Busted Halo
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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 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 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…

July 1st, 2009
How motherhood made me rethink the Fourth of July

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…

June 23rd, 2009
A skeptical Jesuit finds a holistic connection

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…

June 20th, 2009
A conversation on fatherhood with anthropology professor Don Conway-Long

Fathers: They’re revered, adored and at times feared — even despised. No matter how you see your dad, you can’t argue with the fact that the way he fathered impacts your idea of family.
Anthropologist Don Conway-Long is fascinated with the shifting role of fathers in an ever-changing world. He teaches courses on gender and critical masculinity studies at Webster University in St. Louis. Conway-Long shares his thoughts on baby boomer and Generation X parenting on this Father’s Day.

Busted Halo: What’s your personal experience with fatherhood?
Don Conway-Long:… I’m a stepfather, grandfather and uncle. I have three, thirtysomething daughters whom I inherited in their early

June 18th, 2009
Busted Halo speaks with the movie's star, director and producer

In the few days since we published our interview with Jim Caviezel, events surrounding the election in Iran have added special resonance to his new film, The Stoning of Soraya M. (opens June 26).  In the movie, based on an actual event that occurred in Iran in 1986, an Iranian woman is the lone voice protesting the stoning of her niece under Sha’ria law.
In the following interviews, the film’s star, Shohreh Aghdashloo, director Cyrus Nowrasteh and producer Stephen McEveety (Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ) discuss what compelled them to make this powerful and disturbing film. As Iranian-Americans, Aghdashloo—who is familiar to American audiences for her Oscar nominated performance in …House

June 15th, 2009
The star of The Passion of the Christ discusses faith, Hollywood and his new film The Stoning of Soraya M.

Being at the center of one of the highest grossing movies of all time can be both a blessing and a curse for an actor. The world now recognizes their name and face, but a role can be so iconic that they’ll have trouble breaking free of it in audiences’ minds (Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, for example.) If the role in question happens to be Jesus of Nazareth, that effect can be magnified many times over. It is a predicament that Jim Caviezel knows all too well. When Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ… was released in 2004, Caviezel, a devout Catholic, went from being a Hollywood actor who worked steadily to being the star of one of the most controversial — and profitable — films in movie history.

June 11th, 2009
God Bless the Tech Angels

My life is quite busy. By day, I am an educator for young people and adults caught up in the criminal justice system. By night, I am a freelance writer. By vocation, I am an ordained minister seeking to reach the world in nontraditional ways. And by age, I am a thirtysomething New Yorker trying to live in and enjoy the city. My load is so full that I think it’s becoming harder to spend time with friends, and also, sadly, God. I am not one to say that I am too busy for God.  But I must admit that I’ve become too busy to connect with Him in the traditional way I’ve been taught. I’m talking about the “waking up at 5 a.m. to pray, meditate, read my bible and worship” kind of way. But instead of getting down on myself with the…

May 28th, 2009
The ultra religious go online to start extramarital affairs with people who share their faith

What does it mean to religiously attend church, temple or synagogue, live in a community where G-d’s laws are first and foremost, and then deliberately go on the internet in order to break one of the most sacred of commandments: Thou shall not commit adultery…? It is no surprise that the internet has become an electronic meeting place for married men and women looking to have affairs; it may come as a shock, however, to learn that the web is also the hub for a growing number of ultra religious married people looking to start extramarital affairs with people who share their faith.
On sites like Craigslist and AshleyMadison.com (which carries the motto “Life is short. Have an affair.”) people who

May 27th, 2009
Thirtysomething, single and looking for affirmation

I attend church in a left-leaning parish that specializes in outreach services to students at the local university. It succeeds so well that every Sunday night at 7 p.m., the place turns into Studio 54 — a magnet for coltish, confident, overachieving young Catholics who glow as though someone tossed them into a swimming pool filled with chrism.
Or so it seemed to me two and a half years ago, when I began to attend catechism classes offered through the parish’s RCIA program. I was a thirty-four-year-old bachelor and grad school dropout. Since leaving the academic life, I’d bounced from one office job to the next. My own glow had long since faded.
But, in church, the promise of renewal hung in the very…

May 22nd, 2009
...that won't require a bailout

The unofficial start of summer usually begins with barbecues, a long weekend away, visiting relatives, or heading to a beach town to visit your summer share cottage. Whatever your choice has been in the past, this year’s dreadful economy is bound to make at least some, if not most, of us reevaluate our summer vacation plans.
Even if financial concerns aren’t causing you to take a second look at vacation plans, you may be tired of the same old, same old. So Busted Halo decided to take a look at 5 possible vacations — ranging from lavish steals for the budget conscious, to family friendly activities, to serving those in need.

