Category: America

Cahokia: North America’s massive, ancient city

It was a sprawling civilization.

Matt Davis

22 February, 2019

  • Near modern-day St. Louis, Missouri, you can find towering mounds of earth that were once the product of a vast North American culture.
  • Cahokia was the largest city built by this Native American civilization.
  • Because the ancient people who built Cahokia didn’t have a writing system, little is known of their culture. Archaeological evidence, however, hints at a fascinating society.

Mesopotamia had Ur, a wealthy city from 2100 BCE and a towering ziggurat. Egypt had Memphis and Alexandria, with their great pyramids and library, respectively. The Toltecs or Totonacs, who resided in modern-day Mexico, had Teotihuacan, which hosted over 125,000 people in its monolithic architecture.

Ancient cities seem to have sprung up all over the world, each of which must have been magnificent sights in their day. But it seems like a handful of these cities hog all the limelight. Though Teotihuacan may be known, for instance, few are familiar with North America’s other great ancient city, Cahokia.

Mysterious mounds near St. Louis 

Monks Mound, the largest remaining mound in Cahokia. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

About 10 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri, 80 mounds of earth dot 2,200 acres of land, the largest of which covers 13.8 acres and rises 100 feet high. These 80 mounds are the remainders of 120 mounds built 1,000 years before Columbus reached North America by a forgotten people called the Mississippians, named after the great river they lived near. All told, the mounds would have required the excavation of about 55 million cubic feet of earth.

The Mississippian civilization is poorly understood; they had no writing system, and by the time Europeans bothered to seriously document their culture, they had been scattered, wiped out by European diseases they had no immunities to.

Instead, much of our understanding of the Mississippians has come from archaeology, and the city of Cahokia represents the greatest trove of archaeological evidence. The city was named after the Cahokia tribe that lived in the area when the French first arrived, though they were not its original inhabitants. In fact, by that time in the 17th century, Cahokia was abandoned.

Though the Mississippians had no writing system, Cahokia was clearly the product of some kind of centralized planning. Its many great mounds are a testament to that, as well as the 50-acre leveled plain of the city named the Grand Plaza; the remains of a copper workshop; a palisade that surrounded its central, ceremonial district; and large henges made of wood.

When Cahokia was at its greatest between 1050 and 1200 CE, it hosted an estimated 40,000 Mississippians, more than the city of London at the time. The bulk of these people flocked to the city between 1050 and 1100, where they built homes, established the Grand Plaza, and built more mounds that raised important buildings over the thousands of other homes in Cahokia.

Life in Cahokia

We can glean some other features of Cahokian life from the fragments they left behind. We’ve found carved discs throughout Cahokia that were used in a game called “chunkey” that was played on the large flat field of the Grand Plaza. Participants rolled the chunkey stone across the field and threw spears toward where they thought the stone would come to rest. Huge audiences watched chunkey players, and players often gambled on the outcome.

But life in Cahokia wasn’t entirely fun and games. There is also evidence that the Cahokians engaged in human sacrifice. At one mound in particular, dubbed Mound 72, researchers found the remains of 272 people. In one instance of sacrifice, 39 people were lined up in front of a pit and clubbed one by one, falling into a mass grave. Two dozen different mass graves populate Mound 72, all of which contain the remains of people who had been strangled, clubbed, and even buried alive.

But there’s also a more reverent grave at Mound 72: a man buried on 20,000 beads made from seashells, which were status symbols and luxury items in Mississippian culture. These beads were arranged in the shape of a falcon. The falcon was an important symbol in Mississippian culture, typically associated with great warriors and chunkey players.

The city’s decline

By the time Columbus and other Europeans arrived in America, Cahokia was abandoned and had been since approximately 1300. What drove the Mississippians away from the vast city is unclear. It’s possible there had been some kind of conflict with another people — the palisade that encircled part of the city speaks to that.

Or, it could be that the unique density of Cahokia led to its downfall. Few other places in North America had tens of thousands of humans living in close proximity with one another. It could be that disease wiped out the Cahokians or that the area was overhunted, overfished, and overfarmed. Some evidence also suggests that the area was severely flooded twice: once between 1100 and 1260 and again between 1340 and 1460. Possibly a combination of these factors led the mound-builders to abandon Cahokia.

Today, Cahokia is preserved as a historic site that anyone can visit. However, Cahokia only gained its protective status in the 1960s. Prior to that, it was the site of heavy development — some of its mounds had been leveled for farming, airfields, housing, and highways. Fortunately, much of the site still remains, and it represents one of the few ancient cities left to visit in North America.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9686

Another Kind of Religious Leader Must Arise

Shane Idleman | Contributor to ChristianHeadlines.com | Tuesday, February 26, 2019

As I’ve stated before: With rapid-fire changes within a culture saturated by political correctness and relativism, we are inclined to ask if there is any hope for America. If we continue down this slippery slope, there is little hope. Apart from a national spiritual awakening, it will be difficult to turn the Titanic around—the vessel has been struck; what’s inside is spilling out. But if God brings revival…if we once again set our hearts and minds on Him…there is tremendous hope. Revival means to awaken, restore, renew, or repair. In churches across America, crowd appeal and pleasing the masses tends to be the goal rather than calling out destructive lifestyles, which can result in revival and renewal.

