You Also Blessed My Grandfather

John 19

38 Joseph from Arimathea was one of Jesus’ disciples. He had kept it secret though, because he was afraid of the Jewish leaders. But now he asked Pilate to let him have Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission, and Joseph took it down from the cross.

Richard: This is the time to be bold in our faith, and not cower or be silent.

Isaiah 65

2 All day long I have reached out
to stubborn and sinful people
    going their own way.

Shamanism, Polytheism and Animism

World Scripture takes a universal outlook in emphasizing the common features of all religions; nevertheless religions also have their unique characteristics and emphases. The following six topics treat specific religious traditions, pointing out their unique features and Father Moon’s teachings about them. It cannot be overemphasized that any treatment of a religion’s unique features in no way exhausts its spiritual riches or detracts from its universal qualities that join in common witness to the one God and one reality.
Not all the religions are treated here; just those on which Father Moon has commented upon out of his own experience. Korea is a religiously pluralistic country, with roots in shamanism, Buddhism and Confucianism; it has a large and vibrant Christian community and also a growing Muslim minority.
Father Moon’s views on shamanism are largely the result of his experience with the homegrown Korean variety. Shamanism remains strong in rural Korea, where its practitioners, called mudangs, are largely women. Their ability to communicate with spirits can be impressive. During his years in America, he befriended Eskimo shamans in Alaska and Native Americans in Brazil and Paraguay. Father Moon is very aware of the reality of the  spirit  world  and  the  spiritual  discipline  required  to  be  an  effective  channel  to  that  world.  For this reason, he does not cast dogmatic condemnations on shamanism and animism in the manner of bible-centered Christians. Rather, he regards shamanism as an authentic stage, albeit a low one, on the path of humankind’s spiritual development.
Notable also is Father Moon’s teaching that shamanism and polytheism are “servant of servant” religions, whose original objects of worship were fallen angels. This can be seen rather clearly in Greek and Hindu mythology, where the gods’ amorous activities with earthly women are of a piece with Satan’s seduction of eve at the human Fall. Nevertheless, God still taught through these forms by empowering devoted practitioners to rise above their gods and attain a higher moral plane. In this way, human beings transcended the position of servants’ servants to become their masters, thus opening a higher stage of religious development. Passages from Hinduism and Shinto illustrate how these traditions were thus elevated over time to form higher religions.

1. Worship of Nature Deities

O gods! All your names are to be revered, saluted and adored; all of you who have sprung from heaven and earth, listen here to my invocation.
    Rig Veda 10.63.2 (Hinduism)

Our ancestors the emperors of old governed the realm by first paying worship to the kami with reverence and awe. Widely worshipping the kamiof mountain and river, they thereby had natural concourse with heaven and earth. For this rea-son, summer and winter also turned in their sea-son, and the works of creation were in harmony.
    Nihon Shoki 22 (Shinto)

Sansang suira!
There are eight peaks within the inner mountain,
and thirteen famous places in the outer mountain.
Within these famous mountains and the great heavens of all Buddhas,
the great altar of the nation is protected by the great generals.
Was not General Chae Yong one of them?
The famous general of Korea,
who was favored by his people…
Oh, I am the great mountain god.
If I sit down, I cover three thousand li [the entire land of Korea].
If I stand up, I stretch over ninety thousand li [the whole world].
If I look down with my clear mirror, I can observe ten thousand li.
Oh, I am the great mountain god.
What can you offer to satisfy me?
Is the whole pig covered with a red cloth enough?
Is the bundle of three different colored silks enough?
Offer many rich silks to me.
Oh, you, the husband and wife of this home.
Do you remember who gives you the food that sustains you?
Who gave you a home?
Who gave you wealth?
Who gave you long life?
I, the Sansang, gave you blessings and aid in times of need.
    Invocation of the Mountain Spirit (Korean Shamanism)

War-bundle owners, I greet you. Ye elders, I am about to pour tobacco for the spirits.
 
