The Words of the McDevitt Family
Realizing America's Responsibility
Rev. Tom McDevitt
Unification Church Washington DC
May 23, 1999
I'd like to address the topic of realizing America's responsibility. Checking Webster's unabridged dictionary, about the term "to realize." It means, "to grasp or understand clearly." Another definition, "to make real, or to give reality to a hope, or to a fear or to a plan. To bring vividly to mind. To convert into cash or money. To realize securities, for example. To retain as a profit or income for oneself by trade, labor or investment. Or to convert property or goods into cash or money."
I chose that topic, to realize America's responsibility, in light of the fact that just in recent weeks we have understood that America, like Korea and Japan, has a new lease on life. Because of True Mother's tour around the nation of Korea, Japan, America, and now globally, it is our understanding that America has been forgiven of everything in the past, and that we stand in a position to accomplish or inherit or substantialize or realize the nation of the elder son. I'd like to explore the meaning of that today. How does it affect us? What does it mean for our personal lives, and what can we do corporately or together? What opportunities are out there ahead of us as the American nation of an elder son?
To begin with I'm going to touch on a couple of key principles from the Principle of Creation because I think they're really germane to the topic. They're universal. As the years go on and you get older and your kids grow, certain parts of the Principle start to take on very special meaning for each one of us. Don't you find that?
First of all, in the Principle of Creation we know and we've heard for years how important is the unity of our mind and our body. God created us in a most masterful way, that when the mind is united with God's words, and when the mind and the body are synergized and they're moving in the same direction, a different phenomenon occurs in human experience. We're not spaced out. We tend to live deliberately. We make a plan for a day and carry it out. Even if we only do a tenth or a hundredth of what we planned, when we achieve that unity of the mind and the body, something very special grows within us. I daresay it's the presence of God, who is attracted when we have that integrity between what we want to do and what we believe and how we behave.
That same principle of unity, as we've heard for so many years, applies to the essence of the relationship between a husband and a wife. And when we touch that place of unity between a husband and a wife, sometimes it's ever so seldom, sometimes more regularly, sometimes more commonly, sometimes it's deep, sometimes it's shallow, and for some maybe you're in waiting for that unity to occur. Or it occurred in the past and you want to reconsolidate it. The point is, it's a universal principle of harmony between a husband and a wife that allows human beings to experience God's presence in a way that one cannot without being united between husband and wife. It's just a fact of the universe.
And finally, the relationship of parents and children. When that bond between the parent and the child, the dad and the mom and the child, clicks, even though often it takes so much effort to communicate - as you grow older, I guess, you realize how little you know about life and how tough it is to be a parent. I have five very energetic boys, and sometimes they're moving like five wild stallions, and sometimes they're all moving in the same direction, pulling the cart in the same way. It's a challenge.
That's the first basic thought. I just want to refresh your memory of those universal principles.
Second is how joy is produced. When we, as a subject, give to an object and the object responds, joy is produced. When you have a plan and it's realized, joy is produced. And it's something that can really drive you, attract you to do your best in life, especially in whatever situation you find yourself professionally or at home, in your relationships. When you achieve that which you attempt to achieve, and when you put your heart and your soul and your sweat and your time, your intelligence, your best effort into what you're doing, and then you see the result, it may be as simple as mowing the lawn, writing a letter, making a phone call and connecting with somebody, or it may be something grand and noble like reaching out to other people and inviting them to participate in one of our many activities - whatever it is, there's nothing like the joy and fulfillment of doing your best, and knowing it's your best. It can keep you going through all kinds of obstacles. Don't you find that?
It's an important thing to remember. You can create your own dynamism and magnetic force to attract you to do your best by remembering that simple principle of the power of joy being produced when the ideal becomes reality. That's the kernel of the idea I want to share this morning.
When we understand the nature of the elder son nation and make it real, that is worth living for. Looking out into this congregation is hard to describe with words what all of you represent - your families, your history, your careers, your suffering, your victories. We are truly a unique community of faith.
