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Montreal September 23, 2009 —

Fifteen Chinese workers at a Montreal manufacturing company should receive $164,000 in damages for having been racially discriminated against on the job, the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission ruled in a decision issued last week.

In July 2006, approximately 40 Chinese workers at Calego International Inc., a Montreal-based manufacturer specializing in children’s backpacks and accessories, received an order to gather and meet company president Stephen Rapps, who blamed them for unsanitory work conditions.

According to the workers, the latter also said that they were no longer in China, that they must wash themselves daily and that “You Chinese eat like pigs.” Outraged by the comments, two workers objected and were
physically assaulted by a supervisor.

Insulted by the comments, many Chinese workers immedialtely walked out and came back the day after with a list of conditions, including a written apology from the president, clean working conditions and compensation for violation of their dignity. When the company refused to comply with these demands, many workers immediately quit their jobs.

In a civil rights complaint filed with the human rights commission on behalf of the 15 workers, CRARR claimed that they had been singled out (as workers of other ethnic backgrounds were not) and exposed to race-based slurs. It asked $10,000 in moral and punitive damages for each worker, $5,000 for each of the two assaulted workers, and a written apology for all workers as well as the Montreal Chinese community.

In its decision forwarded to the parties last week, the Commission ruled that these workers were indeed subject to racially discriminatory conditions in their work and recommends $10,000 for each of the 15 workers, an additional $7,000 for each of the two assaulted workers, and workplace measures to respect employees’ civil rights. In total, Calego International, its president, a supervisor and the latter’s company, Agence Vincent, are ordered to pay $164,000.

It is the largest sum ever recommended by the Commission for a racism case in Quebec.

For Ms. X. Ma, one of the 15 workers, “It’s a matter of pride and dignity for all Chinese workers and immigrant workers in Quebec as well as in the rest of Canada. Just because we are Chinese and new to this country does not mean we have no civil rights protections.”

According to Mr. H. Yong, another worker, “This is actually a great victory for Chinese people everywhere. Governments and people around the world should not support any Canadian company that treats its Chinese workers like slaves, and that refuses to apolologize and compensate them for its racially discriminatory practices.”

According to CRARR’s Executive Director Fo Niemi, “This decision sends a very powerful message to all employers in Quebec, especially those in the manufacturing sector where immigrant labor is important: in the age of global trade, racism in employment can be costly.”

This decision is also important to Chinese Montrealers (at 83,000, according to the Census of 2006) and those of other Asia-Pacific origins (at 73,000), who rarely take legal action against racial discrimination.

“We hope that with our actions, we have shown to all Chinese and other Asian people in Montreal that one should never be afraid to stand up for one’s civil rights and file complaints to fight racism,” said Mr. Y. He, one of the two assaulted workers.

All four respondents have until October 2 to comply with the Commission’s recommendation, failing which the case will be brought before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal.

Information: Fo Niemi

Executive Director, CRARR
(514) 939-3342


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Fear or Love?

source: http://xrysostom.blogspot.com/2006/03/fear-or-love.html

Q: The Bible tells us to fear God and keep His commandments; it goes on to tell us to love God and keep His Commandments. The Bible also says “There is no fear in love. (1 John 4:18)” Should we fear or love?

A: Both fear and love are part of our relationship with God. Fear, in a
religious context, means more than emotional terror or dread. It also
includes great respect and awe. As I child, I feared
my father, but not only because he could punish me. He was bigger,
older, wiser, faster, and so many other things than I was. Yet this
fear did not exclude love, rather they went hand-in-hand with each
other. When I did wrong, the terror of punishment was foremost.
However, I also knew that Dad would use his strength, wisdom, and other
abilities to protect and defend me, to put food on our table, and to
keep scary things away. Thus, I deeply loved him.

much more can such things be said and thought about our Father in
heaven! Surely, as sinful creatures, we should dread God’s presence,
His holiness, His might. No person who has lived, save Adam and Eve
before the Fall and Jesus Christ throughout His never-ending life, can
look upon God and live because of the impurity of our sin. God judges
and pours out His wrath. Yet He is also the God who is strong to save,
who commits Himself to people, and who will never leave nor forsake His

As you note, Scripture gives both fear and love as
proper reasons for following God“s Word. Deuteronomy includes passages
mentioning each. “So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your
God by walking in his ways and by fearing him, (8:6)” is one of the verses mentioning fear. Meanwhile, in 11:1,
we read, “You shall therefore love the Lord your God and keep his
charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always.”