A.W. Tozer in an article entitled, Prophetic Preaching, hit the nail on the head when he wrote this, decades ago: “If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation, it must be by other means than any now being used. If the Church in the second half of this century is to recover from the injuries she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of preacher.”

Tozer also said, “The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting.”

He concludes, “Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will be not one but many), he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom. Such a man is likely to be lean, rugged, blunt-spoken and a little bit angry with the world. He will love Christ and the souls of men to the point of willingness to die for the glory of the One and the salvation of the other. But he will fear nothing that breathes with mortal breath.”

Those who have been called to preach, much like the prophets in the Old Testament, will confront compromise, condemn moral digression, and powerfully denounce sin in the hope of reconciling man to God—they speak the truth in love. The world, and carnal Christians, despise them because they challenge the sin they enjoy.

Preachers will ruffle feathers and step on toes from time-to-time, but it should be the result of the truth being spoken in love verses the preacher having an arrogant and judgmental heart. In a sense, a preacher is called to break the heart, a pastor to mend it; one concentrates on repentance, the other restoration. Although there can be a mixture of both preacher and teacher in a person, there is often a clear difference. Pastors (and teachers) aim for the mind; preachers aim for the heart, will, and emotions—to stir and to convict. Often…

The pastor builds—the preacher tears.

The pastor counsels—the preacher convicts.

The pastor rejoices—the preacher weeps.

The pastor plants—the preacher uproots.

The pastor teaches—the preacher preaches.

The pastor mends—the preacher breaks.

The pastor is full of hope—the preacher is full of fire.

The pastor loves to listen—the preacher needs to speak.

The pastor sees the good in others—the preacher sees the depravity in man.

The pastor desires to be among the people—the preacher desires to be alone with God.

As the famous Puritan Richard Baxter said, “I preach as a dying man to dying men”… as a dying man to a dying nation. The church, and our nation, desperately needs to hear “the voice crying in the wilderness” to awaken, convict, and restore.

All pastors should ask, “Does the world love the way we ‘do church’?” Do they appreciate that your church never challenges, or calls things into question? Do they like the fact that your church never makes them feel uncomfortable or offended? Are they grateful that you never discuss controversial issues? If so, you may want to reconsider Jesus’ words that true disciples will be hated by the world because they speak the truth, not because they avoid it.

Leonard Ravenhill, in Why Revival Tarries, wrote, “God has always had His specialists whose chief concern has been the moral breakdown of the nation and the church. Such men were Elijah, Jeremiah, Malachi, and others of their kind who appeared at critical moments in history to reprove, rebuke, and exhort in the name of God and righteousness. Such a man is likely to be drastic and radical; the curious crowd that gathers to watch him will soon brand him as extreme, fanatical, and negative…and, in a sense, they are right…for he cannot turn off the burden of the Holy Ghost.”

I pray that God would raise up many humble preachers—men who allow God to shape their sermons and penetrate their hearts to bring America, and the world, to her knees.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9683

Pope Francis Hold Unprecedented Closed-Door End Times Meeting With Head Of The Mormon Church, Prophet President Russell M. Nelson

A visit between a pope and the man considered a prophet by millions of Latter-day Saints would have been unimaginable to leaders and members in both churches 50 years ago. Clandestine olive branches and decades of détente were necessary, according to sources from both faiths interviewed for this story. That is exactly what has happened. In fact, today’s meeting is a culmination of a web of deepening and expanding alliances between the Latter-day Saints and the Roman Catholic Church and its many sister organizations.

by Geoffrey Grider March 9, 2019

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Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church and Prophet President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met today at the Vatican in the first-ever face-to-face discussion between the heads of the two global churches.

During his reign as both king of Vatican City and as the pope of the Catholic Church, Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been widening his tent and making preparations for the coming One World Religion of Antichrist. From seducing gullible pawns like Rick Warren who gushingly calls  him ‘our pope’,  all the way up to signing a ‘Universal Peace Document‘ with a high-ranking leader of Islam, Pope Francis is a man on an end times mission.

“For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:3,4 (KJV)

Now a secret, closed-door meeting with the head ‘prophet’ of the Mormon Church, Russell Nelson, reveals the expansion of another end times partnership as the Vatican adds more pieces to their end times chessboard. The Roman harlot is on the move, and trading in the souls in men.

