Busted Halo
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September 11th, 2008
Wacky women or the first feminists? Three books to help you decide for yourself.

At the end of August, an Italian priest was forced to scuttle his plans for an online beauty pageant for nuns, because it had been, in his words, “deliberately misinterpreted.” Father Antonio Rungi, from a town near Naples, noted that he had already received numerous requests from nuns to take part in his “Sister Italia 2008” contest, which was supposed to show off the “chaste, inner beauty” of sisters.
Needless to say, this story was picked up by hundreds of otherwise respectable media outlets.
How come? Because nuns are wacky.
Or, more accurately, pop culture and the mainstream media leads us to believe they are.
Nuns are silly (Sally Field cruising the skies in her modest-but-aerodynamic habit…

September 9th, 2008
Nearly 30 Years After His Murder, The Slain Archbishop’s Death Haunts Salvadoran Elections

On a hot and sticky Sunday morning, pilgrims pour into the crypt of San Salvador Cathedral to pray at the tomb of Archbishop Oscar A. Romero. Grown men and women approach the tomb on their knees, whispering, “reza por mi” (pray for me). The pious scene may strike visitors as unremarkable for a Catholic country, yet there is deeper significance here: It is an election year, and the pilgrims are predominantly leftists.

September 8th, 2008
BustedHalo readers weigh in

In my last column I shared a letter from Susan, a longtime reader of Pure Sex, Pure Love, who has been dating a man struggling with depression. “How do you deal with a partner who’s dealing with depression? Can you help—and if so, how?” I asked BustedHalo readers to weigh in on this email, and dozens of you responded.
Nearly 60% of respondents said that, like Susan, they have been in a relationship with someone suffering from depression, and 75% of respondents said Susan should continue her relationship. Many offered first-hand advice.
Lynn, 25, has been dating a man with depression for four years, and has dealt with the illness first hand herself. “It makes a relationship 10 times harder. There were nights…

September 5th, 2008
Seeking the sacred dimensions of daily life

Faith, spirituality and religion are too often looked upon as the province of “experts” who spend all their time in places of worship. At BustedHalo.com we frequently hear from readers who desperately want to explore their spiritual questions but feel alienated from traditional faith communities. The fact of the matter is that the experience of sacredness is as unique and personal as our fingerprints, but we sometimes fail to recognize these moments as God’s way of speaking to us in our everyday lives.
“Where’s God?” is our attempt to look more imaginatively at the movement of grace in each of our lives and chronicle the countless different ways God is at work.…

September 4th, 2008
Marc Adams gets reactions from young delegates about Gov. Palin's acceptance speech

Contributing Editor Marc Adams Video Blogs from the RNC and speaks with several young delegates to get their reactions to Gov. Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech.…

August 27th, 2008
Three suggestions for when you get back from the beach

Uh oh. Summer’s almost over and you haven’t finished Thomas Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain like you said were going to? Haven’t gotten around to The Duty of Delight, Dorothy Day’s journals? Never made it through Pope Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth?
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Those are all great books, but they’re kind of…long. Merton’s is 496 pages. Day’s is—egad!—700 pages. And B16’s is only 400.
At some point you should definitely read each of those books. But for now, maybe you would do better with a few books that are more, um, pithy. So here are three short books, each of which can be polished off in a few hours.
The first is Cathleen Falsani’s Sin Boldly…. It’s terrific. Falsani,

August 25th, 2008
The God of Thin?

“Does God really care if we gained ten pounds over the holidays? Yes!” announces The Dieter’s Prayer Book.
“If you’ve struggled with obesity all of your life, you may not even be able to imagine yourself free of the bondage of unwanted fat. But God can,” promises The Bible Cure for Weight Loss and Muscle Gain….
As part of the Templeton-Cambridge Fellowship to study the intersection of science and religion, I explored the world of religious diet books. Surprised that such books exist? So are many Catholics, but religious weight-loss and health initiatives that began among evangelical Christians are spreading to other denominations—and other faiths—as Americans continue to put on the pounds.

August 17th, 2008
Protecting Your Reputation and Your Future Job Prospects

Jim’s new internship could have been a great opportunity, but instead it turned out to be a big setback requiring embarrassing explanations to his parents. He lost his internship when his new employer found online pictures of him stumbling-drunk—pictures he’d posted himself. Susan was a bit smarter. She ‘scrubbed’ her online presence when she was hired for a high-security job, taking down all but the most basic information.
Of course everyone understands the internet is a great way to stay connected. For the majority of college freshmen, next to their cell phones, it will be their most important communication tool and the best way to stay in touch with family and friends. Unfortunately, in a few short…

August 17th, 2008
A college prof is a completely different animal from what you had in high school.

No matter how well (or how poorly) you did in your classes back home, or how pleased your high school teachers were with you and your work, one significant difference you’ll find on campus is that the college professor is a whole different animal. Behavior, expectations, communication and attitude vary widely between the two species. Understanding the distinction between your high school teachers from senior year and your college professors this fall can mean the difference between making it your first semester or not.
Deceptively Simple…
Is it hard to make a professor happy? How do you know what they’re looking for? While it may seem mystifying at first, focusing on the basics is a good place to start. Thomas

August 12th, 2008
Amish teens flirt with modernity before deciding to embrace the church

Joseph Miller says he likes driving Italian sports cars, drinking tequila and partying all night—and, oh yeah, he’s an Amish teenager. “But that doesn’t mean I still can’t get up early to do a mean cow milking,” he jokes.
On a remote Pennsylvania farm road, Miller opens a secret compartment in his buggy, revealing the latest high-end sound system. “If my folks knew about this, they would die.” Miller flips on his stereo. Rap music thunders from six speakers. His horse winces. “When I crank this sucker up, it really screams,” he shouts over the din.
Miller, who like all the Amish quoted for this story asked that his real name not be used, says that sometimes, when an older tourist sneaks up to photograph…

May 29th, 2008
The Obama campaign in the South is working overtime to correct the rumor that their candidate is a Muslim

A recent telephone call illustrates the problem.
Deb Geissler of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is working the phone bank for Barack Obama headquarters in her home state, when she reaches a man who bristles at the mention of her candidate’s name.
“Obama?” he asks, sounding offended. “Isn’t he the Muslim one?”
“No, sir” answers Geissler. “He’s a Christian.”
“Well, I heard he’s Muslim.”
Faith in Barack…
 
Geissler recounts this story to me on an unseasonably cold, gloomy Friday in Aiken, South Carolina. It’s the day before the South Carolina Democratic primary, and Geissler—a middle-aged nurse with piercing blue-grey

January 4th, 2008
or, how I almost committed election fraud

Caucusing can be confusing. But I was giddy all day about this opportunity to make a difference and shape national politics. I mean, how complicated can caucusing really be?
As a born-and-raised New Yorker, I’m new here, but I understand that Iowans have a big responsibility to serve as a screening instrument for the nation. So I was prepared: I learned about viability and I understood how delegates would be elected. I’d met many of the presidential candidates. I packed bottles of water and snacks in case things ran late.
Just know from the start I was prepared and taking things seriously, OK?
When I arrived at my caucus site—a local high school—I had to register to vote. I filled out my form, chatting…

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