU.
Mose Durst: My name is Mose Durst. I'm the director of the Church here in Northern California. From a very early age I was aware of being a Jew, since my family was Jewish and since I grew up in Williamsburg, (next to Jerusalem, Williamsburg is probably the most orthodox Jewish community in the world). I was aware of the outer trappings of Judaism, and also the inner ethical sensibility. From a very early age I was also aware of the split between the desire to create an ethical community and the world I lived in. My dad had grown up experiencing the war in his town in Europe. The Jews had suffered so much. I was always aware that the Jews were isolated as a people. I always believed that there had to be an answer to human suffering, and there had to be a relationship between the Jewish experience and the non-Jewish experience. The first thing my grandmother taught me was, man darfsein ah mensch (Yiddish phrase). "You have to be a human being, you have to develop an ethical sensibility, an ethical perfection." The second thing she said was, "Look out for the goyim" I knew clearly that there were two worlds. Whenever the name Jesus was mentioned, it was as if he were the cause of all Jewish suffering.
I went to school at the City University in New York. I hung around with New York intellectuals. There was always a taboo subject, and that was the subject of Jesus and Christianity. We just never got onto that subject except in joking; it was never taken seriously at all. I tried in my own life to somehow resolve the problem of human suffering. On the one hand the Jewish people spoke about the messianic age, the idea of building God's ethical society in the world, of enjoying the world. On the other hand there was the paradox of tremendous suffering. Writers and literature offered me the best insight into the nature of life and the nature of suffering. So I studied literature. I went on to graduate school, eventually to Cambridge in England, studying literature. I began graduate school with a fellowship in medieval studies. I thought the medieval world offered the best, coherent picture of life. But I came back from Cambridge interested in modern American culture. I did my dissertation in modern American literature. I eventually got involved with the discipline of psychology. After I got my doctorate, I studied a little bit with Abraham Maslow, and was concerned with institutional change. I did some therapy work in Lewisburg penitentiary. I got involved with the anti-war movement and Marxism. I found that there was a certain violent heartless quality in the midst of Marxism that did not solve my personal desire for ethical perfection.
I now teach literature at Laney College in Oakland. I developed an inter-disciplinary studies program there. My hope was that by creating learning environments that were healthy and creative, people could feel healthier and more creative. But, as I was discussing at dinner, somehow the teaching profession left some things unresolved. It didn't have enough impact. There was something missing in my relationship to the world, community, family. Eventually I got involved studying spiritual things. I think it was always a quest for unresolved community. That has always been a hunger in my life. In my studies of 19th century American literature, I was always fascinated with Utopian communities. While they didn't always get it together and often went and hid away from the world, I thought they were asking the right question, "What is a healthy community?" I liked studying with Maslow because I felt he was asking the right question, "What is a healthy person?" In college, I was always fascinated with Martin Buber as a theologian because he was asking the question, "What is a healthy basis of relationship to the world?" And it was to him as a Jewish theologian that I could relate most clearly. Eventually I met my wife-to-be, an early missionary of the Unification Church here in America, who came to San Francisco in 1965. Through her I was moved as to how a person could be so devout, so good as a human being. I met our movement here when it was a very small community. The people were living the ideals I had always talked about in my teaching. I studied the Principle, and for me it was a rigorous intellectual challenge. I was involved, in Mike's sense, with a search for a teacher and a teaching. My wife was an example of a human being I had never seen before: someone whose heart and life were completely devoted to making her ideals real. On the one hand, here was a simple person; on the other hand, I couldn't match her wit or her understanding of life. Her sacrifice in Japan as an early missionary and her hard work in this country put me to shame. The good things that I thought I was doing in my life were nothing compared to what she was doing, even though she didn't have the same intellectual background as I had. It was completely moving to me. The spirit of our community in those days was what brought me through a conversion experience. It was a conversion, actually, of Christian love. I never understood the meaning of Christ's love for the world until I encountered the Unification Church, and it just completely exploded my previous concepts. My whole life opened up in new dimensions. Of course, as I said, that had been an area of complete taboo for my life: to understand the meaning of Christian community. The realization that God's ideal could be made real in the world, and become the foundation of family, community, relationships, professions and the intellectual quest just completely opened up new horizons for me. It allowed me to build on the best of what I had from the past and to discard the worst. It gave me a framework to be much more discriminating in every way, in a much more loving way, in a much more committed way, in my intellectual quest and in my community building, my Kingdom building, my personal relationships, my responsibility.
