Busted Halo
Features : Politics & Culture
 
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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…

April 8th, 2009
Without eating your weight in Peeps

My freshman year of college I was irate. After twelve years of Catholic school I expected some sort of vacation at Easter. My secular college however had no intention of living up to that expectation. It was eye opening that first year to realize that, not only was there no vacation, no one even acknowledged that Easter was on its way.
In high school, Easter had always been a time to celebrate. (If nothing else, to celebrate the end of Friday fish fry lunches.) On Easter morning, following a huge post-church family brunch, I remember gorging on chocolate bunnies (especially their ears), Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, PEEPs and other assorted sweets, usually giving myself a stomach ache as I cast off the forty-some…

April 6th, 2009
Part 2 - Children Saving Children

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

March 31st, 2009
Take the Freshman Survival Guide Survey!

When we published Busted Halo‘s® First Annual Freshman Survival Guide in 2005, we thought we had a good idea on our hands; we just didn’t know how good. Since then, the Guide has grown exponentially and we are proud to announce an exciting and important step in that growth: Hachette Book Group will publish the first print edition of Busted Halo…‘s Freshman Survival Guide next year.
Our goal is to take the first print edition of the Guide well beyond what we’ve been able to do online. Of course, it will still encompass a wide range of college-life issues from academics and relationships to dealing with roommates, social life and everything else that affects new college students. What makes

March 30th, 2009
When a friend's life is consumed with Christian group activity, resentment brews

Twenty minutes after our agreed upon meeting time, my best friend Andrea rushed into the coffee shop smiling and apologetic. The devil on my left shoulder won the wrestling match taking place in my conscience and I said, “I don’t think Jesus would have been late.” My tone was not joyfully sarcastic, but biting — with a clenched-teeth smile like a ventriloquist’s dummy.
It was unusual coming from me. Generally, I’m pretty maternal when it comes to my friends. (I spent the weeks before Christmas knitting hats and scarves in pink and purple while listening to hours of relationship complaints. In my Palm Pilot are individual birthday notices accompanied by a list of appropriate…

March 25th, 2009
A younger generation expresses their Jewishness in controversial ways

Evocative, disrespectful, proud, antithetic: these are just some of the words used to describe Jews with tattoos. Seth Alamar, who has 30-odd tattoos, calls most of his markings religious or “Jewish.” He has heard all the reasons why a Jew should not get tattooed — including the false myth that he would not be buried in a Jewish cemetery. But despite all the controversy surrounding ink in the Jewish faith, he did not think twice.
“The reason [I got tattoos] is not because I am not religious, it is not because I do not believe in G-d, or even because I am not a devout Jew,” Alamar said. “It is simply because it is my body and I don’t need anyone to make decisions for me.”
Alamar,…

March 23rd, 2009
Part 1 - An interview with E. Benjamin Skinner

There are more slaves today than at any other point in human history.
— E. Benjamin Skinner, A Crime So Monstrous
In his 1999 book, Disposable People…, author Kevin Bales declared there were 27 million slaves worldwide — living, breathing, feeling human beings forced to work or suffer punishment, often both.
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. Most of them have absolutely no knowledge or power that could have enabled them to avoid entering their slavery situation. And

March 21st, 2009
An early morning epiphany while the world's biggest band played at my Catholic college

I clutched the barricade in front of me with all my strength, afraid to lose my prime spot as the crowd pushed from behind. Feet numb from standing for hours on frozen ground, I approached my fourth hour outside, armed with nothing more than a digital camera and granola bars. At 8:00 a.m. on the dot, it finally happened. U2 coolly strolled down the steps of Keating Hall — the same steps I have walked on the way to class so many times — took their place on stage, and launched into the first few chords of their new, psychedelic rock single, “Get on Your Boots.”
A week of rumors was finally put to rest as Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. performed at Fordham, as part of a special taping of Good Morning…

March 18th, 2009
A mother is torn when options are limited

I lead a double life.
To some that might sound glamorous; to others, intriguing; and there are those who might think it sounds plain exhausting. To me it is just something I have to do, because my son and daughter attend different schools.
Now, in New York this is not unusual. Our city offers, in general, something for everyone; parents have the choice of public, parochial, or private; single sex or coed.
Back in the day, where I grew up in The Bronx, every kid in a family went to the same school — either the parochial or public one in our neighborhood. The thinking was that it just made sense, and of course it was convenient for parents. There were no interviews or “spend the day with us” days to see if the…

March 4th, 2009
A Jesuit priest dares soon-to-be graduates to consider service

Unlike any time in recent history, college seniors are being forced to think long and hard about what’s next. Though some no doubt are struggling mightily to ignore that question for another few weeks, with the current economic crisis deepening and unemployment rising it’s understandable that young adults would have a lot of anxiety about it. For those who might feel paralyzed, I’d like to offer one suggestion: Be of service to others.
Look, you’re young, free and able to take a year and do something great for those who could really use your talents and energy. The Obama administration is encouraging more young people to consider some form of service. Grad schools look more closely at…

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