Busted Halo
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August 13th, 2009
Inglorious Basterds and the new wave of "tough Jews" in movies

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you hadn’t taken that job, or gone to that school, or moved to that neighborhood?
In other words: what if you were living in an alternative reality?
Alternative history is a genre with a long pedigree, especially in the realm of science fiction. After all, who can resist wondering, “What if…?”
The epic saga of the Second World War, with its action, tragedy and larger than life heroes, has inspired many “alternative histories,” from the “City on the Edge of Forever” episode of the original Star Trek, to the 1992 novel-turned-miniseries Fatherland…, which depicts a world in which the Nazis defeat the Allies. The

August 12th, 2009
Video 1 - "I got five children; four were born here"

A Jamaican national with several American citizen children wants to stay in the country.…

August 10th, 2009
Avoiding triggers and staying connected to God

Ever want to bite someone’s head off just because they had the misfortune to cross your path when you hadn’t eaten lunch? Or hadn’t gotten enough sleep the night before? Or when you were already angry about something else? Ever sit alone — or worse, in a crowd — and feel lonely and irritated at anyone and everything?
When I was on Father Dave’s radio show in June, we talked a little about HALT. Ever since then, I’ve been wanting to write more about it. Self-help is full of acronyms and aphorisms and a lot of them are more cute than useful, but this one is a keeper. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired: When you feel irritated or anxious, one — or more — of those four conditions…

August 9th, 2009
Shrugging my way toward Bethlehem

It’s Thursday night. Work is off my back for the day. Friday is just ahead and the air is crisp and cool as I head to meet my friends at our designated weekly spot for copious calorie consumption: Applebee’s.
Once inside — after our hellos and “Work sucks’” — two things are bound to happen: 1) One of my friends is going to order mozzarella sticks, half-off (cause it’s late); and 2) Somebody’s going to criticize and make fun of me because I’m Catholic. Every single person I hang out with is an atheist, from my best friend to casual acquaintances.
Usually, it starts with a comment from my best friend, “Rich, why are you always… following that BS? It’s

August 6th, 2009
The last of four excerpts from 50 Ways to Help Save the Earth, How You and Your Church Can Make a Difference

50 Ways to Help Save the Earth: How You and Your Church Can Make a Difference
The green movement has taken root among Christians, with individuals and churches embracing eco-justice as a vital part of discipleship. In this four-part series, we will be excerpting chapters from 50 Ways to Help Save the Earth: How You and Your Church Can Make a Difference… by environmental activist Rebecca Barnes-Davies, who makes a clear connection between caring for the earth and living one’s faith. Taking action is important, but it’s also about “not doing,” says Barnes-Davies. Knowing when to let go of control, doing no harm, resting, celebrating, and trusting that God is doing the work to care for creation,

August 5th, 2009
Video 1 - "I got caught by ICE, and detained for twenty days"

Walter did not know he was undocumented until he was applying for college.…

August 3rd, 2009
How is the economic downturn affecting relationships?

Tim is an unmarried 29-year-old with a master’s in statistics. He’d like to meet a great woman, get married and start a family, but he says the recession has stalled his progress.
“I don’t have the disposable income to go out on a date,” Tim told me recently. Plus, he said, his self-worth is tied to his career. After a few years of underemployment in jobs that haven’t been intellectually stimulating, even if he did have some more cash on hand he wouldn’t really feel up to dating.
“Manliness is rooted in a career, and it is demoralizing to work in positions that require little to no education and have little to no prospect of upward mobility,” said Tim. “All…

August 1st, 2009
Video 1 - "How are you not part of your family?"

A Fijian student, who was applying for residential paperwork, became the only undocumented member of her family.…

July 31st, 2009
Daily giveaways for opening week of the Busted Halo merchandise store

You asked, we ignored. You pleaded, we contemplated. You begged, we acquiesced. The Official Busted Halo Merchandise Store is now open for business! Our store is now home to all types of products to fulfill your burning desire to wear Busted Halo on your chest, coffee cup, child’s bib… the possibilities are endless (almost).
This is a big step for us; it was only a few years ago that our editor in chief had to hand crank the Coleco computer to get the website up and running, interns had to travel over eight miles by foot to send out the mailings and staffers had the cumbersome task of using rotary phones! But now, thanks to the internal combustion engine, fluoridated water and better labor laws, we’re…

July 28th, 2009
The third of four excerpts from 50 Ways to Help Save the Earth, How You and Your Church Can Make a Difference

This is not a suggestion to drink less water. It is, instead, a suggestion to curtail wasteful, personal use of water in our homes and congregations. There are both simple and more complicated things that we can do to reduce our water consumption. While one in six people in the world still lacks access to safe drinking water, most of us in the United States have potable water whenever we want. If we had to walk a few miles for the water we use to drink, clean, and cook, we probably would think a bit more about it and would certainly use less of it. While the world’s population grows, access to clean water is going to become an increasingly serious concern…

July 27th, 2009
An indie writer drops her ironic distance and finds her faith

On a chilly April night, I’m standing on the stone altar of my childhood church, forehead dripping with chrism, when the guy next to me leans over and whispers, “It’s burning!” In spite of the solemnity of the occasion and the fact that we’re standing with a group of fifteen people in front of an audience of hundreds along with three priests and a deacon, I let out a very inappropriate burst of giggles.
How did I get here? How did a thirty-eight-year-old university lecturer, radical aging punk rocker with eight tattoos (and counting), author of a book about indie culture, married to an agnostic, pragmatic intellectual, and critic of all things group think wind up going through the…

July 27th, 2009
Give yourself the gift of time with no goals -- on retreat, on vacation and at home

Our new level of connectedness is a wonderful thing — perhaps the greatest blessing technology has brought us. But it has created a new problem. In this hyper-connected world, time in which you can do nothing is rare.