Then eventually, I became involved with the direction of our church here. I'm involved with many projects as a teacher, a husband and a father. It's been a very challenging experience and quite a journey. I never would have anticipated it, especially the last few years with all the tremendous persecution. This has involved my coming to terms in a very disciplined way with what it is I believe, what I'm trying to create. For me the Unification movement offers a way to deal with the suffering of the world. And yet we bring about suffering to other people as well as joy. How to deal with that paradox has been a tremendous challenge in my life. But all of these things have made life more interesting than literature. That's part of my answer to the question why I'm here.
Patricia Zulkosky: My name is Pat Zulkosky. I'm a second year student at the Unification Theological Seminary, and next year I'll be going to the Claremont School of Theology for graduate studies. I was born in Seattle, Washington. I grew up in South Dakota. I was raised a Catholic, and it was a very important part of my life. I went to Mass and communion every day during one year, and I thought about religious community quite seriously. I also had a lot of questions. Just simple basic questions, like, "How can I really rest my faith on the Bible as divinely inspired?" Or, "How come if God is good, He can allow the world to suffer so much?" In the course of my asking questions, I had one man tell me to stop asking questions in class because I was destroying the faith of the people in my class. That destroyed my faith, because there just weren't any answers that I could find, even though I kept looking for answers. I wanted to commit my life to God, but I just couldn't find the answers that would allow me to do that. From there it became a very piece-meal search to know God. I eventually became involved in the more Eastern kind of tradition and the whole idea of perfection became the most important thing to me. I embarked on a plan of how to become perfect by just taking a quality which I considered part of perfection and working on that until it became part of my life. I believed that at least by the end of my life I would have made some progress that I wouldn't have made otherwise. Part of that was for me a real community outreach. I went to the University of Washington and graduated in occupational therapy. At the same time that I was doing that, my apartment was a drop-in center for about 12 or 15 people. Sometimes as many as nine people were staying there, from an ex-con to a foster daughter. We had the most amazing little community in my apartment. It was all part of trying to reach out to the world and trying to alleviate the suffering of man.
Perfection was my life, it wasn't just my profession. I was in the final stages of getting my degree when I met the Unification Church. The person who met me was witnessing for the first time in his whole life. He was quite scared and didn't make any sense. He mentioned the word "perfection," but basically I was filled with compassion because of his effort. I was into giving people success, (laughter) This boy obviously needed support. I was the first person that he had ever talked to, and it took all of his courage to even talk to me. So I told him I would come and hear the ideas that he was talking about, to give him value in his life. The community that I met was unusual to me. At that time there were about twenty people living in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house, and it was so meticulous that you would have never guessed that there were so many people living there. The house was completely clean and the harmony was beyond belief. It defied every principle of psychology that I knew. I was used to community living, but this was very unusual. It struck me that these people were closer to perfection than I, and I was consciously on a course of trying to become perfect. So I wanted to know why these people who were so close to perfection would gravitate together. And they kept saying, "Well it's not that we gravitated together, we are people like everyone else, but because of our beliefs we have purpose and value in our lives." I was skeptical but I just wanted to know what allowed them to be that way. As I listened to the lectures, I found answers to many questions I hadn't been able to find answers to in my search, answers to questions about the authority of Scripture and the whole question about good and evil. It struck me that through this kind of cooperation centering on God and an ideal, there was much more potential for making a big impact on the world beyond what I could do as an individual therapist. For that reason I became involved in the Unification Church. Since that time I spent a little time in Palo Alto, I was in Chicago for about 18 months, and I did some pioneering in the Church as an individual missionary in Maine. I was a state leader and lecturer in the Church for a long time for the 7-day and 21-day workshop. I was an assistant to Mr. Sudo, one of the Church leaders, for a couple of years before I went to the Seminary. So I had a broad range of experiences, especially in relation to education. In fact, my Master's thesis right now is on teaching people how to lecture the
Divine Principle, and on developing a method to educate our own members to become more verbal in their faith.
I hope to be involved in the field of religious education. It's very important for me to take spiritual principles and develop them in a very practical way that can help people change their lives and change the world. I have a great love for theology, but not just for the abstract elements of theology, but how we can take theology and apply it to religion and let it become alive in the lives of people. In the Seminary, I've been involved a great deal with conferences, working especially with Dr. Quebedeaux. We're an evangelical conference team! It's been a very exciting thing for me to see how people live their religion in different traditions. I see a mission of reconciliation developing in a very strong way through education and dialogue. I'm very excited to attend this conference because I will be coming to California in the fall and I hope somehow to be very active in the Christian community here.
