Where Are We Going and How and Why?
By Michael Hentrich (October 22, 2018)
Dr. Michael Hentrich (UTS Class of 1979) joined the Unification Church in 1975, received his M.A. in religious education from UTS, and earned his D.Min. from Cheongshim Graduate School of Theology in 2016. He has published numerous books, including The Divine Principle Study Bible for Truth Seekers, and lives with his wife, two children, and four grandchildren in Denver, Colorado. His website is DeeperDP.com.
In some ways it seems our movement is suffering from an identity crisis.
Many of us are not really clear about where we are going or how we are trying to get there and why, even if we are doing our best to unite with True Mother. (The “we” in this article addresses Unificationists who understand Rev. and Mrs. Moon as the True Parents of humankind and who strive to fulfill their vision and directions)
Everything Father asked us to do was for multiple purposes. When we did campaigns, for example, we did it for our own spiritual experience and development, to make a good condition for ourselves, for the movement, for America and the providence, and usually it was to help create social and political capital so Father could get more social and political leverage and influence.
In addition, it was also to create a mechanism by which to overcome the exploding world population (there are 1.6 million more people on this earth every week!). And, it was also to stir up, inspire and motivate the spirit world.
When we went to workshops, it was to improve our personal understanding, elevate our ancestors, and hopefully improve our level of enthusiasm and commitment to the providential life we live every day.
When we went to Cheongpyeong, it was to bring healing to our ancestors and other spirits who were dragging us down, clean up our own spirit, nurture us through the educational classes, and hopefully inspire and empower us to be more active and effective back home.
So, there were multiple reasons for everything that we and Father did.
What about our lives today? What are we doing and why? Where are we trying to go in the long-term and short-term? We like to do campaigns, events and programs. That is what we did for the past 40 years. We should keep doing them. We know how to do them. We can bring some guests. We felt good doing them and we could make a positive report to headquarters and to True Parents.
Did we bring success? It depends what we were trying to accomplish. What were we trying to accomplish? People participated in our campaigns, events and programs, but too often they didn’t go deeper with us and become members. Why not?
We tried to interest these people in studying the Principle, but many times they were not interested. Why not? Aside from our controversial image, one reason could be that we might not have a good follow-up plan and system for them to become members. Another reason could be that many times our campaign, event or program was lacking in transparency. We were not involving them in our campaign, event or program for the simple purpose that was given them. “Come to our free spaghetti dinner!”
Well, they may have come for that purpose, but we were not primarily interested in that. We wanted them to study the deep teachings of the Divine Principle. “Come to our marriage rededication.” But, in our minds, that was not even the tip of the iceberg. They came to simply rededicate their marriage, but we really wanted them to partake of the Holy Wine without an in-depth explanation of what it was really all about, and hope they would eventually do all five steps of the change of blood lineage, whether they fully understood what they were doing or not.
This is certainly not uncommon in the free-market society in which we live. One could argue that many, if not most, businesses, organizations, and advertisers do something similar to attract potential customers or clients. But, do we need to function this way when what we really have to offer them is God’s and True Parents’ love and the truth of the Principle? We cannot continue this methodology and expect the masses of people to respond to us. We don’t need to.
We have to unlearn some things and pioneer a more transparent way of going forward. Lots of people today invest serious amounts of their time and money in programs to improve themselves. We need mentors to teach us how to do that with True Parents and the Principle.
We might say, “Well, that sounds too difficult. We’ll just go out and get 430 people to drink the Holy Wine or juice. At least we did that much. Isn’t it successful?” It depends what we are trying to do. If we are trying to help people make a good condition for their spiritual lives, and help America make a good condition at the same time, then we might be successful. If we are trying to help people take the first of the five steps needed to remove their original sin and become engrafted into the lineage of True Parents, then we might be successful. If we are trying to make an impressive report that Mother will be inspired about, then we might be successful.
But, True Mother said: “Blessing 430 couples is not enough. Those 430 need to bless their own 430, and so on.” I heard it with my own ears. Why? She is trying to make a mechanism of blessing people that can beat the exploding population of the world. Such a geometric progression could potentially do it. But, we need someone to show us how to actually accomplish that; i.e., how to raise people up so they can multiply themselves. We need a good mentor to teach us how to be effective in doing it. The know-how is out there. We need to get it.
If we want to become “Owners of Cheon Il Guk (CIG)” (as we proclaim every time we say the Pledge), then reporting big numbers without real substance cannot be our ultimate goal and purpose. If we are trying to become “Owners of CIG,” then we have to be concerned about transforming people, starting with myself, and transforming families, and beating the population explosion at the same time. Many of us are not thinking on that level.
