October 6 - October 12, 2008 
 Weekly News In Review
 Vol 3, Issue 28
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The Weekly News In Review newsletter is a service provided by Understand The Times that is a compilation of the news articles posted on our site during the previous week.


 September 30 - A Message for Rosh Hashanah
 Article: One World Religion

Comment from UTT:

The following comments by Tony Blair fit with his agenda for the
establishment of a global spirituality by inviting the religions of the
world to participate.
I send my best wishes to the Jewish people on the occasion of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah.

Rosh Hashanah in many ways exemplifies the inevitable complexity of life, which as humans we try to ignore or over-simplify at our peril. Its hoped-for sweetness mingles with humility and repentance. It acknowledges that a new start necessarily involves not only hope but also self- examination. This celebration of a New Year with its sense of anticipation also initiates the ten High Holy Days with their rigorous demands and penitential reflection. This is, in fact, a model of how communities may seek to renew themselves, of how they may draw on their ancient wisdom so that they may better face the new challenges of the future.

This 'birthday of the world' may also cause us all, whether Jewish or not, to reflect on our duty to care for the world, to nurture God's creation so that it leads to renewed life. At a time when the very nature of the world is threatened by environmental challenges of enormous magnitude, such a reminder is more than timely.

So may the sweetness of Rosh Hashanah sustain you, and may the self-examination of Rosh Hashanah strengthen you, throughout the coming year.

Tony Blair

Read More .... 

 September 29 - Announcing the Faiths Act Fellowship
 Article: One World Religion

Comment from UTT:

Tony Blair is now working together with youth leaders to establish his
plans to eliminate malaria by working together with people of faith -
any faith.
I believe that young people will lead the way in building inter-religious cooperation for the 21st century. That is why I am so pleased that on September 25, 2008 we have launched a partnership between the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and my organisation, Interfaith Youth Core, to engage exceptional young people whose leadership motivated by faith will result in real impact on the lives of others. As changemakers for current and future generations, young people have the opportunity to establish a new vision of inter- religious interaction that places protecting the welfare of the world's poorest at its centre.

The Faiths Act Fellowship brings together thirty young leaders drawn from the different faiths from the US, UK and Canada to embark on a 10 month journey of interfaith service. Training begins with a two-month intensive initiative that includes fieldwork with primary health care partners fighting deaths from malaria in Africa. Fellows will return to their home countries for 8 months to mobilize young people of faith to raise awareness and resources to promote the Millennium Development Goals. They will particularly focus on fighting deaths from malaria.

Jess Kent is an example of one such young person. Inspired by the Jewish notion of tikkun olam, or repairing the world, Jess has been mobilizing student religious groups at Brandeis University to work together to make progress on the Millennium Development Goals. Partnering with nonreligious students, humanists, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Muslims, Baha'is, Buddhists and Christians on campus, Jess has mobilized support to sponsor a Millennium Village and donate anti-malarial pills and bed nets with Brandeis University's Positive Foundations club. These students are now planning a trip to Rwanda so they can see first-hand the enormity of the challenges that they believe can be eradicated through sustained partnership across faith divides.

The Faiths Act Fellowship is an opportunity for young leaders like Jess from the UK, US and Canada to become ambassadors for interreligious cooperation in the fight against deaths due to malaria and progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. If this sounds like you or someone you know, I strongly encourage young people aged 18 - 25 in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada to apply to join the Fellowship.

Working together, across faiths and across borders, we can both prevent the unnecessary deaths of millions of people and build more peaceful communities around the world.

Assalaam alaikum, Eboo Patel
Founder and Executive Director
Interfaith Youth Core

Read More .... 

 October 1 - U.S.-Muslim engagement seen as key to security, prosperity
 Article: One World Religion

Comment from UTT:

Now the Southern Baptists are getting involved in bringing religions
together in order to come up with a peace plan. The following article
details proposals that were made at a recent meeting.
WASHINGTON (BP)--Deep misunderstandings between the United States and Muslim communities around the world are causing serious problems and solving them will require constructing "bridges of understanding," says the president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

"Polls show there is a huge lack of understanding of Americans in the Muslim world. We need to broaden and deepen the understanding on both sides," Richard Land said. "The U.S.- Muslim Engagement Project will galvanize every aspect of American society to engage the Muslim society."

