Busted Halo
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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 26th, 2007
The former Missouri Senator (and ordained Episcopal priest) discusses how "moral values" have polarized America

When Missouri Republican John Danforth began his political career in 1968, he was already an ordained Episcopal priest. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976, and re-elected in 1982 and 1988 before retiring in 1994. As priest and politician, Danforth says he is increasingly concerned about the state of American politics and its excessive polarization. His latest book, Faith and Politics: How the Moral Values Debate Divides America and How to Move Forward Together examines why he believes religion has been misused as a way to drive a wedge and erode the political center. Danforth recently sat down with BustedHalo… not only to call his own party to task for pandering to the Christian Right, but also to challenge

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 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 18th, 2007
One Paulist's journey from park ranger to priest to immigration-rights activist

Park Ranger and Pastor are not career paths that would seem to overlap much, but it was Paulist Father Gilbert Martinez’s work at the Grand Canyon that led him to the priesthood. After spending several years working as a National Park Ranger in the heart of one of the most awesome natural wonders on earth, the California native felt the call. Though he isn’t normally given to such lofty expressions of spirituality, Martinez looks back at his years of work—often alone in the quiet of the natural world—as a time when he was able to listen to God talk. His experiences in this cathedral of nature led him back to his Catholic faith and, eventually, the priesthood.
While he is still drawn to the beauty…

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 9th, 2007
How different faith traditions help get couples ready for the days after the big day

From rings to registries and videographers to wedding planners, getting married is an estimated $161 billion industry in the U.S. But preparing for lifelong commitment often seems to fall by the wayside when couples are presented with the pressing concerns of party planning: Should the candy-coating on the dessert almonds be the same color as the dinner-menu cardstock?
This week, Hollywood takes the focus off of “bridezillas” and puts it on marriage preparation courses. In “License to Wed,” which opened Wednesday, Robin Williams plays the “Reverend Frank,” a clergyman of unspecified denomination who puts his charges through a series of tests-including an exercise…

July 3rd, 2007
Hot off the campaign trail, the Kansas senator discusses faith, evolution and running for president

CNS Photos
Senator Sam Brownback is the Senior U.S. Senator from the state of Kansas. He is a devout Catholic and also a candidate for president of the United States. His very conservative stance on life issues, his refusal to separate his religious beliefs from his politics as well as his controversial response to a question about evolution at a recent Republican debate have all contributed to a gathering momentum in his campaign. Senator Brownback spoke to Fr. Dave Dwyer on the BustedHalo show on Sirius satellite radio just after returning from a four day, twenty-seven city campaign tour in Iowa.
BustedHalo: …Twenty-seven stops in Iowa sounds like a pretty extensive trip. How did it go?

Senator Sam Brownback:

June 27th, 2007

Most of us can identify certain teachers or mentors who have had
a profound impact on our lives. The same can be said for particular books that have shaped our view of the world. With that in mind, BustedHalo asks the question:
“What books have helped you on your spiritual journey?”
For four decades Bob Abernethy covered world events for NBC news for—including a stint in Moscow between 1989-1994 where he reported on the end of the Cold War. After leaving NBC, he created the show Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly… for PBS. Abernethy developed the program to fill what he saw as a lack of serious discussion surrounding issues of faith in the national media landscape.
For the past decade his show has helped

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 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 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 13th, 2007
A recent trip to Turkey reveals some surprises about Islam and politics

Current events in a country bridging Europe and Asia are offering an important object lesson about the Muslim world: it is not monolithic, and there are significant forces for religious pluralism and democracy within it.
The country is Turkey, at one and the same time a candidate for the European Union (EU) and the source of much of the water in the Middle East; larger in population than any EU country, and with the second largest military in NATO after the United States.
From May 7-15 I had the opportunity to travel with an interfaith group of 16 people from the fields of government, education, health care, religion, journalism and the arts to several cities within Turkey on visits to schools, mosques, cultural institutions,…

