Busted Halo

Busted Halo distributed Flip videocameras to undocumented individuals and agencies and asked them to start videoblogging. We hope Busted Borders gives a personal glimpse into the humanity of these strangers in our midst.

Click this banner to see the entire series.

 
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
November 3rd, 2009

In this video, Walter talks about the difficulties of facing an uncertain future.

In video 2, Walter talks more about how he did not know he was undocumented until he was applying for college.

In video 1, Walter explains how he was caught by ICE and detained for twenty day.

November 2nd, 2009

ww15-inside

I want to share with you a little method with a big impact: the Welcoming Prayer. This unassuming little method has helped me many times. What’s your first impulse when you have a “bad” feeling? If you’re like me, it’s usually to suppress it. But we all know that doesn’t work. What you focus on sticks around. This is one of the big lessons you learn through meditation. If you try to suppress a thought, it becomes your entire focus. Worse than before.

But while a regular meditation practice can inculcate a balanced relationship with your feelings and emotions, with the serenity that comes from that, sometimes you need help now, in the field. You can’t exactly sit down on the sidewalk and start meditating. (Though there may very well be a church nearby.)

And sometimes, you’re too caught up in the thoughts that are swirling around a negative emotion, and meditation just seems impossible. I encourage you to meditate anyway in those situations, but if you want some extra help, the Welcoming Prayer might help.

Palmer: How do you do it — block out fear?
Gibbs: You don’t. It’s what you do with it.
NCIS

You’ve heard all the axioms about going through rather than around problems. Well, the Welcoming Prayer is a method for doing this with bad feelings. The basic idea is that when you are experiencing a negative feeling, you don’t pray for it to go away, you welcome it. Let’s say you are feeling fearful. You literally say to yourself, “Welcome, fear.”

You don’t detach from it. You get to know it.

October 30th, 2009

pagans-inside

Tom Cornwell had a secret stashed in the ottoman of his Savannah, Georgia, home. A former Jehovah’s Witness elder and minister for 20 years, he worshipped the Egyptian goddess Isis. Cornwell, 62, thought his secret was safe — until his devout Jehovah’s Witness wife announced she’d found his cache of witchcraft books.

Cornwell (not his real name) came out of the pagan closet to her that night, and says she took it better than expected. “I think the Goddess was watching over me,” he says.

A year later, he studies with a Wiccan coven and is a member of Savannah Pagan Meetup. Cornwell, who still hasn’t come out publicly about his beliefs, says he joins a growing number of pagans in the South peeking out of the broom closet.

Three years ago, only one pagan group reigned in Savannah; today nine exist, says Stevie Kirby, organizer of Savannah Witches and assistant organizer of Savannah Pagan. “It’s not easy being a pagan or a witch,” says Kirby. “And it doesn’t help if you’re in the Bible Belt,” he sighs.

Kirby says members of his group have lost their jobs, had their cars and homes vandalized, and been beaten and chased out of their residences because of their religious beliefs.

October 27th, 2009

mj_inside

The sudden death of Michael Jackson this past summer took the world by surprise and led to spontaneous fan tributes around the globe and countless conversations about the King of Pop’s place in popular culture. Many of those conversations are bound to be revisited with the release this week of This Is It, a film that promises behind the scenes footage of Jackson’s final days as he was preparing for sold out London concerts. While many of the discussions sparked by his passing have dealt with his enormous talent (and his equally enormous strangeness), his ever-shifting appearance, the charges of pedophilia and the issue of race, we are fairly certain that the conversation that erupted in the Busted Halo® office, is unique. Over the course of the following exchange between Tom Gibbons — a white thirtysomething seminarian studying to be a Paulist priest — and Mirlande Jeanlouis — a young, black Haitian-American — the conversation shifted from topics on many people’s minds, such as Jackson’s status as a role model, race in America and pedophilia allegations, to a much more unusual one on how charges of child molestation and the Church’s sex abuse scandal affect someone studying for the priesthood.