Richard Quebedeaux: My name is Richard Quebedeaux. I was born in Los Angeles as was my father, which is rather rare. I have a father who was a cultural Presbyterian and a mother who was a lapsed Roman Catholic. My father's ancestors settled in Louisiana in the early 1800's of Huguenot stock. I am a mixture of every conceivable thing. On my mother's side, I'm German and Dutch. My mother and father wanted me to go to Catholic school, but that was not possible. My parents eventually went on a spiritual quest. My father started reading Plato and got into Aldous Huxley. They went from church to church, and finally he went back to his Presbyterian roots. I was baptized for the first time in the Presbyterian church in California. As a result of Sunday school, and having gone to a Christian day school when I was very young, I have just come to realize that I have always understood myself as a Christian.
We moved to Columbus, Ohio, for a year, and finally resettled in Long Beach, California. My parents wanted to find a Presbyterian church to join. They had become quite avid churchgoers. We were in a neighborhood where there just wasn't a Presbyterian church. So they just waited for the Presbyterian church to be established. However there was this woman on the corner who was a very fundamentalist Baptist. My parents were big party people, and they always had the best New Year's Eve parties. This woman, of course, never came, because she was sort of a religious kook. She worked on my parents, saying, "Why don't you come and visit our little church?" She worked and worked and worked for about a year, and finally since there was no Presbyterian church nearby my parents and their friends agreed one Easter Sunday -- I think I was in the fourth grade -- to go to church. My father cussed all the way because he couldn't find it. But they went there and boom! -- they both were converted. I went down the aisle, too, at their instigation. All I can remember is that my counselor had very bad breath. It was nothing new to me, I was always a Christian. But my parents changed dramatically. Of course, they stopped the New Year's Eve parties in the neighborhood, and I didn't like that very much. And they also stopped drinking and smoking and everything else. My father started tithing. Consequently, I was raised in the First Baptist Church of Lakewood, California. I did everything. I was president of every group all the way up. I was a camp counselor. I taught Sunday school and sang in the choir. I led a double life. I was the master of the double life. I had a car when I was 16 and I used to go down to the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa, with my church friends and down into the surf scene, all the while I was with the church. I went to a Christian high school and also led a double life.
In my tradition, the place to go was Wheaton College in Illinois because Billy Graham had gone there. I was groomed to go to Wheaton. I gave testimony in front of my church and went off to Wheaton in 1962.1 lasted one week. All the freshmen I met were talking about just one thing -- how to lead a double life, how to go into Chicago incognito on the weekends, and where on campus you could do certain things. Luckily I had applied to UCLA as a back-up. I called them up. Fortunately they hadn't received a letter I had written saying that I didn't want to come. So I enrolled three weeks later. I called up my folks and said, "I'm coming home and going to UCLA." They sent me the money, I came home, and they marked the day as my decline into liberalism! I had left Wheaton and gone to UCLA.
At UCLA I went through the usual political transformation. My father's family was politically on the right and he was a very rugged individualist. My grandfather on my mother's side was an avid socialist who helped many people leave Germany as Nazism arose. My mother's family was as left as my father's was right, which is why I'm right in the middle. I decided I was for Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and that was a crisis for me in my church and in my family because I was leaving fundamentalism, number one, and political conservatism, number two, and that was very bad. At that time I also became heavily involved in the academic thing, and I started associating with secular Jews -- the people in the History Department at UCLA who were the most interested in academics. I was influenced by a man in the History Department who was a Catholic church historian and who had participated in an ecumenical dialogue at Harvard in the '60s. In the course of my time at UCLA I drifted away from my home church because I was a heretic by their standards. I was politically liberal, theologically I was still orthodox. I was in medieval history and I wanted to go on. So I applied to do a Ph.D. at UCLA under Gerhart Ladner. Ladner told me that I really needed to get some theology if I wanted to do church history. I had always thought of seminary because that was part of my tradition. I thought there were only two or three seminaries: Fuller Seminary, Dallas Seminary, and Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, which is the seminary of the church I grew up in. So I thought I'd go to Fuller. I went out to Pasadena, was interviewed and was totally turned off, and said, "My God, I've got to find somewhere else." So I checked out Harvard. I wrote a letter to the registrar and said, "Could a person with a background as conservative as mine possibly be admitted to Harvard Divinity School?" I got a letter back from them saying, "It just so happens that the Dean of Students is interviewing at UCLA." So I was interviewed and this guy turned me on. So I applied and was admitted. I had to break the news to my parents, because my father had to pay some bills, and he and I did not have a very good relationship because of politics and theology. If I had wanted to go to Union Seminary, the "Red" Seminary, it would have been "No, no, no, no!" But when I said Harvard, it was OK. My parents felt "Well, you know, it's too liberal, but we can tell all our friends our son went to Harvard." So I went there.
