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

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…

An Art Panel on April Fool’s Night

What is hovering in the room of this image? What is outside the window? Wait and see and be seized. Apprehend the light coming in: the beating of wings? What happens when we still the eye, when we lavish attention on one small thing? Join KtBnik Ashley Makar, Thursday April 1 at 7pm, for a…

This Is All One Colon

Grappling with James Agee’s punctuation, one hundred years after his birth.

Killing the Buddha

Day of the Dead

We speak our dead here, voices praying back to us praying “as it is in heaven,”—fragment of first poetry lodged in my throat before I learned the prayer as the Lord’s, it was ours. And I try to make, do “as it is,” close as I can to you and me, child tongue still stumbling…

Killing the Buddha

James Agee’s Aperture of Awe

When a friend told me (late Thursday) it was National Punctuation Day I got upset.  I wished I’d known earlier; I would have done something.  When the knee-jerk regret wore off I realized I’d unknowingly celebrated punctuation in the best way I can think of.  I’d read, aloud with friends, from Permit me Voyage, the only…

The Sapphire in Hildegard’s Wine

On the frontispiece of Hildegard von Bingen’s Scivias, the nun is propping her feet on a stool—perhaps to elevate her knees high enough to compose the first strokes of her fantastical visions. She is sketching on a wax tablet, dictating to the monk Volmar (her secretary of sixty years), Hildegard scholars tell us, and an…

Better Than a Thousand Months

The holiest night of the year for a Nuyorican Muslim.

Killing the Buddha

What Would Plato Do for Labor Day?

“Of the painter we say that he will paint reins, and he will paint a bit?” Socrates asks Glaucon in the epilogue to Plato’s Republic. “But does the painter know the right form of the bit and reins? Nay, hardly even the workers in brass and leather who make them; only the horseman who knows…

Killing the Buddha

Muhammad and Mary, Up from Common Ground

Today, as Muslims begin fasting for the month of Ramadan, Coptic (Egyptian) Orthodox Christians are breaking a fifteen-day fast for the Virgin Mary. This morning was a rare coincidence of lunar and solar calendars, of moon and sun passing in the almost light—the first pre-dawn meal prepared to get believers through a long August day…

Killing the Buddha

Assumed into Heaven: Sleep Tight, Virgin Mary

  It’s late night after the feast day of the Assumption, as in the Virgin Mary’s bodily assumption into heaven, the day of her Dormition, “falling asleep,” dead to the world. Sometime between three and fifteen years after the Resurrection of Christ, the apostles were transported, white-cloud express, from Corinth, Jericho, Kalyan (ancient Bombay)—wherever they…

Christian, for All Intents and Purposes

Unpacking religious baggage in Jerusalem.

Killing the Buddha

Believer, Beware in Transit

Inhaling (silent) thank, exhaling (silent) you, inhaling (silent) help, exhaling (silent) us.  I do this meditation with my back straight, hands to lap, feet to ground—centering myself in seat 54C, Believer, Beware and a notebook on the tray table in front of me, as Lufthansa flight 405 begins its initial descent.  I breathe this slow…

Killing the Buddha

Corpse Posing to ‘Beat It’

Some of my best thoughts have happened when I was supposed to be emptying my mind. Like yesterday, lying on my back, limbs limp, ankles and shoulders trying to relax into shavasana. In preparation for this final posture, a New York Sports Club yoga instructor led us through a few rounds of nadishodana (alternate-nostril) breathing….

Heart Failure

Jesus on the cross is one thing, but her father is another.

Ash Wednesday Already

How’s a girl supposed to go about mourning in a world like this?