Pope Francis meets with Mormon President Nelson in the Vatican

FROM THE DESERET NEWS: “The differences in doctrine are real and they’re important,” President Nelson said afterward as he stood just outside St. Peter’s Square, “but they’re not nearly as important as the things we have in common — our concern for human suffering, the importance of religious liberty for all of society, and the importance of building bridges of friendship instead of building walls of segregation.”

The two world religious leaders shared a belief that faith in God brings morality and stability to society. “If we have a godless society, we have a rudderless ship,” President Nelson said.

The pope extended the invitation for a private audience to the Latter-day Saint leader in conjunction with President Nelson’s trip this weekend to Italy, where he will dedicate thehistory-making new Rome Italy Temple.

The two men met for 30-35 minutes and also discussed their mutual concern for the youth in their churches, their concern about secularization and the desire for people to worship God, President Nelson said.

President M. Russell Ballard, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, joined President Nelson in the meeting, along with Elder Massimo De Feo, a General Authority Seventy, and Elder Alessandro Dini Ciacci, an Area Seventy. President Nelson’s executive secretary, Mark Woodruff, also attended.

The pope presented President Nelson with two gifts, his declarations on the family and on the Islamic faith. President Nelson gave the pope a Lladro figurine of the Christus statue and a copy of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”

After the meeting, the Latter-day Saint leaders smiled as they walked arm in arm down Via della Conciliazione — the Road of the Conciliation — to address a large media contingent with the iconic St. Peter’s Basilica in the background.

The most senior Latter-day Saint leader to meet with a pope before today was President Henry B. Eyring, who was greeted by Pope Francis in November 2014 when both spoke at an international marriage summit at the Vatican. President Eyring then was the first counselor in the First Presidency.

A visit between a pope and the man considered a prophet by millions of Latter-day Saints would have been unimaginable to leaders and members in both churches 50 years ago. Clandestine olive branches and decades of détente were necessary, according to sources from both faiths interviewed for this story. That is exactly what has happened. In fact, today’s meeting is a culmination of a web of deepening and expanding alliances between the Latter-day Saints and the Roman Catholic Church and its many sister organizations.

That growing relationship has intensified during the past decade, resulting in collaborations that now have the two churches working side-by-side all over the world on projects vast and tiny.

The Deseret News conducted more than 20 interviews with people from both faiths around the world, from Bosnia to Rome and from Salt Lake City to Norway, to provide a definitive look at how the churches’ combined efforts are not only helping to resolve differences between their own members but delivering emergency humanitarian aid to some of the world’s most vulnerable people — including many at the U.S.-Mexico border — as well as working to defend religious liberty and to bolster families.

“We explained to His Holiness that we work side by side, that we have projects with Catholic Relief Services all over the world, in over 43 countries,” President Ballard said. “We’ve been shoulder-to-shoulder as partners, and try to relieve suffering, trying to help people that are struggling. He was very interested in that and was very cordial , very kind to us.”

Rome and Salt Lake City

On Thursday, Catholics and Latter-day Saints indeed worked side-by-side to help the homeless and refugees in their respective headquarters, Rome and Salt Lake City.

That appeared impossible in the 1950s when, fearing their own congregations would be scandalized if church members knew they were meeting, the leader of the Latter-day Saints came to Salt Lake City’s Holy Cross Hospital for conversations with the head of the Salt Lake City Catholic diocese.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9676

Top US general in Europe: Don’t give Turkey F-35 if they buy Russian system

By: Aaron Mehta and Joe Gould   22 hours ago

The sale of the F-35 to Turkey could be halted should the country buy a Russian air defense system. (Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee/U.S. Air Force)

WASHINGTON — The top uniformed officer in NATO and the head of American forces in Europe said Tuesday that if Turkey goes through with its decision to buy a Russian air defense system, he would recommend the Pentagon refuse to give Ankara its planned purchase of the F-35 joint strike fighter.

Testifying in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti said it would be his “best military advice” that sales to Turkey of the F-35 be cut, should that nation buy the S-400 air defense system.

“If they accept the S-400 to establish it in Turkey, there is first the issue that it’s not interoperable with NATO systems, nor is it interoperable inside of our integrated missile defense system. The second has to do with the F-35. It presents a problem to all of our aircraft, but specifically the F-35, I believe,” Scaparrotti said.

“My best military advice would be that we don’t then follow through with the F-35 — flying it or working with an ally that is working with Russian systems, particularly air defense systems, with one of our most advanced technological capabilities,” he added.

The comments came in an exchange with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who has sponsored legislative language to to explore Turkey’s removal from the F-35 program.

Concerns about Turkey’s decision to procure the S-400 are nothing new. Officials in the U.S. and Europe believe Russia could gain a dangerous amount of information on the fifth-generation fighter should the systems be linked.

