Busted Halo
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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

July 11th, 2007

Our readers sound off on Dr. Christine Whelan’s latest Pure Sex, Pure Love column
Readers responded from around the world with great passion to last week’s column on the notion of whether men are inferior to women. Below is a selection of their responses.
<<Read the original article here.
My father’s a frequent complainer about the way men, particularly fathers, are portrayed in the media—one of his personal bugbears is commercials which depict the dad as clueless about how to do laundry, make food, etc. However, he recently said to me of my new boyfriend “He’s lucky to have you—and I’m sure he gets reminded of that frequently.” Dad, we’ve…

July 6th, 2007
Live Free or Die Hard

Forget everything your high school physics teacher ever taught you, he never met Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) whose exploits in the Die Hard movies over the past 20 years have shown an utter disregard for the laws of gravity. While you’re at it you might as well forget all the conventional wisdom you’ve ever heard about how movie franchises like Die Hard inevitably go stale. John McClane is certainly older (and balder) than when we first met him in 1988 but the fourth installment of this rogue cop’s adventures, Live Free or Die Hard… is still able to surprise and entertain.
It’s been twelve years since the last Die Hard movie and—given the technological revolution that has

July 4th, 2007

Are you a U.S. Citizen? What are your feelings about the United States? If the founding fathers were here today, what grade would they give the country in terms of how it holds true to its original ideals?…

June 29th, 2007

What is the most spiritual aspect of your typical week?…

June 22nd, 2007
New York artists use a church as their gallery

When Michelangelo and Da Vinci were working the Catholic Church embraced contemporary art as a form of prayer. These days the institutional church is more likely to condemn contemporary art than commission it, as evidenced by the uproar over Cosimo Cavallaro’s nude chocolate crucifix during Holy Week this year.
The Church of St. Paul the Apostle in mid-town Manhattan is doing its part to rehabilitate this contentious relationship by welcoming artists into discussion on God that focuses more on mystery than dogma.
Who…
Until the end of June, St. Paul’s is hosting a group show of contemporary painting that asks artists to address the questions “Who, What, Where, When, Why is God.”…

June 21st, 2007

Do you pray or meditate? If so, how?…

June 20th, 2007
Christopher Hitchens' new book is unhelpful to unbelievers

One of Western civilization’s worst follies involves men in robes—women too—chanting and gesticulating like they’re trying to lure the Great Kong—only what they’re up to is even more bizarre: acting out myths bastardized from the pagans and Zoasterians and the like, all to the glory of, let’s face it, the elite. Power and wealth are what’s being worshipped— which is why all this goes on in glittering showplaces, temples to their financial prowess and power. Oh, there’s constant talk among devotees of reaching out to the young—lest the ancient lore and practices die out—and the poor, since the higher planes are not for the privileged…

June 17th, 2007

In Michael Moore’s movie, Sicko…, he gives a harsh critique of the U.S. health care system. How do you feel about the state of the health care in the U.S.?

June 15th, 2007

In your opinion, what makes a truly good father?…

June 14th, 2007
God Machine or Tech Temptation?

June 29th marks the feast day dedicated to the founders of the church of Rome: Saints Peter and Paul. The observance is an ancient one, but this year it coincides with a religious festival of a more modern sort. For the believers of this other faith, it’s the day of deliverance they have long awaited, the moment when they’ll finally be able to grasp the Holy Grail which they’ve long lusted and defended against all nay-sayers, sight unseen.
I’m talking, of course, about the release of Apple’s iPhone. And to say that the thought of nabbing one makes my brain water would be putting it lightly.
To be sure, I’m a new convert. But as with many others, the living encounter with the Mac…

June 11th, 2007

It is now graduation season with many students going through a major life transition. How do you handle life’s major transitions?…

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