I guess I was looking for what I didn't get in my background. I was looking for an open place where people were open to other people. I had come from a very sectarian tradition. I didn't even know there were real Christians who weren't conservative Baptists, really, until I got to college. But when I went to UCLA I discovered other Christians. I went to Harvard looking for what I didn't find in fundamentalism because of bigotry, narrow-mindedness, etc. I went to Harvard, and I found what I call a fundamentalism of the left. Instead of openness, I found a very narrow perspective held by most of the faculty, only the enemies were different. I noticed that on all the reading lists very few conservative books were listed. All of a sudden I began to identify with everything in my evangelical tradition that I thought was right. I was one of the only "uncloseted evangelicals" in those days at Harvard Divinity School.
I got to the point where I decided that either I was going to give up the Christian faith, because I had seen both sides, right and left, and both were sickening, or I was going to find a new synthesis. I had some kind of a conversion experience at that point where I decided I was going to be a Christian, and that orthodox Christianity was the only thing that made sense to me. It was a personal decision, and I've never really veered from that. I set out on a quest to bring together the best elements of Christianity as I understood it to make a whole. For instance, I always thought that my fundamentalist, evangelical background really helped me to know how to get in touch with God (the vertical dimension). And I felt that my liberal friends -- many of them -- really had it together in terms of how to relate to the world and to other people (sort of the horizontal dimension). I came, in the years after divinity school, to think that the solution was to integrate what I call the personal and the social dimension of the gospel.
When I was in seminary, my parents went one step beyond the Baptists, they became Pentecostals. That was a real shock to me. When I came home they took me to Pentecostal services. They got me going to Kathryn Kuhlman services. It was fascinating. Here was an example of Pentecostals and Charismatics getting together with Catholics. It was very open in character. I had always wrestled with my Catholic and Presbyterian roots. And as time went on, I became involved as a sympathetic observer of Pentecostalism and Charismatic renewal.
By a quirk of fate, I left Harvard and went back to UCLA to begin a Ph.D. in medieval history. But seminary had made me more interested in the present than in the past, and I didn't want to spend the rest of my life reading Latin manuscripts in libraries. So I finished my M.S. there and got a scholarship from the World Council of Churches to spend a year at Oxford. I took a leave of absence from the Ph.D. program at UCLA and went to Oxford and didn't have anything to do. I was tired of lectures. So the Principal of my college, John Marsh of Mansfield College, said I should find somebody to supervise some reading for me. I ran into a guy named Bryan Wilson who just happened to know a lot about Pentecostalism. I had talked with him one evening for about three hours. He was impressed by my knowledge of the new Charismatic movement in the main-line denominations. He said, "Why don't you do a Ph.D. here?" I said, "Well, I'm only here for one year, I've only got money for a year, and I wasn't admitted to do a degree." Well, Wilson took everything in hand and the result was that I began my Ph.D. at Oxford. I decided that I would do a doctoral thesis on the Charismatic movement. I spent two years there, and came back to the States in 1971, just after the job crisis hit. I still hadn't done much on my dissertation, but I was on the job market, and I spent a year or a year and a half not being able to get any kind of job at all, even though I thought I had really accomplished quite a bit. I became rather depressed. I was sitting home with my parents. We were still alienated by politics and theology. It wasn't a happy situation. The only surge of inspiration I got was a television program called "The Hour of Power" with a man named Robert Schuller. I watched that and he kept talking about things like, "If you ever find yourself in front of a mountain and you can't get over it, just dig a gold mine in it." You know, crazy stuff. I said, "Well, maybe I am too negative. Maybe I should be more positive. Maybe God is really behind me." I had a friend who was up in Berkeley, studying at the GTU, and the principal of my college had told me that if I ever got to Berkeley, I should look up John Coleman Bennett, who had been president of Union Seminary and who was teaching at the Pacific School of Religion (PSR). I was up in Berkeley in the fall of 1971 and called up Bennett. He invited me to come over, and I had a three-hour conversation with him about an article I had read in The Christian Century that said a big evangelical conference named Urbana '70 (run by Inter-Varsity) was really getting socially concerned. Billy Graham hadn't been invited because of his hand-holding with Nixon. Tom Skinner, an eminent black evangelist, was castigating evangelical churches for racism, and there were several speakers who were against the war in Vietnam. Bennett had not read the article and was fascinated. He said he had never known any socially concerned evangelicals, and asked if I would be willing to write an article for Christianity and Crisis on this new social consciousness of evangelicals. I hated writing. Nobody had ever told me I was a good writer, but I knew this would be published. So I went down to the UCLA library and spent five or six hours writing the article. It was published in the back of an issue in December 1971. Three months later I got a letter from Harper and Row asking me to expand that article into a book. Well! I didn't have a job, so I rented a dorm room at UCLA, and wrote the history of my spiritual pilgrimage in a book that I thought would really solve the major problem of Christianity by integrating the social dimension of the gospel with the personal dimension. We could have a righteous world order with a whole bunch of people who were saved and knew Jesus. It was a passionate book. I was embarrassed by the book, but I turned it in anyway to the publisher.
