KtBlog

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

defyingcertainty

Defying the Certainty of the Christian Right

Earl Taylor, with his white hair, lean figure, and suit, has a mildly aristocratic appearance. He carries himself and speaks in a mild manner–admittedly, there is also something of the Sunday school teacher about him–yet his ideas are among the most dangerous in America. This last comment sounds both clichéd and hyperbolic. Even so, Taylor…

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Just Give Me That Old-Time, DIY Religion

For the past two years, I’ve been deep in conversation and research about the phenomenon of “nones”–the rising number of religiously unaffiliated Americans. Although the word “none” appears in my forthcoming book’s title, it’s a term I and most of the people I interviewed for the book dislike. “None” implies negation and absence. And what’s…

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A Playlist for Seekers and Doubters

Music has consistently been a vehicle for my ponderings and prayers about and to the Divine, or lack thereof. These are a few songs that have stuck with me, organized by theme. Questioning “Doubting Thomas” – Nickel Creek The title is a dead giveaway. This plaintive tune ponders what plagues many when at the crossroads…

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Look For The Signs

The Messengers is another supernatural mystery from a network, the CW, known for vampires, zombies, demons, angels, and other monsters that go bump in the night. I watched the first two episodes with the hope that maybe this show would mimic Supernatural, my long-time favorite that emphasizes moral ambiguity, the peril of good intentions, and…

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Dear Cruelest Month: Spring Isn’t Arab

Once upon a time we lay in bed trying to imagine what shelling sounded like. We being me and the man I loved. Ah, those early days of my Orientalism and our naïvete. It was winter,2012, and I had started sleeping in the storage space above my kitchen. It was the only place in my…

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On Labels and Returning to Church

This past winter I started going to church again. Emotionally exhausted and spiritually drained from current events and personal circumstances, I made a point to actually set my alarm and show up to the 10:45 service of a congregation within walking distance of my home. It was the second Sunday in Advent, and the congregation…

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Demolishing the Cycle of Hate

The city of Sandy Hook, Connecticut, recently razed the home of the infamous 20-year-old gunman who in 2012 murdered 20 first-graders, one for each year of his life, as if he were doing nothing more grievous than blowing out candles on a birthday cake, plus six teachers and his own mother. At first glance, the…

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Stop Casting ‘Religious Freedom’ Stones

Every so often we see news reports from faraway places like Pakistan, where some Muslim tribal elders have condemned someone, usually a woman, to be stoned to death. Quite rightly, we’re incensed, because civilized folks don’t stone people. Those Muslims are so heathenish and backward with their stonings and jihads and holding grudges from the…

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Cinderella: The Magic of Kindness

I grew up with Disney princesses: Ariel, Jasmine, Snow White, Aurora, and Cinderella. I watched and rewatched these fairy tales on-screen, not just as entertainment, but also as possibilities for the world I inhabited. I fervently wished that magic was real and that all princes were charming. Particular princesses resonated more than others. Ariel and…

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The Perpetuation of Prejudice: The Chapel Hill Shootings

The wind is bitterly cold and blows sharply in the night. Somewhere above us, a bird caws a long and solitary cry that echoes across campus. Thousands of students, faculty, and town residents huddle together trembling, with heads bowed and hands shielding the tiny flame of their candles. Despite the vast number of people at…

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Kingsman: The One-Percent Apocalypse

I went to watch Kingsman: The Secret Service the day after Valentine’s Day. My husband and I were eager to see a movie, any movie really, that didn’t involve talking animals. The choices were limited for those us who refuse to engage Fifty Shades of Grey, so we settled upon Kingsman because it was the…

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Pope’s Magic Number of Children: Major Clue Revealed

Pope Francis has come out in favor of siblings. “Siblings help you keep your eyes off yourself,” he said, adding To grow up in a family alongside other children is a profound human experience that reaches its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, who became our brother and made us all children of God the Father. I…

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Ashley Wednesday

“I go to Mass early, start the day laden with the strangeness of being a Christian, of being part of this we who celebrate death and resurrection. After the ashes, Communion. After the bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ, it’s a relief to move on to bran flakes and coffee. But you’ve…

Killing the Buddha

The Pope and Selfishness: Contradictions and Fictions

It was a record-scratching, “hold up, wait a minute” moment a few days ago when Pope Francis, who had just a couple of weeks back told Catholics that they don’t need to “breed like rabbits,” followed that up by stating that “the choice not to have children is selfish.” KtB editor Mary K. Valle and…

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Chocolate Deities: Sacrilegious?

Bond Street Chocolate, a small confectionery in the East Village, stocks a good selection of chocolate deities, including Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and the Virgin of Guadalupe. Chocolate Ganesh has been in residence for over five years, but only recently, a Hindu group has lodged a complaint, saying the chocolate Ganesh is offensive to Hindus.…

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Vatican’s Conference on Women: Torso Tales

The Vatican’s  conference on women has yielded an embarrassment of embarrassments. Winning the Worst-Of Award, trouncing strong contenders such as the bizarre blond-lady video, the “burqa made of flesh,” the “statistics” which prove women don’t want ordination and the #lifeofwomen tag, is this image of a Man Ray sculpture, found on the Outline page for…

Killing the Buddha

Link Roundup: Men of God, Not Ladies of God

Ruth Gledhill writes in Christian Today that Anglican priest Philip North, who will be soon be consecrated as a bishop, is planning to break CoE tradition by refusing to let some of the other bishops present lay hands on him at the ceremony. The reason? He doesn’t want hands that laid on now-Bishop Libby North…

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The Papal Explainer: Breeding Like Rabbits

Lots of headlines are trumpeting Pope Francis’ recent declaration that Catholics need not breed like rabbits. However, Catholics are still not allowed to use artificial birth control. There are “licit” ways of preventing pregnancy, said the Pope. Human breeding in a manner unlike rabbits must be done by means of natural family planning (which is…