February 22 - February 28, 2010 
 News In Review
 Vol 5, Issue 5
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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.

 February 20 - Blair: Peace talks between Israel, Palestinians to resume in coming weeks
 Article:Israel And The Last Days

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Saturday that he hoped peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians will resume in the coming weeks after negotiations stalled over Jewish settlements on occupied lands.

He said special U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell has made progress in attempting to resume negotiations between the two sides. However, he cautioned that bringing both sides back to peace talks depended on more than just the issue of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land, including east Jerusalem.

"Settlements are important, but they're not the only issue," Blair said. "The real question is can we provide Israel with security and the Palestinians with a genuine, credible belief that they will have a viable state."

Blair said that easing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians also would help Nigeria, Africa's most populous nations that's split between a Muslim north and a Christian south, by showing two faiths with a violent past can make peace with each other. Violence between the two faiths in Nigeria, often sparked by political infighting, has killed thousands in the last decade.

Blair, who launched the Tony Blair Faith Foundation after leaving office, attended an event Saturday highlighting a new effort between Christian and Muslim leaders to distribute mosquito nets in a country ravaged by malaria. The former prime minister pointed to that cooperation as a hopeful sign in the nation of 150 million people.

"In the end, Nigeria's going to have to work this out for itself," he said. "But the benefit of interfaith action, such as this against malaria, is you've got Christians and Muslims sitting down and working together. It's got to be better than fighting with each other."

Read More .... 

 February 22 - Wis. Presbytery Approves Ordination of Openly Gay Man
 Article: Perilous Times

In a closed meeting, a regional body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on Saturday voted to ordain a partnered homosexual.

In 2006, Anderson sought to be ordained again as a PC(USA) minister after the General Assembly  the denomination's highest governing body  approved an authoritative interpretation of the church constitution that would allow gay and lesbian candidates for ordination to conscientiously object the ban against partnered homosexuals. The local ordaining body would discern whether the declared objection is disqualifying.

Anderson told The Presbyterian Outlook that he was surprised by the wide margin of approval and believes the vote gives hope to other gay and lesbian candidates for ministry.

The decision, however, will likely be challenged and head to the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission  the highest court in the PC(USA).

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 February 23 - Iran to put nuke sites inside mountains
 Article: Wars And Rumors Of Wars

Iran said Monday it plans to build two new uranium enrichment facilities deep inside mountains to protect them from attack, a new challenge to Western powers trying to curb Tehran's nuclear program for fear it is aimed at making weapons.

Ali Akbar Salehi, who is also Iran's vice president, said Tehran intends to use its more advanced centrifuges at the new sites, a decision that could add to growing concerns in the West over Tehran's program because the technology would allow Iran to accelerate the pace of its program.

The two plants are among 10 industrial scale uranium enrichment facilities Iran approved the construction of in November, a dramatic expansion of the program in defiance of U.N. demands it halt enrichment.

"As of now, our enrichment sites ... will be built inside mountains," Salehi added, according to ISNA. The decision appears to be aimed at shielding the facilities from potential military attack.

Israel considers Iran's nuclear program a strategic threat, and has hinted at the possibility of airstrikes against Iran if world pressure does not halt Tehran's nuclear efforts.

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 February 23 - 200,000 Visit St. Anthony's Relics
 Artilce: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

Some 200,000 people took advantage of the special showing of St. Anthony's relics that occurred at the basilica in Padua last week."What is amazing is that all those people -- it was an interminable procession -- had the clear perception not of being before someone who was dead, a skeleton or some bones, but before a person who is, and who is alive," the vicar-general of the Diocese of Padua, Monsignor Paolo Doni told Vatican Radio.

St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231), one of the first followers of St. Francis of Assisi, is "one of the most popular saints in the whole Catholic Church, venerated not only in Padua [...] but in the whole world," Benedict XVI said at a general audience earlier this month.

The vicar said the large turnout shows that "people have a great need to have a spiritual reference point, a person."
The pilgrimages to Padua, he proposed, were due to "the presence of a person -- in this case Anthony -- who is not of the past but of the present," according to "the great truth that is the communion of saints," which "transcends time and space."
"This presence of Anthony, with the values he proposed and continues to propose, has been as though renewed these days," he said.


When St. Anthony's coffin was opened at the first transfer, some 30 years after his burial, most of his body was found to have returned to dust. However his tongue remained fresh, seen as a sign of his gift of preaching.  Anthony's relics were last displayed in 1981, marking the 750th anniversary of his death.

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 February 24 - Catholic Official Identifies Common Causes With LDS Church
 Article: Ecumenical Movement

On Tuesday students, faculty and members of the Provo community filled the Marriott Center at BYU to hear Francis Cardinal George present a message entitled Catholics and Latter-day Saints: Partners in the Defense of Religious Freedom.