In the course of writing the book I had met some campus ministry people. I was invited by them to speak at a campus ministry conference, and my task was to tell all of these people what the evangelicals were like. At that conference I met a campus minister from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He invited me to spend a year at Santa Barbara in campus ministry while he was on sabbatical. My task was to bring together the conservative evangelical campus ministries and the liberal main-line and Catholic ministries. That was in 1974. I went there and began to flesh out what I had written, and it was successful. I got liberals and conservatives together for the first time, just to talk about what they were doing in terms of ministry in Santa Barbara. And they liked it. My book came out the end of April that year. It got a lot of publicity, including a lead article in Christianity Today on the day it was published. All of a sudden, all of these people I had written about began seeking me out. I didn't even know these people personally, but they all assumed I was traveling in evangelical circles. At that point I became a celebrity among a small group of people I called the young evangelicals. We were all really seeking the same thing. We all loved Jesus and we wanted to do something in the world, and we didn't feel that those two things were mutually exclusive. We got together and a movement grew. My success in Santa Barbara in bringing together conservative and liberal groups led me to get a job with the Southern California Conference of the United Church of Christ to do the same thing. They wanted to get to know Fuller Seminary which was right next door. So I brought them together and put together ecumenical-evangelical conferences for ministers. Then I was hired by the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries to do the same thing for a couple of years nationally. In the course of all this ecumenical work, I became a professional writer as well, and that's basically how I live, although I don't really like to write that much. A lot of people might envy me as a free-lance writer but I always wanted to be a professor.
For years after I wrote my first book, and my second book, and my third book, I became almost bitter. Even though my job was to bring Christians together, I was somewhat detached from everything I was doing. It felt good to see people come together, but I was on the fence, so I was doing these things out of my own principles and to enhance my reputation. I had a lot of bitterness. I was bitter at the liberal theological institutions that had turned me down for a job because I was a white male. I was bitter at the
Evangelicals for not thinking I was really a Christian. I felt that I was better than everybody. I moved to Berkeley in 1975, and I made Berkeley my base of operations with the United Church of Christ, and in my writing.
But, anyway, how did I get involved with the Moonies? You all know that Berkeley's been a center of the Unification movement. Ever since I got to Berkeley there were tables on campus and very nice people and a bus called "The Coffee Break"... every conceivable Moonie operation. I couldn't have cared less. I wasn't negative, I wasn't positive, I said, "Well, Rev. Moon's just another false messiah." One rainy Christmas day I was walking to see some friends across campus, and I saw a group of people who were singing Christmas carols. They had umbrellas, and they were out in the rain and I said, "God! There's only one group that would do that!" The same five or six people that were there every single day! It somehow moved me. It's sort of silly, but here were some people who were trying to brighten up the day for a few street people who had nowhere to go on Christmas Day. I said, "Well, you know, that's interesting." But I sort of forgot about it. I left the Moonies alone. I never talked to them. They were there, and that's fine. They're kooks, and that's OK. I just tried to avoid them as I went across campus almost every day. I knew if I looked at the table or stared one in the eye, they'd come over, and they'd probably walk across campus with me, and I didn't want that. I avoided them.
