The Words the Hose Family

Interview with ICC Host Rev. David Hose about his impressions of Korea and the Korean people

Victoria Clevenger
April 15, 1988

Rev. David Hose

Question: After having been in Korea on and off for nearly two years now, what is your impression of the Korean people?

My feeling is that the Koreans are the chosen people not so much just because they have embraced Christianity, but rather because they possess a heart that is qualitatively different from any people I know of in the world. I believe that heart was the foundation for their ability to embrace Christianity so strongly.

Their relationships are very strong, especially in the family, and that is what the new age is all about -- the family. There is a strong sense of "family even among families. For example, the Lees of the whole nation consider themselves as all related to one another. I met a brother on the banquet staff yesterday whose name is Moon. I said jokingly, "Oh, are you Rev. Moon?" He said, "He's my uncle." I said, "You're kidding." He said, "No. We are all together." I understood what he meant. It wasn't that he was actually Father's nephew but that he felt all the Moons were part of the same fabric, part of the same extended family.

There is a very deep thread that has run through here for thousands of years in the noble teachings of Confucius and Buddha. Those philosophies are strongly relational; nobody stands alone, whereas Christianity emphasizes becoming independently strong: "I'm saved; are you?" The family in Christianity is not as well defined in terms of relationships as it is in Confucianism or Buddhism.

Koreans are very passionate people. You can see that just by watching the way they express themselves to each other; you'd think they were fighting, but they're just talking. They've been called the Italians of the East. That strong tradition of relationship, combined with great passion and heart, makes for very strong connections between people. So when Christianity came here and the Koreans discovered Jesus Christ and his love for Heavenly Father as a personal father, then that relationship also became a strong and emotional one. The Christians in Korea by and large are very fervent in their faith; that's why many of them go to church at 5 o'clock in the morning.

But there are two sides to it. That intensity in Christianity is one of the problems Father has faced. People are so passionately into what they believe that many of them are quite narrow in their faith. Some Christians still cling to all the rumors about Father that have been going around for 30 years. One thing I've found here is that if a Korean really believes in something, he will even give his life for it, but if he doesn't believe in it, it's really hard to change him. Koreans are very stubborn.

Sometimes funny incidents occur when Western and Eastern cultures meet. The Koreans tend to bump each other a lot on the streets because everyone feels like they're related. They call the bus drivers "Uncle" and the hotel maids "Auntie." On the street, if someone is behind you and wants to go fast, he will just push you. Some ministers come back to the hotel and say, "These people are terribly disrespectful. I've been pushed all around on the street today. What is wrong with these people?" But the Koreans don't have the same sense of personal space that Westerners have. Even their houses are all crowded together. A loud argument can be going on next door and they don't mind. In one way, I think that's very healthy. People are very open with each other. They don't wait for six months to see if they want to get acquainted. Relationships develop very quickly.

Here in Korea, everybody holds hands on the street: schoolgirls, schoolboys, even soldiers. People are always in contact with each other. Again, there is a great passion in relationships. The sharing that they do or you do with them is very real; it's not just small talk. I am very moved by that.

An ICC staff meeting with Rev. Kwak.

Question: What do you feel has helped Koreans grasp the meaning of the suffering of God's heart?

Koreans have lived between two very strong cultures for thousands of years: Japan and China. They've been invaded by those cultures hundreds of times. The Chinese came here and, although they added a lot to the country -- Confucianism and Buddhism -- they had a very dominating character. The Japanese also came here and took a lot and dominated the people totally and were insensitive to the Korean culture. The Koreans have suffered a lot in this way.

One good Korean friend told me, "We know how to endure and smile and continue on." They know how to pull their hat down over their brow and keep going. Their own suffering makes them very sensitive to the suffering of God's heart -- the… God but also His grief. Most Western Christians don't even believe that God suffers. Father represents the apex of understanding and uniting with that suffering aspect of God's heart -- and taking responsibility for it. I think that understanding is the special way in which the Korean people have been prepared.

One of the deepest messages from Heung Jin Nim I recall indicated that when the Christians came here, they brought with them brotherly love, which is strongly emphasized in Christianity. Because Jesus never established the true parent position, the strongest love in his followers is brotherly/sisterly love. The problem is that the importance of ancestors and parents is not recognized by Christians in Korea. During certain holidays when most Koreans visit their ancestors' graves to show their respect, Christians in many cases will shun that practice and have their own gathering to show, "We only worship Jesus and the Holy Spirit." So when Father came in the role of True Parents, the most prepared people, the Korean Christians, who were supposed to be the central tradition, didn't understand the vertical situation. This ironic consequence… besides the communists, the ones who opposed Father the most viciously were other Christians. Korea is finally opening up now to Father in various areas; many professors and professional people, for instance, respect him a lot. But still the really fundamental Christians don't want to give him a bit of credit.

I think it's very healthy for Americans to come here and find out the reality of the relationship between North and South Korea. During the conferences I've been asked questions like: "Are North Koreans allowed to come and shop in Seoul?" "Are we going to take a bus trip into North Korea?" Things like this show me there's a terrific ignorance about the dreadful reality of this peninsula. When the ministers can understand the background for Father's work, they can realize that it had to be a very resolute individual who could keep this movement together and develop it in a land that's been so torn apart. So they can't just look at Father as some opportunistic cult leader in America anymore. Whether they agree with him or not, they have to look at him as a very serious man trying to do God's will.

Question: How do you feel all of you on the American ICC staff have developed in your relationships with each other?

