Busted Halo
Features : Religion & Spirituality
April 10th, 2003
Do Catholics need a Money Makeover?

Recently, I was talking with a group of socially conscious Catholic friends about money. The question came up, “How does being Catholic influence how we think about money?”
Our answers were revealing.
The bummer of bucks
One mentioned Jesus’ parable about it being easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven. Another noted that the disciples were asked to leave behind all their material possessions on the spot to follow Jesus. A third remembered Jesus overturning the merchants’ tables at the Temple because they were selling things (see box below).
No wonder many of us are operating in our current lives from the point of view that you’re…

April 5th, 2003
Single vs. Married Envy in the Lives of Women Today

Our mothers and bosses spent their careers intent on proving themselves the equals of men. The focus of their comparison on issues of freedom, autonomy, agency, and compensation was across the gender line. The force of shared vision bound thousands upon thousands of them together in a movement of solidarity.
Whither to compare?As a result of their efforts, for us, only one generation their junior, the question of the equality of the sexes is settled. We still have a ways to go with questions like pay equity and ordination. But, largely, we have ceased comparing ourselves to men.
Our mothers have shown that biology is not necessarily destiny. Yet, most of us are by choice, habit, or lack of imagination, thinking…

April 3rd, 2003
The Spiritual Value of Bitching to God

The Bible’s full of angry people. Noah’s mad at his sons, Moses is mad at the Hebrews, and Mrs. Job, after a day of awful luck, tells her husband to “curse God and die.”
Not surprisingly, this anger helped fuel a peculiar type of prayer amongst the people of ancient Israel: the lament. The lament is a formal complaint to God in the hopes that things will get better. Many of the Psalms bristle with rage. It’s not just rage for the sake of rage, though. The point of a lament is to get God’s attention.
Earth to God
One of my professors wants God’s attention. Recently, he recruited several of us theology students to help him organize a whole lament worship service, a bittersweet…

April 1st, 2003
Papal Residence Goes ‘the Way of the Fabulous'

The “Fab Five” have done a complete make-over of the Vatican this past week prompting His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, to say, “It is as it was.” Carson Kressely the golden-locked fashion guru of the Fab 5 followed up with, “I guess that means that if one gay guy could make a masterpiece out of the Sistine Chapel then five gay guys can do a whiz bang job on the rest of the place.”
The Vatican—in colorKressley had petitioned the pope to “add a bit more color to his papal wardrobe, white is so 1984.” He’s brought out a new Papal Purple Cape, soon to be on sale at Target for the general public. “You too can be infallibly dressed,” says Kressley.
Thom…

March 28th, 2003
Channeling Your Tantrum Matters

“I don’t want to talk about anger right now,” one of Saddam Hussein’s advisors is reported to have said as he fled a Baghdad government building.
Whole world’s angry these days, isn’t it? I suppose I could use the war as an excuse for going 45 through the McDonald’s parking lot, but we’re all adults here, and I think we can understand that it’s not my fault I’m late just because Dr. Phil ran overtime.
Powerless lately? When we are powerless, we seethe. I’ve been generating far more than my fair share of stomach acid as of late because I’ve been spending many hours a week in a toxic work environment; there was gossip and there was incompetency…

March 21st, 2003
The Human Story of Oscar Romero: Memories in Mosaic

In Oscar Romero: Memories in Mosaic, editor Mar?a L?pez Vigil paints a collective portrait of the beloved prophet, pastor, consoler, and martyr of El Salvador.
Some 200 ordinary campesinos, priests, laity and even some wealthy people tell their personal stories and recollections of Msgr. Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador in the late 1970s. Most of the vignettes are less than a page long. Many tell fascinating and riveting stories of people’s work with the archbishop and show how El Salvador’s economic and political crisis was marching its people towards civil war.
The 423 page book published by EPICA is skillfully translated from Spanish into English by Kathy Ogle.
The scoop on his conversion…

March 21st, 2003
A Gulf War Veteran's Notes on Faith and War

There was nothing glamorous about watching missiles explode or about seeing an F-14 Tomcat smash into my ship’s stern on its final approach.
The Kitty HawkThe
United States Navy aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk exceeds 1,000 feet in length and displaces 186,000 tons. She is a floating city that contains 5,000 men, each trying to escape the monotonous schedule a ship maintains to ensure peace or fight war. A faith dimension in your life is necessary to forget about a daily regimen that is emotionally and spiritually demanding.
This present war has caused me to remember my time in the Persian Gulf onboard Kitty Hawk, a ship that’s capable of launching four bomb-laden aircraft simultaneously from steam-operated…