We need to stop and shift gears in our minds and hearts. We have not been thinking like owners. We apply ourselves to some given part of the overall task and feel satisfied with our efforts. But, the owner is thinking about the end-goal. That’s what it means to be an “owner.”
If that is the case, then campaigns, events and programs can play a part in that end-goal process, but only a part. Blessing 430 people without helping them transform themselves in their minds and hearts will never get us to the end-goal. Going to Cheongpyeong and liberating our ancestors without then investing ourselves in transforming people and families back home will likewise never get us to the end-goal.
It seems to me we have two goals to concern ourselves with to be on the playing field as real players or owners.
The first goal is transforming people and families. Nothing will ever change in the world if we don’t do that. We should be able to invest in at least a few people and families before we die and help them to transform themselves, thereby multiplying ourselves. The key word here is “invest.” Father showed us what that word meant when he invested in the early disciples in the 1950s. He took them to beaches, picnics, movies, on mountain hikes, and spent hours and days talking to and teaching them. They were not casual acquaintances. Investing in people meant investing with the heart, personally, and not just giving them intellectual lectures, etc. Transforming one person or family into a son or daughter or family of True Parents is accomplishing something toward the end-goal. Campaigns, activities and programs which do not result in such investment are not contributing to the end-goal.
The second goal is beating the population explosion. That may be out of our league in terms of our skill sets, but that is why God inspired the Internet. Jesus didn’t even have a microphone or a pencil. Now things are different. The Internet cannot transform people and families by itself, but it can be a big part of the process of beating the exploding population. Literally millions of people can watch and learn about something that interests them, and in a very short time. Father said he wanted to teach the people of the world via satellite. He bought a satellite TV channel for that purpose. But, he never got the chance.
We are not all equipped to address these two goals. Young people know how to use the Internet. They may lack the passion and commitment to do so for the providence, but some do have it. They need the vision and goal sunk deeply into their hearts and minds. Those who can help educate such inspired young people need to do so as effectively as possible.
There is one other way we can seriously work toward the end-goal of personal and family transformation, although not addressing the exploding population. That is by creating good, effective, joyful schools for our children. They need to grow up with the knowledge, vision, and passion of the providence from a small child through their teenage years. They need to have it planted deep in their soul. It is almost impossible to raise children to have these things if they grow up in the fallen culture of the world that espouses materialism, free sex of all kinds, gender confusion, drugs, and irresponsibility. It can’t be done. How many of our children have survived the fallen-world culture, especially when they go away to college where they have their own bedroom, total freedom, and where Satan breathes down their necks with every imaginable temptation readily at hand? Few have survived.
We need our own culture. The Jewish people realized it a long time ago, as did the Catholics, Mormons and Muslims. All new religious cultures began to grow roots once they established schools for their children. We need our own good, effective and happy schools for our next generation. If not, there might not be many future generations. It is a serious concern of Mother, Father, and of me.
Overall, what am I saying can be distilled to a few simple points:
- Programs and campaigns are nice, but we need to invest in people, even if only a few people. We need to help them transform themselves. Nothing will happen without that. There is no substitute for this.
- We need to invest seriously in beating the exploding population of the world with the transformative teaching of True Parents. It can be done. Young people know how to do it. We need to empower them with the money, vision and passion to do it. If you can help in that area, do it.
- We need our own schools. We cannot let another generation grow up and wander away into the fallen world, looking for the intellectual and heartistic fulfillment they should have found here. After two or three generations of that, who will raise up the future generations? We cannot trash Father’s life like that. Campaigns, events and programs are fine, but we need to have our minds and hearts focused on the end-goal. That is why Father wanted us to call ourselves “owners of CIG.” It was not a label to honor our great past accomplishments as his followers. Without real owners in this game, CIG will never happen.
- Those who aspire to become leaders and owners of the providence need to equip themselves. They need to read books on leadership, get experience in public speaking, refine their relationship skills, and develop their hearts. They need to learn whatever skills it will take to get the job done effectively, and they need to get experience. There is no shortcut here. Moses was highly trained for his mission. God put Jacob through 21 years of training to win the heart of his angry brother. Get the training you need. Get serious. There are lots and lots of resources out there, waiting for us to use them.
The future is ours if we decide to take it. Neo of the “Matrix” film asked the old spiritual woman (“the Oracle”) if he was really “the One.” She said, “You could be” (i.e., if you decide to be). The future is waiting for us.♦