Busted Halo
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Joe Williams :
24 article(s)

Joe is the Production Editor for Busted Halo, working as producer and editor for all things video. After graduating from T.C.U. with a degree in production and religion, Joe spent time teaching on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona, exploring the film and music scene of Chicago, volunteering with the U.S. Peace Corps in South Africa, and surviving the world of corporate event production around the globe.
November 9th, 2015
Exercises to Express Appreciation

It’s easy to take things for granted, especially some things like a job (that you HAVE TO GO TO each day), or a family (that you ARE CONSTANTLY surrounded by), or even friends (that you HAVE KNOWN FOREVER), or anything similar. It’s easy to forget why we are lucky for just about anything in our lives. That’s why it’s good to count our blessings, be thankful and show gratitude. This short retreat is intended to allow your group a little bit of time to reflect and think about gratitude in various aspects of your lives. (Click here for a printable pdf of this retreat.)
This retreat is intended for a small group (4-9) of coworkers, family, or friends, or any small collection of people

January 15th, 2015

This morning, the 2015 Academy Award nominations were announced. Before the final lap of award season fantasy games and prognosticating commences, we wanted to direct you to a few of the more spiritual elements of some these fine films and encourage you to go see them if you haven’t had the chance yet.

Of course you’ve heard about this film and the controversy surrounding it (which is mostly unjustified), but simple word-of-mouth has nothing on the experience of watching this film in the theaters and being transported back to America’s south in the sixties to view up close the struggle of a simple and thoroughly human preacher attempting to move mountains through grassroots activism…

December 15th, 2014
Colbert brings his show to a close this week, so we're taking a look back at his more Catholic moments as we prepare to say goodbye.

Stephen Colbert is not just America’s most famous Catholic (and self-proclaimed most famous Catholic), but in the past he’s also been named top choice for the papacy; he’s frequently sat down for conversations with America’s other top Catholic, Cardinal Dolan; and he’s never shied away from talking about his faith on the air. As you probably know, this host of The Colbert Report for the past nine years is bringing his show to a close this week before he heads off to take over The Late Show… for David Letterman next year. We’re going to miss him, but before he goes we thought we’d take a look back at the more Catholic moments of his legacy as we say goodbye (for now) to our favorite

February 27th, 2014

The nine films competing this Sunday for the Best Picture Oscar are some of the best of the year and very worth your while to check out if you haven’t seen them yet. But if you don’t have time in the next few days, just check out our short synopsis for each of them below with some links to some more in depths looks at the spiritual components of the films, because at A Spiritual Side of Cinema we like to discuss and review the more transcendent qualities of the movies, and we’ve done so this year with the two big frontrunners of the Oscar race, 12 Years a Slave and Gravity…, as well as many others…

12 Years a Slave, (click here to read our review): This film hurt. Emotionally, sometimes even close to

January 3rd, 2014

Back in December of 2003, about a month before I travelled to South Africa to work in schools as a Peace Corps volunteer for two years, I found myself watching Malcolm X…, Spike Lee’s fantastic 3-hour biopic on the civil rights leader. Much to my surprise, the end of the film cut from a scene in an American classroom with a teacher and her students to a classroom in South Africa, filled with young learners, and helmed by none other than (former at the time of my viewing, future at the time of the film’s original 1992 release date,) President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. I was a little shocked to see this great man standing in the middle of a classroom that looked nearly identical to ones I would be spending

January 14th, 2013

In any normal, and might I add boring, cinematic year, the results of the past week’s Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice awards would strongly indicate this year’s big Academy Award winner for Best Director and Best Picture will be Ben Affleck and his 1980s Iranian hostage crisis rescue-film, Argo. But Affleck was snubbed at last week’s Oscar nominations (along with Kathryn Bigelow, among others,) so despite Argo… winning both Director and Best Picture prizes at these latest awards shows, the field remains (sort-of) wide open. Now critics, fans and those in the industry can all finally agree on one thing: that this is one of the most interesting, exciting and hard to predict Awards Seasons in years

October 5th, 2012
Reflections on the Rosary

I’m not sure about you, but I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the rosary.
It stems from long road trips with my very Catholic family, where the CD I had been playing through the car speakers was suddenly turned off, my parents’ rosaries pulled out from the glove compartment and for the next 15-20 minutes I was forced to endure an incessant babble of words repeated over and over. I understood the importance of prayer, I just didn’t see why we had to make an already long and tedious drive all the more so by becoming quiet and serious, with the same two or three prayers recited in a nearly mindless chant. I was at a loss so I sat quietly while my parents prayed, waiting until I could turn the…

January 1st, 2012

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Lately I’ve been thinking about the Beatitudes, as well as the Corporal Works of Mercy, thinking that if I could just grasp and follow these fundamentals of the faith, I could actually live the Christian life and truly do what Jesus asks of us. It should be simple enough to care for those less fortunate, but it always seems so difficult when you get down to the practicalities of it: I work 40 hours a week, my commute to and from work takes a lot of time, I need to keep up my social life, friend and family time, my movie watching, and I should probably try and fit exercise somewhere in there — so where’s the time to try to take

