Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Hindus Convert to Buddhism in India May 28, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Leadership,News,Youth — Sam George @ 5:34 pm

One of the largest mass conversion took place recently in Mumbai (India). Nearly a lakh (hundred thousand) people from tribal and dalit background publicly renouced their animist and hindu faith to embrace Buddhism. Read the news report in TOI, IHT, CNN etc.

It happend on the 50th anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar’s conversion. The man who wrote the consitution of India and a well-known statesman of early Independant India forsook faith of his birth to become a Buddhist. In the history of modern India, this may be the largest mass conversion.

This is not a random occurence, but there has been steady rise in conversion to Buddhism in recent years and is believed  to escape the rigid and oppressive Hindu caste system. The low caste masses want social and economic mobility and find the traditional Hindu order to be suffocating.

It may not have anything to do with real faith issues, but a social escapism. These mass movements also has many politcal reprecussions and many are closing watch this growing trend. Will this mass exodus spark other similar conversion rallies in other cities? All this is happening when there is ban on conversion in record number of states and forceful recoversion back to Hinduism.

Will India have religious freedom or curtail the personal and faith issues of its people? Are Hindus and nationalist thretened by these trends? Does all Indians have to be Hindus only? Are Christians (who have been supportive of dalits) behind this conversion conspiracy? Or Will these low caste hindus who converted to Buddhims eventually convert to Christianity – a 2-step conversion?

Check DFN for more resources and what Christians are doing for Dalits in India.

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Inside Teen Brain May 26, 2007

Filed under: Resources,Youth — Sam George @ 2:54 pm

Ever wondered what goes on inside the mind of a teenager?

The award-winning PBS documentary program Frontline gets to the heart of this question, “Inside the World of the Teenage Brain“. It is a must-watch for all youth leaders. It’s a well-researched, and fascinating roller-coaster ride through the wicked synapses of a teenager’s command-and-control center.

But the tragedy is that when you watch a detailed documentary and think that you have figured everything about teen brain, it has already morphed into something entirely different. Also knowing what is on their mind is no clue to know what is on their hearts. Unless we know what goes in the heart and head of todays teens, we can never help them love God with their heart and mind.

 

Teen health worse than Predecesors May 21, 2007

Filed under: Bible,Culture,News,Youth — Sam George @ 2:19 am

Today’s teenagers are the first generation whose health is worse than their parents. A major research study on global adolescent health appeared on the UK based medical journal – Lancet. See also a report in Daily Mail.

Nearly half of the world’s population is below the age of 25 – largest ever in history. Despite living in an age of unprecedented medical advances, health information, prosperity and life expectancy, adolescents are reversing the long-term trend of ever-rising good health. The journal reported teenagers are doing worse than their predecessors across nearly all the traditional measures of health.

The leading causes of disease burden for adolescents worldwide was AIDS and depression. And hazardous alcohol use now accounts for 86% of the 8·6 million substance related deaths of 15-29-year-olds globally.

Teen eating habits, leisure activity, extra-curricular activities etc have dramatically changed in recent years. Youth workers must engage our young people on issues like use and abuse of their bodies. Bible tells that our bodies are a temple of the living God (1 Cor 3:16, 6:19). How can our bodies become a dwelling place for God? How could keep it from desecration? How to reclaim it highest honor? How to see body as God sees it?

 

Suicide rising among Asian American Women May 17, 2007

Filed under: church,Culture,Family,Ministries,News,Youth — Sam George @ 4:28 pm

Suicidal tendancy among Asian American women is on the rise. And the reason is tied to high parental expectations. AA children face tremendous pressure from parents academic and financial success and kids being pushed over the edge. See a report on CNN and video here.

The sobering statistics from the Department of Health and Human Services confirms it. Asian-American women ages 15-24 have the highest suicide rate of women in any race or ethnic group in that age group. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Asian-American women in that age range.

I have written in the past how model minority myth does more harm than good. Globally children of immigrants face tremendous pressure to succeed academically and professionaly. Second geneation have a marginalized existence and their dilemma often does not recieve adequate support from the community. The recent Virginia Tech incident further exposed the complex nature of AA second generation mind.

One another reason that particularly plays out in Indian American community for children to consider suicide is regarding marriage. With strong stereotypical views against outmarriages (though interracial or inter faith marriages is highest among them) and gender ratio being skewed against marriageable women, many have shown suicidal tendencies.

