Busted Halo
author archive
Bill McGarvey :
99 article(s)

Bill McGarvey is co-author of Busted Halo’s Freshman Survival Guide. Bill was editor-in-chief of Busted Halo for six year. In addition to having written extensively on the topics of culture and faith for NPR, Commonweal, America, The Tablet (in London), Factual (Spain), Time Out New York, and Book magazine, McGarvey is a singer/songwriter whose music has been critically acclaimed by the New York Times, Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Billboard and Performing Songwriter. You can follow him at his website billmcgarvey.com or on Facebook.com/billmcgarvey
April 12th, 2011
How the Freshman Survival Guide came to be
On the eve of the publication of their book, co-authors Nora Bradbury-Haehl and Bill McGarvey discuss how, over the course of six years, an evening of candid conversations between college students and high school seniors grew into The Freshman Survival Guide: Soulful Advice for Studying, Socializing and Everything In Between. Bill McGarvey: Do you remember when this all began to take root at Busted Halo? Nora Bradbury-Haehl: There were two transition points. One summer six years ago we were talking about what stories we should do for fall and I said, “Well, I do this retreat with my high school seniors where we have them talk with college students — current college students — and get a chance…
January 14th, 2011
Ex-L.A. gang members carry a message of hope to a small Alabama town
For over 20 years, Homeboy Industries has offered a way out of gang life for thousands of young people in Los Angeles. Established by Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, in 1988, Homeboy has garnered national recognition and become a model across the country for helping people transition out of gang life. Their many programs include job training and placement assistance as well as small businesses — including a café, bakery, catering service, merchandise, landscaping service and maintenance service — where the most difficult to place individuals are given transitional jobs, thus providing a safe, supportive environment in which to learn both concrete and soft job skills and to build their resume. In 2007,…
November 16th, 2010

Now we'd like to complicate the story just a bit more by telling you what happened next...

Kara tells Robert to stay where he is and makes him promise not to do anything to hurt himself. She gets in her car and immediately heads over to Robert's apartment. While in the car she decides that she will ask one of the doctors she knows to see Robert and -- if the physician believes Robert needs medication -- she will provide the samples.

Robert is clearly glad to see her when she arrives. Kara offers to take him to the emergency room but Robert tells her that he feels better now that she is there. As far as Kara can tell, he does seem calmer and less desperate than he was on the phone but she is uncomfortable leaving him by himself right now. She sits down on his couch and begins to talk with him about what he's been going through...

November 9th, 2010

After struggling to put herself through college, Kara landed a good job as a drug representative for a large pharmaceutical company. The job required her to travel to doctor's offices throughout her "territory" in the northeastern part of Washington State and remind physicians about the various medications her company makes and how they benefit patients. Because most of the doctors she deals with are very busy, her visits usually entail a quick hello to the doctor to drop off a few samples of the prescription medications she represents.

October 25th, 2010
Busted Halo’s Editor-in-Chief says goodbye after six years

When I took over as editor-in-chief of Busted Halo in May 2004 we were still living in a web 1.0 world. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist and updating this site involved working with a content management system that—compared to what we use today—might as well have been designed by Fred Flintstone. So much has changed so quickly in the world of the web and social media that it’s almost as if we now exist in a different universe. Social media isn’t the only thing that has changed in that time. The conversation about the intersection of faith and everyday life that we’ve hosted at BustedHalo.com has grown exponentially. Hundreds of thousands of seekers have come here in an effort to make sense of…
October 13th, 2010

Now we'd like to complicate the story just a bit more by telling you what happened next...


The Wrinkle

After a few moments silence Michelle tells Beth that she can’t in good conscience stand up in a church before God and support a marriage that she so clearly feels is wrong and unhealthy.

On the other end of the phone she hears Beth start to cry and Michelle begins to feel sorry that she has hurt her close friend so badly. When Beth composes herself, she tells Michelle that she hasn’t had nearly as much dating experience and that she “exaggerated those incidents with Thomas” partly out of inexperience and also in part because she kind of enjoyed the drama and it made her feel like she finally had something to share with Michelle in terms of relationships. Now she’s concerned that Michelle will never give Thomas a fair chance.

Time for you to decide again. What's the right thing to do now?
October 5th, 2010

As Beth and Thomas' relationship became serious, Michelle began to be troubled by some of the things Beth would tell her.