Sometimes in recent years I used to feel a little embarrassed, frankly, other times a little distant. Sometimes I wondered, do I really, really fit into this place? And then I wake up and take a look at things from a different perspective than my own occasionally cynical perspective. I do suffer from that, as some do. And I realize that when it comes to things that really matter, above and beyond the organization and the attempts we make to do things and the bumbling around we've done for years - for some of us a quarter of a century - and yet when it comes to things that matter most, I am so proud to be part of this community.
I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I am so proud to mix with people like you and to know that some day my sons hopefully will be part of somebody's life either here or some place around. When you start to struggle with people nowadays, you might wonder if one of your kids will be matched to their kids! I'd better take care of these things now. Let's be friends. We may be seeing a lot of each other in the years to come.
I'm proud to be part of this community and I hope you are too because we have attempted to do that which is most noble, unthinkable by most people, and even if they do think about it, it just kind of strokes in and strokes right out again. We're the kind of people who made a quarter of a century of investment. All those days, all those hours, all that work, all that time, into an ideal. We're living for an ideal. God bless you. And it's important to recognize that, even though we've bumbled around and we have our roster of mistakes and failures, but it is real. We are still here.
Which brings me to the third simple refresher of the Principle of Creation. That is the notion of human responsibility, the power of taking responsibility for something, someone, some purpose, some vision. Of course, if you inform yourself with God's words, as we do through reading them every morning, ideally, through the Principle, through Father's words, we can be informed so that our vision is not just a secular vision. It's not just about what career track I want to go on, how much money I want to make. It's not just a vision that's born out of our own mind, but it's a vision that's informed and empowered with God's words. It's truly like nuclear. It's so powerful to have that kind of vision.
When we fulfill human responsibility, we're reminded that we then are on the way to co-creatorship. We can co-create ourself on the way to perfection. We become lords of creation. It's the process by which we participate in our own growth to perfection. Due to the fall we participate in our own restoration and recreation. It's up to us. It's not a small thing.
The key, of course, is to unite with God's words in our heart, and then guide our behavior through the unity of the mind and the body. You've heard that many, many times. From the child's position, ownership or lordship takes place when we assume responsibility and then hold ourself accountable for the results, in line with God's will. We become empowered. A lot of discussion in recent months and years about how can the American movement become empowered, how can we take ownership of the providence. I mean, we've been here for a quarter of a century. We've gone through hell and back and we're still here. We've learned a lot. Our people have grown in ways that we never expected.
How do we take ownership? How do we become empowered? The thought I'd like to leave you with this morning is that it doesn't come because somebody grants it, because we simply ask to be granted that privilege or that position. I truly believe it happens when you take initiative, seize responsibility, and grow in a mature sense to think, yes, this is my job, this is my responsibility. I don't depend on my boss, my central figure, or anybody, even God. God showed me what to do and I have to go through the life changes to do it.
When we point ourselves in that direction, the dynamic changes. It may take time. Here may be some tension. But I think true ownership really becomes the core of it. It's not written in some new book, but it comes right out of the Principle of Creation. Adam and Eve would have become the owners of the universe, the lords of creation, had they done - what? Fulfilled their responsibility. It starts, though, not just by following orders but by embracing that vision of responsibility in our hearts.
So we become empowered as we win the trust of the parents, of our parents, of God. As we win God's trust naturally, we grow because we're naturally creating a perfected self. In a sense it's not really something that God bequeaths upon us. We gain it. We grow it. We create it.
In that sense, what is the elder son or the elder daughter of a family? A responsible, mature elder son or daughter. How does such a person look to the outside world? You've all seen the movies and examples in literature of a family in which the elder son emerges as the one who takes the mantle of the parents, inherits the farm or goes off to war or whatever. How does the elder son relate to brothers and sisters? He naturally leads them in the right direction.
With a pack of five boys, I know if the oldest guy is moving in the right direction, it's so much easier. And if the oldest one is moving in the wrong direction - I don't even want to talk about it. Same with the oldest daughter, I'm sure.
