KtBlog

musings, news, events, and your letters to the editors

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KtB in person, this Sunday at AAR San Antonio!

Religion-scholar friends of KtB, please join us at the American Academy of Religion conference this weekend for an exciting and (if we do say so ourselves) eminently necessary conversation about religion writing on the Internet, the good, the bad, the trolls, the future. Buddha-killer Kali Handelman of The Revealer and NYU’s Center for Religion and…

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Aleppo Is Us

With the recent “What is Aleppo?” gaffe by Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, the news cycle has long moved on from the child whose image quickly became an icon of that city’s daily disaster. I first saw Omran Daqneesh on the front page of the New York Times, sitting bolt upright in an ambulance. I…

Killing the Buddha

The First Long, Dark Night After The Earthquake

A dry hot month to beat the records was passing its torch to the newspapers when the earthquake struck early Wednesday, causing untold damage and ceaseless unhappiness as the tremors continue throughout the night, one rumble after another. At first the meteorologists reporting declining heights of lakes and rivers were the stars of summer in…

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Goodbye, Tim LaHaye

When I first encountered Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’ Left Behind (1995), I was sitting on the a sage-colored corduroy coach at my mom’s house. Left Behind rested on a nearby table. It was 1998. I was in my first year of college and already determined to take courses on world religions. My determination proved…

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On Love and Chicken Sandwiches

Dear Cathy Family of Chik-Fil-A Fame, Recent Donors of Chicken Sandwiches to Honor the Orlando Victims, in Spite of Their Gayness, or Perhaps Because of It, I Don’t Know: You might not remember me, but I remember you and your 15-passenger van unloading what seemed like four dozen children at our Christian family camp in…

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Against Literary Transphobia

An early writing mentor told me once that sharing my story will save lives. I believe in the power of words to save lives, but the flipside is their power to harm. And I can’t overstate the harm transphobic writing like Daniel Harris’s “The Sacred Andogen: The Transgender Debate,” published in The Antioch Review, can…

Killing the Buddha

An Open Letter to The Antioch Review

Dear Antioch Review, In your May 5th statement regarding the essay, “The Sacred Androgen: The Transgender Debate” by Daniel Harris, you celebrate an admittedly “deeply offensive” essay for “stirring debate.” In doing so, you note that a “key Antiochian value” is to offer a forum for free expression, to encourage critical thought and dialogue. I…

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Celebrate with KtB, Thurs. 3/10 in Brooklyn!

Dear Readers, You are warmly invited to join Killing the Buddha this Thursday evening for: Love You to Death! a raucous celebration of the publication of Ann Neumann‘s The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America (Beacon Press, February 2016) with a night of death-affirming readings by authors Scott Korb, Gordon Haber, and Peter Manseau (Melancholy Accidents: Three Centuries of Stray…

Killing the Buddha

Without Meaning To

I search for meaning everywhere. In television shows, theme songs, top 40 hits, novels, Internet memes, and casual comments from friends and strangers. I look for meaning in relationships. In the words, spoken and not. In the emotions that radiate in gestures, silence, frowns, smiles, and tears. I look for meaning in the people that…

For Anna

I am in the middle of movement and want nothing but to stop. I am starved for silence, for stillness in the New Delhi swirl. I’m disoriented without the sight of stars, only catching that the moon has tipped through full when I spotted it through a nighttime haze we’ve swept up into the sky.…

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“Sorry About the Mess”: Star Wars and the Virtues of Garbage

I learned to love Star Wars through my Gen-X brother’s stories, his scuffed Kenner toys, and worn VHS tapes with the originals recorded off of HBO. I wasn’t there in ’77, ’80, or ’83, but I had a homemade Ewok costume in ’86. I was an eager convert. I was there at midnight for the…

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Sadness Is My Favorite

“Sadness touch my memories, Mama.” My two-year-old repeats this sentence like it’s his mantra. We’ve been watching Inside Out on heavy rotation at our house. He and his seven-year-old sister find the film about feelings enchanting. They quote lines. They pick favorite characters. They beg to watch it one more time. I tend to let…

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Victim-Blaming After the Zombies Come

Is preserving our own beliefs better than reaching out to help others no matter what the personal cost? I contemplated this thorny issue watching “JSS,” the second episode in season six of the zombie apocalypse TV juggernaut The Walking Dead. The question centers on the actions of two good, kind men: Morgan and Aaron. In…

Killing the Buddha

Words to Live By

I got another tattoo. A black and gray owl with wise eyes rests on my right bicep. A locked heart lays on its chest. Its claws grasp the key. I get tattoos to mark the transitions, those shifts in my life that suggest nothing will ever be the same. Tattoos make endings and beginnings concrete.…

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Breaking Up With White Jesus

It’s December of 2014. 2am, 3am, 4am, 5am, I thrash and turn over in bed and click on my phone, know I should not click on my phone, click on my phone. And there are the messages, the emails, the notes that never seem to stop. The usual stuff women get on the Internet: you…

Killing the Buddha

Netflix Knows Me

I was browsing Instant Watcher last night and this crazy thing happened. There were all these movies that were literally about me! I was like “what is the Universe trying to tell me?” I don’t know is the thing. Here are some examples. This is seriously freaky. A medical apprentice in 11th-century Persia disguises himself…

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Is Tom Leaving Scientology For Suri?

Could be? Who knows? I don’t want to set myself up for heartbreak again. I love too much and I hope too much and I never ever give up on some people. Tom Cruise is one of them. I need to maintain an even keel here. This article is gossip; it has nothing to do…

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Battle Flag

I’ve lived my entire life in the South, first Georgia and now North Carolina, but I’ve never paid much attention to the Confederate battle flag, the so-called stars and bars. Despite some ancestors who fought for the Confederacy and several childhood family vacations spent navigating cannons, split-rail fences, and museums filled with the tattered remnants…