But Scaparrotti’s statement is particularly notable, as he also serves as supreme allied commander of NATO. His comments come weeks after the Munich Security Conference, where U.S. Vice President Mike Pence warned Turkey that “we will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries. We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East.”

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Turkey plans to buy 100 joint strike fighters over the course of the program, and its first F-35 pilots have already begun training alongside U.S. pilots at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. Turkish companies play a key industrial role in the program as one of the producers of the center fuselage and the maker of the cockpit display.

As a result of the planned S-400 procurement, the Pentagon launched a large study into whether it would be possible to remove Turkey from the F-35 industrial base.

Asked about the industrial base, the general said: “For them I would underscore this is a huge decision for Turkey. I have talked to them, as all of our leadership has.” He added that there is a team on the ground today talking with the Turks about the issue.

“I would hope they would reconsider this decision on the S-400, one system, but potentially forfeit many of the other systems and one of the most important systems we provide them,” he said.

One such system besides the F-35 that could be impacted should Russia buy the S-400 is the Patriot missile defense system, which Turkey was recently cleared to buy.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9669

One Day After Jared Kushner Says Israel’s Walls ‘Must Come Down For Peace’, Benjamin Netanyahu Is Indicted On Fraud And Bribery Charges

Benjamin Netanyahu expressed confidence that most voters won’t be influenced by the announcement, but said that even if it influences a few not to vote for him, it will bring the Left to power.”I’ve never seen the Left so happy…They’re sewing suits” to wear because they expect to become ministers, Netanyahu said.As for the timing, 40 days before the April 9 election, Netanyahu said “every citizen knows this is outrageous and meant to bring down the Right.

by Geoffrey Grider February 28, 2019

Only the voters will decide if I remain in office, not bureaucrats, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after Attorney-General Avihai Mandelblit announced on Thursday his intention to indict the premier on multiple charges of fraud and breach of trust, and one bribery charge, pending a hearing.

Just as the radical Progressive Left in America wakes up each and every day thinking of how they might be able to bring down President Donald Trump, the radical Progressive Left in Israel does the same with their hatred of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Today they scored of victory of sorts as the Israeli attorney general announced his intention to indict Netanyahu on a variety of charges.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” Psalm 122: 6 (KJV)

Is Netanyahu guilty? I honestly don’t know. What I do know, however, is that Benjamin Netanyahu has done more to boost the Israeli economy, and has done more to boost Israeli border security than any other leader in the 70 years history of regathered Israel. Netanyahu certainly seems like God’s man for this time to me.

Personally, I do not think that Benjamin Netanyahu is guilty, at least not of what he is being charged with. Either way, he has my support. Please pray that these charges against him will come to nothing. I cannot imagine the changes that might take place if Israel were to replace him with a Liberal leader. Because if Netanyahu were to be replaced, then maybe Jared Kushner’s peace plan that involves tearing down all of Israel’s security walls might just happen after all.

Netanyahu to Be Charged With Bribery Pending Hearing

FROM THE JERUSALEM POST: Benjamin Netanyahu gave a very political speech from the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, focusing on the timing of the charges and arguing that they are meant to bring down the Right, repeatedly using the phrase “witch hunt.”

The prime minister opened by talking about his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and comments US President Trump made overnight Wednesday, calling him tough and smart. He argued that he and the Likud have made Israel stronger than ever before.

“These connections are not to be taken for granted,” Netanyahu said. “The Left knows they cannot compete with these achievements in the voting booth, so they put massive pressure on the attorney general to indict even though there is nothing, in order to influence the elections and put the Left in charge.”

Netanyahu expressed confidence that most voters won’t be influenced by the announcement, but said that even if it influences a few not to vote for him, it will bring the Left to power.

“I’ve never seen the Left so happy…They’re sewing suits” to wear because they expect to become ministers, Netanyahu said.

As for the timing, 40 days before the April 9 election, Netanyahu said “every citizen knows this is outrageous and meant to bring down the Right. “I am not being given the chance to disprove the accusations until after the election – and I will disprove them all,” he added.

Netanyahu appeared to choke up with tears when he talked about the “seven circles of hell” his family has been through in recent years. He specifically referred to an accusation that he tried to have an article about his son dating a non-Jewish Norwegian woman removed from Walla, saying: “What father wouldn’t defend his son?

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9654

United Methodist Church Splits Right Down The Middle As Conservatives Vote ‘No’ On LGBTQP ‘One Church Plan’

This was a surprise: The denomination’s bishops, its top clergy, pushed hard for a resolution that would have allowed local congregations, conferences, and clergy to make their own choices about conducting same-sex marriages and ordaining LGBTQ pastors. This proposal, called the “One Church Plan,” was designed to keep the denomination together. Methodist delegates rejected its recommendations, instead choosing the so-called Traditional Plan, which affirmed the denomination’s teachings against homosexuality.

by Geoffrey Grider February 27, 2019

The United Methodist Church voted on Tuesday to toughen its teachings against homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and LGBTQ clergy. It must now decide whether it will stay together.