The group, which had 11 Muslim- American members and was supported in its work by Search for Common Ground and the Consensus Building Institute, held a briefing Sept. 24 on its report -- entitled "Changing Course: A New Direction for U.S. Relations with the Muslim World" -- at the Rayburn House Office Building and a press conference at the National Press Club.

"This initiative is a serious, comprehensive, bipartisan effort that seeks to address a critical problem: The world Muslim community misunderstands Americans and Americans misunderstand them," Land said in a written endorsement. "This initiative lays out a detailed and comprehensive plan to vastly decrease that misunderstanding through a multi- faceted approach that will build constructive bridges of mutual understanding between Americans and Muslim world."

The group's plan calls for significant shifts in American foreign policy to create a safer U.S. and a better world and suggests a "new blueprint" on how to reconstruct America's relationship with Muslims around the world, said Stephen Heintz, president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Project leadership has called for the next president of the U.S. to recognize the importance of improving U.S.-Muslim relations in his inaugural speech.

The report suggests a "four pillar approach" for U.S.-Muslim engagement: 1) diplomacy as the "primary tool for resolving conflicts involving Muslim countries," 2) efforts "to improve governance and promote civic participation in Muslim countries, and advocate for principles rather than parties in their internal political contests," 3) an emphasis on "job-creating growth in Muslim countries," and 4) a focus on improving "respect and understanding between Americans and Muslims around the world."

"By changing our approach, we will also help reverse the widespread perception of Muslims around the world that the U.S. is engaged in a 'war on Islam,'" Land said.

Tom Dine, former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, said, "It is late in the day, but never too late,
for American policy makers to alter their mindset about Islam and the Muslim communities, and to try and act on the common ground that exists between the peoples and government of the United States and global Muslim societies."

Read More .... 

 October 2 - Real faith does not impose itself, Pope Benedict teaches
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

Comment from UTT:

The following article provides the pope's proclamation for "keeping the
flame of faith alive among the Christian people." Note the reference to
Marian devotion and the "rosary".
.- Bishops and other clergy from Kazakhstan and Central Asia, a region with few Catholics, met with Pope Benedict this morning at the Vatican. The Holy Father encouraged the prelates to "keep the flame of faith alive among the Christian people" and spoke about the dangers of religious fundamentalism.

Other ways to keep this flame alive are to "Continue to educate everyone in listening to the Word of God and arouse, especially in the young, Marian devotion and love for the Eucharist. Spread the practice of the Rosary among families. Patiently and courageously, seek new forms and methods of apostolate, making it your concern to modernize them in accordance with today's needs, bearing in mind the language and culture of the faithful entrusted to you care," the Pope said.

In contrast with religious fundamentalists, Benedict XVI underlined how "the Church does not impose but freely proposes the Catholic faith, well aware that conversion is the mysterious fruit of the action of the Holy Spirit. Faith is a gift and a work of God, and hence excludes any form of proselytism that forces, allures or entices people by trickery to embrace it."

Addressing religious freedom again, the Holy Father explained that, "A person may open to the faith after mature and responsible reflection, and must be able freely to realize that intimate aspiration. This benefits not only the individual, but all society, because the faithful observance of divine precepts helps to build a more just and united form of coexistence."

Read More .... 

 October 6 - Surf-loving priests lead interfaith worshipers in a 'blessing of the waves'
 Article: Ecumenical Movements - Misc.

Comment from UTT:

The following article gives a glimpse of the ecumenical church of the
future that worships the earth rather than the God who created the
For about 400 interfaith worshipers, the shoreline became a makeshift church as Catholics, Jews and Muslims gathered for an unusual "blessing of the waves." Although their faith traditions differ, those in attendance were bound by a reverence for the ocean and the peaceful place of prayer they find on its shores -- if not surfing its waves.

The service, sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, was directed by a pair of surf- loving priests. Fathers Christian Mondor and Matt Munoz chose the Sunday after the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi --
the patron saint of ecology, as well as for animals -- for the event as a reminder that the ocean and its ecosystem must be protected.
Rick Ischinger, a longtime surfer, blew on a conch shell, calling the gathering to order. Then, one by one, the representatives of different faiths stood to give a brief prayer.

