Busted Halo

Busted Halo distributed Flip videocameras to undocumented individuals and agencies and asked them to start videoblogging. We hope Busted Borders gives a personal glimpse into the humanity of these strangers in our midst.

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August 1st, 2009

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

July 31st, 2009

promoedit-insideYou 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 able to provide our readers with the proper merchandise to show their support for Busted Halo!

merchpromo_v2-insideIn honor of this unveiling, we are — in true Busted Halo fashion — giving everyone a chance to win some of these special items! We’ll be picking one new winner per day next week. To be eligible please follow these simple rules:

Submit your email address, full name, shipping address (we cannot ship to PO boxes) and EXACT item you would like if chosen as a winner to contest@bustedhalo.com with STORE in the subject line. Only entries submitted once will be eligible.
merchpromo_v2-flashAll items in the Busted Halo Merchandise Store are eligible as prizes EXCEPT the flip mino and flip mino HD cameras (get real, people…they’re EXPENSIVE!).
Contest prizes will be awarded for each day starting on Monday and ending on Friday. In order to be eligible for the daily prize, emails must be submitted before 3 A.M. EST (Midnight PST)

Don’t be too discouraged if you don’t win, feel free to console yourself with some online shopping at …

July 28th, 2009

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

radical_leaps-insideOn 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 sacrament of confirmation decades after she thought she’d left the church behind for good? And why does this stuff burn so much?

This spring, I was at the tail end of writing what seemed to be to be a very non-Catholic kind of book about the evolution of indie culture — groups of people who had thrown out accepted methods for making and distributing music, writing and art, and had instead reinvented their creative lives to be free of corporations and institutions.

Having been a part of that culture for most of my adult life, I knew that what held indie together was a sense of community. But my own community had mostly slipped away in the last few years. The magazine I’d labored over for five years had gone out of business when our distributor went bankrupt, and the friends I’d worked on it with scattered to have babies, go to grad school, and write books. Life was quickly filled with the latter for me — I plunged into the two-year project of researching, interviewing, writing and editing that is par for the course for creating a nonfiction book. But there was something lonely about it, and it wasn’t just the fact that I was often alone. There was a big gaping hole in my life, and I realized it was a spiritual …

July 27th, 2009

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


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 that occurred every Sunday night at 9 p.m. in the University Church ignited my faith life, and heightened my awareness of the way God can work through others. But knowing I can no longer call that church home is disheartening. How can I ever find a church and a faith community that has everything my college campus ministry had?

Over the past five months, President Barack Obama and his family have been visiting local churches and meeting ministers in the search for a new spiritual home. After notoriously breaking off his relationship with former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright last year, Obama withdrew his membership at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. In D.C., the Obamas have had a bit of a chaotic church shopping experience — as lines formed hours before morning services in anticipation of the President’s arrival. The fear of feeling on display is what reportedly led Obama to select Evergreen Chapel, the nondenominational church at Camp David, as his family’s primary place of worship.

The Obamas’ shopping experience sheds light on what seems to be a growing trend among young spiritual seekers. After a move, graduation, or relocation, many find themselves visiting multiple places of worship, and weighing all options to find a spiritual home that works for them.
The young and the parish-less
After graduating from college, …

July 15th, 2009


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


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 fell.

I was raised in a liberal Catholic household, where mysticism was encouraged, women’s choice and gay rights supported. Over the years, when home environment gave way to church dictates in defining the family’s religion, I rebelled and sought other outlets. Living in the southwestern United States, where Native American practices are frequently seen if less frequently understood, consideration of “the other” seemed natural. Practices tied to the earth would evolve into the center of my search.
Merton’s influence
But early in my Catholic education, I had learned about Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk known for his contemplative approach to Christianity. Even when I broke out to pursue my own spiritual path — which favored Eastern philosophies over what I considered, in my loving non-judgmental state, “stupid insane repressive Catholic dogma” — Merton’s teaching stayed with me. His questions were my questions, and they seemed to anticipate my feeling that “the official rules” were just so much static, and that the music was something to find beyond all that noise.

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.

Apparently, his influence is still powerful—and cross-generational. In June, The International Thomas Merton Society hosted its eleventh biennial conference at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY. Over 300 people attended, 20 of …

July 12th, 2009

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 will.

For many of us, a harsh critic dominates our inner dialogue — telling us what we should and shouldn’t do. It shames us about big things. I should make something of myself. I shouldn’t yell at my child. And it nags us about trivial things. I should go to the store to get some milk.

While that last one seems innocuous enough, it simultaneously berates us for being lazy and puts us in a victim role, from which we can reluctantly do the right thing… while complaining. Quite a neat maneuver with just a single word.
Choosing is empowering
But knowing it’s free will kinda spoils the complaining and feeling put upon, doesn’t it? Even without any change in behavior, just a new awareness of how dominated our thoughts are by perceived obligations and obedience can be transformational. In a profound way, saying “choose to” rather than “should” is more honest, and speaking truthfully will gain you the esteem of others, and self-esteem.

