The Words of the Poor Family

Witnessing and Koreanization

Ed Poor
October 17, 1998

Father gave us American members a chance, but he said that if we couldn't do it, he'd send the Japanese; if they couldn't do it, he'd send the Koreans; if they couldn't do it, he'd send his own children.

When I joined the UC in 1977, the regional director of New England was Aidan Barry -- perhaps not an authentic American, but he did study at Cornell. Aidan eventually left the UC, taking with him a pretty, young Japanese student whom he married.

Japanese leaders began gaining influence in Boston with Takashi Kono, transferred from the Ginseng Tea business center (near the reservoir at Cleveland Circle) to the CARP Center in Allston (a mile or two West of Boston University). I remember Henri Shauffler assuring me, "Mr. Kono is my Abel," not too long before the transfer.

Kono-san was followed by Kiyoshi Seino, who put a guard dog in the backyard parking lot after we found all our vehicles' tires slashed following an anti-Commuist rally. I would never use the back door after that, but one nice Korean sister did, and got bitten. (Seems we Americans always need others to come here and pay indemnity for us.)

By 1982, Michio Fujii had been appointed by Chung-Goo "Tiger" Park as regional director of CARP. In 1984 Fujii-san went to the West Coast to help establish CARP there, leaving a Blessed sister in charge. She fell with an single Irish brother, and that ended a brief period of non-Japanese leadership.

At this point in my story, we can see that Father's intent to have Americans (or at least Westerners) have leadership positions in New England was thwarted only by the failures of those leaders themselves. Westerners had their chance time and again, but there were falls and failures. At least I never heard of Japanese leaders in America marrying outside our faith or committing adultery.

Okay, so they're harsh and authoritarian. But I remember one CARP sister with red hair -- the only Westerner I had ever worked with (up to that point) who ever bothered to study Japanese -- telling us of a dream she had. We were all being attacked by snakes trying to bite our legs, but Mr. Fujii came into the area and all the snakes slithered away.

A few college students actually joined CARP during the reign of Mr. Fujii, and I think Josie Lawson's spiritual son was able to establish CARP as a student organization at B.U.

I dropped out of touch for a few years after this, so I never really noticed the phasing out of the Japanese leaders. By the time I got back into circulation, in the late 1980s, every region had a Korean leader and New York City had J.H. Park as a sort of "first among equals." The way I heard it was that due to the failure of Americans and Japanese to unite, Father had to send all the Japanese back to Japan (this was the second or third time such a thing had happened, unfortunately).

[You know, maybe I should get together with Mike Mickler and write some history.]

I know that J.H. Park is controversial, but I have been genuinely impressed by his spirituality. I wish I had listened to him more and supported him more. He took the demotion to Newark, New Jersey while Zin-Moon Kim was "national advisor" for a couple of years; then, as anyone could easily have predicted, Father brought him back to his old office in New York City with a promotion and a title change: Continental Director.

It seems to be slim pickin's for us White Americans, however. Right now, my district is led by an Irishman, Tom Corley; my old stomping grounds, Manhattan, has Chen Fong; we got a Latino in the Bronx, a Chinese- American in Queens, and all those rich folks in Westchester now have a black pastor. The only white boy I can think of right now has Staten Island (but I never see him smile). Wayne Miller used to have Manhattan, but he resigned and moved his family to Delaware.

Except for President Tyler Hendricks, there seems to be a severe shortage of white Americans in the game these days. I am certain it is not due to racial, nationalistic, or cultural bias on Father's part. There are just so few of us white folks competent to even tie our own shoelaces, let alone lead the multitudes. Well, maybe Philip Schanker in Washington, D.C. But both Tyler and Philip have Korean wives. Practically the only white couple I know in the church is me and Jane, and we're, like, utterly marginal.

Yes, friends, opportunity is staring us all in the face, but we're too busy advancing our careers and amassing property. Seems to me we've willingly, eagerly, even frantically abdicated our responsibility to take care of our own country -- especially, if I may generalize a bit, us white folks.

But don't get me wrong. My ancestors and contemporaries might get all bent out of shape because they see their lily-white America colorized by yellow- and brown-skinned people. I have no such problem. My house is on fire, and I welcome with tears of gratitude anyone who's willing to drop everything in the middle of the night to come put it out for me. I'm choking back the sobs even as I write this.

The leadership of America will and must go to those who love it and serve it the most. We've always been a nation of immigrants, and if the Koreans are the best students, dry cleaners, deli owners, and UC leaders, that's fine with me. I've studied three foreign languages, and the one I like best is Korean.

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