September 2nd, 2011

The streets of Marrakech, Morocco are the craziest I have ever walked and thank God I was able to do so in the company of friends and not alone. I flew in on Tuesday, my buddy Brendan and his wife Sarah meeting me at the airport. From there we took a cab into the old part of the city and began walking around and around, searching the confusing streets for our hotel. If my taxi into Lisbon had been a wake-up call, then this lost wandering was certainly, as Brendan termed, an absolute punch in the face…. Motorcycles  (literally hundreds of them) zipped past us in both directions as we hugged the sides of buildings lining the very narrow streets. We dodged them as well as we could along with bicycles, children, cats, dogs, carts,

August 31st, 2011

Lisbon, as a city, is the perfect metaphor for the plight of the modern young Catholic. There is every opportunity for devotion, reflection and prayer throughout Portugal’s capital, yet there is something else worldly and tempting to be found here, calling out and distracting, swaying one away from those other things.
The town is steeped with a rich, beautiful and old… Catholic tradition. There are statues of saints scattered throughout its winding streets and churches just around every corner, available for viewing, attending, and prayer. However, most of these are in some state of decay, seem a bit lifeless, and (if my experience stumbling into St. Paul’s across the street for Mass on Sunday

August 27th, 2011

As Hurricane Irene forces her way up the east coast towards my friends in New York City, I find myself inside a cab in sunny Portugal. Fresh off the plane from Madrid, and attempting to get my bearings as I shift from not speaking Spanish to not speaking Portuguese, I have thrown myself into the first taxi I find outside the airport doors, realizing too late the driver to be an absolute maniac.
Speeding past all other traffic at somewhere over 60km past the limit, over whatever the Lisbon highway is named, onto smaller and smaller roads, we weave in and out of cars, past trams and pedestrians, on and off of the oncoming lane of traffic, slowing for a police car, only to hit break neck speeds right after we pass. I realize it…

August 22nd, 2011

I rolled back into Madrid via bus with the Carmelite United pilgrims earlier last week. It had been six straight days of hiking, followed by a few hours sleep, then the 7-8 hour bus drive to the big city for WYD 2011. This is the first chance I’ve had to post since then, as my week got real hectic real fast and was over before I knew it, mostly spent making videos for WYD with Annie.
We were all fairly tired when we arrived. In typical WYD fashion, our credentials (those passes that get us in everywhere) weren’t ready, the pilgrims sleeping area wasn’t available to them, and we had nowhere to go for a few hours. It was a weird kind of purgatory, an awkward in-between. One journey had ended, and the next one…

August 17th, 2011

Solo en España…
On a couple of days during our walk last week, I stayed behind the group for a few hours to write a little bit before hiking out on my own.  This offered me the opportunity to take in some of the culture and vibe of these small Spanish towns without being attached to a large group — something I admittedly enjoyed.
As I’ve mentioned before, the trail of the Camino is lined with scallop shells and yellow arrows, pointing the way for pilgrims toward Santiago.  Each time I reached a point or crossroads where I was unsure of where to go next, I only had to look for these trail markers to know where to go.  How great it would be, I thought to myself as I walked along, if only I had these markers in my life to guide me

August 17th, 2011

This town is absolutely beautiful, amazing and (as my new friend, Bill Angresano, says,) “outta control.”
Even as I write this post at a café near the big church, a raucous drumming interrupts the regular music and ambiance of the street, and a procession of “St. James” followed by various signs of death and witches passes by — (see video below.)
Today, the sixth and final day of our hike on the Camino, we finally reached our destination, the giant cathedral of St. James within the city of Santiago de Compostela — the scallop shells along the path leading us right to the very steps of the magnificent Cathedral de Santiago.
We had already had five long days preceding us, and this 20km day was no easier. Midway…

August 14th, 2011

Her walk is more of a stride, or a sway, maybe even a dance. The Spanish sun has baked deep lines into her face — not unlovely wrinkles — these are more a map of beauty and years drawn across her gaze.

She has been walking The Way for 14 years and knows the trails and churches of the path like the back of her hand. Her name is Eva — she is our guide on this journey.

What do you do when you’re from a place so many others in the world wish to make a pilgrimage to? Eva was born in Santiago de Compostela some 60 years ago and has been a fan of the Camino ever since she could walk. And walking is what she does best. Formerly an English and Spanish language instructor for children and adults, she now teaches history, botany and spirituality for those she leads on the Way. Want to know what year a church along the path was built? Eva knows. What kind of plant is that; is it poisonous; can I eat it? Ask Eva. In the presence of her quick and experienced pace, it is impossible to feel lost in this world even for a moment. Friends, if you are lucky enough as I, to one day travel the Camino, pray you may follow in the footfalls of someone like our Eva.

