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February 28th, 2012
The results are in!

Thank you to all the Busted Halo readers who participated in our fourth annual ash contest last week. We used a new web app this year, which allowed you to upload and vote for images on both our site and our Facebook page. You chose the overall winner from the 139 photos submitted, and the editors gave out some special category honors.

So, without further ado, the prize-winning 2012 Best Ash goes to…

February 22nd, 2012
Asking young adults why they attend church on Ash Wednesday

Every year on Ash Wednesday, Catholic churches are filled with people receiving ashes. More people attend church on this day than on any other throughout the year.
We hit the steps outside of New York City’s St. Paul the Apostle Church to ask young adults why they made the effort to get out of bed early and receive their ashes before their work and school days began.
Care to find out more about Ash Wednesday? Check out our video: Ash Wednesday in Two Minutes.
If you need help this Lent with your fasting, praying and almsgiving, visit our Fast Pray Give Calendar every day. And check out Phil Fox Rose’s latest column, What Are You Giving Up for Lent?, for a serious challenge to consider.
Originally published…

February 22nd, 2012

“What are you giving up for Lent?” is not a question I heard growing up in my atheist home. It’s second nature for most Catholics, though — to give up some favorite thing (like chocolate or ice cream) for Lent. But if you have an addiction to alcohol, a drug or cigarettes, I want you to consider using this Lent as a turning point. If you don’t have a dependence on a physically addictive substance like those, then broaden the definition a bit: How about something nonessential like caffeine or sleeping pills? (I’m not talking about prescribed medicines that balance you.) Consider seeing if you can live without it of the next 40 days. If you want to broaden the term addiction further in the now-trendy way for things like the internet and pornography, that’s OK too.

But understand that something isn’t an addiction just because you use it a lot. For it to be an addiction, it should be that your use interferes with your life, you wish if didn’t, and you can’t stop. If you have an addiction problem, odds are you already have a suspicion, though you may refuse to accept it. Or maybe friends or family have been telling you that you do.

Make a commitment to abstain from something you have a problem with — alcohol, smoking, gambling — starting Ash Wednesday and continuing for the duration of Lent. Not the rest of your life. Just about seven weeks.

It might become a turning point. You might discover you like your life better without it and gain a real willingness to let it go. And if you don’t manage to stay stopped, you will have learned an important lesson — that this “habit” is maybe something more; that it has some measure of control over you…

February 14th, 2012
Busted Halo's Lenten Calendar

Traditionally, Lent was a time for personal conversion leading up to Easter, during which Christians practiced the spiritual disciplines of fasting, praying and almsgiving to strip away all that is unnecessary and become more mindful of their ultimate dependence on God. Let’s recapture the true meaning of Lent in ways that are actually relevant to your life. Each day throughout Lent, starting on Ash Wednesday, the calendar’s link for that day will become active, revealing a Daily Jolt for spiritual contemplation relating to Lent, and new and practical ideas for fasting, prayer and almsgiving.

Oh, and we’ll have weekly prizes and a grand prize. By filling out a brief survey and sharing your contact info with us, you will be entered into random drawings for the weekly and grand prizes. (You can enter once a week, which also increases your chances of winning the grand prize.

Busted Halo’s® Fast Pray Give Calendar is completely unflunkable, entirely relevant and totally inspiring. The idea isn’t to be perfect but to continue on our path, so if you slip up one day, don’t give up; simply begin again the next day. We hope you’ll join Busted Halo this year with our Fast Pray Give Lent calendar.

