Busted Halo
Features : Religion & Spirituality
December 3rd, 2002
Reflections on Overeating in America

Remember the days before “super size”?
Remember when the smallest size coffee you could order was—you won’t believe this—a “small”?
When was the last time you ate out at a restaurant and felt full only after finishing your meal? Within the lifetime of Busted Halo visitors, it seems American society has actually institutionalized gluttony. Regarded as a sin since the earliest recording of the seven deadly sins 100 years before the birth of Christ, our culture has turned overeating into the norm. Bizarrely, we’ve somehow been able to do this while at the same time depicting the likes of Kate Moss as the pinnacle of beauty.
Cheap food, big portions, larger AmericansFood…

November 28th, 2002
The Agony of Living

Every time I attend a burial, the weather’s not good. Rain, cold, mud; the universe seems to provide a climate in tune with the mood of those gathered around the grave.
The rain returned this week as I stood in the mud and watched my brother-in-law’s aunt laid to rest. She was young, only 67, and entirely undeserving to be dead. Sprightly, bubbly, fun—pick any happy adjective and its meaning wouldn’t fully encompass the passion she had for life. I knew her for only a year but she had known me, through my sister, for a decade. When I finally met her last Christmas she folded me into her family as though we’d never been strangers.
So, this week, it was odd to stand near her grave. I knew her briefly…

November 23rd, 2002
Honoring God's Gift Through the Practice of Yoga

Winter in Ontario and I couldn’t touch my toes. I was plopped on the kitchen floor, legs spread in a ‘V’ and hands stretched towards my feet. My spine was stiff. My muscles ached. I stared at my ankles and thought, ‘This cannot go on.’
It wasn’t that I was out of shape. Rather, it was another Canadian January and the snow and cold had kept me indoors. With the exception of skating, I hadn’t been active and my body was beginning to slow. My limbs were tight. That morning, when I tried to stretch and could not, I knew I needed help. I needed yoga.
Yoga who?
Yoga is an ancient Indian exercise that incorporates controlled stretching postures and deep breathing to tone the body and soothe…

November 20th, 2002
pc muñoz and the amen corner a good deed in a weary world (beevine records)

What is a good deed? What’s the point of trying to be good in a world that’s clearly a mess? And how do you even begin to do that?
These are the themes that pc muñoz and the amen corner tackle in this, their third CD. This San Francisco-based music collective cook up a provocative—if uneven—stew of spoken-word, funk, gospel, and experimental electronics that gets your head bobbin’ to the beat and nodding thoughtfully to the lyrics too.
The CD takes the form of songs interspersed with or introduced by spoken word snippets that seem to be excerpts of man-on-the-street interviews. Average people are asked: what is a good deed? And then a song follows, as if to illuminate the thought just offered.…

November 11th, 2002
A Chilean Community's New Home for Poor Seniors

Pride pulsated through my veins, turning me into a third-grader with Attention Deficit Disorder as I anticipated the inauguration of the Casa Acogida (“Hospitality House”). The house is a project that was four years in the making—an alternative to the substandard rooms (wooden walls and dirt floors) that elderly adults who come to my center often call home. Full of vivid colors and intricate ornaments, the house is a refurbished beauty that ten abuelos will eventually call their own. The only missing aspect of the project is a non-elderly resident in charge of the daily routine of the new community.
The Hogar de Cristo (“Christ’s Home“), the social service agency where I…

November 7th, 2002
Beyond Empty Calories to Real Spiritual Sustenance

Oatmeal is not a favorite food of two-year-olds. Mine wasn’t too thrilled to see it arrive on the breakfast table this morning. He ate grudgingly, intermittent spoonfuls hitting the table and floor. I cajoled it into him, bite by bite, nudging the bowl back every time he pushed it away.
It would have been a lot less hassle just to slap a box of Reese Puffs or a couple of those frosted toaster treats in front of the kid. Or any other of those morning-time goodies that fill our supermarkets, such as breakfast pizza or one of those frosted, sugar-dipped, marshmallow-laden “cereals” always prancing across our TV screens. All fast, easy, and purportedly tasty, at least to kids.
Junky breakfast food…

