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December 16th, 2010
The most valuable gifts don’t involve frantic trips to the mall

Christmas without spending money, to some, may seem like an impossibly stingy suggestion. However I can guarantee that these five tips will both make your Christmas season less hectic, and probably enrich others much more than anything you can buy at Best Buy.

December 14th, 2010
Coming home to Christian faith through Buddhist meditation

I don’t think it was my parents’ goal to raise a family of passionless, non-churchgoing Protestants of an indeterminate denomination, but my religious education was made up mostly of playing Handel’s Messiah in the school orchestra and feeling a wistful crush on St. Francis in the movie Brother Sun Sister Moon…. That sounds flippant, but those impressions rang a thrilling chime deep inside me that was hard to describe. I found that trying to talk about that feeling with adults brought out the same tone of condescension they would use concerning pre-adolescent crushes. Yes, they seemed to say, you’re having some strong feelings you don’t understand, but there’s time

December 12th, 2010
The only gift we can all afford this holiday season

We look to the holiday season to lift our spirits and yet come January we are sometimes utterly depressed because our expectations were not met. There is reason to hope despite our engagement in two wars (or, to be more exact, one war and one occupation); facing global financial insecurity because of corporate greed; people losing their homes to foreclosure; millions of others who have no medical safety net; still more who are homeless, hungry or living under brutal and repressive regimes in Africa and around the world. Despite all this and more, there is reason to hope as we embark on the holiday season. In the center of all of this, in the center of our lives as families, faith communities, neighborhoods —…

December 9th, 2010

While everyone has been going crazy over Yeshiva University’s Maccabeats Chanukah video, let me share this with you by my friend and spoken word artist Danny Raphael.…

December 9th, 2010
The author of Full of Grace reflects on the many ways Mary is relevant in our lives today

A while ago, just as summer was ending, I went to an art opening at Yale University. I met a student, a young girl about 18 years old, who possessed the kind of guileless beauty that needs no embellishment. As we talked in the heat of the crowded galleries, she took off her jacket, revealing to my surprise that she was covered, neck to wrist, with tattoos. Inscribed into her body were beautiful, artful images of flowers and storybook characters — several of Maurice Sendak’s Wild Things crept along her upper arm, Ariel from the Little Mermaid swam cunningly on her forearm, the rag woman Sally in Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas peeked from behind her elbow. These characters were the ones she loved best from childhood, she said, inflecting her words as though her youth were decades past.

We continued to make small talk, and eventually drifted off into conversations with others, but the memory of her painted skin and quiet beauty stayed with me. I was overwhelmed by the feeling I had been looking at the Virgin Mary, who bore the wounds of the world as her own.

December 8th, 2010

How do you listen to God? Please give to our Double Your Dollars Holiday Fund Drive @ www.bustedhalo.com. Church Search for the Immaculate Conception. 12-8-10.…

December 8th, 2010
A fan shares why he's supporting Busted Halo this holiday season

At Busted Halo® we love getting feedback about how we’re doing — what we’re doing right, how we can better serve you, and why you care about our ministry. So this holiday season we asked some fans to share why they care about Busted Halo.

Mike, from Connecticut:

“This year I have decided to add someone new to my Christmas gift list: Busted Halo. The reason is simple, more often than not I find myself nodding in agreement with something that is said on the radio show, written on the website, or covered in a podcast. Addressing everyday issues with a modern Catholic voice is refreshing to all of us who consider ourselves spiritual seekers, but compelling content cannot create itself nor can it distribute itself through various points of contact. That is why I am supporting Busted Halo’s Holiday Fund Drive and hope you will consider doing the same.”

This holiday season share why YOU care and (from now to January 9th) make TWICE THE IMPACT during our Double Your Dollars Holiday Fund Drive.

December 6th, 2010
Is there such thing as a vocation to be single in the Church?