"Some people pray by the oceans, others by the mountains," said Carol Weinfeld of Temple Beth David in Westminster. "Some people pray in forests and others by a calm cool lake. "We hope," she said, "that those voices will join together to thank God."

Fawad Yacoob of the Islamic Society of Orange County recited a verse from the Koran. The crowd was quiet as he sang the prayer.

When the prayers were finished, the Catholic priests took long stems of rosemary, dipped them in a large wooden bowl filled with holy water and sprinkled the crowd.

"Raise your hands over the water," Munoz told the crowd when they reached the beach. They lifted their hands, and he said a prayer. "May the gifts of creation not be something we feel entitled to ourselves as individuals," he said. "Let them be something we protect and cherish for everyone." Irma Fortin of Costa Mesa took the bowl of holy water and poured it into the ocean.

Read More .... 

 October 1 - Foreign economists urge 'global plan'
 Article: One World Government

Comment from UTT:

It is very apparent now that the United States financial meltdown is
part of the process for setting up a global system of finance that
Bible prophecy students have been looking for years.  This one world
currency will eventually be in the control of a one world government
and a one world leader.
Leaders and economists from Western Europe to East Asia Tuesday urged the United States to go beyond reviving a failed domestic bailout and start working on a new global financial system.
 "The Americans don't have a choice - they must absolutely have a global plan," Christian Noyer, head of the French central bank, said in Paris.

David Smick, a global strategist and author of "The World Is Curved: Hidden Dangers of the Global Economy," said the next U.S. president should immediately call for a second "Bretton Woods" conference to devise a new doctrine of international finance.

"I am convinced that the sickness runs deep and that we need to rethink the entire financial and monetary system, as we did in Bretton Woods ... to create the tools for worldwide regulation made necessary by the globalization of trade," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in the French city of Toulon on Monday.

He said that officials from France, Britain, Germany and Italy will meet next week in Paris with the Continent's top financial officials to prepare for a proposed global summit on the economic crisis. European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet will participate. The 27-nation European Union said Tuesday that the crisis "has become a global problem" and Washington has a "special responsibility" to resolve it.

"It is quite threatening what is going on," Hungarian Foreign Minister Kinga Goncz said Tuesday during a visit to Washington.

Read More .... 

 October 1 - After the Aloha Shirts
 Artricle: One World Religion

Comment from UTT:

Note that the "P" in P.E.A.C.E. Plan 1.0 stood for "planting churches". Now, in P.E.A.C.E. Plan 2.O, the "p" stands for Promoting Reconciliation. What does this mean? Rick Warren has said he is willing to work with people of all faiths as long as their motive is to do good.

The following words stated by Rick Warren in the article below make this clear. He said: "I am interested in interfaith projects. Let's do something together. You are probably not going to change your doctrinal distinctives, and I'm probably not going to change my doctrinal distinctives. We have different beliefs. But the fact is, we do serve the same Lord. Let's work on the things we can agree on."

Do all the religions of the world serve the "same Lord." If this is what Warren believes, it is not biblical. However, it is a bridge that is being built that leads to a one world spirituality. This of course is biblical. The Bible calls this one world religion, the harlot.

Get ready! It is not far away.

Does the civil forum fit into the PEACE Plan?

It fits into building bridges to the government. I have these three great objectives in my life. One of them is to restore responsibility to individuals. Everything is a gift from God, and what we do with it, we are responsible to God for-stewardship. The second one is to restore credibility to the church. One thing I wanted to do in this forum is say: The church is at the table, the church is intelligent, and the church believes in the common good, not just the Good News. That leads to the third goal, which is to restore civility to civilization. I've been influenced by William Wilberforce on the restoration of manners. You can actually learn more about the candidates through a civil discussion than you can through an antagonistic debate. I have a letter going out to all the pastors in our network saying, "Look, I did it at a national level, but you could do this at a community level."

Where did the PEACE Plan's emphasis on government, business, and church partnerships come from?

When I was at the Davos World Economic Forum for the first time, I kept hearing people talk about public and private partnership. What they meant was that government and business need to get together to work on poverty, disease, and illiteracy. I'm thinking, Wait a minute. You are close, but no cigar. You are missing the third leg of the stool-the church. You are missing the component that has the most distribution, that has the most volunteers, that already has the boots on the ground, that already has the motivation to do it for free.