June 12th, 2007
Surviving your Catholic Wedding

Pop quiz: May a Catholic couple get married on the beach? May the bride boogie down the aisle to a modern tune?
Bemused? Things are changing fast in the wedding business.
From 1857 to 1957 American weddings would have looked fairly similar: Most couples got married with family and a few friends present, followed by a nice lunch afterward; grand weddings were reserved for the wealthy elite. But starting in the 1960s—and then really picking up steam in the 1980s—the wedding industry took on a life of its own. From rings to registries, videographers to wedding planners and welcome baskets to party favors, getting married is a $161 billion industry. Engaged couples, priests and wedding guests are struggling…

June 5th, 2007
The former rock journalist talks about her conversion and The Thrill of the Chaste

BustedHalo: Dawn, you and I have known each other for a long time. I knew you mainly as a rock and roll journalist, who did liner notes for lots of cd reissues and wrote for a bunch of magazines…
Dawn Eden: (laughs) See, I love this because you having known me for a while can attest to the fact that I’m not just a poser. You know there are plenty of Christian writers who say, “Oh yeah, I was hip once, I was in the rock world once.”
BH: I can vouch for the fact that you were once in the rock world. In fact you and I once worked together when you wrote press releases for my old band and on my solo cds. So this is a big turn for you. Talk to me a little bit about how your book came about, Thrill of the Chaste. And what got

June 4th, 2007
The National Catholic Singles Conference

In just a few weeks, more than 500 Catholic singles will head to San Diego, California for a weekend of panel discussions, socializing and prayer about the vocation of singles and the search for a perfect match.
The National Catholic Singles Conference was founded in 2005 by Anastasia Northrop. There have been conferences in Denver, Chicago and now San Diego, and because of its popularity, there are plans for east, west and central U.S. conferences in coming years.
What happens at a single’s conference and why is it so popular? According to one of this year’s conference organizers, Michele Fleming, director of the Office for Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Diego, it’s an opportunity…

June 1st, 2007
When did Amnesty become a dirty word?

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
The words inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty have become just that…words. No longer do they represent America’s stand for moral compassion. Immigration policy has gone through a dramatic shift towards restriction in years past and, as evidenced by last week’s events, still remains in flux.
As if it were in hibernation for the past year, the immigration issue has reemerged into the sunlight of public debate. The marches that brought millions of people to the streets…

May 31st, 2007
Seattle's Interfaith Creation Festival connects spirituality and concern for the earth

Seattle has never been known as the epicenter of faith, religion or spirituality in the U.S., but for four days from May 31 to June 3 faith and spirituality will be at the center of the Emerald City as Seattle-based Earth Ministry will host its first annual Interfaith Creation Festival.
The festival will also mark Earth Ministry’s 15th anniversary since its founding in 1991 by Carla Pryne, an Episcopalian priest and a Presbyterian minister Jim Mulligan and his wife Ruth, who is the chair of the festival’s steering committee.
“It speaks to their commitment and vision to still be involved 15 years later,” says LeeAnne Beres, executive director of Earth Ministry. “There was a need…

May 30th, 2007
A funny thing happened in the middle of making a living

There’s an old Yiddish saying: “If you want to hear God laugh, just tell Him your plans.”
As far as my own life’s concerned, these days, I’m sure, He’s in stitches.
On Saturday, May the 19th, I completed a five-year odyssey and was ordained a Permanent Deacon for the Diocese of Brooklyn. Suffice it to say: this isn’t exactly what I’d planned for my life. It’s not exactly what my wife had in mind when she married me 21 years ago, either. But as John Lennon (British, not Yiddish) put it: life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.

The plans I’d made included a successful career in broadcasting, a nice home, a comfortable life, a happy…

May 24th, 2007
The man behind PBS' "Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly" discusses The Life of Meaning

After spending more than four decades covering world events for NBC news— including a stint in Moscow between 1989-1994 where he reported on the end of the Cold War—Bob Abernethy set his sights on covering a different kind of story. Raised in a family of devout Northern Baptists, Abernethy was aware that a serious discussion surrounding issues of faith was missing from the national media landscape and developed PBS’ Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly to fill that gap. A decade later the show he created has helped add nuance and depth to the frequently one-dimensional and shallow discussion of faith and spirituality in the United States. In his new book The Life of Meaning: Reflections on Faith,…

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