Why I don’t understand Sudoku.

This last week has been a special week, a blessed week, but not without its challenges, and questions, lots of questions…. The best query I overheard was whether it was okay to wear a polka dot tie for the blessing ceremony. Of course at the same time many of our questions were of a profounder nature. I know that many of us have been praying and preparing to receive God’s grace and blessing again in our lives.

What I find myself needing now is time to fully reflect and develop my personal understanding and picture of  True Parents cosmic blessing on Oct.14th. If Father’s (Reverend Moon’s) goal of establishing a covenant for future generations (passing down a tradition that comes from God) is to be successful, understanding by those taking it up is vital.

Those that I spoke to who were longer in the tooth, generally older and wiser, often shared how they have always responded to Father with faith. Unconsciously they have probably also built up understanding through personal experience. In contrast, several of those who are just starting out, or developing their personal life of faith, seemed to have a much greater need for information, to be given a rational explanation. Both responses are valid.

sometimes I guess I should try harder

sometimes I guess I should try harder

Of course to understand something we have to want to understand, we do need to be positively inquisitive, to approach something from a variety of perspectives, not just our own. That is why for example I have never done a Sudoku puzzle. I look at that grid with the numbers, and the blank spaces, and….I don’t want to know. To this day I do not know how Sudoku works, because I have never asked, or tried to find out.

But for me when it comes to God, happiness, relationships, the purpose of my life….believe me, I want to understand! I want to know!

I hope we all, young and old alike, can develop a greater affinity to what Father desperately wants to set up before he departs this earthly world. One day we will also move on, but this world will remain and we will leave our descendants here to continue what we leave behind.

Maybe once we are as long in the tooth as Father is, we will also feel the same anxiety that he is feeling for his children.

So, more than any other week. God bless you.

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About simoncooper

working at 43LG church community in West London

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20 Responses to Why I don’t understand Sudoku.

  1. Profile photo of Jeff Bateman
    Jeff Bateman October 16, 2009 at 11:25 pm #

    Well it works like this – Each box has to have all numbes 1-9 then each line the same. Simple! Japanese for 9=Ku. I don’t know what the Sudo means though!

    So now you know about Sudoku, but don’t start because it’s addictive 😉

    Seriously though, I see it as the battle of Cain and Abel inside ourselves, not meaning good and evil but maybe two ways of thinking. The more intuitive or spiritual and the logical or rational. Both are parts of us and have to be acknowledged but we have to cultivate a heart that hears God – that Still Small Voice. Following that, being “obedient” to our conscience is always the path to go. Then we can also cultivate a deeper understanding with our rational/logical side.

    Very creative blog. Thanks Simon

  2. Profile photo of Peter Schroder
    peterschroder October 17, 2009 at 1:59 am #

    Thank you for your thoughts and emphasis, Simon. Liked to read it.

  3. anonymous October 17, 2009 at 11:32 pm #

    Thanks for this Simon. Only to add that wanting to ‘understand’ something is very different from wanting to ‘believe’ in it – and from my experience the latter tends to be the more common characteristic of faith/participation in our movement e.g, although I understand Sudoku, it still has no appeal to me whatsoever and I think thats a perfectly plausible outcome when considering events like 10.14 . There appears to be alot more encouraging people to believe going on then explaining things in order to aid understanding.

    AND, to Mr Bateman, I often think that UC members employ the argument of being emotionally or ‘heartistically’ sensitive as a simple scapegoat for things that have no logical or even spiritual grounding… but thats just my opinion – i suppose youd have to engage your heart to decide whether you believe it or not 😉 thats if u want to…

  4. Profile photo of Nigel Barrett
    Nigel Barrett October 18, 2009 at 12:52 pm #

    I think it depends very much on what you are having faith in and for how long and why you are having faith. For me faith is not to believe something without proof but to believe in someone who has given me reason to trust them. That in turn may lead to beliving something without proof for a while but eventually I want to understand. Father is not a leader that just wants people to follow mindlessly. “Many people do not think for themselves and are at the mercy of other people. Even though things are difficult, when you are crying out you have to be figuring out something else. The person who does not think is deprived of an opportunity” [Way of Tradition III p332]. Also many time he has said “there is no perfection in ignorance”. In the Aug 1st speech he speeks of a world governed by “conscience and natural reason”. I think there is often a laziness in spiritual and faithful people to think things through and understand them properly. I know I am guilty of it sometimes.