Hearken Earthmaker, our father, I am about to offer you a handful of tobacco. My ancestor so-and-so concentrated his mind upon you. The fireplaces with which you blessed him, the small amount of life you granted to him, all, four times the blessings that you bestowed upon my ancestor, I ask of you directly. May I have no troubles in life.
 
Chief of the Thunderbirds, who lives in the west, you strengthened my grandfather. I am about to offer you a handful of tobacco. The food, the pair of deer you gave him for his fireplaces, that I ask of you directly. May you accept this tobacco from me and may I not meet with troubles. 
 
Great Black Hawk, you also blessed my grandfather. I am about to offer you tobacco. Whatever food you blessed him with that I ask you directly. May I not meet with troubles…You [night spirits] on the other side, who live in the east, who walk in darkness, I am about to offer you tobacco to smoke. Whatever you blessed my ancestor with, I ask of you. If you smoke this tobacco I will never be a weakling.Disease-giver, you who live in the south; you who look like a man; who art invulnerable; who on one side of your body present death and on the other life, you blessed my ancestor in the daytime, in broad daylight. You blessed him with food and told him that he would never fail in anything. You promised to avoid his home. You placed animals before him that he might easily obtain food. I offer you tobacco that you may smoke it, and that I may not be troubled by anything. To you, Sun, Light-wanderer… To you, Grandmother Moon… Hearken, all ye spirits to whom my ancestor prayed; to all of you I offer tobacco. My ancestor gave a feast to all those who had blessed him. Bestow upon us once again all the blessings you gave our ancestor, that we may not become weaklings. I greet you all.
    Winnebago Invocation at the Sweat Lodge (Native American Religion)
 
Ala, come and drink and eat the kola nut.
Chukwu, come and drink and eat the kola nut.
Ancestors, come and drink and eat the kola nut.
    I was told by a man of Ngbwidi, one named Ehirim, that a man of Agunese had stolen his yams; and so I summoned the priests of Ala and Aro holders and elders in order that we might inquire into the matter. I called them, even as my father, who was priest of Njoku before me, used to do.
    If any of these men, who have come to try the case, deal falsely in the matter, or if the accuser or accused or any person called to give evidence tells falsehood, then do you, Ala, Chukwu, Njoku, Ancestors, and Ofo, deal with that man.
    Igbo Invocation at a Trial (African Traditional Religions)
 
Parvati, on seeing her son Ganesha resuscitated, embraced him joyously and clothed him with new garments and ornaments. After kissing his face, she said, “O Ganesha, you have had great distress since your very birth. You are blessed and contented now. You will receive worship before all the gods…
    “All achievements certainly accrue to him who performs your worship with flowers, sandal paste, scents, auspicious food offerings, waving of lights, betel leaves, charitable gifts, circumambulations, and obeisance. All kinds of obstacles will certainly perish.”
    Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu declared in unison, “O great gods, just as we three are worshipped in all the three worlds, so also Ganesha shall be worshipped by all of you. He is the remover of all obstacles and the bestower of the fruits of all rites.”
    Shiva Purana, Rudrasamhita 18 (Hinduism)
 
 

Surrender Your Purpose to God While Doing Good

No Income Tax Reform; Focus on Constitutional Rights Instead

West Virginia Legislative Session-2021 Priorities

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Isaiah 18

For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone
    and the flower becomes a ripening grape,
he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives,
    and cut down and take away the spreading branches.
They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey
    and to the wild animals;
the birds will feed on them all summer,
    the wild animals all winter.

Ezekiel 46

12 “‘When the prince provides a freewill offering to the Lord—whether a burnt offering or fellowship offerings—the gate facing east is to be opened for him. He shall offer his burnt offering or his fellowship offerings as he does on the Sabbath day. Then he shall go out, and after he has gone out, the gate will be shut.