November 1st, 2002
In Mexican Tradition All Souls Day is Dia de los Muertos

This autumn one group of Americans has chosen their Halloween costumes and bought candy. Another group is painting skulls and looking through scrapbooks for favorite pictures of dead relatives.
All Souls Day is the Catholic holiday commemorated on November 2, following All Saints Day the day before. But in Mexican and Mexican-American culture, Nov. 2 is also known as Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos?a celebration to honor relatives and ancestors who have passed away.
Dia de los Muertos honors the continuous cycle of life and death, says Marisol Torres, an art teacher at Self-Help Graphics in East Los Angeles. People of all ages make papier-mach? skulls, bright yellow tissue flowers, and Mexican decorative…

October 26th, 2002
A Spiritual Break for the Chronically Busy

We each have a breaking point. I reached mine one recent Sunday morning when, just before noon, I realized that I’d been awake for four hours and doing homework for four hours. I was reading about Lectio Divina (spiritual reading)—the practice of reading Scripture and meditating on a passage—and finding myself uninspired. Then came the advice: one should engage in Lectio Divina every day, for half an hour. I considered this momentarily, and then readied my hi-lighter, and wrote, “Ha! Ha! Ha!” in the book’s margin.
Get lostEver felt this way? You’re a student, or parent, or overworked employee, and the endless advice from physical and spiritual gurus drives you to vomit?…

October 18th, 2002
Can John Edward Give Us Peace about the Dead? Do We Need Him to?

Talked to any dead friends or relatives lately?
John Edward says he does it all the time.
You’ve probably heard of Edward, who hosts the syndicated Crossing Over. A self-described “medium,” he stands in a gallery of audience members eager to receive messages from loved ones who have died. Some have been informed of foul play; others are delighted to be assured that their loved ones are aware of a new baby or a new tattoo or old guilt.
There’s no doubt that something is going on with Edward; he seems to know too much about too many people he’s never met. He’s sweet, likable, gracious, and seems to genuinely care about the audience members with whom he communicates. His calm demeanor,…

October 1st, 2002
The Legacies of Two Men Who Died Young

My friend Dave Connors was 25 when he died of complications from heart surgery. For as long as I knew Dave, he was hampered by physical ailments, but I never sensed he was in any serious danger—even when his condition became grave. Dave was one of those even-tempered people who never got too high or too low.
Dave almost died when he was 22. He had a defibrillator (much like the one Vice-President Cheney has) attached to his heart and it gave him a few more good years. That was a wake up call for me. Suddenly my friend, my young friend, could die.
Until his life was threatened by his illness, I had wasted a real opportunity to get to know Dave. It didn’t seem possible that someone my own age could die. Fortunately for me,…

September 28th, 2002
An Old Movie Scopes Out War's Impact on the Soul

What do a vintage Warner Brothers cartoon, a classic war movie, and a caution about how we see ourselves have to do with one another? They are my way of trying to untangle the flag-waving emotions of our day by raising some fundamental questions. Are we going to war with Iraq? The question a Christian needs to ask is: should we?
Arriba, arriba across the lines Let’s look at the vintage cartoon. In the story Speedy Gonzales (the very fast mouse) is recruited by an army commander; his mission is to deliver an important message across enemy lines (the cat). As the brave mouse accepts, we see the numbers on the wall indicating his fallen brothers. Speedy finally delivers the letter, which turns out to be a birthday card,…

September 26th, 2002
Simple Reasons I Chose the Jesuit Volunteers

At the end of the first semester of my senior year at college, during the month of December, 2001, I was visiting with Tom, my Jesuit Scholastic friend who, on occasion, dropped by Gonzaga University where I was attending college. We were at the corner diner on Sharp and Hamilton having milkshakes and catching up on the past year.
Tom introduced the subject of JVC into the conversation. I knew about the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) from former members speaking at Masses, had spent time with the Spokane Jesuit Volunteers, and had been urged by Tom to join JVC on previous visits. My answer was prepared. I had briefly thought about participating in JVC, but dismissed the idea after coming to the conclusion that I had already…

September 22nd, 2002

The leader of our organization (Jesus) always was a savvy marketer, a marketing God, if you will. He knew his audience, he knew how to reach them, and he wasn’t afraid to go up against the competition to gain His fair share of the market (in His case, of course, he relentlessly pursued heart, mind, and soul, as well).
In the days when he roamed the earth in the flesh, he made the most of the media that was available to him: the spoken word. It’s amazing to realize that He got us where we are today by simply starting with his voice. If there were a Word-of-Mouth Hall of Fame, he would certainly have his tunic hanging up in the rafters, as a symbol of his greatness when it came to delivering his message to his audience.…

