Busted Halo

Most dating and relationships books, columns and shows won’t go near issues of faith. Author, professor and speaker Dr. Christine B. Whelan assumes faith has some role, and tackles even the toughest questions.

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October 27th, 2008
Why religious and non-religious couples are using NFP

Let’s talk about Natural Family Planning. Wait… wait… did you just grab the mouse to click away to another screen? Give me a chance.
When you think of Natural Family Planning (NFP) you might think of barefoot-and-pregnant super-religious types who are out of touch with modern science. The words “conservative” or “creepy” or “weird” might pop into your head. I know. I’ve had those thoughts myself. In fact, until recently, the only thing I knew about NFP was a stupid joke:
Question: “What do you call a couple who practices natural family planning?
Answer: “Parents.”
But a few things happened recently: I got yet another letter from a reader requesting that I address NFP (a subject I’d…

October 24th, 2008
After decades of debate over abortion, something new has occurred this year. Maybe this isn't as polarizing of an issue as we think...

After decades of debate over abortion, something new has occurred this year.
First, the Democratic Party is now not just using pro-choice language; it is also acknowledging the need to do something to reduce the number of abortions. Democrats, like presidential candidate Barack Obama are now willing to say that abortion is a moral issue—something the pro-choice lobby always opposed. Democrats are now promoting social and educational programs that will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and help pregnant women have their babies. In other words, after many years of insisting that abortion be legal and safe, the Democrats are finally emphasizing that it should be rare.
This new emphasis by the Democrats…

October 21st, 2008
Our Panel Discussion on Faith and the Vote Continues

Should faith matter in the voting booth? How can our moral convictions guide us as citizens when we choose our leaders? BustedHalo invited a cross-section of religious leaders, activists and educators from across the country to share their thoughts on the moral and societal issues facing the country and the changes they’d like to see in a post-George W. Bush America.

October 19th, 2008
Religious Leaders from a Range of Faiths Discuss Belief and the Vote

Over the past few months, we’ve been bombarded by political ads and the hype surrounding next month’s presidential election. But do we really pay attention to what the pundits and spin doctors have to say, or do we vote our conscience? And what role, if any, does religious upbringing play in helping us decide?

October 16th, 2008
A reflection on the life of a deeply respected professor of sociology at The Catholic University of America

Last month, at age 71, the Catholic Church in the United States lost an important friend: sociologist Dean Hoge. Several years ago I had the privilege of working with Dean Hoge and two other scholars, Bill Dinges and Juan Gonzales, on a national study of Catholics in their 20’s and 30’s. The study was published in a book entitled Young Adult Catholics: Religion in the Culture of Choice.

October 14th, 2008
Bill Maher issues a “call to atheist arms” in his latest documentary

In May of 2002, the comic Bill Maher faced the studio audience of his long-running program Politically Incorrect for the first time since learning ABC was canceling the show. As he sometimes did, Maher began the episode of PI—an irreverent roundtable discussion on current affairs—with a short monologue.

October 13th, 2008
Prayer in Pen

The Ramona Quimby Diary was my first journal. I was seven, and helpfully it was fill-in-the-blanks. For most of 1985, I recorded my deepest thoughts and darkest secrets in that red, spiral-bound book: I never practiced piano like I was supposed to. I had a crush on a boy named David.

October 9th, 2008
A personal encounter with Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen leaves a young reporter puzzled, inspired and intrigued

I recently learned of the Cause of Canonization of the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (the process by which Fulton J. Sheen may become a saint). While I’m not and have never been a Catholic, nor even religious for that matter, I feel compelled to share a deeply personal story involving him that intrigues, puzzles and inspires me to this day.
An Encounter With a King
In 1975, I was an intern reporter for WROC-TV news in Rochester, New York. The Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was a famous priest who wrote numerous books and hosted a television series entitled Life is Worth Living… (still seen today).
He’d also served as the Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester earlier in his career, and was back in town to deliver a noontime

October 8th, 2008
When a beloved family pet passes away, how do we help children face the reality of death?

We found out over the phone, while on vacation. The housesitter called us to tell us that he was at the animal hospital back home with our cat, Smokey. And then he put the vet on the line. We heard about age-related kidney disease, complete renal failure. We learned that medication and intravenous fluids might help keep him alive another month—or maybe just another week.

October 6th, 2008
A Parent, A Child, A Knife—and a Command from God. What Would You Do?

A few years ago during Yom Kippur, the holiest holiday on the Jewish calendar, I was in a little wooden synagogue on the Lower East Side of New York City. The rabbi, a venerable man whose voice carried throughout the temple, was extremely charismatic. For the first time in my temple-going life, I found myself listening intently to the sermon.

October 3rd, 2008
The Prize-Winning Author of Gilead Turns Again to Questions of Faith and Loss

Readers familiar with Marilynne Robinson’s 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead will already know the central plot of her new novel, Home

October 1st, 2008
A BustedHalo® Guide to Being a Faithful Citizen

There’s no better place to start at this time in history than with the upcoming election and moreover, the issues that Catholics are most concerned about. Catholics are never single-issue voters and this guide will help Catholics in forming their consciences during election season to make the best possible choice they can make keeping their faith in mind alongside their political decisions.

