"Go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice."
I Will Have Mercy
Greetings! Hope you are all having a great week. Below is an article we came across by Hugh Halter, entitled Sacrilegious Saints. We found it to be very interesting and inspiring and hope you will find it to be a blessing as well.
By Hugh Halter
He loves the smell of warm dog breath and milk.
Bosco is now 42 years of age. An atheist. A really benevolent one, who travels the globe making documentaries to expose homelessness, hunger, and horrific exploitation of people.
Thirty-seven years earlier, at the age of 5, Bosco found himself hiding under a table in his family's small Northern Irish cottage, desperately trying to keep his dog quiet by distracting him with a bowl of milk. He was hiding under the table because a band of IRA henchmen were coming to kill his father, who was a rival kingpin in the resistance.
In that moment Bosco prayed a sincere prayer that God would spare his father's life. Two seconds went by and then he heard the gunshot and saw his father fall to the ground. He still remembers the aroma of the puppy and the milk. He also remembers seeing his father's killer two weeks later in mass, singing hymns and bowing his head in prayer. That day, he decided there was no God.
How do I know Bosco? I just performed a marriage between him and his fiancée. Terri, a struggling God-seeker, was trying to give me some context for his life. "Bosco has been the most gentle, kind, and respectful man I've ever known. I do hope that someday as I try to figure God out, he may be more open with me. Deb told me that you would be a good person for him to meet, and I really appreciate you doing our wedding ceremony."
I started with this story because a person's story really matters to God. He doesn't categorize people as atheists, agnostics, good Christians or bad Christians, pagans or saints. He simply sees people where they are and understands the disorientation or spiritual vertigo people fight through, especially the vertigo caused by religion and religious people.
This is why the incarnation of Christ happened. In John 1:14, it says, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
We overspiritualize or theologize why God came to earth through His son, but the real reason is that He knew that men and women were unable to understand, see, or perceive His true glory unless He came and lived among us as the least religious person they would have ever met.
That was the sacrilegious beauty of Jesus.
He hung with the wrong people, He was kind to the sinners, He embraced those who were sick, He allowed the children to come to Him, and His disciples were even worse. They didn't wash their hands correctly, they ate, played, and worked on the Sabbath, and He constantly deconstructed their religious systems of temple and priest-focused faith. He was the holiest man they had seen, but for sure He was eccentrically irreligious ... even sacrilegious!
Sacrilege may sound bad, but it simply means to challenge what others think is religious in order to expose the true God. And out of all the things Jesus did as an "incarnated God-man," the most sacrilegious aspect of His life was how He dignified each person's story.
Now, this may be off the grid for many of you, but just 30 minutes before the ceremony I called Bosco over to my jeep and drove him off the "alcohol-free church premises," parked the car, and took a small flask of Jameson Irish Whiskey from my glove box. As I handed it to him, he got teary-eyed and said, "I can't believe you did this for me. I have flown my friends from all over the country to come celebrate my wedding, but the Christians here forbid me from having any alcohol. I have been embarrassed all day.
"Why have you as the pastor gotten me this gift?" I replied, "Because God knows your story and He seemed to be fine with letting people drink at weddings."
He took a swig, then I took a swig, and without a gap in time, he put his arm around me and said an Irish blessing over me. Then I prayed an Irish prayer over him.
"So why don't you finish the shot," I asked. As he screwed the lid back on, he said, "because I want to share the rest with my friends. Thanks for honoring me and my friends today."
It was a good moment, a God moment, and he knew his story mattered to me and maybe he began to see God differently.
Incarnation calls you to care about everyone's story. The incarnational life is about listening with a specific ear to those things that have disoriented a person's heart and mind. And as you learn to lay down trite generalizations, debilitating dogma, useless legalism, and out-of-context Bible verses, you'll understand the true context of a person's heart and find the most strangely appropriate ways of helping people move toward Jesus.
Sacrilege is the key to your friends finding God, and if you will be a disciple of Jesus and make it your life's goal to be as irreligious, and even sacrilegious, you may find that all the cold, black-and-white world of Christianity explodes with colors of the kingdom.
"From my youth onwards I have found in Jesus my great brother. That Christianity has regarded and does regard him as God and Savior has always appeared to me a fact of the highest importance which, for his sake and my own, I must endeavor to understand . . . I am more than ever certain that a great place belongs to him in Israel's history of faith and that this place cannot be described by any of the usual categories."
Martin Buber, leading Jewish writer, thinker, philosopher, and theologian (1878-1965).
Scientist Says Immortality Only 20 Years Away
Published: July 16, 2012
Ray Kurzweil, a world-renowned scientist and author of The Singularity is Near, thinks the world as we know it will be unrecognizable in 20 years. - - One of the changes he thinks are possible: Scientists may finally crack immortality. - - "I and many other scientists now believe that in around 20 years we will have the means to reprogramme our bodies' stone-age software so we can halt, then reverse, aging," he writes in The Sun. "Then nanotechnology will let us live for ever. Ultimately, nanobots will replace blood cells and do their work thousands of times more effectively." - - Kurzweil, whose fans include Bill Gates adn Bill Clinton, makes a number of other substantial claims, such as humans being able to replace all failing organs with artificial ones. He says we'll be able to scuba dive for hours without oxygen, and write entire books within minutes thanks to advanced nanotechnology.
Oh, virtual sex will also be commonplace in the not-so-distant future.
Kurzweil's absurd-sounding proclamations stem from the fact that technological progress is growing at an exponential rate.
"Computer technology and our understanding of genes -- our body's software programs -- are accelerating at an incredible rate," he writes. His theory of the Law of Accelerating Returns, suggests there will be another "billion-fold" increase in technology over the next quarter century. - - "In reality, the time needed for technology to double is constantly decreasing," Inc's Kevin Bailey explains. "The next thing to realize with an exponential curve, is that at a certain point progress relative to time skyrockets up. The increase in technology that once took 20 years now takes 10, and then 5, and then 2.5, and then 1.25, and then .75 years, and then on and on. Kurzweil claims that we are right at the beginning of the sharp upturn that's characteristic of exponential curves." - - Kurzweil thinks we're just beginning to tap into the possibilities artificial intelligence can bring, and the advancements will only get more wild. We're already using it in small ways to help us land airplanes and conduct searches on Google.
"These technologies should not seem at all fanciful," says Kurzweil. "Our phones now perform tasks we wouldn't have dreamed possible 20 years ago. When I was a student in 1965, my university's only computer cost £7million and was huge."
Kurzweil concludes, "We can look forward to a world where humans become cyborgs, with artificial limbs and organs."
(He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. John 10:1)
By Dr. Mercola (Edited from longer article.)
When I first read that genetically modified humans have already been born, I could hardly believe it. However, further research into this story featured in the UK's Daily Mail1proved it to be true. They've really done it... they've created humans that nature could never allow for, and it's anyone's guess as to what will happen next.
Even more shocking was the discovery that this is actually old news!
The Daily Mail article was not dated, and upon investigation, the experiments cited actually took place over a decade ago; the study announcing their successful birth was published in 20012.
While I typically comment on recent findings and health related news, in this case I will make an exception, because I think many of you may be as surprised by this information as I was. I do not propose to have any answers here as this is out of my scope of expertise.
At best, I hope I can stir you to ponder the implications of this type of genetic engineering, and I invite you to share your perspective in the vital votes' comment section below. As reported in the featured article:
"The disclosure that 30 healthy babies were born after a series of experiments in the United States provoked another furious debate about ethics... Fifteen of the children were born... as a result of one experimental program at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of St Barnabas in New Jersey.
