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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November 17th, 2009

In this video, Walter talks about his love for creating music.

In video 4, Walter talks about how soccer has helped him cope with his immigration issues.

In video 3, Walter talks about the difficulties of facing an uncertain future.

In video 2, Walter talks more about how he did not know he was undocumented until he was applying for college.

In video 1, Walter explains how he was caught by ICE and detained for twenty day.

November 11th, 2009

In this video, Walter talks about how soccer has helped him cope with his immigration issues.

In video 3, Walter talks about the difficulties of facing an uncertain future.

In video 2, Walter talks more about how he did not know he was undocumented until he was applying for college.

In video 1, Walter explains how he was caught by ICE and detained for twenty day.

November 9th, 2009

kicking_tout-flashAs a Paulist seminarian Tom Gibbons has spent the past three years immersed in the academic study required of any man who will be ordained a Roman Catholic priest. During that time, Gibbons has written a lot about the experience, and his new blog, Kicking and Screaming is an intimate look at the questions and doubts he’s struggled with over the past few years while studying for the priesthood, as well some of the answers he’s come up with along the way.

Now at the halfway point in his formation process, Tom’s blog will also be a window into what his life is like now that he’s outside the seminary classrooms doing hands-on ministry work at a parish in Austin, Texas. Gibbons’ blend of honesty and humor offers readers a rare glimpse into the deeply personal nature of what the question of “vocation” is really all about, and how discovering one’s true vocation — religious or otherwise — is a universal journey we are all called to go on — even if we sometimes can only do so Kicking and Screaming.

Starting now, you can find this first of the new Busted Blogs at bustedhalo.com/kickingandscreaming, and on the Busted Halo homepage.

Stay tuned for the launch of Monica Rozenfeld’s new blog Rendezvous with G-d next week.

November 4th, 2009

healthcare2-inside

Thousands of you read, responded to and shared my August piece about the health care debate and Catholicism. We are now in the final phase of the Congressional process and some things are clearer than they were then. Catholic Church leaders wanted undocumented immigrants included in the bill. They are not. Sadly, the Church stands almost alone among organizations in this country in its concern for the undocumented. They wanted universal coverage, and to the surprise of many, it looks like it will happen.

But, though the House bill does not fund or encourage abortion services, the bishops and most Catholics wanted specific language keeping abortion out of the bill entirely, and making it impossible for a future administrative action to change this, effectively bringing the Hyde Amendment into the bill and codifying it in a way that is stronger than its current status. This still could happen, as pro-life Democrats take up the cause. But what if it doesn’t?

The US bishops have a clear answer: Kill the bill. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops began a massive final push on health care this past weekend, hitting 17,000 parishes with a bulletin insert and email campaign to be distributed over the next few weeks. The bishops’ final stand on the absence of strong enough pro-life language: “If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be opposed.”

But what of universal coverage? What of help for the uninsured, some of whom die and suffer for lack of medical care?

In September, Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, expressed a very different view, equally grounded in Catholic teaching. Having lived for 16 years in the US, Cardinal Martino said he “could never explain” the fact that a large number of Americans lacked health care assistance, something every other developed nation provides for its citizens, concluding, about President Obama’s efforts for health care reform, “So I cannot but applaud this initiative.”

As I said in my earlier piece,

November 3rd, 2009

In this video, Walter talks about the difficulties of facing an uncertain future.

In video 2, Walter talks more about how he did not know he was undocumented until he was applying for college.

In video 1, Walter explains how he was caught by ICE and detained for twenty day.

October 20th, 2009

In this final episode, Prerna talks about the repercussions of leaving Fiji and why she continues to stay and work in the U.S.

In video six, Prerna discusses the fallout with her family, community and school as a result of her new relationship.

In video five, Prerna discusses her first love while growing up in Fiji.

In video four, Prerna talks about her experience biking from Los Angeles to Berkeley, CA.

In video three, Prerna’s family is trying to avoid foreclosure on their home.

In video two, Prerna becomes an activist, a blogger and a volunteer.

In video one, we learn how Prerna, Fijian student, who was applying for residential paperwork, became the only undocumented member of her family.

October 20th, 2009

In this sixth video, Prerna discusses the fallout with her family, community and school as a result of her new relationship.

In video five, Prerna discusses her first love while growing up in Fiji.

In video four, Prerna talks about her experience biking from Los Angeles to Berkeley, CA.

In video three, Prerna’s family is trying to avoid foreclosure on their home.

In video two, Prerna becomes an activist, a blogger and a volunteer.

In video one, we learn how Prerna, Fijian student, who was applying for residential paperwork, became the only undocumented member of her family.

October 16th, 2009

quake-inside

I’m an information officer for Catholic Relief Services in Asia. This past month, we’ve had our hands full keeping up with the string of natural disasters that has hit the region. From my home base in Cambodia, I was sent to the Philippines to cover our response to severe flooding; then an earthquake hit Sumatra — one of the islands that make up Indonesia, so I caught a plane to Padang, the city closet to the quake’s epicenter.