The United Methodist Church pulled off a surprise, no, make that a shocking upset over the forces of spiritual darkness by voting NO on the proposed pro-LGBTQP ‘One Church Plan‘ at meetings that lasted over the weekend and into the past few days. But that victory, tenuous as it may be, comes at the cost of a huge church split right down the middle. Watchers on both sides are predicting a mass exodus of pro-LGBTQP people by the time all the dust from this battle settles.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:3-5 (KJV)

Now granted, the UMC has not been, since the days of John Wesley, anything remotely resembling a real Bible believing church. Their own Book of Discipline says that the “United Methodist Church is part of the holy catholic church…”. But even so, this vote was very, very surprising. Especially to the forces of the LGBTQP who thought for sure this would be a slam-dunk for their agenda.

If you would have said to me 28 years ago when I first got saved, that I would live to see the day where the homosexual and transsexual movement would battle for control of the heart and soul of the professing Christian church, I would have said you were nuts. Stark raving mad. This is still the Church Age, after all, not even the Tribulation! But boy, oh boy, are we being pressed right up against that edge. That can only mean one thing as I see it.

Flight #777 on Titus213 Airlines now boarding…time to go Home.

Conservative Christians Just Retook the United Methodist Church

FROM THE ATLANTIC: At a special conference in St. Louis this week, convened specifically to address divisions over LGBTQ issues, members voted to toughen prohibitions on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy.This was a surprise: The denomination’s bishops, its top clergy, pushed hard for a resolution that would have allowed local congregations, conferences, and clergy to make their own choices about conducting same-sex marriages and ordaining LGBTQ pastors. This proposal, called the “One Church Plan,” was designed to keep the denomination together. Methodist delegates rejected its recommendations, instead choosing the so-called Traditional Plan, which affirmed the denomination’s teachings against homosexuality.

This is a consequential vote for the future of the United Methodist Church: Many progressive churches will now almost certainly consider leaving the denomination. It’s also a reminder that many Christian denominations, including mainline groups such as the UMC, are still deeply divided over questions of sexuality and gender identity. While the UMC in the United States is roughly evenly divided between those who identify as traditionalists and those who identify as moderates and liberals, it is also a global organization. Many of the growing communities in the Philippines or countries in Africa are committed to theological teachings against same-sex relationships and marriages.

Self-described traditionalists in the United Methodist Church got the outcome they’ve been fighting for. Still, “I think there’s a lot of grief on all sides,” said Keith Boyette, the head of the Wesleyan Covenant Association and a main proponent of the Traditional Plan, in an interview on Tuesday. Methodists are in mourning for a United Methodist Church that might be on the brink of a mass exodus.

For years, LGBTQ Methodists, clergy, and their supporters have argued that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities should be fully included in the denomination as leaders, and that their families should be recognized. “As someone who has grown up in our Church, as someone who is gay and goes to one of the least religious colleges in the U.S., my evangelism on campus has grown,” said J. J. Warren, a senior at Sarah Lawrence College who hopes to become a Methodist pastor, during the conference on Tuesday. “We have brought people to Jesus … They did not know God could love them, because their churches said God didn’t … If we could be a Church that brings Jesus to people who are told can’t be loved, that’s what I want our Church to be.”

Others in the denomination, however, see LGBTQ issues as a proxy for bigger divisions over biblical teachings. “This is not a political or social kind of difference. It is primarily, for us, a theological difference, and the truth that the Church has been raised up to share,” Boyette said. “When a Church begins to fracture around its compliance with its doctrine and ethics and discipline, it becomes a house divided. It becomes dysfunctional.”

According to its Book of Discipline, the denomination’s collection of laws and doctrines, Methodist pastors are not allowed to conduct same-sex weddings, and “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” cannot be ordained. In practice, however, a number of Methodist clergy and churches have made clear that they disagree with this teaching, at times openly defying it. A lesbian pastor, Karen Oliveto, was even elected a bishop in the Church, a position she still holds even though the denomination’s judicial council later ruled that her marriage to a woman violated Church doctrine. At the same time, other churches remain deeply committed to UMC teachings against same-sex marriage and relationships.

The United Methodist Church, which was formed in a 1968 merger between two denominations, has known for a long time that it would eventually have to address these deeply felt disagreements over LGBTQ issues. At the denomination’s 2016 General Conference, delegates asked UMC bishops to produce recommendations for how the Church should resolve divisions over LGBTQ issues. Over the next three years, Methodist leaders developed the One Church Plan, which would have allowed local pastors and regional conferences to make their own decisions, keeping the denomination together but allowing for diversity in its ranks.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9652

Concerned with Closer Turkish-Russian Ties, Trump Blocks F-35 Sale

By JNS February 20, 2019 , 11:11 pm

For I know how many are your transgressions and how great are your sins— you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate. Amos 5:12 (The Israel Bible™)

U.S. President Donald Trump signed appropriations legislation late last week that blocks the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.

