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Unification and Liberation

A note - Blogging isn't free. Right now I provide gifts to my writers as a way of thanking people for writing. I would like to be able to afford to give them some sort of renumeration, even if it is small, for making this blog what it is. I'm in talks with a friend who may be able to help connect this blog, which has been in existence for one year now, with more religious communities dedicated to interfaith dialogue. Your donation will do a lot toward making that happen.

For the last year or so, I've been exploring the spectrum of Christianity intensively. I had walked tepidly in to it before but Jennifer's death sort of accelerated things. She had handwritten a quote from Matthew 25 on a piece of paper that she was about to send to a family she had lived with and had left behind several Catholic books on ecology before she died. I wasn't thinking about providence a whole lot but I figured it meant something.

While in California, I got exposed to Unificationism. Unificationism is a movement created by Rev. Sun Yung Moon back in the 1950s. I've had regular talks with a friend who is very involved in it and did find many of its teachings and intentions interesting. Much of the material that is available is sparse and a lot of it was really old - stuff from the early 1990s, etc. One news story I saw wasn't flattering at all - it portrayed it as a cult that got total strangers from across the planet wedded to each other in mass ceremonies. I got pamphlets and some material from the actual church through my friend in which Unificationists portrayed themselves much more as an enterprise resembling a Christian United Nations, in which Christians from varying sects around the world find common ground.

My friend also demonstrated a whole bunch of resources on love and counseling,  In A People's History of Christianity, Diana Butler Bass articulated that Martin Luther thought that the Catholic church's memorandums on sex were contrary to common sense. My friend told me, in our many conversations, that the difference between unification and Catholicism is that unificationists view marriage as a pretext for building a covenant with God. It's much healthier than the attitude by which Catholics still wed themselves - in which sex is ever realistically something you can avoid or abstain from.

From the outset, the large marriages may look like cult behavior but most all religious ceremonies could appear cult like to some. Ceremony is a natural human custom and, when you look at it everywhere, the religious impulse is omnipotent in all human societies.

For me personally, liberation theology appeals to me and has since I both witnessed and experienced poverty as a young adult. Liberation theology is in the Catholic world but somewhat outside of it as well. Gustavo Gutierrez said in The Power of the Poor in History that he wondered sometimes if he should have articulated his theology outside of Catholic channels. All the LT stuff I've read veers from taking sex and family head on - one of the books Paul Farmer did with Gutierrez emphasized the need for more family planning (by which I read birth control) from Christian organizations but meanwhile Pope Francis, very clearly a proponent of liberation theology, has extolled "big families" on his visits to places like the Phillipines.

Many of the groups on Facebook that I've been involved with, like "Interfaith Liberation Theology," are trying to broach the world of liberation across varying religious channels. I have no doubt that a lot of the anti-communist talk in The Divine Principle might make liberationists uneasy, especially if they are arriving from a Latin American perspective, but when viewed in both a South Korean and Cold War context, it's more tolerable and even can be brought in to our world. Ultimately, liberating people from poverty is an act of unification and unification brings about liberation from previous division. We all want the same things in this life, whatever differences we think we have.

My friend has opened the door in to the world of unification for me. I took a year or so to really start writing about liberation theology until I felt I'd learned enough about it. I don't think I'll take as long here but I will take my time to make sure what I write is correct. Keep pace of my blog for updates.


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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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