In the Small Catechism,
Martin Luther paired “fear” with “love” in each explanation of the Ten
Commandments. With the First, “You shall have no other gods,” the
Catechism says, “We should fear, love, and trust in God above all
things.” The beginning of the explanation of each of the next nine is
constant: “We should fear and love God so that ….”

Catechism continues the explanation for the keeping of each
commandment: God commands us to do no bad and, out of loving response
to God’s love, to seek to find a positive way of acting. For example,
under “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor,” we
read, “We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about
our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but
defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest

In other words, the sinner fears the wrath of God while
the saint loves His presence and wants to be with Him all the time.
Since each Christian is both saint and sinner (simil iustus et peccator),
both fear and love are part of our relationship with God. Remember that
the Bible also that “perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do
with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” As
we grow closer to God, we pray that our terror of His wrath would be
taken away. However, completion of this perfection will happen only in

Even in the bliss of heaven, there may be a certain
degree of “fear.” However, it will not be because of terror over sin,
but as part of only an absolute and righteous awe because of God’s
holiness, His power, and His abiding love.

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The Danger of Consumerism

source: http://sojournhuntsville.org/blogs/ericmorgan/2007/03/27/the_danger_of_consumerism_3#comments

Consumerism is the belief by many Christians that the church exists to serve them.

Too many Christians in America believe that the church exists for
its members rather than for mission. “We try to woo people to come and
keep coming. What we end up with is an audience of consumers shopping
for the best ‘services.’ We cater to this sort of thinking by trying to
compete with other churches with a better show.”[1]

Consumerism is the biggest obstacle to missional activity!

Milfred Minatrea describes the consumer mentality of many
Christians. “Just as they count on Wal-Mart meeting their material
needs, they expect their churches to provide religious goods and
services.”[2] John MacArthur adds this insight, “It is easy for
Christians to get to the point where they expect things to be done for
them. They show up for church only if they think they will get
something out of it.”[3]

There is a whole generation of church shoppers and hoppers who
decide where to worship based on getting their needs met. Mark
Atteberry describes it like this:

Church A might have an awesome worship band, while Church B has a
preacher you love to listen to. But then one of your buddies who
attends Church C ask you to play on their softball team. Is this a
problem? Of course not! You just do what any good consumer would do.
You hop back and forth between the three churches.[4]

One evidence of consumerism is the “Pareto Principle.” Eighty
percent of the people allow the remaining twenty percent to do eighty
percent of the ministry. There are a lot of spectators watching the

In Stop Dating the Church!, Josh Harris identifies a “me-centered”
attitude at the core of many church attenders. He identifies the
driving question to be: “What can church do for me?” and suggests that
they “treat church with a consumer mentality – looking for the best
product for the price of our Sunday morning. As a result, we’re fickle
and not invested for the long-term, like a lover with a wandering eye,
always on the hunt for something better.” [5] This expectation that
“church is for me” and “I’ll just go to the church that serves me best”
is fostered by low expectations of commitment, and programs that cater
to needs. “Consumer or maintenance-minded churches tend to design most
of their events for members.”[6]

This consumer mindset is typical of many of the larger churches in
America. David Garrison notes, “Not all is healthy in these large
mega-churches that can typically only account for one-third of their
members on any given Sunday. For too many, church membership has become
a spectator sport rather than a vital part of daily life.”[7]

Thom Rainer’s research reveals, “For most of the generations born
before 1950, church is a place where you serve, sacrifice, and give.
For most of the generations born after 1950, the question is not ‘What
can I do to serve the church?’ but ‘What has the church done for me

Since we live in such a consumer-driven culture, the church must
face the reality that many people who visit their churches have a
consumer-mindset. However, this doesn’t mean that they need to
accommodate theses desires and wishes just to get people to come
(beware of another danger: attractionalism).

So many pastors and their families are facing burn-out because they
try to satisfy the wishes and expectations of consumer Christians. It
is unhealthy for the church leaders to allow this to continue, and it
is unhealthy for those who attend to consume.

Dan Kimball understands that this needs to change. “There is no way
a missional church that understands her place in God’s story can
produce consumer Christians. It would go against its very nature.” He
urges churches to resist “the tendency to become consumer-oriented by
keeping the mission at the forefront of all we do.”[9]

Here’s what consumer Christians and consumer churches fail to understand:
Your life is much bigger than a good job, an understanding spouse, and
non-delinquent kids. It is bigger than beautiful gardens, nice
vacations, and fashionable clothes. In reality, you are part of
something immense, something that began before you were born and will
continue after you die. God is rescuing fallen humanity, transporting
them into his kingdom, and progressively shaping them into his likeness
– and he wants you to be a part of it.[10]
When churches stop catering to consumers and Christians stop
behaving like consumers, then the Kingdom will begin to advance in
local communities.