The older son or older daughter is the one who leads the children to the parents. That can be applied in your family, and it can also be looked at in terms of nations. America is in a position now to truly be the older son of the world, to lead the world by serving the world, connecting them with the father and the mother nation, the culture from which True Parents have come. That's really profound. It's the basis of an immense level of pride, deep internal pride.
What is America? Who am I as an American? Parents have said now that we are in that role. Not waiting to be in that role. We are in that role. We're not a failure waiting to be changed. We've been given that position because of the work of Parents, especially True Mother's tour, and many other conditions that are unseen that I don't even begin to understand. But something strikes my soul these days when I think about America as the elder son. The elder son or daughter has to be united with the mother, which is what happened in Mother's tour, as the mother is united with the father.
So with those ideas in mind, let's take a quick look at the current environment we're in. How much does America need us, or need a movement like us? Both in the cultural realm in this country and in our relationship to foreign countries, there's certainly been plenty of attention placed on what happened out in Littleton, Colorado. How did you feel when you heard that unbelievable tragedy? The two boys that were way off on the dark side of the force, way, way out there, shot up the kids, teachers. It shook me to the bone. I was amazed at my response. It wasn't just a news story. It really hit home.
But then only a week or two later in Michigan a couple of guys were found, a little group that wanted to challenge what happened in Littleton. And then down in Atlanta just the other day a handful of kids got shot up by a boy who was heartbroken by a girlfriend who had dropped him.
I heard on the radio a couple of days ago that over 500 schools have been closed since Littleton because of threats of violence - bomb threats, gun threats, etc. Parents are stirred up, aren't they? People are concerned because of the nihilism and godlessness of the currents that young people have to swim in today, the loss of hope. It's enough to really make you think, what in the world is going on?
We know deep in our original mind that we have some answers, but we also know that our substantial movement is not quite where it needs to be yet to provide those answers on the platform or stage that they can be well received. There's work to be done in that area.
The last year of Clinton and his scandals, morally, sexually have created an environment in the country that's as though things have been polluted. They need to be cleansed, spiritually, morally cleansed. The foreign policy situation of our country in Kosovo, the NATO situation, the breakdown in our relations with Russia and China, the intelligence secrets that have been frittered away are all creating a very unstable environment outside our country and morally and culturally inside.
I'd say there's never been a time when we needed more a new and reliable, God-centered type of leadership in America. It's never been so prominent in a way. In one sense we could say the situation has never been as prepared as it is now for what we have to offer.
Internally where do we stand? Based on Mother's speaking tour, America, Korea and Japan have been given a new beginning. The world has been given a new beginning. It's important to stay tuned as Mother finishes the last few days of that tour. If for whatever reason you haven't been engaged in praying, and focused, at least we've got a few extra days in this final week, as she ends in Beijing. It's incredible what she's done. Don't miss the opportunity of these final few days to reconnect, if you haven't been. And if you are really involved, give it more heart, more prayer, more attention so that when she comes back, wherever the final celebration occurs, you won't feel disengaged. It won't be something that you observe or hear from somebody else, but you and your family will share in the heart and glory of that victory. It affects our country and our legacy.
I had a chance to go to Arizona to the annual ACC regional leaders planning meeting. It was one of the most profound experiences to get a perspective on how the country is doing from brothers and sisters around the country that are deeply engaged on the front line. The conference was entitled, "Renewing America and our families." I was asked to give a talk about the Washington Times and the National Weekly edition.
A very special part of it was hearing Mike Jenkins, who traveled around the country with Mother for 24 cities. He challenged us really deeply, numerous experiences with Father and Mother at East Garden, as an American who traveled with Mother, along with Dr. Hendricks.
There was a spirit of repentance there. Mike Smith pulled us together. We met in Sedona, Arizona, a very moving place. Spiritual groups go out there. There are vortexes out there where people connect spiritually. The first order of business we dealt with was to take stock of the fact that on May 1st Father called people to East Garden and so few went. I made a mistake by not going. I was at an important business thing, but now I look back and say, it pales in comparison to what happened. But we heard from Mike and other people how Father wanted to give new direction, new vision, new advice, new power to the world through the leaders, and a lot of us weren't there. I feel bad about that. I don't want to make that mistake ever again, to feel disconnected from Father. For whatever reason.