The babies were born to women who had problems conceiving. Extra genes from a female donor were inserted into their eggs before they were fertilized in an attempt to enable them to conceive.
Genetic fingerprint tests on two one-year- old children confirm that they have inherited DNA from three adults--two women and one man."
Human Germline Now Altered... What Happens Next?
Today, these children are in their early teens, and while the original study claims that this was "the first case of human germline genetic modification resulting in normal healthy children," later reports put such claims of absolute success in dispute. Still, back in 2001, the authors seemed to think they had it all under control, stating:
"These are the first reported cases of germline mtDNA genetic modification which have led to the inheritance of two mtDNA populations in the children resulting from ooplasmic transplantation. These mtDNA fingerprints demonstrate that the transferred mitochondria can be replicated and maintained in the offspring, therefore being a genetic modification without potentially altering mitochondrial function."
It's relevant to understand that these children have inherited extra genes--that of TWO women and one man--and will be able to pass this extra set of genetic traits to their own offspring. One of the most shocking considerations here is that this was done--repeatedly--even though no one knows what the ramifications of having the genetic traits of three parents might be for the individual, or for their subsequent offspring.
Based on what I've learned about the genetic engineering of plants, I'm inclined to say the ramifications could potentially be vast, dire, and completely unexpected.
As a general, broad-strokes rule, it seems few scientists fond of gene-tinkering have a well-rounded or holistic view of living organisms, opting instead to view the human body as a machine. And as demonstrated with the multi-varied problems that have arisen from genetically engineered foods--from the development of superweeds and superpests, to the creation of a never-before-seen organism now linked to miscarriage and infertility--such a view is bound to lead you to the wrong conclusions...
IRAN PREPARES TO SHUT DOWN STRAIT OF HORMUZ
Awaits legislation that would put stranglehold on 40% of world's oil
by F. MICHAEL MALOOF
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabali said that military plans have been drawn up to close the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, but added Iranian forces won't shut it down until they receive the go-ahead from Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei.
In addition to drawing up plans for the strait's closure and awaiting permission from Iran's supreme leader, the Iranian Parliament, or Majlis, still needs to give final approval.
Earlier this month, the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Iranian Parliament drafted a bill requiring the government to stop all oil tankers shipping to those countries that support sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union against Iran's oil sales.
Senior lawmaker Javad Karimi Qoddousi outlined some of the draft law's provisions: "Based on the draft bill, the closure of the Strait of Hormuz will continue until the annulment of all the sanctions imposed against Iran, and the government will be allowed to open the strait only after meeting 14 conditions."
He said the legislation also includes imposing a three-percent tariff on ships carrying other cargos destined for oil-importing countries, such as the U.S. and E.U. countries that support sanctions against Iran.
The tariff, he said, will be one of the conditions for opening the waterway to those countries' oil tankers, and payment must be wired to Iran's Central Bank, on which the West also has imposed sanctions.
Another Iranian lawmaker, Mehdi Moussavinejad, said that the draft legislation will be submitted to the parliament's presiding board in late July to be put on the calendar for "double-urgency" consideration by all members of the Majilis.
This could mean that any final decision approved by the Majlis may not be forthcoming until late July, with Khamenei making a final decision by early August.
The Strait of Hormuz, situated between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, is a narrow transit way for some 40 percent of the world's oil production, including much of the crude oil pumped from the oil fields of Saudi Arabia.
In announcing military plans for the strait's closure, Firouzabali dismissed claims made by Western countries that Iran cannot block the strait.
"They allege that we are bluffing is a bid to appease themselves," Firouzabali said. "The armed forces have their own plans for every subject, but the decision to close the Strait of Hormuz lies on the Commander-in-Chief, Ayatollah Khameinei, who also receives consultations from the Supreme National Security Council."
The U.S. Navy has assessed that Iran has the capability to block the strait, even temporarily, by sinking ships in the narrow transit channels, or by laying mines.
It also has a hard-to-detect "rocket mine" that's set off by a distinctive magnetic or acoustic signature of a ship. Once a ship, such as a U.S. aircraft carrier, is detected, Iranian sources say, it then launches a propelled, 600-pound warhead at it.
Another is a Russian MDM6, which lies on the seabed and fires a torpedo-like warhead when it senses a vessel. It, too, is difficult to detect and can launch against multiple targets.
Both of these types of undersea mines are launched by Iran's Russian-built Kilo-class submarines, according to sources.
In addition, sources say, the Iranians intend to use "swarm" tactics of heavily armed hit-and-run speed boats, which can be equipped with torpedoes, such as the super-cavitating Russian Skhval, which can travel a reported 250 kilometers an hour. At present, there is no defense against it.
The Iranians also have their own version of the Skhval, called the Hoot.
Iran has ratcheted up its rhetoric on closure of the strait since even more stringent U.S. and E.U. sanctions went into effect July 1 against Iranian oil imports in response to failure to reach agreement on Iran's nuclear program, despite numerous international meetings.
Meanwhile, Israel has threatened to bomb Iran's nuclear sites if it doesn't halt its enrichment efforts, should sanctions and diplomatic discussions fail.
The West believes Iran's nuclear program is a cover for developing nuclear weapons, while the Iranians insist that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has a right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
In addition, Iran said the West lacks any evidence that the Islamic republic is embarked on a nuclear weapons program.
Russia ready for showdown with UK over arms being transported to Syria in cargo ship
By WILL STEWART
14 July 2012
Russia is heading for a diplomatic stand-off with Britain over a cargo ship carrying helicopter gunships destined for Syria, which is accompanied by the Russian navy.
The Russian MV Alaed, which is transporting three Mi-25 attack helicopters and air defence systems, is sailing south of Norway followed at a distance of 50 nautical miles by the four navy ships.
Last month, Britain dramatically halted the Alaed off the coast of Scotland by withdrawing its London-based insurance cover, citing an EU ban on arms deliveries to the government in Damascus.
Foreign Secretary William Hague protested to Moscow and Prime Minister David Cameron is understood to have considered storming the ship before it returned to the Arctic port of Murmansk.
But the Alaed set sail again last week, this time under a Russian flag rather than one from the Caribbean island of Curacao, which means any attempt to board it could trigger an international incident.
In order to reach Syria, the vessel will have to skirt round British waters.
A top Russian naval source yesterday confirmed that a formal order was expected soon for the Russian naval ships to provide a close escort for the Alaed.
The source at the Russian Navy Main Staff said: 'I hope that no one will be unleashing World War Three because of it. We have not yet been ordered to escort the ship, but understand such an order can come at any time. The operation has already been planned.' He refused to give further details of the operation.
Smoke rises from Juret al-Shayah in Homs which has been the scene of some of the fiercest clashes between Assad's regime and opposition forces
Norwegian defence officials have confirmed that the Alaed is sailing along its coastline with the Russian ships behind. 'They are sailing in the same direction,' said one.
Officially, the Alaed is now bound for the Russian naval port of Baltiysk in the Baltic, and then to St Petersburg before sailing to Vladivostok on the Pacific coast.
But Russian officials have repeatedly made clear that the final destination of the cargo is Syria.
Foreign Secretary William Hague protested to Moscow about the shipment of helicopter gunships
Some experts suspect the vessel may now sail close to the British Isles this week, sparking a tense showdown. Others believe the cargo may be transferred to another ship before being taken to Syria.
Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, the deputy head of Russia's military technical co-operation agency, warned at the Farnborough Airshow last week: 'The fleet will be sent on task to guarantee the safety of our ships, to prevent anyone interfering with them in the event of a blockade.'
Moscow has insisted that it is not bound by EU restrictions and that, in any case, the helicopters would not be used against civilians.
It insists the ship has every right within international law to deliver the cargo, fulfilling a 2009 contract to repair the attack helicopters.
Last night, a Foreign Office spokesman said: 'We're aware of reports that the MV Alaed is on the move, but its final destination is not clear.'
Yesterday, a suicide bomber blew up his car in the central Syrian town of Muhrada, killing four people, the country's state news agency said.
Muhrada is close to the village of Tremseh, where scores of people were killed last Thursday.
The United Nations has blamed Syrian government forces for the Tremseh deaths, saying troops were seen using heavy weaponry and attack helicopters.
President Assad's administration has denied responsibility for a massacre, saying the army intervened while armed terrorists were harassing the village.
Film Crew Near Fukushima Plant: "That was bizarre, I felt it as well" -- Camera cuts to black, unidentified screaming after radiation hits 5,000 microSv/h
Hiroshi: Let's head towards the mountains.
Ian: It's getting fairly high right now.
Cameraman: What is it now?
Ian: It's 5!
Man: It's 60... 80... This is impossible! It's 100!! It's 300!
Hiroshi: It just hit 500!
Ian: Turn back! Turn back! Turn back!
Man: This is not good.
(Camera cuts to black; Unidentified screams)
Man: Oh my god.
Cameraman: I think we're in trouble. That was bizarre. I felt it as well.
In response to a question from arclight about the ending, the filmmaker writes:
It's difficult to explain, but basically, we drove into a radiation hotspot and something happened in the car. What was it? Even the four members who were in the car don't all agree on exactly what occurred. I hope viewers can watch this (along with Part 5) and decide for themselves what they think happened.
UN Gun Grab Follows State Department Plan
"Complete disarmament" of the American people
Paul Joseph Watson - Infowars.com - Monday, July 16, 2012
The UN Arms Trade Treaty that has been identified by observers as a flagrant threat to the second amendment and which Barack Obama is determined to sign has its roots in a 1961 State Department memorandum which explains how the United Nations will oversee "complete disarmament" of the American people under the ruse of preventing war.
The UN Arms Treaty has caused so much controversy because it outlines a plan to target "all types of conventional weapons, notably including small arms and light weapons," according to Forbes' Larry Bell.
Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton also warns that the agreement "is trying to act as though this is really just a treaty about international arms trade between nation states, but there is no doubt that the real agenda here is domestic firearms control."
A letter sent last month by 130 Republican House members to President Obama argued that the treaty should be rejected because it infringes on the "fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms". The letter adds that "...the U.N.'s actions to date indicate that the ATT is likely to pose significant threats to our national security, foreign policy, and economic interests as well as our constitutional rights."
Using the rhetoric of the threat post by terrorists, insurgents and "international crime syndicates," the UN is busy trying to imply that all weapons are somehow involved in illegal activity on a global scale and should therefore be controlled and regulated by a global authority.
This is precisely the same language used in a 1961 U.S. State Department briefing which outlined a long term agenda to carry out a "Program for General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World."
Invoking the threat of nuclear warfare, the document spells out a plan to create a "United Nations Peace Force" that would "enforce the peace as the disarmament process proceeds."
While the document initially focuses on scrapping nuclear weapons, it later makes it clear that the only groups allowed to own weapons of any kind would be governing authorities, "for the purpose of maintaining internal order," and the UN "peacekeeping" force itself, which would require "agreed manpower."
"The manufacture of armaments would be prohibited except for those of agreed types and quantities to be used by the U.N. Peace Force and those required to maintain internal order. All other armaments would be destroyed or converted to peaceful purposes," states the document.
While the memorandum outlines a broader mandate to destroy national sovereignty, eviscerate national armies and institute the UN as the planet's supreme authority with a world army, the document serves as a stark reminder that the plan for the United Nations to oversee the abolition of the second amendment has been in the works for decades.
As Bell points out in his Forbes article, the threat of the Obama administration relying on a UN treaty to do what successive administrations have tried but failed to accomplish - taking a huge bite out of the second amendment - is by no means far fetched.
After all, a plethora of UN treaties and international agreements have already stripped the United States of its sovereignty and its power to decide its own laws. The power to authorize U.S. involvement in wars and conflicts has now been almost completely stripped from Congress and handed to the United Nations.
Following Barack Obama's arrogant rebuff of Congress in seeking approval to strike Libya, during which he churlishly remarked, "I don't even have to get to the Constitutional question," Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta affirmed that the U.S. now requires "international permission" before deciding on its military policy.
Other Obama-endorsed UN power grabs like the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) as well as Agenda 21 and sustainable development are also serving to decimate national sovereignty and remain almost completely under the radar.
You only need to look at the European Union, which now crafts around 50 per cent of the laws made in member states like Britain, to understand how unelected global institutions can and have dictated policy on a national level.
The UN Arms Trade Treaty presents an existential threat to the guns rights of American citizens and should be rejected for what it is - yet another attempt by the Obama administration, in the aftermath of the Fast and Furious scandal, to abolish the second amendment by stealth.
OBAMA PREPARING FOR CITIZEN UPRISING?
Exclusive: Andrea Shea King sounds warning over White House power grab
by ANDREA SHEA KING
Andrea Shea King is a talk-radio host who also writes at The Radio Patriot website and is known as Central Florida's "First Lady of Space Coast Conservatism."
Could this be about not being able to warn others that something is going on in your neighborhood or that it's headed their way?
Over the past week, the Internet and talk radio have been buzzing about an Executive Order quietly signed by President Obama that allegedly authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to get ready to shut down all domestic communication in case of a declared national emergency. Let me repeat: All domestic communication, which includes "New Generation Systems" - a.k.a. the Internet - within the United States.
Just exactly what qualifies as a "national emergency" is not clearly defined. But something tells me we'll soon find out.
White House Executive Order 13618, signed July 6, 2012, and titled "Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions," could be used to prevent communication between U.S. citizens, allege some concerned, thus allowing the president to eliminate any and all opposition to his plans. You decide. The complete EO can be read here.
An article that recently appeared in Zero Hedge ("Guest Post: What Is President Obama So Afraid Of?") connects the dots:
"Taken in conjunction with the NSA's new Utah spy center (which will collect and archive the complete contents of every email, tweet, Facebook post, Google search, phone call and text message) and the National Defense Authorization Act, it's clear that the Obama administration is expecting trouble from within.
"And with good reason," the article continues. "By every possible calculation (except flat-out fraud), the U.S. government is completely insolvent, and its balance sheet is growing worse by the day. The dollar is beginning to be seriously challenged as the global reserve standard, and every effort politicians make to 'fix' the economy only makes things worse.
"As a matter of convenience, people are willing to deal with a lot of pain. They'll suffer through wars, recessions, and all sorts of national unpleasantness. But the moment that rapidly decaying economics and shortages prevent people from being able to put food on the table for their families, they rise up," the article warns. "Just look at the Arab Spring.
"This is all playing out with nearly perfect historical precision," the article concludes. "Time and time again throughout history as once great empires accelerated their declines, governments have taken steps to protect their interests against the people."