I am basically a free-lance writer, but because I'm also an academic, I got involved with people at the GTU. Then I got involved with a friend of mine who was a doctoral student at GTU, with a new Center for the Study of New Religious Movements. In fact, my friend was a student of Stillson Judah's. Through him I became a member of a seminar which Jacob Needleman started on new religious movements. I remember going to the seminar with my friend once, and a stranger walked in, and my friend said, "Oh, he's with the Unification Church." "Oh, he's a Moonie!" I said. He kept saying, "Well, his name is Mike." I kept saying, "Well, he's just a Moonie!" But in time I got to know Mike Mickler as a friend. I was writing a book on Bill Bright and Campus Crusade and I really needed to go back East and interview Bill in Washington. But nobody was paying my expenses. Mike knew I had a book coming out. The Worldly Evangelicals,6 so he set it up for me to lecture at Barrytown at the Unification Seminary, and then I could go meet Bill at Unification expense, so I thought this was a nice coup. Although I wasn't very interested, I agreed to lecture at the Seminary on the Evangelicals and my book, and also to go to a theological conference led by Darrol Bryant, who had been in seminary with me. So I gave my lecture on the Evangelicals, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why people were so interested. Then I met some professors, and went to this theologians' conference. The atmosphere was really interesting. The people were very nice and hospitable, and there seemed to be quite a bit of freedom. I didn't see anyone "brainwashed." Hardly any of the faculty were Unification members, they were all from other persuasions.
Somehow in the course of these early days -- and it may have been Mike's idea originally -- I went away from that conference with an invitation to put together a dialogue with Evangelicals and Unificationists. I was very high leaving there. It's a very interesting environment. You never leave there the same way as you came. When I left, I experienced culture shock on the train from Barrytown to New York City. I was so high. I said, "My God, what did I get into? I have to invite Evangelicals to have a dialogue at the Unification Seminary. Who in the world am I going to get!!?" So I started trying to get my "left evangelical" friends, and they weren't interested at all, because Moon is an anti-communist. I called one of my more conservative friends from Campus Crusade, and he said he would love to come. Then I talked with his boss in Washington: "Hey, guess what. I'm putting together this little conference, and guess who's coming, your personal assistant." Bill Bright answered then, "Oh, fine, great." Well, that gave me some encouragement, so I called some other people and finally got a group of ten people together. We met in June of last year. As a dialogue, it went like this: there's two parties, an evangelical party and a Unificationist party and one or two people in the middle, and we had a four-day meeting. Everybody liked it so much that we all decided we wanted a part II. Those two dialogues will be coming out in a book7 published by the Seminary. After that, it was decided that I should put together more evangelical dialogues for the Seminary. So I decided that since the first two dialogues were basically made up of Reformed evangelical people, I would have a Wesleyan-Arminian evangelical dialogue. Then we had one with Evangelicals from England and a dialogue with Pentecostals and Charismatics. Just like Darrol, I've been in Barrytown seven or eight times in the past twelve months and I have never been bored. It's one of the few places I have the opportunity to discuss theology seriously. That doesn't happen in most seminaries or in most of my circles. A lot of people think I have converted and am trying to subvert the whole evangelical community. It's very hard to do anything for or with the Unification Church without having people think you are being used, or brain-washed, or converted. I've never had anything to lose because I'm a free-lancer, and I can do what other people can't do, and I rather enjoy it. I think that if you want an interesting religion, this is it.
But what is it that really attracts me? Well, I have to confess that despite my theological disagreement with Unification there are certain things that really attract me. It's kind of a product of pilgrimage. First of all, community. I have never known a church that had the kind of community that I think is fundamental to -- at least as I understand it -- New Testament Christianity, as much as the Unification Church. Now, I've seen the best -- I think that probably the best and the brightest tend to be at Barrytown. That's an academic bias. But I've seen a community there of very highly idealistic people who make me believe that community can happen and that it can be very good. Secondly I have seen, much to my chagrin, people who are much more socially concerned really, in terms of putting lives on the line, than the liberal people with whom I've been dialoguing about social action for years; people who are literally willing to give everything they have for the realization of a just social order. In being with the Unificationists and seeing what the opposition against them is like, for the first time in my life, I've come to appreciate my Baptist roots, because the Baptists originated in an ethos of religious persecution. Now I know that religious freedom is very, very important. It's something that, even though I was raised a Baptist, I had never really appreciated. I could tell you a lot more about the kind of things that have happened to me and to my friends whom I have brought to the Seminary. For years I've tried to bring liberals and Evangelicals together in dialogue, and it was always the Evangelicals telling the liberals what they believe, and the liberals deciding whether they could tolerate it. Every dialogue I've put together at Barrytown has been very good, because it's a real intellectual dialogue between two groups of people who think that theology isn't just important, it's of ultimate seriousness. People accuse me of being used, but I would say that in many ways the people who come to Barrytown at Unification expense are using Barrytown as much as Barrytown is using other people. I have been criticized for, with whatever notoriety I have, legitimizing Unification. All I can say about legitimacy is that every person is created in the image of God and is legitimate. Unificationists are so legitimate that Christ died for them. And that's the only way I can approach that. I think the whole issue of legitimacy and illegitimacy is a social thing. We all know about the unjustified stigma that 'illegitimate children' have to bear. So that's why I'm here as a participant in a dialogue that Darrol is putting together. I'm very happy to be here. I'm glad to hear all of your testimonies. Through the Unification movement I too have learned to give a testimony again, (laughter)
Herbert Richardson: I can sense, Richard, that Pat Zulkosky is really working to give you a sense of success. I want her to go to work on me! (laughter)
Darrol Bryant: Matthew and Tony, we're going to let you each say a brief word. We're already some time beyond my original promise that we would quit at 10 o'clock.
