Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Suicidal tendency August 19, 2009

Filed under: church,Culture,News,United States,Youth — Sam George @ 10:55 pm

U.S.-born Asian-American women seem to be particularly at risk for suicidal behavior, according to new University of Washington research.  The study shows 15.93 percent of U.S.-born Asian-American women have contemplated suicide in their lifetime, exceeding national estimates of 13.5 percent for all Americans.  (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090817190650.htm)

This is true of coconut generation – girls have higher propensity than boys. When cultural and gender issues collide, crisis becomes acute. It is never as intense as during adolescence. Being a teenager is hard in all cultures, but children of immigrants suffer severly. Children of Asian immigrants particularly suffer where gender bias is adversely stands against women. Thus teen girls growing up in Asian immigrant  dysfunctional homes are more inclined to consider ‘final exit’ more seriously.

So youth ministry in churches, school counselors and parents have a critical role of developing healthy relationships with teens to navigate children thro this difficult stage of life. Modern living makes it harder and we are pushed into isolation. Virtual relationships are not enough either. Teens need trusting real relationship, even when they lack relationship skills to sustain it.

Youth mentoring is powerful. Big brother, big sister program are so effective. Take some young people under your wings. Believe in them. Listen to them. be there for them. Ministry of availability and ministry of presence can make life transforming impact on the lives of teens.

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Connext Conference in Chicago July 6, 2009

I am very excited about the forthcoming gathering of young South Asian Christian leaders of North America. Last one was in New York in Sept 2007 and we saw great momentum in what happening among South Asians Christians all over the continent. This time, it is going to be in Chicago and I am part of the local organizing team. See details at www.connextonline.org flyer1Focus this year is going to be on leadership development and we have a great line up of leaders as resource people. Theme is Unleashing the Leadership Potential. If you are serving South Asian community in any capacity or would like to, this is a must attend event for you.

Who are South Asians – people from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Maldives and Bhutan. But it is not limited to them, but also those who work with them in some capacity. If you are a pastor, missionary, involved in campus ministry, marketplace leader, businessperson, youth leader, musician/artist, work with a parachurch org, studying in a bible college or seminary or actively serving in some capacity, this is an ideal event to hone your leadership skills.

See website and register early.

 

Deadly Pessimism of the Youth June 30, 2009

Filed under: church,Culture,Family,health,Leadership,News,United States,Youth — Sam George @ 2:35 pm

A  new study has found almost 15 percent of American teens believe they will die before age 35 — a perspective strongly linked to risky behavior. Read the report in Forbes. ALso see NIH findings on Adolescent Mental Health.

Last week, I lost a friend and he was only 30. Recently I was speaking at a youth camp and I was shocked at a their sense of doom awaiting them. They are living with a sense of fear about their uncertain future and dabble with risky behaviors. Such widespread teen pessimism is dangerous to church, society and nation. Economic uncertainity, living under foreign, prevailing media coverage of glooming national scenarios and what not.

The study also found that a teen’s mental state and behavior were mutually influential. A teen who predicted a short lifespan, for instance, during an early interview was more likely to engage in subsequent risky behavior, and teens who engaged in risky behavior throughout the first year of the study were more likely to develop a pessimistic view of their future.

Kids begin to think, there is no point in studying hard, if they cannot find any reasonable job. When they see their parents loose jobs, they doubt their own future. With looming terrorist threats and alerts at airports affects teen psyche more than we think. They take it seriously and begin to see monsters behind every bush.

Will you pump in some optimism to teens around you? They desperately need them.

 

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?

 

Marriage & Divorce Stats April 7, 2008

Filed under: church,Culture,Family,News,United States,Youth — Sam George @ 2:57 am
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Barna Group has come out with a new survey report about marriage and divorce in America. See the entire report here. News report based on the study can also be seen at Baptist Press, Marriage Partnership etc.

Here are some of the key findings: a) Christians are more likely to get married than other faith groups. While 76% of Americans get married, 84% of Christians tend to tie the knot, 74% among non-Christian faiths and 65% among atheists and agnostics. b) Lowest likelihood of divorce are Catholics (28%), evangelicals (26%),  Asians (20%) and those who deem themselves to be conservative on social and political matters (28%). c) Highest likelihood of divorce downscale adults (39%), Baby Boomers (38%), those aligned with a non-Christian faith (38%), African-Americans (36%), and people who consider themselves to be liberal on social and political matters (37%).

Some important inferences based on this latest statastics is that half of all marriage ending divorce is not true! See a report in Christianity Today publication Marraige Partnership called Don’t believe in divorce stats. Another important finding is that though low, Asian divorces have risen significantly. Couple of years ago, I remember reading some study that reported divorce rate between 12 and 15 percent. Now it is one in five.

There is no more stigma with divorce in the American community. Some will marvel that as maturity of people’s attitude, while others will see that as erosion of communal ethics and liberalization of views concerning marriage. There is no doubt that marriage culture is eroding fast in the West and the rest of the world is also catching up fast in this area. I guess it is the progress paradox! 

 

Abortion in African American community March 24, 2008

Filed under: church,Culture,Family,Leadership — Sam George @ 1:38 pm
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I came across this disturbing report – since abortion became legal in America in 1973, life was snuffed out of more than 15 million black babies! Also in this community is one of the largest out-of-wedlock births in the country. All this statastics proves ramphant sexual activity before and outside of marriage, a low view of life and poverty ridden ethos to get rid of babies, instead of valuing and nurturing new borns.

This is in the scale of genocides that are going on many part of the world. Systematic eradication of black babies from the world. Some might argue, it is better off to abort than grow up under neglect, without father and in poverty, only to end up pushing drugs and joing gangs. Pragmatic as that solution may look like, a society that does not defend its most vulnerable is destined toward self destruction.

Last month was Black history month and abortion among the African American community is a tragic reality. Sadly most conversation I hear during this season is on schooling, economic advancement, state support, ‘I-have-a-dream speech’, great black preachers etc. Wonderful as they are, I see many overlooking moral and family issues.  Only few social or political organizations dare to challenge moral vaccum, fatherlessness, abortions, sexual promiscuity etc.

See National Black Pro-life Union for what is being done among black communities to get the pro-life message across. I wish more social and religious organization will speak up for the innocent victims and abstinence based view of sexuality will make more inroads in this community.

 

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?