August 13th, 2011

If you’ve ever been on the Camino, or seen movies about it, or watched Busted Halo® videos about it, or even purchased the Busted Halo® Camino hat, then you know that one iconic image associated with this popular pilgrimage is the scallop shell.
Why? Well for starters it’s prevalently found on the shores of Galicia, the part of Northern Spain that contains Santiago de Compostela.  And though there are heavy mythologies surrounding it’s association with the pilgrimage, it may have nothing more to do with St. James than just simply being a convenient (and practical) tool for travelers a thousand years ago.  Because of it’s shape, it could be utilized as both a plate to hold food, as…

August 12th, 2011

Something I wasn’t exactly sure about when traveling to Spain and hitting the Camino, was who the rest of my pilgrimage group would be. Turns out it’s about 40-50 high school seniors and college freshman. What? What? What!?
Now I like kids, especially this age group, since they’re typically smart, able to converse quite well, and usually a lot more interesting than most adults I know, but I always find a group this size intimidating.
And, as someone used to setting my own schedule, waking up when I want, having a lot of quiet solitary time, and pretty much running my own life, it wouldn’t have been my first choice to share group wake up calls, meals and prayer time.  It’s especially…

August 11th, 2011

For those friends of mine out there reading this, and any other interested seekers, who may not be too familiar with exactly what the Camino is, let me try to explain as best I can (because I’m really just learning it and experiencing it myself for the first time.)
For starters, watch this video to the right I made for last year’s Busted Halo pilgrimage (and special thanks as always to Franciscan Spirit Tours with helping on on these Spiritual Seeker Adventures.)
The Camino, or Way of St. James, or El Camino de Santiago, (by the way, for all you non-Spanish speaking gringos out there like myself, Camino just means “the way,” and Santiago, or Santo Iago, just means St. James,) is a thousand year…

August 10th, 2011

Today is my mom’s birthday, but because I’m away on pilgrimage and the time difference, I probably won’t be able to phone her so I had wanted to send her some kind of greeting via this blog.
I have found myself thinking of both her and my dad a lot recently, mostly due to a string of medical “procedures” my dad has had to undergo. I won’t go into details but they’re the sort of thing that result in him moving around a little slower when all is said and done – feet and back related mostly.
The other day before leaving for this trip, I was riding my bike around New York city and I was struck suddenly with a memory of him from about 20 years or so ago when he had gotten very into cycling…

August 9th, 2011

Arrived. And since it’s technically only 2am my time I haven’t really slept yet.  Only problem is it’s 8am here.  I’ve got four hours to kill while I wait for the rest of the pilgrimage group to arrive — for this Spanish excursion Busted Halo has partnered with Franciscan Spirit Tours, and for the Camino and World Youth Day I will be traveling with many other pilgrims in the group, approximately 40 for the hike, and 80 for that wild week in Madrid — so perhaps I’ll be able to sleep here for a few hours, and many more on the lengthy bus trip that will take the group from the Madrid airport to Portomarin, the start of our Camino.

Is it Ignatian wisdom that teaches, “God in everything”? Would that also include an R-rated sci-fi comedy? I sometimes find myself having various spiritual experiences any given day of any given week — and by that I mean some sort of moment where things kind of click and I suddenly feel very in tune and in touch with both this world and that other world we believers know is just within grasp with something as simple as a closing of the eyes, deep breath, meditation, short prayer, tender moment, hearty laughter or some such other such centering practice.  Sometimes it happens for me riding my bike to work, or entering a church right before Mass begins with the smell of incense lingering in the air, or watching the sunset with my girlfriend, or even over a beer with a buddy at a newly discovered bar.

Strangely, I felt this occur last night when crossing the Atlantic while taking advantage of the airline’s complimentary movies.  Paul, the story of two sci-fi nerds who find a real life extraterrestrial, is one of the most fun and funniest films I’ve seen in awhile.  Not only does it have an outstanding soundtrack, solid story line and characters arcs, but there were all sorts of fantastic religious elements and jokes crammed in there as well, (there’s a great scene involving creationists verse science (sorry, creationists lose.) Paul, the alien character, foul-mouth, chain smoking and anti-religious as he is, exhibits all the signs of a modern day messiah from the cosmos — he performs healing “miracles”, he can bring animals (mostly birds) back to life, he teaches his rag tag group of friends (or disciples) a new perspective on the world before dying, coming back to life and ascending into the heavens.  The fun ultimately culminates in a story of sacrifice, resurrection, friendship and finally a big three-way bro-mance hug at the end.

Is it strange that I saw all sorts of Christian themes running through this, what is a somewhat anti-religious movie?  Or is it simply a minor case of sleep deprivation? Spiritual experience or not enough winks?  I guess I’ll attempt my best to get some now.

Good night.

Wait.  The Spanish sun is just absolutely beginning to pour through these large airport windows.  Excitement over the trip ahead of me is growing, and the immediate need for sleep fades. Oh, well.

Good morning, Madrid!

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