According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for
this world to recreate, reclaim, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of
explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. - anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. - anon
... Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument.
There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is
irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a
power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table
to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace,
reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants
us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. - anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals
and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power
is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. - anon

Thursday, June 30, 2011

NPR - Natural Gas: Promise and Perils



Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Listen: 10:06 a.m. (ET) Natural Gas: Promise and Perils


An environmental clean water protester participates in a rally
in the state capitol  against gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale
natural gas formation Tuesday, June 7, 2011 in Harrisburg, Pa.
(AP Photo/Bradley C. Bower)
Natural Gas: Promise and Perils

New questions about what's been called the fossil fuel of tomorrow: The natural gas industry faces scrutiny over its optimistic financial forecasts and the environmental safety of fracking.

Natural gas extracted from deep shale deposits has been hailed as the key to America’s energy future. Compared to alternatives, natural gas is cleaner and is said to produce fewer greenhouse gases. It is also forecasted to be available at affordable prices, but some say as production rises, extraction costs will go up as well putting a squeeze on profitability. In addition, many argue short and long term environmental risks have yet to be adequately addressed by regulators or the industry: Opportunities and unanswered question about this country’s natural gas boom.









Guests

Ian Urbina
reporter, NY Times

Tony Ingraffea
Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering
Weiss Presidential Teaching Fellow
Cornell University

Seamus McGraw
writer and author of "The End of Country"

John Hanger
former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.




Related Items

Amazon Link




Love Wins - Small Group Discussion Guide


Masthead Promo


The LOVE WINS conversation continues and it is not too late to join it!

If you don’t yet have a copy, you can get yours now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or wherever books and e-books are sold.
And be among the first to get a free LOVE WINS discussion guide.
book

In addition, you can stay in touch with HarperOne about Rob Bell and other important authors on Facebook, Twitter, and HarperOne.com.
Are you a church leader? Subscribe to our free monthly newsletter at NewsandPews.com for special discounts, sneak previews, exclusive author essays, and more, or "like" News & Pews on Facebook.
As a thank-you for your support, here is the latest update from Rob after wrapping up his extensive international tour: http://youtu.be/jDI1Kv5GqKE
And don’t forget the free LOVE WINS app in Apple’s App Store!




Love Wins
by Rob Bell

Love Wins coverReading and Discussion Guide


Chapter 1: What About the Flat Tire?

  1. Before reading this book, how did you think of heaven and hell?
  2. Do you believe God invites us, even welcomes us, to discuss and debate the big questions of faith, doctrine, and the Bible?
  3. What messages have you heard about who goes (or how many go) to heaven? Or about how God can be both loving Father and Judge?
  4. Of the questions Bell raises in this chapter, which did you experience as raising issues you have had before or issues you would like to discuss more?


Chapter 2: Here Is the New There

  1. Bell remembers his grandmother’s painting of heaven as a floating, glimmering city. What is your vision of heaven? What factors have shaped this vision?
  2. How does the perception of our lives and our church change when we think of heaven as a restored Earth rather than as a faraway place?
  3. If Jesus consistently focused on heaven for today, why do we so emphasize heaven after we die?
  4. Bell describes the Christian life as our preparation to become the kind of people who can dwell in heaven; how does this reorient how we shape our lives?
  5. What is the connection between our understanding of heaven and how we live our lives?


Chapter 3: Hell

  1. See again the painting on page 20, where hell is represented as a dark, ominous abyss. How do you imagine hell? What factors have shaped this vision? Has your concept of hell changed over time and if so, how?
  2. What changes in how you think of the gospel when hell is seen as perhaps temporary or time-limited?
  3. What do you think of the idea that hell might be for correction rather than as punishment?
  4. If the purpose of hell is for correction, then what do we think happens in hell?
  5. If we remove the threat of punishment in our presentation of the gospel, why might someone be interested in the good news?


Chapter 4: Does God Get What God Wants?

  1. Do you believe human life is tragic or is it a romance?
  2. Do you think an all-powerful loving God would allow the vast majority of human beings who have ever lived to suffer eternally? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think God would say to someone trying to repent, “Sorry, too late. You had your chance”?
  4. As Bell shows, the Bible does not spell out all the details of what happens after we die. What might be God’s purposes for not explaining everything and, instead, promising that we will be “surprised”? Why do you think various church traditions have spelled out exactly what will happen?