Bounty Hunters Unleashed on Crooked Bankers
Iceland has potentially set a new trend in the finance community. According to Business Insider, their government has hired an ex-cop; a white collar crime bounty hunter who wants to make sure the bankster criminals pay the price for their elaborate crimes.
Iceland's government appointed Ã“lafur ÃžÃ³r Hauksson to locate such individuals that had a helping hand in the collapse of the banking sector in a time of extreme credit-crunching. Hauksson is responsible for investigating any and all suspicious cases involving fraud before 2009.
The good news for him is that he's not working alone. He's got 100 top-notch researches rigorously working around the clock to help make this a smoother and quicker process.
Mr. Hauksson expands on this notion saying, "...on the other hand, we bring the lawsuits against the suspects to court ourselves." This technique is brand new stuff which allows the investigators to "follow the case" and the judicial system to "know the cases like the back of their hand". This is undeniably advantageous in order "to compete with the well-prepared defence attorneys". - - And don't think that fleeing the country warrants your safekeeping. LeMonde reporter Charlotte Chabas explains, "Searches continue and the team pursues its investigations abroad in the foreign subsidiaries of the Icelandic banks and includes questioning foreigners." "We enjoy full international cooperation,' adds Olafur Hauksson." - - Hauksson has all of his ducks in a row when it comes to this mission and he's got some impressive convictions under his belt meriting quite a bit of respect for the success he's experienced in this new job. He's even tracked down the former chief of staff of the country's finance minister and arrested him for insider trading.
While many criminals that have already been caught still await their sentencing, Hauksson is actively on the prowl to find more felons. With plenty of places to run, but nowhere to hide, some big bankers are surely weak in the knees and stressed to the core.
Who's to say other countries aren't already doing the very same thing in order to crack down on the greed and fraudulence that led to the latest overwhelming economic collapse?...
To avoid the Olympic weather forecast, please look away now
So what if the expert view is that an Ice Age is imminent - the cold never held Britain back, says Boris Johnson.
A spot of rain never bothered us Photo: REUTERS/Paul Hackett
By Boris Johnson
16 Jul 2012
I put down the phone and gazed at the teeming skies. I considered my options. Maybe it was time for prayer. Perhaps we could stage a pagan ritual at Stonehenge, involving either the sacrifice of maidens (if there are any these days), or a goat, or a rabbit, or maybe just a worm -- whatever the RSPCA would allow.
Maybe it was time to call upon the sun god Ra, or Phoebus Apollo, or Sol Victrix, or whatever name he now goes by, and lift our hands in chanting entreaty. Come on, O thou fiery spirit that animates the world. Come on out from wherever you are hiding. Shine the light of your countenance upon us, you miserable blighter. Extend thy beams, so reverend and strong, and dry the water from our upturned cheeks. Flatter the mountain tops with your sovereign eye, vaporise the thunderheads, and give us all a break.
Give us poor Britons some kind of a summer - before the entire country dissolves like a sugar cube and sinks into the sea. If you think July has been wet so far, you should hear the forecast I have just been given. In fact, I am about to pass on the news, but before I do so I want you to know (a) that I flatly refuse to believe it and (b) that even if it turns out to be true, then I know that it will make not a bean of difference to our collective morale or to the global festival of sport that we are about to lay on in London.
I have just been on the blower to my old chum, Piers Corbyn, the world's foremost meteorological soothsayer, and he sounds like Jeremiah with an ingrown toenail. This is the same Corbyn, with a first-class degree in physics, who decisively beat the Met Office in 2010 and accurately forecast the cold and snowy winter -- and I am afraid he has been bearish about this summer from sometime in February or March.
According to Piers and his team at Weather Action, we all underestimate the role of the sun. This is set to be just about the wettest July on record, he says, and that is mainly because of things taking place in the nuclear fireball millions of miles away from earth. "Sometime too bright the eye of heaven shines," says the Poet, and often is his gold complexion dimmed. This is one of the dim moments. The old boy is suffering from some kind of solar acne, called "coronal holes", and on July 12 he apparently emitted a colossal flare - a cosmic spurt of X-rays and other charged particles; and, by a process that we (or at least I) do not fully understand - perhaps because rain droplets form more easily when there are charged particles around - this distemper in the celestial orb is helping to cause the current inundations.
For the sake of completeness, and so that no one can later accuse me of concealing the bad news (what did he know about the weather, and when did he know it?), I should say that Piers has a general thesis that the current phase of grim weather - cold, snowy winters and wet summers - is just the prelude to something yet more bracing. We are heading, he says, for a mini Ice Age. These wet Julys and frosty Januaries are part of the opening drum roll of a cold period that will set in over the next decades.
Some say it will be upon us by 2045, some say by 2030. Looking at the pattern of the last few years, Piers Corbyn now thinks it could be sooner than that. He does not say that sabretooth tigers will roam the streets of Newcastle. He does not say that the Thames will freeze at London Bridge and that we will have fairs on the ice - unlikely, given how fast the river flows these days. But he does believe that it will get nippier, and that we will see the kind of cold period last experienced in the late 17th century and early 18th century.
That is the long-range forecast; and as for the next few days - well, do you want me to tell you what the short-term forecast is? Do you really want to know what the augur Corbyn foresees for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games? Brace yourselves. "We're very confident that there will be a lot of rain - a deluge, really - during the entire Olympic period, and we are 80 per cent sure that the Opening Ceremony itself will feature heavy rain, including hail and thunder."
Well, my friends, I have two rejoinders. The first is that I don't necessarily agree. Piers may be wrong. As I look out of my window this very moment, I can see beautiful blue sky and high, fleecy clouds - a perfect day. I have watched the flight of the birds, and they seem perfectly auspicious to me (a pair of pigeons, obviously much in love, occupying the right hand portion of the sky). Over the course of lunch I will examine the entrails of my Cornish pasty, but I can already tell you the results of the extispicy. Yes, there will be some greyish turnip, presaging more cloud; but also bright yellow swede, indicating more glorious sunshine.
In other words, it is going to be a classic English late July; and even if Corbyn is right in every particular - even if we can expect some more moisture - is that the end of the world? We have just staged a flawless Wimbledon; huge crowds are turning out for the torch relay, whatever the weather, and all enjoying themselves; the parks are heaving with joyous concerts, rain or shine. And even if we are about to enter a little Ice Age, the last ones didn't seem to impede Britain's rise to a position of global dominance.
Blow, winds and crack your cheeks. Blow, you cataracts and hurricanoes, spout till you have drenched our country yet again. We don't give a monkey's. We like a spot of precipitation. It intensifies the pleasure of the sun. Made us what we are. And by the way, it still rains more in Rome than it does in London.
Spectacular black and white pictures show the best views of Saturn's rings ever captured by space probe
Micro apartments - the next big thing?
Published : Monday, 16 Jul 2012
NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City renters have long made a habit of sacrificing square footage to save money. Now, the government wants to help them move into even smaller spaces.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is inviting developers to propose ways to turn a city lot into a building filled mostly with micro-units of no more than 300 square feet.
The pilot program could lead to a change in regulations that currently require new apartments to be at least 400 square feet.
Bloomberg said the shift will help accommodate the changing population. He says young professionals are waiting longer to start families.
Bloomberg says a shortage of small homes is forcing people to move into illegal subdivisions. The city has 1 million studio and one-bedroom apartments for 1.8 million one- and two-person households.
