Busted Halo
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September 4th, 2006
The spiritual lessons of pregnancy

For the last eight months, I’ve had a new boss running my life. Because we don’t know the gender, my husband and I refer to this boss as Bud. Aside from a few ultrasound photos, I’ve never actually seen Bud; that won’t happen for another month or so. In fact, other than the kicks and rumbles in my uterus, I know almost nothing about him or her, which is ironic considering that this little five-pounder is destined to go down in history as the most demanding boss I’ve ever had.
Before Bud, I always knew that pregnancy would be an intensely physical experience, but I had no idea how physical. I didn’t know that I’d be chronically congested, or that I’d have acid reflux so…

July 24th, 2006
Syd Barrett and the Saints

Syd Barrett, co-founder of the legendary rock band Pink Floyd, recently passed away at the age of 60. Barrett was a troubled soul, an amalgamation of genius and lunacy who, in the 60′s, ingested LSD like Pez candy and wrote narcotic-inspired songs that influenced thousands of musicians. Barrett’s tenure in Pink Floyd was short—he lasted only one album after which his band mates dismissed him for his crazy, erratic behavior, and replaced him with guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour. Syd spent the past 3 decades living in anonymity in England, avoiding the press and staying far away from the music business.
Despite, or perhaps due to his quasi-monastic seclusion, many rock bands continued…

July 12th, 2006
The God Factor author Cathleen Falsani talks about her spiritual conversations with celebrities ranging from Bono to Elie Wiesel

If the general rule in polite company is always to refrain from discussing politics and religion, Chicago Sun Times writer Cathleen Falsani has spent a good deal of her career blatantly violating at least half of that maxim. The company she keeps doesn’t seem to mind though. The 35-year-old has interviewed dozens of celebrities—from rock stars and authors to athletes and politicians—about their spiritual beliefs and come away with some very surprising answers.
“Inside the spiritual lives of public people” trumpets the subheading to her book The God Factor. Indeed the “God Girl,” as she’s been dubbed, convinced an eclectic group of public figures to…

June 2nd, 2006
Busted Halo discusses faith's place in art and the public market with one of America's most adventurous singer-songwriters.

In the world of popular music there is perhaps no genre that is more suspicious of Christian faith than indie rock. Having grown out the late 70s punk movement that rejected most traditional ideologies in favor of unfettered personal expression, the independent music scene remains (at least philosophically) defined by its skepticism for mainstream culture and its outsider status in the world of corporate music conglomerates.
Quite possibly the first self-identified Christian to make significant inroads to the usually hostile scene, Sufjan Stevens has earned listeners through his meticulously crafted compositions and pointedly descriptive narratives. The ornately arranged, quasi orchestral folk-pop…

April 17th, 2006
An interview with the author of The Collar: A Year of Striving and Faith Inside a Catholic Seminary

The Collar chronicles the journey of five men who have left their careers and former lives behind to begin formation for the Roman Catholic priesthood. In his realistic, human, and at times, gripping account of seminary life, Jonathan Englert gives a fly-on-the-wall perspective on the faith journeys of these five individuals, including a recently widowed father of four, a blind violinist, and an avid hunter from Wyoming.
Due to the shrinking population of ordained priests, a growing number of Catholics, and the aftermath of the clergy sexual abuse scandals, seminary life is a topic that promises to continue to fascinate Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
With a master’s degree in journalism from…

April 9th, 2006
BustedHalo talks with the real-life nun behind Dead Man Walking about her newest book The Death of Innocents

“We never know when grace is going to hit us” says Sister Helen Prejean at the start of our interview. The sixty-seven-year old author and activist knows what she is talking about. The woman who was propelled to the forefront in the fight against the death penalty with her best-selling book, Dead Man Walking, and the 1995 movie of the same name, never really set out to be a voice for the oppressed. She admits that the extent of her exposure to, the poor for much of her early life was confined to her mother’s urging of her to include “poor people who have no place to sleep tonight” in her bedtime prayers. Her early years in the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille were spent in the classroom, teaching…

April 7th, 2006
An interview with CIA veteran Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern served God and country for 27 years as a member of the CIA by keeping his work secret. Today, along with a group of other Intelligence veterans, he tells the truth about the corruption of US Intelligence gathering to anyone who will listen.
When he graduated Fordham University during the height of the Cold War, he decided to put his degree in Russian studies to use with the CIA in the fight against the “godless Communism” of the USSR. His work called him to Moscow, Germany and back to the United States. Along the way he also studied at Harvard Business School and Georgetown University. In his later years of service, he was one of two men in charge of then Vice President George H.W. Bush’s…

