The Millennial Nuns


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Why is there a jump in young women becoming nuns and how are these millennial nuns different?

And the aspiring sisters aren’t like the old ones. They’re more diverse: Ninety percent of American nuns in 2009 identified as white; last year, fewer than 60 percent of new entrants to convents did. They’re also younger: The average age for taking the final step into the religious life a decade ago was 40. Today, it’s 24. They’re disproportionately middle children, often high-flying and high-achieving. Typical discernment stories on blogs or in the Catholic press start with lines like “she played lacrosse and went to Rutgers” or she was “a Harvard graduate with a wonderful boyfriend.”

You’ll find these 20-somethings, like other 20-somethings, all over Instagram and YouTube. Some investigate which religious order to join on a website called VocationMatch.com, basically a dating app for nuns. You get the sense that these young women get a kick out of demonstrating their enduring link to “basic bitch” concerns like food Instagramming, college sports or Benedict Cumberbatch’s facial hair—and then pulling a fast one on the rest of us with flinty tweets like “You die unprepared without the sacraments.”

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Eve Fairbanks — Huffpost

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A Friends-and-Family Intervention for Preventing Teen Suicide


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A meaningful article on how to prevent teen suicide.

In King’s approach, teens nominate trusted adults — for example, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends, teachers, and clergy — to serve as a support team. (Parents have veto power.) The adults then get an hour-long training session and weekly phone calls from King’s intervention specialists to talk about how things are going. They are cautioned to not feel responsible for the teen’s behavior — “We’re not asking them to be mental health professionals,” King said — but they agree to check-in with their teens once a week by phone, a face-to-face meeting, or an outing.

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Jill U. Adams — Undark

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A Foreigner in Beijing


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Chinese people are used to feeling ashamed of themselves on their home turf. The ancient sage Zengzi taught everyone to “reflect on [yourself] three times a day.” Modern prime minister Zhou Enlai famously pledged to “work hard for the rise of China,” mobilizing generations of Chinese youth into action – JFK would not have needed to admonish us. In addition, our post-1989 textbooks urge us to “let the Western imperialists who had trampled our land witness our strength with regret.” Further, because family scandals are not to be broadcasted, we see our faults but resent external criticisms. At last, we find ourselves torn between the alternating angst of humiliation and indignation.

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Liuyu Chen — China Channel

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What Happened After My 13-Year-Old Son Joined the Alt-Right


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The problems had started when Sam was 13, barely a month into eighth grade. In the taxonomy of our local public school, his close group of friends was tagged edgy and liberal: One of them came out as gay during a class presentation; another identified as trans for a while. Their group-text chain pulsed 24-7 with observations about alternative music and the robotic conformity of other classmates. Standard stuff for sensitive middle-schoolers.

One morning during first period, a male friend of Sam’s mentioned a meme whose suggestive name was an inside joke between the two of them. Sam laughed. A girl at the table overheard their private conversation, misconstrued it as a sexual reference, and reported it as sexual harassment. Sam’s guidance counselor pulled him out of his next class and accused him of “breaking the law.” Before long, he was in the office of a male administrator who informed him that the exchange was “illegal,” hinted that the police were coming, and delivered him into the custody of the school’s resource officer. At the administrator’s instruction, that man ushered Sam into an empty room, handed him a blank sheet of paper, and instructed him to write a “statement of guilt.”

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Washingtonian

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Nearly Half of You Reading This Have Bullshit Jobs


Goons are the second category. They’re people who work in an industry that is only necessary because there are other people like them. You don’t need a corporate lawyer unless somebody else has a corporate lawyer. Another example is telemarketers: you only need them if your competitors have them. A lot of PR, advertising, and lobbying involves goon-like behavior: There’s an element of aggression. A lot of people in this category wrote and said, you know, our jobs are ridiculous and contribute nothing to society. Most corporate lawyers seem to secretly feel this.

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Nick Romeo — The Daily Beast

Woke


The original meaning of the word woke deserves a resurrection. The seeds for it are in our activism, our art, and ourselves: in Colin Kaepernick’s public protest, in the work of Black Lives Matter and other black- and person-of-color-led organizations, in the art and music of Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, Kendrick Lamar, and Solange. But wokeness has always begun with the self. I had lunch with a friend last week, and after we traded stories about jobs and marriages and the news, we switched, as is our custom, to the topic of police brutality. “Stay woke,” he told me at the end of our conversation. It was the first time in a while that I’d heard those words, but they still held their old power. An electric hit went up my spine.

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Kashana Cauley — Believer

What’s the best charity to donate to?


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With our limited budget, this is a question we all think about.

If you have under $10,000 to give, consider entering a donor lottery. It’s now possible to put $5,000 into a fund with other small donors, in exchange for a 5% chance of being able to choose where $100,000 from that fund gets donated. Why might you want to do this? In the case where you win, you can do a great deal of research into where’s best to give, to allocate that $100,000 as well as possible. Otherwise, you don’t have to do any research, and whoever else wins the lottery does it instead.

In short, it’s probably more efficient for small donors to pool their funds, and for one of them to do in-depth research, rather than each of them do a small amount of research. The Centre for Effective Altruism now organises a donor lottery once a year – two of them are open as of this writing in Dec ‘18, and will close on 9 Jan ‘19. You can find out more.

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Ben Todd & the 80,000 Hours Team

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