February 27, 2012- March 4, 2012 
 News In Review
 Vol 7, Issue 9
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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.  The purpose of posting these articles is to warn the church of deception from a Biblical perspective.

 February 25 - New Age healer Braco brings his cure-all gaze to Miami Beach
 Artical: New Age

He can make the blind see and the deaf hear just with his gaze, they say of the New Age healer Braco. Braco - it's pronounced braht-zo and means "little brother - is a 44-year-old Croatian superstar of the New Age movement whose followers believe he can shrink cancerous tumors and unkink twisted spinal cords just with his penetrating stare. He started a series of two dozen or so of his so-called gazing sessions Friday at the Miami Beach Convention Center, where he'll continue through Sunday.

Faith healers have been with us for centuries. What makes Braco unusual is that he doesn't preach faith or philosophy or religion as a condition of his healing. In fact, he doesn't say anything at all - literally. He hasn't spoken in public in eight years. He just gives you a look that fixes you, and moves on.

"He's not a yogi or a guru or anything like that," says his biographer and chief handler, Angelika Whitecliff. "You can come from any religion or belief system or skin color and it doesn't matter. Lots of scientists have studied him and some of them say he's able to activate energy centers within the brain that people can't ordinarily access."

Along with about 90 others, I attended Friday's first session. After watching a brief film clip of Braco visiting various famous places - I held my breath as he strolled past the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, waiting to see if the crack closed up - the man himself came on stage. Silently and stolidly he, well, gazed. And gazed. And gazed. Nobody tossed aside crutches or kicked over wheelchairs or shrieked that he could feel his withered heart valves blooming back to life, not even after Braco left and Whitecliff asked about our reactions. She was undismayed; before the gazing, she had warned us that while some people would be affected instantly by Braco's stare, others "have to go back to their lives before they feel the change." (And, she added in the fine print for cynics and newspaper reporters, "some people aren't affected at all.")

Now she coaxed us a little bit. Did we notice anything, even something small... anything at all? Finally a middle-aged blonde woman with an indeterminate European accent spoke up. "I saw a bright white light," she ventured hesitantly, then beamed as the room erupted into applause. "I, too, saw white light," agreed a man a few rows away. "My mind wanted to discount it. So thank you for sharing." A young woman chimed in: "I think we all got the same white light."

Well, at least one of us didn't. But I was sort of relieved that nobody reported seeing Braco shift shapes during the gazing, a common enough claim among his audiences that the Internet bristles with accusations from Christian fundamentalists that he's not a healer but a demon.

Read Full Article.... 

 February 28 - Justice Conference: Social Action Essential Part of Gospel
 Artical: Social Gospel

Getting involved in solving social ills should be an essential part of the Christian community, not an optional extra. That was the resounding message heard by 4,000 people at the Justice Conference this past weekend.

The second annual Justice Conference, a two-day event to promote dialogue about issues such as human trafficking, slavery, poverty, HIV/AIDS and human rights was held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore. Speakers including an all-star lineup of leaders fighting for social causes were joined by representatives of 100 organizations to challenge attendees to integrate action into their faith, event organizers said.

"It's a deepening of the foundations of social action especially from a solid evangelical and Christ-following perspective," he said. "There are many practical things [presented at the conference], but there was one idea that kept coming through and it was this whole idea of really bringing the Gospel to bear to the Church; that following Jesus necessitates putting things right, right relationships particularly among the most vulnerable, the forgotten, the voiceless.

Golden said World Relief's goal at the conference was to help evangelicals, especially those having thoughts that engagement in social issues "could be a slippery slope towards the social Gospel," see the biblical mandate for doing so.

"I see the conference not as an end to a means, but a means. I think it is a mechanism for God to stir the pot and catalyze a lot of things from His end that we might not have recognized going into the conference," Wytsma said.

"The conference is really trying to say something about a theology of justice. It's something that we are hemmed into and it is a theological necessity. Justice operates in all spheres of life and our relationships need to be in right order with God and our neighbor," he explained.