The "p" in PEACE 2.0, "Promoting reconciliation," has replaced "Planting churches." Why did you make this change?

Everywhere I went there were broken relationships. Everywhere we went, we had to be bridge builders, moderators, and peacemakers. Get right with God and get right with each other.

When I looked at the PEACE Plan, church planting was the only [point] that had a prescribed method. We are still doing church planting, but now we put it under partnerships with the local church. We don't expect government and business, the other two legs of the stool, to do church planting. But there are biblical principles of reconciliation that apply to everybody. If you listen before you speak, you are going to have better relationships, whether you are a believer or not.

There are more than 1 billion Roman Catholics and Orthodox believers. Where do they fit in?

We need to mobilize a billion Catholics and Orthodox [believers]. I'm not really that interested in interfaith dialogue. I am interested in interfaith projects. Let's do something together. You are probably not going to change your doctrinal distinctives, and I'm probably not going to change my doctrinal distinctives. We have different beliefs. But the fact is, we do serve the same Lord. Let's work on the things we can agree on.

At Saddleback's PEACE summit in May, you spoke about what you call a "new wineskins" model for Christian leaders. What did you mean by that?

The essence of the new wineskins concept is that hierarchy is going to be replaced by network. The organization of the future of Christianity is the network. PEACE is a framework and a network for global missions. It's not my framework. All I am saying is: Let's do it the way Jesus did it. The lesson of Jesus is: I do it and you watch. Stage two is: You do it and I watch. Stage three is: I'm out of here and you're doing it on your own.

Every time the Word of God has been taken into a new technology, there is renewal, revival, or a reformation. Now we've got the Internet. I can talk to somebody in Sri Lanka as easily as I can talk to you. PEACE is also a network in which local churches can now work with each other instead of being in denominational silos. It allows collaboration in global missions that we could never have done before.

Read More .... 

 October 5 - Yoga at NY High School Causes Stress Among Critics
 Article: New Age

Comment from UTT:

While many who practice or promote yoga claim there is no connection to
eastern religion, the facts speak for themselves. The western world has
been influenced by evangelists from the Hindu and Buddhist faiths who
have now recruited teachers in the west to promote yoga as an exercise.
The whole idea behind this religious practice is to link oneself to the
the universal energy. While those who promote yoga may say this is not
the case, those who participate in this religious practice have opened
a door to the spiritual realm without knowing it.


Two high school teachers began using yoga last year to help students relieve stress before exams. Special education teacher Martha Duchscherer and Spanish teacher Kerry Perretta also were developing a districtwide program.

But those plans were halted after parents and others in the community complained students were being indoctrinated in Hindu rites. "We are not opposed to the benefits. We can understand the benefits. We are opposed to the philosophy behind it and that has its ties in Hinduism and the way they were presenting it," said the Rev. Colin Lucid of Calvary Baptist Church in Massena.

"If the school board felt there was any hidden religious activity behind the motives of our two instructors, we certainly wouldn't allow that," she said. "There is absolutely none of that. The teachers are well intended and trying to offer an aspect of fitness in the classroom that relaxes and readies the children for better learning."

A hundred schools in 26 states use yoga in the classroom to relieve stress, Reagan said. Federal funds and grants are available to educators seeking yoga certification, she said.

According to a statement on the Web site of the American Yoga Association, yoga is not a religion, although its practice has been adopted by Hinduism, as well as other world religions. There are more than 100 different schools of yoga, which seeks to bring harmony to the mind and body. The most commonly practiced type in the United States is hatha yoga, which encompasses physical movements and postures, plus breathing techniques.

"It's been a little discouraging that this program has taken on a negative tone," said Duchscherer, who has taught in the Massena district for 11 years. "The intention was never to teach religion. .. It was to introduce relaxation techniques."

Parents in Aspen, Colo., were successful in demanding the removal of yoga in the local curriculum in 2002. In Alabama, religious leaders pushed for a 1993 law prohibiting the teaching of yoga in schools, citing connections between yoga and Hindu religious training.

Read More .... 