Mirlande Jeanlouis: Our original conversation was sparked over the idea of Michael Jackson being a role model. What did you think of that when you first heard people saying it?

Tom Gibbons: I remember watching the news and finding out he had died. Everyone was gathering at the Apollo Theater and there were a few people there who said he was a role model. At that moment I thought to myself, “I have never in my life thought of Michael Jackson as a role model.”

I was always able to appreciate that he was an amazingly talented person and that he brought a lot to the music community and to pop culture… but when someone said “role model” it was hard for me to forget all the other stuff that went along with Michael Jackson — the

Pages: 1 2 3
October 25th, 2009

sweatlodge-inside

What would you do for spiritual enlightenment and personal success? Would you agree to spend 36 hours alone in the desert without food or water to help clear your mind and find your true potential? Would you follow a trusted leader into a dark, hot tent to experience a version of a centuries-old Native American sweat lodge ritual? History shows that in the name of self-help, many people will do just that — and more.

Three people died and more than a dozen others were injured as a result of an Oct. 8 retreat in Sedona, Arizona, led by James Arthur Ray, a nationally known self-help guru. According to interviews with participants and their family members, more than 50 people — within hours of returning from a desert “vision quest,” and dehydrated from lack of food and water in the previous day and a half — followed Ray into a 20-by-20-foot makeshift sweat lodge of wood, plastic tarps and blankets. It was the surprise culmination of his “Spiritual Warrior” event, for which participants had paid as much as $9,695 per person.

For nearly two hours, Ray sat at the only exit of the small lodge, encouraging the group to “go full-on” and “push past your self-imposed and conditioned borders.” Periodically, he brought in glowing red rocks to intensify the heat inside the dark structure, where men and women sat or lay down in meditation. At the ritual’s conclusion, seemingly unaware of the bodies of the unconscious lying around him, Ray emerged triumphantly, witnesses said, pumping his fist in the air because he had passed his own endurance test.
Part of America’s self-reliant culture

Ray and many gurus like him motivate thousands of smart, accomplished adults by borrowing from two very powerful thought traditions — modern psychology and esoteric spirituality — creating a one-two punch that’s nearly impossible to resist. If you had been there, you might be dead, too.

What happened in Sedona is not an unfortunate coda to a crazy, fringe event. We have a long history of self-help in America, and to …

October 21st, 2009

openings-flash

Throughout the side chapels and the interior of St. Paul the Apostle Church in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, the historically significant artwork on permanent display now shares space with a compelling and eclectic mix of contemporary pieces. God Doesn’t Like Ugly, as the exhibition is titled, is the third major group exhibition presented by Openings, an international art movement based out of New York — and sponsored by the Paulist Fathers — in which artists explore the connection between their creativity and spirituality. This year’s exhibition, which is free and runs until October 30, represents the work of fifteen artists, who were invited to address the show’s title theme in painting, drawing, mixed media, installation, sculpture and photography. The show’s opening on September 21 attracted more than 500 visitors and drew praise from the Village Voice, which named it one of their Voice Choices, calling it “dazzling” and “twisted” and declaring “there’s not an ugly piece in the bunch.

In one of the world’s great art capitals, overflowing with museums, galleries and artist spaces God Doesn’t Like Ugly is a rare and challenging event. If the juxtaposition of contemporary, non-sacred art with the Catholic church it’s displayed in is provocative, the questions about creativity and belief that the Openings movement invites artists to explore are extraordinary, because they deal with distinct areas of human experience that are frequently viewed as separate from — if not hostile to — one another. Busted Halo® asked the artists to discuss these questions in the context of the work they are displaying.

Photographs by Andrew T. Foster.

Robert Aitchison

How do your pieces relate to the religious space in which they are displayed?

Has religion influenced your art?

The artworks I am presenting explore themes of sacrifice, surrender and transformation; characteristics of Saint Paul, to whom my designated chapel space is dedicated.