Wytsma said he was certain that putting a priority on building a foundation for social justice by asking for God's help produced a favorable climate for the event.

Read Full Article.... 

 February 27 - Rick Warren builds bridge to Muslims
 Article: One World Religion

Comment from Understand the Times:
The fact that Rick Warren would be building bridges with Islam forming "Chrislam" is not surprising. Warren's purpose driven gospel works together with people of all faiths "in order to do good." This is clearly a stepping stone towards a one world religion that is just around the corner.
The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest and one of America's most influential Christian leaders, has embarked on an effort to heal divisions between evangelical Christians and Muslims by partnering with Southern California mosques and proposing a set of theological principles that includes acknowledging that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

The effort, informally dubbed King's Way, caps years of outreach between Warren and Muslims. Warren has broken Ramadan fasts at a Mission Viejo mosque, met Muslim leaders abroad and addressed 8,000 Muslims at a national convention in Washington D.C. Saddleback worshippers have invited Muslims to Christmas dinner and played interfaith soccer at a picnic in Irvine attended by more than 300 people. (The game pitted pastors and imams against teens from both faiths. The teens won.)

The effort by a prominent Christian leader to bridge what polls show is a deep rift between Muslims and evangelical Christians culminated in December at a dinner at Saddleback attended by 300 Muslims and members of Saddleback's congregation. At the dinner, Abraham Meulenberg, a Saddleback pastor in charge of interfaith outreach, and Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs at a mosque in Los Angeles, introduced King's Way as "a path to end the 1,400 years of misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians."

The men presented a document they co-authored outlining points of agreement between Islam and Christianity. The document affirms that Christians and Muslims believe in "one God" and share two central commandments: "love of God" and "love of neighbor." The document also commits both faiths to three goals: Making friends with one another, building peace and working on shared social service projects. The document quotes side-by-side verses from the Bible and the Koran to illustrate its claims.

"We agreed we wouldn't try to evangelize each other," said Turk. "We'd witness to each other but it would be out of 'Love Thy Neighbor,' not focused on conversion."

Saddleback representatives declined to make Warren available for comment. Tom Holladay, associate senior pastor at Saddleback, said the outreach to Muslims is part of Saddleback's PEACE Plan, a wide-ranging effort to solve major world problems by mobilizing governments, businesses and faith communities.

Gwynne Guibord, an ordained Episcopal priest and co-founder of a Los Angeles outreach group that fosters relationships between churches and mosques nationwide, said Saddleback's effort is unprecedented. "I'm not aware of any other evangelical church reaching out to the Muslim community," she said.

Turk said the relationship between Saddleback and Muslims, though still in its infancy, has already produced results. "People (at the December dinner) were talking about the bonds they've formed and they were crying," he said. Both sides realized they shared misconceptions about each other's faith.

"He calls me his Muslim brother," Barakat said. "It all started with a friendship."

Read Full Article.... 

 February 27 - AP source: Israel won't warn US before Iran strike
 Article Wars And Rumors Of Wars

Israeli officials say they won't warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, setting a tense tone ahead of high-level meetings in the coming days in Washington.

A U.S. intelligence official says Israel warned that it will keep the Americans in the dark, to decrease the likelihood that Americans would be held responsible for failing to stop Israel's potential attack.

Israel's prime minister and defense minister delivered the message to top-level U.S. visitors to Israel in recent weeks, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House national security adviser and the director of national intelligence.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive strategic talks. The White House and Israeli Embassy both declined comment.

Read Full Article.... 

 February 14 - Barroso to China: EU is not falling apart
 Article:One World Government

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso has told the Chinese public that the EU will become a fully-fledged "political union" after the financial crisis. Speaking to TV cameras after a meeting with Chinese leader Wen Jiabao in Bejing on Tuesday, he noted the EU has recently suffered mass strikes and protests, including violent clashes in Greece.

He added that the crisis has prompted a new wave of integration, however, citing the fiscal treaty agreed last month by 25 EU countries.

