June 23 2015 - June 28 2015 
 News In Review
 Vol 10, Issue 24
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You can read the online version by Clicking Here. 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.

 June 24 - Pope Francis: Division between Christians is a scandal
 Article: One World Religion

On the 50th anniversary of the Joint Working Group between the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches, Pope Francis sent a message to Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit General Secretary World Council of Churches. The Pope's message was read aloud on Tuesday afternoon, 23 June, by Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, during a commemorative congress held in Rome. The following is the English text of the Pope's message.
To the Reverend Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary World Council of Churches
The 50th anniversary of the Joint Working Group between the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches is an occasion of thanksgiving to Almighty God for the meaningful ecumenical relationship which we enjoy today. So too, it is a moment to thank the Lord for all that the ecumenical movement has achieved since its beginning over one hundred years ago, inspired by a longing for the unity which Christ intended for his body, the Church, and by an emerging sense of sorrow for the scandal of division between Christians.
Since its inauguration in 1965, the Joint Working Group has fostered the necessary conditions for a greater common witness of the Catholic Church and the Churches and Ecclesial Communities of the World Council of Churches. Reflecting on these past 50 years, we should be encouraged by the collaboration which the Joint Working Group has promoted, not only in ecumenical issues, but also in the areas of interreligious dialogue, peace and social justice, and works of charity and humanitarian aid. The Joint Working Group should not be an inward-looking forum. Rather, it must become ever more a "think-tank", open to all the opportunities and challenges facing the Churches today in their mission of accompanying suffering humanity on the path to the Kingdom, by imbuing society and culture with Gospel truths and values.

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 June 25 - Dry, dry Western Canada braces for hot and hard-growing summer
 Article: Signs Of The Last Times

There's a crunch under Kent Erickson's shoes as he walks onto his canola fields in Irma, Alta., 175 kilometres southeast of Edmonton. You can practically hear the dry with every footstep. He stops and kicks the dirt to demonstrate how little rain has fallen this month. "We're at roughly an inch of moisture when we're normally at five to six inches of moisture," he says. He picks one of the tiniest canola plants out of the dusty earth. Thin roots and tiny leaves tell the story.  

"We want that crop really bushy and with as much vegetation as possible," Erickson, a farmer who serves on the board of the Alberta Wheat Commission told CBC News. "You look around today, and there's not a lot of vegetation." Only a scattered few plants are leafy and beginning to flower. As far as the eye can see, there is brown between the rows of undergrown canola crops. Erickson's wheat crop across a dusty gravel road may not be faring much better

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 June 25 - Thousands of people killed by extreme weather so far in 2015 as climate change feared to bring more heatwaves, hurricanes and floods in future
 Article: Signs Of The Last Times

Thousands of people have been killed by extreme weather so far this year amid fears that climate change is leading to more deadly heatwaves, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. More than 1,000 people have died in Pakistan this week of heatstroke and dehydration as temperatures soared far above 40C and power cuts crippled Karachi. India is currently recovering from the second deadliest heatwave in the country's history, which had killed 2,500 people by the start of this month.

The Earth Sciences Minister, Harsh Vardhan, blamed the heatwave on climate change. "Let us not fool ourselves that there is no connection between the unusual number of deaths from the ongoing heat wave and the certainty of another failed monsoon," he said. "It's not just an unusually hot summer, it is climate change."

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 June 19 - 12 Reasons Why Yoga Is Spreading Around the World
 Article: New Age