  5. anonymous October 18, 2009 at 10:38 pm #

    Well I don’t understand why somebody who calls himself a member “our movement” would want to leave an anonymous comment. So I thought I would try it out to see if I can learn something. Yes I seem to be getting a feeling of power as nobody knows who I am.

    I liked your comments Nigel and Jeff but I’m not sure I understand anonymous. I would add to Nigels comment that Fathers explinations give me both a pointer and an explanation of my own experience. I then try things out and see it it fits then faith is reinforced. But as Nigel is expressing there are still some things that have to be acted on, on faith and in faith.

  6. Jeff Bateman October 18, 2009 at 10:58 pm #

    I agree Nigel.
    Mr. Anonymous I have no idea what UC members might think. I know what I think but cannot and would not try to speak for others. My understanding is that we are all made unique. In relation to the Scapegoat – I think you are misusing the term and probably mean excuse. Following our conscience is not about being “emotionally or ‘heartistically’ sensitive” but it is about making hard choices and being honest with yourself. It is also about building a relationship with God.

  7. anonymous2 October 19, 2009 at 1:48 am #

    Well I’ll try this name and maybe it will not be deleted this time!

    I am just wondering if others are allowed to hide behind the name anonymous or is it held for a few that have special privileges?

    As I said previously it does give a false sense of power.

  8. anonymous (Ms.) October 19, 2009 at 4:54 am #

    I do apologise if I belittled your individuality Jeff, but my remarks were meant as a generalisation based on my experience exclusively…and I was characterising your perception of faith as a scapegoat/straw man which is an entirely appropriate use of that term, if not a little bit harsh.

    To be fair, I never actually referred to your view of ‘conscience’, as spurious and odd as it may be – I was actually mainly talking about the issue raised in this blog, which is the need to be positively inquisitive in your faith as Simon so eloquently put it, and as a brief side note, your statements about first listening to that ‘still small voice../’, ‘cultivating a heart that hears God’ -, my opinion is that those kind of remarks are mostly unhelpful – particularly in this context. if we cant even explain the above events thoroughly and convincingly to the second generation without constantly employing such casuistries as you have (and indeed this blog suggests we need to do), how on earth are we to convince people outside of our movement to engage in our projects?

    I hardly think that outside folk would be as convinced by the need to supplement UC explanations with ‘a still small voice’ or a broad encouragement for them to ‘want’ to understand first? The harsh reality is that most young people/people generally simply dont ‘want’ to understand – which is why we need to be able to convince them to – yes logically and rationally and without any presuppositions as to belief, .

  9. Simon Cooper October 19, 2009 at 6:42 am #

    Jeff, I like what is for me a very accurate description of the process of what we go through in order to follow our conscience. And I agree it is about hard choices in the end.

    And Mr A. I would agree with you that we do encourage each other to believe, and I think that this is often based on an assumption that we ‘understand’ or ‘accept’ who True Parents are. Where that assumption is correct, it is akin to when my eldest son tries to get his younger brothers to listen more carefully to his parents, and that is quite normal and helpful. However, I have spoken in the last couple of weeks to one or two people who are in their heart and mind not so sure about our founders’ role and are a bit overwhelmed and consequently sceptical of the term True Parents and Messiah. In those circumstances of course encouraging people to just believe is not so constructive.

    Nigel, really appreciate your habit of finding out what Father has actually said on specific topics, I think this is something we should develop more as a tradition. That is a great quote. Especially because people often assume that Father is very directive, his very sophisticated and sensitive nature is often over looked. Again, just as he is a deeply religious man he is also the most rational and logical in his thought.

  10. anonymous #2 October 19, 2009 at 8:22 am #

    Am I the only person that feels that to expect anyone under the age of 40, who has not really experienced anything other than their own small bubble which they have lived in, can really say they can say with conviction that they believe TP to be the messiah of humankind?