The Purpose of Religion

2. Religions Cultivate Good Character

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
    James 1.27

Whoever surrenders his purpose to God while doing good, his reward is with his Lord; and there shall be no fear come upon them, neither shall they grieve.
    Qur’an 2.112

    For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
    Titus 2.11-14

Make your mosque of compassion, your prayermat of sincerity;
your Qur’an of honest and legitimate earning.
Be modesty your circumcision, noble conduct your Ramadan fast—
thus shall you be a true Muslim.
Make good deeds your Kaaba; truth your preceptor;
good action your Kalima and namaz.
Make your rosary of what pleases God:
Thus will you be honored at the last reckoning.
    Adi Granth, Var Majh, M.1, p. 140 (Sikhism)

What is to be avoided most in our life is vacillation and frivolity; what is most excellent is a reverential heart. Therefore, we Confucians endeavor to preserve sincerity of heart and consider reverence as most essential. It is needless to say that sincerity and reverence make us companions of heaven and earth, gods and spirits. There is, however, another class of people who adopt Buddhism as their guidance. They bow before the Buddha and recite his sutras, always bent on preserving reverence and awe. They will never relax the vigilant guard over the heart, which will by degrees become pure and bright, free from evil thoughts and ready to do good. This enlightenment is called their most happy land. What is necessary, then, for Buddhists as well as Confucians is to avoid vacillation and frivolity, which will render you unreliable. Keep the heart always restrained by reverence and awe. Otherwise what can be the use of the recitation of sutras or the discourses of Confucius?
    Tract of the Quiet Way (Taoism)

Seek Refuge with the Lord Alone

No Income Tax Reform; Focus on Constitutional Rights Instead

West Virginia Legislative Session-2021 Priorities

Vaccine Choice Bills in the WV Legislature-2021

Urban Life Training Newsletter-March 18, 2021

I will be suspending (closing) my Facebook account after March 31st, due to the censorship imposed by Facebook, and my desire not to support the platform by my presence there. If you would like to stay in touch with me and Stacey on social media, I invite you to join the independent social media platform Friendica, which we run on our own server: https://friendica.visionroot.org/register. Here is one of our public pages, fyi: https://friendica.visionroot.org/profile/visionroot.

Numbers 20

27 Moses did as the Lord commanded: They went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community. 28 Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain, 29 and when the whole community learned that Aaron had died, all the Israelites mourned for him thirty days.

Isaiah 66

21 And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites,” says the Lord.

22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure. 23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord. 24 “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

Chapter 8

Religion

The Purpose of Religion

All religions share certain purposes in common, though with different emphases. For Western religions, the primary purpose of religion is salvation. The etymology of the word “religion” derives from a Latin word meaning “to re-bind” with God. Human beings are fallen and broken, and therefore God has established religion as a means of repairing our brokenness, restoring us to our original goodness, and re-connecting us with God. In contrast, the eastern understanding of religion is contained in its Chinese characters, which mean “foundational teaching.” this describes the purpose of religion as the basic teaching for cultivating a good and virtuous character. Father Moon recognizes both meanings, inasmuch as fallen human beings cannot finally cultivate virtuous character without resolving sin and rebinding with God. He distinguishes two valid aspects of religion: first, providential religions (Judaism and Christianity) whose purpose is to welcome the Messiah who comes to solve original sin and restore full communion with God, and second, religions the world over whose purpose is mainly to train people in virtue. The Kingdom of God is built on both of these foundations. Religion also has a social purpose: to cultivate community. Religion teaches the ways of love and reconciliation that enable people to live in peace and harmony. By extension, the ultimate purpose of religion is to establish world peace. That is, because God is the creator and Father of all humankind, religions that take us close to God enable us to feel part of the universal brotherhood and sisterhood that flows from his parental love

1. Religions Provide the Way of Salvation

Men, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
    Acts 16.30-31

Seek refuge with the Lord alone,
with your whole being, Bharata.
By His grace, you will reach
supreme peace, an everlasting estate.
    Bhagavad-Gita 18.62 (Hinduism)

Surely the [true] religion with God is Islam [the Surrender]. Those who formerly received the Scriptures… if they argue with you, [O Muhammad], say, “I have surrendered my pur-pose to God, and so have those who follow me.” And say to those who have received the Scriptures and those who have not read [them], “Have you also surrendered?” If they surrender, then truly they are rightly guided.
    Qur’an 3.19-20

To many a refuge fear-stricken men betake themselves—to hills, woods, groves, trees, and shrines. Nay, no such refuge is safe, no such ref-uge is supreme. Not by resorting to such a refuge is one freed from ill.

