January 18 - January 31 2010 
 News In Review
 Vol 5, Issue 1
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Dear Ron,

The News In Review newsletter is a service provided by Understand The Times that is a compilation of the news articles previously posted on our site . Understand The Times does not endorse these events but rather is showing the church the current events.  Our purpose of posting these articles is to warn the church of the Biblical deception.

 January 16 - Haiti quake death toll tops 200,000
 Article:Signs Of The Last Times

Authorities now say 200,000 people have been killed.

The government's given control over its main airport to the US to bring order to aid flights from around the world and speed relief to the impoverished Caribbean nation.

Trucks piled with bodies have been carrying them to hurriedly excavated mass graves outside the capital, Port-au-Prince, but thousands more are still believed to be buried under rubble.

If the casualty figures turn out to be accurate, the 7.0 magnitude quake that hit Haiti on Tuesday would be one of the 10 deadliest ever.

Health Minister Alex Larsen said three-quarters of the capital would have to be rebuilt.

A senior U.N. official warned that hunger will fuel trouble if aid does not arrive promptly, although the law and order situation remains under control "for the time being."

Read More .... 

 January 15 - Jewish-Christian Relations a "Theological Obligation"
 Article: Ecumenical Movement - Other Religions Uniting With Roman Catholics

Benedict XVI's visit to the Synagogue of Rome this Sunday is one more step toward an even more evident collaboration between Jews and Christians, says an official with the Italian bishops' conference. Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the conference's commission for ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, reflected with Vatican Radio on the Pope's upcoming trip.

This is the second time that a Pope will visit the Synagogue of Rome; Pope John Paul II also went in 1986. The visit coincides with the 21st world day for deepening dialogue between Catholics and Jews.

Bishop Paglia called the visit another step on the road to even more evident collaboration between the two religions, in the context of a friendship between them that is already "intense."

The prelate said this is a "type of theological obligation," given that "fraternity between these two peoples is an integral part of their respective creeds."

"The Judeo-Christian spiritual patrimony is not just a strong bond between us," he said. "It is also a force that spurs [us] toward an encounter with other religions, and I would also say, for the promotion of culture, particularly that of the West."

Read More .... 

 January 18 - Obamas EEOC Nominee: Society Should Not Tolerate Private Beliefs That Adversely Affect Homosexuals
 Article: Perilous Times

Chai Feldblum, the Georgetown University law professor nominated by President Obama to serve on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, has written that society should not tolerate any private beliefs, including religious beliefs, that may negatively affect homosexual equality.
Just as we do not tolerate private racial beliefs that adversely affect African-Americans in the commercial arena, even if such beliefs are based on religious views, we should similarly not tolerate private beliefs about sexual orientation and gender identity that adversely affect LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] people, the Georgetown law professor argued.
All beliefs should be equal, regardless of their source, Feldblum says. A belief derived from a religious faith should be accorded no more weightand no less weightthan a belief derived from a non-religious source. According to Feldman, the source of a persons belief  be it God, spiritual energy, or the five senses  has no relevance.

Feldblum does recognize that elements of the homosexual agenda may infringe on Americans religious liberties. However, Feldblum argues that
society should come down on the side of homosexual equality at the expense of religious liberty. Because the conflict between the two is irreconcilable, religious liberty -- which she also calls "belief liberty" -- must be placed second to the identity liberty of homosexuals.

Read More .... 

 January 21 - Palestinians reject Israeli presence in future state
 Artilce: Israel And The Last Days

The sound of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" is not what most people would expect to hear in a religious setting. But the musical arrangement of "Thriller," perhaps the most famous tune about zombies, filled the air at Brainerd's multiracial New Covenant Fellowship church recently. Instead of a thumping backbeat, it was wrapped around the words of Christian artist Michael W. Smith's hymn "You Are Holy." Incorporating pop-culture music in church services is just one sign that worship for many Chattanoogans has changed.

The current patchwork of services instead may feature contemporary music, meetings in movie theaters, congregations with related music clubs, gatherings of Eastern and Middle Eastern faiths, megachurches and a greater number of female pastors.

