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February 18th, 2010
A look at Washington, D.C.'s 'Snowpocalypse' through the eyes of the homeless

Roland's encampment under the bridge

It’s a winter wonderland that nobody asked for and a biting cold that pierces layers of clothes. Cars line the streets submerged in snow. Stacks of the white stuff reach nearly 5 feet high in certain areas, towering over the recently plowed pavement. The nation’s capitol was pummeled last week by nearly 3 feet of snow in five days, the largest snowfall in the city’s history. Digging out will take time. But time is a luxury that people like George Jones can’t afford. He has worked literally nonstop to keep the doors to the Catholic Charities emergency shelters open. They have never closed on his watch. It’s times like these he’s needed most. But despite his best efforts, there are still those who remain outside, sleeping, surviving, in the frigid night air.

According to a 2009 census conducted by The Community Partnership to Prevent Homelessness, there are about 6,200 homeless individuals in Washington DC, almost 1,500 of them children. These people are in emergency shelters, long term shelters, transitional housing or on the street. With only 2,000 shelter beds available (including those at emergency shelters) and an additional 300 units for families, it seems no surprise many shelters have been operating at or above capacity for the duration of the snowstorm and its aftermath.

February 16th, 2010
A closer look at the benefits of meditation for Christians

In a famous exchange, Dan Rather asked Mother Teresa of Calcutta what she says in prayer and she replied, “I don’t say anything. I listen.” Rather asked, “Well, then when you pray, what does God say?” She said, “He doesn’t say anything either. He listens.”
I often describe meditation in this way: Imagine you and a loved one on the couch, each sitting quietly, not talking, just being in each other’s presence. Not thinking, simply loving. You don’t need to talk.
Meditation in the Christian tradition is sitting in the presence of God — not expecting answers, just being. And like sitting with a loved one, this simple act is heartening and strengthening.…

February 12th, 2010
"We had to start all over."

In this episode, Rishi discusses his family’s move back to Trinidad.
In episode one, Rishi talked about his family’s move to Canada from Trinidad.…

February 9th, 2010
O'Keefe arrest shows dangers of conservatives' love affair with Rules for Radicals

Conservatives have long criticized the lingering effects of the 1960s, and not without reason. The legacy of the “Love Generation” — or, as renamed by some disaffected ex-members, the “Destructive Generation” — is decidedly ambiguous. Not unlike Woodstock itself — “three days of peace and music” which turned Yasgur’s farm into a 600-acre latrine — the era’s idealistic youth, having rocked the world with some positive transformations (particularly in civil rights), left a cultural morass for future generations to clean up. Among the era’s gifts to posterity is the continued popularity of the in-your-face tactics…

February 5th, 2010
A retreat series and new Paulist Productions documentary look at forgiveness

Rev. Frank Desiderio, CSP, facilitates forgiveness retreats throughout the United States (forgivenessretreats.org), featuring the award-winning documentary The Big Question: A Film About Forgiveness…, which he executive-produced while president of Paulist Productions. The film tells dramatic stories of astonishing acts of forgiveness, courage and grace, and features psychologists and scientists who study the impact of forgiveness on the human condition, and some of the greatest spiritual leaders of our time including Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, Sr. Helen Prejean, Dr. Deepak Chopra and Rev. Joseph Lowery.
“How to Let Go of a Grudge” forgiveness

February 4th, 2010
How The Sims made me rethink the Book of Job

Job takes a look in the mirror. He brushes his teeth and slaps his face, trying to wake up for his first day on the job as a maintenance man at the local zoo. Staring back at him is a man with a blonde mullet and a face full of stubble, a beer gut contained only by a stained white tank top and sweatpants.
He lives in a one-bedroom home. His moods determine the wallpaper, decorations and furniture in the house. Something seems to be missing; he can’t get his comfort level back into the green.
He is lonely because he has no friends. He cries upward, out beyond his world, for assistance, for a salvation that never comes. He feels abandoned by his creator, his father, his God.…

In the computer game, The Sims, you create a man or

February 2nd, 2010
Busted Halo's 2010 FastPrayGive Lent calendar needs you!

Last year’s FastPrayGive Lent calendar was an enormous success.  The idea behind it was that we wanted people to look at the Lenten season as more than just a time to give up chocolate.
Every day we offered readers a Daily Jolt moment of inspiration and contemplation as well as opportunities to practice in simple useful ways the ancient Lenten traditions of fasting, prayer and almsgiving.
We also peppered the calendar with incentives throughout and a grand prize right before Easter.  We’re giving away even more incentives this year but we want our readers to help us build the new edition of our calendar!  Send us your ideas for a Daily Jolt (see examples below) and, if we use yours, we’ll…

February 1st, 2010
The freedom of commitment

I know where I’ll be every Monday and Tuesday evening, and on Sunday mornings. And I know what I’ll be doing first thing every day. This is in stark contrast to a half dozen years ago. Then, the only thing you could count on from me was that I’d probably be alone in my apartment, though I probably wouldn’t answer the phone. I had no regular weekly commitments. Not a one. When I was invited to social events, I didn’t RSVP; I’d just show up or not — that way I could decide at the last minute. My decision was usually no. This change happened gradually, but it is the result of two large events — renewed sobriety and a radical deepening of my spiritual life — and one simple…

January 29th, 2010
"This is so much more than just numbers."