Chick-fil-A's gay marriage stance causing a social storm
18 Jul 12
The fact that Chick-fil-A is a company that espouses Christian values is no secret. The fact that its 1,600 fast-food chicken restaurants across the country are closed on Sundays has long been testament to that.
But the comments of company President Dan Cathy about gay marriage to Baptist Press on Monday have ignited a social media wildfire.
"Guilty as charged," Cathy said when asked about his company's support of the traditional family unit as opposed to gay marriage.
"We are very much supportive of the family - the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that," Cathy is quoted as saying.
Strong feelings of support and disagreement have followed, making Chick-fil-A the top Google trend on Thursday morning as the company's Facebook and Twitter pages were burning up with arguments.
"Hate mongers! Never again! Not another $ from me," Duke Richards wrote on Facebook.
"Goodbye Chikkk-fil-a! your food was delicious, but I can no longer eat nuggets filled with hate!" read a post by Blake Brown.
Eatocracy: Fast food with a side of faith
"I am truly ashamed of the recent admittance from Mr Cathy about your bigoted company practices. I hate the fact that my money was used for this. I will never support your company (and) will make sure anyone I know does not either," Mikell Kirbis wrote on Facebook. "While I'm not a Christian I know that hate is not in God's plan nor (is) ignorantly picking sections of the Bible to brandish. Good bye and I hope either you change your ways or close down."
But the support for the company was just as vehement.
"Just wanted to say I'm proud that you stand firm in your beliefs. You knew the risks, and still took the plunge. May God bless this company with abundance. Never back down!" said a Facebook post from David Jones.
"Thank you for standing up for what you believe. The truth is not hate. It's just the truth," wrote Sharon R Boyd.
"I love the values that this restaurant stands for and will support it every dang chance I get! Pay no attention to the morons spewing hate!" read a post from Raymond Joy.
I personally admire Chick-fil-A for really backing their beliefs. It's so rare that you find people in the business world that will do that.
In a statement to CNN on Wednesday, the company said it would stick by its principles, but it tried to withdraw from the heated social media debate over them.
"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect - regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent owner/operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena," said a statement from Don Perry, the company's vice president of corporate public relations.
The Human Rights Campaign, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group, said Wednesday that Cathy's comments gave consumers a clear choice.
"It's strange to say, but it's good to see Chick-fil-A finally admit to their anti-LGBT policies," Michael Cole-Schwartz, the organization's director of communications, told CNN. "Now fair-minded consumers can make up their own minds whether they want to support an openly discriminatory company or take their business elsewhere. As the country moves toward inclusion, Chick-fil-A has staked out a decidedly stuck-in-the-past mentality."
Gay Pride Flag Flown Over Whitehall
By Nick Clegg
The rainbow flag has been hoisted over Whitehall to coincide with London's gay pride celebration this weekend.
The symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride is fluttering over the Cabinet Office where deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has his office.
The Lib Dem leader said the move was a "small but important emblem that the Government and this country are behind equal rights".
''I'm absolutely delighted that, with a little bit of persuasion and determination, we've been able to fly the rainbow flag for this weekend's festivities. I hope this is the start of a new era of pride across the historic Whitehall village," he said.
Yesterday Clegg said he thought churches and other religious premises should be allowed to host gay weddings.
The deputy prime minsiter stressed that while he did not want to force any religious group to marry same-sex couples, he saw no reason to stop churches from doing so if they chose to.
His comments go beyond the proposals to legalise civil marriages for homosexual men and lesbians, set out in a government consultation paper which has sparked a furious reaction from some religious groups.
The proposals, backed by prime minister David Cameron, envisage same-sex civil marriage ceremonies in a register office or approved premises but no change to religious marriages, which can only take place between a man and a woman.
Under the proposed reforms, religious premises would continue to be allowed to host civil partnership registrations on a voluntary basis, but without any religious content.
Clegg told the Evening Standard: "This is a personal view at the moment, but I think that in exactly the same way that we shouldn't force any church to conduct gay marriage, we shouldn't stop any church that wants to conduct gay marriage.
According to study published in the New Scientist back in 1998, there is a direct connection between the Sun's solar storms and human biological effects.
The conduit which facilitates the charged particles from the Sun to human disturbance -- is the very same conduit which steers Earth's weather -- - the magnetic field. Animals and humans have a magnetic field which surrounds them -- in the very same way the magnetic field surrounds the Earth as a protector.
From 1948 to 1997, the Institute of North Industrial Ecology Problems in Russia found that geomagnetic activity showed three seasonal peaks each of those years (March to May, in July, and in October). Every peak matched an increased incidence of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide in the city Kirovsk.
Electromagnetic activity from the sun affects our electronic devices and human electromagnetic field. We are physically, mentally, and emotionally altered by electromagnetic charges from the sun, our body can feel sleepy but also become highly energized.
Psychological effects of CMEs (coronal mass ejections) are typically short lived and include headache, palpitations, mood swings, and feeling generally unwell. Chaotic or confused thinking, and erratic behaviors also increase. Solar storms can drive our emotions and maximize it to both good and bad side - the point here is to be aware of it.
Pineal gland in our brain is also affected by the electromagnetic activity which causes the gland to produce excess melatonin, a hormone which can cause sleepiness but it's also known that some people have opposite side effects, usually those that are aware of the effects.
Riding the power wave - pineal gland stimulation
Our pineal glands have excess melatonin production during solar storms - electromagnetic activity. Many biological effects of melatonin are produced through activation of melatonin receptors, while others are due to its role as a pervasive and powerful antioxidant, with a particular role in the protection of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.
Pineal gland is also referred as the third eye, and the third eye is also known as the inner eye. The third eye is a mystical and esoteric concept referring in part to the ajna (brow) chakra in certain dharmic spiritual traditions, in particular Hinduism. This concept was later adopted by Christian mystics and spiritualists as well as people from other religious faiths. It is also spoken of as the gate that leads within to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness. Among Christian mystics, the term is used in a broad sense to indicate a non-dualistic perspective. In New Age spirituality, the third eye may symbolize a state of enlightenment or the evocation of mental images having deeply personal spiritual or psychological significance. The third eye is often associated with visions, clairvoyance (which includes the ability to observe chakras and auras), precognition, and out-of-body experiences. People who have allegedly developed the capacity to utilize their third eyes are sometimes known as seers.
For the reasons most of you know - humans tend to have their pineal glands heavily calcified - sleeping.
Fluoride (found in tap water, toothpaste, processed foods...) is just one of the things that causes calcification of pineal gland. Fluoride is magnetically attracted to the pineal gland where it forms calcium phosphate crystals more than anywhere else in the body. How to decalcify pineal gland?
Third eye should be active, vibrant and strong... the process of decalcification sometimes includes headaches and sleepiness... - the same as they say for solar storms like the one in effect now.
World Truth TV
75 PERCENT OF ALL 'HONEY' SOLD IN STORES CONTAINS NO HONEY AT ALL
Just because those cute little bear-shaped bottles at the grocery store say "honey" on them does not necessarily mean that they actually contain honey. A comprehensive investigation conducted byFood Safety News(FSN) has found that the vast majority of so-called honey products sold at grocery stores, big box stores, drug stores, and restaurants do not contain any pollen, which means they are not real honey.