"I want to make this very clear to Chinese public opinion. Because I understand when you see the news you may be putting some questions. Is the European Union really going to progress? I say: 'Yes. No doubt about it' ... Precisely because of the problems in the euro area the conclusion has been to further integrate and to complete the monetary union with a fiscal union and, I believe, in the future toward a political union."

Barroso and EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy went to China to attract money for EU bail-out funds. For his part, Van Rompuy highlighted a clause in the joint summit communique which says the EU is willing to "swiftly" give China market economy status - a move that would help it sell more cheap goods to Europe. "It's the first time we put this kind of agreement with this kind of langauge after an EU-China summit," he said.

Wen declined to give a concrete promise despite the charm offensive. He said only that: "China is ready to increase its participation in resolving the European debt problems. We are willing to conduct close communication and co-operation with the EU side."

Read Full Article.... 

 February 22 - Bars, stores to use facial recognition technology to increase sales
 Article: Technology And Global Monetary System

A decade ago, in the Dreamworks movie "Minority Report," billboards spoke directly to the characters in the movie and even knew their names.

In just weeks, that science fiction plot will become reality as some businesses in Central Florida will know who you are when you walk through their door. It's thanks to enhanced facial recognition technology.

It's not unusual to see surveillance cameras. They're inside businesses, outside of homes, even on the streets. In public places, people are comfortable with knowing those cameras are there for safety, but this new technology allows cameras to not just see what people do, but know who they are. Shops and malls across the country are already taking this a step further. There are now billboards, made by Immersive Labs in Manhattan, and kiosks that cater ads to your age and demographic.

For example, if a woman was to walk up to a mall directory, a camera inside would take a photo. It will recognize her gender, age and race and instantly provide an ad for the appropriate products. So, if the shopper is a 30-year-old woman, she might see adds for makeup, shoes and clothing.

Industry expert Rafe Needleman believes it's just a matter of time before stores not only to recognize you, but track your spending habits.

But not everyone wants to be recognized. "It's not out of the question that 10 years from now we'll walk down the street and people will be wearing camouflage so they're not picked up by facial recognition trackers all over the place," said Mark Eichorn of the FTC.

In fact, researchers with Carnegie Mellon University used facial recognition technology to identify college students who volunteered to be photographed for their study. By taking those photos and comparing them to photos found on social networking sites, such as Facebook, they were able to identify almost a third of them. That means they had profiles, 'likes,' interests and possibly family information. Researchers took the study a step further and used other publicly available data to predict partial Social Security numbers.

Banks are using it to identify customers and prevent fraud. Hotels are using it to know when honor program guests arrive.

This spring, bars in Gainesville will begin using cameras that will do more than just capture the faces of the people inside. The technology will also determine their gender and age. Using an app called SceneTap on their smartphone, potential patrons can use that data before deciding whether to go inside.

Read Full Article.... 

 March 1 - Maryland Becomes Eighth State to Legalize Gay Marriage
 Article: Perilous Times

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed into law Thursday a bill recognizing same-sex marriage, making Maryland the eighth state to do so. O'Malley, formerly a vocal opponent of gay marriage, signed the bill at 5:00 p.m. local time in a ceremony.

"For a free and diverse people, for a people of many faiths, for a people committed to the principle of religious freedom," O'Malley said, "The way forward is always found with greater respect for the rights of all."

At the same time, groups who oppose the bill have proposed a ballot measure that would overturn the law.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance, the Maryland Catholic Conference, and the Maryland Family Alliance have joined with others to officially sponsor a referendum next November that would maintain the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. For the referendum to make the ballot, these groups will need to collect 56,000 voter signatures, or about three percent of the number of voters in Maryland's 2010 gubernatorial election.

"Every time this issue has been brought to a statewide vote, the people have upheld traditional marriage," said the Maryland Catholic Conference in a statement on its website. "When this issue reaches the November ballot, we are confident that the citizens of Maryland will join voters in 31 other states in upholding marriage between one man and one woman."

Maryland joins Washington, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont, plus Washington, D.C. in recognizing same-sex marriage.

Read Full Article.... 

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

Roger Oakland

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