    Is it perhaps more likely that over the years of teaching, social pressure etc. that our ‘belief’ is not what the term belief really implies? I only say this because I would say I don’t ‘believe’ (for want of a better word) in much of what the chuch is but can’t help myself believing it. In fact it has been something I have tried to break away from in order to find out what I really believe. There is a part of me that will always believe no matter what my concious decisions on the matter are. And if someone posts back saying that it is my conscience trying to bring me back to god I will be a little insulted 🙂 This is my only issue with teaching children at such a young age about true love, living for the sake of others etc.
    Don’t want to bring any negativity, just some thoughts.

  11. Profile photo of simon
    Simon Cooper October 19, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    Incase anyone is confused. I think I have worked it out. The second anonymous comment is by ‘anonymous #2’ and the first anonymous comment is the same person as ‘ms. anonymous’ who I assume is female. Hope I got it right and hope that helps. – instead of using ‘anonymous’ a false name would be simpler:)

    That out of the way: Dear anonymous #2: I have just asked two of my work colleagues who are under 40 (one is 26 and one is 18), as I am too, and we all don’t quite get the direction of the first question about being in our own “small bubble”.

    Please could you say a bit more about what you mean? thanks.

  12. Profile photo of Matthew Huish
    Matthew Huish October 19, 2009 at 3:35 pm #

    “The ultimate purpose of religion can be attained only when one first believes it in one’s heart and then puts it into practice. However, without first understanding, beliefs do not take hold. For example, it is in order to understand the truth and thereby solidify our beliefs that we study holy scriptures. Likewise, it was to help the people understand that he was the Messiah, and thereby lead them to believe in him, that Jesus performed miracles. Understanding is the starting point for knowledge. Today, however, people will not accept what is not demonstrable by the logic of science. Accordingly, since religions are now unable to guide people even to the level of understanding, much less to belief, they are unable to fulfill their purpose. Even internal truth demands logical and convincing explanations. Indeed, throughout the long course of history, religions have been moving toward the point when their teachings could be elucidated scientifically.”

    This is one of my favourite paragraphs of the Exposition of the Divine Principle, taken from the General Introduction (http://www.unification.net/dp96/dp96-1-0.html#Introduction).

    I am quite a sceptical person, and I have found this aspect of my character to be enormously helpeful in carving my faith. I have battled with many ideas and concepts, arguing for and against, until I arrive at my own personal conclusions. The fact that the conclusions of my own internal debates generally agree with a principled view on things galvanises my faith.

    I don’t like teaching that Rev Moon is the Messiah. What is a messiah? It doesn’t mean much to young people today. My faith was tested to believe in Kevin Keegan being the messiah when he returned to manage Newcastle United last year, but look what happened to that! Since most 2nd generation Unificationists have little to no appreciation of who Jesus was as the person sent by God to fulfil the Messianic role 2000 years ago, I think many of us have struggled as we grew up to appreciate what it means to be the “returning Lord” / “lord of the second advent” / “second coming” etc.

    I think a clear explanation of the significance of “True Parents” would be helpful. I concede that this can be worked out from a study of the Divine Principle, but perhaps what is needed is a definition free from theological concepts and archaic language. Our community possesses incredible truth, immensely deep in meaning, that somehow needs to be translated into modern language so it is accessible. I don’t mean we need to dumb down our faith, we just need a step-by-step education process, starting with a general introduction into what our community’s beliefs and practices, followed by increasingly detailed explanations of various aspects of our faith and traditions. In that way, it doesn’t matter what understanding people start with, they can be communicated to at the level they’re at.

    A question for Anonymous #2 – what is it about the church that you don’t believe? I often cannot believe the stupid things that happen in the church, but that’s usually because of the stupidity of individuals, rather than True Parents. In my small bubble (having battled with my faith, having visited many countries in the world, having made friends with people of many religious traditions, having created a small family, having earned a degree from one of the best universities in the world, etc) I’ve experienced enough to convince me that God’s love is the most important thing in the cosmos, and I’ve committed my life to supporting True Parents in the campaign to help people experience that love.