For the investigation, Vaughn Bryant, one of the nation's leading melissopalynologists, or experts in identifying pollen in honey, and director of the Palynology Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University, evaluated more than 60 products labeled as "honey" that had been purchased by FSN from ten states and the District of Columbia.
Bryant found that 76 percent of "honey" samples purchased from major grocery store chains like Kroger and Safeway, and 77 percent of samples purchased from big box chains like Sam's Club and Wal-Mart, did not contain any pollen. Even worse were "honey" samples taken from drug stores like Walgreens and CVS, and fast food restaurants like McDonald's and KFC, 100 percent of which were found to contain not a trace of pollen.
So what is all this phony honey made of? It is difficult to say for sure, as pollen is the key to verifying that honey is real. According to FSN, much of this imposter honey is more likely being secretly imported from China, and may even be contaminated with antibiotic drugs and other foreign materials.
Most conventional honey products have been illegally ultra-filtered to hide their true nature
According to FSN, the lack of pollen in most conventional "honey" products is due to these products having been ultra-filtered. This means that they have been intensely heated, forced through extremely tiny filters, and potentially even watered down or adulterated in some way prior to hitting store shelves.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) holds the position that any so-called honey products that have been ultra-filtered are not actually honey. But the agency refuses to do anything to stop this influx of illegitimate "honey" from flooding the North American market. It also continues to stonewall all petitions to establish a national regulatory standard for verifying the integrity of honey.
Ultra-filtering eliminates and destroys all medicinal properties of honey
Assuming that there is any real honey at all in the phony honey products tested by FSN, the removal of pollen and other delicate materials via ultra-filtering renders them medicinally dead. Raw honey is a health-promoting food that can help alleviate stomach problems, anemia, allergies, and other health conditions. Ultra-filtered honey is nothing more than a health-destroying processed sugar in the same vein as white table sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
The good news is that all of the honey products FSN tested from farmers markets, food cooperatives, and "natural" stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, were found to contain pollen and a full array of antioxidants and other nutrients. Local beekeepers are another great source of obtaining raw, unprocessed, real honey.
Physical inactivity causes 1 in 10 deaths worldwide, study says
By Matt Sloane, CNN
July 18, 2012
Researchers say physical inactivity has become a global pandemic.
(CNN) -- Physical inactivity causes 1 in 10 deaths worldwide, according to a series of studies released in British medical journal The Lancet, putting it on par with the dangers of smoking and obesity. The results also suggest that public health officials treat this situation as a pandemic.
Specifically, Harvard researchers say, inactivity caused an increase in deaths from coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancers and caused more than 5.3 million deaths in 2008 worldwide.
If physical inactivity rates were to go down by even 10% to 20% worldwide, they say, it could save between a half-million and 1.3 million lives each year. This could also raise global life expectancy by almost a year.
"This summer, we will admire the breathtaking feats of athletes competing in the 2012 Olympic Games," wrote Dr. I-Min Lee, a Harvard researcher and the lead author of an article accompanying the series of studies. "Although only the smallest fraction of the population will attain these heights, the overwhelming majority of us are able to be physically active at very modest levels, which bring substantial health benefits."
This series of five studies was specifically timed to be released just days before the start of the 2012 Olympics in London next week, and each of the studies focused on one specific issue related to physical inactivity and its effect on global health.
Adults and children at increased risk
The first in the group of five studies suggested that one-third of adults, and close to 80% of adolescents worldwide, are at increased risk of disease as a result of physical inactivity.
According to the report, some 1.5 billion adults worldwide face a 20% to 30% increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
Researchers also found that inactivity levels varied widely across the globe, with the lowest levels in Bangladesh (5%) and the highest levels in Malta (71%).
"In most countries, inactivity rises with age and is higher in women than in men [34% vs 28%]," wrote Dr. Pedro C. Hallal, a professor at the Universidade Federal de Pelotas in Brazil. "Inactivity is also increased in high-income countries."
Why are some people more active?
The second study looked at why certain people and groups of people exercise while others do not.
The study authors found that previous research focused on individual-level factors such as age, sex and socioeconomic status, and they were conducted primarily in high-income countries. But they suggest future research focus on middle and lower-income countries.
"Research has been heavily concentrated in a few developed countries, most of which have stable or falling rates of noncommunicable diseases, rather than in low-income countries where understanding of evidence-based strategies for increasing physical activity is poor," wrote Adrian Bauman, a researcher from the University of Sydney in Australia. "Targeting factors known to cause inactivity is key to improving and designing effective interventions to increase activity levels."
Bauman and his colleagues found that health status, being male, young or wealthy tend to make people more physically active, as does family and societal support for physical activity.
What works to promote physical activity
The third article in The Lancet series looked at what specific programs and types of programs work to promote physical activity.
"Because even moderate physical activity such as walking and cycling can have substantial health benefits, understanding strategies that can increase these behaviors in different regions and cultures has become a public health priority," wrote Gregory Heath, a researcher from the University of Tennessee and the lead author of this study.
Too much TV linked with weaker kids
Heath and his team found that the use of mass-media campaigns to promote exercise, as well as signs to remind people to be active -- taking the stairs, for example -- had some effect on getting people more active.
The team also found that free, public exercise events, creating an environment that was conducive to exercise (bike lanes and walking trails), and improving public transportation were more likely to improve physical activity.
"Overall, our findings showed the interventions to have consistent and significant effects on physical activity and behaviors," Heath wrote. "Even though in some instances the effect sizes of these interventions were rather modest, they were large enough to translate into real population-level benefits if rolled out on a larger scale."
Using mobile phones to get people active
The fourth study found that technology, and specifically cell phone technology, could be significant in helping people get fit.
"With the high prevalence of both physical inactivity and the rapid growth of the mobile phone sector in low-income and middle-income countries, there is a potential for population-level effects that could truly affect global health," wrote Dr. Michael Pratt, a researcher from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers believe that with more than 4 billion text messaging users worldwide, this could be an effective way to deliver health-conscious messages, particularly in low-income countries.
According to this report, Pratt and his team estimated that using Internet-based technologies could be twice as effective in middle-income countries as in high-income countries, given that 71% of the world's population lives in these countries and many have access to cell phones.
"This is a big challenge, but marked progress in countries such as Colombia and Brazil suggests that it is also an achievable challenge," he wrote.
Obesity should be considered a pandemic
The final report suggests that physical inactivity should be recognized as a global pandemic and should be treated like any other infectious-disease pandemic would be.
"The role of physical inactivity continues to be undervalued despite robust evidence of its protective effects," wrote Harold Kohl, a researcher at the University of Texas School of Public Health and lead author of this study. "The response ... has been incomplete, unfocused and most certainly understaffed. ... The effect of this tardiness has been to put physical activity in reverse gear compared with population trends and advances in tobacco and alcohol control and diet."
Kohl called on countries -- low, middle and high-income -- to work across disciplines to fix this problem.
"Physical inactivity is an issue that crosses many sectors and will require collaboration, coordination and communication with multiple partners," he wrote, citing specifically city and community planners, transportation engineers, schools, parks and recreation officials and the media.
He says that almost 75% of World Health Organization member countries have some sort of plan to improve physical activity, but only 55% of the plans have been put into effect and only 42% of the plans in effect are well-funded.
"Substantial improvements in the infrastructure of planning and policy, leadership and advocacy, workforce training and surveillance must be realized," he said.