He who has gone for refuge to the Buddha [the teacher], the Dhamma [the teaching], and the Sangha [the taught], sees with right knowledge the Four Noble Truths: Sorrow, the Cause of Sorrow, the Transcending of Sorrow and the Noble Eightfold Path which leads to the Cessation of Sorrow. This, indeed, is refuge secure. By seeking such refuge one is released from all sorrow.
    Dhammapada 188-192 (Buddhism)

Surely, the path that leads to worldly gain is one, and the path that leads to Nibbana is another; understanding this, the bhikkhu, the disciple of the Buddha, should not rejoice in wordly favors, but cultivate detachment.
    Dhammapada 75 (Buddhism)

Resurrection Is the Process of Being Restored


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Luke 3

Crowds of people came out to be baptized, but John said to them, “You bunch of snakes! Who warned you to run from the coming judgment? Do something to show that you really have given up your sins. Don’t start saying that you belong to Abraham’s family. God can turn these stones into children for Abraham.An ax is ready to cut the trees down at their roots. Any tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into a fire.”

Isaiah 47

47 City of Babylon,
You are delicate
    and untouched,
    but that will change.
Surrender your royal power
    and sit in the dirt.
Start grinding grain!
    Take off your veil.
Strip off your fancy clothes
    and cross over rivers.
You will suffer the shame
    of going naked,
because I will take revenge,
    and no one can escape.
I am the Lord All-Powerful,
the holy God of Israel.
    I am their Savior.

Rebirth

2. Rebirth Requires Cutting Off the Old Self

All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
    Romans 8.14-17
 
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and puts off the natural man and becomes a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becomes as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord sees fit to inflict upon him, even as a child submits to his father.
    Book of Mormon, Mosiah 3.19 (Latter-day Saints)
 
These same people, though wrapped in all these veils of limitation, and despite the restraint of such observances, as soon as they drank the immortal draught of faith, from the cup of certitude, at the hand of the Manifestation of the All-glorious, were so transformed that they would renounce for his sake their kindred, their substance, their lives, their beliefs, yea, all else save God! So over-powering was their yearning for God, so uplifting their transports of ecstatic delight, that the world and all that is therein faded before their eyes into nothingness. Have not this people exemplified the mysteries of rebirth?
    Book of Certitude 155 (Baha’i Faith)
 
Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon
 
 
We cannot be born again unless we deny our fallen selves. (244:100, January 31, 1993)
 
Christianity teaches that we cannot be saved unless we receive the Holy Spirit. We come before God when the Holy Spirit visits us and connects us with the Savior. The Holy Spirit comes to bring us to Heaven, to the God of goodness. But before we can receive it, first we must repent. (99:75, September 1, 1978)
 
Resurrection may be defined as the process of being restored from the death caused by the Fall to life, from the realm of Satan’s dominion to the realm of God’s direct dominion, through the providence of restoration. Accordingly, whenever we repent of our sins and rise to a higher state of goodness, we are resurrected to that degree.   (Exposition of the Divine Principle, Resurrection 1.3)
 
Father! Because we were born from evil,
we must be born again to goodness.
The destiny of having to be born twice is a very miserable one.
Isn’t living as a stepchild very regrettable even in the world?
Yet we are not even at the level of stepchildren;
having been born as children of the enemy we must find our Original Parents,
but the path is never a smooth one.
Therefore, we receive countless attacks from Satan’s spears, swords and arrows.
We must cut the ties that bind our bodies and go forth.
We must confront the people that bind us and cut their ties,
whether with our teeth or with our strength. (27:161, December 7, 1969)

Delusion Is a Sort of Demonic Force

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Contact your Senator and Representative

John 19

38 Joseph from Arimathea was one of Jesus’ disciples. He had kept it secret though, because he was afraid of the Jewish leaders. But now he asked Pilate to let him have Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission, and Joseph took it down from the cross.