March 31st, 2006
An interview with the author of My Life with the Saints

Rev. James Martin–Jesuit priest and associate editor of America magazine–has written and edited numerous books on the spiritual life, including the memoir In Good Company: The Fast Track from the Corporate World to Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, chronicling his journey from the corporate subculture of General Electric to the Jesuit priesthood, and Awake My Soul: Contemporary Catholics on Traditional Devotions. News outlets like CNN and National Public Radio frequently seek Martin’s commentary on Catholic issues, and he is a popular and sought-after speaker. BustedHalo recently talked to Fr. Martin about his new book My Life with the Saints which was released at the beginning of March…

March 14th, 2006
A Catholic conversation about faith, fiction and friendship

Jim Shepard and Ron Hansen are two of America’s most esteemed contemporary fiction writers. They are also fast friends and Catholics (in very different ways, as our interview reveals).
Shepard and Hansen met in 1980 when they were both teachers at the University of Michigan. Hansen had recently published his first novel, Desperadoes, and Shepard was working on his first, Flights. Since their earliest encounters, slinging a football around the parks of Ann Arbor, they’ve spent countless hours talking books over whiskey, helping to edit and refine each other’s work, and acting as generous cheerleaders for contemporary writers whom they believe in.

Shepard is the author of: Flights, Paper…

March 2nd, 2006
The author of Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right talks about America's spiritual crisis

FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover once called Michael Lerner the most dangerous man in America because of his anti-Vietnam war activities. A sixties radical and member of the Seattle Seven (radical anti-war protestors who were charged with “conspiracy to incite a riot” in 1970), Lerner went on to practice psychotherapy, edit a magazine and—perhaps most surprising of all—become a rabbi. He brings these multiple perspectives to bear in his new book on religion and politics, The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right.
The Left Hand of God begins with a lament for the spiritual crisis Rabbi Lerner sees in contemporary America. “We live in a world in which a technocratic…

January 16th, 2006
BustedHalo's conversation with the co-founder of Killing the Buddha and author of the memoir Vows: The Story of a Priest, a Nun, and their Son

By the time he was in his late twenties, Peter Manseau had already received a bachelors degree in religion, spent time in a Trappist monastery considering a vocation to be a monk, worked at the National Yiddish Book Center and started the popular website Killing the Buddha which bills itself as “a religion magazine for people made anxious by churches.” If it seems like Manseau has a terminal case of God on the brain it is understandable, it is after all the family business. He is the youngest of three children born to Rev. Bill Manseau a former priest of the Archdiocese of Boston who refused to renounce his priestly vows when he married a former nun, Mary Doherty, in the late 1960s.
In his moving memoir, Vows:…

January 4th, 2006
The controversial Catholic author talks about his new book on one of the Church's oldest prayers

As a cultural historian and author, Garry Wills has spent more than three decades researching and writing on historical figures like Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan (his Lincoln at Gettsyburg won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for nonfiction) but it is as a writer on religion that Wills has been making his mark of late. With books like Papal Sin (2000), St. Augustine’s Memory (2002) and Why I Am A Catholic (2002) Wills has been both an outspoken advocate for and critic of the Catholic church.
His latest book, The Rosary, is both a history of one of Catholicism’s oldest practices as well as a prayer guide. Wills debunks myths surrounding the origins of the rosary and brings to light many…

December 1st, 2005
BustedHalo discusses "America's Moral Crisis" with the former President

It seemed to be a simple enough question requiring an even simpler answer. While running for President in 1976, Jimmy Carter responded to a political supporter who—in front of some reporters—asked if he was a born again Christian. “I truthfully answered ‘Yes,’ assuming all devout Christians were born again, of the Holy Spirit” Carter writes in his new book, Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis. “This was the first time that this religious characterization had been injected into the political arena, and there was an immediate furor, with media allegations that I claimed to be receiving messages directly from heaven…making clear to…

November 21st, 2005
BustedHalo interviews the bestselling author about her return to Catholicism and the direction her writing is taking with the publication of her new book Christ the Lord