Recently, Jill, 29, a long-time Busted Halo reader finishing up her medical school residency, emailed me to ask if there is such a thing as a vocation to be single in the Catholic Church. She’s open to a relationship — indeed, she longs to meet the right man and marry — but because she is busy with work, and struggles with her weight, she’s resigned to being single for a while. As she mused over her situation, she wondered whether God might actually be calling… her to be single. She writes:
I sorta-sincerely considered being a nun earlier in my life and felt that wasn’t right for me. I’ve never even remotely considered being single (I’ve considered the possibility I may find

December 1st, 2010
Getting your spin on for Chanukah

Welcome to Extreme Sports: Jewish Style. Leave the suicidal snowboarding to the kids; as a rabbi, I’m more of a dreidel blackbelt. While it isn’t as transformative as the Kabbalah or as lucrative as a lottery win, I’m uniquely qualified to reveal to you another very powerful secret of the universe: the Upside Down Dreidel Spin.
This is the bubbie… of all spins, but in the spirit of Chanukah, remember: just as the oil in the temple burned for eight days, a great dreidel player must cultivate patience and perseverance in order to master this move.

Despite what the song says, most dreidels aren’t “made out of clay.” That’s the good news, because when it comes to dreidels,

November 29th, 2010
A daily review can help you stay on the path

It’s remarkable (though not really) how easily we can forget the emotionally charged things that happen in a day. The problem is that if we aren’t resolving them we aren’t really forgetting them. Take this example: a few weeks ago, I was having a delightful weekend day in the country. After brunch with a friend and an invigorating hike in the multi-hued autumn woods, followed by a relaxing evening preparing a home-cooked meal and curling up with a fun movie, I prepared to do the examen thinking it would be awfully quick, since it had been such an uneventful and pleasant day. Five minutes later, I found myself immersed in the recollection of a phone call I had gotten but not picked up during brunch,…

November 28th, 2010
Annual holiday video from the Busted Halo staff

Do you value an open and lively discussion about faith?
Do you care about a Catholic media outreach that welcomes those seeking answers?
Do you think Busted Halo is a “Wonderful Website?”
If you answered yes to any of these questions, I hope you’ll support us this holiday season in our annual Double Your Dollars Holiday Fund Drive.
All year long, Busted Halo® is your daily source for inspiration, thought-provoking articles, blogs, columns, podcasts, videos, answers to your spiritual questions, and challenges to grow your faith. And every day, this accessible and relevant discussion about the intersection between faith and everyday life is available to you — all for free.…

As part of our community,

November 27th, 2010

Advent is a precious time in the Christian calendar. The four weeks leading up to December 25 are meant to be a period of expectant waiting, as we prepare ourselves for the miraculous arrival of our Savior, in the form of a vulnerable infant born to humble parents.

The reality for most of us, though, is that these are anxious weeks of shopping and holiday planning leading up to a hectic Christmas Day. In the bustle of the holiday season, it’s hard to remember what we’re waiting for.

Completely avoiding the Christmas onslaught may be impossible, but we can make an effort to maintain some connection to the spiritual foundation of this season. Busted Halo’s 2010 Advent Surprise Calendar is here to help a little with that.

In traditional Advent calendars, children open different windows throughout the season to reveal special surprises. Busted Halo’s Advent calendar brings its sense of surprise by showing you the whole calendar, but not letting you open each day and find out what’s behind the picture until that day comes along.

November 24th, 2010
What would St. Francis do?

Recently, on a pilgrimage in Italy, I heard a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal relay in a homily one of the many stories of St. Francis of Assisi that raised medieval eyebrows. A gang of robbers, known to not only rob but also kill their victims, was terrorizing the local towns. Francis gathered his friars and encouraged them to visit the remote homes of those alleged to be responsible for the attacks. He instructed his friars bring bread on their first visit. On the second trip, they were to bring bread and …wine. The third visit, they were to bring bread and wine, and then ask of their hosts a special favor: if they were going to rob people, at least spare them their lives and commit no physical violence against them.
The intention

November 24th, 2010
The Saint John's Bible — sacred art and contemplative tool

As I sit before the illustration accompanying the story of creation in The Saint John’s Bible, I see representations that are obvious — the seven days; Adam, Eve and the serpent; land and sea. And I see many that are less so — little gold boxes, a bird. My mind plays at filling in the gaps. The person next to me is doing the same. After a few minutes, we turn to each other and share what we saw. Within moments, this sharing has turned into an excited discussion of the creation stories and the symbolism involved, referencing back to the illustration again and again. In the final phase of the exercise, our facilitator calls on people and we hear all the things they saw and how they interpreted them — some quite surprising. Now, this is fun bible study.

