Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Converting out of Christianity June 5, 2009

Filed under: Bible,church,Culture,Youth — Sam George @ 12:52 am

Christians has been in the forefront of religious conversions. Many religious groups feel threatened by the aggressive missionary conversion agenda of the Church. Leaving faith is seen as betrayal of family, community, faith and nationality. Now a new fad in the ‘Christian’ West – renouncing Christianity by choice.

A new faith renouncing ceremony has emerged. It is called ‘de-baptism’ and is a growing phenomena in Britian, a nation that send out Christian missionaries all over the world. See report in TIME and USA Today.

Brits are not converting to any other faith, but are simply unchristianizing themselves or say converting to atheism. This was spearheaded by National Secular Society (read New Aethists) and the campaign was carried over by ads in buses in London. It offered their ‘converts’ a certificate of de-baptism over internet for $4. It is estimated that over 100,000 people have been de-baptized.

Bizzare as it might seem, it is indicative of growing indifference in Western Europe towards Christianity, which was once the nerve center of Christendom. The growing irrelevance of institutionalized church and culturalized christians, at the face of multiculturalism, postmodernity and the invasion of Islam, may have been the cause of much of it.

 See breakpoint commentary by Chuck Colson, where he talked about Original Sin that campaign had targetted at. Christianity have thrived when it took root in a particular culture. Even as center of Christianity has shifted to the global south, the Western & Northern hemisphere Christians are forced to do some soulsearching.

In India, conversion has been a hotly debated political and religious issue and the anti-conversion legislation is enacted in several states. Some of those who have been converted to Christianity has been reconverted back to ‘original’ faith in a communal ceremony called vapsi,  which never existed in Hindism before. Even poor animist tribals are forcefully converted to Hinduism as a result of this ritual, who were never Hindus in the first place.

If the Christian Gospel is truly universal (for people of all cultures in all times), Christians should engage afresh cultures of our times with the truth claims of Jesus Christ and make him relevant. When it fails to do and theological vaccum is created, it sure going to suck it whatever cultural fad emerges. Are you ready for this task?

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Low Marriage & high Abortion in parts of Canada March 19, 2008

Filed under: Bible,church,Culture,Family,Leadership,News,Youth — Sam George @ 2:40 pm
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I was recently searching for some pro-family organizations in north of the border and came across some really distrubing trends among French-Candiaans. Of all the Canadian provinces, Quebec has the lowest marriage rate. It also has the lowest birth rate—the province is literally dying out. Quebec’s abortion rate is higher than all other Canadian provinces! Quebec leads the other provinces in divorce and suicide rates as well. See reports in Montreal Mirror, Maclean’s, Christian News, New York Times etc.

Montreal has become a notorious haven for pedophiles. Abortion rate is right up there with impoverished developing countries. The 2002 abortion rate was 42.6 abortions per 100 births—over four times that of Holland, over twice that of France and well ahead of the rest of Canada and the States.

Some calls this the Quiet Revolution of declining marriage rate, growing cohabitation,mouonting divorce and rising abortion rates is changing the face of the province. It is not simply quiet or silent, but a clearn sign of end of civilization or should I say the province. It has not only moral and legal implications, but is sure to affect demographic, economic and immigrations policies in the state.

Once a traditional Catholic society that maintained high moral and ethical standards in the communities. It had  lower marriage age, cohab was unheard off, sex was permitted strictly within marriage. As the liberal culture makes inroads and brushes aside what held the society together and helped to prosper, is self destructing itself. Also a clear warning to other nations.

Read an excellent article in First Things by John Neuhans.  Another good read would be “What happened to Christian Canada?” by Mark Knoll. I generally enjoy Mark’s insights and hope to get my hands on understanding Canadian Christianity. If any of you read this, please give your inputs on what is causing this cultural shift in Canada?

 

Missing girls in India March 7, 2008

Filed under: Bible,Culture,Family,India,Leadership — Sam George @ 3:36 pm
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India is facing a new problem – girl deficit! Economy is booming and so is confidence level among the young generation for their palce in the world. Surplus can be seen in almost all facets, except for girl babies. Another progress paradox. Problem is more acute in North India and even in developed states like Punjab.

UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children report found that India’s already abysmal sex ratio is getting worse, with 80% of its districts recording declining child sex ratios (more male births than female) since 1991. Kerala, Pondicherry and the Lakshadweep islands were notable exceptions.

For those girls who do make it out of the womb, survival isn’t a guarantee, say child rights activists. Many die in their infancy because they are given less food and medical care than their brothers. Those who do survive will generally get less of an education — in both quality and quantity — than the boys in the family. Life isn’t always fair to the fairer sex.

Stricter laws against abortion, feticides, infanticides may be easier to pass, but harder to implement. The abhorrent practice of pre-natal sex determination and the many bogus doctors waiting exploit pregnant women cannot be easily contained. The cultural view of a girl child as burden got to be changed. Gender equality need to upheld. THey are not a liability or an investment without return.