Matthew Morrison: I'm from Michigan. I grew up in the country and studied ecology. At the University of Michigan in 1968 similar things were happening as in Berkeley. My center was out here in Berkeley at the time. I felt as I studied that it was the beginning of the ecology movement, and I really had a deep desire to do something for the world. At that time, my approach was the approach of natural science, how to manage natural systems. I found very early in my study of ecological systems that they were doing just fine by themselves. They didn't need any management, but human beings needed management. So the question of ecology was more a social question or a question of human ecology. The problem of man and nature was just part of the deeper disease of man's relationship to man. I participated avidly in the radical politics of that time. May Day in Washington, D.C., in 1971 was the last straw for me. Then, I finally decided that it was not working. I decided to be truthful to myself and to pretty much leave society.
From there, I went to Alaska where I spent two years trying to find my way. Somehow I felt I had been born 300 years too late. I had missed the frontier. The only place I could feel any sense of God was in nature. There I found my ideal: being dropped out of a helicopter and left in the wilderness. I had been doing wilderness surveying in towns and Eskimo villages above the Arctic Circle. I was in places where I lost radio contact with the world. Once it happened that I was without food or anything for exactly 40 days. Eventually, during that experience, I came to a point where I began to think for the first time seriously about my life. I saw as I reflected back on my experience that if my life ended at that moment, I wouldn't really have accomplished anything. I had sensed my whole life that I could do something great. But I didn't know what it was or how to do it. At that point I could see that everything I had done in my life, I had done basically for myself, and that to have a significant or meaningful life I had to do something for the sake of the world. At that point I really promised God that if I survived, I would do something for the sake of mankind.
During that time, my older sister, who was living in Berkeley and doing a Ph.D. program in psychology, gave it all up and was living, like Jonathan, in a tree-house in Mendocino. There she met the Unification Church in Booneville. After this experience of travelling 400 miles by foot in the wilderness and finding an old trapper's cabin, I felt truly I had been given my life back by God. After this experience, I came down to California and at that time the community at Booneville was just seven people. Three of them were my sisters. It was an amazing experience. I thought they were very naive, believing in such ideals. Either they were naive, or they knew a lot more than me. I wasn't sure which. I sensed a quality or nobility in each person that so fascinated me that I wanted to have it, I really wanted to have it in my life. Through my experience growing up in the Unification family, and getting to know Dr. Durst's wife, who has become my guru in a real way, I was able to really discover God. The quality of a truly religious life was so amazing to me. We would get up every morning and go to the top of San Francisco, to Twin Peaks, and we would pray for the sake of the city. We would pray that someday, every light that was still glimmering, every household, every person, could somehow appreciate their lives fully, that somehow every human being could know God. It was so moving to me.
My mother was the director of religious education in our church, and my father was a mush-heart. Every time we went to church, he just cried, so he didn't go any more. The music was so moving to him. My parents were very skeptical about Rev. Moon and the Church for many years. They had all four children in the movement. Finally, after seven years, my father came out here and had a religious conversion experience in a dream, a vision, and realized this was the purpose of his whole life. That was just last year. It was an amazing experience for me, after seeing their negativity for a long time.
I've been here in the Bay Area for almost eight years now, and I've felt perhaps the most powerful thing in my whole experience has been an incredible love for America. In my prayer and in my lecturing I have come to really feel the tears of God at seeing the potential of America flipping out, of seeing my own generation completely spaced out, not realizing that we are a chosen people, in a sense blessed of all the blessed on the face of the earth, having every conceivable thing and not knowing what to do with it. That's been the primary motivation in my life the past few years. In lecturing and other things I am trying to help people understand the value and the potential of this country. I feel that being able to live a deep religious commitment 24 hours a day is something that is truly wonderful. I feel that the whole basis of religion is to move the heart of God. If I, in my own personal life can move God's heart, then in a sense the whole world can turn. That's been my goal in my own personal life: to see how, in a life of complete dedication I can move God's heart. In moving God's heart, I feel that the whole world will change. I'm really grateful to be able to hear everyone's testimony.
