Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Next Generation – Missing from Church December 16, 2008

Filed under: Youth — Sam George @ 9:37 pm
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In last few months, I had several conversations with Indian Pastors/Christian leaders from various denominations in different cities (none of them know each other, I think) and interesting they all raised a common concern – “The Next Generation is dropping out of church – what can we do? A generation who had grown right within these walls, who went to our sunday schools and youth fellowship and even got married here, now is not interested in the church anymore?”

Having authored a book on this generation, they feel I should dole out some quick fixes. Of course, I have raised such issues in the book and analyzed several ofthe underlying reasons at length. So my quick response was ‘have you read the coconut generation book?’

I am glad these leaders have taken note of changing happening in their congregations. Many others are clueless and think everything is status quo. Or at least pretend to be so. Few years ago, a pujari in a Hindu temple asked me a similar question – ‘Indian kids don’t come to temple… they are not as religious as their parents. What do you guys do in church to retain the young people.’

So first of all this is not any church or denominational issue. It is not even any problem with imigrants faiths. It is not a matter of language or doctrine or rituals or  organizational set up. Faith and its expressions are undergoing several fundamental shifts in  the Western world. When asked by Leadership Journal about challenges facing the Western church today, Tom Sine (author of Mustard Seed Revolution) said,

“The Western church is losing twenty- and thirty-somethings at an unprecedented rate, even while there’s a growing spiritual hunger among those groups. This is going to lead to a financial crisis for the church and mission as baby boomers start retiring. Because they are strapped with much higher school and housing costs, the few young people left in the church won’t have the discretionary income that their parents or grandparents had to sustain the church. At the same time, the average American is working roughly 10 hours more a week than he was 15 to 20 years ago. That means these young people will have less time for family, church, prayer, Scripture reading, witness, and service.”

Life, work, culture, economics etc are changing rapidly and all of which will cause us to think differently about our faith and communal involvements. Next generation will do church differently… they need to introduced and nurtured in faith differently than prior generations. Not that what worked before is wrong… just that it does not fit into the new world. Are we ready to do ministry differently?


Exposing themselves bare – new online fad December 11, 2008

Filed under: Culture,United States,Youth — Sam George @ 6:51 am
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Young people are exposing more of their skin on the web. Getting naked in front of webcamera and cellphones are getting cooler than you think. “Baring and sharing’ it with friends is the new fad among teens with access to technology. Age of high tech flirting, I guess.

Almost one quarter (22 percent) of all teen girls and 11 percent ages 13-16 – say they have electronically sent, or posted online, nude or semi-nude images of themselves, according to a survey conducted by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. One-third of teen boys and one-quarter of teen girls say they have had private nude/semi-nude images shared with them. Read reports in Boston HeraldMSNBC and Boston Globe.

There is no sense of shame any more. Many of the teens do not do it within any intention of being a porn star. Before you realize your naked image is going around the world at lightening speed. Boys are also keen on capturing embarssing poses or force young girls to take off their clothes over webchat sessions, often not knowing that others can capture it permanently.

Why do the girls do it? The survey found that girls post these pictures mostly to be fun and flirtatious. To attract boys or compete with other girls. To be trendy like some teen celebrities and to make a fashion statement (baring your natural outfit?) Nude pictures of old girlfriends or girls in your school could be used a weapon to blackmail or getting to do what they want.

Technology might have something to do with this trend. Cheaper digital camera and cellphones camera are everywhere. Ease of uploading and numerous photo sites have encouraged this further. But above all sites like Myspace, facebook and other social networking sites contain numerous semi-clad images.


Youth Ethics – troubling December 8, 2008

Filed under: Youth — Sam George @ 7:15 pm
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You may say what does ethics got to do with todays’ youth. That is exactly this youth research study wanted to find out and resulting are very disturbing.

The Josephson Institute of Los Angeles, which studies contemporary ethics and morals of American Youth, recently released its “2008 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth.” They surveyed nearly 30000 youth across this nation to find out their ethical and moral groundings. What did they find? The next generation (future leaders, bizmen, politicians, teachers, parents etc) are involved in lying, cheating and stealing. Find the entire report card here and New York Times report.

30% stole from stores last year. 64% cheated on class tests. 83% lied to their parents. Inspite of these distubing stats, 93% seems to satisfied with their personal ethics, meaning they do not find anything wrong with what they did. That is more distubing fact than the stats itself.

It even scary to imagine what will happen when these youth become adults. Lying and cheating in their marriage, fail to keep us contrctual obligations in business, politicians stealing on public contracts, lying to their children and employers etc. Yet justifying their action according to their personal ethics.

We must have a common objective moral standards in the society outside of ourselves, without which we are bound too see such vaue confusion. What is right for you may not be right for me. Relativistic worldview will undermine our common vision for family, society and nation.

We removed God from schools and we saw pregnant teens, violence in school and now this new ethical standards. We removed God from business world (anything goes for sake of making money) and we saw several corporate implosion. Most recely mortgage crisis, econmic greed and near collapse of capitalism itself. We removed God from families and marriage crashed out at record numbers. We removed God from stores (last Christmas season) and come an year later, retail stores are in trouble and closing down. What a strange dilemma of the Western world.