June 21, 2015 is the first United Nations International Day of Yoga. To celebrate this historic occasion, I traveled to Rishikesh, India, in early March to the International Yoga Festival to interview swamis and yoginis on the banks of the Ganges River. Through these interviews in India and beyond, I gained a birdseye view of the emerging yoga phenomena. Here are 12 reasons why yoga is spreading around the world:
1. Yoga is ancient: Yes, we all know yoga is thousands of years old. This fact became more real for me when I visited Vashistha's cave outside of Rishikesh. Vashistha lived thousands of years ago and was the guru of Lord Ram. The cave has been and still is revered by swamis who practice yoga meditation and perform daily rituals at the cave. (Where I grew up in rural Indiana, we had nothing remotely like this sacred cave.)
2. Yoga is a science: In Rishikesh, I met Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, a PhD graduate from Stanford University who left academia to join the monastic order. Sadhvi, along with other teachers, talked about yoga being a science. This means that there are methods and techniques that led to specific results - ultimately to Samadhi, or oneness with God/Cosmic Consciousness. Sadhvi said yoga is free of dogma and that people of any religion or culture can and do practice yoga and look to their own direct experience of how yoga benefits them.
3. Yoga was intentionally introduced to the West: When I interviewed the filmmakers of AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda, they talked about how a line of Himalayan masters planned years in advance to send Paramahansa Yogananda to the West to introduce Kriya Yoga. Yogananda came to Boston in 1920 and his first talk was "The Science of Religion." Yoga arrived when people in the West were starting to explore quantum physics. Prior to this time, Western people did not have a language to understand the energy and consciousness aspects of yoga. There is a scene in the film AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda where Yogananda as a baby is being blessed by his guru's guru, Lahiri Mahasaya. Lahiri says, "the message of yoga will encircle the globe and aid in assisting in the brotherhood of man."
4. Modern science is validating the benefits of yoga: Yogananda talked about reprogramming the wiring of the brain and mind decades before scientists began discussing neuroplasticity. In the film AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda, a Harvard- and MIT-trained physicist-physician, Dr. Goel, describes how yoga opens a person's individual consciousness to a larger universal field of consciousness. She also talked about the positive benefits of these practices for physical, mental and emotional well-being.
5. Modern life is driving people to ancient yoga: I heard numerous yoga practitioners from the U.S, China, Kazakhstan, Uruguay, Mexico and many other countries say they started doing yoga to find relief from the stress of modern life and/or physical ailments. The "pursuit of happiness" through consumerism (known in psychology as the hedonic treadmill) is leaving many people feeling isolated, disconnected and stressed out.
6. You do yoga, yoga does you: Several yoga teachers and students talked about the transformation they experienced by practicing yoga. Over time, people found that their entire way of being began to shift as they tapped into a deeper part of themselves. Swamis called this deeper essence our true Self, our soul, which is part of a larger universal consciousness. Richard Miller, who is a psychologist and yoga teacher for over 45 years, told me yoga helps people go into non-dual states of consciousness where we experience our connectedness with all of life. By being able to go in and out of dual and non-dual states, we gain access to intuition and wisdom to guide our day-to-day lives.
7. Yoga can help clarify life purpose: Many people said yoga helped them clarify their life purpose. Instead of identifying with a title or role, they identified more with a deeper essence and then looked at how they could serve people around them.
8. Yoga goes far beyond the mat; yoga is a way of life: Hatha yoga (the physical asanas) offers the doorway for many people into yoga. The deeper practices of yoga goes far beyond the mat. Patanjali's Yoga Sutras provide an 8-fold path that leads to God realization. The first two paths are Yama and Niyamas - yoga's 10 ethical guidelines and foundation to all yogic thought which guide people on how to relate with oneself and with others. Asanas, or physical postures, are the third step which creates the foundation for the higher steps, including meditation, that eventually take people into samadhi. When talking with Vandana Shiva, a leading scientist and social entrepreneur in India, she said yoga should not be put on the mat as yoga is a way of life. She said when we practice the true yoga we know we are connected with everything, so we relate to the environment, our food and other people with compassion and care for we know they are part of ourSelves.
9. Yoga is a catalyst for change: Yoga is being used in schools, prisons and a wide-range of social settings to help alleviate suffering. In Rishikesh, I met Sharon and Sandra Marotta, a mother and daughter who created Ashram for Autism, a non-profit organization that helps families and schools with autistic children through yoga. Sharon said that the children respond to simple breathing exercises that helps them to slow down and ground themselves. I later learned that research from Columbia University supports Sharon's experiences as they are finding that yoga programs help children between the ages of 6 and 11 to improve their academic performance.
10. Yoga is helping people heal: There were numerous stories of yoga helping people heal from physical, mental and emotional ailments. I met Tommy Rosen who is a yoga teacher and founder of Recovery 2.0 - a program helping people move beyond addiction by using yoga to build upon 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. I interviewed Brad Willis, or Bhava Ram, who is a former NBC war correspondent who healed himself of a broken back and stage 4 cancer in large part through yoga.
11. Yoga is helping military veterans and National Football League players: I interviewed Susan Lynch, a veteran from the first Persian Gulf War who healed herself of PTSD in large part through yoga. As a yoga teacher Susan founded There And Back Again, a non-profit helping veterans suffering from PTSD. Also, Keith Mitchell is a former NFL all-pro linebacker who healed himself after injuries ended his professional football career. Keith is now working with the University of Rochester and Congressman Ryan to assist veterans and NFL players through yoga and other alternative health care programs.
12. Yoga is spreading rapidly around the world: Spending time practicing with over 1,000 people from 60 countries was proof enough to me that yoga is spreading around the world. One of the most telling interviews was with Mohan Bhandari, a yoga teacher from India who went to China in 2003 to teach a class for a week. Twelve years later, Mohan is one of China's leading yoga teachers with over 50 franchises. He has trained over 10,000 teachers in China and says yoga is the fifth most sought after job among young people.
These interviews provided a wide-angle view into the roots of yoga, its deeper essence and how it is helping to transform lives on individual and societal levels around the world.