Anthony Guerra: I had from a very early age a tremendous interest in the question of God. When I was growing up, I went to a Catholic elementary school, but was turned off to my own religion at that time. I responded by becoming a sort of Bertrand Russell skeptic. I went to a parochial high school that demanded compulsory Mass attendance. Let me tell you a story about it which captures an aspect of my personality. I ran for president of the student body in high school. This was a Catholic boys' school. My major platform was to do away with monthly compulsory Mass attendance. We had a nominations committee meeting at which all of the students and faculty and administration of the school got together. Each of the nominees was supposed to give a speech. I had a friend of mine take a picture of a lamb from the school yearbook and make a big reprint of it. I began my speech by holding this over my head, and saying, "Here, this is what the administration of this school thinks of you. They take the parable of the sheep and the shepherd a bit too literally, and guess who the sheep are in their eyes?" The result of that was a kind of dead silence on everyone's part. In the ensuing conflict between the administration and myself, they refused to print my speeches in the school newspaper along with everyone else's. The reason I want to tell you this story is because it says some thing about where I was standing spiritually at that point. About two weeks after I had lost the election by a few votes, I was called out of my homeroom down to the principal's office, where he said, "We're seriously thinking of expelling you from school." I was completely surprised. I was a senior, I had been accepted to a number of colleges, I was second in my class. I asked why, and he said on the grounds of blasphemy. He explained to me something which I was unaware of at that point, that the picture which was reprinted from the yearbook was actually the image of Agnus Dei. At that point, one who knew me might have thought that my reaction would be to say, "Well, look. So what?" But I was completely silent at that point, and although I didn't say anything, I realized at that moment that my particular complaints towards the Catholic Church were in spite of my deep, personal love for Jesus Christ. To me, that was a kind of internal, private Protestant reformation.
In any case, that event, and a number of other events, led me to later renounce my skepticism and become open to religious thought again. Eventually through this process, I met the Unification Church. After studying the Divine Principle for a number of months, while attending the university, I joined the Church. Even though I joined it, I lived outside the community for a few more months. Since then, let me say that the Unification teaching, particularly on the nature of atonement, explains certain unresolved questions about the meaning of Jesus and His crucifixion, and the salvation that He offered, which allowed me to accept it, and accept the messianic position of Jesus. I've done many things in the Church. I've been head of the church in Massachusetts, and in Nashville, Tennessee. I attended the Seminary in Barrytown and graduated last year. I'm presently at Harvard Divinity School.
Darrol Bryant: Well as Richard said, this is a very amazing set of stories. Many people talked about conversion experiences. I'm one of those people who have never had one. I grew up in a Christian home, and I've always experienced myself in that way. And I was thinking tonight, "Well, what kept me in the Christian faith?" I think that what it was, was my final year in college. I spent a year trying to figure out what was the matter with Anselm's proof for the existence of God. I decided at the end of the year that it was really -- given a couple of qualifications -- true. And that sort of stands as a pillar in my life, after which God's existence has never been a question for me. Anyway, this has gone on much later than I had anticipated. It almost inevitably happens this way, but I'd thought I'd introduce Anselm in the conversation at this point, by way of suggesting that tomorrow we will talk about the theology of the Unification Church.
1 J. Stillson Judah, The History and Philosophy of the Metaphysical Movements in America, Philadelphia, Pa.: Westminster Press, 1967.
2 Miss Young Oon Kim was the first missionary of the Unification come to America. She came to the United States in 1959.
3 J. Stillson Judah, Hare Krishna and the Counterculture. New John Wiley and Sons, 1974.
4 Mr. Neil Albert Salonen is president of the Unification Church of America.
5 Neil T. Duddy, The God-Men: An Inquiry into Witness Lee and the Local Church, Downers Grove, II.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1979.
6 Richard Quebedeaux, The Worldly Evangelicals, New York, N.Y.: Harper and Row. 1978.
7 Reference is to Evangelical-Unification Dialogue, Richard Quebedeaux and Rodney Sawatsky. eds.. New York. N.Y.: Distributed by the Rose of Sharon Press. Inc. 1979.