Benita describes how a routine traffic stop has turned her life upside down.
In episode one, Benita discusses her background and the difficulties she faced growing up.…

January 27th, 2010
Reflections on a good deed gone awry

No good deed goes unpunished.
How many of us have used that phrase at one time or another? Sometimes it means that we secretly wanted more gratitude than we got in return for our trouble. Sometimes it’s a preemptive excuse for not going to the trouble in the first place. In general, it is a lousy phrase, and I hate it when I hear myself using it.
Nevertheless, I have learned that there are genuine risks to trying to help others, and it is best to stop and anticipate those risks before leaping into situations we may not fully understand. Otherwise, the results can be the very opposite of what we intended to achieve.
I think of Jack Henry Abbott, the self-educated career criminal whose book on life behind bars, In the …

January 26th, 2010
The renowned novelist and critic on Reading Jesus

Having spent more than three decades chronicling Catholic life as an author of novels, short stories, essays, memoirs and biographies, Mary Gordon decided to take what some might consider a radical leap for a Catholic: she actually read the bible. In Reading Jesus…, Gordon attempts to understand the rise of fundamentalism by engaging the Gospels herself as a reader. The volume that resulted from this challenge is a compelling blend of meditations, reflections and memories on her own faith life and the evolution of her belief. In the interview that follows, the Barnard professor reflects on the experience of truly reading — for the first time — stories she has heard her entire life, as well as her complicated

January 25th, 2010
The Princess, The Priest and the War for the Perfect Wedding Episode 11

Want to see more? Watch other episodes of “The Princess, The Priest and the War for the Perfect Wedding”.
Send us your questions!
We encourage you to email us questions, or record a short video with your question and send it to us. If we use your video in a future episode, we will give you a $25 Amazon gift certificate. Send in your questions to weddings@bustedhalo.com and hear Dr. Christine Whelan, author of the Pure Sex, Pure Love… column go head to head with Father Eric Andrews, a Paulist priest with more than 15 years of wedding experience as they debate your questions: Why can’t you get married on the beach? Why is the priest being such a jerk? Why do we have to talk about sex during pre-Cana? And many

January 22nd, 2010
"Into the mouth of the lion."

Giselle discusses the incident that forced her to look at the immigration issue.…

January 21st, 2010
Follow Brittany, Samuel and Shiloh's video blog as they meet Busted Halo readers and listeners across America

Check the map for Brittany, Samuel and Shiloh’s route!

#16 Meet Deacon Jack Orlandi
The gang stop by Penn State University before Kate and Sam fight it out.

#15 Meet Steve Bauer and Dustin Rhodes
Steve and Dustin discuss their love for Busted Halo and where Steve finds God.

#14 Shiloh smells bears.
The gang encounter a bump in the road and bears near their campsite.

#13 Busted Halo cofounder Fr. Brett Hoover, CSP
Fr. Brett fills us in on what he’s up to.

#12 Meet Fr. Al Moser, CSP
Father Al discusses what drew him to become a priest after serving in WWII.

#11 Meet Jack Liu
Jack shows Brittany around UC Berkeley’s campus and talks about being Catholic in Taiwan and where he finds God.

#10 Two words: clown…

January 20th, 2010
On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a nun reflects on the abortion debate

This past January 22 was the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the legalization of abortion in the United States. There aren’t very many other days in the United States that manifest such division. I can’t think of any other anniversary that has consistently been celebrated with public demonstrations of opposing beliefs and emotions. Some, including such high profile figures as Alan Keyes, have compared the abortion debate in this country to the debate regarding slavery in the 19th century. That’s a pretty serious comparison considering that that debate was resolved by a civil war.
The latest Gallup Poll conducted between May 7 and May 10, 2009, found that for the first time since this question…

January 19th, 2010
This absurd but brutally honest animated comedy pushes the limits

A ventriloquist’s cartoonish dummy can vocalize insults that would earn the ventriloquist himself a punch in the nose. In much the same way, on “harmless looking” adult animated comedy shows humorists can get away with things they never could on a live-action program.
As a rabbi with a lifelong passion for comedy, I often find myself torn between my love of a good (or even a bad!) joke, and reverence for my religious beliefs. The TV program that challenges my sensibilities the most is probably The Family Guy….
A recent episode of the notorious and unfailingly offensive show — called “Family Goy” — skewered a host of clichés with even more blatant disregard for propriety

January 18th, 2010
A New Year's challenge: Enhance your connection with God

Fra Angelico's The Conversion of St. Augustine (my patron saint)

I’ve been taken aback these last few weeks by all the retrospectives and their universal declaration that the “aughts” were an awful decade. Objectively, it’s hard to argue as they trot out disaster after disaster, setback after setback. And when pressed, I recall that as the decade began I had a six-figure salary at a high-flying dot-com, millions to come with the genuinely likely public offering, and a beautiful girlfriend. I had none of those things within a few years. But I need to be reminded of the losses and setbacks and derailed career, because my perception of the story line of the decade is entirely different. For me the aughts weren’t awful; they were awesome.