February 8th, 2012

The night before I traveled to my brother’s wedding I was putting the finishing touches on his wedding gift: a hand-crocheted tablecloth. After four years in the making, it was wonderful to finally work on the last part — blocking it. This task was the most tedious. Stretching the tablecloth and pinning it at every small point on the edge would ensure its beauty — otherwise it would look like a crumpled up, tired mass of string.
This was time consuming, and I didn’t have much time left. So I asked the two other sisters living with me if they would help me. Both of them agreed. As we were kneeling on the floor, backs bent over the tedious work at hand, I told them what I had learned while crocheting the tablecloth.…

February 6th, 2012

Next month Busted Halo® turns 10!… BustedHalo.com was founded 10 years ago in order to help young adult spiritual seekers explore their faith and connect with other young adults on their own journeys toward God. We’re still at it with thought-provoking articles, blogs, and columns, engaging videos, informative podcasts, and “The Busted Halo® Show with Father Dave” on Sirius XM Radio.
Since we’re turning 10, it’s time for a party. And we want to celebrate with the Busted Halo® community. We’d like to invite you to share your personal story of how Busted Halo® makes a difference in your life. What does Busted Halo® mean to you? What’s your favorite thing about Busted Halo®? Create a short

February 5th, 2012

Q: I’m a college basketball player. Am I bound to wear the Nike swoosh on my jersey and wear their sneakers if I have a problem with their human rights record? The school has an exclusive deal with them.
To answer your immediate question, look closely at the terms of your agreement with the school. You are probably required to wear your official team gear when you play or travel in representation of the college. Talk with a coach or counselor to find out if there is a conscience exception. If there isn’t, draft one and submit it to the appropriate campus official. To address your larger question, recognize that as a leader on your campus, you have an opportunity to use your status to work for change. Tell everyone that…

January 30th, 2012

Not a football fan? Neither am I. But in a country where football is more or less a religion, it’s hard to escape the clamor and commotion surrounding the holiest of holy days — Super Bowl Sunday. I’ve managed to circumvent The Big Game for the past few years (one of the perks of attending a women’s college), but now that the Giants have made it to the championship and New York is teeming with football mania, I’ll have to try a lot harder to dodge the Super Bowl bullet. To help me — and you — get through this football-filled festivity, I’ve come up with a few ideas.
1. Puppy Bowl VIII
For more than two hours, beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday February 5, Animal Planet offers the most brilliant solution…

January 27th, 2012

“We Need to Talk About Kevin” is already playing in NYC; it opens today in LA, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix and is rolling out nationwide.

Sometimes Zuzu’s petals are all you have to hold onto. That’s the underlying message of We Need to Talk about Kevin, Lynne Ramsey’s remarkable allegory on the transcendent nature of relationships. At first glance, it would seem that Kevin is yet another installment in the pantheon of post-modern films intent upon assaulting the human desire to give meaning to the world. Indeed, Kevin is a relentless film that gives its audience few opportunities to come up for air from the depths of anguish to which it plummets.

Yet it is in those infrequent instances of relief, conversion and mercy that the film finds its identity and direction. Kevin is a story of hope for a new millennium, an It’s a Wonderful Life in the age of school shootings and planes crashing into buildings — a world-weary world that has been bombarded by nihilistic themes in their narratives for the better part of a century. It is a world where any attempts to offer a message of mercy, conversion and redemption must be done deftly and authentically, because at the end of the day, sometimes the community won’t rally around you and more often than not Mr. Potter carries the day.

January 25th, 2012

[The Tree of Life… was a surprise nominee for Best Picture in the 2012 Academy Awards nominations on January 24. This is our review of the film originally published on June 20, 2011. For full Oscars coverage and commentary, visit our special

January 23rd, 2012

We all know the drill. We should go to Mass on Sunday. We should go to Mass on Holy Days. And really, in general, we should worship God more in our daily lives.
Now, consider this: stop “shoulding on yourself.” In a recent column Fr. Jim Martin, SJ, wrote that if we are too busy focusing on what we “should” do, then we miss out. When we are too busy worrying about whether we should be in the pew — we are actually missing out on engaging in the worship experience. So skip the “shoulds” and get right to worship. Don’t just think you should go to Mass more. Don’t just try to go to Mass more, be more involved in the worship experience.
Ways to worship well
Here are three ways to help you stick to worship:
Find your…

January 22nd, 2012

Q: As a real estate agent can I ask for a price above fair market value if I believe that the client will pay it anyway?
A: In negotiating a real estate transaction, you must consider the value of the property, your own time and effort, any additional costs associated with the sale, and the needs and means of the clients you represent. We depend on the market to weigh these valid competing interests. But the market, shaped by macroeconomic forces, does not always reflect the understanding of justice found in Catholic social teaching. A good question for you to ask yourself is: What is just? It is just for you, as the real estate agent, to receive appropriate compensation for your labor. It is just for the purchaser to pay…