 October 6 - NATO chief: I'm not positive Iran can be stopped
 Article: Wars And Rumors Of Wars

Comment from UTT:

The establishment of an Iranian nuclear bomb is now being accepted as a
reality by world leaders. This means that the threats being made by
Iran to wipe out Israel are also real. We are facing a showdown in the
middle-east that the Bible predicts will happen in the last days.


In what is seen as a rare statement of support for Israel, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Monday that there was no reason for Israel to surrender its alleged nuclear capabilities in the face of Iran's continued race towards nuclear power.

Speaking at a conference in France, Scheffer said he did not believe the international community would be able to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. "I am not positive about the world being able to stop Iran from fulfilling its ambitions," he was quoted as saying.

"It is a major challenge to prevent Iran from continuing to strive to get the bomb," Scheffer said, adding that his concern was "that the Security Council, as we speak, is rather incapable of coming to further conclusions on further sanctions."

As a result, Scheffer said there was no reason for Israel to give up its supposed nuclear capability. According to foreign media reports, Israel has an arsenal of several hundred nuclear bombs.

"As we all know, Israel never admits to what it has, but I do not see very many arguments for the Jewish state to abandon its potential," the NATO chief said. "What is as dangerous is the missile technology which [Iran] is also developing at a fast pace."

Government officials in Jerusalem, meanwhile, expressed concern that Scheffer's uncertainty that the international community will be able to stop Iran from fulfilling its nuclear ambitions reflected the opinion of more and more of the international arena.

Read More .... 

 October 6 - Friar takes the lead in lauding God's creatures
 Article: Ecumenical Movement - Misc.

Comment from UTT:

The following article explains how a Catholic friar and a Buddhist monk
join hands in ceremony to bless pets. According to the article the
friar believes that pets can be a "ladder to heaven." The Bible states
that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. The coming one
world religion worships the creation.
PETS can be our ladders into heaven, a Franciscan friar said yesterday as he blessed hundreds of dogs - and a couple of rabbits.

As part of celebrations for the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, renowned for his love of animals, the City of Port Phillip and Kilbride ecumenical centre invited pet owners to a blessing ceremony at the Port Melbourne Lifesaving Club.

Matthew Hufer, a friar from St James of the March Friary in Box Hill, blessed the dogs - and their owners - for long-lasting life and good health. Despite the invitation, most other animals stayed away from the blessing, with word going around that most cats had decided to stay home and bask in the sunshine. But there was a pair of rabbits that popped out of their box in time to be blessed with the holy water.

Brother Hufer was joined at the ceremony by Buddhist nun Carolyn Lawler, who shared the Dalai Lama's mantra of universal compassion.

Using readings from the Bible to demonstrate how important animals could be in people's lives, Brother Hufer said God did not discriminate between his creations.

Yesterday's blessing was the eighth such event. Councillor Dick Gross said it was important to promote the role pets played in keeping their owners in good health and good spirits.

Read More .... 

 October 10 - Tony Blair on the Faiths Act Fellows
 Article: One World Religion

Comment from UTT:

Tony Blair's Faith Foundation is now recruiting youth from around the world to be faith ambassadors by working with all faiths (including their own) to eliminate poverty and diseases from planet earth. The indoctrination of this generation in ways like this leads to what the Bible calls the harlot (a counterfeit church in the name of Christ). When you watch the video clip of Blair, note the similarity to Rick Warren's plan to work with other faiths for the cause of good.

Watch You Tube Video .... 

 NEWS ALERT September 20 - Farrakhan calls Obama the Messiah
 Article: Misc.

Comment from UTT:
The following video clip showing Louis Farrakhan promoting Barack Obama as the coming "messiah" is a must view by anyone concerned about the future.  Farrakhan was speaking to a large group on February 28, 2008. Note the sign that is clearly visible on the podium -  In the Name of Allah -  Nation of Islam Saviours' Day. 
The following is a transcript of Farrakhan's own words:
"You are the instruments that God is going to use to bring about universal change, and that is why Barack has captured the youth. And he has involved young people in a political process that they didn't care anything about. That's a sign. When the Messiah speaks, the youth will hear, and the Messiah is absolutely speaking."

Watch You Tube Video .... 

We hope the Weekly News In Review has been a blessing to you.

Roger Oakland

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