Busted Halo
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July 18th, 2004
A Modern Look at an Ancient Prayer

A few years ago, I remember watching a network news report about the beneficial effects of meditative prayer. The report first featured a Catholic women’s group that was devoted to praying the rosary. The women shown were primarily in their fifties and sixties. Then the report moved on to meditations inspired by Buddhism and Hinduism. The women who practiced that were in their twenties and thirties.
For me, that report signified the Catholic Church’s problem of attracting young people, especially with traditional devotions that have an image of being outdated. Having grown up in a Catholic family, I have an affection for some of these devotions myself and would like to see them continue among members…

July 3rd, 2004
Cult Classic The Stepford Wives Goes Under the Knife

What does a man want in a wife? Does he look for an independent, equal partner? Or does he want a Mrs. Cleaver/Barbie hybrid, a domestic goddess who lives to make her husband proud?

This is the question at the heart of The Stepford Wives, a remake of the 1975 cult classic. At the time of the original movie, the women’s movement had already taken root. Based on a best-selling novel, the film reflected society’s anxieties about the shifting roles of women.
Having enjoyed the first film, I was skeptical about the remake. To my surprise, I found it a mostly effective movie makeover, though, just like any contestant on The Swan, the final product ends up looking very, very different from the original.
Suburban…

June 24th, 2004
Through his recent book and Yoga DVD, Father Thomas Ryan is reclaiming the body in Christian spirituality.

Whether it’s Pilates or spinning, marathoning or extreme kayaking, Americans love their exercise. No doubt the number of new gym memberships and fitness-related New Year’s resolutions will spike in a couple of weeks, right after we’ve all ingested too many rum balls and glasses of egg nog.
Physical activity for the sake of good health is certainly a noble goal. No one would debate the health benefits of an after dinner walk, a daily run, or taking the stairs whenever possible. But Fr. Thomas Ryan a Paulist priest as well as a certified yoga instructor and avid skier, believes physical activity enhances both bodily and spiritual health. In other words, taking good care of our bodies has spiritual…

June 24th, 2004
The Busted Halo Interview with the author of the New York Times Bestseller Father Joe.

Perhaps it is fitting that it took someone whose job it is to satirize sacred cows and poke fun at hypocrites to write one of the most powerful spiritual memoirs in recent memory. We live in an age of irony and skepticism where nothing is precious and every motive is doubted; where institutions are generally reviled and authority is sneered at. Who better to speak about something as unexpected and sobering as a personal faith journey than someone who shares our culture’s sense of contempt?
Tony Hendra’s name may not be a household word yet, but anyone who has been awake and interested in popular culture over the last 30 years will certainly know his work. The British-born Hendra moved to the United States…

June 2nd, 2004
The thinking-person's superhero

The most fascinating disguise in this summer’s blockbuster Spiderman 2 has nothing to do with special effects or characters on the screen. Though the second installment in the franchise packs even more of a thrilling wallop than the first, beneath the gloss and spectacle of this exciting piece of entertainment beats the heart of an unexpectedly adult and emotionally complex story. After spending hundreds of millions of dollars perfecting every visual detail, it’s ironic that Spiderman 2‘s greatest achievement comes from the lowest rung in Hollywood’s bizarre ladder of success: the writers. Considering who was helming the story, however, it really shouldn’t come as a…

June 2nd, 2004
A review of Awake My Soul: Contemporary Catholics on Traditional Devotions edited by James Martin, S.J.

To an older generation of Roman Catholics, the mention of traditional devotions like the eucharistic adoration and liturgy of the hours might elicit either chilling memories of a repressive, bygone Catholic era or perhaps a sense of nostalgia for the way things used to be. What they might not expect is that these same devotions are experiencing a renaissance of sorts among a younger generation for whom these practices are new and carry less cultural baggage.
In Awake My Soul: Contemporary Catholics on Traditional Devotions editor James Martin, S.J. has gathered the reflections of a diverse group of authors—many of whom are in their thirties and forties—on their “favorite” devotions. The…

May 20th, 2004

I can’t keep quiet any longer.
Beyond the teeth
I’m going to finally reveal the reason why daytime and prime time (Sun-Thurs., May 17-May 26, 2004) versions of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? have been such a resounding success. No, it’s not because it’s a clean, wholesome show the whole family can enjoy, and no, it’s not because game shows are a refreshing change from trash TV reality shows.
It could be because America is glued to the tube, hypnotized by the glare of Regis Philbin’s unnaturally white teeth, but that would be secondary.
I choose to ask the audience?
10% say they watch because they can’t find their remote. And the remaining 90% say?.because they are or were…

May 17th, 2004
Spinal Tap, National Lampoon and SPY Magazine Alumnus, Tony Hendra, Gets Serious About His Faith

Don Imus’ plugs
I first spotted Father Joe, Tony Hendra’s new spiritual autobiography, on a bookshelf in our office. At Commonweal magazine we receive dozens of books a month from various religious publishers. Most of it, I have to admit, is not my particular cup of tea. Books with titles like At Sea With God and Finding God in the Questions. When I first came upon it, I figured Father Joe?with the not-so-subtle subtitle The Man Who Saved My Soul?was the same sort of thing.
I decided to read Hendra’s book after hearing Don Imus plug it on his show. It was only then that I made the connection between Tony Hendra and Ian Faith, the rock manager in This is Spinal Tap , a movie that my college roommate saw,…

May 10th, 2004
The Comics on Busted Halo

I love those cream-egg Easter candies. Your know the kind – milk chocolate shell with that gooey sweet sugar cream filling…

May 10th, 2004
The Comics on Busted Halo

I often see her around town. Sitting, wandering, she drifts unnoticed through the streets ot Portland.

