Dear confused and perplexed Unification Church (UC) members,
I write to you understanding that the times the UC is facing is perhaps one of the scariest, if not just that. Though I no longer believe the Unification Church is an especially enlightened organization nor am I a believer in Sun Myung Moon being the messiah, I empathize for those feel betrayed and disillusioned by these recent events. I would go as far to say I am against the Unification Church but that does not mean I am against the Unificationist. My anti-Unificationism does not drive me to be anti-Unificationist. I am more than willing to consider you my friend and I hope your heart is in a similar place.
So, friend, your head is likely filled with many questions and your heart may be desperate to cling on to some hope. Rev. Moon, the self-proclaimed “third Adam” and the cornerstone of the Unification faith, has departed and what he has left behind is a divided community of believers lacking vision and focus. Some of you may be confused on how Rev. Moon was not able to live to see the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, or at least live long enough to participate in and celebrate Foundation Day. And, well, there is of course the dramatic mess In Jin has created. For many of you, your pastor and national leader has stepped down for a scandal that seems too ridiculous to actually be true. I mean, how could she hide her pregnancy? How were all the leaders clueless? Did she actually believe the blessing she received with Ben Lorentzen was ecclessiologically-valid? You may still be having a hard time grasping that this is indeed reality and not the plot line of a Korean soap opera.
Should True Children inherit apostolic leadership roles just because of their most holy blood lineage? Can any of the True Children not be double-minded? Has the membership lost complete faith in the UC system? Should they have ever had faith in this system? Is there much of a future for the UC? What does all of this imply about the role of Moon and whether he was truly victorious in fulfilling the messianic call on his life?
And there is so much more to be asked, but I ask you to hear me out: Do not lose hope, my friends. The collapse of the reigning administration in the Unification Church is not the collapse of your world. Perhaps, it is the beginning to a whole new spiritual plane. Or, if you don’t want to get caught up in mystical, new age, and metaphysical jargon, maybe it’s time to live your own life. For many years your life has been caught up in this quirky, odd subculture and community that has at times been delightfully idealistic but more so has been overwhelmingly disappointing. It has molded the way you think and make decisions, as many of you were either joined in your twenties or were raised in the Church. For many of you, your early years in the faith were pressured by strenuous discipleship that included the heaviness of constant reporting to “central figures”. You had a community pushing you to give more, do more, and perhaps you have put your whole identity in the hands of this community. Maybe it is time to find out where your identity truly is.
I have several friends who have said that they cannot share any news of corruption in the Church or any inconsistencies in the theology with their first generation parents because that is their everything. Without this they cannot find happiness. I wonder if that is really true. Yes, they will deal with feeling betrayed, confused, and they may feel as if they have wasted their lives—but your parents, and perhaps you, are more than the Unification Church. For those who have an unwavering faith in God, you are his child. For those who are happily married, you are a treasured spouse. For those who have children, you are a parent. Perhaps if you finally put more weight in the importance of your identity in these things and less on what organization your faithful to, the dream labeled the “three great blessings” can finally be fulfilled.
This time of transition, perhaps even destruction, for the Unification Church may be your time to take a sabbatical. Perhaps it is time to walk away from the Unification Church for a bit and cultivate faith and intimacy with God away from this church. Perhaps it is time to let go of organized religion or form a more organic form of spiritual community. Perhaps you will come to believe that Moon was completely successful in carrying the mantle of Jesus, or you may realize he somehow tripped up along the way, preventing the Kingdom so-desired by the heart of God from arriving. Perhaps you will turn to Jesus Christ as your savior and find community among Evangelicals or maybe you will come to find an indescribable faith that could not be bound by religion. Perhaps this sabbatical is more than just for a time. Perhaps it is time to learn how to live your life in constant rest. Maybe it is time to find out how you can be consumed by a life of shalom.
More than anything, though, perhaps it is time for you to enjoy what you have been given in this life and truly get to know yourself without the interference of any ideology or organized religion.
This is a special time. A sacred time. This is your time. I hope you find blessing in it and I pray your eyes will open wider than they ever have before. Do not fear; have faith! You have every reason to be excited.