Chapter 5: Dying to Live

  1. How would you describe to others what Jesus accomplished on the cross and how it affects us?
  2. How meaningful to you are some of the words the Bible uses to describe Jesus’s work on the cross—sacrifice, atonement, justification, redemption, victory?
  3. According to Bell, how does Jesus’s death and resurrection relate to the basic pattern of life, death, and rebirth we witness in all of life?
  4. What changes if we accept a more “cosmic” or “grand” understanding of Jesus’s accomplishments and goals?
  5. Why do Christians so often focus on questions of who is in and who is out of heaven?


Chapter 6: There Are Rocks Everywhere

  1. When you hear stories of people experiencing Jesus or a divine presence, how do you react? Is your tendency to believe them or not? Have you experienced God directly in this way?
  2. In what sense do you think was Jesus in the rock Moses struck to get water?
  3. How does seeing Jesus above all religions and cultures change how we approach people of different religions and cultures?
  4. With this expanded view of Jesus, where might be some new places and ways we see him today? How does Bell’s view of Jesus change how we explain the gospel to others?


Chapter 7: The Good News Is Better Than That

  1. What story do you think God is telling you about yourself?
  2. When you describe what you believe, what picture of God do you think others perceive?
  3. Do you believe God is fundamentally for you or against you? Have you ever found it difficult to love God?
  4. If the gospel is mostly about “participation” and not about “entrance,” why would this, as Bell argues, open us up to joy, happiness, and even throwing a good party? What role has joy played in your Christian life?
  5. Bell claims that there “is a secret deep in the heart of many people, especially Christians: they don’t love God” (p. 176). He says that some people have a distorted view of God where they think Jesus rescues us from God. Have you witnessed or experienced these feelings or thoughts?


Chapter 8: The End Is Here

  1. Bell recalls the moment from his childhood when he decided to be a Christian. How have your early experiences of faith shaped your current faith life? What do you think of your earlier spiritual experiences today?
  2. How does our spiritual outlook change when we think of God’s invitation to us shifting from where we will go when we die to a relationship right here and now?
  3. If your heavenly life begins now, how might that change your life, your goals, your focus, and your everyday life?
  4. What do you think it means to trust God’s love?
  5. Why do you think Jesus so emphasizes the urgency of deciding today, now?
  6. Do you believe that “love wins”?

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF VERSION OF THIS GUIDE
 

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Harper One: A Division of HarperCollins Publishers - www.harperone.com

 

A Critique of HarperOne & the "Love Wins" Guidebook

It's hard to put into words my initial reactions when I see a for-profit Christian group working so hard at selling their idea of Christianity. I suppose my visceral reactions wouldn't be so large if they focused on a main idea or two, but when I look at HarperOne's list under "Guides" (go to link) I get the sense from within the corporate boardroom, that their beliefs range all over the spiritual landscapes of personal faiths, selling whatever can make them money regardless of the consequences to the individual lives of converts and seekers that they serve.

Now, on the one hand, the results of their efforts grants to us, their readership (or viewership) potential blessings especially when reading these guides within small group fellowships. And though I tend to be wary (or is the word "discerning" more fashionable these days?) when it comes to a Christian smorgasbord purporting a buffet-style banquet with a one-stop-feeds-all marketing strategy, I must remember that my needs are as unique as another's is valid.

And as I listen and watch HarperOne's promo video reciting each author's various journeys and soulful stories, finding some who resonate deeply within me and others that are beyond my grasp, if not leaving me altogether skeptical. I then begin to remember the many New Testament scriptural warnings given by Jesus and John, Peter and Paul, as they speak of false teachers, warning of would-be illicit guides to man's spiritual journeys. At some point we, as maturing Christians, must separate the wolves from the sheep, the false shepherds from the true, if we are to share in the truths of God, his many works of love, and his grand vision for our lives.

And so, without presuming to judge the many spiritual guides that HarperOne produces in assembly-line fashion, hopefully ministering to as many different lives as can be imagined - while working diligently each fiscal quarter to make as much profit as possible (most probably deemed "God's blessing" by the cynic in me) - I pray that we are led straight-and-true to our Savior and Lord discovering truly helpful - and not misleading - spiritual resources within this postmodernistic, mystical generation, that we live and move and have our being.

