Busted Halo

Practical tools for your personal spiritual life from Phil Fox Rose.

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August 16th, 2012

I’m honored and excited to tell my longtime column readers here that I’ve been invited to start a blog on Patheos. This column isn’t going anywhere, but I want to share what’s happening in the blog.
Over three years ago I started writing this column about personal spirituality, with an emphasis on useful tools and tips. In the new blog I’ll continue that theme, but it will be much broader and with near daily posts. The name of the blog is “On the Way” and the Way has many meanings. Each touches on part of what I’ll be covering:
The path
Many spiritual traditions speak of a way or path or road — staying on it, straying from it, turning back in the right direction.…

August 14th, 2012
An abandoned, graffiti-covered lot transformed into a community garden where vegetables -- and faith -- grow

Lucy weeds and waters her two community garden plots every morning after walking her son Lester to school across the street. In the summer, when school is out, Lucy brings Lester to the garden. They grow green tomatillos, jalapeños, green peppers, and plum and cherry tomatoes. In the fall comes lettuce, cabbage and cilantro.
“I let go of everything when I am in the garden,” Lucy says. “I see how wonderful God’s creation is in the colors, fruits, flowers, butterflies and birds. If my son isn’t interrupting, it’s a moment alone in silence where I can say my prayers right in the middle of the plants. I think about my family, my problems. Everything that’s happened is erased.…

August 7th, 2012

Penn State was a place so honored and revered that it became known as Happy Valley. The entire university built up an image of unfaltering prestige and loyalty. “Success with honor” was the football program’s slogan. That image has been destroyed.

August 6th, 2012

Religion has been a part of the Olympic games since, well, always. The first Olympic games trace back to 776 B.C. when events tied to festivals celebrating Zeus, the most important Olympic god and father of humanity.

July 25th, 2012

Alex’s Pick: “You’re Turning Into John Wayne” by Twin Atlantic
Twin Atlantic is an alternative rock quartet hailing from mighty Scotland. At first listen the song seems like an attack on American culture, when in fact the group is preaching a much different message. The band speaks about staying true to where you came from and not imitating something else — “Now here’s a great Scottish theory / Have you lost your latitude and longitude?”… This message is reflected in the music video as well. The band had just been signed to a major label and was being sent to America to tour for a year. In the video, they are trapped inside of a display window — an act for everyone

July 24th, 2012

An old saying goes, in order to experience Easter you must go through Good Friday first. According to The Dark Knight Rises, the third installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman… trilogy, even superheroes aren’t immune to this tenet. The film provides a thorough examination of the themes of sacrifice and resurrection, two of the fundamental principles of the Christian life.
As followers of Jesus, we are continually invited to participate in his sacrifice on Golgotha in multiple ways, while regularly encountering the joy and glory of the resurrection in our daily lives. These two principles — irrevocably linked to one another through the events of those three days in Jerusalem long ago —

July 23rd, 2012
A Q/A about the right point in a relationship to discuss marriage

Dear Michele,
When is it the right point of a relationship to start talking about marriage?
Signed,
When to Discuss Marriage

Dear When to Discuss Marriage,
Simply explaining you are interested in getting married to someone, some day, is a normal part of getting to know someone and can occur as early as the first few dates. My husband told me the first week we were dating he was ready to move forward with the “second part of his life,” letting me know that playing the field was something he wanted to put in his past. But a discussion about marriage between two people who are dating exclusively is a different story. A serious conversation about marriage can create a significant shift in your relationship,…

July 20th, 2012

As an obsessed fan of professional sports, I’ve noticed an alarming trend over the past few months. There seems to be a new instance of professional athletes not being… well, professional, almost every week.
In the NFL, the New Orleans Saints have suffered the consequences of secretly running a “bounty program” for the last few years. This means that players and coaches would pay players for knocking members of the opposing team out of the game. For example, when the Saints were preparing for a playoff game this past season, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said, “We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill [San Francisco running back] Frank Gore’s…

July 19th, 2012

Very few things are actually important to know in real time. Some things are fun… to know in real time, like watching live sports or reality show results episodes, but it is rare that our knowing something sooner makes a difference. There’s a very long but fascinating post on SCOTUSblog about CNN’s fumbling of reporting on the Supreme Court decision concerning the Affordable Care Act. In it, SCOTUSblog publisher Tom Goldstein says CNN (and for a shorter time, Fox) got the result exactly wrong, stating definitively that the mandate and bill were dead, because of three things. Two — lack emergency procedures and not trusting reliable sources — involve process, but the third is interesting:

July 16th, 2012

Oftentimes, when I wear one of my sorority sweatshirts or T-shirts, friends say, “You were in a sorority? I didn’t know that,” with a look of surprise. “Why are you surprised?” I ask. They reply, “You just don’t seem like that type.”
Fight it though we try, it’s hard to escape life without having stereotypes or preconceived notions about the groups we belong to. I am certainly not exempt, myself. Living in a large metropolis like Chicago, it’s easy to see someone on the train, learn where someone lives — or even what baseball team they cheer for — and not register some sort of thought. Everyone is, consciously or otherwise, asserting some piece of his or her identity, which is being…

July 11th, 2012

I hate moving. I have moved seven times since I graduated from college. This August, we are moving again. I am vexed. Terribly vexed.
I know that moving can be an adventure. I know that a change often does me good. But, to be perfectly honest, I am anxious. I didn’t realize just how anxious I was until a few weeks ago when our 4-year-old son (the oldest and the self-appointed spokesman/chieftain of the tribe of little ones that inhabit our house) stomped down the stairs into the living room with his arms folded across his chest and proclaimed with unadulterated sass that he is NOT moving to Ohio. This was followed by an emphatic “Hmmph!” as he threw his head to the side in an Oscar-worthy demonstration of defiant indignation.…

