Busted Halo
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September 26th, 2007

How do you find peace and balance in your life?…

September 25th, 2007
Mother Teresa's life in full

Saints are most commonly seen in two dimensions, as they appear in devotional artwork. Frozen in stained glass or canvas, they serenely eye the heavens as their hands bless and pray, or register the sweet pain of martyrdom. The figures’ piety, untroubled by human temptations, lends them a sort of beatific flatness. They frequently look like caricatures, not real people of flesh and blood.
Consider the recent case of Gonxha Agnes Bojaxhiu, better known as Mother Teresa of Calcutta. While her Missionaries of Charity served among the world’s desperately poor, Teresa’s careworn smile became an icon of sanctity for the television age. As the praise mounted, she took great pains to emphasize…

September 21st, 2007

As the primaries approach, to what degree does a candidate’s faith influence your vote?…

September 14th, 2007
The Religious Landscape of People in their 20s and 30s

The publication of Mike Hayes’ book Googling God is an important first on a number of levels for everyone involved with BustedHalo. Not only does it mark the publication of our managing editor’s first book, it is also the debut of our new publishing imprint, BustedHalo Books, through Paulist Press. Plans are already underway to publish other titles through BustedHalo Books in the near future, including the Freshman Survival Guide and Moral Dilemmas, so stay tuned. But for now we hope you enjoy this brief excerpt from Googling God.

When Paulist Father Brett Hoover and I founded BustedHalo.com… in 2000, our mission was to minister to the “spiritual but not religious crowd” in their 20s

September 12th, 2007

To what degree should religion play a role in government?…

September 6th, 2007
You Can Do It!

So, What Exactly Is Podcasting?
Not Just For iPods
A podcast is like a radio show that you download from the internet and listen to either through your computer’s speakers, or with an iPod or other mp3 player.  A podcast is much like an audio magazine subscription: a subscriber receives regular audio programs delivered via the internet, and she or he can listen to them at her or his leisure.  Despite the name, be assured you do not need an iPod… to listen to podcasts. They are popular for a number of reasons. The content is very niche-oriented, such that subjects that would never be of broad enough interest to warrant an entire show on a radio station may have dozens or even hundreds of podcasts devoted to them. Because

September 6th, 2007
In Four Easy(-ish) Steps

If you would like to print out an overview of this 4-step process in a one-page handout, click here.
STEP ONE: Record Yourself Preaching
Use the “house sound system.”…
You may be able to record yourself by using a sound system already in place in the church or venue in which you’re preaching.  The upside of this method is that you don’t have to buy a voice recorder or microphone, don’t have to wear a second mic, and you might even be able to convince someone in the sound room or sacristy to start and stop recording at the right moment to eliminate the need for editing.  But it’s rare to find a church sound system set up to easily record on digital media (i.e., CD-R or CD-RW or direct

September 6th, 2007
Review: The Jihad Next Door: The Lackawanna Six and Rough Justice in the Age of Terror

When I stopped by a Guantanamo protest outside the UN on New York’s east side last year, someone abruptly shoved a microphone and note card in my hand so I could read aloud the devastating first-person account of one of the many prisoners locked away in Guantanamo with no hope for trial or even release. Another victim of our country’s skewed system of justice post-9/11.

Such personal stories are what drew me into that protest (and the cause more generally), and are also what make The Jihad Next Door: The Lackawanna Six and Rough Justice in the Age of Terror, by Dina Temple-Raston, so compelling. As with her previous book, A Death in Texas…, in which she focused on race relations from the vantage point of a

September 5th, 2007

A recent collection of Mother Teresa’s correspondence revealed that she doubted her faith for 50 years. Do you ever question your faith?…

August 28th, 2007

Do you trust the media to give an accurate portrayal of current events?…

August 21st, 2007
Why young women can't get enough of Jane

When Jane Austen penned her novels of love and courtship in the early 1800s, she wrote about a world that is utterly foreign to most of us. Unmarried couples were not allowed to call each other by their first names; women were considered hopeless old maids at thirty. What could her novels possibly have to do with the lives of self-actualized women today?
Quite a lot, apparently. In the last twelve years, Austen has undergone a massive renaissance. Five of her six novels have been adapted into feature films, while the BBC’s 1995 “Pride and Prejudice”—which shot Colin Firth to fame as Mr. Darcy—has gained legions of fans. Austen is also irresistible to contemporary novelists; some…

August 15th, 2007
Commuting with the Blessed Mother

As any commuter knows, you can tell a lot about people by what they do on the subway.
In the early hours of a weekday morning, heading to work, we are transients. We have no home but that subway car. For a few minutes, we are co-habitants: neighbors, bound by time and space and dirty plastic seats, blinking at one another as the lights flicker, the windows rattle, and the stops go hurtling by in a blizzard of white tile.
I’m taking the train earlier these days; I usually step onto the subway platform at Continental Ave. in Queens around 7:30, to get to work around 8:15. It’s easier to get a seat. But sometimes I’ll take the express, and stand, and spend a few moments struggling to stay awake. It’s…

August 14th, 2007
Trying to find normal again

As students from all over the country begin returning to their campuses, moving into their dorms and catching up with old friends, the students at Virginia Tech have a different set of tasks. They too will be returning to their campus, but they will also be dealing with the aftermath of April 16 and struggling to find “normal” again.
For senior Bryan Schamus, a communication major with a minor in music, finding normalcy again was essential after the upheaval caused by the violence and loss of life in the final weeks of the spring semester.
Andy Sowell, an agricultural economics major will be a junior at Virginia Tech. In spite of everything they’ve been through, or maybe because of it, Andy says…

August 7th, 2007
A man from a fundamentalist family, a freethinking woman— what does the future hold?