- skinhead

ps... though I favor Rob Bell greatly, and regularly submit insights from him that I find sublime and helpful, it seems to me that HarperOne's LOVE WINS guidebook is conflicted throughout by the HarperOne process of provocative distillation to the greatest amount of people, in the widest possible manners, to the greatest economic good and bottom line dollars, as can be generated to HarperOne. In Jesus' words, beware "the love of money/mammon," or more properly, those who would use you and your talents for money - which I believe HarperOne has forced upon their many well-intentioned authors that are desiring to deeply honor God, while impacting society as widely as possible, through a wide-range of talents, efforts, insights and resolute hearts.

And so, the questions I read from within the LOVE WINS guidebook seem to fall within the HarperOne realm of provocative and slippery marketing, rather than a decent guide to the Christian faith, so that it leaves a lot of mushy, subjective topics unanswered and unanswerable (though I, and many others, would like to try and provide some kind of scriptural response to each topic or issue posed, however newly dressed-up in today's latest gnostic fashions).

And thus, the reason for this emergent blog, is to help delineate Christian orthodoxy for the 21st Century, topic-by-topic, doctrine-by-doctrine, verse-by-verse, question-by-question. In an attempt to leave the unknowable unknowable, and the answerable answerable, while giving certain knowledge and argument, from the God of mystery and wonder, who would have us to know with veracity certain creeds and foundations, truths and practices, and doctrines without dogmas.


**********


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About

Since 1977 HarperOne has been committed to publishing books that offer new pathways, break down barriers, and serve as valued sources of inspiration and information for millions of seekers, students, scholars, and general readers.

Our authors rank among the world’s leading voices of wisdom, learning, faith, change, hope, and healing, and have been responsible for beginning new publishing trends, revealing secrets of the scribes, and pushing the boundaries of form, language, and spirit.

Building on this rich tradition, HarperOne strives to be the preeminent publisher of the most important books across the full spectrum of religion, spirituality, and personal growth, adding to the wealth of the world’s wisdom by stirring the waters of reflection on the primary questions of life, while respecting all traditions.

How To Use
Some tips for leading a fun, interesting book club discussion:

Choose a theme: Pick a theme or subject, and compare and contrast more than one book.

Extra credit: Supplement your reading with extra materials. Read newspaper, magazine, and online author interviews to learn more about the author and the book. Is it autobiographical? Are there any cultural or historical aspects of the book that you can research to supplement the discussion? If available, bring book reviews to the meeting so that you and the other members can discuss whether you agree or disagree with the review.

Go in-depth with a favorite author: Consider focusing on several works by one author, tracing his or her progression as an author and the changing themes in the various works. Be prepared to discuss the author’s life and career and the context in which he or she wrote.

Author events: Is your church or sponsoring institution interested in bringing a HarperOne author in for an event? To inquire about an author’s availability for speaking engagements contact HarperOnePublicity@harpercollins.com or call (415) 477–4447. Or, if an author is speaking in your area, attend an event. To learn more about where your favorite authors will be will be, visit www.authortracker.com, and be among the first to know about new books, events, and special promotions.

New horizons: Use the book as a jumping-off point to explore other cultures and civilizations through food, music, clothing, decorations, and customs described in the book. If the book makes reference to an artist or composer, share an example of that person’s work with the group.

Visual aids

Travel adventure reading: Combine the group’s reading with travel—whether a trip to a local museums or an extended vacations abroad. This can mean anything from a day trip to a local art museum or historic site to a group vacation to the Holy Land!
******************************* 











Chapter 1: What About the Flat Tire?
  1. 1.  Before reading this book, how did you think of heaven and hell?
  2. 2.  Do you believe God invites us, even welcomes us, to discuss and debate the big questions of faith, doctrine, and the Bible?
  3. 3.  What messages have you heard about who goes (or how many go) to heaven? Or about how God can be both loving Father and Judge?
  4. 4.  Of the questions Bell raises in this chapter, which did you experience as raising issues you have had before or issues you would like to discuss more?