Francis Cardinal George is President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and holds the highest position in the Catholic Church in the United States. He addressed three main points: the fight for religious freedom as defined by Catholic views, managing current threats in society, and ways in which Catholics and the LDS church have stood together.

I thought it was really cool that someone from the Catholic Church would make these comments after something like prop 8 in defending morals and family, said Connor Clark, BYU student from Minnesota. Its what we need in society; to come together and defend whats right even with our religious differences.

His final point regarding the relationship between Catholics and the LDS Church as defenders of religious freedom was one of great hope and thanksgiving.

I thank God for the harmony that has grown between us, George said. We can and should stand as one in defense of religious liberty.

The defense of religious liberties affirms what is deepest in our beliefs. Its going to take good people making good choices and commitments that will in turn benefit the good of society and make a kinder world.

We become true blessings to one another, George said. Our collaborative efforts will, if we stay together, in the end bear much fruit.

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 February 25 - Campaign Gives Christians Megaphone to Support Gays
 Article: Perilous Times

Mainline Protestant churches are the target of a new campaign that urges "loud," rather than silent, support for gays and lesbians.

Though mainline denominations already welcome LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) persons, the multifaith group Intersections says it's not enough. "[W]e must sing their welcoming as loudly as we sing the hymns," the group declares.

The "Believe Out Loud" campaign was launched on Valentine's Day and seeks to increase acceptance of LGBT persons in religious communities  mainly the collective body of some 40 million Americans who attend Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal and other mainline churches. Specifically, the initiative is aiming to move believers from privately believing in the full inclusion of homosexuals to speaking out publicly.

A 2008 survey of clergy from mainline Protestant denominations revealed that a majority of ministers (79 percent) agree that "homosexuals should have all the same rights and privileges as other American citizens." Most (65 percent) also support either same-sex marriage (33 percent) or civil unions, according to Public Religion Research's Mainline Protestant Clergy Voices Survey.

A Pew Research Center's survey also found wide support for homosexuality among lay people in mainline Protestant churches. More than half of members of the United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Anglican Church, the United Church of Christ and The Episcopal Church say homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society.

Mainline denominations have been wracked by division over homosexual matters for decades. Their increasing liberalization of policies on homosexuality, including the ordination of sexually active gays and blessing of same-sex unions, has forced many conservative members to find more orthodox or evangelical homes. While conservatives welcome gays and have urged believers to love them and offer pastoral support, they do not support their behavior. Membership across the mainline groups, meanwhile, has continued to decline.

.Read More .... 

 February 25 - Pope's "Lectio Divina" to Roman Priests (Part 2)
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 25, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is Part 2 of the "lectio divina" delivered by Benedict XVI to the parish priests of Rome upon receiving them in audience at the Vatican on Feb. 18.

If the divine response in John says: "I will glorify" you, it means that this glory transcends and passes through the whole of history over and over again: from your Cross, present in the Eucharist, it transforms death into glory. This is the great promise that is brought about in the Blessed Eucharist which ever anew opens the heavens. Being a servant of the Eucharist is, therefore, a depth of the priestly mystery.

Another brief word, at least about Melchizedek. He is a mysterious figure who enters Sacred History in Genesis 14. After Abraham's victory over several kings, Melchizedek, King of Salem, of Jerusalem, appears and brings out bread and wine. The Fathers stressed that he is one of the holy pagans of the Old Testament and this shows that even from paganism there is a path that leads to Christ. The criteria are: worshipping God Most High, the Creator, fostering righteousness and peace and venerating God in a pure way. Thus, with these fundamental elements, paganism too is on its way to Christ, and in a certain way, makes Christ's light present.

This means that Christ is the absolute newness of God and at the same time is present in the whole of history, through history, and history goes to encounter Christ. And not only the history of the Chosen People, which is the true preparation desired by God, in which is revealed the mystery of Christ, but also in paganism the mystery of Christ is prepared, paths lead from it toward Christ who carries all things within him.

Let us take another step: the true Jerusalem, God's Salem, is the Body of Christ, the Eucharist is God's peace with humankind. We know that in his Prologue, St John calls the humanity of Jesus the tent of God, eskènosen en hemìn (cf. Jn 1: 14). It was here that God himself pitched his tent in the world, and this tent, this new, true Jerusalem is at the same time on earth and in Heaven because this Sacrament, this sacrifice, is ceaselessly brought about among us and always arrives at the throne of Grace, at God's presence.

All this is constantly brought about anew in the Eucharist. We, as priests, are called to be ministers of this great Mystery, in the Sacrament and in life. Let us pray the Lord that he grant us to understand this Mystery ever better, that he make us live this mystery ever better and thus to offer our help so that the world may be opened to God, so that the world may be redeemed. Thank you.


Read More .... 