Few of us are ever faced with making the sorts of life or death decisions we routinely hear about in the news. And yet there are decisions we face every day that -- whether we realize it or not -- have very real moral implications.

Part trivia game and part reality show, Busted Halo's Moral Dilemmas feature is intended not only to raise some moral issues for our readers but also to ask you to participate in resolving them. After reading the story below about Beth, Michelle and Thomas please tell us through a one-question quiz, linked to at the bottom of the page, what you think is the "right thing to do."

September 30th, 2010
BH: One of the great things in the movie that I think is very powerful is when Luis is holding that little baby; you’re smiling as broad as the day and that’s a really great shot. Was it a problem that most of these kids were black and you guys are Hispanic? Like, who are these guys? Was that an issue? AL: It’s never been an issue. To me, when I first went, of course I had that in there. I was telling myself, “What am I doing; what am I getting into, man?” [Laughs.] It’s Alabama. And in our culture and where we come from, the streets and all of that — you’re already created a certain way. So of course you’re created to be a racist. You’re created to be all of these things.…
September 20th, 2010

Now we'd like to complicate the story just a bit more by telling you what happened next...



Jason takes a deep breath and tells the man that he'd be willing to buy him some hot food and call to make sure he gets taken to a shelter that night.

The homeless man says that the shelters are more dangerous than the streets and that he doesn't want to lie to him: what he needs is some money so he can buy a cheap bottle of whiskey that will help keep him warm during the cold winter night.

Time for you to decide again. What's the right thing for Jason to do now?

September 14th, 2010
Few of us are ever faced with making the sort of life-or-death decisions we routinely hear about in the news. Fortunately, most of us are spared from navigating the complex ethical terrain that headline-making cases sometime raise. And yet there are decisions we face everyday that — whether we realize it or not — have very real moral implications. In Busted Halo’s Moral Dilemmas feature, we hope not only to raise some of these issues for our readers, but also to engage you in helping to resolve them. After going through the story of Jason Pascal that follows, please tell us through a one-question quiz, linked to at the bottom of the page, what you think is the “right thing to do.” Already
August 26th, 2010
Interfaith activist Eboo Patel on the Ground Zero Islamic Center controversy
A few months following the September 11 attacks in New York City, Eboo Patel—like countless other Americans—visited ground zero and prayed in memory of those who were murdered. Nearly a decade later Patel—a Muslim-American who is the founder of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) —now sees that prayerful moment through a different lens. “It’s a little bit shocking” he says “for me to think that my prayers, because they happen to be in Arabic, would have been unwelcome by some people.” His reconsideration of that memory was catalyzed by the current controversy surrounding the proposed construction of the Cordoba House Islamic cultural center near ground zero. Patel’s interest in interfaith relations has its roots in his experience working and living at several Catholic Worker houses during his college years. He went on to obtain a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. Since then he founded IFYC, a Chicago-based institution dedicated to building the global interfaith youth movement. Named by US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Patel is also a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships as well as the author of the award-winning book Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation and a Washington Post blog "The Faith Divide."
August 24th, 2010
Mother Teresa at 100

As the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mother Teresa of Calcutta on August 26, 2010 approaches, David Van Biema -- former chief religion writer at TIME and the author and editor of TIME Mother Teresa: The Life and Works of a Modern Saint -- sat down to discuss the life and legacy one of the most iconic human beings of the 20th Century.