Research: Gold and Tea Outperform Chemo in Fighting Cancer
Anthony Gucciardi -
July 18, 2012
When examining the body of research on alternative cancer treatment methods and substances, it is quite easy to find a multitude of research highlighting the anti-cancer effects of many 'super' substances such as ginger and turmeric. The latest research on the subject shines a light on just how powerful the combination of gold and tea can be in conquering cancer, and even the mainstream media is reporting on the amazing results. While the process ignores countless other peer-reviewed alternatives and even adds a radioactive quality to gold nanoparticles, it still manages to heavily outperform chemotherapy.
Gold and Tea Combo Beats Chemo
Hailing from the University of Missouri, researchers have developed the new method to target cancer using a special compound found in tea leaves matched with a unique blend of gold nanoparticles. When compared to current chemotherapy 'treatments' in which patients receive mega doses of chemicals in order to kill their cancer cells, the gold and tea method is a clear winner for a number of reasons. For starters, chemotherapy doesn't just 'kill' cancer cells. In fact, it can kill you as well.
The very same chemicals intended to eradicate cancer cell spread throughout the rest of your body, damaging your organs and leading to a wide variety of other significant health complications. One such complication can be death. The new gold and tea treatment however, while still having serious flaws (verses treatment options without any radioactive components), actually is confined to attacking only the tumor -- and with using a dosage that is thousands of times smaller than traditional chemotherapy.
Simply by using this gold and tea process instead of harsh chemotherapy -- which actually oftentimes kills the patient more so than even the cancer itself, scientists state that tumor size was able to be reduced by around 70 to 80%. Senior researcher and study leader Kattesh Katti from the University of Missouri explains:
"These types of chemicals in tea have the properties capable of converting gold salt into nanoparticles... The new gold/tea treatment would require doses that are thousands of times smaller than typical chemotherapy. We were able to reduce the tumor size by 70 to 80 percent."
In the past, research has found a number of highly promising chemo alternatives ranging from household spices to delicious superfoods. Research published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in July showed that in 9 out of 11 studies, turmeric spice was effective in reducing tumor size by a shocking 81%. Similarly, Georgia State University has reported a riveting 56% decrease in tumor size simply by utilizing the natural anti-cancer properties of ginger -- only one of many benefits of ginger.
MASS AWAKENING: THE NEW GOLDEN AGE?
By Paul McGuire -
July 16, 2012 - NewsWithViews.com
Many people believe that we are the verge of a mass awakening of global consciousness that will usher in a New Global Golden Age for mankind. The converging prophecies of the Mayan Calendar, Bible prophecy, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce and many others point to future time of Utopia for mankind. Although, these sources have strong disagreements, as to the nature and timing of these events, there are many signs that something big is about to happen. Movies like "Thrive," and the documentary movie, "Convergence," by David Wilcock; all talk about the coming spiritual evolution of the human race.
The world is in one of the greatest periods of crisis in the history of mankind and people are looking for hope and answers. On many levels, science has merged with religious teachings that explore consciousness, meditation and new theories on the origins of man. As a consequence many people are turning to new fields in science along with contemporary and ancient religious traditions for answers.
The first thing we must understand about contemporary religious movements that use terms like "mass awakening," "ascension," and " cosmic consciousness," is that many of these ideas have their roots in Hinduism, Buddhism and the mystery religions of ancient Babylon. In addition, there is a global resurgence in the interest in the field of Bible prophecy, where growing numbers of people believe we are living in the last days.
These contemporary religious movements are rooted the teachings of ancient Buddhism, which has been re-invented and translated into high-tech Western scientific terms. What has been coined the New Age Movement, by the mass media is really the combining and blending of various spiritual movements that are centuries old.
For example, the origin of Hinduism dates back as early as 2000 to 1000 B.C. Hinduism has no historical founder, but its tradition teaches that its spiritual laws and truths were revealed to spiritual men called rishis, who lived along the banks of the Ganges and Indus rivers in northern India. According to Hinduism, Brahman is the supreme, absolute, eternal, infinite, neuter Spirit Being. Brahman is also perfect and unchangeable. Hinduism teaches that only that which is permanent is real. Because all things change except Brahman, only Brahman is real. Hundreds of lesser gods can be worshiped by the Hindu because all gods are seen as different aspects of the one Brahman.
According to Hinduism, every living thing has a spirit or soul, called an atman, which comes from Brahman. The final destination of the human atman is union with Brahman, but this cannot be achieved in just one lifetime. Therefore, each individual atman, or soul, must pass from body to body, lifetime after lifetime, guided by the law of karma. This is called reincarnation, or the transmigration of the soul. The law of karma determines what type of life will be lived in each reincarnation. According to this law, your current life is the product of your deeds in past lives. Your next reincarnation will depend on your deeds during this life. There is a whole new breed of spiritual teachers that have spread their messages on radio, television and the various social media of the Internet.
David Icke, a popular teacher on consciousness and conspiracies, visited the pre-Inca Sillustani burial ground located near Puno, Peru. Icke describes having a "kundalini" experience while standing on a mound of earth. "Kundalini," is a term from Indian yoga, where psychic energy moves up the spine by activating energy centers of "chakras," which bring you into higher consciousness.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is exploring all kinds of technologies, biology and spirituality in its" Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance" project. Scientists are recognizing that peak performance can be achieved utilizing centuries old spiritual practices like visualization and meditation. Radio talk show host and founder of the Foundation for Human Understanding (FHU), Roy Masters teaches a non-religious meditation technique, that many combat veterans have used to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD).
The religion of Buddhism was founded in India by Siddhartha Gautama (later called "the Buddha" or "enlightened one"), who lived between 560 and 480 B.C., as a protest against certain Hindu doctrines. Siddhartha Gautama was raised in an affluent family and did not even know that poverty existed until he left the pleasant confines of his father's palace. Siddhartha was so disturbed by the poverty and despair that existed that he decided to go on a spiritual journey to find answers. Shaving his head and donning a robe, Siddhartha Gautama traveled and consulted with gurus and spiritual teachers.
Finally, Siddhartha Gautama began to meditate, became "enlightened," and developed what became known as the Noble Eight-fold path that would lead to nirvana or "perfect insight," a quality of mind. These eight techniques consisted of: (1) right belief, (2) right aspiration, (3) right speech, (4) right action, (5) right occupation, (6) right effort, (7) right thought, (8) right meditation.
FROM THE PAST TO THE PRESENT
Coupled with these ancient belief systems (Hinduism and Buddhism) are the more recent ideas of women like Madame Blavatsky who founded the Theosophical Society and wrote Isis Unveiled in the late nineteenth century. Blavatsky's Theosophical Movement emphasized the Hindu and Buddhist teachings of reincarnation and taught there are mahatmas ("great souls" or exalted beings) who have come to earth to teach us the way to enlightenment.
The ideas of the Theosophical Society blended with Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Science teachings and with dozens of other hybrid religious movements in the early twentieth century. However, the most immediate spiritual predecessor of the contemporary New Age Movement was the Hippie movement of the 1960s and the earlier Beatnik movement of the 1950s. Both of these cultural and social phenomena came about as reactions to the materialism of the post-World War II years.
Poets, writers, philosophers, and intellectuals (such as Alan Watts, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Gregory Corso) called for a new brand of American consciousness and popularized the use of marijuana and Eastern meditation in our culture. By the 1960s, the ideas of men like Timothy Leary were increasingly acceptable to larger segments of society, and the appeal of pop music groups, such as the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Starship, the Doors, and the Beatles, ushered the psychedelic-mystical revolution into the living rooms of millions of ordinary middle-class teenagers. When John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison began to follow the guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of Transcendental Meditationâ„¢, millions of Americans joined them.
