Busted Halo
Features : Religion & Spirituality
April 28th, 2002
Tangerines and Transformations

Volunteering to teach confirmation classes at my mid-town Los Angeles parish is challenging work. Let’s face it, most teens sign up for the two year, twice-a-month program, because it’s SUPER important to their parents, while hardly registering as something to care about for themselves.
First ingredient: Vitamin J
So my pastor and I started out with a disadvantage only good teen snacks could remedy-Tostitos, Fritos, Cheetos, cookies, hot chocolate, Snapple, sodas, tangerines (requested), spring water (also requested). These are the paths to a young person’s soul.
Okay, maybe more than snacks are involved. It helps that teens are intensely social and eventually figure out who likes…

April 12th, 2002
A College Student's Spiritual Journey from Minnesota to Thailand

Ever since growing up in Frazee, Minnesota, a small town with a population of 1,700 people, and living next to two Lao families, I had a dream of going to the Thailand/Laos. (Similarly, both peoples actually stem from the same group of people called the Tai Yay.) The two Lao families lived next door from when I was six until I was thirteen when they had to move away. During this time,
I was best friends with the children of both families. I spent my days at their houses, ate with them, watched Thai and Lao movies and concerts, joined in on their traditional ceremonies, and they would teach me a Lao word a day. That was the start of my love for the Thai/Lao language and culture. Ever since then, my Thai/Lao roots have kept popping…

April 6th, 2002
Past Pain Becomes Present Strength

He walked into the diner with his blue windbreaker and disheveled gray hair. His clothes were rumpled and his glasses were slightly askew. In short, he was a mess.
He sat in the booth directly behind us. The odor that emanated from him was bleach mixed with body sweat. It was impossible for us to finish our meal with the unappetizing stench.
I took a good look at the man. He looked to be in his seventies, balding, a bit weird. It was at that moment that I realized how much he reminded me of my dad.
The connection

While I know my dad can easily take care of himself, my uneducated Irish immigrant father has a few eccentricities that have embarrassed me over the years. I shudder sometimes when he launches into a story that everyone…

March 28th, 2002
Young People and the Catholic Peace Movement Today

As images of war fill a greater share of the nation’s TV news, many Catholics are tuning in to organizations like Pax Christi USA to uphold the doctrine of nonviolence. A peace movement of over 14,000 members and 140 U.S. Catholic bishops, Pax Christi USA is considered a crucial component of the global peace movement.
So how is Pax Christi USA organizing its efforts in response to current events?
Following is the first of a two-part interview with Johnny Zokovitch, program associate and youth outreach coordinator for the national organization.
Edward Ortiz: How do the rising numbers of young people currently signing up for the military affect your nonviolence outreach programs?
Johnny Zokovitch: While…

January 16th, 2002
An Infinity of Little Hours: The Trial of Faith of Five Young Men in the Western World's Most Austere Monastic Order

What would it be like to see the face of God with your own eyes?
In the year 1084 St. Bruno of Cologne and six companions climbed a mountain in the French Alps with the goal of doing exactly that: achieving union with God in their own lifetime. Despite the intense cold, they built huts for themselves at the very top of the mountain and took up lives of solitude, contemplation and prayer. In doing so, they founded the Carthusian order, the most austere monastic order in the Western world.
Nearly 900 years later, Paddy O’Connell, a young Irishman not yet thirty, pulls the bell rope outside the gatehouse of the imposing Carthusian monastery in Parkminster, England, and asks admittance. Hans Klein, an East German,…

January 10th, 2002
JC's Girls' unusual evangelization to the sex industry

“We got some other girls together and we went out to our first strip club.”
It may sound like the beginnings of a wild bachelorlette party but in fact it is elementary school teacher Tanya Huerter’s recollection of the first step she and two other women from Southern California took toward creating an outreach to the adult entertainment industry.
Huerter along with Lori Albee and Heather Veitch are the founders of JC’s Girls a ministry whose mission is to “seek to share God’s message of hope and forgiveness by reaching out in a nonjudgmental way to those who are in the sex industry.” The trio, who is affiliated with Sandals Church in Riverside, Ca, explodes any stereotype…

January 8th, 2002
I'm only five "Why's" away from an ontological crisis

What’s that?
I’m buckling my son into his car seat the other morning when he points to the tool used to scrape snow off the windshield.
“It’s an ice scraper, sweetheart.”
Why?
“So we can scrape the ice off the windshield.”
Why?
“So we can see when we drive.”
Why?
“So we don’t crash.”
Why?
“Because we don’t want to die.”
Why?

What am I supposed to tell the kid? Because we value our lives? I know what his reply will be: Why? Because they are a gift. Why? Um, because life is sacred. Why?
I like to think I have a good education and am respectably literate on matters of meaning and religion, but my two-year-old son reminds me that…

January 6th, 2002
Making room in the classroom for a civil rights' icon and the practice of civil disobedience

The death of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks on October 24th coupled with the fiftieth anniversary on December 1, of her refusal to relinquish her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus allows us to once again examine the state of our nation’s soul. Parks’ small act in defiance of segregation in 1955 on that bus, and her resulting arrest, helped galvanize a fledgling revolution against bias in the United States. It is also challenges us to consider our own cooperation with injustice.
Of course, Parks’ act of civil disobedience was not without precedent. Civil disobedience has long been a major weapon in humanity’s struggle against injustice and stretches back in the U.S. to 19th century…

January 4th, 2002

Like Erin Tribble, I can often get to feeling like prayer is another item on the to do list rather than a way to just be.
I recently heard that Americans are working about 140 hours more of overtime than they did 20 years ago, and so it’s no wonder prayer time feels crunched.
While the Jews where inspired by God long ago to create the Sabbath — a whole entire day of rest and prayer and relaxation every week — we in the third millennium are challenged to seize what Los Angeles spiritual director and author Wilkie Au calls a “Sabbath Moment.”
Whenever I feel tapped out I take a Sabbath Moment:

At work: A fifteen minute walk around the block to notice the slightly warm winter sun settling on my skin.…

October 1st, 2001
A Spiritual Memo

“You might as well bombard the Rocky Mountains,” an engineer boasted in 1829 of Fort Pulaski , a behemoth of brick and moat strategically entrenched in northern Georgia. Walls seven and a half feet thick. Well over a thousand yards from the nearest site where siege batteries could be placed. It was …unbreachable. Unsinkable.
Thirty years later, on the very first day it saw battle , it lay in rubble.
In the next millennium, the bullets still lay burrowed into the brick. I saw them myself, wondering at the sad fury of the Civil War. This place was so carefully built, so meticulously engineered, that after almost one hundred and fifty years of floating on mud, the foundation remains sound, the bricks completely…

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