    I enjoy Sudoku, although i’m not that good at it…

  13. anonymous #2 (bob) October 19, 2009 at 4:09 pm #

    sorry for the confusion, I was a new person in the discussion with my comment, I shall now be known as bob, makes it easier.

    Sorry for not being clear, by bubble I meant our very protected moony environment where many of our good friends are in the church and most of our social functions focus around church based activities. I feel sometimes we talk about such grand ideas like living for the sake of others etc, when our life experience is so small that really the words have little meaning. they kind of become jargon and cliches thrown about. This may be different for 1st gen who have had more life experience and have chosen this way of life but for 2nd gen, I often get the impression that our faith is hollow in some way. I don’t want to speak for all of 2nd gen but my experience went from very postive within the movement to not so in a short space of time making me question all the times i said with such conviction the pledge, prayers etc. and therefore question the faith of others. This is probably a wrong way of looking at others faith but i do so none the less.


  14. Jeff Bateman October 19, 2009 at 5:52 pm #

    Thanks to Ms. Anonymous for a further elucidation of your thinking. You raise quite a few good points that I would love to pick up in a separate blog if I may?

    To clarify though – I did NOT think you were belittling me. Rather I do my best to appreciate people as individuals and therefore discourage generalisations of what people think, Preferring to hear first hand experience.

    As to speaking to others (ie non UC people) about the meaning of the blessing; that is a different topic. I did visit a couple last week to explain the blessing and yes they did come along and it is my hope that they will come along to a 2 days w/s soon.

    Often the reality of trying to communicate is that we speak cross purposes (ie we have different trains of thought and the answers we here do not answer our own questions) and this may have happened here so let’s pick up the conversation later.

  15. Mr/Ms. A (fyi anonymous people are by nature gender neutral) October 19, 2009 at 7:21 pm #

    Unfortunately Jeff, I only subscribe to Simon’s blog 🙂 and thanks Mr Huish for your input, but things are always better kept pithy …

  16. Profile photo of Matthew Huish
    Matthew Huish October 19, 2009 at 8:39 pm #

    yeh, sorry about that – i guess i got carried away

    pithy – cool word. i had to look it up. thanks for teaching me a new word today!

  17. JB October 19, 2009 at 10:55 pm #

    How do you subscribe to a blog?

  18. Jeff Bateman October 20, 2009 at 8:13 pm #

    To further this discussion two questions:
    No your comments do not make sense to me Ms. Anonymous hermaphrodite. To develop a mind that listens to God’s voice is not a scapegoat for anything. 1 : a goat upon whose head are symbolically placed the sins of the people after which he is sent into the wilderness in the biblical ceremony for Yom Kippur
    2 a : one that bears the blame for others b : one that is the object of irrational hostility
    Which one would you choose of the above?
    Further more it is not running away from reason but a step to find deeper meaning in things.
    If one did not have a deep sense of what one and others were doing to be in line with the will of God why would one want to do them. I think this is fundamental to this discussion and to everything that we do.
    These things need to not only be understood form our faith perspective but also from a personal spiritual perspective (ie our own personal relationship with God – My still small voice). If not what other means of explanation would you suggest employing?

  19. Phil Moore October 20, 2009 at 10:23 pm #

    Honest, open and intellectual discussion. Fantastic.

    I would appreciate it if the anonymouses of the thread would reveal themselves so that we might know you, but in a community as well connected as ours, it would be veritable social suicide. I wonder if this thread does not bring up separate and more interesting questions. Why do we not feel comfortable to challenge our beliefs and the beliefs of others within our own community? Must we hide behind a non de plume in order to voice what we truly feel?

    This is not an attack on the decided anons of our community, more a detailed evaluation on the freedom of expression we allow ourselves and others to have in our “movement”.

  20. Profile photo of Matthew Huish
    Matthew Huish October 21, 2009 at 12:50 pm #

    i agree that within our community – especially those under 40 – there is a fear of speaking out what we really feel, perhaps for fear of a backlash or being ostracised. this is why i fully support Niall Robertson in his campaign for more transparent discussion, especially through the vehicle of the debate club on which he is working.

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