May 10th, 2004
The Comics on Busted Halo

One thing leads to another… Seems like that’s always how these things happen.

May 10th, 2004
The Comics on Busted Halo

My divorce is now several months behind me and the Diocese is considering the case for annulment.

May 10th, 2004
The Comics on Busted Halo

“Stop worring.” Jesus says, “about what to eat or drink.” And people like Francis of Assisi, Dorothy Day, and Mother Teresa actually lived like that.

May 9th, 2004
A Schizophrenic Experiments in Reality Filmmaking

Schizophrenia has often been popularly misconstrued
as split or multiple personality disorder along the lines of what was shown in the 1976 television movie Sybil, the true story of a woman who has 16 different personalities including two males. “People Say I’m Crazy,” John Cadigan’s autobiographical documentary chronicling how he has coped with this mysterious and debilitating disease over the past twelve years, is an astonishingly personal reminder that schizophrenia is actually better defined as a “break with reality.” His unflinching account of the struggle to understand and live with his sickness has the unintentionally ironic consequence of exposing…

May 4th, 2004
Does turning on the net turn you on?

In the first part of this series, we explored what sexual addiction is and examined how easy access to pornography on the internet poses a problem for those who struggle with sexual compulsivity.
This second installment explores in greater detail how the internet creates problems for those who are prone to sexual addiction. To do so, we need to look at what Patrick Cairnes author of In the Shadows of the Net… calls the arousal templates.
Cairnes cites three primary emotion systems that make up our arousal templates:

a sex drive, commonly called lust, which motivates us to
mate and continue our species.
Attraction or infatuation, which helps us choose a mate.
And Attachment which helps people sustain relationships

May 4th, 2004
BustedHalo looks at Sexual Addiction and Internet Pornography

There can be little doubt that the technological revolution that brought the power of the internet to the average consumer over the past decade has opened up enormous possibilities for sharing and disseminating information and has changed our lives for the better in countless ways. Similarly, there is also little doubt that the loftiest creations of our finest minds are often manipulated for the basest purposes. Despite the obvious virtues of the internet, there is also a shadow side.
According to Nielsen Net Ratings in 2003, 32 million unique individuals visited a porn
site in September alone in the United States . Of those 32 million, 22 million viewers were male. On any given day in cyberspace, 260 million…

May 1st, 2004
The Best Catholic Writing 2004

Robert Barron, a young priest and theologian, recently coined the phrase “beige Catholicism,” lamenting that Catholicism, in its effort to blend seamlessly into the fabric of American life is in danger of being stripped of its uniqueness, its color, and its vibrancy. Perhaps Barron is right. Maybe we are becoming kind of bland and beige, with all of our public image issues, our myopic family t?te-?-t?tes over scandals, church closings, and Communion politics. If in fact we are plagued by beige-ness, then the writers whose work is featured in The Best Catholic Writing 2004 (Loyola Press, 228 pages, $14.95), an anthology edited by University of Portland alumni magazine editor Brian Doyle, are…

April 19th, 2004
Do We Want That Instant, Antisocial High to Be Legal?

You lookin’ for common ground between the political Left and Right? Go to your local pot dealer.
You’ll find there the profit motive Republicans drool over, as well as the sybaritic pleasures Democrats long to embrace. You’ll also find a virtually untapped source of tax money to make both parties jitter.
Among my acquaintances, most people—regardless of political affiliation—tend to approve of marijuana’s legalization. The actual possibility of its legalization depends in large part on whether people find it morally or socially acceptable. Law follows culture.
If Prohibition didn’t work…People who favor legalization generally rely on the argument that marijuana…

April 13th, 2004
Just Enough Comfort to Make Me Miss The Real Thing

Pop quiz, which is the biggest sin?
A) Missing Mass on Easter Sunday
B) Because you were out until five in the morning on Holy Saturday
C) Hooking up with a person you’d known for under an hour who was wearing a sunvisor. Inside. Backwards. At night.
All glory, laud, and honor
That is correct: I celebrated the Resurrection of Our Lord by shaking it at a beachside bar until dawn, rolled in the sand with a guy I’d known exactly 45 minutes, slept through Easter morning, and had chocolate for lunch.
I did, however, access my partner’s full name, if not his street address (“Just to make sure we’re not related here? Great. Thanks. Okay, commence feeling me up.”)
See, it could have been…

April 13th, 2004
Spider-Man, the Punisher & the Ethics of Power

To those visiting theaters this summer but not part of the comic book crowd, Spider-Man (swinging in June 30, 2004) and The Punisher (onscreen April 16, 2004) will seem like two of a kind: tough guys who like to wear tights and take out the villains.
To regular readers, Spider-Man and the Punisher could not be more different.
Hero definitionTo Spider-Man, the Punisher’s violent vigilantism aggravates an already violent citywide crime culture; the Punisher sees Spider-Man as a weak-willed gadfly. Regular readers know that when these two meet, they will not likely be glad to see each other, for each has a radically different vision for how his power is to be used.
In the beginnings…High school student Peter…

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