I was new to extreme quake damage — its dangers and surprises. The first week of any emergency is usually the toughest; I’ve recorded my impressions of the experience.

Day One
The first sign of trouble is at the airport in Padang, Indonesia: there’s no water in the bathrooms; only big trash cans full of water outside their doors. I skirt the pungent restrooms and grab a taxi.

Driving through the dark — most of the city doesn’t have electricity — it’s hard to tell that a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck three days ago. The outlines of the buildings look pretty normal, except for, say, every tenth building, which has collapsed. But as we cross a bridge I see an unsettling gash in the pavement. My unspoken question — This thing is stable, right? — will occur with increasing frequency as the days pass.

I arrive at a makeshift compound used by Catholic Relief Services and its partners in Caritas, the worldwide network of Catholic aid agencies. This base for our relief operations is made up of two buildings loaned to us by the Diocese of Padang: one an old, wooden building that might have been used as a Sunday school, to judge from the child-size desks in it; the other a small concrete-and-bricks office building.

In the darkness, I fumble for my keychain flashlight and greet my colleagues — mostly Indonesian CRS staffers, with several Europeans from Caritas.

A young IT wiz named Feri has miraculously hooked us up with an internet connection. It’s late at night, but he’s still here. Turns out he’s staying: …

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October 15th, 2009

In this fifth video, Prerna discusses her first love while growing up in Fiji.

In video four, Prerna talks about her experience biking from Los Angeles to Berkeley, CA.

In video three, Prerna’s family is trying to avoid foreclosure on their home.

In video two, Prerna becomes an activist, a blogger and a volunteer.

In video one, we learn how Prerna, Fijian student, who was applying for residential paperwork, became the only undocumented member of her family.

October 6th, 2009

sukkot-inside

Each fall, Jews celebrate the holiday of Sukkot, named after the “huts” the Jewish people lived in during their 40 years in the wilderness. Sukkot begins on the night of the largest full moon of the year, the harvest moon. This year it began at sundown on Friday, October 2, and runs through October 10. As a celebration of the year’s largest harvest, Sukkot reminds us to give thanks. The American Pilgrims understood this biblical significance of Sukkot, and made it the basis for Thanksgiving.

Tradition calls us to “live” for a week in a sukkah (sukkot is the plural form) — a hut, open to the sky, with some leaves for a roof. (Eating meals there can qualify for “living,” especially during inclement weather.) Living in a hut reminds us of our interdependence with nature. Our buildings and vehicles are artificial barriers, which insulate us from so many effects of nature. We succumb to an “edifice complex.” They distract us from our constant interaction with nature, inhibiting us from “smelling the roses.” They limit our awareness of the impact we have on nature, so we don’t deal with pollution, conservation of resources — dying species, sustainable development, diversity of energy resources — global warming, or even adequate preparation for “natural” disasters. Just ask the residents of New Orleans. As we become more aware of interdependence, we accept our stewardship of nature.

What living in sukkot can teach us

Living in sukkot — symbols of freedom from civilization — might teach us to detach from those values of our surrounding society that limit our freedom, such as materialism, isolationism and rugged individualism. Freedom is our ability to “worship God” (in secular vocabulary, to “live as we should”): to use all of our resources to pursue our highest values, to fulfill our potential to create or improve ourselves and our world. If all lived freely, then we would celebrate the Messianic dream, our harvest of the moral deeds, which we plant each time we do one.

On the other hand, living in sukkot might

October 6th, 2009

In this fourth video, Prerna talks about her experience biking from Los Angeles to Berkeley, CA.

In video three, Prerna’s family is trying to avoid foreclosure on their home.

In video two, Prerna becomes an activist, a blogger and a volunteer.

In video one, we learn how Prerna, Fijian student, who was applying for residential paperwork, became the only undocumented member of her family.

October 1st, 2009

A seeing eye puppy in training at church

My dog Lily is a therapy dog, meaning that she is trained to bring companionship to the lonely, comfort to the sorrowful and joy to the depressed, just for that moment. Together, we visit nursing homes, hospitals and other institutions where people may benefit from Lily’s presence.

Lily got a lot of her early training to be a therapy dog by going to weekday Mass with me as a puppy. Our little mountain parish in western North Carolina is small and everyone enjoys her presence. Lily learned how to greet friends nicely; how to wait to greet them until she was instructed to do so; how to sit quietly by my side; and how to stay while I went to communion. She doesn’t go on Sundays, just weekdays.

We leave Mass and go directly to the nursing home where we take communion to a few residents, and she visits everyone. Mass puts her in the right frame of mind and behavior for the visit — and I always said she carried an extra bit of grace with her. She’s been working about eight years.

We are always greeted enthusiastically at the nursing home — though with some odd misunderstandings. Our area is largely Baptist, and the presence of a Catholic dog can stir the imagination.

September 30th, 2009

childhoodobesity-inside

It may have been the most incriminating moment of my childhood.

The culprit: one chubby eight-year-old (me).

The accomplice: a sympathetic classmate-slash-junk-food smuggler.

