Busted Halo
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February 21st, 2006

Robert Ellsberg had some explaining to do.
When his book All Saints appeared in 1997, readers celebrated its fresh take on the lives of “365 saints, prophets and witnesses for our time.” But many wanted to know: “Where are all the women?” It was a fair question, given the book’s lopsided male-to-female ratio of four-to-one.
With Blessed Among All Women, Ellsberg returns to address the question head on. In the introduction, he acknowledges the imbalance of All Saints, but is quick to portray it as a symptom of a larger problem. “Among the wide company of official saints,” Ellsberg laments, “women are vastly underrepresented.” Blessed Among All Women…

February 11th, 2006

“Do you believe in love? How would you define it? What examples have you seen in your life?”…

January 22nd, 2006

“How many of the Ten Commandments can you name? How many do you think you keep?”…

December 31st, 2005
With Devils & Dust Bruce Springsteen rediscovers his Catholic roots

Is Bruce Springsteen a Catholic songwriter?
There’s a strong argument to be made that he is. Catholic images can be found on many of his albums, especially his early ones, and at times he seems obsessed with the search for redemption, a favorite theme for Catholic artists from Caravaggio to Graham Greene. But Springsteen’s albums have rarely been explicitly religious, and he has admitted in interviews that he has tried to keep his childhood faith at a distance.
That is until Devils & Dust. Devils is Springsteen’s most religious album to date. It reflects the concerns and anxieties of a man who, as he has grown older, has started asking the big questions that faith promises answers to. What’s…

December 15th, 2005
Disney's Narnia adaptation doesn't disappoint

“It’s not like he’s a tame lion.” It’s a single line, delivered in the final moments of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, long after the climax is complete. Nevertheless, for myself and, I imagine, legions of Narnia enthusiasts like me, its inclusion thrills the soul, sells the film, and puts to rest any nagging concerns that, well, they just wouldn’t get it right. Why? Because C.S. Lewis’ fictional world of Narnia is not just an alternate universe where animals talk, where fauns and dryads and nymphs are real, where children can be heroes and adults are hard to find. It’s much more important than that, and rarely has anyone come away touched by those elements…

November 12th, 2005
Dan Barry

Most of us can identify certain teachers or mentors who have had a profound impact on our lives. The same can be said for particular books that have shaped our view of the world. With that in mind, BustedHalo asks the question:
“What books have helped you on your spiritual journey?”
Dan Barry is the “About New York” columnist for the New York Times. He has shared a Pulitzer Prize and a George Polk Award, and received the 2003 Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. His book, Pull Me Up: A Memoir, was published by W.W. Norton and Company in 2004 and released in paperback this past spring.

James Joyce, “The Dead” (the last story in The Dubliners)
I can’t…

October 18th, 2005
One young woman’s short, strange trip toward belief

“There is really nothing more intellectually unfashionable than Christianity. If I could have chosen something else, I would have – God just had other plans for me.”
So writes 17-year-old Marjorie Corbman in “A Tiny Step Away From Deepest Faith.” Though only in high school when she wrote the book, Corbman’s capacity for self-reflection and spiritual insight belies her young age. She not only takes us into the minds of modern teenagers, but presents questions and insights that are relevant to people of all ages, be they seekers or established believers.
Raised a Reformed Jew in a family that was half-heartedly religious, Corbman found herself yearning for meaning–“wired for worship”…

October 13th, 2005

“How well do you get along with your parents?”…

October 12th, 2005
My Name Is Earl solves the world's problems in thirty minutes or less

It’s bad karma to steal a car from a one-legged woman. In fact, it’s bad karma to do most of the things Early Hickey’s done, including letting someone else go to jail for his crimes, fixing high school football games, or faking his own death to break up with a girl. Hickey, the main character of NBC’s new sitcom, My Name Is Earl, learned how important all this karma was when he won a $100,000 lottery ticket, only to lose it to the wind as a car crashed into him. His wife also left him for the illegitimate father of his child, whose black skin was always suspicious, given that both Earl and his ex-wife are white. The karma was catching up.
Bad karma has been catching up to NBC as well. For the past few seasons,…

October 4th, 2005
Though its influence among Christians in the West may be waning, the sacred art of fasting is flourishing in the rest of the world.

This October all adult and physically capable Muslims abstain from food, water and sexual relations from dawn to sunset during the lunar month of Ramadan (October 5 to November 3). Approximately one billion Muslims around the globe will be joined in their fast by about 14 million Jews worldwide on Yom Kippur (Oct 12, 13), the Day of Atonement, the single holiest day in the Jewish year. And in mid-November, Eastern Orthodox Christians throughout the world will begin their forty-day vegetarian Advent fast in preparation for the feast of the Nativity.