So we started our business in repentance, for the sake of the country. Mike led us up this mountain to a vortex, and we stood in a circle and prayed and prayed and cried. We heard yesterday when Mr. Joo shared with us about the anniversary of the cosmic liberation that occurred May 15th in Brazil. Father reminded everyone that it was a year before that they had the liberation ceremony. Our prayer was at exactly the same time as Father's ceremony in Brazil. At least we're in sync a little bit.
But hearing the reports of various experiences, the true brotherly love at that place. We invited Mr. and Mrs. Kobayashi, who head up Kodan, to talk about the role of elder sonship. We don't know how to do it but we know it in our heart that America's got to be responsible to fuel the world with resources. This is the most prosperous country. How do we do it? We're not quite sure. Lots of us are starting to meet people with a lot of resources. We're getting pretty good at connecting people to our movement.
Now the question is, how do we connect people to our movement so that that great Judeo-Christian tradition of philanthropy, unequaled by any country in the world, can move those resources toward God's providence. I know it can be done, I believe it can be done. I'm not quite sure how, but as Matthew's gospel says, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened. We've got to be asking the right questions.
Mr. and Mrs. Kobayashi shared their heart representing Japan and the Kodan and their sense of responsibility to fuel the world with resources. We've got to assume that mantle. We've got the expertise, I believe. We've just got to come together and make it happen.
Mike led us through discussions of the American Leadership Conference plan, Parents Day, the USA program, the abstinence efforts going on, efforts to curtail youth violence, to uphold marriage and fatherhood, to support faith-based initiatives, and a lot of other things. Great projects that the ACC people around the country are working on. They're projects, resources, vehicles that are very well-tuned, so much so that in some cases they've led to state legislatures giving their stamp of approval, supporting things. Some of it's gone into legislation. It's amazing to see what's happened through visions that were born out of the same place we come from.
What really opened my eyes was to see the tremendous array of projects and vehicles that we can use to accomplish our big mission. I came away from that experience feeling as though there is real hope for America, on a tangible brother to sister level. We can do it.
We've gone through the experience of re-charging the past with ancestor liberation. I had a great experience personally. I hope you have. I've been going more often to Holy Ground. There's nothing like the spring and summer evenings in Washington. You've all been there. You know that place. It did something to my heart. I just want to encourage you.
My ancestors happen to be Irish, and my mom is getting into genealogy. My brother Mike has about 300 relatives plugged into the family tree he's writing down.
The point I'm making here about our situation, externally and internally we have never been in a better position as a religious movement, as a family movement, as a set of professional enterprises. The situation has never been better prepared than today. Never in the 26 years of my experience. We are poised for a major leap forward.
I was excited to hear from Frank Grow after his recent trip to South America with the Tiempos del Mundo people. The leaders were called by Father, and he shared with them that because of all the persecution that he had received from the media, Father is entitled, in a way, and he feels absolutely confident that it's through the media and communications industry that absolute wealth and prosperity will grow. It gave me hope. I think it gave the Washington Times hope about achieving profitability in our media companies.
Let me conclude with a couple of thoughts about lifestyle and what we should do. Lifestyle of an elder son or daughter. Circumstances outside and inside have never been better prepared. Then how shall we live? Without going into much detail I want to leave you with a key concept, and that is to live deliberately. Time is flowing. The only way you get traction is to start the day with a deliberate focus. It's the basics. Pray, plan, evaluate your day. It's basic advice, but it's the fundamentals that make champions. Practice the fundamentals perfectly and you're a champion. Disregard them, you're average or below average. In any sport, any profession, in academics, in any place you go, the fundamentals are the basis of building championship teams.
For us as human beings, fundamentals begin with how does this day get lived by me and my spouse and my team, my people, or whoever. Pray, plan and evaluate.
