Kj Swanson

MDiv. PhD candidate. Bartender. Dramaturg. Collaborator.

Link to University of St Andrews Doctoral Student Bio

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Posted on Wed, Sep 23rd, 2009 at 11:27 am
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Comments: 12

  1. 1 | Jayne

    November 22nd, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    My friend Vangie pointed me to your website after I said that I thought the Twilight series would make a great dissertation. Lo, and behond, here you are doing it! I’m enjoying your blog, but was wondering if I might be able to read your dissertation when it’s finished? I’ve only seen the movie so far, but I find it fascinating in the ways it laces together so many cultural themes of gender roles, sexuality, violence, family values, romance, etc. Not to mention vampires and strange/racist beliefs about Native Americans.

  2. 2 | Ali BG

    June 4th, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Hi, my name is Ali and I’m a high school teacher, writer and the wife of a recent MDiv graduate (North Park). My sister-in-law has a friend that is in school at Mars Hill and attended your Integrative Project presentation…she forwarded the vimeo to us as well as your paper….all that just to say this: I read your thesis like eating candy (not many academic papers about which I can say that)–I don’t even know why I’m writing except to say thank you for your clarity, your time and energy, the careful parsing of language and thinking that you’ve done. It’s a gift to the body of Christ, and I for one appreciate it.

    Thank you.

  3. 3 | Kj

    June 5th, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Wow- thank you Ali. I’m floored. Thanks for your kindness and encouragement. Writing that was without question one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life- facing those questions- in church culture and in myself. Words like yours matter a great deal- and I send them back to myself in December of 09 when I thought I’d never climb out from under the weight of it all. Thank you.

  4. 4 | Sarah F

    September 9th, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I just fell into your website from…I forget where because I’ve been reading you for the last two hours! But it was something to do with twilight, which I’m interested in because I’m writing a paper for my M.Th. in Applied Theology on how christianity can engage with fantasy and particularly vampire fiction/film in working with young people, particularly girls. I’m a youth pastor in the UK and I can’t get some of my youth group to even speak in a bible study discussion group but as soon as I mention Eclipse they’re off and I can’t shut them up. So what in Twilight is getting them going when “the greatest story ever told” is not scratching where they’re itching. I’ve already explored a connection with Paul Tillich’s existential Theology, particularly anxiety about annihilation in a previous paper on salvation. I suspect I’m the first person to quote Stephenie in an Oxford Uni Theology Masters paper; LOL.

    I’m interested in the things you’ve written about CS LEwis and Tolkein because that’s something else I’m going to explore as part of it, but I’d be really interested to read your papers on Charlotte Bronte well – Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books.

    SO thanks for all the excitement and mental stimulation and I can’t wait to read the next bits of the “Why are you bleeding” paper.

  5. 5 | Sarah F

    October 7th, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Hi Kj
    I just read part 2 of your critique of Twilight etc. Genius…I can’t wait until you turn your laser eyes on Breaking Dawn 😉

  6. 6 | Sarah

    October 24th, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    I met you bartending Saturday at Intiman and I REALLY need the recipe to Temptation! I hope to serve it at my upcoming Halloween party. Can you send it to me? Also is there a place were all the recipes from all the shows are listed? I could only find those from “Doctor”


  7. 7 | Kj

    October 25th, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Sarah, I just sent you an email with the info you seek. thanks for enjoying the cocktails!

  8. 8 | Rose

    December 31st, 2010 at 3:21 am

    Hi KJ
    I just read your entire critique of Twilight and all I can say is Thank You!
    Well, actually I can say a little more :). I am finishing my BA in lit at a small conservative Catholic university and have encountered in Catholic circles problems regarding femininity/sexuality very similar to those outlined thoroughly in your article. Thankfully these have come almost entirely from students and some members of the school administration, while with one exception the professors (particularly those in the Theology, Literature, and Theology departments) have a refreshing, liberating, and psychologically coherent (yet orthodox) approach to sexuality. While I have heard of Captivating (and its obvious problems), I am not very familiar with the particular texts written for evangelical girls on these matters. However, the effect of these texts on the mentality of young men and women (quite evident when I am asked if I am at university in search of my Mrs. degree…) is clearly prevalent across the board in conservative Christian circles, be they Evangelical or Catholic. The problems of self-annhiliation and non-personal passivity in my understanding stem first from an incomplete appreciation for the Trinity (as I believe you referenced near the conclusion of your article) as a community of persons reciprocally loving. Misogyny has sadly been perpetuated in many strains of Christianity as “the way God made things” etc, however I think that a re-consideration of the interpersonality of the Trinity, along with a more honest reading of Genesis, can begin to address these problems. If you have time (since graduating!) and would like to read some more fascinating books on this beautiful approach to Christian sexuality, I recommend the following three:

    “Man and Woman He Created Them” by John Paul II available here: http://www.amazon.com/Man-Woman-He-Created-Them/dp/0819874213

    “Love and Responsibility” by John Paul II available here:

    “The Nature of Love” by Dietrich von Hildebrand (I have only read excerpts)
    available here: http://www.amazon.com/Nature-Love-Dietrich-von-Hildebrand/dp/1587315602/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1293783042&sr=1-2

    Thanks again!

  9. 9 | Kj

    January 4th, 2011 at 1:58 am

    Rose, thanks for the great feedback and suggestions. Out of curiosity, have you read any James Alison? He’s one of my favorite theologians, and also Catholic. His perspective on sexuality offers a beautiful paradigm through which to understand the atonement. Love him!

  10. 10 | LP

    May 17th, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Hi KJ-

    I stumbled onto your site last week when I was on youtube watching Yankee Candle reviews. I liked your video reviews and I’ve been popping by to check out your site and see when you have a new one up.

    Then I stumbled across some of your older posts, like about re-reading “A Scarlett Letter” or about what Harry is saying when he screams “Expecto Patronum.”

    And now I am hooked. I love your writing. I love your videos. I may not agree with you on everything, but you always have a clear point of view and your explain your reasoning perfectly. You seem incredibly sure of yourself in a way that is…. well, it’s really super cool, that’s what it is.

    In short, you rock. You rock hard.

    Best wishes to you!


  11. 11 | Kj

    May 17th, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Thanks Linda! And there should be a new Yankee video soon 🙂

  12. 12 | Cindy

    January 1st, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Hi KJ,
    Have been enjoying your YankCan videos! I’ve watched every single one once and I even watched the Mary Poppins one which had me laughing until I cried. Satyrs? WTF?

    A couple of weeks ago I didn’t have any candles and now I have gone into the Yankee Candle crazy. I have avoided the jar candles because I didn’t know about the wax pool. The Friday before xmas I had this urge to get an evergreen-ish candle. I went to YankCan with the intention of buying one candle. Ha! I look back at the person I was and marvel at her naivete. After sniffing almost everything, I walked out with four little jars. Fast forward about 10 days: I am over the little jars. I scoff at the little jars! I have moved onto the large ones and now own about 20 of them. They were having a 2-for-1 sale and I went a little crazy. I didn’t get them all at once but still. So it turns out I LOVE THE WAX POOL!!! I was cracking up at your friend’s descriptions of treating her new candles like they were a newborn baby. That’s exactly what I’m doing. I only light one at once though… after all, I am a beginner.

    I like your one-candle-a-month model and I will consider adopting that practice. Also, what’s with the teenage boys posting videos on candles? Very interesting subculture going on there. Thanks again for the fun videos and looking forward to your continued insights. Now I must look into the progress of my Red Apple Wreath candle’s wax pool. Best regards, Cindy

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