July 10th, 2009

Bruno-inside“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 Borat, the “plot” of Brüno is non-existent. Brüno flies to Hollywood, hoping to become “the most famous Austrian star since Adolph Hitler” and “the biggest gay movie star since Schwarzenegger.”

Thumbs Up?
Besides being a “take no prisoners” iconoclast and equal opportunity offender, Sacha Baron Cohen is Jewish. So, not surprisingly, there are cringe making “Jewish” gags throughout the new film. It’s a carry over from Baron Cohen’s old TV program, where the character Brüno originated, and among other things, liked to rate red carpet looks as either “in the ghetto” (thumbs up) or “train to Auschwitz” (thumbs down).

At one point in the new movie, the staggeringly tactless Brüno decides to become a Middle East peacemaker of all things. But he confuses the words “hummus” with “Hamas” in a high stakes dialogue between a real life ex-Mossad chief and an equally authentic Arab leader. Like everyone Brüno encounters, the two men were baffled by his bizarre behavior.

Some of Brüno’s unfortunate subjects end up making fools of themselves, like the stage mothers and fathers who’ll do anything to get their children a part in Brüno’s photo shoot. Would a mother consent to liposuction for her preschooler? Brüno asks them with a straight face. Will their babies be comfortable working with bees, wasps or hornets? Brüno suggests to one mother that her 30-pound baby lose 10 pounds within seven days — and she eagerly agrees! When Brüno tells one …

July 7th, 2009

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


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. “What are you hoping to encounter?” I asked sarcastically.

“Marriage Encounter helps turn a good marriage into a great one,” they’d say chipperly, having memorized the tagline of the brochure, which featured the M.E. symbol — a heart above two intertwined circles united by a crucifix. Even though I was in fifth grade, I remember the Sunday evening that they arrived home in our purple Plymouth as if it was yesterday — it changed my childhood from a semblance of normalcy to something otherworldly. My parents pledged their full allegiance to the United States of Marriage Encounter and all of the rites and rituals that came with it. The burden of my adolescence was simple: I was mortified by my parent’s public display of religion.

Marriage Encounter stickers soon made their insidious way into our home. I considered them an infestation as my parents placed them everywhere — on the refrigerator; in the back windshield of the Plymouth, replacing the triple-A sticker à la “Who needs a tow truck when you have the Lord?”; even on the outside of the front door of our house. Whenever any of my friend’s parents drove me home from school and were curious as to what the sticker represented, I would lie and say “It’s for UNICEF; just ignore it.”

In 1982, I turned ten and asked

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July 5th, 2009


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 a positive difference in as many people’s lives as possible.”

Busted Halo: How does this sort of work tie in with your spiritual beliefs?

Heidi Minx: I’ve never been too good ‘on the mat’ or sitting still to meditate. But to me, Built on Respect is dharma in action, “putting others before self,” to use the Tibetan Children’s Villages motto.

BH: How did you transition from the world of fashion to philanthropy?

HM: Fashion was almost more of an accident, it really just happened when people began to pay attention to tattoo art, and my own individual style. If I find that at the end of the day it has no benefit, and isn’t making the world a better place, then what the hell am I doing? I know I am very idealistic, I think years in the punk and hardcore worlds limited my vision to black and white — there is not much grey. If I firmly believe in something, I put my whole self into it, and don’t let much get in the way. I certainly don’t have a ton of money; some days, I seriously wonder how I pay my rent, but somehow I do. You can’t always write a check to make things better — I’ve always thought education is the great equalizer. Poverty, sickness

July 1st, 2009


At 2 years old, my son is already a patriot.

This began around his first birthday, when he developed a massive love for flags. Every time we passed one on our walks, he’d point straight at it, his face lit up. This past Fourth of July, when a local realtor stuck business-card-bearing flags into every lawn on our street, Matthew was in ecstasy. My husband and I joke that in sixteen years he’ll shun any political candidate who doesn’t wear the stars and stripes on a lapel pin.

It’s not that he knows what the flag stands for, of course. I’d guess that his passion is a mix of things: the movement of cloth in the breeze; the bright colors; the fact that he sees something he recognizes. But his unabashed enthusiasm has made me think about my own relationship to Old Glory — and to the republic for which it stands.

I’ve never been what you’d call a patriotic person. Yes, I’ve always loved the Fourth of July, but it’s more for the barbecues and the fact that it’s the first real holiday of the long lazy summer. In college and my early twenties, when I studied and then worked in Paris, I diligently tried to avoid being pegged as an American. Living abroad gave me a new perspective on our country: I was critical of our consumption of fuel and food, of the fact that we did not make learning foreign languages a priority. Whenever someone mistook me for Italian or Spanish (which happened often), I was loath to correct them.