 February 24 - Ecumenical Head: Our Call Is to Carry the Cross
 Artcile: Ecumenical Movement - Misc.

A Norwegian theologian was formally installed on Tuesday as the new head of the World Council of Churches.

"The cross is and will forever be the sign of the church," the new general secretary said. "This is the symbol that we have together, the symbol of what we have together, the symbol of what the churches have to give to the world. From the beginning to the end." It's the symbol that churches need to return to in order to be one, he said.

How the ecumenical relations will develop is not in their hands, but in God's, Tveit noted. But what is in their hands is the ability to commit themselves to finding "theological, ethical and very visible expressions" of being one, he said.

"So we are called to carry our cross," he underscored. "The call of the ecumenical movement does not have a meaning only if we succeed. Whether we are heard or not, our call is to carry the cross with one another.

"Whatever happens, it remains our call to carry the cross in our search for unity, in our witness, in our service. And we shall do it together, never alone."

Tveit is one of the youngest men to serve as general secretary of the World Council of Churches. Since his election, he has placed weight on the call for church unity, not only within the WCC but also outside of the body with other groups such as the Roman Catholic Church, the Pentecostal churches and evangelical bodies.

Read More .... 

 February 24 - Missile Defense Agency, Obama Campaign Logos Cause Internet Stir
 Article: Miscellaneous

Is this Logo-gate? The Internet is abuzz with comparisons of the "strikingly similar" logos of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and the ubiquitous Obama 2008 campaign.

The Missile Defense Agency, which is part of the Defense Department, now features a circular red, white and blue logo on its Web site that has been characterized in some reports as "scarily" similar to President Obama's former campaign symbol. Others have noted that it has a crescent and star design, evoking a common symbol for Islam. 

But this particular one has caught the eye of critics of the Obama administration.

"I'm having trouble seeing past the crescent and star in the new logo," one critic posted on WashingtonTimes.com. "Is this our signal to the muslim world that we're not going to shoot down their missiles?"

Brian Collins, chairman and chief creative officer at COLLINS:, a New York-based design and innovation firm, said both logos use the "same visual language," complete with two circles and three stripes.

"The Obama logo is filled with messages of hope, it's about looking toward an optimistic future," he said. "They've taken those exact elements and they've made them more technical."

read More .... 

 February 27 - Chile struck by one of strongest earthquakes ever
 Article: Signs Of The Last Times

One of the largest earthquakes ever recorded tore apart houses, bridges and highways in central Chile on Saturday and sent a tsunami racing halfway around the world. Chileans near the epicenter were tossed about as if shaken by a giant, and authorities said at least 214 people were dead.

The magnitude-8.8 quake was felt as far away as Sao Paulo in Brazil  1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) to the east. The full extent of damage remained unclear as scores of aftershocks  one nearly as powerful as Haiti's devastating Jan. 12 earthquake  shuddered across the disaster-prone Andean nation.

At least 214 people were killed, according to Interior Minister Edmundo Perez Yoma, and officials said about 1.5 million homes suffered at least some damage.

Saturday's quake matched a 1906 temblor off the Ecuadorean coast as the seventh-strongest ever recorded in the world.

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 February 26 - Pope Having "Profound Experience" at Retreat / Spiritual Exercises Focusing on Divine Call
 Article - Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

Benedict XVI's spiritual exercises this week have been a "profound experience" for the Pope, says a Vatican spokesman.

Monday was a day of "listening," Father Gutiérrez explained, centered on the "lectio divina" of a well-known biblical passage as paradigm of the vocational calling, God's calling to the prophet Samuel (1 Kings 19:1-21).
Following the tradition of the Church to consecrate Thursday to Eucharistic worship and the veneration of the ministerial priesthood, that day of this week was "Christological," that is, dedicated to reflect on the person of Jesus Christ, and the preacher reflected in depth on the call to the first disciples, said Father Gutiérrez.
"Both the lectio divina as well as the morning meditations followed this text to understand Jesus' role in the life of the one called, of each priest," he explained.
Today, the meditation centered on the Virgin Mary, model of response to the divine call. As Father Gutiérrez explained, "the Holy Father and his collaborators meditated, following the texts of the Magnificat and the Annunciation, both taken from the Gospel according to St. Luke, on the figure of our heavenly Mother, seeing in her the example of the confirmation of God when he calls one of his children."
"The preacher presented today for reflection the figure of Pope John Paul II," he added, "a person who lived his priestly, episcopal and Petrine ministry always trusting the Virgin."

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 February 27 - College students urged: Trade Bible for Playboy / 'Religious texts are so appalling, you are better off having porn'
 Article - Perilous Times

In the lobby of the University of Texas at San Antonio's humanities building, a hand-drawn poster announces, "Free porn: Just trade in your holy books (Bible, Koran, Vedas) for porn."