Many of the spiritual movements now popular in the New Age movement had their twentieth-century revivals in the 1960s and early 1970s. In fact, many social analysts believe that the New Age movement is nothing more than an attempt to rediscover the interests of the 1960s and the idealism of the Hippie movement.
But the current New Age Movement has made some interesting departures from its earlier predecessors that reflect the maturity of its followers. There has been a de-emphasis in the use of drugs in favor of health foods, meditation, channeling, crystals, and astral projection. Channeling and astral projection have replaced the powerful psychedelic experience of the 1960s, although there are signs of a possible resurgence of LSD through the work of modern shamanists like Terrence McKenna and the popularity of the Albert Hoffman Institute in Los Angeles, which seeks to protect the use of LSD experimentation. (Albert Hoffman was the Swiss chemist who accidentally discovered the chemical LSD.)
At the same time the New Age Movement was taking off, the Jesus Movement also exploded across the country, where hundreds of thousands of Hippies converted to Christianity, under the teaching of men like Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel. The Jesus Movement emphasized a literal interpretation of the Bible and an interest in Bible Prophecy. The members of the Jesus Movement saw prophetic significance in the reformation of Israel as a nation in 1948. The term "Jesus is coming," was popularized by this movement, which believed in the any moment return of Jesus Christ, in an event called "The Rapture." Although, the timing and Biblical validity of "the Rapture,' is hotly disputed, it was a core belief of the Jesus Movement.
NEW AGE PRACTICES AND TERMS
To understand more clearly what the New Age Movement and other contemporary religious movements teach, we must understand some of the terms associated with it and the practices employed by it.
Channeling - The practice of channeling is not new. It is what the Old Testament termed mediumship, consulting with spirits, and spiritism. Channeling or mediumship is when an individual willfully yields to a spirit by going into a trancelike state. Channeling has been around for centuries and is mentioned in the Old Testament. King Saul consulted mediums and channelers when he was looking for supernatural answers.
First Samuel 28:7 says: "Then Saul said to his servants, 'Seek for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.' And his servants said to him, 'Behold, there is a woman who is a medium at Endor.'" We knew that Saul knew that it was wrong to consult mediums, for he had to visit the medium in disguise, having previously cut off all mediums and spiritists from the land. Saul disregarded the Old Testament teaching sought counsel from the channelers of his day.
Astrology - This New Age practice goes way back in to the Tower of Babel, which was built as an astrological worship tower. The practice of astrology was forbidden in the Book of Leviticus. The prophet Isaiah warns against the practice of astrology in Isaiah 47:13-14: "You are wearied with your many counsel; let now the astrologers, those who prophesy by the stars, those who predict by the new moons, stand up and save you from what will come upon you. Behold, they have become like stubble, fire burns them; they cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame...." Yet, many American presidents and their wives have called famous astrologers into the White House for counsel, including Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Ronald Reagan was also a big believer in Bible prophecy and planned foreign policy on the belief that Armageddon was coming soon.
New Age medicine and holistic health have become a big part of alternative medicine. Terms like homeopathy, herbs, chakras, acupuncture, deep tissue bodywork massage, Rolfing, polarity energy balance, clinical ecology, environmental stress, Reichan Therapy, Tibetan Reiki Therapy, Kirlian photography, electro-acupuncture, mineral balancing, chelation therapy, colon hydrotherapy, amino therapy, aromatherapy, integrated metabolic programs, bio-energetics, flower essences, and reflexology are just a few of the current trends in the medical arts.
It has only been in the last thirty years that many Christians have embraced nutrition. It is not a New Age or religious idea, to eat foods free of chemical pollutants and dangerous pesticides. Reducing our cholesterol intake by cutting down on red meats and fats, and eat more bran, fruits, and vegetables. Although, vegetarianism has its roots in Hinduism, due to the belief in reincarnation, many people are avoiding meat and dairy products to the amount of hormones, antibiotics and chemicals placed in them.
Vegetarianism and eating healthy can be a universal idea. The Apostle Paul talks about the importance of taking care of the body. "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Meditation - This ancient Hindu and Buddhist practice involves emptying the conscious mind in order to become passive and to awaken the God-consciousness within you through the use of a mantra. By concentrating and chanting a mantra word, your mind supposedly becomes attuned to what mystics call your higher self or cosmic consciousness.
Today, meditation can be practiced in a religious sense and as a non-religious exercise, where an individual is clearing the mind of thought, which has scientifically beneficial results, apart from religion.
Also, there is a long tradition of sound Christian meditation, not to be confused with Eastern forms of meditation. It is certainly proper to meditate on the Word of God or to think in a concentrated manner about what God is doing in your life. "I have more insight than all my teachers, for thy testimonies are my meditation," says the writer of Psalm 119:99. Meditation on the Bible involves focused thinking about what God has said. It is completely different from opening your mind to the "cosmic consciousness."
Visualization - First of all, visualization to some degree is a normal function and creative tool of the mind. Every person before beginning any project or goal employs some kind of visualization in order to achieve it. Many athletes use a technique of visualization when they mentally picture themselves winning or performing a specific task successfully. Studies show that good automobile drivers who have low accident records often visualize or fantasize how they would get out of a particular accident situation while they drive. When they are faced with a potential accident, they have already rehearsed in their minds what action they are going to take to avoid it.
A certain degree of visualization is necessary to perform activities in life successfully. This kind of visualization is, however, different from the shamanistic Hindu practices that are magical in nature.
When considering things like a mass awakening of global consciousness that will usher in a New Global Golden Age for mankind, it is important to understand the historical roots of ideas that are theological in nature. Ideas have consequences. For example, many people believe in total pacifism and the teachings of Gandhi. That is a noble aspiration, but again ideas have consequences. Gandhi's approach worked because he was appealing to the British Empire. Whatever you think of the British Empire, they had to one degree or another, a moral code. If Gandhi had tried the same approach with Adolph Hitler, who believed in brute force, with no moral restraints, Hitler would have slaughtered Gandhi and his followers.
There are tremendous pressures on society, families and mankind right now. Through technology we have the power to destroy and enslave, at scope that is beyond the human imagination. The desire for world peace and harmony are not bad things. But, they must be understood historically and theologically. Millions believed Hitler was a Messiah, who would bring in a new golden age for mankind. When Adolph Hitler spoke, his words created a mass awakening. But, the fatal flaw in the followers of Adolph Hitler who killed over eight million people and Lenin, who killed or imprisoned over 100 million people, was the failure to discern the nature of evil.
That is why you cannot just study one religion or philosophy. I personally believe the study of the Old Testament and New Testament is essential for understanding the time we live in. The Bible has distinct way of revealing the dark side of mankind, which we must understand, if we are to be free people. When you study Bible prophecy in particular, you see specific warnings by the ancient prophets, about a world charismatic leader who will rise in the last days. This leader will rise to power, promising a new golden age and world peace. However, in the end, this world leader is a wolf in sheep's clothing and he will bring tyranny and destruction. I am optimistic about the long term future of mankind. But, I want to learn from history and make sure that before I jump on board, a "Mass Awakening," that it is the right kind of awakening. In other words, I want to look before I leap.
Until next week...keep on believing.
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death, where is
thy sting? O grave, where is
(1 Corinthians 15:55)