July 5th, 2012

A June 30 NY Times Opinionator blog post by Tim Kreider called “The Busy Trap” created a lot of buzz among my friends, shared on Facebook with comments like, “If you read only one thing, ever, read this.” (Sorry, Emily.) A thread of professional jealousy made me want to respond to each friend’s enthusiastic share with the snarky comment, “I refer you to my 2009 column ‘How Sweet To Do Nothing,’” but I resisted. And I wanted to find fault with the post, but I could not. Its main themes are ones I touch on regularly, and it addresses them well…

June 27th, 2012

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”…

June 22nd, 2012
Discerning not to take a job and trusting God with the future

I don’t know too many people who get really excited about job hunting. As a new graduate, I certainly do not look forward to curling up with my laptop on a Friday night to rework my résumé.
I’m in my mid-20s. I have two degrees, and I’m nearing the end of a one-year internship. When my internship ends, I will join countless new graduates searching for their perfect career while trying to be realistic about paying bills.
Recently I was offered an awesome “grown up” job and surprised myself by turning it down even though I have no idea where I’m going to live or work in six weeks. And that’s totally fine with me.
Big decision
A while back, I heard that a great nonprofit organization was hiring. The position…

June 21st, 2012

The pope has made several comments concerning vacations, which were highlighted in a piece on the Vatican Radio website. Whether he’s your spiritual leader or not, he touches on some powerful ideas, so let’s take a look.

Pope Benedict offers two basic goals for our vacation besides relaxation:

  • spending time with others
  • spending time with God

It’s one thing to spend an hour or two with a person, or to be with family or a partner all the time in the daily routines of life, but there’s something special (and sometimes challenging) about travelling together. Quality time is a great thing, but the hours of non-quality time during a vacation — in cars, waiting at airports, between events — create a different kind of intimacy.

And as far as what vacation to choose, are you challenged by the pope’s suggestion to spend time with others? Is there a visit to family that you could do instead of that beach vacation which will yield greater fruit in the long run? Maybe not. And not every vacation should be about visiting family. Getaways are valuable too. But it’s worth asking yourself.

It’s obvious how to spend time with other people — bring them along or go to them — but how do we spend time with God while on vacation? The pope offers three ideas, and we’ll explore each one a little…

June 19th, 2012

I’m a guy who needs breaks.
Take this article, for instance. Before typing this sentence, I checked Facebook, Twitter, Google News, and strolled by Time magazine’s website, which I haven’t done in ages. Then, on a whim, I decided to try and make iced coffee out of regular drip coffee, which, after tasting it, made me really appreciate places that do that professionally. Then I thought about making a Pinterest account, decided against it, and paid some bills instead — which of course required my downloading a bill-organizer iPhone app. Which required reading up on the best bill-organizer iPhone apps.
Actually, that sounds more like procrastination than break-taking.
But that’s how I operate.…

June 12th, 2012
A story of conversion and lessons learned from living in a suffering community

This year I am a full-time volunteer. I work at a soup kitchen in Scranton, Pennsylvania, as part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC), a program that allows recent college graduates to live together in spiritual communities and explore the broken spaces of our society. A woman was sitting outside the soup kitchen once. I knew her; she was a regular client, a drug addict, and chronically homeless. She was also educated, with a searching vocabulary, and — a mark of a certain kind of intelligence — a capacity for sarcasm. This time her eye was cut and bleeding, and she had a bruise over her cheekbone. I said, “Should I call somebody, or can I get you something?”
She looked at me and threw out her arm theatrically,…

June 8th, 2012

Religion and faith have always played an important role in my life, shaping my views of the world and informing my career path in human rights and peacemaking. Attending religious education as a child and young adult exposed me to the views and teachings of the Church. There, I learned the importance of loving your neighbor as yourself and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. The emphasis on loving all of God’s creatures and respecting humanity significantly shaped my view of the world. Little did I know, the solid foundation of peace and justice in Catholic social teaching would contribute so much to my future career and passion for human rights and peacemaking.
As a child, I wanted to be a writer…

June 7th, 2012
Nourishing your soul with regular creative outings

In my column about nonnegotiables, I talked about Julia Cameron’s concept from The Artist’s Way… of the “artist date” — where you make a playdate with yourself to do something creatively enriching. While she was suggesting it specifically for people in creative professions, this is a powerful spiritual tool for everyone. I want you to consider making a weekly date with yourself to do something creatively stimulating — two hours a week for a museum, show, or hike in nature, a stroll in a new neighborhood, a subscription to a local concert series.
It can be so easy to go from home to work to gym to home, dividing time between job and chores and other people, looking after the maintenance

June 5th, 2012

I have a few images of God. I’ve imagined God as a parent or a friend. I’ve thought of God the Artist when I see the beauty around me or a sky painted with the setting sun. I’ve also considered Jesus the Traveller when I’m on the road or the rails, imagining Jesus by my side as I travel from place to place. It’s kind of nice to think of him keeping me company as I explore new places and encounter new situations. Not a bad travel companion, I say.
But my favorite image of God is Jesus the Bartender. Have you forgotten the wedding at Cana? Jesus made the drinks! It was his first miracle.
Mary: They’re just about out of wine.
Jesus: Is that any of our business, Mother — yours or mine? This…

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