Poems for the Cruelest Month

All of the intensity and unpredictability of this season, the surges of hope and terror, the stirring of memory and desire—word images, symbols, and sounds arranged in rhythm, engaged in elegy and mystery may be our best bet for helping us hold it all.


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…


Praying with Refugees

A sermon preached at Trinity on the Green, August 23, 2015


Sea Accounting

Navigating fear, family, and Syria’s failing insurrection.

At the edge of the West Bank village of Faqqua, an Israeli soldier watches from the other side of the Green Line. Photo by Bryan MacCormack of Left in Focus.

The Hourglass

What I learned about empire in the West Bank.

Serve Man

The Most Dangerous Game

David Holthouse, in Alternet, reports on the twice yearly Machine Gun Shoot in West Point, Kentucky, where he found lots of Nazi t-shirts and books and anti-Muslim paraphernalia for sale, along with, of course, deadly weapons. This “family-friendly” event is said to have a “split personality”: The rent-a-machine-gun portion of the event is family-oriented. Fathers pay…

Killing the Buddha

Cautious Optimism in Cairo

My cousins in Cairo don’t watch Al Jezeera or the Egyptian-government channels. They think Qataris don’t like Egypt, and Al Jezeera is making the situation look worse than it is. And they know not to trust the state-run channels. So they watch O-TV, Orascom Television, a satellite network whose founder Naguib Sawiris says, “It will…

Kabul scarf.

The Kabul Scarf

It’s New Year’s Eve, and last night my colleague at Waging Nonviolence, Eric Stoner, returned safely from Afghanistan. He was there as a journalist and activist with an envoy of peacemakers, meeting networks of Afghans and internationals who are working to end the endless war, to which so many young people in that country have…

"View down on Beacon Hill & Back Bay" by Werner Kunz via Flickr.

A Package Arrives

“We just put it into a drawer, because we had enough to deal with.”

Killing the Buddha

Reverend Phelps, Your Cause Is Just!

Occasionally KtB just can’t resist sharing its space with some of the wild letter-writers we hear from on a regular basis. They, after all, are part of the cacophony choir, to the exposition of which the site is so fervently devoted. Take, as a saner preface to this, Josh Garrett-Davis’ recent piece here on Fred…

Killing the Buddha

Independence Day, almost

This one day during basic training when we did a night live fire exercise crawling under exploding things made me kind of done with fireworks. I was low-crawling through the sand with tracer bullets flying overhead (“Don’t stand up, or you might get killed,” they told us, though I figured the bullets were probably higher…

iPhone photo by the author.

Flag Day: Keshena, WI

Not two weeks ago in Kyle, SD, on the Pine Ridge Reservation, a woman caught me looking at an image of a red, white, and blue tipi drawn onto a sheet of old camp meeting ledger.  In front of the tipi stood a feathered and braided brave wearing a union jack cloak with tails striped…

Look into those Stark eyes.

The Crusades: Actually Not So Bad?

The sociologist of religion Rodney Stark is back (just in time for Medieval Week) with yet another in his always-controversial oeuvre, this time with a book about the very thing we all thought we could love to hate about Christian history: the Crusades. Our friends over at Patheos recently put up an interview with Stark…

Good News in Wartime

A Good Opening

From the pamphlet Sharing the Good News in Wartime The Biblical verses on some of our gunsights have caused some controversy. When asked, why not use it as an opening to share the Gospel? Here’s an example. Subject: Is that one of those Jesus rifles? Soldier: Why yes, it is. Put your hands on your…

“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.

Life in Year One

Life in Year Now

A pilgrimage in 21st-century Palestine.

Jason Sagebiel in his office in Iraq.

The Songs of War

In the first years of the Iraq War, what distinguished Maj. Gen. David Petraeus’s success in the north from his fellow commanders’ difficulty in the south was his correct assessment of the “center of gravity.” The term, coined by Clausewitz, refers to the enemy’s source of strength. Petraeus understood that insurgents depend heavily on civilians—for…

Killing the Buddha

Jesus Rifles

This is my Jesus rifle This is my gun One’s for vanquishing the enemies of Christianity The other’s for urinating and procreation in a God-blessed man-woman lifetime marital union (source)