September Buddha-killing Update

Whenever something we publish on KtB prompts a surprising response, I like to take a little time and then weigh in to the conversation editorially speaking. Last week’s feature, “White People Problems,” from our friend Briallen Hopper, is an impassioned meditation on the need for difficult conversations about race and power, on the occasion of Ferguson, and the 50th anniversary of a groundbreaking documentary A Time For Burning.

It also argued with an advice columnist from the Village Voice, whose large following of “partiers” then took umbrage, prompting a somewhat disturbing response in the Voice. I felt like jumping in, but in the nick of time I realized that my fellow KtB editor Mary Valle had already done so far more pithily than I ever could, in a post entitled “Party of One” on her Tumblr, which I encourage you all to follow immediately.

Then I started to look around and notice the amazing work that our far-flung crew of editors and friends were up to, killing Buddhas left and right. So I thought I’d take a moment to gather them in one place for you, dear readers.

Ashley Makar, who was part of the first resurrection of this site and has written numerous beautiful essays here, many about cancer and the life of the spirit, has also been out there putting her own “alive with cancer” body on the line to support research and treatment. Her KtBlog post, “Am I A Survivor?”, co-published with The New Haven Register, is both proud and humble, defiant of the dominant narratives of cancer.

The National Catholic Reporter recently profiled our own Kaya Oakes, or, as they called her in the headline, “the tattooed feminist Catholic who chooses conscience over catechism.” She also presented a public conversation this weekend with the one and only Richard Rodriguez. (You can listen to the audio recording here.) And in November she’ll be coming to New York to help celebrate a Guerrilla Communion, which we promise you’ll hear much more about in the coming weeks.

Nathan Schneider, who recently joined the Catholic magazine America as a columnist, has already voiced the loyal opposition we knew he would, with posts on nontraditional family and marriage, and an essay on love and the Islamic state. You can’t get more Buddha-killing than that combination. But there’s more: a conversation Nathan had with Krista Tippett of “On Being” this summer at the Chautauqua Institute has just been posted on YouTube, and I suggest you watch it immediately.

Our illustrious co-founding editor Jeff Sharlet, now a professor of what he calls “mutant journalism” at Dartmouth, has recently begun writing a prolific and beautiful series of “Instagram essays,” snapshots of people he’s met and interactions he’s had on recent trips to Singapore, Kenya, and around New England. We’ll be publishing a few here at KtB, but meanwhile we suggest you follow jeffsharlet on Instagram immediately. (While you’re at it, please follow ktbuddha too.)  The new form overturns his own accustomed narrative, of writing that is, well, longer.

But it also brings him back, as KtB’s other illustrious co-founding editor Peter Manseau recently reminisced on Twitter, to the early days of KtB, when these two original Buddha-killers would go around gathering “psalms”: “The weirdness of hanging around, asking people to open their lives.” Those  brief, revelatory writings can be found in the book that came before the site, Killing The Buddha: A Heretic’s Bible, and they are among the many reasons we are happy to still be Buddha-killing out in the world.

Jeff Sharlet’s Instagram feed