A student group at the university called The Atheist Agenda is reviving its Bibles-for-porn program, called "Smut for Smut," for three days beginning March 1, according to a report from San Antonio's KENS-TV.

"The idea is that religious texts are so appalling," said Atheist Agenda group member Brian Talker in a 2006 interview with UTSA student publication The Independent. "They are so full of genocide, misogyny and ludicrous ideas that far overshadow any banal common-sense platitudes like loving thy neighbor, that you are better off having porn, which isn't nearly as smutty."

"They've been going and rallying against pornography for the longest time," the unidentified student said, "and the disgusting, depraved acts that are within the Bible, Koran and Vedas completely outnumber any [faults] of any pornographic image."

University officials have stated that the controversy over the poster and program boils down to protected freedom of speech.

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 February 23 - At Ivor church, clothing is optional
 Article - Miscellaneous

In church, you come as you are. That's especially true inside the Whitetail Chapel in Ivor.  Clothing is optional for everyone from the pastor to the congregation.

"I really don't think God cares what you wear when you worship," said Richard Foley, a member of the congregation. "The thing is worship." Churchgoers like Foley have no problem getting the word of God from a pastor in his birthday suit.

"Some of the biggest moments in Jesus' life he was naked," Pastor Allen Parker said. "When he was born he was naked, when he was crucified he was naked and when he arose he left his clothes in the tomb and he was naked. If God made us that way, how can that be wrong?"

Visitors say being a nudist is about being free from societal judgments.  They say it's a stress-free environment where everyone is equal and there's no pressure to be anything than who you really are. The pastor agrees.

"I consider this a gift and a privilege God has given me," said Pastor Allen. "They're caring, they're understanding, and they're community and family oriented. We have one of the most involved chapels anyplace around. I'll put our church up against others around."

Read More .... 

 February 28 - Britons 'could be microchipped like dogs in a decade'
 Article: Technology For Global Montary System

Human beings may be forced to be 'microchipped' like pet dogs, a shocking official report into the rise of the Big Brother state has warned.

The microchips - which are implanted under the skin - allow the wearer's movements to be tracked and store personal information about them. They could be used by companies who want to keep tabs on an employee's movements or by Governments who want a foolproof way of identifying their citizens - and storing information about them.

The report, drawn up by a team of respected academics, claims that Britain is a world-leader in the use of surveillance technology and its citizens the most spied-upon in the free world.

The reports editors Dr David Murakami Wood, managing editor of the journal Surveillance and Society and Dr Kirstie Ball, an Open University lecturer in Organisation Studies, claim that by 2016 our almost every movement, purchase and communication could be monitored by a complex network of interlinking surveillance technologies.

The most contentious prediction is the spread in the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. The RFID chips - which can be detected and read by radio waves - are already used in new UK passports and are also used the Oyster card system to access the London Transport network. For the past six years European countries have been using RFID chips to identify pet animals.

However, its use in humans has already been trialled in America, where the chips were implanted in 70 mentally-ill elderly people in order to track their movements.

And earlier this year a security company in Ohio chipped two of its employees to allow them to enter a secure area. The glass-encased chips were planted in the recipients' upper right arms and 'read' by a device similar to a credit card reader.

"There is a rather scary underlying feeling that people may worry that these microchips are less about being a human being than becoming a barcoded product."

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 February 25 - Bali-Hoo: U.N Still Pushing for Global Environmental Control
 Article: One World Government

Despite the debacle of the failed Copenhagen climate change conference last December, the United Nations is pressing full speed ahead with a plan for a greatly expanded system of global environmental governance and for a multitrillion-dollar economic transfer scheme to ignite the creation of a "global green economy." In other words: Copenhagen without the authority  yet  of Copenhagen.

The world body even has chosen a time and a place for the culmination of the process: a World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, the 20th anniversary of the famed "Earth Summit" that gave focus and urgency to the world environmentalist movement.

The new Rio summit will end, according to U.N. documents obtained by Fox News, with a "focused political document" presumably laying out the framework and international commitments to a new Green World Order.

The GC/GMEF, as it is known, is made up of environmental ministers and top-level bureaucrats from a roster of supervising nations  the U.S. is one of them  and its meeting is surrounded by a galaxy of environmentalist non-government organizations (NGOs) and environmental journalists from around the world.

But the major topics are a global system of governance and what amounts to the next stage of a radical transformation of the world economic and social order, in the name of saving the planet.

The new green economy under discussion at Bali will be something very different: For starters, it is much more vague, and as far as the discussion paper authors are concerned, it will stay that way. The paper paints the coming green order in nebulous and utopian terms.

"Moving towards a green economy would also provide an opportunity to re-examine national and global governance structures and consider whether such structures allow the international community to respond to current and future environmental and development challenges and to capitalize on emerging opportunities."

Read More .... 

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

Ron Pierotti

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