Like many Americans, my patriotism grew after 9/11. The magnitude and evil of the attacks affected me deeply. These terrorists just don’t get us, I thought to myself. They don’t realize that most Americans are, fundamentally, generous and good people. The heroism of rescue workers, survivors, and mourning families and friends made me proud. My country became something to defend. But, all too quickly, our government’s response to the attacks made me retreat into my former feelings. The last several years …

June 29th, 2009


What if your closest friends were angels from Heaven? For one Irish mystic, that has been the truth since birth. Lorna Byrne describes a life filled with heavenly beings in the book Angels in My Hair, which has spent many weeks atop the bestseller lists of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

In her memoir — recently released in America — Byrne lays bare her experiences of modest beginnings in rural Ireland and living in a marriage that she knew would be cut brief by illness. All the while, she believes angels are guiding her and others in her life to live to their full potential. Interestingly, though parts of Byrne’s story are sad, the main message is hope — rather than “Believe me I am telling the truth!”

So with an open mind, and your guardian angel reading beside you, here is our conversation with modern-day mystic Lorna Byrne, on faith, Ireland and of course, angels.

Busted Halo: For the American audience that isn’t familiar with your story, could you give us a small synopsis of what you can see and how you can see it?

Lorna Byrne: Well, I’ve seen angels since the moment I opened my eyes. I don’t know any time that I haven’t. And every human being that I have seen in my whole life has a guardian angel, because I see them every day. I would see something about three steps behind people. It is like a beam of light and when that beam of light opens up that is when I am allowed to see the guardian angel.

BH: So you walk into a room with one or two people. What does that room look like to you, as opposed to someone who doesn’t see angels?

LB: So I walk into a room and there are a few people there, I would see everything they see, first. But along with that I see the light of their guardian angel and if that light opens up I will see their guardian angel. And I would see

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June 28th, 2009

jonkate1-insideRecently, I’ve been tuning in to Jon & Kate Plus Eight at the gym. I watch on the sly like I’d rubberneck on the highway: The crash is too gory to view directly, but I can’t take my eyes off the drama. Some research suggests viewers watch reality TV because deep down they believe, someday, they too might be a star. I’d argue it’s even more basic than that: Reality television plays on our ugly, but very human, need to take someone else — especially the rich, attractive or famous — down a peg.

Call it the “Can you imagine?” factor: When Playboy Playmate Kendra hands her soon-to-be parents-in-law a signed copy of her nude centerfold, the at-home viewers can screech in horror and delight. “Can you imagine? Wow, I might do a lot of dumb things, but I would never do that!” When the 911 Nanny looks on disapprovingly as a family’s children melt down around helpless parents, we say to ourselves, “Can you imagine? At least I’m not that bad of a mother.”

From The Bachelor and its many, many spin-offs, to family dramas like Little People and The Real Housewives of New Jersey, there’s something for everyone to love (or hate.) Perhaps reality TV can be divided best into: the shows that encourage competition — Top Chef, Dancing with the Stars, Project Runway and the like; and the shows that encourage B-list celebrity voyeurism — including The Hills, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.
A bad influence?
But is this leading us astray? Do viewers watch reality shows and say, “Well, hey, if they are doing, so can I”?

No: Reality television neither encourages poor behavior nor serves as a cautionary tale, because viewers are watching for entertainment, not as a model for “real” life. Since MTV first aired The Real World in 1992, hundreds of shows have freeze-framed on life’s tense moments as producers cut and craft for maximum effect; and viewers know it.

As family life crumbles for Jon and Kate, it’s too …

June 24th, 2009
bustedamh-insideAnthony Michael Hall got his big break as an actor when he was cast as Rusty in the family road trip movie Vacation, followed closely by three seminal films from the 80s: 16 Candles, The Breakfast Club and Weird Science. He was then the youngest cast member ever on Saturday Night Live. He also bullied Johnny Depp around in Edward Scissorhands and he was part of the Emmy-nominated made-for-TV movie where he played Bill Gates in The Pirates of Silicon Valley. More recently he starred in the sci-fi thriller TV show, The Dead Zone, which he also helped co-produce, and played TV reporter Mike Engel in last summer’s blockbuster The Dark Knight. The actor stopped by the Busted Halo show on Sirius XM Radio to talk about growing up Catholic, and where his faith life and his acting career meet.

Busted Halo: I bumped into you on the streets of New York right near the church where I currently work and, as a matter of fact, where you used to attend when you were growing up.

Anthony Michael Hall: That’s right, St. Malachy’s. My mother actually took me to the church when I was a kid. My mother just reminded me before I came up here that it was when she was pregnant with my sister.