Religion offers a framework upon which I can explore my spiritual path towards greater awareness of God. Making art provides a similar framework by constructing an

October 20th, 2009

In this final episode, Prerna talks about the repercussions of leaving Fiji and why she continues to stay and work in the U.S.

In video six, Prerna discusses the fallout with her family, community and school as a result of her new relationship.

In video five, Prerna discusses her first love while growing up in Fiji.

In video four, Prerna talks about her experience biking from Los Angeles to Berkeley, CA.

In video three, Prerna’s family is trying to avoid foreclosure on their home.

In video two, Prerna becomes an activist, a blogger and a volunteer.

In video one, we learn how Prerna, Fijian student, who was applying for residential paperwork, became the only undocumented member of her family.

October 20th, 2009

In this sixth video, Prerna discusses the fallout with her family, community and school as a result of her new relationship.

In video five, Prerna discusses her first love while growing up in Fiji.

In video four, Prerna talks about her experience biking from Los Angeles to Berkeley, CA.

In video three, Prerna’s family is trying to avoid foreclosure on their home.

In video two, Prerna becomes an activist, a blogger and a volunteer.

In video one, we learn how Prerna, Fijian student, who was applying for residential paperwork, became the only undocumented member of her family.

October 20th, 2009

more_than_a_game-inside

In the white-hot glare of worldwide celebrity there are no shadows, there are only outsized figures of triumph or scorn. They are presented to us as fully formed creations, media amplified surfaces without depth who occupy our fantasies until something else inevitably takes their place. This strange and rare sort of fame — which basketball phenom LeBron James enjoys — generally obscures the flesh and blood reality behind the image. A great deal of the power behind Kristopher Belman’s documentary More Than a Game comes from its ability to trace James’ career back to the time when he was an 11-year-old AAU basketball player, back to the Salvation Army gym in Akron, Ohio, where he befriended three other young players: Sian Cotton, Willie McGee and Dru Joyce III. That “Fab 4″ soon moves way beyond being a talented basketball team. Along with their coach Dru Joyce II, they become a surrogate family whose deep bonds will eventually be sorely tested over a nine-year period by their enormous success as well as LeBron’s incredible talent and star power. Below, Coach Dru Joyce II shares some of the stories with Busted Halo that go beneath the surface, to add some shadow and depth to one of the planet’s most recognized faces.

Busted Halo: One of the things that struck me is that More Than a Game is a film about family and its many different forms. The original Fab Four, the nucleus of the team, got together when they were around eleven years, and LeBron, Sian, Willie and your son Dru very quickly become a family of sorts with you being sort of a father figure. What do you think it was that helped that familial bond to occur so strongly between them?

Coach Joyce: we kind of did this a little different than a lot of travel teams. A lot of travel teams might practice early when they put the team together, but then after they start travelling they stop practicing. But when the guys were

Pages: 1 2
October 19th, 2009

ww14-baggage-inside

We’ve all heard the jokes. Ever since the term “baggage” entered popular use thanks to the 80s inner child movement, it’s been both a warning — “I have a lot of baggage” — and a punchline.

Example: A few weeks ago on Jay Mohr’s sitcom, Gary Unmarried, before he meets his ex-wife’s new boyfriend, she says: “And I really like him, so please don’t make that joke about how his strong grip will come in handy when he’s carrying all my baggage, OK?”

The broad definition of baggage is: something from the past that continues to weigh you down.

Christine used the word “fraught” in last week’s excellent column about toxic friends. I love the word fraught. It comes from the same root as freight and literally means “loaded down with baggage.” So many of us are loaded down with baggage from our past. So, literal and spiritual housecleanings are a necessary practice for everyone. And if your past regrets and scars are ruining your present, cleaning your spiritual house can transform your life.

The most common use of the term baggage is trauma or bad experiences from the past that taint your ability to face the present with trust. The most disturbing is child physical or sexual abuse, but many less severe forms come into play too. Typically, when past experience of dating jerks and deep unresolved issues with parents block us from being able to trust and be open with a partner.

