USA: Letter to America – The Culture of Heart
from FFWPU-USA President Rev. Demian Dunkley
Good day family!
How are you? I hope you are well. I hope you and your loved ones are healthy. I wanted to share the message I gave last Sunday about the culture of heart.
Usually we are running so fast, chasing the clock, but most of us are now spending long days at home and I believe we have an incredible opportunity to recognize that we are blessed to be leaders in the culture of heart.
What is the culture of heart?
I think of the blossom of a fruit tree. Why? Because the first few blossoms of spring do not bud in fields of green grass and green trees. They are not the last signs of spring, they come at the beginning of spring. They break the ice. They break through the chilly air. They burst through their little buds, sprouting from dark wooden branches, but there are no leaves on the tree to protect them.
There is nothing that protects them from the rain and wind. The first few days of spring are not so different from winter, and yet these little flowers sprout from all the trees like the advance guard.
Have you ever plucked the blossom of a fruit tree? They are fragile. They are not like ordinary flowers. If you pick one from a tree, it will soon wither. They are small, weak, and defenseless. They are completely vulnerable. And yet it is those little flowers, bursting with color, that signal the start of a new season. I say the first flower blossoms of spring are the bravest in all creation.
It is that vulnerable little flower that reminds me of the culture of heart. A culture of heart requires us to be vulnerable also. It requires us to reach out authentically even under hostile circumstances. And God designed the family to be the place where our hearts are trained.
It grows in the family
At this time, when many of us are forced to live and work from home, in constant proximity with our family members, we are faced with the reality of our homelife, which is wonderful. Or is it? Is it easy? Are you experiencing joyful days together? I hope so.
There are many people facing a serious struggle right now, and it is easy to lose hope when we feel our survival is threatened. We try to imagine what will happen in the future. But remember this: God is with us, and we can be with God, our Heavenly Parent, now more than ever.
This is a time when we can realign our hearts within our family dynamics. We can use this time to love one another. This is a time to revive our own families, and be a beacon of hope to others. So what blueprint can we follow to develop the culture of heart within our families?
Four Realms of Heart
It was our True Parents who clarified that the ideal family is the starting point of the perfection of mankind, and they taught us about the Four Realms of Heart. True Father says this:
“The perfection of mankind requires the complete understanding of these Four Great Realms of the Heart under the true love of God. The foundation for this is the ideal family. The smallest unit of mankind which realizes God’s ideal of creation is a family which has realized the Four Great Realms of the Heart. God, who is the origin and the lord of true love, intended to bequeath unchanging true love to mankind from the position of a Father. In true love, by realizing complete harmony and unity, God’s true love is completely bequeathed to mankind as His children.” (True Parents, Seoul, May 1, 1994)
These four realms include children’s love, sibling’s love, spouse’s love, and parent’s love. They are all designed to work in harmony, but it takes time to develop this culture, so how do you know when you have achieved the right standard of heart? This is an interesting question. In all these relationships, our connection to our Heavenly Parent is central, but who determines when we have improved our own personal standard? Can we decide by ourselves?
For example, who determines when you are a good child? It is the parent. Conversely, who determines if I am a good parent? It is my children who must do so. It is our siblings who determine whether or not we are a good brother or sister, and our spouse that determines if we are a good husband or wife. I cannot force my wife to acknowledge that I am a good husband because I convince her to do so, or because the Bible tells her to respect me, but rather because I have made the efforts to continually grow, and learn how to love her properly. (If you are wondering, yes, I am still very much working on this area.)
But even with this understanding, are we able to truly develop a culture of heart just because we want to? The happiness of humanity depends on our families being whole and happy. However, since the beginning of time, not even a single family has been able to achieve this standard that we know of. None of us were gifted with a perfect upbringing, so how can we be perfect parents ourselves? If a happy God-centered family is the starting point of humanity’s happiness, we need to find the starting point of the true family. Which heart of love comes first? True parents’ love or true children’s love?
Obviously it must start with true parents, but how do you qualify to be a true parent? If we look at the story of Adam and Eve, we can see that they were supposed to perfect children’s love towards God, and sibling’s love towards one another. We can also assume that they were supposed to perfect spousal and parental love, but something went wrong when they were persuaded off course by the serpent.