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Discussion on youth mission trip

Teens flock to missionary service
Trips to foreign countries remain popular, but some doubt their value
Grace Tezzo, 16, jostled with logarithms on her final test before school let out this week. Now she has another equation to figure out.

The Fort Bend Austin High School student must raise $1,550 to go on a mission trip to Guatemala with her church. Her youth group at Houston’s First Baptist Church will head to Guatemala in July to teach Bible school classes to poor children. She’s raised $300 so far.

"I’m so excited," said Tezzo, who has never ventured out of the country. "I’m a little worried about the language barrier, but it is going to be awesome to see God move."

In the weeks ahead, thousands of Houston-area teens will embark on short-term mission trips to places such as Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. Religion scholars say such trips have never been more popular among Protestant denominations, estimating that about 3 million 13- to 17-year-old Christian youths nationwide will serve on a religious missions project this year.

Youth with a Mission, a popular missions training organization, reported that 396 people downloaded applications to attend their training center in Tyler this year, a tenfold increase over last year.

But just as parents sign consent forms and make frenzied, last-minute applications for their kids’ passports, the spiritual value of these trips remains in question.

An opportunity

Youth pastors, such as Lakewood Church’s Tom Elmore, say short-term missions offer youths the opportunity to test the evangelism waters through real mission experience.

"That’s where they get their first taste, that’s where their worldview opens," said Elmore, who will lead a group of about 50 Lakewood youths to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, in early August.

There, the teens will stay at a local hotel with few air-conditioned rooms, Elmore said. Their dining options will be local restaurants or food prepared by local churches.

"Our pastor says we are blessed to be a blessing," Elmore continued, referencing one of Joel Osteen’s mantras. "And if we can hand out Bibles, hug children, play with them and build local churches overseas, then we can be the hands and feet of Jesus."

Youth pastor Doug Bischoff, of Houston’s First Baptist, said the trips can be a "strong training tool" to prepare youths for mission work in adult life. Youths can start serving as early as age 10 in their neighborhoods and serve on foreign missions starting at age 15.

Some, however, question the effectiveness of youth summer mission trips.

Criticisms raised

Such trips can be little more than self-serving vacations with a Christian label, said David Livermore, author of Serving with Eyes Wide Open: Doing Short-Term Missions with Cultural Intelligence.

The trips have become a rite of passage for Christian youths, Elmore and other critics contend, in which too many romanticize the "poor, but happy" foreigners in third-world countries.

And in most cases, they argue, the much-hyped spiritual growth of the participants is prioritized above the actual needs of the community they’re supposed to be serving.

"Is there a better way to serve them without actually going" Elmore said, such as raising money to support locals and to not have the trip experience?

Church leaders and youths say missions can come in different forms — from working at a soup kitchen in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood to helping teach vacation Bible schools in Latin America.

"There’s a huge difference from a vacation," said Luke Newman, 18, as he prepared arts and crafts for the classes his First Baptist team will teach in Guatemala. "You’re going for a purpose and it is not to have fun; it is to share the love of Christ with the people."

Historically, much of the foreign mission work has been carried out by career missionaries who undergo extensive theological training and dedicate much of their lives to mission work.

In 1960, Youth With a Mission, an organization dedicated exclusively to short-term missions, began sending youths on brief missions to foreign locations.

The trend has since taken off, experts said, and youth mission trips have become a phenomenon in the past 10-20 years.

There is no central clearinghouse tracking the number of those who go on such trips each year.

Some churches, including Lakewood, operate through Youth with a Mission, and others, such as Grace Presbyterian in the Westchase area and St. Peter’s United Methodist Church in Katy, have individual relationships with churches overseas through their own longtime missionaries in that country.

Meanwhile, youth pastors across the region are conducting a bevy of meetings with youths and parents, some still anxious about their children leaving home for the first time.

Some anxiety

"I didn’t want her to go," admitted Mona Cantalemessa, motioning to her 13-year-old daughter, Alana, after a recent youth group meeting at Lakewood Church. "I thought she was too young. But I prayed and God said, ‘Don’t stand in the way.’ "

Cantalemessa said Alana has changed over the past year, and is no longer the scared girl who clung tightly to her leg outside of her Sunday school class.

Another Lakewood parent, Susan Cain, said she knew her daughter Teri was ready to go on a mission trip by the friends she chose at school, her respect for adults and her awareness that the trip was not a "joy ride."

"I want to be a full-time missionary," said Teri, who is a student leader for Lakewood’s junior high trip to Mexico. "This is what God is calling me to do."