October 16th, 2009

quake-inside

I’m an information officer for Catholic Relief Services in Asia. This past month, we’ve had our hands full keeping up with the string of natural disasters that has hit the region. From my home base in Cambodia, I was sent to the Philippines to cover our response to severe flooding; then an earthquake hit Sumatra — one of the islands that make up Indonesia, so I caught a plane to Padang, the city closet to the quake’s epicenter.

I was new to extreme quake damage — its dangers and surprises. The first week of any emergency is usually the toughest; I’ve recorded my impressions of the experience.

Day One
The first sign of trouble is at the airport in Padang, Indonesia: there’s no water in the bathrooms; only big trash cans full of water outside their doors. I skirt the pungent restrooms and grab a taxi.

Driving through the dark — most of the city doesn’t have electricity — it’s hard to tell that a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck three days ago. The outlines of the buildings look pretty normal, except for, say, every tenth building, which has collapsed. But as we cross a bridge I see an unsettling gash in the pavement. My unspoken question — This thing is stable, right? — will occur with increasing frequency as the days pass.

I arrive at a makeshift compound used by Catholic Relief Services and its partners in Caritas, the worldwide network of Catholic aid agencies. This base for our relief operations is made up of two buildings loaned to us by the Diocese of Padang: one an old, wooden building that might have been used as a Sunday school, to judge from the child-size desks in it; the other a small concrete-and-bricks office building.

In the darkness, I fumble for my keychain flashlight and greet my colleagues — mostly Indonesian CRS staffers, with several Europeans from Caritas.

A young IT wiz named Feri has miraculously hooked us up with an internet connection. It’s late at night, but he’s still here. Turns out he’s staying: …

Pages: 1 2
October 15th, 2009

In this fifth video, Prerna discusses her first love while growing up in Fiji.

In video four, Prerna talks about her experience biking from Los Angeles to Berkeley, CA.

In video three, Prerna’s family is trying to avoid foreclosure on their home.

In video two, Prerna becomes an activist, a blogger and a volunteer.

In video one, we learn how Prerna, Fijian student, who was applying for residential paperwork, became the only undocumented member of her family.

October 13th, 2009

dailyjolt_launch-inside

When we launched our Fast Pray Give calendar this past Lent, we quickly learned that our readers really loved checking back each day for the little piece of inspiration or information we offered, as well as the small spiritual challenge we gave them along with it. In the midst of their busy lives, people were attracted to the idea of carving out a moment of spiritual contemplation, and coupling it with a meaningful — and very doable — action.

With that discovery in mind, we decided to develop our “Daily Jolt.” Beginning today, Busted Halo will offer a very brief daily insight or inspiration in text, video or audio form on our homepage — and through our Twitter feed and Facebook fan page . Each Jolt will also contain a “microChallenge” asking readers to take that moment of mindfulness and turn it into some small, immediate form of action in their lives.

We understand all too well that spiritual discipline — like any form of discipline in our lives — can be challenging at times, so, as we did with our Lenten calendar, we will periodically offer small incentives (books, Busted Halo Gear, etc.) that readers can win via email. We’ll also ramp up the intensity of the challenges from time to time to see how your deepening spiritual practice affects your ability to act.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a test! There are no right answers here. Our spiritual journeys are all unique and incredibly personal but that doesn’t mean we don’t need a little reminder (or Jolt!) from time to time to keep the journey moving forward. We hope that Busted Halo’s® Daily Jolt can be that sort of reminder for you on your own journey.

So visit us at BustedHalo.com everyday to get your Daily Jolt or sign up for our Twitter feed and Facebook fan page. You can also look in our Jolt Archives to see what you’ve missed.

We want to …

October 13th, 2009

toxicfriend-inside

“We need to talk.”