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August 4th, 2010
Eve Tushnet discusses conversion, the theology of friendship and her argument against gay marriage
At a time when the issues of homosexuality and religion are creating enormous rifts and clearly defined factions within many faith communities, Eve Tushnet is a category unto herself. The freelance writer and blogger became aware that she was gay at around age 13 and felt very supported by her parents. (Dad is a Harvard law professor and her mother is an attorney involved with issues surrounding the prison-industrial complex.) Then, having been raised in a Reform Jewish/secular household, she encountered a philosophical debating society while she was an undergraduate at Yale, and the conversations and debates she engaged in there eventually led her to convert to Catholicism. Now, at age 32, Tushnet is a unique…
August 4th, 2010
« Return to main interview Busted Halo: It sounds like this was not a huge issue to your family when you came out of the closet, right? Eve Tushnet: They were very, very supportive but also able to set boundaries and rules. Sort of basic stuff that I think they would do with any teens — like when I was dating this girl, she had to stay in a different room. Basically they didn’t use the fact that I was gay as an excuse to go completely hands-off in parenting. BH: Were you sexually active? Is that something you explored? ET: I guess it’s important since people do tend to assume if you’re celibate then it’s because you don’t care about sex. So yeah, [whispers] I was sexually active.…
July 1st, 2010
After more than a decade in the Holy Land, Fr. Michael McGarry returns to the U.S. as president of the Paulist Fathers
Fr. McGarry discusses his years in the Holy Land and his extensive work on Jewish-Christian relations. The Los Angeles native also touches on the divisions he sees in both American politics and the Catholic Church in this country and how the fundamental question that drew him to the Paulists back in 1965, "Can a Priest be a Modern Man?" is still as relevant today as it was 45 years ago.
May 10th, 2010
A father's challenge to the head of the US Bishops over the sex abuse scandal continues to resonate
When I met David Spotanski at a conference on leadership in the Catholic Church in 2007, my first impression of the Belleville, Ill., native was that he was like so many of the Midwesterners whom I’ve known and worked with over the years: friendly, approachable, and not in the habit of taking himself too seriously. The fact that, as a layman, Spotanski also happened to be the chancellor for the Belleville diocese — just outside of St. Louis — for all matters except canonical issues requiring a priest seemed a little unusual. But after a number of conversations over the course of the gathering it became clear to me that if this married father of three was indicative of the sort of leadership in the Catholic…
March 22nd, 2010
The Liars' Club author discusses worshipping art, getting sober, becoming Catholic, and writing Lit
Considering the harrowing stories of her Texas youth — plagued by the alcohol, drugs, violence and general mayhem she recounted in The Liars’ Club (1995) and Cherry (2000) — it is a minor miracle that Mary Karr lived to tell her tale. The fact that she still has more stories of tumult and survival as an adult to write about, though, really begins to edge into loaves and fishes territory. In her third memoir, Lit, Karr moves past her “drug sodden” adolescence into her young adulthood where the joys of falling in love, getting married and becoming a mother are overwhelmed by her debilitating alcoholism, depression and family dysfunction. But Lit isn’t simply a catalog of grinding desperation…
March 1st, 2010
Author Tony Hendra on Carlin's "sortabiography"
When George Carlin died in 2008 at the age of 71, American comedy lost one of the sharpest and truest voices it had ever known. Over five decades, Carlin forged a body of work that is awe-inspiring in terms of its breadth, intelligence and relevance.  The Irish Catholic kid from Corpus Christi parish in Harlem–with barely more than a year of high school education–combined his own fierce and fearlessly questioning mind with the lessons he’d learned on the streets of New York to craft comedy that made audiences laugh and challenged them to think. Beginning in the mid 1990s, bestselling author and actor Tony Hendra (Fr. Joe, Spinal Tap) recorded countless hours of conversation with Carlin for…
January 26th, 2010
The renowned novelist and critic on Reading Jesus
Having spent more than three decades chronicling Catholic life as an author of novels, short stories, essays, memoirs and biographies, Mary Gordon decided to take what some might consider a radical leap for a Catholic: she actually read the bible. In Reading Jesus, Gordon attempts to understand the rise of fundamentalism by engaging the Gospels herself as a reader. The volume that resulted from this challenge is a compelling blend of meditations, reflections and memories on her own faith life and the evolution of her belief. In the interview that follows, the Barnard professor reflects on the experience of truly reading — for the first time — stories she has heard her entire life, as well as her complicated…
December 31st, 2009
Seeking the sacred dimensions of daily life
Faith, spirituality and religion are too often looked upon as the province of “experts” who spend all their time in places of worship with their noses buried deep in holy books. At BustedHalo.com we frequently hear from readers who desperately want to explore their spiritual questions but feel alienated from traditional faith communities. The fact of the matter is that the experience of sacredness is as unique and personal as our fingerprints, but we sometimes fail to recognize these moments as God’s way of speaking to us in our everyday lives. “Where’s God?” is our attempt to look more imaginatively at the movement of grace in each of our lives and chronicle the countless different ways God is at…
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