September 30th, 2008
How Would Jesus Handle the Financial Crisis?

Quick! Grab every man, woman and child! The end is near! The sky will come crashing down upon us unless (that is), the bailout bill is passed.

Sure, this might be a slight exaggeration, but it is how some lawmakers in congress interpreted the plea by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson for support of his $700 billion economic rescue plan.

September 25th, 2008
A Jewish Mother Thinks About the Value of Religious Education

My nine-year-old son, Josh, is not interested in learning Hebrew or in having a bar mitzvah. The bar mitzvah, a Jewish ritual when a boy turns 13, is the transition from childhood to “manhood” that involves reading from the Torah in Hebrew before the entire congregation.
“You didn’t have one, Mom,” he emphasizes. I explain that in the 1970s girls often didn’t have a bat mitzvah…, the female version, especially if they were cultural, secular Jews who didn’t belong to any temple. Ironically, it is my parents, his grandparents, who are adamantly attached to the idea of a bar mitzvah for my boy.
“I hope I live to see Josh read from the Torah,” says my 85-year-old dad, repeating his litany. These are people

September 24th, 2008
A Cat, Crickets, Peaches and Ice Cream—and Immortality

My mother, the cat and I
decided to sit outside to eat
our dessert. We don’t sit there
as often as one might think.
The deck is stained
the color of our cat’s eyes.
He is always right there, gazing
through the rail – cranky, a barn cat
unable to kill, called to sit, to wonder.
The crickets scream in unison
as my mother’s silver spoon cradles
a slice of peach. She held the bite high.
My father
ate peaches and vanilla ice cream
every single night in summertime.…

That is when I knew what it meant
to live forever.
I never met my mother’s father,
but the way her eyes softened,
the way I melted too – I knew
he was a good man,
so we celebrated.

September 22nd, 2008
My technicolor memories of Yankee Stadium

My Little League team ended their season with a trip to go see the pros in action. My parents were never ones for traveling outside our suburban city limits and so this would be my first Major League Baseball game. Growing up as a Mets fan, I was upset that my first game would be at the hated Yankee Stadium…

September 21st, 2008
Some Tips on Avoiding the Wedding Bell Blues

I remember receiving that first oversized calligraphied envelope. I was 22 and giddy with excitement as I opened the multiple envelopes, sifted through the tissue paper and found an impressively engraved invitation. I felt honored to be among the chosen to receive this elaborate missive: One of my oldest friends was getting married to her college sweetheart and I was thrilled.
That was nearly 10 years ago—and the bloom has worn off this wedding rose.
I’m going to speak the unspeakable: I need a break from weddings.
This year, my husband and I received 12 wedding invitations. The year before that, there were nine, including our own. The year before that, eight. I’m happy that each couple has found love and…

September 20th, 2008
Artist-Provocateur Robert Delford Brown Offers an Irreverent Take on Religion—with a Serious Message Hidden Inside

The father of Funkupaganism started his sermon on how society is going down the toilet before we’d even ascended the steps to his art supply-cluttered apartment—something about how Sen. Barack Obama has made all young people angry because “now he’s a war monger, too.”
Artist-guru Robert Delford Brown, 77, was referring to Obama’s recent trip to the Middle East. He was just getting warmed up. Since founding Funkupaganism or The Church of the Exquisite Panic Inc. in 1964, Brown has made it his mission to defy the constructs of organized religion, preach an anti-corporation doctrine of people caring for people and to create art through his spirituality.
To Brown, the creation of art and spiritual…

September 17th, 2008
Busted Halo® Contributors Sound Off On What They're Reading On The Web Right Now

Busted Halo’s® contributors are an eclectic bunch of media-lovers who spend a good deal of their time checking out what is going on all over the web—from blogs and videos to what’s being covered in the mainstream press. If you like the content, approach and tone of Busted Halo, this new department will give you an opportunity to see what the people behind the Halo are reading out there in the cybersphere, blogosphere…and anything-else-sphere they might come across. It’s also a chance for us to highlight other great sites, writers etc that we love but don’t have the chance tell you about most of the time. We’ll be updating “We’re Reading…” often…

September 16th, 2008
An Army veteran and scholar on the costs of waging peace

As a scholar, peace activist and Army veteran, David Cortright offers a unique perspective on war and peace issues. A professor at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, Cortright also has advised the United Nations on issues including weapons inspections, counterterrorism, and sanctions against rogue regimes. He has written widely on nuclear disarmament, nonviolent social change, and the use of incentives and sanctions as tools of international peacemaking.
Cortright is president of the Fourth Freedom Forum… in Goshen, Indiana, an organization that works to foster international relations based on the “force of law rather than the law of force.” His new

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