Chapter 2: Here Is the New There
  1. Bell remembers his grandmother’s painting of heaven as a floating, glimmering city. What is your vision of heaven? What factors have shaped this vision?
  2. How does the perception of our lives and our church change when we think of heaven as a restored Earth rather than as a faraway place?
  3. If Jesus consistently focused on heaven for today, why do we so emphasize heaven after we die?
  4. Bell describes the Christian life as our preparation to become the kind of people who can dwell in heaven; how does this reorient how we shape our lives?
  5. What is the connection between our understanding of heaven and how we live our lives?

Chapter 3: Hell
  1. See again the painting on page 20, where hell is represented as a dark, ominous abyss. How do you imagine hell? What factors have shaped this vision? Has your concept of hell changed over time and if so, how?
  2. What changes in how you think of the gospel when hell is seen as perhaps temporary or time-limited?
  3. What do you think of the idea that hell might be for correction rather than as punishment?
  4. If the purpose of hell is for correction, then what do we think happens in hell?
  5. If we remove the threat of punishment in our presentation of the gospel, why might someone be interested in the good news?

Chapter 4: Does God Get What God Wants?
  1. Do you believe human life is tragic or is it a romance?
  2. Do you think an all-powerful loving God would allow the vast majority of human beings who have ever lived to suffer eternally? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think God would say to someone trying to repent, “Sorry, too late. You had your chance”?
  4. As Bell shows, the Bible does not spell out all the details of what happens after we die. What might be God’s purposes for not explaining everything and, instead, promising that we will be “surprised”? Why do you think various church traditions have spelled out exactly what will happen?

Chapter 5: Dying to Live
  1. How would you describe to others what Jesus accomplished on the cross and how it affects us?
  2. How meaningful to you are some of the words the Bible uses to describe Jesus’s work on the cross—sacrifice, atonement, justification, redemption, victory?
  3. According to Bell, how does Jesus’s death and resurrection relate to the basic pattern of life, death, and rebirth we witness in all of life?
  4. What changes if we accept a more “cosmic” or “grand” understanding of Jesus’s accomplishments and goals?
  5. Why do Christians so often focus on questions of who is in and who is out of heaven?

Chapter 6: There Are Rocks Everywhere
  1. When you hear stories of people experiencing Jesus or a divine presence, how do you react? Is your tendency to believe them or not? Have you experienced God directly in this way?
  2. In what sense do you think was Jesus in the rock Moses struck to get water?
  3. How does seeing Jesus above all religions and cultures change how we approach people of different religions and cultures?
  4. With this expanded view of Jesus, where might be some new places and ways we see him today? How does Bell’s view of Jesus change how we explain the gospel to others?

Chapter 7: The Good News Is Better Than That
  1. What story do you think God is telling you about yourself?
  2. When you describe what you believe, what picture of God do you think others perceive?
  3. Do you believe God is fundamentally for you or against you? Have you ever found it difficult to love God?
  4. If the gospel is mostly about “participation” and not about “entrance,” why would this, as Bell argues, open us up to joy, happiness, and even throwing a good party? What role has joy played in your Christian life?
  5. Bell claims that there “is a secret deep in the heart of many people, especially Christians: they don’t love God” (p. 176). He says that some people have a distorted view of God where they think Jesus rescues us from God. Have you witnessed or experienced these feelings or thoughts?

Chapter 8: The End Is Here
  1. Bell recalls the moment from his childhood when he decided to be a Christian. How have your early experiences of faith shaped your current faith life? What do you think of your earlier spiritual experiences today?
  2. How does our spiritual outlook change when we think of God’s invitation to us shifting from where we will go when we die to a relationship right here and now?
  3. If your heavenly life begins now, how might that change your life, your goals, your focus, and your everyday life?
  4. What do you think it means to trust God’s love?
  5. Why do you think Jesus so emphasizes the urgency of deciding today, now?
  6. Do you believe that “love wins”?


Copyright © 2011 HarperCollins Publishers. · All Rights Reserved · HarperOne's Small Group Guides
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022 Phone: (212) 207-7000

 Harper One: A Division of HarperCollins Publishers - www.harperone.com

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rob Bell - Abide in God's Annointing (1 John 2.26-27)


HELICOPTERS, ALICIA KEYES, AND A WOMAN IN AN ART MUSEUM http://marshill.org/teaching/2011/06/26/1-john-2v26-27-helicopters-alicia-keyes-and-a-woman-in-an-art-museum/

  (click here to hear sermon) 


Helicopter lands on Michigan Street in downtown Grand Rapids
for EMS Expo at DeVos Place (an aerial mobile hospital)

The University of Michigan Medical Center Survival Flight helicopter comes in for a landing on Michigan Street NW in front of the downtown post office Thursday afternoon. The helicopter came to town for the Michigan EMS Expo which is at DeVos Place April 16-19.