The transfer of these fighter planes to Ankara will not proceed until the U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Secretary of Defense provide an update to Congress related to Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 missile-defense system from Russia.

The Pentagon, reporting to Congress in late November, noted that Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400 missile systems from Moscow could enable Turkey’s potential ejection from the F-35 program, in addition to purchasing other weapons such as Lockheed’s F-16 fighter, UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and Boeing’s CH-47F Chinook helicopter.

“We will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries,” said U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday in a warning to Ankara. “We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed on Monday the purchase and said that there would be no undoing of the decision.

“Having the S-400 from Russia is an outcome of this pursuit,” Erdoğan declared to supporters Monday. “Now [Washington], you tell us to give up purchasing the S-400 [but] … don’t provide us joint production and financial support.”

Aykan Erdemir, former Turkish parliament member and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said that the Trump administration’s attempts persuade Turkey away from the Russians have largely failed.

“Washington’s attempt to use positive incentives to encourage Ankara to choose Patriot air defense system over the Russian S-400 system has failed to deliver results,” he said.

“The language in the spending bill signed by Trump will likely trigger U.S. sanctions against Turkey and block the transfer of F-35s, as Washington’s policy moves from positive incentives to negative incentives,” he continued.

“At this point, Erdoğan seems to be strongly committed to his deepening partnership with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, and is unlikely to be swayed by Washington’s positive or negative incentives,” added Erdemir. “Erdoğan has been pivoting Turkey away from the transatlantic alliance and its values, putting U.S.-Turkish relations on a crash course, and 2019 might therefore mark the lowest point in bilateral relations.”

Diliman Abdulkader, director of the Kurdistan Project at the Endowment for Middle East Truth, said: “I don’t think this is anything new coming from the administration or Congress. The plan was always to have Turkey cancel the S-400 missile purchase from Russia.”

“Obviously, Erdoğan is looking for further gains despite his harsh stance. But ultimately, Turkey knows they will not receive the F-35 fighter jets if they go through with the Russian purchase,” he continued. “It’s also important to note that this is not just America’s position but other NATO allies as well, Turkey is [endangering] the security bloc.”

Last August, Trump signed the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which included barring Turkey from acquiring the F-35 from the U.S.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9637

As Yellowstone Awakens, Dr. Michio Kaku Warns That It Could “Literally Tear The Guts Out Of The United States Of America”

One day it will happen.  Scientists assure us that one day the absolutely massive Yellowstone supervolcano will once again experience a Category 8 eruption, and if it happened today it would “literally tear the guts out of the United States of America”.  That is why what has been happening at Yellowstone in recent months is so alarming.  We know that the ground has been rising and that “a 465-mile-long piece of molten rock” is moving upwards directly under Yellowstone.  And we also know that the major geysers at Yellowstone were more active last year than in any other year in any of our lifetimes.  Are these signs that an eruption is coming?  We better hope not, because as Dr. Michio Kaku recently told Fox News, there is “a sleeping Godzilla underneath Yellowstone”

Dr Kaku told Fox News: “Forget the image of Yogi Bear representing Yellowstone.

We’re talking about a sleeping Godzilla underneath Yellowstone, that if it erupts in a maximum eruption called Category 8, it can literally tear the guts out of the United States of America.

Instead of having 50 states of the Union, we would have 30 states of the Union.

We live at a time when seismic activity has been increasing all over the world, and Yellowstone has also been exhibiting very unusual behavior.

However, Dr. Kaku says that we shouldn’t worry too much, because he believes that we will get warnings about a Yellowstone eruption in advance

“Unlike a meteor from outer space, where you get no warning whatsoever, we get warnings.

“If you see movies like Pompeii, you know that there are days, in fact, weeks of eruptions building up, rumbling inside, underneath the pocket of lava.

“So there would be enough time, several weeks, to begin evacuation if and when such an unlikely event were to take place.”

But what if we have been ignoring the warnings that we have already been getting?

For example, Steamboat geyser erupted more times in 2018 than in any other year in history.  The following comes from National Geographic

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory reports that Steamboat has now set a record by erupting a whopping 32 times in 2018, a personal best for the geyser for a single calendar year. Previously, this geyser made it as high as 29 paroxysms back in 1964.

Other nearby geysers have also been behaving fairly interestingly of late. Ear Spring Geyser, for example, has been pretty quiet since 1957, but it erupted spectacularly a few months back—and sprayed human garbage from the 1930s everywhere.

Prior to last year, there had not been an eruption of the Steamboat geyser for three and a half years.

