Unification News for July 2000

The Spiritual Dimensions of Character and Living For Others

Message Given In Moscow Russia, July 29, 2000
Dr. Hycel B. Taylor

I beseech you therefore brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, wholly and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual workshop. And, be not conformed to this world, but be you transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may prove what is the good and perfect will of God. Romans 12ff

President Michael Jenkins has asked me to respond to this reading on the subject of character' and the issue of Priority of Character The sagacious characteristics of character as presented are self explanatory and sufficient.

However, the question of the priority of character as it relates to what it will take to unite the body of Christ must have more than metaphorical meaning. That is, the reference to the symbol of "body" is obviously a limited metaphor and runs the risk of being used too simplistically.

While the wholeness, unity, and connectedness of Christ's physical body has parabolic significance as Apostle Paul uses it to propose a paradigm for Christ's church, it's material metaphor must be used only for its spiritual correlation.

Let me begin to unpack the profundities of this paradigm and related it to the subject of us, you and me, becoming leaders with integrity of character. I begin by noting that the most awesome fact to be realized and grasped by any human being, and especially you and me who desire to attain sublime and divine character as religious leaders, is the fact that the infinite, invisible, indivisible, and eternal spirit of God is one and inseparable with our own spirits. And, it is precisely that infinite, invisible, indivisible, and eternal Spirit of God, i.e., God's monotheistic presence (One God who is one) that embodies and incarnates the physical bodies of each and every human being, thus making all humanity spiritually one human race.

The loss of consciousness of this singular and inseparable spiritual dimension that makes us one, underlies the tragic, traumatic, and tormenting predicament of all people and all persons. Because of that great and graceless loss, the human family and each of us as individual persons within the human family suffer from spiritual poverty and powerlessness because of our inward ignorance, impotence, and spiritual blindness.

This is the effect of the cause of Adam's and Eve's fall while in paradise, which symbolizes the fall of humanity as a whole away from consciousness that each of us as individuals are first and foremost spiritual beings who are "offspring's'' of the awesome Spirit of God, and created in God's precise image and likeness.

And, as a consequence of that spiritual fall we fell away from the perfect and divine character of God which is our essential, original, and authentic nature. This is the point of departure for what I call the "theology of the ideal," of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, which is close to my own theology, and should, in my opinion, be the point of departure for the theology of every theologian.

The great tragedy is that his "theology of the ideal" stands in contrast and contradiction to what I call, "theologies of resignation" espoused by theologians who have resigned themselves to the notion of the irreversible and irredeemable depravity of humanity—theologians who have lost consciousness of, and faith in, the original intent of all true religions to reconcile, redeem, restore, justify, sanctify, and save humanity, i.e., all human beings, yes, you and me, back to the perfect and divine character of the infinite, invisible, indivisible, and eternal Spirit of God which is our essential, original and divine nature.

Given these prevailing, popular, and persuasive "theologies of despair," as I would also designate them, it is difficult for any of us to fully comprehend and accept the reality that the perfection of the divine Spirit of God is in us and is our original and divine nature. It is even more difficult for any of us to fully believe that religion originally held as its fundamental presupposition that humanity not only can but will, in God's time, as taught in Rev. Moon's "theology of the ideal" recover and reclaim the perfection and divinity of the character of God. God is redeeming the world back to himself. This is the meaning of the scripture, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son."

It is difficult to believe this in the first instance because religion has become an end within itself, rather than a means to the end of recovering and reclaiming in the human spirit the perfection and divinity of the character of God.

Religion today has become the primary means and medium of the fall of the human spirit father and farther a way from consciousness of its perfection and divinity.

Religion with its doctrines, dogmas, and denominations. Religion, with its rituals, rites, and routines. Religion with its rules, regulations, and moral requirements. Religion with its pageantry, piety, and its pompous practices—has become the pathological and paralyzing preoccupation of too many prophets, pastors, priests, and the people they lead.

Therefore, their characters are not shaped and fashioned by the perfection of the divine spirit, but by their pride—their prestige—their prominence —and their privilege. Too many of us as we sit here at this moment are puffed up with our ecclesiastic positions and our need to appear important and powerful before our people. To many of us our into the triviality of "churchianity" rather than true "Christianity." Too many of us are about building brick and mortar and megachurches rather than breaking down barriers of denominationalism, classism, racism, and sexism.

Indeed, we are summons here precisely because Rev. Sun Myung Moon like Apostle Paul, is declaring to all so-called religious leaders of all of the great religions of the world:

"I perceive that in all things, you are very religious, because as I passed by and observed your worship, I beheld an inscription, 'to the unknown God' whom therefore you ignorantly worship."

The real question is, why can't we lay hold on, sustain, and maintain the spirit of Christ who embodies and models for us the perfected and divine character of God.

We know that doctrine as an end within itself is a dead end street.

We know that dogma as an end within itself is dumb. We know that the brick and mortar mega-churches we build as ends within themselves that in due time not one stone will be left standing upon another. We know that denominationalism, Racism, sexism, classism, and clickism is divisive.

We know that we ought to follow the mandate of Christ: "Be you perfect as I am perfect." We know that we ought to do it. But as the great philosopher Spinoza stated correctly when he said, "Ought does not mean can." The deeper question is why can't we do it, and what must we do to do it if we can't?"

Why can't we who have been on the mountain top of transfiguration with Christ cast out the demon in the pleading father's son in the valley? Why can't we make the blind see and the lame walk? Why can't we heal the broken hearted and them that are bruised? Why can't we set the captives free?

Why can't we do more than worship and praise God on Sunday and deny the power of that same God we preached and sang about you on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday?

Why can't we engage and correct the contexts of poverty and joblessness that create crime—confront and conquer the genocide of jails —defeat the demons of drugs and alcohol that are destabilizing and destroying families— stop babies from having sex and babies while they are babies — prevent the scourge of AIDS that it wiping out whole generations in South Africa, the Sudan, America and all over the world.

In short, in the words of Rev. Moon. why can't we shape and fashion our characters to "live for others?"

I'll tell you why we can't live for others. It is because this kind of perfected and divine character comes through much fasting and prayer.

I'll tell you why we can't do the mighty works of Christ. Because in order to do them, as leaders, we must be born all over again. Born from above. Born free of our lack of faith. Born free of our own hate, envy, jealousy, low self-esteem. Born of the water and the spirit.

I'll tell you why we can't follow in the foot steps of Jesus and walk like him, talk like him, pray like him, preach like him, and be perfect in character, as he is perfect. Because we have not yet "submitted our bodies to be living sacrifice, wholly and acceptable unto God, which is our spiritual worship. And not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds."

I'll tell you why the body of Christ cannot unite in a powerful Pentecostal movement. It is because before you come together in one accord in one place, you've got to tarry somewhere long enough, and wait until you have been embued with power from on high. For the scripture says, "They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like and Eagle. They shall run and not get weary. They shall walk and not faint"

You see, none of us can do this thing until we are prepare to pray, `'Give us our trespass as we for give those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil...

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