Youth workers and pastors in the Asian American communities need to engage theological and culturally the issue of success and achievement orientation. We got to bring out some of these growing crisese in the community and develop creative solutions.

 

Child Trafficking in India May 15, 2007

Filed under: church,Family,India,Ministries,Youth — Sam George @ 5:29 am

This news headline in Reuters really caught my attention. “Children are cheaper than buffaloes in India.” Also in Boston Globe.

Children from the poorer section of the society are bought and sold like commodities. Now their prices have really fallen. The story reported that traffickers are selling children for amounts that are often lower than the cost of animals and most of them end up working as laborers or commercial sex workers.

The children account for 40 to 50 percent of all victims of human trafficking. They are sold to work as domestic laborers, or in the carpet industry, on farms or as commercial sex workers. The organization that is instrumental in drawing International media attention on state of children in India is Bachpana Bachavo Andolan (www.bba.org.in). Amazing feat indeed. Keep it up. 

A friend of mine who returned from India last week told me – “you can see children everywhere in India.” Runaway kids living on urban streets, at the mercy of local police and gangsters who turns out to be drug peddlers and sexually exploited. Most never get any schooling and adequate adult care.

I do not know of many Christian ministries focusing on at-risk children in India. What an opportunity this is. Indian church has done a good job at sunday schools and VBSs. But to strategically look at children as a mission field and to reach them with the good news of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Luke 18:16)

 

Divorce Rate falls in America May 12, 2007

Filed under: church,Family,Ministries,News,Youth — Sam George @ 3:15 pm

U.S. divorce rate is the lowest since 1970. Divorce rate dropped one-third from 5.3 per 1000 in 1981 to 3.6. See reports on CNN, MSNBC, and ABC.

Some experts say rate is dropping because fewer people are getting married (co-habitation trends skews marriage and divorce stats). Also more marriage and building efforts are helping people to work harder to make marriage work. Marriages among college-educated are more stable.

America’s divorce rate climbed in the late 1960s and skyrocketed during the ’70s and reached its peak in 1981 when virtually all states adopted no-fault divorce laws. After an entire generation who grew up under the culture of divorce and having seen the destruction it caused to families and society at large, are more committed to make marriage work. Children of divorce are more determined to learn and fallout has taught us the value of marriage.

But folly of such report should not confuse us. Relationships are unstable as ever and problems like pornography and homosexuality is undermining marriages like never before. Those of us who work with families have much more to do and reclaim every generation from the curse of divorce.

I believe relationship skills and marriage education has to be made mandatory in schools and colleges. We teach young people every form of knowledge and skills, but never taught this essential life skill. Check out the Smart Marriage resources and their forthcoming conference in Denver.

 

Child Abuse in India May 11, 2007

Filed under: Youth — Sam George @ 10:19 pm

The first National Study on Child Abuse in India, covering 13 states and a sample size of 12,446 children reports that 53% of children faced some kind of abuse. Most abusers are known people like friends or family members. Over 70% of cases are never reported. Boys and girls are almost equally vlunerable. See report IE, NDTV, Reuters etc.

Every second child in India suffer some form of physical, emotional or sexual abuse. What shocking is that inspite of such prevalence this was never studied before, this is the first ever nation-wide study on this topic. The central government is promoting sex education in public schools and some of the state governments are banning such lesson saying it is inconsistent with Indian culture. What a dilemma!

Children are not safe, even in homes. Future generations are going to be permanently tainted. Verbal abuse and physical abuse in the name of discipline is common in India. Sometimes emotional blackmails or assaults and sexual exploitation are carried by the relatives or powerful people in the society. Most can get away, even if cases are reported.

What we need is change of mindset to protect the weak and vulnerable among us. Nurture the next generation with genuine love and sacrifice. Problem might seem insurmountable. What can we do? All of our efforts might only be a drop in the ocean, so why bother? I firmly believe we must believe each of our effort in this regard matters. As far that child or vulnerable person it makes all the difference. Will I be there to speak for the voiceless and offere a lending hands to the weak and share few bucks to the poor and hungray? Not to feel good about it as a result, but in obedience to the lifestyle that Jesus advocated and modelled for us. Let’s change the world one person at a time!