Friday, October 2, 2009

He has been on the planet nine decades, and he is buoyant of spirit and sure of step.

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon was in Washington on Thursday to publicly introduce “As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen,” his much-anticipated autobiography that recounts the joys and challenges, the teachable moments and the monumental experiences of his life - much of it spent as a spiritual leader.

A 20-piece Lovin’ Life Ministries Band with a chorus of young people clad in svelte black raised the roof from a stage bedecked in flowers and bathed in ivory and peach-colored light.

“Louder and louder, and we’ll run for our lives,” they sang, to a jumbo-sized audience of people who were appreciative and dressed in their Sunday best.

There was some speechifying from Liberian Ambassador Milton Nathaniel Barnes and Washington’s the Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, plus written congratulatory greetings from Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent; former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, and former President George H.W. Bush - handwritten and hand-delivered by his son Neil Bush.

“Let us both keep working for a more peaceful world,” the former president wrote, the image of his letter flashed on screens looming over the crowd at the Sheraton National Hotel in Arlington.

“Rev. Moon is presenting a very simple concept. We are all children of God,” the younger Mr. Bush told the 1,300-plus audience spread across three ballrooms and plied with beef, baby vegetables and delicate chocolate pastries.

The event was indeed a shindig, but one tempered with quiet moments. Several people could be seen having quiet little prayers of their own as the evening unfolded.

Still, the evening was a distinct celebration of the 347-page book that recounts a spectrum of Rev. Moon’s experiences - from being waterboarded in a communist prison camp to his untrammeled admiration of America and environmental leanings.

Yes, his most pivotal spiritual moment - the catalyst of all that followed - is included in the account, and is only a few paragraphs spread across pages 49-50.

“Jesus appeared before me. He appeared in an instant, like a gust of wind,” Rev. Moon wrote.

He acknowledges himself as “controversial” in the straightforward account, which also includes a fair amount of Unification Church theology.

“For the sake of those who are curious, I have looked back on my life and recorded my candid recollection,” Rev. Moon advises readers in the foreword.

The speaker’s lineup at Thursday’s book release also included Washington Times President and Publisher Thomas P. McDevitt and Executive Editor John Solomon. The Rev. In Jin Moon, president of the Unification Church of America, and the Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, president of the World Unification Church, also spoke to the crowd.

As did their father.

“I offer an account of my life so far, a life devoted to serve and honor God,” Rev. Moon said, advising his audience to cultivate “lives that are as bright as the sun and clear as the waters of a mountain stream.”

The book itself was translated from Korean and published by The Washington Times Foundation. It was also published in Korea by Gimm-Young Publishers in March, described in some press accounts as “a best-seller.”

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