Their son was dating a heathen. That’s what it was, in the end: a woman set to go to Hell and take their son with her by doing nothing to encourage him to come back to the fold. Worse: encouraging him in the opposite direction.
That’s what I was thinking, anyway. I thought it as the four of us greeted one another with cursory hugs in the dark of the Clemson, South Carolina Applebee’s parking lot. Thought it as his parents smiled at me and asked how work was going. Thought it as I said, “Great!”
We’d talked it over before, David and me, and would again, and it always came down to one sentence from him, complete with one unconvincing pat on the back.
“My parents like… you.” That’s

July 31st, 2007
Does Springfield Get Religion?

In a recent print “interview” with USA Today, Homer Simpson explains his theology this way: “Every time I see my sweet girl Lisa, I believe in God. Every time I see Bart, I believe in the devil.”
Now, those of us who have seen the movie – contributing to a worldwide opening weekend box office of $168 million – know what he meant.
Well, sort of… The Simpsons Movie is not about …religion. Like the TV show, it is about a family and a community in which religion plays a part. But many of the spiritual elements present in the show’s past eighteen seasons are present in the movie, driving the plot and complicating the lives of the Simpsons family and the residents of Springfield.

July 27th, 2007
The book that will make me rich and famous.

Yesterday I was stalked by Jane Austen. Every corner I turned at my local bookstore, there she was—her name emblazoned across titles in the New Fiction and New Non-Fiction sections, even over in Cooking, Food & Wine, where I bumped into The Jane Austen Cookbook. Displayed on the new book tables were Becoming Jane: The Wit and Wisdom of Jane Austen, edited by Anne Newgarden, and Austen Land, a novel by Shannon Hale. Fresh out in paperback were Alexandra Potter’s Me and Mr. Darcy and Patrice Hannon’s Dear Jane Austen: A Heroine’s Guide to Life and Love….
I asked the young woman at the information desk if the store’s book buyer is obsessed with a certain Regency-era female novelist.

July 25th, 2007
Why recent reports of the death of God are greatly exaggerated

Sam Harris’s The End of Faith (2004) has spawned a viral strain of books viscerally denigrating religion. Everything from Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion (2006) and Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell (2006) to Christopher Hitchens’ God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything… (2007) argue that religious claims—and those who make them—are unreasonable and can therefore be discounted or ignored. The publication of a spate of books that share such similar points of view raises obvious questions such as “why now?” and “why are these arguments receiving such a positive reception?” I believe it is because the Gospel message of love,

July 24th, 2007
The final book in the Gospel according to Rowling

Well, the Harry Potter series is over, and Harry still has not accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. Sorry if I just ruined the ending, but you should know a few more things too: in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows…, the last novel in the series, Harry does not celebrate his long-delayed bar mitzvah, he never does make it to Mecca, and he gives no indication of knowing Buddha’s eight-fold path. Still, even if Harry’s not religious, he’s not exactly cutting pentagrams into goats for the Devil either. In fact, he fights someone else called the Dark Lord (his nemesis, Lord Voldemort) and their epic battle contains more Christian imagery than the previous six Potter installments

July 19th, 2007
A Response to Reverend Storm

There has been considerable dismay, especially among Protestants, regarding the document issued on July 10th by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Rev. Astrid Joy Storm’s comments are very much in this vein. In one sense they are quite hopeful, reflecting the conviction that the movement towards unity will continue in spite of what she views as a setback represented by the CDF text. I think she is right about the continuation of the growth towards unity, but wrong about the meaning of the document.
Most of the hurt that Protestants have expressed about the document centers on its insistence that Protestant communities are not churches “in the proper sense.” Rev. Storm writes…

July 16th, 2007
An Anglican Priest on what effect the Vatican's recent statement will have on practical ecumenism

An Anglican Priest on what effect the Vatican’s recent statement will have on practical ecumenism It seemed fitting that I was scheduled to share a meal with a Roman Catholic friend Tuesday evening, just hours after the Vatican released a statement reaffirming the 2000 document Dominus Iesus,… in which Orthodox churches were deemed “wounded” and Protestant Churches, like the Episcopal Church in which I’m a priest (female, no less), are not really churches and our priests not true priests. As the document states: “Despite the fact that this teaching has created no little distress in the communities concerned and even among some Catholics, it is nevertheless difficult to see

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