Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

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.

 

When to get married? November 14, 2008

Filed under: Culture,Family,News,Resources,Youth — Sam George @ 3:38 am
Tags: , , ,

Average age of first marriage has gone by an year. Official numbers are out for the year. It is 28 for men and 26 for women. It is up by an year for both men and women from last year. Americans are waiting longer to get married. See the report in USA Today of the study by NFI & University of Texas.

Once people married their childhood sweethearts; then they met their future mate at college campuses and now life partners are found at workplaces. With rising educational needs to survive in a competitive market place, 20 something are more focussed on standing on their feet before deciding to get married.

The odds for a happy marriage may favor those who tie the knot between the ages of 23 and 27. Both early marriages (before finishing college ie 20) and late marriages (after 30) seems to have high rate of casualty.  Cohabitation has also pushed the age of marriage upwards. 

Marriage age has steadily climbed in all developed nations over last few centuries. Education and job pursuits keep people occupied. It also makes marriage prospects harder. Disperson of families on account of studies and work, also reduces their social circles to choose future mate from. Processes have also undergone significant change. Match makers, matrimonial columns, faith groups, arranged marriage, online profile matching etc have created confusion over mater selection process.

Is there an ideal age of marriage? I tend to say no. People are at different places when it comes to relational readiness, emotional maturity and commitment to tie knot. Average age needed not make you feel that you are doomed for a lonely life or think there are many years to think about all this stuff. How are you preparing for a lasting and fulfilling marriage? How ready are you for it?

 

Quarter of US teen girls have STD March 12, 2008

Filed under: Culture,Family,health,News,Resources,Youth — Sam George @ 2:36 pm
Tags: , , ,

A shocking health report came out on US teenage girls from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). More than one fourth of them have some form of sexually transmitted disease! An estimated 3.2 million U.S. girls between the ages 14 and 19 (about 26 percent of that age group) have a sexually transmitted infection such as the human papillomavirus or HPV, chlamydia, genital herpes or trichomoniasis. See news report on Reuters, New York Times and US News.

This is indicative of growing promiscuity among teens in the US. When teen pregnancy and abortion were on the decline, many thought teens are remaining sexually abstinent. But this report now proves that teens are more careful not to get pregnant, but their sexual behaviors have not changed much.

48 percent of black teen-age girls were infected, compared to 20 percent of whites and 20 percent of Mexican American girls. It did not say anything about Asian Americans. Among the infected, about 15 percent had more than one. See CDC website for more on teen sexual behavior stats. Very alarming numbers, indeed!

Future fallout of such behavioral trend is for anybody to guess. Not just the risk of these quarter of girls catching diseases like HIV or cervical cancer, but how it will affect over 3 million future marriages they will enter into and its impact on future generations, society and nations!

There is something clearly wrong with current sex education approaches and curriculums. Some have making this as the reason for vaccinating all girls … remember the Merck’s vaccine? Was this research funded by pharma companies? Are there any ulterior business motives behind these numbers? Of course, CDC recommends all teen girls to be vaccinated. In others words, they are bought in to the idea that all teens are going to be sexually active!

There is a price to pay for the choices we make. There ain’t any free lunches! Every idea had its consequences. Some more costly than the other, but no liberal and immoral choices was without a hidden cost. Traditional, conservative and moral ideas may seems like limiting our freedom, but it will surely preserve and sustain a social order and provide safe environment for future generations. 

 

Challenge to religous leaders March 4, 2008

Filed under: church,Culture,Leadership,Ministries,Resources — Sam George @ 4:48 pm

No matter what media you turn to – Christian or secular, everybody is talking about the recently released report from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life on American religious landscape. Christian radio, tv, magazines, blogs, emails etc are filled with commentary and ‘expert’ opinion about the future of religion in America. Even many secular media dissecting this report with much delight, especially in light of Presidential election.

I had blogged on the same day as this report came out with some of my initial observations. But there is so much in it and many analysis continue to emerge. I am confident that for many months church and ministry leaders are going to chew upon this and try to understand its implications for themselves.