The four dreaded words that strike fear into all of us. “We need to talk” is almost never the start of a fun conversation. It’s usually about how you’ve done something wrong. Or how the relationship isn’t working for the other person. And while we all dread those four little words in our romantic relationships, I’d argue that hearing them from your best friend is even worse.

I hate drama within friendships. I firmly believe they should be easy relationships. If a friend calls to cancel lunch at the last minute, I don’t immediately think it’s about me. She’s busy; we’ll reschedule; it’s fine. And I assume my friends will cut me the same slack as well.

But then there are the friends who seem more interested in the process of the friendship than the friendship itself — the ones who want to talk about why I had to cancel lunch, whether it was something she said or did, whether she still thinks we’re as close as we once were. And it’s those kinds of conversations that make me want to scream.

I am blessed with a wonderful network of tell-it-like-it-is female friends who call B.S. on me when I’m lying to myself; who are there for me when I’m crying over something big or small; and who offer the advice that they believe is right, not always the advice I want to hear. I adore my friends. Well… most of them. Most of the time.

The less-than-stellar types of friends

Then there are the friends who seem more interested in the process of the friendship than the friendship itself — the ones who want to talk about why I had to cancel lunch, whether it was something she said or did, whether she still thinks we’re as close as we once were. And it’s those kinds of conversations that make me want to scream.

I have friends who only talk about themselves (and sometimes, I worry I turn into one of them myself when life gets a bit overwhelming).

October 8th, 2009

tweeting-inside

Religion has found Twitter, the 3-year-old web service that allows people to dish on their daily lives in 140 characters or less. Increasingly, monks, nuns, pastors, rabbis and followers of all faiths are using Twitter as a means of spreading their faith, talking about faith-related news stories, connecting with their congregations and sending their prayers into cyberspace. Consider the following:

Each morning and evening on Twitter, @TheUrbanAbbey has prayer services in 140-character bites. The monastery without walls included this prayer in a recent morning service: “Giver of the present, hope for the future: save us from the time of trial. When prophets warn of doom, free us from our helplessness.” Though the virtual abbey is based out of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, Virginia, its members and the more than 1,000 Twitter followers live all over the world.

The 91 Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration pray together five times each day via their Twitter account, @BenedictineSis. Their monasteries are in Missouri, Arizona and Wyoming.

Wider nets, celebrity pastors

@RickWarren: “You weren’t just made BY God, u were made FOR God. Until u get that, life will never make sense. God made u to love u.”

@RevRunWisdom: “Never allow urself 2 make some1 your priority while they only make you their option.”

For some Christian pastors, Twitter has allowed them to cast their evangelical nets a bit wider, to populations they wouldn’t reach from a Sunday pulpit or even with their website. Some have started tweeting the content of their Sunday services. Bishop James Brown, aka @ifeelgod, “got on Twitter almost two years ago as an early adopter. I use it to promote ministry training, as a prayer portal, and a place to connect,” he wrote in a Twitter direct message. Brown is founding pastor of Victory International Church in Fort Worth, Texas.

Twitter has allowed Rabbi Amber Powers to meet Jews far outside the walls of her Pennsylvania rabbinical school, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, where she is the dean of admissions.

October 6th, 2009

sukkot-inside

Each fall, Jews celebrate the holiday of Sukkot, named after the “huts” the Jewish people lived in during their 40 years in the wilderness. Sukkot begins on the night of the largest full moon of the year, the harvest moon. This year it began at sundown on Friday, October 2, and runs through October 10. As a celebration of the year’s largest harvest, Sukkot reminds us to give thanks. The American Pilgrims understood this biblical significance of Sukkot, and made it the basis for Thanksgiving.

