KtBlog

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

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God, Mammon, Bathrooms, and Basketball

In the Tuesday-morning quiet of a Chapel Hill that will be riding high from its NCAA championship win last night for the foreseeable future, the news arrives that the NCAA has lifted its ban on hosting games in North Carolina. You’ve heard the story: HB 2, the North Carolina law requiring transgender people to use…

Uggs for Gaza

Uggs for Gaza

“After a few drinks, Mitch gleaned that Rafe and Joey were “just friends,” which he found encouraging. Less encouraging—downright puzzling, really—was when the conversation turned to environmental concerns, or their version of them. Rafe was dating a girl who studied the effects of secondhand smoke on cats. Joey’s niece just had a particular kind of…

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Art in Dark Times: A (Made-Up) Solstice Ritual

Around this time of year, I often find myself telling people about the mixture of holidays I grew up celebrating as a child. My back-to-the-land hippie parents, one Jewish, one not, both fairly atheist, kept what they liked from their respective family traditions, and added some new ones of their own. My brother, sister, and…

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The Klan Never Ends

When Gospel According to the Klan was published in 2011, the reactions to the book surprised me at first. I had some white people, including scholars, tell me that the Klan was an artifact of the past, or a fringe movement of little consequence. While I might have written about the 1920s Klan, they were…

Killing the Buddha

We’ve Got the Torch Now

The small rural town where I went to high school had a newspaper and I looked on its classified section last year and there were three jobs.  I’m not going to lie, I’m distraught over a Trump presidency, but I can understand the hopelessness of these people, because I have lived among them.  I actually…

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Election History, Second Draft

Killing the Buddha is going to have a lot to say in the coming weeks about the presidential election of a man best described as Voldemort. We will be bringing you first-person dispatches from the margins, as per usual, only just now a lot more of us are feeling “on the margins” than is usual.…

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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…