In every culture and religion in history, fasting has been an instinctive and essential language in our communicating with the Divine. As a religious act it increases…

September 20th, 2005

Most of us can identify certain teachers or mentors who have had
a profound impact on our lives. The same can be said for particular books that have shaped our view of the world. With that in mind, BustedHalo asks the question:
“What books have helped you on your spiritual journey?”
1) Augustine, The Confessions
No sense pussyfooting about it … this remains the template for the serious Catholic seeker, exposing the struggles of a quintessentially human soul
sometimes pompous, sometimes scrupulous, sometimes hiding behind irony or humor, but always searching. Everytime I’m tempted to think there’s something noble or original about my quest, I flip back through Augustine in…

September 8th, 2005

“Do you think sin exists? Why or why not?”…

August 1st, 2005
Alice von Hildebrand and an insightful brand of feminist spirituality

Before the Vagina Monologues even opened on my Catholic college campus last year, the campus had been buzzing with concern. Fordham University pulled funding because some of the monologues were not in keeping with church teaching, and the students were upset because they felt their freedom of speech was being infringed upon. A group of young seminarians and one female student even protested the play during its run.
As both a Catholic woman and a student at Fordham, I supported the Vagina Monologues because of the strength many women have drawn from it. Though I was hurt by the protesters’ apparent lack of concern for the image of the Church they were projecting, their actions did, however, raise an important…

July 22nd, 2005
Fox’s new reality show offers viewers an all-too real insight into a typical faith community

A little over a week ago, I was able to get a first look at the pilot for a new reality show called God’s Eye… that will be part of Fox’s primetime lineup this fall. The program reveals the ups and downs of a typical American faith community by chronicling a year in the lives of the pastor, staff and parishioners at Our Lady of Fatima Church an average Catholic parish in the metropolitan Chicago area.
The pastor, Fr. McMullen, 72, who has been at the parish for 9 years, is a quiet, balding man with a rather ample stomach that hangs over his belt. His wrinkled clerical shirt lies limp on his slumped shoulders. He says he hasn’t had a day off in over 8 months and McMullen’s worn and wearied face is proof enough that he isn’t

July 22nd, 2005
Remembering Star Trek’s James “Scotty” Doohan

Before I begin I need to get something out of the way. “Hello, my
name is Dave and I’m a recovering Trekkie.” Phew! It feels so good to get that off my chest. But I still need to come clean with you, though I’ve been in recovery for quite some time I must admit that I had a “slip” when I learned of the death on July 20th of James “Scotty” Doohan, star of the original “Star Trek” series.
While many people focus on Kirk and Spock, the show’s two primary characters, Scotty was always one of my favorite Trek characters. The Starship Enterprise would have been nothing without Scottish Chief Engineer Mr. Scott, who saved the Enterprise and its crew from demise on many occasions. The pop culture lexicon…

July 7th, 2005

What was your reaction to the recent bombings in London? Do you feel safe? How do you feel about the amount of money spent on national security?…

July 2nd, 2005
Live 8 organizer Bob Geldof takes a second crack at reducing poverty

“We don’t want your money—we want you!” You’ve seen the commercials—a quick montage of famous faces imploring viewers to help eliminate poverty forever. This marketing blitz is meant to grab our attention and focus us on a meeting that will take place in Edinburgh,
Scotland on July 7th, 2005. The leaders of the 8 richest countries in the world are gathering here to discuss trade practices, debt relief and how to halt the spread of AIDS, among other topics. Many people around the world hold out hope that at this meeting the “G8″ countries will pledge serious financial resources for an unprecedented effort toward eradicating poverty throughout the world. It is exciting,…

July 1st, 2005
Novelist Mary Gordon confronts faith and forgiveness in her new novel

So, do you really have to buy all that stuff for Catholic faith to mean something? I mean, does a person really have to be a believer?
At first, this seems to be the question at the center of novelist Mary Gordon’s latest work.
Pearl is the story of two once-Catholic New Yorkers?each deprived of mother or father by tragic circumstances early in life?who are raised together. Boisterous and ever political, Maria is a child of the 1960s, while her lifelong friend Joseph remains quiescent and dutiful; he becomes godfather to Maria’s fatherless daughter Pearl (this novel is the most concentrated tale of mixed biological-foster families since the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales, or perhaps more to the…

June 8th, 2005
Where does Harry’s magic come from?

[SPOILER ALERT: While the ending of the new Harry Potter novel is not revealed in this review, certain plot points are...consider yourself warned.]
Shortly after the first Harry Potter books came out in the United States in 2000, The Onion ran a story with the memorable headline “Harry Potter Books Spark Rise in Satanism Among Children.” Included in the article was an interview with a young six-year old Potter fan who says that the books taught her “Jesus died because He was weak and stupid.”
Though The Onion is a satiric newspaper and the story was a complete fabrication, the conceit that there is something evil lurking behind Harry’s magical powers is no laughing matter among some conservative…

June 2nd, 2005
A review of Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle

Hayao Miyazaki makes that rare kind of animated movie that both children and adults love. Considered one of the greatest writer-directors in Japanese cinema and one of the finest animators ever, Miyazaki is the subject of much critical buzz, not only for his Academy-Award winning Spirited Away but for the recent English language debut of his latest film, Howl’s Moving Castle.
Like Brad Bird, writer and director of The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, Miyazaki refuses to simply charm or humor his audience’s parents, but he also refuses to forget that animated films are primarily directed at children. Miyazaki takes this commitment one step further than Bird, however. His imagery is remarkable…

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