As staff members, we've gone through a lot of heartistic revolution and challenge -- and that means both up and down. We are very different kinds of people: Peter Spoto, Kevin McCarthy, David Hose, Levy Daugherty, Kathy Garland. Our characters are quite different, our backgrounds are different, and our experiences in the church are different. We are all asked to grow -- and giving out, communicating, is the only way. Because our schedules are so intense, we don't always have the time we need to meet together. Now, on off- weeks between conferences, we have a regular Monday meeting. Those meetings are for organizing our next schedule, but they're for our fellowship as well.

As an elder brother, I feel particularly committed to get things squared among all of us if there is something that's not working right. If one of us is having a difficult time emotionally, or on our mission, it affects everybody. It's like four people sleeping in a small bed; if one moves, then all the others feel it.

Ministers sign a guest book at the podium where Father preached in his original church in Seoul.

Question: How has your relationship with True Parents changed or deepened since you've been in Korea?

I see True Parents less here than I did in America, but I'd say I am discovering a lot more about Father's background and his roots through our experiences together as a staff here in Korea than I ever did in America.

We feel Father's presence overwhelmingly at these conferences -- not as visions, but we feel his investment here. As staff members, we feel like the guy holding the steering wheel, but behind us a huge engine is pushing, which we must never take for granted. When you come here, you experience the moving force of the providence. I would say my experience with True Parents now is discovering their power and the power of God behind them, as well as the power of this nation and its history.

Question: How about Jesus' presence? Jesus' presence is very strong here. In a gut-level sense you can feel him around. Logically, where else would he be? We aren't receiving revelations as we did last year, but it's not any less deep than it was.

I feel that Jesus, with his great heart, is quite sad, because he sees how his people have become so disunited and how it's so hard for them to understand what he and the True Parents want them to know. They are like little children who have this fantasy about daddy coming back, believing, for example, that he's coming back on the clouds. This great, mature central figure of human history from 2,000 years ago is struggling to help these children grow even a small amount, so that they can understand even a little bit about True Parents. I feel there's great joy in Jesus' heart when a minister finally realizes that there is something very substantial being taught here that he needs to open up to.

Question: Why is it still so hard for people to understand, even though they have had experiences with Jesus and the Holy Spirit?

People have spiritual experiences that are appropriate to their spiritual level. God doesn't want to negate anybody who is even vaguely grasping for Him, so He will nurture them along in a way they can understand; whether it be with pabulum, or breakfast cereal, or steak. But the thing is that many people, rather than seeing their current experiences as baby food that will be followed by other kinds of food, think, "I got this pabulum so this must be the truth." They fail to see that it is a growing process. It's not easy because there is such a stubborn attitude, particularly among fundamentalists, when we bring up the idea of the limit of salvation through the cross or the failure of John the Baptist. People go into shock sometimes and have a very hard time to accept a newer, deeper perspective. They think, this is what I believe and you are not going to change me." That is seen as a virtue, almost! There is a minority here, however, who understand the necessity for development and are taking steps upward. I hope they become the core of Christianity.

Question: Can you say anything about the Pusan trip with the ministers and how that experience has evolved for you?

Pusan is the place where the roots of our movement are. I am always proud to take the ministers there and share with them about Father's early church life, because that shows the substance of Father's character and faith and his attitude about his mission. It goes beyond theology. We take them to the Rock of Tears, and many of them have a real, living experience with God and with Christ. Kevin makes an interesting point in his lecture on Jesus, and I think it applies here, too. It is that nobody accepted Jesus on the basis of Old Testament doctrinal conclusions; they accepted him as they came to know him and realize his heart. It's the same thing with Father. On one hand, all the hours the ministers spend learning our theology and our teachings are important, but they also need to have a personal experience of realizing what kind of man Father is and what he did here.

After going to the Rock of Tears museum, where we show them the old shack that Father started out in, we take them to the Tongil factory and they are awed to see this huge company. They think, "This is just one project that came out of his prayers." They have to think that this man is an extraordinary person. Pusan has great value in helping them understand directly, beyond any theologizing, about the man himself, and plants seeds that can germinate in the future.

Question: Have you had any particularly deep experiences at the Rock of Tears?

During one conference we had a particular minister who, all throughout the conference, was incredibly negative. At the Rock of Tears, Jesus was speaking through someone very powerfully and deeply, with tears, and this minister came up behind the person having the experience with Jesus and shouted, "Stop! Stop!" I was so angry that I rushed over to her and pushed her back, because I thought she was going to physically hit the person through whom Jesus was speaking. But Jesus said, "Don't do that. This is the very person I want to talk to. Please bring her back to me." I said, "I'm sorry," and I deeply repented because I realized my anger was like the disciples who said, "Don't let this person come to Jesus." I brought the minister back and Jesus embraced her. Crying, he said, "You people don't understand. This woman was beaten by her parents as a child. She can't feel any emotion." The woman was totally blocked. You could see that although the love of Jesus was coming to her, she still couldn't respond.

I realized with shame that our love so often depends on whether the recipient responds to us. But God's love is unconditional; it comes from out of God's limitless heart, even if the person He is loving is as dead as this water glass. I learned something very deep about love that day at the Rock of Tears, that we have to develop the same kind of heart that Jesus and Father have. It's a constant challenge because we do get a few people coming through here who just want to go shopping or who have a bad attitude toward the conference. On that day I recognized the incredible love of Christ. For 2,000 years, he has been betrayed so many times, yet he still continuously pours out his love. 

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