March 17th, 2003
"The devil envies those who are tending towards a better life." St. Ambrose

I belong to Toastmasters, a public speaking organization
that focuses on the art of speaking, thinking, and listening. I’ve been with my club for several years, and my big goal is to someday, some way, deliver a great speech. Not just a good speech, but a great speech. A JFK speech. An MLK speech. Just one. I’d be happy with one. I’m like the guy from that Twilight Zone episode where he’s a salesman who wants to deliver one last pitch before he dies, a “pitch to the angels.”
Me, I’d like to give a speech for the angels.
And I want to badly.
Luckily for me, I have a couple guys in my club who serve as fitting models whom I strive to emulate. Now don’t be fooled. When I say “emulate,”…

March 15th, 2003

The events of Good Friday are violent, to put it mildly. The crucifixion of Jesus and all the events leading up to it are disturbingly violent, ugly, noisy, and bloody. John’s Gospel account of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion (traditionally read at services) is filled with images of the screaming crowds, the betrayal of friends, the tearing of garments, and a controversial, heated trial. The whole day encompasses one disturbing event after another with enough violence to fill an Arnold Schwarzenegger film.
Silence amid violence
I always find it so interesting that people often commemorate the events of this disturbing, chaotic, violent day with silence. Houses of worship are never so…

March 10th, 2003
Scripture Reflections for Sundays in Lent

Readings:
Exodus 20:1-17
1 Corinthians 1:22-25
John 2:13-25
A chaotic scene
Jesus must have looked like a crazy man on his angry rampage through the Temple, a place crammed with people due to the upcoming Passover.
And he most likely created chaos. Just picture the stampeding cattle, sheep, and merchants trying to get the hell away from this angry man, with broken tables and lots of loose change underfoot. Jesus made a mess in a sacred space. He created a scene.
But it was worth it to him. There were people and merchandise in the Temple that needed to be thrown out. Buying and selling had no place in a house of worship, Jesus thought. So he stormed the temple, crashed into the merchants and customers, and said basically,…

March 7th, 2003
Sometimes Anger Is the Daugher of Hope

Mad as hell…but without hope
There’s a famous scene from the movie Network where newsman Howard Beale who is fed up with the manipulation, lying, and general state of things decides to go on live television and declare to the world, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” He encourages others to join him but gets nowhere. Becoming despondent over his powerlessness, he ends up killing himself on national television, giving his network great ratings in the process. He began by being angry at all that was wrong but he ended by giving up and adding to the wrong. His anger lacked hope, the kind of hope born of faith.
Anger and Augustine
Saint Augustine , back in the 4th century…

March 6th, 2003
The Spiritual Search of a Student Activist

Early bloomer
My roots in activism grew quickly. I became aware of many world problems through the help of some Southeast Asian friends during my sophomore year of high school. At that time, Indonesia was fighting for the right to have free elections; people were dying for the right to freely mark a piece of paper.
I knew something was wrong there and in other similar situations around the world, but was unable to put my finger on what that something was. As I discovered more, I desperately clung to whatever political ideology was at hand, trying to uncover that something.
Through the rest of high school, I protested injustice, published ‘zines, engaged in debate with my friends; knowing dozens of sociological…

March 6th, 2003

Luke has appointed himself as my evening ride lookout. In the mornings, I ride the bus to work at the Campus for Human Development, but Curt, one of my six roommates, works three blocks away and picks me up those evenings he doesn’t teach life skills in the prisons.
As participants crowd around our exit doors waiting to draw tickets for a spot in our Room in the Inn shelter program, sometimes it is difficult to see the parking lot from inside. Of course, I could just wait outside. However, by the end of the day, it’s hard for me to listen to the never-ending litany of questions and statements from the homeless participants. Have you heard the phrase, “A face only a mother could love?” By this time…