In addition, the ground under Yellowstone has been steadily rising for the last few years, and the area was hit by 121 earthquakes in the month of December alone

“In the area of Norris Geyser Basin, GPS data indicate a minor amount of uplift over the past few months, with a total uplift of about 2cm during 2018, also continuing the trend that has been ongoing since 2015.”

In the same Yellowstone update, the USGS revealed a total of 121 earthquakes were recorded in the Yellowstone area in December 2018 alone.

It is indeed possible that when Yellowstone finally erupts that we will get more of a warning than this.

But it is also possible that we will not.

When Yellowstone blows, life as you have known it will instantly be over.  If you are not in the immediate kill zone, you will have an opportunity to try to survive, but it won’t be easy.  One survivalist expert suggests that everyone should “head east as fast as you can”

He added: “Zone one, which is a radius of 100 miles, could see 70,000 people die instantly.

“Zone two, which starts after 100 miles, would be covered in 10ft of volcanic ash at 450C.

“After the second zone, your chances of surviving increase, but still head east as fast as you can.

“Beyond zone six is where you would be the safest in the US for the short term, but the wind will greatly determine where ash falls.”

Personally, I don’t know if that is the best approach.  The roads will be absolutely clogged, and there is no way that you are going to outrun the volcanic ash.  If you get completely buried in volcanic ash in your vehicle, it will all be over.

Of course the truth is that if Yellowstone experiences a Category 8 eruption most Americans will eventually die no matter what they do.  The following is an extended excerpt from one of my previous articles

Hundreds of cubic miles of ash, rock and lava would be blasted into the atmosphere, and this would likely plunge much of the northern hemisphere into several days of complete darkness. Virtually everything within 100 miles of Yellowstone would be immediately killed, but a much more cruel fate would befall those that live in major cities outside of the immediate blast zone such as Salt Lake City and Denver.

Hot volcanic ash, rock and dust would rain down on those cities literally for weeks. In the end, it would be extremely difficult for anyone living in those communities to survive. In fact, it has been estimated that 90 percent of all people living within 600 miles of Yellowstone would be killed.

Experts project that such an eruption would dump a layer of volcanic ash that is at least 10 feet deep up to 1,000 miles away, and approximately two-thirds of the United States would suddenly become uninhabitable. The volcanic ash would severely contaminate most of our water supplies, and growing food in the middle of the country would become next to impossible.

In other words, it would be the end of our country as we know it today.

The rest of the planet, and this would especially be true for the northern hemisphere, would experience what is known as a “nuclear winter”. An extreme period of “global cooling” would take place, and temperatures around the world would fall by up to 20 degrees. Crops would fail all over the planet, and severe famine would sweep the globe.

In the end, billions could die.

Let us hope and pray that nothing like this happens any time soon.  Those of you that regularly follow my work already know that I am far more concerned about an eruption of Mt. Rainier, and we should also keep a very, very close eye on Mt. Fuji in Japan.

As our planet becomes increasingly unstable, there will be unprecedented natural disasters in the years ahead, and multitudes of people will die in those disasters.

Unfortunately, most of the “experts” continue to assure the public that everything is going to be “just fine”, but meanwhile the shaking of our planet just continues to get even worse with each passing year.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9634

An Unavoidable Global Recession”: The Warnings Get Louder As Worldwide Economic Numbers Continue To Deteriorate

Economic numbers all over the world continue to get worse, and as you will see below, even New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is now warning of “an unavoidable global recession”.  Unfortunately, most Americans still have absolutely no idea that this is happening.  Most ordinary citizens are still under the impression that everything is going to be just fine, but the numbers suggest otherwise.  The Baltic Dry Index just plummeted to the lowest level that we have seen in three years, and this is yet another indication that the global trade war is causing widespread economic pain.  And according to Bloomberg, global economic growth has now dropped to the lowest level that we have seen since the Great Recession…

The global economy’s loss of momentum has left expansion now looking like its weakest since the global financial crisis, a development that’s already sparked a dramatic shift among central banks.

A UBS model suggests world growth slowed to a 2.1 percent annualized pace at the end of 2018, which it says would be the weakest since 2008-2009.

Unfortunately, it appears that things are getting even worse during the first few months of 2019.  In North America, Europe and Asia, signs of a major downturn are seemingly everywhere

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much sign of that. China car sales dropped in January, and data last week showed U.S. retail sales posted their worst drop in nine years in December. In Europe, where the slowdown has been particularly marked, sentiment indicators continue to weaken, and the latest OECD leading indicator has also declined.

The numbers coming out of China are particularly striking.  Experts were stunned this week when it was announced that Chinese car sales had plunged 17.7 percent

Car sales in China continued to decline in January after their first full-year slump in more than two decades, adding to pressure on automakers who bet heavily on the market amid waning demand for cars from the U.S. to Europe.