Isaiah 51

13 I spread out the heavens
and laid foundations
    for the earth.
But you have forgotten me,
    your Lord and Creator.
All day long you were afraid
of those who were angry
    and hoped to abuse you.
Where are they now?

Richard: Speak the truth. Do not be afraid.

Selfish Desires and Fallen Nature

2. Degraded and Fallen Nature

Human nature is analogous to water: originally, it is pure. If we fill a clear vessel then the water will be clear, but if we fill a dirty vessel then the water will be sullied. Its original purity is always there, but once it becomes dirty or turbid it is very difficult to regain its purity.
    Chu Hsi (Confucianism)

God made man upright, but they have sought out many devices.
    Ecclesiastes 7.29

Delusion is a sort of demonic force. People’s original mind is pure but it becomes perverted due to delusion and other karmas.
    Kundakunda, Pancastikaya 38 (Jainism)

I enquired what iniquity was, and found it to be not a substance, but the perversion of the will, turned aside from Thee, O God, the Supreme, toward these lower things, and casting out its bowels and puffed up outwardly.
    Saint Augustine, Confessions 7.16 (Christianity)

Satan said, “I will take of Thy servants a portion marked off; I will mislead them, and I will create in them false desires; I will order them… to deface the fair nature created by God.” Whoever, forsaking God, takes Satan for a friend, has of a surety suffered a loss that is manifest. Satan makes them promises, and creates in them false desires; but Satan’s promises are nothing but deception.
    Qur’an 4.118-20

Your mind, having become diseased and bewildered because of the false sense-conceptions accumulated since beginningless time, has developed many desires, attachments and habits. From these there have arisen, incident to the ever-changing processes of life, arbitrary conceptions concerning self and no-self and as to what is true and what is not true. These arbitrary conceptions have not developed in a normal way from your pure Mind Essence, but in an abnormal way because of the prior false conceptions that had their origin in the sense organs, like the sight of blossoms in the air that come to diseased minds. They falsely appear to have had their origin in the enlightening and Essential Mind but, in truth, they have arisen because of diseased conditions.
    Surangama Sutra (Buddhism)

Slight is the difference between man and the brutes. The common man loses this distinguishing feature, while the gentleman retains it.
    Mencius IV.B.19 (Confucianism)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?
    Jeremiah 17.9

And recite to them the tiding of him to whom We gave Our signs, but he cast them off, and Satan followed after him, and he became one of the perverts. And had we willed, We would have raised him up, but he inclined towards the earth and followed his lust. So the likeness of him is as the likeness of a dog; if you attack it it lolls its tongue out, or if you leave it it lolls its tongue out. That is that people’s likeness who cried lies to Our signs…
    They have hearts, but understand not with them; they have eyes, but perceive not with them; they have ears, but they hear not with them. They are like cattle; nay, rather they are further astray. Those—they are the heedless.
    Qur’an 7.175-179

That man in whom there never kindles
One spark of the love of God,
Know, Nanak, that his earthly vesture
Is no better than that of a swine or dog!
    Adi Granth, Slok, M.9, p. 1428 (Sikhism)

Most men, and men of the most vulgar type, seem (not without some ground) to identify the good, or happiness, with pleasure; which is the reason why they love the life of enjoyment. For there are, we may say, three prominent types of life—that just mentioned, the political, and thirdly the contemplative life. Now the mass of mankind are evidently quite slavish in their tastes, preferring a life suitable to beasts.
    Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 1.5 (Hellenism)

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth,
for the Lord has spoken:
“Sons I have reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its owner,
and the ass its master’s crib;
but Israel does not know,
my people does not understand.”
Isaiah 1.2-3