"A new generation of churchgoers are hungry for an active faith and growth but not in the typical trappings," said Mr. Love. "There's a need for new thinking and new types of churches to meet the need of others who are different."

"Churches unwilling to make changes will drift into the background," he said. "Those with purpose and passion will come to the forefront."

What is clear, he said, is that there is an increase in diversity among religious faiths, a rise in the number of people who don't feel compelled to join a congregation -- whether or not they're active in one -- and a decrease in cradle-to-grave loyalty to one denomination.

Mr. Love said the church chose to meet in a theater initially because people outside the faith "judge a book by its cover." A typical church building with a typical sign is bound to attract typical people whose worship experiences are tied to people in the same faith, he said. But Journey Chattanooga hoped to attract people who wanted something different, he said.

Although "some still view their (religious) perspective as the correct way," he said, "it's important that we accept all religions. We're such a diverse community, it's important to include everyone."

As religious faith has become more diversified in Chattanooga, it also has become more common for different denominations and faiths to work together. Mr. Cohn, who recently attended a program on domestic violence at Brainerd Baptist Church, said he has seen an increased emphasis on interfaith services and "getting together.I see common goals and groups working together to reach those goals," he said. "I like that. I think that's very good for the community."

Read More .... 

 January 22 - Survey: Sermons Fail to Inspire Change in Believers
 Article: Emerging Church

Congregations may look forward to the pastors sermon, but when it comes to bringing about a change in their attitudes or lifestyle, preaching appears to have little impact.

Of the 193 Anglicans, Catholics, Methodists and Baptists surveyed, only 17 percent said sermons frequently changed their attitudes towards others or helped them look afresh at controversial or topical issues.

Sixty-two percent of those questioned said sermons frequently gave them a sense of Gods love and helped them to understand Jesus; two thirds said they frequently looked forward to the sermon; and 84 percent said the sermons should be rooted in the Bible.

"The digital age isnt killing off preaching, but what the survey suggests is that too much preaching is doing too little to motivate people to look at the world differently and therefore live in it differently," said College Director Paul Johns.

If thats so, we have to question what we preachers are actually saying about the Bible and about contemporary issues, and how well were engaging with our congregations."

The research team was led by the Rev. Kate Bruce, fellow in Preaching and Communication, who added, "The people we surveyed said they wanted sermons which are biblical, but also relevant to contemporary life and issues, and in a culture which values entertainment and likes stand up, over a quarter of them said they want preaching to be entertaining too."

Read More .... 

 January 25 - Christians, Muslims, Jews Worship at Evangelical Megachurch
 Article: Ecumencal Movement - Christians Uniting With Other Religions

It was an unusual Sunday morning worship at Northwood Church in Keller, Texas. Christians, Muslims and Jews sat together in the megachurch to hear an evangelical pastor preach about Jesus. As Northwood Senior Pastor Bob Roberts said Sunday, the three groups are making an attempt to get to know one another, understand the different teachings and worldviews, and become friends.

"I want to know you. Why? Because you're seeking after God," Roberts said from the Northwood pulpit Sunday as he addressed the multi-faith audience, which included Rabbi Jeremy Schneider and Imam Zia Sheikh.

"If we're going to get along ... I need to understand your core convictions, how it impacts your worldview ... and I want you to understand Christianity," he told them. "I want us to be honest about our differences so that we can build a relationship."

Shifting from interfaith to multifaith is critical in the 21st century, Roberts said.

"The old conversation of interfaith basically said if we all agree on everything then we can get along. So what we need to do is minimize our differences ... and only talk about what we do agree upon," the Baptist pastor said Sunday. "But there's a problem with that. That's great if you're liberal, if you're a liberal Muslim or liberal Christian or liberal Jew, that's fine."

"Because truth is truth. Truth is not relative," Roberts said. "Multifaith says 'we have differences.'" The greatest conflict in the world today, he pointed out, is between fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims. "There has to be a new platform," Roberts stressed.