March 3rd, 2003
The Spirituality of Homelessness Means Giving Up Control

There is a God on the streets. And a faith more genuine than the one we perceive the crazy street evangelists to be talking about.
The spirituality of the homelessThe spirituality of the homeless isn’t necessarily different from anyone else’s. It can’t be put into a neat summary.
It is different from mine—that’s what I notice. It’s different mostly because…

it’s developed and supported despite experiences and circumstances that have landed people on the streets,
its a spirituality stripped down and genuine because the streets take material possessions away,
and, often times, it’s a spirituality of recovery as many are recovering addicts, and they’ve…

March 3rd, 2003
A Baptist pastor shares his perspective on the re-election from Brazil

To the Editors of BustedHalo:
Like most people around the world, I saw the re-election of George W. Bush to the presidency of the United States as very sad news. It represents the continuation of an administration that does not have any respect for the international community, not to mention any voice of dissent among its own people.
I came to the U.S. as a student in 1998, during the Clinton years, and really liked the environment that I found in your country at the time. The economy was doing well, people took human and civil rights more seriously, and they had the right to dissent. In other words, American democracy had the moral authority to inspire other countries around the globe, and even to challenge them, when…

February 28th, 2003
A House Painter and the Importance of Passionate Living

Could it be that “lust” is one of the good seven deadly sins? Possibly the only one that is?
I love the word lust because the word brims with life. Now, when I talk about lust I’m not talking about sexual craving of another’s body, I’m taking about passion . Not that carnal craving is at all that bad. It’s that craving, after all, that brought each one of us into this world. But I opt for the
definition of lust:…”a passionate or overmastering desire or craving.”
Pair lust with the word life and you get? Lust for life. That phrase carries a cache in today’s pop culture. Car companies and cruise ship lines agree, as evidenced by their use of Iggy Pop’s…

February 26th, 2003
Scripture Reflections for Sundays in Lent

Readings:
Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Rm 8:31b-34
Mk 9:2-10
Are you willing to risk everything for love?
This may sound… like the refrain of a Celine Dion song, but instead it is the question that confronts us in the readings from this Sunday of Lent .
First it eats at us in the bizarre tale of God asking the biblical hero Abraham to sacrifice his son and heir Isaac. Of course, God stops him at the last minute, but you have to wonder what’s up with this story. Some scholars see in it an ancient parable against child sacrifice (message: we think this is what God wants, but it isn’t really). Others say it’s symbolic of an initiation ritual�boys being made into men, undergoing an ordeal, close to pain and

February 12th, 2003
The Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary

The little round vial holds about an ounce of water. There’s a silver cross that sits on top of it. And in big block letters just one word: Jordan.
Those who see it might think its just a souvenir of Michael Jordan’s sweat collected between his many retirements.
But it’s my one souvenir from visiting the Jordan River. And it’s a reminder of that particular pilgrimage site in Israel that I visited a couple years ago.
Picture thisLike lots of places a pilgrim visits in the Holy Land, the exact location of Jesus’ baptism is debated. Some scholars say it’s here; others say it’s over there. But since this is where the huge souvenir store is, and it’s even handicap accessible,…

February 7th, 2003

I read the reading from Genesis three times before I picked up on the rainbow. “I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” The bow I kept seeing was the kind one uses in conjunction with an arrow, not a rainbow of light. But once I did see it that way, the power of God’s repentance, revelation, and healing just blew me away.
Imagine it, God just annihilated almost all of his creation, the one made in his own image. Picture Noah, with family and animals, first coming out of the Ark when the seas had subsided and the land dry. I see Noah, tired, hungry, his jaw dropped open and a hand rubbing his head in shock at what he sees, or fails to see around him. His whole world has…

February 7th, 2003
An Ash Smudge and the Cross of Christ

We are a smooth-skinned people.
Between walnut-shell exfoliants, multivitamins, microdermabrasion and “Botox parties,” well off Americans aim to erase death line by wrinkled line. We want to look like the ageless demigods of Oscar parties, our skin as seamless as an airbrushed photo in Self. It is jarring, then, to see people—polished and otherwise—branded with an unseemly cross of ashes; their baby skin made morbid.
Last Ash Wednesday in New York I walked down Broadway after a noontime Mass, surprised to see the hot dog vendor and the svelte blonde in black gabardine and the punk salesman at Tower Records all smudged and branded like myself.
As a public school girl I was embarrassed by this…

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