The goods: a bag of Doritos.

The teacher caught me — and the entire class’s attention — when she asked me to stop eating and turn to face her. “Krissy,” she said. “Your parents and your doctor don’t want you eating that.” Then, her words wailed in my ears like sirens:

“You’re on a diet.”

I dropped my head and rolled up the bag as the class stared in shock. Just like that, I was busted. Orange-handed.

My grandfather had just died. He and I had been super-close and without him I had grown achingly lonely. My brother and I began to visit our newly widowed grandmother every weekend, and I filled my loneliness with the massive homemade meals Gram served — spaghetti with sausage and meatballs, ham and potato chip sandwiches, and for breakfast, pancakes and omelettes as big as my head.

An internal battle at every meal

I was sure I was the only kid I knew who fought an internal battle at every meal. I was ashamed about who I was becoming. I’d been an incredibly happy baby, always known for my big personality and bright smile, but at only 8, I felt like there were extra outside layers I’d have to chip away at to get to that little girl. She was lost.

Every month that year my parents and I traveled two hours to visit pediatric weight specialists and nutritionists. At 98 pounds I was the heaviest child in my class, and I never would have dreamed I’d be one of the three in ten children who outgrow childhood obesity. I simply ate too much at every meal and had no idea how to turn off my cravings. Like many of the 10 percent of American children today who are clinically overweight, I began to battle depression, low self-esteem and poor body image. The worse I felt, the more I ate and the less I wanted to help my body by

September 28th, 2009

An undocumented student becomes an activist, a blogger and a volunteer.

September 26th, 2009

gazelle_tout2-inside

Busted Halo® provides a community — both online and on Sirius XM satellite radio — where seekers can explore the spiritual questions they have, as well as share and grow in their faith. One thing that is pretty clear about this generation of spiritual seekers is that we don’t believe spirituality is just about going to church on Sunday; it’s about living your beliefs in your everyday life. Pope Benedict himself recognized this when he declared the theme for World Peace Day 2010 to be: “If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Safeguard Creation.”

Protecting the environment is one of the many ways you can act on your faith. Securing the planet for future generations is no small task, but we know that you, our audience, are always up for a challenge. So we decided that, in honor of the International Day of Peace and of Green Consumer Day (both in September) we’d declare September Busted Halo’s® Safeguard Creation Month.

This means several things. First, everyone here at Busted Halo® is going to make a personal commitment to help the environment during the month of September — by turning off all temperature controlling devices, biking to work, turning off the lights, recycling, or some other act we can take to help in a small way. We’ll keep you posted on our efforts. Second, we’re asking you to do the same.

To help you in our shared task, we’ve set up the Busted Halo® September Safeguard Creation Drive on Gazelle (bustedhalo.gazelle.com). Busted Halo® is a non-profit organization so we rely on the support of you, our readers and listeners, to continue providing the content and community you find on our Sirius XM radio show and bustedhalo.com — but there is no reason we can’t help the environment at the same time.

Gazelle is the nation’s largest “reCommerce” company, offering an eco-friendly and philanthropic way of recycling your used electronics. By donating your used cell phones, computers, MP3 players and other gadgets to Busted Halo® through Gazelle, you ensure

September 22nd, 2009

In this fourth and final video, 24 hours before their move to Mexico, Nicole and the kids say goodbye.

In video one, Nicole explained how her husband was barred from returning to the United States. Because of this, she is planning on moving with her kids to Mexico.

In video two, Nicole talks about the difficulties she’s facing uprooting her four kids and moving to a foreign country.

In video three, Nicole and the kids begin the process of leaving their home for Mexico.

September 16th, 2009

Nicole and the kids begin the process of leaving their home for Mexico.

In video one, Nicole explained how her husband was barred from returning to the United States. Because of this, she is planning on moving with her kids to Mexico.

In video two, Nicole talks about the difficulties she’s facing uprooting her four kids and moving to a foreign country.

September 14th, 2009

Nicole talks about the difficulties she’s facing uprooting her four kids and moving to a foreign country.

In video one, Nicole explained how her husband was barred from returning to the United States. Because of this, she is planning on moving with her kids to Mexico.

September 4th, 2009

A red Hyundai with a Darwin fish and an “atheist” license tag eases up to a fast food drive-through window in Huntsville, Alabama. A van pulls up behind it. Five children slip out, line up along one side of the car and chant “God loves you” and “Praise Jesus.” The kids scramble back into the van, congratulated by a high-fiving mother.

Blair Scott — the 38-year-old, cherub-faced man in the red car — still chuckles about it a year later, joking that the kids yelled “god-scenities” at him. The quick-to-laugh Scott shrugs off the negative attention — which also includes 75 hate emails and at least one death threat a week. Scott is the founder of the largest atheist organization in the state, the North Alabama Freethought Association (NAFA) in Huntsville.

In 2004, NAFA had two members; today it has more than 200. Scott says that a decade ago, three atheist organizations in Alabama floundered, but now 10 thrive. “Atheists are on the rise in Alabama. But we may not be what you think,” he beams.

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