You see, for me the key events of the decade are: reclaiming my sobriety, my conversion and baptism, and feeling and answering the call to return to writing, with a new focus on spiritual work. The past decade has in many ways been the most joyous of my life. It has been a period of spiritual growth, of expanding community, and of a radically increased sense of usefulness and purpose.

There’s an obvious connection here. As I said in my column, “Losing your footing and finding the ground“, losing the material things that define our lives can shake us into adjusting our focus, our priorities.

But mine is not a neat and tidy conversion story of: “My life was pointless and painful, then I found God, and now everything is rosy.” For me, the life stripped away by the dot-com bubble burst and 9/11 did matter and, in many ways, was good. I looked forward to going to work every morning and figuring out how to bring more music into people’s lives. My work was both creative and challenging. I lost a good thing. And the same was certainly true of my relationship.

January 15th, 2010
A Busted Halo contributor with family in Haiti shares her thoughts

Last September my mother returned to Haiti after a seven-year absence from her home country. It was a brief trip involving minor family matters and she came back telling us how amazed she was at the economic growth she had seen. Many families had personal computers or cell phones. Some of the small villages had better roads and bridges. After the tragic events there this past week the country my mother visited just a few short months ago no longer exists. In the wake of the earthquake I keep thinking of the “what if’s:” What if my mother had traveled last week instead? What if I had gone to visit her? What if my sister had finally found the money to spend Christmas, New Year’s in Port-au-Prince? The “what if’s”…

January 14th, 2010
A Haitian man and his family wait to see if he is deported and if their family is torn apart

Jean Montrevil and his family, from whom he is currently separated while in an ICE detention facility awaiting deportation to Haiti

Jonathan Freed hasn’t eaten since New Year’s Eve. The South Florida immigrants’ rights activist is one of six people who say they will not eat until President Obama puts a stop to deportations that separate immigrants from their American families. (Download the letter to the president.)

After a few days he stopped being hungry or thinking of food, he said. Instead he is consistently queasy, and his head is a little foggy.

The hunger strikers are part of a increasingly impatient immigrant movement that wants to see a moratorium on deportations until comprehensive immigration reform is enacted by Congress.

So Freed and his companions are camping on the grounds of St. Ann’s Mission in Naranja, Florida. Naranja is a community filled with Mexican, Guatemalan and Haitian immigrants, too many of whom, Freed said, are at risk of deportation either because they are in the country illegally or because they’ve committed crimes ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) deems worthy of exile.

“In our community the amount of enforcement is ripping families apart,” he said Wednesday. Freed, who is executive director of We Count!, a immigrant rights organization, acknowledges that the hunger strike is a dramatic step — and one that could fail. But more traditional forms of protest haven’t worked, he said.

“People have marched, written letters, held rallies and vigils. We’ve done all that. The situation has become so critical we felt we had to do something dramatic,” said Freed.

So for thirteen days now Freed and five others — among them undocumented immigrants with American children — have slept in a tent on the church grounds and spent their days explaining their action to visitors, keeping each other company and praying.

“It’s a political action, but it’s also a spiritual action that you try to get God to intercede and change the hearts of those in government,” Freed said.

A senseless policy — a family suffers

That is exactly what Jean Montrevil is praying for as well. The 41-year-old Haitian immigrant, Brooklyn, New York resident and father of four is in a jail in York County, Pennsylvania, awaiting deportation to the country he left when he was 16. Tuesday’s devastating earthquake offered an odd sort of reprieve, temporarily suspending deportations to Haiti, but Montrevil is still in detention, three hours away from his family and could be deported as soon as ICE deems conditions in Haiti stable.

January 14th, 2010
How you can help

Earlier this week a devastating earthquake rocked Haiti and we are learning only now of the complete destruction that has fallen on the Haitians. Early estimates are putting the death toll at 50,000. Here are ways to help:

Follow the lastest developments on the Catholic Relief Services site and blog.
Catholic News Service has this list of ways to help.
Tips For Funding Haiti Earthquake Relief Efforts from Charity Navigator
You can even donate with your mobile phone via Red Cross, by txting “YELE” to 501501 for a donation of $5, or “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10. The charge will show up on your cell phone bill.

May God comfort and be with the Haitians, and may He be merciful to us for the ways…

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