January 19th, 2012

It was all of 13 minutes after midnight on Tuesday night when I went to look up something in Wikipedia… even though I knew the blackout protest was coming and had posted about it. If you didn’t know what was going on or would like to learn a little more about SOPA and PIPA, with hopefully a slightly spiritual angle, read on. But I want to stress, this is not a partisan issue. As I’ll explain later, the line between supporters and opponents has little to do with party affiliation. As Wikipedia said, in its message about participating in the blackout:
It is the opinion of the English Wikipedia community that both of these bills, if passed, would be devastating to the free and open web… although Wikipedia’s…

January 18th, 2012
Hearing God's call and trusting where it leads

Let’s talk about the New Year. If you’re like me, you picked up a few magazines with promising headlines like “Finding the New You in 2012: Your Easy Guide to a Physical and Emotional Makeover!” at the grocery store, wrote some resolutions on a piece of paper you might be lucky enough to find if you happen to be moving, and checked out the “Year in Photos” feature of a news website for good measure. If you’re really serious, you might have even gone… to the gym. Twice.
But now that all the newness has worn off, it’s time to revisit the New Year. What makes it so attractive, anyway?
Can’t explain? It’s probably God
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about new things, particularly new beginnings. There

January 16th, 2012

Since I wrote for Busted Halo about Mitt Romney’s first run for president in 2008, much has changed in the public landscape regarding knowledge and perceptions of Mormonism. Americans today find themselves swept up in a “Mormon Moment,” thanks to Romney’s second run, Jon Huntsman Jr.’s candidacy, and popular media coverage of The Book of Mormon musical. Rather than depending on Big Love for their (inaccurate) understanding of this world religion, Americans can now find informed reports in sources from the Washington Post… to NPR. Still, persistent myths and misperceptions blight even the most well-intentioned reporters’ pieces. The following will help give Busted

January 11th, 2012
One woman's work to end human trafficking led her but first to prayer

Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. If you’re Joy Brooks, every day is a chance to raise awareness about the horror of modern-day slavery and trafficking. She started the organization Prayer For Freedom to call people to greater awareness and encourage prayer for change.
Human trafficking includes sex trafficking and labor trafficking. It’s estimated that 27 million people live in slavery today. Countries around the world, including the United States, are sites of origin, transit, destination and/or internal trafficking.
Joy spent several years working internationally with different mission and church organizations. In 2009, when she was living in Romania and teaching English…

January 2nd, 2012

As we look back over 2011 we’re reminded of all the great stories, columns, blog posts and videos. Here’s a list of the most popular stories on bustedhalo.com this year…

January 1st, 2012
(1915-2011)

“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

December 31st, 2011
(1942 – 2011)

When Clarence Clemons joined the E Street Band in October 1972, I was six months old. He was just beginning his musical partnership in a New Jersey shore town that was recovering from a race riot that had destroyed the city and I was just beginning my life in a suburban New Jersey town 60 miles away, whose last major disturbance was the arrival of George Washington’s troops at Jockey Hollow. For the most part, the major shocks of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s were settling down into a very long hangover in which the following generations — mine included — would have to learn how to bridge the divides and the injustices of the past by simply learning how to live with one another.
But growing up…

December 30th, 2011

For most of the public history of alcoholism and drug addiction all the way back to Noah, the general impression has been that it is something that happens to men. Women might have gotten “in trouble” with prescription drugs or white wine, but it was men who were drunks. Men were sent to prison; women were sent to mental hospitals. Of course women were drinking and drugging and some of them were getting in serious trouble, just like men. But mostly it was happening behind closed doors. It just wasn’t proper.
In a groundbreaking 1954 article in Good Housekeeping…, “Letter To A Woman Alcoholic,” writer Margaret Lee Runbeck appealed to female readers who were struggling with addiction

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