September 17th, 2002

A priest and a rabbi walk into a bar.
The rabbi buys the first round, but the priest is not stingy either and buys the next. They spend a few hours telling priest and rabbi jokes, and then compare notes on pastoral problems. At closing time, they bid one another good night. The good rabbi heads off to his family, the good father to his rectory. Nobody tried to convert anybody else.
It’s no joke.
On August 12, a joint Catholic-Jewish statement hit the presses, “Reflections on Covenant and Mission ,” which declared to all the world that, in the words of Rabbi Gilbert Rosenthal, “neither faith group believes that we should missionize among the other in order to save souls via conversion. Quite…

September 14th, 2002
9-11

Marion’s off this week. So I’d like to dedicate this week’s column to my college friend, Susan Cullen, and her soul mate, Thomas Cullen.
Tom Cullen was killed in the September 11th disaster. He was a member of an elite rescue squad in New York City.
Tom always wanted to be a firefighter. I think that’s all he ever wanted to be. I remember our freshman year at Fordham University when we met. There was a rash of fires set in our dorm by a mysterious person whom we could never seem to catch. One night the building was evacuated because of one of these fires. I remember standing in the courtyard and the resident assistant read a roll of names to make sure everyone had gotten out. Not everyone was present.…

September 11th, 2002
Reaching Out Since 9/11

We’ve noticed that many people seem to want to form connections since the tragedy of September 11th last year. Even in everyday encounters when we’re running errands, people want to talk more. Folks have more time for each other, rather than the usual self-involved way we used to run around and do the ordinary, mundane chores of life.
The horrific events of September 11th have provided a wake-up call for many people in regard to the attitudes they have toward other people.
September 11th provided us with one lasting question: w hat types of people do we want to spend our valuable time with?
Marion: I’ve found that I can sense when someone has a vengeful streak in them, or has a bad attitude, or is simply…

September 11th, 2002
Taking to the Skies and Trusting in God

“Turbo props are ok. They won’t hijack a turbo prop,” my ex-boyfriend insisted as I squirmed and looked for more reasons not to fly to my upcoming family reunion four states away. “There’s not enough fuel on a turbo prop,” he continued, “they need a lot of fuel.”
I haven’t flown in a year and I can’t believe that deliberating about whether or not my plane is a good one to hijack and fly into things with is what travel has come to. I used to love flying. Especially flying cross country. I’d stare out the window (I always got a window seat) and watch the rolling eastern green hills pass into the rigid squares and rectangles that bespoke the Midwestern…

September 1st, 2002
Lessons from Desolate Places

Empty, desolate and dry. Although these are the words most commonly thought of when describing the desert, they only tell a small portion of the story.
For much of the world the desert is a surreal place, conjuring images of a wasteland. At first glance, California desert locales—the Mojave, Death Valley, Joshua Tree —may seem empty or even void of interest, but upon closer examination they are anything but that. Although I might extol the beauty and grace of the desert, this would only be a distraction from its true purpose. Besides, rating beauty is a question of taste, and I would no more ask you to visit the desert in search of beauty then visit Antarctica in search of cold. Rather, it is emptiness and desolation…

August 10th, 2002
Your Summer Romance Could Be Divine

Men and women of a certain age were simply unable to reach maturity without attending some social event that featured the soundtrack from the movie Grease, particularly that portion in which the phenomenon of the summer romantic fling is celebrated (or, more specifically, as the song goes: “Oh, those su-um-mer nigh-igh-ights…….”). This was John Travolta’s—and, quite possibly, America’s—finest hour.
I’m not precisely sure what it is about summer that makes us more apt to release our phone numbers to the opposite sex; perhaps we’re simply trying to avoid the loser status of the one-seat line at the roller coaster.
What I do know is that you can also…

July 18th, 2002

You feel for Moses. He walks through the desert for forty years leading his Jewish people to the Promised Land, and in the end, he never gets to live there.
Move the scene a few thousand years later. Susan B. Anthony, a Quaker, led the struggle to secure voting rights for U.S. women. For some 37 years�from 1869 to 1906�Anthony appeared before every Congress to ask for passage of a suffrage amendment. In 1872, she and three of her sisters were arrested for voting. Anthony was frequently scorned, arrested, and hung in effigy. She died in 1906 at the age of 86 never having voted legally.
In 1920 Tennessee became the 36th and final state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment, also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.…

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