Although children as young as 11 can start to think critically, said Johnny Derouen, youth pastor of Houston’s First Baptist from 1984-1995, he prefers to take those who are at least 15 on foreign mission trips. And, he argues, teenagers are more effective than adults at ministering to their foreign peers.

"As an adult I have to earn their respect," said Derouen, now a professor of adolescent psychology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. "When I have a teen with me, they gravitate toward them and ask about movies, celebrities, American culture."

But even with this connectedness, he said, there are chances for pitfalls.

"One of the biggest dangers would be for my youth to feel like they are bringing Jesus to that country," Derouen said. "You are not bringing Jesus or God there, he is already there."

Of course, even with the best of intentions and preparation, those familiar with youth missions said, the unexpected can happen. Youth director Sandra Roberson, of St. Peter’s United Methodist Church, recalled that six years ago in Montego Bay, Jamaica, a student lost his birth certificate before the group was to return to Texas.

Teenagers losing their passports or getting ill do happen, said officials with the Tyler chapter of Youth With a Mission. Teens used to having access to friends and family through the Internet and cell phones might have a rude awakening in a developing country, members said.

Donations needed

Grace Tezzo is awaiting responses from the relatives and friends to whom she mailed letters seeking donations toward her $1,550 mission trip.

She isn’t stressed about the money, she said, and is trusting that God will provide.

Once in Guatemala, she hopes to use her passion for theater to reach children who do not attend church or school.

"He’s using us as tools to teach them," Grace said. "And he’s using them as tools to teach us."

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Love as activity

some notes on love as activity

source: Art of Loving  by Erich Fromm

an action which brings about a change in an existing situation by means of expenditure of energy.

What is love is dependent on the motivation of the activity

1. ambition, greed, sense of deep insecurity and loneliness—> not love, rather slave of passion

2. Although the person is alone, but he is free, experiencing himself and oneness with the world—> love

Love is giving, not receiving

is the highest expression of potency. I experience myself as
overflowing, spending, alive, hence as joyous. It is more joyous as
receiving not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of
giving lies the expression of my aliveness.

Gives his
life—> he gives him of his joy his intererest, his understanding,
his knowledge…, of his humor his sadness…what is alive in him

you love without calling forth love, if your love does not produce
love, you do not make of yourself a loved person. then your love is

Love and poverty

What a person considers the minimal possession depends on much on his character as it depends on his actual possession.

beyond a certain point may make it impossible to give, and is so
degrading, not because of the suffering it causes directly but because
of the fact that it deprives the poor of the joy of giving.

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Church Fund Raising

Source: http://www.allaboutgod.com/church-fund-raising.htm

Church Fund Raising – Does God Need Our Money?
Church fund raising may seem paradoxical. After all, if the Church
belongs to the omnipotent God of the universe, why would it have any
need? Yet the fact remains that many legitimate Christian ministries
are in need of financial support. And what about the controversy
surrounding ministries that have extorted millions from non-suspecting
givers? What are we to make of these shameful acts? This article will
briefly explore some Biblical guidelines for fundraising, and discuss
how they apply to the individual Christian.

Church Fund Raising – A Biblical Case Study?
fund raising may refer to a wide gamut of things. In our 21st century
world of radio slogans, TV images, and televangelists that tug (and
sometimes manipulate) at our hearts to pledge our support, it may seem
confusing at times to know when it is appropriate to give and how much.
Thankfully, God has shown us through His Word an example of proper
"church fund raising."

We find the first instance of fundraising in the early church
at Acts 11:29-30. The Jerusalem Church had fallen into dire financial
straits and was thus made the focus of a special relief project. The
reason for the church’s impoverished state is traced back to its birth.
The original church was mainly comprised of Jews and Jewish pilgrims
that traveled from all around the Roman Empire to celebrate Pentecost
in Jerusalem. Recorded in Acts 2, these Jewish "Christians" were among
the 3,000 that miraculously became followers of Christ at one time.
They stayed and formed the first congregation of believers in
Jerusalem. Their acceptance of Jesus Christ as Messiah brought shame,
persecution, and rejection from other Jews. Unable to make a living,
these Jewish converts relied on one another for housing and resources.
The believers of the Jerusalem church were true givers. Knowing that
everything they had belonged to God, these believers sold all they had
in order to help one another.

    "And all that believed were together, and had all things
    common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all
    men, as every man had need."
    (Acts 2:44-45)

Their love and generosity sustained the church, but soon all their land
and possessions were used up. The Jerusalem church was now in real need
of help. To that end, Paul made the Jerusalem church the focus of a
special relief project. A collection was made from all the other
churches throughout the Mediterranean region. Paul’s letter to the
Corinthians gives us some insight into proper church fund raising.