Only a worldview that values and nurtures life in every forms can release us from the bondages of the traditions and form a life-affirming culture. We become so self-absorbed that we stake our future with our own. A soceity or nation that does not defend its most vulnerable is destined for doom.

Bible says, “God created human beings in his own image. God created them male and female” (Gen 1:27). After creating woman, God was very pleased and said “very good.” We are created beings and we bear a divine image. God values, affirms us and loves us dearly. That’s why God send Jesus to die in our place.

 

The Other India – Poverty June 6, 2007

Filed under: Bible,church,India,News — Sam George @ 2:34 pm

Most coverage on India on the global media is bouyant, fast growing economy, largest democracy, shining stars etc. Let’s not forget there is another side of India – 300 million people who are considered poor. Read a series of insightful articles in Outlook about the other side of India.

Rising income disparity, urban poverty, malnourishement of small children, inadequate health care and educational opporutnity, no electricity or running water etc. are still a crude reality for large masses of India. They are yet to send their first email (or even to see a computer in a country that has made great in roads with its computer skills) or make their call on a mobile telphone.

If you have not brushed shoulders with poorer masses of India, it is hard to even imagine. I suggest you take a trip through northern Bihar and Orissa on a second class coach on a local train (some of the least developed regions in the country).

As followers of Christ, we are challenged to make a preferential option for the poor, namely, to create conditions for marginalized voices to be heard, to defend the defenseless, and to assess lifestyles, policies and social institutions in terms of their impact on the poor.

What are you doing today for the marginalized masses of the world?

 

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?

 

Billboard Campaign on Divorce May 6, 2007

Filed under: Bible,Culture,Family,Leadership,Ministries,News — Sam George @ 4:31 pm

A new set of billboards advertisements are creating quite a stir. A Chicago based divorce law firm started promoting their services over billboards saying, “Life is too short, get a divorce.” See Fox News report on it.

This is nothing new in a anti-marriage culture that is prevailing in the American society. For lawyer it is just business as usual. They have no moral framework or can understand the implications of broken marriages on children, society and nation at large.  They just want their buck. Make money by hook or by crook.

Family organizations had been quick to condemn such commercialization of divorce. One went on public, saying “life is too short, work on improving your marriage…”

If one is unable to work through relational issues and know how to make marriage work, they are less likely to make the new relationship work. Second marriages have 50% more likely to fail and third marriages over 75% more likely. Marriage Problems are seldom about the other person, but ourselves and our selfishness. Moreover we can never change another person, but ourselves. And that too we might divine intervention to bring about lasting desirable change. If we begin to work on our end, things will turn out for good most of the time.

Trading old cars for new, use and dump, utlitarian mentality of the modern world seems to pervade into life and relationships as well. To cherish and nurture wife of youth is a countercultural message. Bible says ‘between you and your wife of your youth’ – 3 things: Rejoice (Prov 5:18), Lord is the witness between you both (Mal 2:14). Do not break faith (Mal 2:15).

This law firm and the ad campaign is simply promoting what the Lord hates. (Mal 2:16)! Besides condemning such media stunts, will those concerned about marriages really step out to help those struggling in their relational life? Will church and christian be salt and light in divorce ridden culture of ours by building our marriages and helping others arouns us who need help.

 

Talking about Sex to Teens March 19, 2007

Filed under: Bible,Culture,Family,Youth — Sam George @ 6:56 pm

I have heard from numerous parents and youth leaders about their discomfort on talking about sex to kids growing up in their homes/communities. In Indian culture, such topics are never discussed openly and considered a taboo. Not to mention how awkward we feel talking about this stuff publicly. It was never done to them and they do not know how to go about.

Many Indian parents wants to believe that their kids are not doing it. But sadly reality is it is on their minds often and the media, popular culture and friends are constantly bombarding them with message to ‘just do it’, ‘everybody is doing it’, ‘there is something wrong if you haven’t experienced it already’ etc.

According to figures from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 750,000 teen girls get pregnant each year. Thirty-one percent of young women get pregnant before they turn 20.

 10 Tips on Sex-Ed for Parents & Youth leaders

1. First, encourage communication by reassuring kids that they can talk to you about anything. 2. Look for teachable moments. A friend’s pregnancy, a TV show/movie, baby etc can help you start a conversation. 3. Listen more than you talk. Repeat what they are saying to make sure what he or she meant to ask. 4. Don’t jump to conclusions. The fact that a teen asks about sex does not mean they are sexualy active. 5. Answer questions simply and directly. Give factual, honest, short, and simple answers. 6. Respect your child’s views. Share your thoughts and values and help your child express theirs. 7. Reassure young people that they are normal — as are their questions and thoughts. 8. Teach your children ways to make good decisions about sex and coach them on how to get out of risky situations. 9. Admit when you don’t know the answer to a question. Suggest the two of you find the answer together on the Internet or in the library. 10. Discuss that at times your teen may feel more comfortable talking with someone other than you. Together, think of other trusted adults with whom they can talk. (Source: www.advocatesforyouth.org)