Mainline Protestant denominations continue their plunge downward through mediocrity to total irrelevance. No surprise there. Non-denominational evangelical churches continue to grow.The “unaffiliated” camp shows a rapid increase. Roman Catholicism is declining more quickly than any other “faith tradition” in One in four adults age 18 to 29 claim no affiliation with any religious institution.

One comment really caught my attention recently. Greg Smith, the researcher at the Pew Forum behind these report stated, “There is no question that the demographic balance has shifted in the past few decades toward evangelical churches. They are now the mainline of American Protestantism.”

It could mean two things: Evangelicals have taken the center stage in American Christianity or it is predicting the soon coming demise of evangelicalism like that of current mainlines. In many circles both of this reality is becoming more evident than ever before. Younger evangelicals are dropping out of established and mega churches. Emerging movement seems to be gaining strength. Religious leaders are throwing up their hands in the air at the challenge of the postmodern generation.

We are truely living in dangerous and exciting times! Leadership challenges we face have no precedents. How do we make sense of tumultuous shifts in demography? What does future looks like when faith allegience is so fickle? What do church leaders do when people are change churches like changing clothes? Something to really think about.

 

Missing Children in India January 28, 2008

Filed under: Family,India,News,Resources — Sam George @ 5:01 pm

Bangalore may be the nerve center of technology companies in India. But did you know some 4500 children went missing in Bangalore last year! I was shocked at this report in Times of India.

Sadly police does not even take any complaints and there is no support system for heartbroken parents. Some of them runaway from home, some are drawn by their “dreams” to a job/breakthro into movie industry/gang leader. But many of them end up in living on street, some in forced prostitution or some are trafficked out of the country. All of them drop of school and cut off from their parents. Often they are nipped at the bud, never get to bloom.

How can a society that does not care for the little one excel? Who will speak up for the voiceless? Exploitation and injustice of any kind require our thoughtful and intentional response. Speak up, don’t think your voice will drown in the noises of the world. As I was researching on missing children in India, I came across a National Center of Missing Kids in India, which reported some 1 million kids went missing last year in India.

Families, churches and NGOs need  to focus on reaching these missing kids. Jesus goes searching for the lost, so we must too. Remember the parable of lost sheep? The joy of finding a lost kid will be ours and who know what he or she is going to grow up to be. Our compassion will help future generations, not to mention impact of caring for such kids will have on our own kids!

 

Adolescent Suicides On the Rise August 21, 2007

Filed under: Resources,Youth — Sam George @ 3:28 am

Suicide rates for adolescents declined from 1994-2003, but increased 18% the following year. Since then the steady rise in suicides are attributed to antidepressant drugs. It is proven fact and even drug label clearly indicate that antidepressants increases suicidal thinking and behaviors. See a recent report.

Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for all persons regardless of age, sex or race; the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 24; and the fourth leading cause of death for persons between the ages of 10 and 14. Each year, there are approximately 12 suicides for every 100,000 adolescents. A recent CDC study reported that 27% of high school students said they had thought seriously about killing themselves during the past year. 8% said they had actually tried to kill themselves.

Here are some suicide prevention and survivor resources from Griefnet. Also helpful guide to prevent teen suicide from American Academy of Pediatrics. Adolescent Suicide Hotline: 800-261-4000.

 

American Children’s Health August 20, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Family,News,Resources — Sam George @ 2:47 am

A new official report is out on children – America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2007 provides an assessment of the health of children in the United States by examining statistics on health, housing, education, the environment, and other areas. Check here for the entire report http://childstats.gov or news coverage here.

Some positive trends include improved immunization, declining second hand smoke, lower teen birth rate etc. But it also revealed many negative trends like increased low birth weight, rate of obesity, type 2 diabetic, inceased adolescent crimes, not covered by health insurance increased etc.

Then there is findings like increased school children using condoms, which can be positive for (safe sex advocates) yet increased promiscuity is not a healthy sign. They might not get pregnant or catch any diseases, but we are accepting that premarital sexual activity is normative. See the slant of the same report in Chicago Tribune.

According to the report, 47% of high school students, or 6.7 million, reported having had sexual intercourse in 2005, compared with 54% in 1991. Though it decreased, still almost half of all school children are sexually experimented, most of these baggage is lead to instability to future relational pursuits and marraige.