The simple idea I want to leave you with today is, let's live deliberately, every single day. There are only so many days left before February 13th. There's an incredible vision of 400 million young people out there. And that leads me to the final point, what then shall we do as a group? Let's live deliberately, centered on God, practice the traditions, pray, plan, evaluate, every day. Even when you're off, when you're home or you don't have a schedule. Get into the habit of reflecting on whether or not you're moving in the right direction.
The final point I want to make is, what shall we do as a body of faith, a community of faith? What are the big agenda items we need to deal with? We couldn't ask for a more powerful and relevant agenda than Father's agenda at leadership meetings.
First, moving our nation forward by growing our community. We discussed with Rev. Yang about having local services and central services, and a key point emerged which is above and beyond practical dynamics. That is, what is Dr. Yang's vision for this community? He said he had a dream when he came to Washington.
Now I have had the privilege of serving under six different Korean directors since I came here in 1983. Rev. Song, Rev. Chung, Mrs. Eu, Rev. Ryu, Rev. Woo, and Rev. Lee. Of course now I work with Mr. Joo and Dr. Yang. I've been cooked by seven different chefs! Each one makes his own kimchee. And thank God we had that experience because each one of those people teaches a little bit more about True Parents' heart.
I'm quoting Dr. Yang. The other night he said, "I have a dream of building a congregation of 10,000 people." I remember all the previous elders who came, and they never had that kind of a dream. They each had their own ministry, but Dr. Yang came, prepared himself academically and professionally to head a congregation, to stimulate the growth of a church body of 10,000 people. That is a bold vision. There's no question.
How do we get there? It's good to rely on experience to form a plan, but what's non-negotiable from the standpoint of the Principle is the fact that the man sees a vision of 10,000 people. I want that vision for myself. I want my slice of that. I live in Virginia -that's 3,300 people there, or however you cut it. But the point is, are we really thinking in sync with where he's going? Hopefully today's a reminder to remember.
The point here is that what's important to move our nation in the right direction is to take our territory and grow it, our community and grow it. As Father has often taught us, the growth in a tree occurs with the leaves, at the root tips. Growth occurs because I overcome the barriers and hesitations to communicate with the hundreds of people I know, and bring them into my internal world rather than just keeping them at the professional level. It's real easy to talk to people about business or our projects, but to bring them into the internal environment is a challenge because you've got to make yourself vulnerable.
Or if I don't know so many people, how can I overcome that so I can have the confidence and the genuine, sincere excitement to talk to people about what we're doing? Because I think I've got something that will help you right where you're at.
I don't have all the answers to that, but all I want to say is, go back to Matthew, to "Ask and it will be given." We've got to be asking the right questions. We've got to be doing it together as a community.
First is to be moving the nation by serving our community and growing it. Second, same principle applies with building a new culture of family and youth with true love. It's not about just getting three spiritual children, although that's a measurable goal. It's not about 400 million young people, although that's measurable. But to really get us moving we've got to have a vision that we can believe in. To build a new family and youth culture based on true love.
Again, we don't have all the answers now, but I bet that you agree with me that in this community there is the creativity and the talent and the experience and the intelligence and the drive and capability to create the plans and the programs and the materials, the words, the scripts, the approaches, the programs to truly make a revolution. I do believe that is true.
Are we doing it? No. Are we capable? No question about it.
Finally, to serve the world with financial resources. Like I said before, we're not doing it. Are we capable of it? Without question. If you doubt that, pray about it, research it a little bit. One of the first things we need to do is take those projects that are not generating money and make them profitable.
And the final point, I want to challenge you to break through in your professional field, specifically targeted on your area of expertise. In whatever job you're doing, aim to do it better from today because the providence depends on it. Whether you're working on a program that's founded by True Parents, or you're working outside in your profession, become an expert. Become somebody that the world can take pride in and that our family can take pride in.
You're probably heard in the Washington Times about Bill Gertz, who wrote a book. He was on the Tony Snow program and Crossfire, and Chris Matthews, and Rush Limbaugh talked about him. Bill's book climbed from 40 to 4, then 2, then 1 on amazon.com. I heard yesterday he was #17 on the New York Times best seller list. He's our brother.