Duane Hanson's "Woman with a Purse"


America's Got Talent: Anna Graceman
If I Ain't Got You (Atlanta Audition)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQJLM6xyO_M
Air Date: June 21, 2011


America's Got Talent: Anna Graceman
Wonderful World (Vegas Audition) (hd)



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oGsW67zJz4&feature=related
Air Date: August 1, 2011





Christ Our Advocate
1My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
The New Commandment
7Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because[a] the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him[b] there is no cause for stumbling. 11But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

 12I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
13I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
14I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.
Do Not Love the World
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
Warning Concerning Antichrists
18Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.[c] 21I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25And this is the promise that he made to us[d] eternal life.

26I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
Children of God
28And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

Footnotes:
  1. 1 John 2:8 Or that
  2. 1 John 2:10 Or it
  3. 1 John 2:20 Some manuscripts you know everything
  4. 1 John 2:25 Some manuscripts you

More than 500 Free from Slavery in IJM’s Largest Operation Ever


Friday, May 13, 2011

CHENNAI – Today, 514 children, women and men are living in freedom after being rescued from a brick kiln in IJM’s largest anti-slavery operation ever. Sparked by a brother’s desperate plea, the operation brought freedom to nearly 400 forced to work in the kiln – including 23 children, the youngest only 8 years old – and their dependents, either too old and frail or too young and weak to work, but still held captive within the factory’s walls.

A call for help, three states away





Laborers were still at work making bricks when IJM and the local government entered the facility.
The whispered words of a forbidden phone call set in motion the force that would eventually topple the kiln’s brutal slave system. Boola, 27, managed to contact his brother, who listened with increasing horror as Boola described 18-hour forced workdays without enough food or rest, refusals to provide promised payment – and vicious beatings by the owner and his henchmen.

Determined to save Boola, his brother made a report to the government, stating that he believed there could be many more trapped along with him in the massive brick factory. The government referred the case to IJM for support. Together, they prepared for a major operation – but no one imagined the magnitude of the crimes they would find.

'Who wants to come out?'

Asked “who wants to leave?” the laborers raise their hands.
On the afternoon of Wednesday, April 27, 2011, a team of government officials and IJM staff, accompanied by police, entered the brick kiln, intent on liberating any laborers held there by force.

With a local government representative, Kandasamy, leading the way, the rescue team began to gather the surprised laborers from the brick ovens and huts into an open area. As the rescue team explained the reason they had come, excitement built among the laborers, who quickly began to call their loved ones to join the growing crowd.

It soon became apparent that the initial estimate of 200 people fell far short: A sea of people clad in tattered, but colorful, mud-flecked clothing stretched nearly 30 yards from where the team’s rallying point had been established. The sight was overwhelming.

IJM Chennai Director of Aftercare Pranitha Timothy turned to the throng and shouted in Hindi, "Who wants to come out?" Immediately, hundreds of hands shot up into the air.

Accommodating the 500

More than 500 children, women and men were brought out of the brick kiln to freedom.
The IJM team and Kandasamy and his staff began making preparations for the massive group desperate to leave. In a matter of hours, Kandasamy – an incredible advocate for the victims – had secured dinner, lodging and breakfast for all 514 people, a group comparable in size to that of a very large wedding.

He arranged for four trucks to transport the freed laborers to a nearby school, where they would stay for the next several days. When those trucks proved not enough, he used one that belonged to the brick kiln owner; already arrested, he was in no position to refuse. A medical camp was set up to administer check-ups and medication; a water tanker was brought in to provide clean drinking water; police provided 24-hour protection; and classrooms were cleared to accommodate the new arrivals.


Through the night until early the next morning, the freed laborers poured out their stories to local officials in order to be documented as released slaves. Through their recounting of cruel beatings, restricted movement and brutal labor, a common sentiment emerged: "Even if they pay us 10,000 rupees, we would not come back."