Photos by Andrea Milo
Witches and vampires have been very good to Anne Rice. Since Interview with the Vampire was published in 1976, the New Orleans native has sold more than 100 million books worldwide and inspired legions of devoted fans with her dark, erotically charged tales. She’s become a fixture on the bestseller list and several of her twenty seven novels have been made into feature films or miniseries–a television series is also in the works for her books on the Mayfair Witches as well.
So why after decades of success has the Queen of the Undead decided to focus all of her writing on the King of Kings? That’s right, following her return to the Catholic Church in 1998–after a nearly…

September 23rd, 2005
A Constitutional Law professor discusses the nomination and confirmation hearings of

CNS Photo
Considering their limited number (nine), their lifetime appointments and the far-reaching effects of their decisions, the nomination and confirmation of a Supreme Court justice is an infrequent and important event. Of course, like many things in Washington, the process can also be extraordinarily confusing.
In this BustedHalo interview, Father Greg Kalscheur SJ, a Jesuit priest and assistant professor at Boston College Law School helps give our readers some perspective on John Roberts’ nomination and confirmation hearings. Father Kalscheur’s primary teaching and research interests include law and religion, constitutional law, civil procedure, Catholic social thought…

July 22nd, 2005
Remembering Star Trek’s James “Scotty” Doohan

Before I begin I need to get something out of the way. “Hello, my
name is Dave and I’m a recovering Trekkie.” Phew! It feels so good to get that off my chest. But I still need to come clean with you, though I’ve been in recovery for quite some time I must admit that I had a “slip” when I learned of the death on July 20th of James “Scotty” Doohan, star of the original “Star Trek” series.
While many people focus on Kirk and Spock, the show’s two primary characters, Scotty was always one of my favorite Trek characters. The Starship Enterprise would have been nothing without Scottish Chief Engineer Mr. Scott, who saved the Enterprise and its crew from demise on many occasions. The pop culture lexicon…

July 8th, 2005
The well-known social activist and author of God's Politics talks with Busted Halo

In the months leading up to the 2004 presidential election, the issue of faith—particularly how George W. Bush’s Christian beliefs influence his decisions and policies—became pivotal. While many cited “moral issues” as being important with regard to who they voted for, others felt as though President Bush, the Republican Party and even some religious leaders had hijacked a narrow religious agenda based on abortion and homosexuality and positioned the president as the only choice for voters concerned about morality.
Jim Wallis was a voice of reason and balance in that divisive debate, publicly encouraging the President, as well as Republicans, Democrats and voters in general…

May 1st, 2005
CNN's Vatican analyst and National Catholic Reporter correspondent sits down with BustedHalo to talk about the death of John Paul II, the election of Pope Benedict and where the Catholic Church is headed

If you happened to be anywhere near a television set during the extensive media coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict, chances are you are familiar with John Allen Jr. Allen, who serves as a Vatican analyst for CNN and NPR in additon to his role as correspondent for National Catholic Reporter seemed omnipresent during those weeks as he
helped interpret the breaking news at the Vatican for American viewers. Just seven weeks after the installation of Pope Benedict, his new book The Rise of Benedict XVI: The inside story of how the pope was elected and where he will take the Catholic Church,… has hit the shelves. On the eve of its June 7th release, Allen, 40, stopped by BustedHalo’s

March 19th, 2005
Author of The Rosary: A Path into Prayer

Jazz singer, author, triathlete Liz Kelly has packed an awful lot of living into 37 short years. The Minnesota native has traveled and lived all around the globe but now calls Boston home. Over the course of BustedHalo’s interview with Kelly she spoke very candidly on topics ranging from her upbringing and current position at Harvard University to her spiritual journey back to her faith–including her harrowing experience as a rape victim in her mid 20s.
BustedHalo: From what I understand your family plays an important part in your life. Do you come from a big family? …
Liz Kelly (shown with her father, left): Yes, I have six brother and sisters–five girls and two boys–and I am sixth of seven,

March 2nd, 2005
A Journey of Faith From MTV to the Priesthood

Before he reached 30, Dave Dwyer had already achieved some pretty significant career goals in the field of television. The Syracuse University graduate had started out filing video tapes at MTV and quickly became involved in on-air production. By the time he was 25 he was directing a talk show for the newly launched Comedy Central cable channel. Though he was well on his way to bigger and better things in television, Dwyer’s life took a rather sudden turn when he felt a strong call to the priesthood while attending the World Youth Day rally in 1993. Soon after, he left the entertainment industry and entered the Paulists. Bill McGarvey and Mike Hayes sat down with Father Dave to talk about everything from Adam…

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