I want to remind you what happened two years ago. The magazine Weekly Standard, published by Rupert Murdoch, edited by Bill Kristol, a very influential conservative publication. They did a full-page story on Bill Gertz, an exciting story for me because the first paragraph called him a fascinating phenomenon because of the stories he broke. It said that he was one of the early guys at the Washington Times, he is a member of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, he never graduated from college, and he is "now known as the most significant national security reporter in America."
Furthermore, when Bill wrote the book I saw an early copy. He's bold. He dedicated the book to "the founders of the Washington Times, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, without which I would never have written this."
I was with Bill and some other people in Kodiak, Alaska last August. We had a chance to fish and study with Father and Mother for a week. After the fourth day of doing hoon dok hae for an hour every morning, reading Dr. Lee's book, going out fishing where the salmon are leaping out of the river, bald eagles are flying over. The first few fish we cooked and it was unbelievable.
But the first morning we sat at breakfast and I was reading Hoon Dok Hae. Father would jump in every couple of paragraphs with commentary. A few senior people from our company, especially the newsroom side, were really getting it. One particular person, I'll call him Leo, a senior person, in a leadership role, he's sitting next to Father and Mother. Father starts on a turbulent inspiration, talking about his world vision, the UN, and asking us to return together to Washington to create a new revolution, talked about the power of the media culturally.
He made a bold statement to these leaders, saying that only the ideals revealed by God through Rev. Moon can solve these issues. Then he asked the person I'm calling Leo, "Will you follow me?" And God bless this guy, he said, "Yes, I will follow you." True Parents shook his and everyone clasped hands, and it was a glorious moment, especially if you know the trials and struggles of moving a newspaper and the different media companies we have, the blood-soaked resources that make those things happen. He said, "Yes, I will follow you." Father said, "united together, we can do anything."
In the Washington Times weekly edition, we have 15 or 20 articles a month, sending them to pastors so they can use them in their sermons. And also providing an opportunity for churches and nonprofit groups to raise money by selling subscriptions. You can participate if you're interested.
We've got a guy on board now who's going to be going to the military bases, a former colonel and PR director for the US Marine Corps. And also an opportunity for direct outreach in your neighborhoods, with commissions and all of that. In weeks to come I'd like to invite anybody and everybody who wants to participate. If we can continue to grow the Times through a grassroots, person-to-person relationship marketing effort, we can turn history around in a very real way.
I want to finish with an experience I had out in Sedona. We were in a motel where a high school group had a prom across the hall. They seemed to be good kids, and a lot of adults around. No drinking. Towards the end of our conference the lady in charge of the prom talked to one of our people. The group was from a charter school, and she said to me, "I'm so happy to meet you because I think the Washington Times is a godsend. It's the most important paper. I want to find out how we can get that paper to our school so our students can use it." They wanted to use the Times in their history and social studies classes.
It turned out that this woman is president of the Charter School Association, not just with one school of about 100 kids, but 285 schools in the state of Arizona, with over 30,000 students. We talked about two hours with her about several programs. Furthermore, they could use the Times as a fundraiser. I also showed her a copy of The World & I and she was very excited. That's just one association of charter schools among many associations of home schools and private schools who are linked with us culturally and spiritually.
I leave you with this as an example of the kind of preparation that God has done in your neighborhood, where you live. God has prepared wealth and prosperity and people that we are privileged to harness and harvest and bring together. If we ask the right questions, we'll get the right answers.
If we take action after hearing the word, there is no question we will be successful as the victorious elder son nation in a few years. We can do it. We must do it. It's our destiny, and thank God that we are still all together. It only takes a small band of rebels to cause a revolution.
Let's unite with Dr. Yang's vision, let's unite with Mr. Joo's vision of growing the Washington Times and making it profitable. Let's overcome all the past, put aside the differences and the barriers and the obstacles to working together, and let's make every day count.
God bless you.
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