Volunteer Vacations
Want to experience a new culture at a low cost and simultaneously…

May 13th, 2009
Notre Dame, Obama and the Church in Culture

For some it was the shot heard round the world. When Cardinal Francis George got up to preach on a cold Saturday evening more than a decade ago his message was even more bracing than the Chicago weather outside Old St. Pat’s church. “Liberal Catholicism is an exhausted project” he said. “Essentially a critique, even a necessary critique at one point in our history, it is now parasitical on a substance that no longer exists. It has shown itself unable to pass on the faith in its integrity and is inadequate, therefore, in fostering the joyful self-surrender called for in Christian marriage, in consecrated life, in ordained priesthood.”
It was a sermon that stung many in the congregation…

May 12th, 2009
From Malcolm Gladwell to St. Ignatius, the science and spirituality of how we decide

Some call it intuition. Divine insight. Animal instinct. God’s Will. Whatever we label this natural ability to tune in to a deeper inner voice, the question remains: How do we develop discernment in the middle of chaos and indecision?
He may not call it the voice of God, but according to pop-sociologist Malcolm Gladwell, best selling author of The Tipping Point, relying on your first gut reaction is a good way to gamble when it comes to making hard decisions.
In his follow-up book about how we make decisions, Blink…, Gladwell looks at a team of firefighters interviewed about their decision-making process during moments of emergency. He concludes that when these professionals make decisions — like evacuating

May 8th, 2009
A Catholic perspective on religious tattoos

Mark your calendars: We are have moved into one of those rare periods where being Jewish — throughout history a fairly exciting state of existence — is also fun. In her recent article, “Tattooed Jews: a new generation expresses its Jewishness in controversial ways,” Monica Rozenfeld reports that God’s original chosen people — a group that included my own father — has discovered the world of devotional body art. What a rich and varied world it is. Jacob wrestling God’s angel, the children of Israel avenging Dinah, even Maimonides and Nachmanides in a tug-of-war over a loaf of challah — any of these images might serve as a badge of religious pride to turn the heads of the nations.…

April 29th, 2009
Part 3 - Practicing What they Preach

There are more slaves today than at any other point in human history.
— E. Benjamin Skinner, A Crime So Monstrous…
For most of us, it’s difficult to imagine that in 2009 there are more than 27 million people, most of them women and children, being held against their will. Many are abused or carried across international borders and exploited as servants, forced prostitutes or laborers. Many of them never make it out. If they do, it’s not unusual that they no longer possess their sense of humanness or the will to continue living.
Busted Halo’s three-part series on modern-day slavery and human trafficking aims not only to raise consciousness and concern about these two incredibly important human

April 22nd, 2009
Here's a chance to win the national advice columnist's new memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville!

Ann Landers’ successor shares the secrets of where she finds moral guidance and why a barbecue pit is the perfect place to find God
Interview and introduction by Kristine Gasbarre
The response to our Busted: Amy Dickinson article was so great we decided to be equally great and give our readers the chance to win her new memoir The Mighty Queens of Freeville. In fact, we are giving away THREE whole copies of the book. All you have to do is tell us what makes us so great in 1,000 words or less… or, you can just submit your name, email and shipping address so that we can pick a winner and send them this fantastic new memoir that critics are calling “Buoyant and bright” and “Great American storytelling…

April 20th, 2009
Spoken word poets offer a raw, inspiring and spiritual message

On a Friday night in the East Village of Manhattan, a diverse crowd of 250 people in chairs, on the floor and standing shoulder to shoulder packs the historic Nuyorican Poetry Cafe to hear poetry. Princess Souvenir, a Detroit native, sits in the audience waiting for the show to begin. Unapologetically defining herself as “spiritual” as opposed to religious, she believes that poetry venues are in a sense “spiritual… you hear and grow from it, it liberates you.”
Princess is not alone. Many who attend poetry venues like the Nuyorican sense that something spiritual is going on. Not only is the poetry live and engaging, but people are getting a consistent dose of faith, hope and spiritual…

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