And that’s page one. The immensity of The Saint John’s Bible project is hard to convey. It’s been over half a millennium since a completely handmade illuminated bible has been produced, and this project has been 12 years in the making, combining the production, theological guidance and financial commitment of Saint John’s Abbey in Minnesota with the artistic direction of the Queen’s scribe, Donald Jackson — whose life dream this has been since 1970 — and his calligraphy team in Monmouth, Wales.

November 23rd, 2010

After outlining the original dilemma and then adding a later twist to it, now we’re ready to hear an analysis of the dilemma from our in-house expert in moral theology and ethics.

Bravo to the online responders! An overwhelming majority of you in both phases said that Kara is not a physician and therefore is neither competent to diagnose her friend’s mental state nor to prescribe the right course of treatment, whether medication, therapy, or some combination of the two.

While there were many insightful and helpful comments, four of them seem to sum it up very well:

“Offer encouragement to see a doctor and offer to give him some names. Further, since people with depression find it hard to take the first step, ask Robert if she can help him make the contact with a doctor or offer to go along for the first visit.”

November 17th, 2010

Should I be afraid of the upcoming changes to the Mass?  On location: Horseshoe Bay, TX.  Special guest: Fr. Steven Bell, CSP.  Church Search (live theme song): Austin, TX.  11-17-10.  Happy Thanksgiving!…

November 16th, 2010

Now we’d like to complicate the story just a bit more by telling you what happened next…

Kara tells Robert to stay where he is and makes him promise not to do anything to hurt himself. She gets in her car and immediately heads over to Robert’s apartment. While in the car she decides that she will ask one of the doctors she knows to see Robert and — if the physician believes Robert needs medication — she will provide the samples.

Robert is clearly glad to see her when she arrives. Kara offers to take him to the emergency room but Robert tells her that he feels better now that she is there. As far as Kara can tell, he does seem calmer and less desperate than he was on the phone but she is uncomfortable leaving him by himself right now. She sits down on his couch and begins to talk with him about what he’s been going through…

November 10th, 2010
Now it's easy to check the latest on bustedhalo.com from your mobile device

The mobile version of bustedhalo.com has arrived! Get a quick overview of our most recent content — the last few posts; the latest columns, blog posts and comments; what’s new in Googling God; and today’s Daily Jolt. Now, when you go to bustedhalo.com it should automatically detect whether you’re on a regular computer or a mobile device, and send you to the right version. Below are instructions to bookmark the site — and if you are on an iPhone you can create an app-(button)-for-that which looks like any other app button and takes you straight to Busted Halo.

Looking at Busted Halo articles on a phone always kinda worked. The big change is our home page. The regular Busted Halo home page is so rich with multimedia content that it doesn’t really work on mobile devices. Now, you’ll be taken to our lightweight mobile home page. Most video and audio clips will work (though their behavior will vary depending on the device). Articles and posts on a mobile device are cleaner and easier to read, and you can see and add comments.

November 9th, 2010

After struggling to put herself through college, Kara landed a good job as a drug representative for a large pharmaceutical company. The job required her to travel to doctor’s offices throughout her “territory” in the northeastern part of Washington State and remind physicians about the various medications her company makes and how they benefit patients. Because most of the doctors she deals with are very busy, her visits usually entail a quick hello to the doctor to drop off a few samples of the prescription medications she represents.

November 8th, 2010
How the American dream of marriage and family is increasingly out of reach for the less educated

There’s a widening gap between the haves and have-nots in America — and this time the fault line is marriage. Educated young adults are marrying and thriving in their unions, while those with less education are more likely to cohabit, less likely to ever marry, and more likely to divorce if they do wed. The latest data to support this argument comes from the Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographic Trends project analysis of sixty years of Census data, which finds that college-educated young adults are slightly more likely to marry by age 30 and significantly more likely to marry by age 40.
In my last column, I wrote about how the good news for educated Americans abounds: While men and women…

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