BH: Well they call it the Actor’s Chapel; it does service the entertainment community, mostly the Broadway folks.

AMH: And there’s a lot of actors in need of prayers. And I’m one of them.

BH: Has that been a significant part of your life and career?

AMH: Yeah it has, I come from an Italian-Irish Catholic family. My mother was from a big family and I was born in Boston and raised here in New York. And I was raised Catholic. There were actually priests and nuns in my family. A very staunch Catholic family which I’m very proud of, so I was very happy to be asked by you to talk today.

BH: People imagine that growing up, particularly as a

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June 24th, 2009


Sunday school just got a lot more interesting. The new movie Year One is an Old Testament version of the classic Monty Python comedy The Life of Brian.

Now, for some people, that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. Not everybody approved of the Pythons’ outrageous spoof of Biblical epics, which featured something to offend everyone. Yet, thus far Year One hasn’t generated anything like the controversy the latter did decades ago. Why not?

The answer may lie in the fact that Year One‘s irreverence fits in well with the Jewish intellectual tradition of wrestling with higher authorities, and questioning moral and religious issues. This sensibility has been at the core of the Jewish identity since, quite literally, the year one.

History’s first road trip

The plot, for what it’s worth, centers on two cavemen who get kicked out of their tribe. They embark on what you might call history’s first road trip, bumping into biblical figures, like Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Abraham and Isaac, and other people from the Torah — and goofy comedy ensues.

Yes, this slapstick summer flick takes a lot of poetic (and comedic) license with its sacred source material. As a rabbi, I feel obliged to point out, for example, that Adam and Eve lived over a thousand years before Abraham and Sarah were even born. But remember: it’s only a movie!

Jack Black’s character Zed is a hunter, in contrast to Michael Cera’s timid gatherer named Oh. Oh loves a girl from his tribe named Eema (which is Hebrew for “Mom”, by the way.) After Eema is enslaved by a more advanced tribe — one that has invented wheels and swords and stuff — Zed and Oh vow to save her.

That’s when they meet all those Biblical patriarchs and matriarchs. Adam is played by Harold Ramis (who also wrote and directed the film.) Cain (David Cross) and Abel (Paul Rudd) play out the world’s first sibling rivalry — this time for laughs.

We’re never told how Zed and Oh manage to miss the Flood, because

June 23rd, 2009


When Dr. Hill removed his future son-in-law’s ruptured appendix two weeks before the wedding, it gave me a great line for the homily: “Salim is the only guy in history who is happy to see his father-in-law coming toward him with a knife.” It also gave me confidence in surgery. As I watched Salim and Bridget dance at the reception, I thought, “If Dr. Hill can make somebody that well, that quickly, maybe I should give him a call.”

Had to happen sometime. After passing fifty without ever having gone under the knife… it was time. The hernia on my bellybutton that used to be golf ball-size, was now a baseball. My waiting for it to fix itself didn’t seem to be working.

Dr. Hill looked at me and said, “Let’s see. You have to go to Alaska and help out in parishes in a couple of weeks. We could take care of this on Friday.”

“I have a lot this weekend. Alumni Weekend. A talk, masses,” I said.

“OK, then we’ll go on Monday,” Dr. Hill replied, noting the date on the chart. My fervent hopes that this could be put off until August were not working out.

“That only leaves me nine days recuperation. Will that be enough time?” I asked.

“No time is good for these things. Might as well just get it done,” opined the good doctor. “You don’t want to run into trouble up in Alaska. But it’s up to you.”

It wasn’t the hospital or the operation itself that bothered me. I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals… just never as a patient. No, what worried me was pain. I’m no candidate for suffering. I’m just a priest, not Jesus. I was a linebacker years ago — more apt to cause than suffer pain.

Fortunately I knew the hospital, Lourdes, in Camden, NJ, very well from my 15 years as a priest at Holy Name Church there. But this was new. Pre-op: EKG, blood and urine …

June 21st, 2009

Summer is upon us, and the other day when I read Therese Borchard’s post on Beliefnet about how lack of sun exposure has led to a Vitamin D deficiency crisis across this country, it struck me: Our bodies are designed to need sun. Is that a hint or what? We are built to be outside.

As I write this just before Father’s Day, I am reminded that my atheist dad gave me my first spiritual experiences by sharing his love of natural wonders. Despite growing up in New York City, I saw Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, Banff and the Redwoods, the Smoky Mountains and the Rockies; flash floods in the Western deserts, a hurricane on Cape Hatteras.

I didn’t know it at the time, and my father wouldn’t have thought about it in these terms, but I was being introduced to the wonder of God. While it’s more important to see that of God in the everyday, it helps to be hit over the head every once in a while with the awesomeness of Creation.

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