Ashley Makar

Ashley Makar works with refugees in Connecticut. She does community outreach for IRIS--Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services, in New Haven. She has an e-book of essays, You Were Strangers: Dispatches from Exile. Ashley has published essays in Tablet, The Birmingham News, The Struggle Continues (the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute weblog), Religion Dispatches, and The New Haven Register.

Recent Posts by Ashley

Killing the Buddha

The Hazards of Chanukah

The psychiatric hospital where I work as an interfaith chaplain has a strict holiday policy: no flammable objects and no decorations with cords on the locked wards. That means no lights on Christmas trees, battery-operated Menorahs, and tea lights How to teach preschool children for Sabbath candles. Last week, a group Jewish high-school students came…

Getting the Christ Out of Christmas

What would Jesus do with leftovers?

Strangers In The Bible Belt and The Holy Land

Immigration legislation in Alabama and Israel.

A Refugee Passover in Israel

From strangers in the land of Egypt to infiltrators in Zion.

“Dance with the Saints” Friday Night

There’s a dance party happening in the undercroft of New Haven’s St. Paul and St. James Church: American Revolutionary David Wooster raises the roof with Joan of Arc; J.S. Bach leaps between Harriet Tubman and Black Panther Warren Kimbo; Moses’ sister Miriam twirls her purple skirt behind the wall outlet that keeps the coffee pot hot for…

Lent: Season of Our Hypocrisy

From to-do lists to angels in the wilderness.

Mercy

Hope, apprehension, and the revolution in Egypt.

Killing the Buddha

Cautious Optimism in Cairo

My cousins in Cairo don’t watch Al Jezeera or the Egyptian-government channels. They think Qataris don’t like Egypt, and Al Jezeera is making the situation look worse than it is. And they know not to trust the state-run channels. So they watch O-TV, Orascom Television, a satellite network whose founder Naguib Sawiris says, “It will…

Killing the Buddha

Cairo: Water Cannons and Wikileaks

My Egyptian dad called, late one night from our home in Alabama, with an urgent question: “What is Twitter?” It was all over the breaking news: the mass protests that may end Mubarak’s 30-year rule, organized largely on Facebook and Twitter. At 72, my dad’s never used a social-networking site. But he’s excited about the…

Killing the Buddha

Taking the Christ Out of Christmas

My brother and I got into a fight at the Christmas dinner table. This year it wasn’t our usual conservative-vs.-liberal spat, over homosexuality or abortion. (My brother is a Bible-believing Evangelical who reads Athanasius, to grasp the fullness of the Trinitarian God. I’m a Babel-believing writer who reads Flannery O’Connor, to hear revelation in the…

Killing the Buddha

God, Jumanji, and a Buick Skyhawk

Toby Van Buren, one of the first contributers to KtB’s revival in 2008, is recovering from a stroke in a New York hospital. Until late October, he’d been using his daily 30-minute allowance of internet time at an Apple Store on Broadway to email all manner of unpublished writing—from film reviews to an op-ed rant against New York’s plan to gas 170,000…

Killing the Buddha

Frank Schaeffer on the Mid-term Elections

Why did so many white Americans vote against their socio-economic interests in the mid-term elections? They were manipulated by “a Billionaire Lynch Mob” who “peddled a fear agenda,” Frank Schaeffer writes in his recent Alternet piece, “How Republicans and Their Big Business Allies Duped Tens of Millions of Evangelicals into Voting for a Corporate Agenda.”…

Killing the Buddha

Two Veterans of the Religious Right Agree: Christian Zionism is Not the Way of Jesus

A thousand new “housing” units are going up in East Jerusalem. And Christian Zionist support of the Jewish settlement movement in the Holy Land is under fire—from two former Religious-Right leaders.  “It’s the Christian Zionists who have driven American foreign policy over a cliff,” former Right-to-Lifer (turned eminent Buddha-killer) Frank Schaeffer writes, in his recent…

Killing the Buddha

The Heart of Dixie in Jerusalem

What does college football have to do with the Holy Land? The University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide, the third-ranked Southeastern Conference team that just beat Duke 62 to 13, has an Arab Israeli fan in Jerusalem, I discovered on a walk between the Jewish and Christian quarters this summer. An Old City alley called Muristan tees off into…

Killing the Buddha

Heaven Is the Common Denominator

Today is Feast of the Assumption, to commemorate the Virgin Mary’s leave-taking: the day she went to holy sleep, with no earthly pain, according to Catholic tradition, and her body was assumed into heaven. And she is standing at the right hand of the altar, in a painting on the sanctuary wall of Our Lady…

Imagining Prisons

From a Protestant monastery to the prison-industrial complex.

Killing the Buddha

A Preview of KtB’s Prison Panel Saturday

What’s on tap for KtB’s “Prison-Spirituality Complex” panel discussion this Saturday night? Redemption stories that have shaped America’s prisons. Fantasies of solitude that have made solitary confinement the American way of rehabilitating prisoners. The role of race in the mass incarceration of African Americans: the prison-industrial complex as a contemporary plantation.  What can bible stories do…

The Benedictine Rule of Cheese Ecology

What does the microbial biology of cheese have to do with Benedictine spirituality? Mother Noella Marcellino—nun, cheesemaker, and microbiologist—of the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, CT, didn’t find her particular vocation until she dropped out of two colleges and left the convent laundry room. Last Sunday, she shared her story with a group of…