    "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given
    orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first
    day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as
    he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. And when I
    come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your
    gift to Jerusalem. But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go
    with me."
    (1 Corinthians 16:1-4)

Church Fund Raising – The Biblical Principles
From Paul’s letters we see that "fundraising" is not only legitimate
for the church, but it’s also a corporate undertaking. Paul says "let
everyone" contribute. Once a true need arises, it is part of every
believer’s responsibility to help. Poverty does not exempt a believer
from giving. As revealed by the poor widow who gave her two
"insignificant" coins, it’s the heart that God is concerned about, not
the amount (see Mark 12:40-44).

Paul further answers the question "How much do we give?"
Believers should give "as God has prospered him." The Bible does not
command believers to give a fixed amount; rather, it is up to us to
decide how much. What matters most to God is that we give with a
genuine cheerful heart (see 2 Corinthians 9:7).

We also learn that it’s fitting for believers to save up so
that they are able to give. Paul tells the Corinthians to "lay by him
in store" on a weekly basis. Giving involves planning and sacrifice;
personal wants must be put aside. We give to God what is valuable, not
what’s left after we have fulfilled our own wants and desires.
Furthermore, Paul adds that when money is involved, it is the
congregation’s responsibility to "approve" of trustworthy men to be in
charge of overseeing the funds. Acts 6:2-3 also highlights the
importance of electing Godly men to oversee money collection in the

The call to help the church in Jerusalem was made specifically
towards believers. Though not explicitly stated, one can infer that
church fund raising is restricted to the church. Many legitimate
teachers may disagree on this point. However, asking non-believers for
money seems very stumbling. Finally, we read that believers have a
responsibility to commit to supporting a fundraising effort to
completion. In another passage, Paul encourages the Corinthian church
to remember the commitment they made and to follow it through to
completion (see 2 Corinthians 8:11).

Church Fund Raising: Fundraising Involves Discernment
Church fund raising is biblical and necessary. As Christians, we should
give, and give generously. However, giving also involves a great deal
of discernment and wisdom. The Bible tells us to "Test everything, hold
on to the good" (1 Thess 5:21). This certainly applies to our
responsibility in giving to churches and other Christian ministries.
Any type of fundraising activity needs to be tested against the

  • New Testament giving should always be voluntary. Christians are
    exhorted to give as part of their spiritual growth, but never forced to
    give in any amount or way. Ministries that demand a certain amount, or
    condemn members for not supporting a certain project, are violating
    biblical principles (see 2 Corinthians 9:6-7).

  • Biblical giving should be proportional to one’s income.
    Giving beyond one’s ability or to the point of debt is unbiblical and
    can lead to financial bondage. This is not to say that God won’t test
    our faith and ask us to give more than usual, but scripture clearly
    instructs us to give out of what God has already given to us (see 2
    Corinthians 8:11-12).

  • Biblical giving entails accountability. It is important to
    know how His money will be used to benefit the Kingdom. One should be
    wary of any fundraising program that will not willingly disclose its
    financial activities. Paul made sure the churches appointed Godly men
    from their congregation to oversee the distribution of the funds, so no
    one could doubt the integrity of the projects (see 2 Corinthians

  • Biblical giving is always motivated by love – love for God
    and love for others
    . Giving must never be motivated by selfish gain or
    recognition. Love was the primary motivation for the collection made by
    the early church. Any fundraising activity that promises material
    blessings or says "give this and God will do this for you" should be
    heavily scrutinized (see 2 Corinthians 8:24).

  • Church Fundraising- More Blessed to Give
    the beginning of this piece we asked the question, "Why would an
    omnipotent God need anything from us?" The answer is simple. God
    doesn’t need anything from us. A cheerful giver will realize that
    biblical giving is an exercise of love, faith and obedience. Our
    ability to give freely, and without regard for what we will get back,
    reflects our heart condition. Do we merely profess love for God and
    others, or do we show it in tangible ways?

      whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts
      up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?"
      (1 John 3:17)

    Giving also demands great
    faith. Giving of our resources reflects our trust in God’s provision.
    Our faith and reliance on God is increased when we are able to give and
    see God’s faithfulness. God wants us to put our total trust in Him and
    not find our security in money and possessions. God is indeed
    all-powerful, and He needs nothing from us. However, He helps us grow
    in spiritual maturity by inviting us to play a part in His plans and
    purposes through our giving. As Christians, we give not out of guilt or
    coercion. We give out of a profound sense of wanting to share in the
    love and blessing God has already bestowed on us. Whether the amount is
    great or small, our obedience in giving brings forth joy and enlarges
    our faith.

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