Killing the Buddha

Martyrs Who Know How to Sing

Ever since seeing Terrence Malick’s extraordinary film The Thin Red Line a few months ago, I’ve been transfixed by the chants that play on its soundtrack, especially those by the Melanesian Brotherhood, an Anglican religious community on the island of Guadalcanal. My favorite is this one: Wow. The film takes place during the gruesome battle…

Killing the Buddha

Martyrdom Makeover

New from me at Religion Dispatches: The idea of martyrdom hasn’t been in very good shape lately. One common usage of it—“I’ll not be made a martyr!”—refers to the prospect of somewhat tragic but mostly useless suffering, perhaps in the service of a delusional cause, religious or otherwise. Another appears regularly in the news with…

“Romero is always present,” says Ana Grande, 30. A 2005 mural by J. Reyes Yasbek entitled Verdad y Justicia (“Truth and Justice”) attests to Romero’s continuing legacy in the struggle for social justice. All photos by Richard Amesbury.


Archbishop Romero’s legacy survives in El Salvador.

Russian nun

Hands Across the Water

A Russian nun and her impossible song, in an excerpt from Rag and Bone: A Journey Among the World’s Holy Dead.