Before Adam and Eve failed as parents, they failed as children. Adam and Eve were not able to secure the children’s realm of heart because they disobeyed God, their Father, and then hurt one another. Because they could not mature their hearts as children, all the remaining realms of heart were blocked to them. Every generation since Adam and Eve has inherited a stunted model of love, and there has never been a model of a true family to inherit from. That is why we needed a new starting point in history. That is why we needed a savior.
Who in human history was the first to establish the realm of a true child to God? It was Jesus. We think of Jesus as a savior, a historical game changer, as a Messiah, but before he could be any of these things, he had to secure the first realm of heart that was lost at the very beginning. The realm of the heart of a true child.
There are multiple instances of Jesus’ victorious standard of heart in the Bible. Think of the time when Jesus had to fast for 40 days. Satan tempted Jesus three times to sway him away from his mission. Let us look at the dialogue between Jesus and Satan on the third attempt:
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve. Matthew 4:8-10, New King James Version (NKJV)
This is the story of an evil entity trying to persuade a child to disobey his father. This is the very repeat of the story of Adam and Eve. If you look at this scripture and imagine that scene, it is much like a naughty child in the school yard beckoning an innocent boy behind the shed to smoke his first cigarette. There is a naughty child who is trying to convince an innocent child to go against the will of the parent, but Jesus was not tricked.
Jesus was the first in human history to break through and establish the realm of a true child, God’s Only Begotten Son. We can say that Jesus was the perfect model child to God, totally unwavering. We can also say that Jesus embodied the highest standard of sibling love, even offering his life for the sake of all humanity. What we did not do was give him time to experience the love of a wife, and to become a parent of his own children. Therefore, Jesus prophesied the second coming.
As a central religion, Christianity has been responsible to spread Jesus’ standard of love and his teachings. As Christians, we believe that by having faith in Jesus, and by living a Christian religious lifestyle, we will be saved and allowed to enter Paradise. But the purpose of religion is not just my own personal salvation.
“The greatness of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity lies in the fact that it deals with all the problems centering on the family.”
The purpose of religion cannot be completed without establishing the first true family. From there, the goodness of God can be multiplied in God’s lineage through the true family, and there will be no more need for religious teaching, for it will all be taught within the family.
“If a religion that focuses on the family appears, it is the last religion.” (True Parents, 1980s)
The starting point is True Parents
Jesus was able to return to us and work with Rev. and Mrs. Moon, our True Parents, in order to restore the first family. In order to do this, they had to be born in a way that they could become the Only Begotten Son and Daughter. This is the value and meaning of this term. True Parents cannot exist before a true son and a true daughter exist. The fact that they were able to accomplish the standards of true children of God is a most significant thing. True Mother’s declaration of the Only Begotten Daughter is essential, for without it, we have no foundation for True Parents. The Only Begotten Son, and the True Father, are not the only foundations for True Parents. The Only Begotten Daughter is needed for True Parents to exist.
“True Parents put the premium on the value of family life. God has executed the providence for six thousand years in order to find this one family. It is the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity that teaches how to relate to this family.” (True Parents, The Way of God’s Will)
True Parents are our new starting point, and the blessing is our entry into the Heavenly Kingdom. But we have our responsibility. We do this by fulfilling the four realms of heart within our families, and multiplying this goodness to others through the blessing and teachings of True Parents.
Serve one another
Let us use this precious time that we have together to love one another and serve one another. We can reach out to family members in the home as well as those far away. Every person in the family has the capacity to hurt the family. Similarly, every person in the family has the capacity to heal the family. That is our work, and while we may feel we have a particularly difficult personal situation, our lives have been handed to us by our ancestors, and it is our opportunity to heal that part of history, and heal that part of God’s heart. Maturing our four realms of heart within the family is the completion of God’s own perfection.
As we are cooped up together during this coronavirus pandemic, you might ask yourself these questions: What would I have to do for my wife to conclude that I am a good husband? Or what can I do so that my brother will vouch for me as a wonderful sister?
Building the Heavenly Unified World
From the viewpoint of human history, we are coming out of a long winter period, where it seemed justified to take what we wanted, regardless of the effect on others or the cost to the planet. Now, a new culture of heart is emerging, and it is up to us to lead it.
It might not always be easy, we may feel like the first one in our family to try to deepen our family relationships, but know this: with the blessing of God we represent God in our goodness. So have courage. Just like that first little flower that breaks through the last air of winter, we can reach out and know that we are fully capable of building Heaven within our family. In fact, we cannot build heaven without it.
Let us unite in heart with our True Mother, and let our families be the first budding flowers of this new spring.