Tradition calls us to “live” for a week in a sukkah (sukkot is the plural form) — a hut, open to the sky, with some leaves for a roof. (Eating meals there can qualify for “living,” especially during inclement weather.) Living in a hut reminds us of our interdependence with nature. Our buildings and vehicles are artificial barriers, which insulate us from so many effects of nature. We succumb to an “edifice complex.” They distract us from our constant interaction with nature, inhibiting us from “smelling the roses.” They limit our awareness of the impact we have on nature, so we don’t deal with pollution, conservation of resources — dying species, sustainable development, diversity of energy resources — global warming, or even adequate preparation for “natural” disasters. Just ask the residents of New Orleans. As we become more aware of interdependence, we accept our stewardship of nature.

What living in sukkot can teach us

Living in sukkot — symbols of freedom from civilization — might teach us to detach from those values of our surrounding society that limit our freedom, such as materialism, isolationism and rugged individualism. Freedom is our ability to “worship God” (in secular vocabulary, to “live as we should”): to use all of our resources to pursue our highest values, to fulfill our potential to create or improve ourselves and our world. If all lived freely, then we would celebrate the Messianic dream, our harvest of the moral deeds, which we plant each time we do one.

On the other hand, living in sukkot might

October 6th, 2009

In this fourth video, Prerna talks about her experience biking from Los Angeles to Berkeley, CA.

In video three, Prerna’s family is trying to avoid foreclosure on their home.

In video two, Prerna becomes an activist, a blogger and a volunteer.

In video one, we learn how Prerna, Fijian student, who was applying for residential paperwork, became the only undocumented member of her family.

October 4th, 2009

what_works-no_news-inside

I don’t mean to put anyone out of work in this difficult economy — I even have several friends in this profession — but I implore you to turn off the news and leave it off. Mainly, I want you to turn off the local news, where “if it bleeds, it leads” and the priority, after titillating you with gore, is to scare you — because they thrive if we think we have to watch or we’ll die.

There are a number of reasons I recommend turning off the news. First, life is stressful enough already. Who needs this? Second, if you are powerless over something, there’s usually no benefit in worrying about it. Third, exposing yourself regularly to the ugliest aspects of society darkens and coarsens your view of other people, which takes you away from compassion and love, and thus away from God. It undermines your spiritual fitness.

Rather than helping us better to mourn — to see the suffering in the world with an open heart — watching the news regularly hardens our hearts. In order to face so much suffering with no option of relevant action, we detach from it; we tune it out, if you will.

October 3rd, 2009

If you’ve ever seen dog owners walking to church with their pooches in ridiculous outfits, sprayed with doggie perfume and a bow in their fur you’ve stumbled upon the annual “blessing of the animals” on the Feast Day of St Francis, October 4. In years past I witnessed one woman’s dog in a top hat and tails. Another dressed in a doggy business suit. A third looked like a clown (both dog and master).

I couldn’t help but laugh to myself when I overheard conversations in the pews about how smart their silly mutt was and how much love they received coming home to the wagging tail that greeted them at the door. Owners shared recipes about what they cook for their pets, talked about what they’ll dress them up for on Halloween and even celebrated their animal friends’ birthdays complete with party hats and a big bash.

Reveling in all of this canine eccentricity seemed odd to me until I visited a Franciscan friend of mine in upstate New York the day before last year’s blessing of the animals.

“Mike, just wait until tomorrow. You’ll see sheep, and cats, and snakes, and ferrets besides the dozens of dogs that will make their way here. I swear the second coming of Christ could be happening and if someone else did a prayer service across the street with animals, more people would show up for that!”

St. Dolittle?

St. Francis is always associated with animals. Legend has it that he was so gentle that the birds would come to rest on his shoulders. I’ve never really cared that much for that saccharine image of Francis—the one that adorns many gardens with the birds and chipmunks. After all, this was the same man who renounced his family’s wealth to live a life of radical poverty, famously standing naked in the street, after throwing his cloak

October 2nd, 2009

In this third video, Prerna’s family is trying to avoid foreclosure on their home.

In video two, Prerna becomes an activist, a blogger and a volunteer.

In video one, we learn how Prerna, Fijian student, who was applying for residential paperwork, became the only undocumented member of her family.

powered by the Paulists