Despite how highly I value and seek out serenity, I am linked continuously to my workplace and other obligations, so it’s all too easy to feel pressured by the things I could be doing — like Fran in Black Books, cursing under her breath while answering her cell phone as she’s running late for yoga.

The seeds were planted centuries ago with the Puritan work ethic — epitomized by Isaac Watt’s 1700s hymn for children praising the worker bee, which includes the lines:

In works of labour or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.

July 16th, 2009
Young churchgoers are shopping around for the perfect fit

I’ve done a fair share of shopping in my lifetime. I’ve shopped for shoes, for good restaurants, and for colleges. One thing I’ve never done is shopped for a church.
So begins my part in the latest shopping trend. Just two months out of college and two weeks into a new job in New York City, I’m starting my brand new life as a working woman. I have an apartment, I have a paycheck (albeit miniscule), but I still don’t have a church.
It’s not an easy transition to make. My experiences with Mass at my alma mater, Fordham University, were some of the richest of the past four years. The emphasis on Ignatian spirituality, the incredible community, phenomenal preaching, support and fellowship…

July 15th, 2009
The second of four excerpts from 50 Ways to Help Save the Earth, How You and Your Church Can Make a Difference

Garden

While supporting local farmers, eating organic, and eating lower on the food chain are all healthy and helpful, gardening is the hands-on way to connect with the beautiful biodiversity of God’s good earth. It is the most direct way to make sure food, seeds, and the knowledge of growing food stays in the local community. It is also a way to make sure heirloom plants do not become extinct and that your produce is raised exactly with your standards. When it comes to climate change, small gardens with a variety of plantings may be a good way for local communities to prepare…

July 13th, 2009
The spiritual-but-not-religious generation finds a kindred spirit in Thomas Merton

For those of us of the “spiritual but not religious” generation, it’s a hymn to our ears when a visionary like Michael Franti (of Spearhead) sings, “God is too big for just one religion.” Among my peers, monotheism may not be on the way out but mono-religionism is long gone. We spend less time in churches, but more time embodying spiritual principles through practices like yoga and meditation.
Globalism and discount airfares have bred a whole new level of cross-pollinated, hyphen-empowered seekers. A friend of mine calls himself a Zen-Baptist, while we all know of Sufi-spinning Jews, born-again Hindus, and more mongrel faiths than God likely intended when the Tower of Babel…

July 12th, 2009
Removing should and have to from your vocabulary

I drink my morning coffee with milk. For some reason, I can barely stand drinking it without. One rainy evening I’m at home on the couch and realize I forgot to buy milk, and I groan to myself, “I should go to the store to get some milk.”
I feel nothing but annoyance, at myself for being so stupid that I forgot to get milk on the way home, and at the universe in general for being so unfair. But no one is telling me I have to get it. I want it. And it’s at the store. So, actually, I am choosing to go to the store because I want milk…. I may not want to get up off the couch and go out in the rain, but I am choosing to do this because I am willing to inconvenience myself to satisfy by desire for milk. It’s all free

July 10th, 2009
The Borat star once again pushes the limits of comedy (and comfort)

“What’s up?” you ask. For one thing, the new movie, Brüno.
The swishy, semi-fascist fashionista Brüno is the imaginary Austrian TV personality created by the very real British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.
In 2006, Baron Cohen broke box office records (and probably a couple of laws) with his movie Borat…, about another foreign fictional reporter’s adventures in America. With their microphones in hand and their cameramen at their heels, both characters give the British comedian the unique ability, in our media-crazed age, to access people and places few “real” people could get close to. The results are hilarious or offensive–sometimes both–depending on your point of view.
As with

July 7th, 2009
The first of four excerpts from 50 Ways to Help Save the Earth, How You and Your Church Can Make a Difference

Many of us grew up being told to turn off the lights when we leave a room or to not hold the refrigerator door open while looking for a snack. While small, these and other suggestions to conserve energy are still important. Those who have taken any of the various online “ecological footprint” quizzes have learned that it would take four to ten Earths if everyone were to consume energy the way a middle-class American does. Knowing that we only have one Earth, and that most of our energy right now comes from nonrenewable, unsustainable sources, it is essential that we learn the most important ways to reduce our personal energy consumption. Small commitments add up…

July 6th, 2009
Memories of my Marriage Encounter childhood

Growing up, I was mortified by my parents’ public displays of religion. I’m still convinced that from the years of 1982 to 1986 my parents were part of a cult; others called it “Marriage Encounter.”
One fateful Friday afternoon in 1980, they packed one suitcase and prepared to leave for the first of many retreat weekends; weekends that would become the bane of my existence; weekends that would become the main reason I fled to therapy at the ripe age of ten.
“We’re not getting divorced,” they asserted repeatedly, often in unison, when I questioned their decision to join such a mysterious organization. Of course, deep down I suspected that was the reason they were going.…

July 5th, 2009
Punk fashionista Heidi Minx transforms anger into action for refugees

Heidi Minx’s tattoo-inspired clothing and styles have been featured by Spencer’s Gifts and peta2, on snowboards, guitars and the bodies of rock musicians worldwide, but lately the New York-based merchandising maven has her designs on matters of the heart. After working with Tibetan refugees in India last year, Minx launched the nonprofit organization, Built on Respect, enlisting grassroots support from bands such as Pennywise, Sick of It All, Channel 3 and the Cro-Mags along the way. When in India, Minx shares her business savvy by working with the Tibet Hope Center, Jamtse in Action, and the Institute of Tibetan Thangka Art; back home her goal is to educate anyone interested and “make…

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