A certificate of freedom and a ticket home

As the operation stretched from one day to five, Kandasamy came up with more and more ways to benefit his 514 guests: by day two, a pair of television sets had been brought in to broadcast cricket and Oriya-language programs. At the same time, IJM staff supported the victims and assisted with the government with preparation of the 371 official Release Certificates, which would be presented to each of the adults and children who had been working in bonded labor at the kiln, along with the initial installment of the government rehabilitation funds owed to them. While it often takes months for released laborers to see any of these funds, the money for these laborers had been withdrawn before they had even left the kiln.

By the operation’s third day, a high-ranking government official arrived to hold a special ceremony to celebrate the laborers’ freedom. He assured the laborers that the government would provide not only the required rehabilitation funds, but train transport and accompaniment home. The crowd erupted in cheers and applause; for the first time since they were enslaved, home was truly in sight.

"This is the most impressive display we have seen to date of the government being proactive in combating bonded labor and being sensitive to the needs of the victims," remarked Saju Mathew, IJM South Asia Regional Director. "It is a huge encouragement to work with talented, dedicated officials like these, who clearly demonstrate the potential of the government to lead the charge against bonded labor in India." For the next two days, Kandasamy stood on the platform of the local train station to send off the free children women and men in groups, watching as they boarded train cars that he had ordered to be attached on their behalf. IJM aftercare staff are making plans to ensure the families have the training they need to establish new lives in freedom. They have now returned home – more than 1000 miles from the place where they were enslaved – where they can live in safety.

IJM Rescue Operation featured in the New York Times


Thursday, 26 May 2011

Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Nicholas Kristof accompanied IJM and local authorities on a rescue operation at a Kolkata brothel. After entering the site to locate one girl, Nicholas, law enforcement and the IJM team "emerged from the brothel with five lives that had just been transformed."


What happens next? Answers to readers’ most common questions:
 
Kolkata red-light district
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_Kolkata
What happens to the girls and women now?
 
After girls and trafficked women are rescued, IJM’s in-country social workers partner with local aftercare organizations on the ground to secure shelter, medical care, psychological assistance, and schooling or job training. IJM social workers will continue to provide support to help ensure that these survivors do not become vulnerable to being re-trafficked.

What happens to the perpetrators?

In this case, one pimp has been arrested, and warrants have been issued for two more. Holding perpetrators accountable is absolutely critical to both protect their victims and to create a deterrent will stop others from committing the same crimes. In IJM’s work around the world, we have seen that even a small number of significant arrests and convictions can have a major effect on the behavior of would-be perpetrators.

Currently, there are approximately 100 suspects facing charges for trafficking crimes in Kolkata as a result of IJM-supported operations. In 2009, 9 traffickers and pimps were convicted for their crimes in Kolkata in IJM-supported cases.

Can rescuing individual victims really make a difference?

While the rescue of each survivor obviously makes a difference for her, IJM’s mission is to transform entire communities so that vulnerable people are protected from abuse through their justice systems. We pursue this transformation by using what we learn in each individual operation to partner with local governments, communities, NGOs and other major stakeholders to pursue training, capacity building and other critical changes. We are seeing incredible proof that this strategy is actually working – including a stunning 79% decrease in the number of minors available for commercial sexual exploitation in metro Cebu, the Philippines after four years of IJM work there. Learn more.

What's the role of the local authorities in this kind of operation?

Local governments – including law enforcement – have the only legitimate authority to conduct such an operation. Engagement with law enforcement is the best and only sustainable way to protect victims and apprehend perpetrators of sex trafficking. It is a strategy supported by virtually every credible anti-trafficking organization – including UN agencies, NGOs and responsible governments.

Who actually conducts these operations? Locals? Foreigners?

IJM staff are locals – more than 90% of IJM staff worldwide are nationals of the countries in which they work, including the Kolkata-based staff who conducted this operation. IJM is building the world’s largest indigenous force of justice professionals – sensitive to the needs of their own communities.

Is there a way I can hear about other rescue operations?

Last year alone, more than 800 people were freed from sex trafficking and forced labor slavery in IJM operations. Don’t miss out on breaking news: You can get the latest updates on IJM rescues, convictions and arrests with our free mobile app, available on all smartphones and optimized for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone, or by following us on Twitter @IJMHQ.

Is there a way I can help make more rescues happen -- and support aftercare for girls like these?

Absolutely – your financial support is vital in making the work of rescue and aftercare possible.