Author Archive

This I Believe : Ester Allen

I believe that God gave us passions so that we could love others.Growing up I felt very self conscious I felt like the one kid without natural talents, I danced like the whitest girl around. Singing would result in confused and pained faces from family and friends Art was not my thing and even drawing a stick figure posed a challenge. Sometimes finding those things is not so easy and our passions are not so clear, but when I finally looked for my passions by looking at my priorities. I found that while I can’t share love by singing a song, writing a rap or amazing you with my ballroom dancing skills, I can share my unique love by doing things that I love most. And lucky for you I love to cook, I love to do yoga and best of all I love to be here, I love the challenge of trying  to be someone for my brothers and sisters, i love pushing myself to try to say something somewhat meaningful, I love giggling with the girls and beating up the boys. This is my passion and I believe God gave it to me so I could share my love with you. Continue Reading

This I Believe : Raphael Fish

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year I believe in Santa Claus – the joy he brings to people throughout the world during that most wonderful time of the year; his bright-red suit and glowing frost-nipped cheeks exuding a jolly cheer. He is a man of universal appeal, spreading holiday spirit to people beyond boundaries of nationality, age, social class, and even religion. More than any of that, however, I believe in the benevolence behind Santa’s approach to giving. Growing up, I had everything I could ever need as a child – loving parents, a roof over my head, food on the table. My family was never well-off financially, but we managed. As a family of seven we lived in a cramped two bedroom apartment, all five kids sharing one of those two rooms. Every year, Christmas would present a challenge to my parents. With five kids and meager paychecks, their gift budget had limitations. For us kids, Christmas would come in eager anticipation then would often pass with disappointment upon our realization that Santa had given our friends bigger, better, more extravagant gifts that he had given to us. One Christmas early in my childhood stands out in particular.  Throughout the year, I had begun to develop basic writing skills. As the day approached I felt ready, for the first time in my life, to write my own letter to Santa instead of having to dictate one to my parents. Feeling the power of freedom, unabated by the usual considerations suggested by my parents – ‘be nice to Santa, he has millions of other kids to bring gifts to. Don’t ask him for too much’ – I loaded my wish list with all the things they had never let me include: the latest video game console, a dog, my own computer, a lifetime supply of chocolate chip cookies… This Christmas was going to be the best ever. Bright and early on Christmas morning I raced to the tree eager to see what had been left behind the night before. With high expectations, I found just a single small gift in my name. Upon opening the present, my dreams were crushed. Inside was a simple sweater and nothing more. For the next few months I refused to wear the sweater out of my childish disappointment. Despite my lack of gratitude, Santa returned the next year with presents under the tree, and the next year, and the next… And eventually it hit – I do nothing towards Santa to deserve the gifts he brings, yet he returns every year in the spirit of giving, simply to spread joy. This I believe – the true magic behind Santa is not the joy he brings just one day each year, but instead is something that I myself can strive to embody each and every day. I believe in giving without expecting anything in return and in acknowledging the gifts I do receive, the big and the small, showing gratitude for the love and care others are willing to share. Continue Reading , This I Believe

report from Hanguk land!

CARPies around the World

This year, Korea hosted the first World CARP Assembly in quite some time, and I think the thing that participants appreciated most about it, was the chance to get to know our international community. Many of us were meeting each other for the first time, but it didn’t feel like we were strangers. Many of us did not speak the same language, but we were able to communicate with each other. Bonds were formed, and a concern for the other developed. I met one member of J CARP (CARP in Japan), Hanayo Ita. She is studying art at Chiba University, a college in Japan, which is one of many openly discriminating against the Unification church and CARP. At this particular school, Dr. Momoko Miyano prevents students from joining CARP, which is a violation of students’ right to freedom of thought and consciousness. Furthermore, this particular professor criticizes the Unification Church in her class and assigns papers to her students on the Unification Church for the purpose of perpetuating a negative attitude towards us.
How would I feel as a student at Chiba University? Indignant. How would you feel as a student at Chiba University? It is not right to be discriminated against at all, let alone before you even set foot on your college campus, simply because you are a Unificationist.
I am grateful that this World CARP Assembly gave us an opportunity to put a personal face on this issue in Japan and meet members who are trying to succeed under blatantly discriminatory conditions. Fortunately, our international network gives us an edge in dealing with the issue. I see the importance of supporting each other across national boundaries, because we are all Unificationists. If we don’t do something about it, who will? So what can we do about it?
One way we can help out from the states is by addressing negative/false information printed about the Unification Church in textbooks which are currently being used in World Religions, Psych, and sociology classes around America. If you have come across one such textbook during your college tenure, let us know, so we can deal with it together! One student who succeeded in removing false and discriminatory information from her World Religions textbook at Marist College is Sammi Vanderstock—who also happens to be a member of our 4.0 club and recipient of a Winter Ball Academic Excellence Scholarship ;).
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