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 June 23 - Facial recognition technology: Is Orwell's fiction our reality?
 Article: One World Government

Smartphones can track our movements, credit cards have a record of our purchases, and now, thanks to advances in facial recognition technology, companies and governments will have the potential to watch us wherever we go. 

Facial recognition technology has become far more sophisticated in recent years. Software now exists that can scan people's faces - even from a distance or an obscure angle - and "recognise" that person by matching their facial features with an image from a database of photos. 

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 June 24 - Pope Says Catholic-Buddhist Meeting Sows 'Seeds of Peace and Brotherhood'
 Article: Ecumenical Movement - Other Religions Uniting With Roman Catholics

"In this historical moment, so scarred by wars and hatred, these small gestures are seeds of peace and brotherhood."

These were the words addressed by Pope Francis to participants of the Meeting of Dialogue Between Buddhist and Catholics of the United States. The Holy Father met briefly with the group at the Paul VI Audience Hall, prior to his weekly General Audience today.

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 June 22 - The Scientific Pantheist Who Advises Pope Francis
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

The scientist who influenced Laudato Si, and who serves at the Vatican's science office, seems to believe in Gaia, but not in God.
St. Francis of Assisi's hymn Laudato Si' spoke of "Brothers" Sun and Fire and "Sisters" Moon and Water, using these colorful phrases figuratively, as a way of praising God's creation. These sentimental words so touched Pope Francis that he named his encyclical after this canticle (repeated in paragraph 87 of the Holy Father's letter). Neither Pope Francis nor St. Francis took the words literally, of course. Neither believed that fire was alive and could be talked to or reasoned with or, worse, worshiped. Strange, then, that a self-professed atheist and scientific advisor to the Vatican named Hans Schellnhuber appears to believe in a Mother Earth.
The Gaia Principle, first advanced by chemist James Lovelock (who has lately had second thoughts) and microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s, says that all life interacts with the Earth, and the Earth with all life, to form a giant self-regulating, living system.
This goes far beyond the fact that the Earth's climate system has feedbacks, which are at the very center of the debate over climate change. In the Gaia Principle, Mother Earth is alive, and even, some think, aware in some ill-defined, mystical way. The Earth knows man and his activities and, frankly, isn't too happy with him. This is what we might call "scientific pantheism," a kind that appeals to atheistic scientists. It is an updated version of the pagan belief that the universe itself is God, that the Earth is at least semi-divine - a real Brother Sun and Sister Water! Mother Earth is immanent in creation and not transcendent, like the Christian God.

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We hope the Weekly News In Review helps you to keep your eyes on Jesus. He is the author and finisher of our faith.

Roger Oakland

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