Some pastors have criticized Roberts for the multifaith event and attending different places of worship with his congregation. But the Northwood pastor said he would respond to his critics by asking, "Why do you go to restaurants where people get drunk? Why do you go to movies where people undress and do things on the screen that break the heart of God ... Why do you want to get in a car built by an automobile industry driven by greed? But I don't want to have a relationship with someone who's trying to seek God? That makes sense, doesn't it?"

.Read More .... 

 January 27 - The Anti-Israel Revelation
 Article: Emerging Church

Emergent Church guru Brian McLaren is a key figure on the Evangelical Left who is trying shift Evangelicals, who are Americas most pro-Israel demographic, into a more neutralist stance. Currently, he is leading a delegation through Israel and Palestine to broadcast the sins of Israeli oppression against Palestinians by listening, learning, thinking, observing, reflecting.  His blog is providing daily updates of his discoveries, all of which confirm his previously often declared bias against Israel.

McLaren, of course, used to be a more traditional, conservative Evangelical.  So his emergence into the Evangelical Left in recent years, including the requisite negativity towards Israel, is part of an ongoing spiritual rebirth into which he invites his fellow Evangelicals.  Of course, McLaren insists that he is not anti-Israel, and certainly not anti-Jewish.  He simply wants to liberate both Palestinians and Jews from the enslaving mindset of the occupation that holds both peoples captive.

Of course, though McLaren wants to liberate everybody from their various spiritual/political blindness, he implies that most or all of the spiritual confusion comes from Jewish Israel and its Christian supporters.  He is very concerned about Israeli razor wire and segregation walls, as part of the ugliness of occupation. But he is not as interested in the Palestinian and Islamist terror that generate Israels defenses. 

Revealingly, McLaren learned that Palestinians do not want a two-state solution but instead desire to live in peace with Israelis and want Jews, Muslims, and Christians to learn to live together as neighbors.  In other words, the Palestinians want the eradication of Jewish Israel and the creation of a new Palestinian and Islamic dominated state where, purportedly, Jews and Christians also could live, at least for a time.  McLaren finds this discovery to be very powerful and encouraging.

Read More .... 

 January 17 - Government policy now targeting 'homophobia' / Goal is to squash belief homosexuality is immoral
 Artcile: Perilous Times

Opponents of "hate crimes" legislation, who have frequently pointed to Canada as an example of how such laws are used to increasingly suppress moral objections to homosexuality, now have more fuel for their fire in the form of the "Quebec Policy Against Homophobia."

The policy, released last month by Quebec's Minister of Justice and Attorney General Kathleen Weil, assigns the government the task of eliminating all forms of "homophobia" and "heterosexism"  including the belief that homosexuality is immoral  from society as a whole.

The text and specifics of the policy are steeped in vague bureaucratic language about "coordination" and "synergy," but the goal is spelled out clearly: to enlist the government to normalize homosexuality in society and to quell common criticisms levied against "sexual minorities," a term the policy uses to inclusively describe "lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and transgenders."

"An inclusive society such as ours must take the necessary steps to combat homophobic attitudes and behavior patterns and move towards full acceptance of sexual diversity," states the Premier of Quebec Jean Charest in a letter that serves as the policy's introduction. "The policy sets out the government's goal of removing all the obstacles to full recognition of the social equality of the sexual minorities, at all levels of society."

Furthermore, the policy laments, "It is still possible to hear people say that homosexuality is an illness, morally wrong or a form of deviant behavior, and that people choose their sexual orientation. These beliefs, often instilled in the past, tend to marginalize sexual minority groups and prevent full recognition of their social equality." Such "prejudice," the policy affirms, must be combated.

And while the word "church" is never explicitly mentioned in the policy, it does declare it important to publicize the most "insidious" forms of homophobia with a plan to "target the various locations in which homophobic attitudes and behavior patterns, as well as heterosexist stereotypes, are found."

Read More .... 

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

Ron Pierotti

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