Lovin' Life Ministries


As I entered Manhattan Center’s Grand Ballroom for Sunday’s Lovin’ Life Ministries service, I was surprised to find myself surrounded by a multicultural group of teens. All ages were in attendance, but the Unification Church’s new ministry is focused on young people.  It was the first time I had attended a Unification Church service for eight years.

Two large screens were suspended on either side of the stage, blue and purple lights hit the backdrop and several cameramen roamed the stage.

At 10am, the Church band broke into a gospel/pop version of “If I Could Change the World.”  Then they played “Grace of the Holy Garden.” With a full rock band, it took a moment to recognize the Unification Church Holy Song.  I sang along, remembering the words by heart, even though the lyrics were projected karaoke-style on the screens. 

When the senior pastor, In Jin Moon, took the stage, the audience rose for a standing ovation.

“Wow,” she said.  “You really know how to blow away your senior pastor.”

In Jin Moon has an ageless beauty.  Her face glowed flawlessly above a polka dot shirt and black pants.  A diamond pendant hung huge and glistering around her neck.

She opened by talking about how “the next millennium will be a world of peace, love and harmony.”

“If James Holmes had a role model like True Parents,” she said, referring to the Colorado shooter, “he wouldn’t have done this.”

“Perhaps he felt he was slipping away into nonentity and wanted to go out with a bang bringing others with him,” said In Jin Moon. “How can we learn to have compassion for others even when we are in pain?”

In Jin Moon spoke about how her father and 13 other passengers survived a helicopter crash, about how children might be embarrassed of their parents, but if they look deeper their parents are heroes, about how addiction to pornography can destroy marriages and about how Church wives need to buy more lingerie.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“I thought my father was a fashion victim in a 70’s polyester shirt, but he is the Messiah.”

“I never heard Father say, ‘I’m going to be the Messiah tomorrow or next year.’ True Parents are the Messiah now.”

“If you are having sex with the internet, where’s the line between that and meeting a person on the internet?  Through ballroom dancing we are teaching you to look on each other with honor.”

“A Korean movie director saw Father’s helicopter surrounded by a rainbow, held up by a lotus flower and accompanied by 50 or 60 angels.”

Miracle pronounced the Korean way sounds like two words: Mira, which means look in Spanish and Cool.

So look. Life is cool.

In Jin Moon leaves the stage to applause.  The band plays Everlasting Love. 

Theology aside, I agreed with the message to,  “Act now,” and “Leave behind something beautiful.”

Music Is My Prayer

Photocredit Gian Andrea di Stefano. Left to Right: Mitsuru Kubo, Ben Lorentzen and Joe Young.

I first met Ben Lorentzen of Sonic Cult almost twenty years ago when we were both
working at Manhattan Center. I was a member of the Unification Church at the time
and Ben still is. When Ben and his brother, Stian came over from Norway playing soul-
transporting contemporary folk, I was sure they would soon be famous.

Last Thursday, I went to see Ben play with his new band, Sonic Cult at The Bitter End to
an audience of around forty people. Ben’s musical influences: Bob Dylan, Nick Cave, Chris
Cornell and Bon Iver are evident in Sonic Cult’s rock/pop style.

The members of Sonic Cult found each other at Lovin’ Life Ministries, which is led
by Reverend Moon’s daughter, In Jin Moon. Lovin’ Life is “a music ministry that
invites "outsiders" and "insiders" to come play every Sunday”

“I want the band to be proof,” said Ben, “that an atheist, a Christian, a Muslim and a
couple of Unificationists can in fact work together.”

“In Jin Moon inspires me,” said Ben. “The other day I wrote a song called Be My
Messiah about how we are each other’s saviors, how we are our own saviors. I like her
self empowerment approach as opposed to 'I am your Messiah, all power is invested in

Ben finds inspiration for songs in the mundane as well as the fantastic.

“I passed this church the other day,” he said, “and it said on a poster: I know how to
protest war, but how to make peace? That became a song. Or the other night I was
overhearing this conversation and one woman said to the man sitting next to her: We
went to the movies last night, but the movie ended up watching us, cause we fell asleep.
Or I was watching a movie and one of the one-liners was: Life’s great moments are
fleeting and few, but you won't get to the next one unless you keep moving.”

Ben started writing music at age 11.

“That discovery, that I could in fact CREATE something blew me to pieces,” he
said. “This experience was life changing for me. I felt connected to something
otherworldly, something bigger than me.”

“In Jin Moon says music is like a prayer,” said Ben. “It's filled with love, despair,
thoughts, feelings, longings, reaffirmings. I really like that.”