Passenger vehicle wholesales fell 17.7 percent year-on-year, the biggest drop since the market began to contract in the middle of last year, while retail sales had their eighth consecutive monthly decline, industry groups reported Monday.

That is an absolutely disastrous number, and it is a sign that this will be a very, very tough year for the global auto industry.

Meanwhile, German industrial production is falling at a pace that we haven’t seen since the last global recession

“Unexpectedly,” German industrial production fell 3.9% in December 2018 compared to December 2017, after having fallen by a revised 4.0% in November, according to German statistics agency Destatis Thursday morning. These two drops were steepest year-over-year drops since 2009.

Even during the European Debt Crisis in 2011 and 2012 – it hit Germany’s industry hard as many European countries weaved in and out of a recession, with some countries sinking into a depression — German industrial production never fell as fast on a year-over-year basis as in November and December

But as bad as things are in Germany, they are even worse in Italy.

Italy’s economy has already fallen into a recession, and their debt problems continue to grow with each passing day.

Watch Italy, because it is going to be a key to the drama that is currently unfolding in Europe.

Here in the United States, we are still doing relatively better than much of the rest of the world, but our economy is slowing down too.  U.S. retail sales just suffered their “biggest drop in more than nine years”, and the stunning bankruptcy and liquidation of Payless ShoeSource has made front page news all over the nation

Payless ShoeSource confirmed Friday that it will close its 2,100 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and start liquidation sales Sunday. The company is also shuttering its e-commerce operations.

The closings mark the biggest by a single chain this year and nearly doubles the number of retail stores set to close in 2019.

So what does all of this mean?

What all of this means is that this is the beginning of the end for the global economic bubble.  It is time to start getting serious about the economy again, and it is time to get prepared for the tough years that are ahead.

At this point, even the most clueless pundits in the mainstream media can see what is coming.  For example, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is now warning that we are heading for “an unavoidable global recession” either at the end of this year or the beginning of next year

Professor Paul Krugman has warned a series of isolated downward economic trends around the world will spiral into an unavoidable global recession towards the end of 2019 or the beginning of next year. Mr Krugman said there is not “one big thing” prompting the stark forecast but instead blamed a number of incidents happening at the same time. He said a slump in the eurozone combined with the long-running US-China trade war, President Trump’s tax policy and world leaders’ lack of preparedness are increasing the risks of a worldwide economic slowdown.

If even Paul Krugman can see what is happening, then you know that time is short.

Prior to the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, most people never would have imagined that we were about to enter a terrible global economic downturn.  Here in the U.S., it seemed like the economy was buzzing along quite nicely, and the vast majority of us had absolutely no idea what was really going on behind the scenes.

Similarly, right now most of us are conducting our lives as if nothing is going to change.  To most people, the system seems to be functioning normally and there appears to be no cause for alarm.

Unfortunately, things are not that simple.

Rubber bands can keep stretching for quite a while, but if you put too much pressure on them they will eventually snap.  At this point there is an enormous amount of pressure on our global economic bubble, and someday it will “snap” too.

It is just a matter of time.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9632

Palestinians, Jordanians expand alliance to torpedo Trump’s peace plan

The Palestinians and the Jordanians have set up a joint council for the administration of the Temple Mount and holy sites in Jerusalem.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF

February 18, 2019 17:57

The Palestinians and the Jordanians have set up a joint council for the administration of the Temple Mount and other Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem in an effort to preemptively torpedo the advancement of US President Donald Trump’s regional peace plan. 
 

Yoni Ben-Menachem, a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator for Israel radio and television and a senior Middle East analyst for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, revealed this information to Israel Hayom in an exclusive report.
 

Ben-Menachem told the Hebrew daily that the move constitutes “a violation of the Oslo agreement and seriously harms Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.”
 

Senior Fatah officials confirmed that cooperation has been accelerated ahead of the peace plan, which Trump said he will reveal shortly after the April 9 elections in Israel.
 

A senior Palestinian source told Israel Hayom that the establishment of the joint council is a practical step derived from the understandings reached by Jordanian King Abdullah and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in August 2017, following the crisis of the electronic security monitors, which Israel erected on the Temple Mount after two Israeli police officers were killed in a shooting attack.
 

The first steps were taken only days ago and comes, according to the report. A senior Fatah official said the move was because the Jordanians and the Palestinians fear that within the framework of the regional peace plan, responsibility for the Temple Mount will be transferred to a joint Arab-Islamic council, granting Saudi Arabia official status around the al-Aqsa mosque.
 

In contrast, a senior Arab diplomat told the Hebrew daily that the move was made with the agreement of Jordan and Saudi Arabia and was intended to soften Palestinian resistance to the peace plan.
 

At the end of the month, American advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt are scheduled to arrive in the Middle East to advance the regional peace plan. Abbas has himself already taken some steps to torpedo the plan.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9629