September 3rd, 2008
Contributing Editor Marc Adams Video Blogs from the RNC and speaks with a young delegate about the mixture of politics and religion.
September 2nd, 2008
While watching Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, my conservative-leaning heart sank a little. “There’s no way,” I thought, “McCain will ever out-charisma this guy. And who’s he going to pick for V.P. that would garner any real coverage or excitement? Pawlenty? Romney? Capable politicians yes, but…(yawn).”
The next day, when Senator McCain named Gov. Sarah Palin as his choice for Vice President I felt kind of giddy.
Real surprises in political campaigns are a rarity. But Sarah Palin is the unexpected plot twist in a movie where you thought you knew everything that was going to happen.
As someone who’s gotten tired of the media’s love affair with Obama (a fact that even Jon Stewart consistently mocks), I loved seeing reporters completely thrown for a loop by this choice. I also appreciated the irony in the Obama campaign’s first reaction being insult and derision. They’re all about healing the politics of division in this country, ya know.
Why do I think Gov. Palin is a good choice? First, she’s solidly pro-life. I’ve read some writers who say that abortion doesn’t matter in this election, but I beg to differ. It’s the first factor I look at in a candidate, and I think many Christians of all denominations feel the same way. I understand we’re not supposed to be one-issue voters, but this is still an important issue especially in light of Obama’s statement at a 2007 Planned Parenthood meeting that he would enact a federal law removing any and all restrictions on abortion when he becomes President.
Gov. Palin’s pro-life beliefs are more than a political ideal. She chose to give birth to her son despite a pre-natal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. According to a 2007 study in The New York Times, “About 90 percent of pregnant women who are given a Down syndrome diagnosis have chosen to have an abortion.” So Palin walks the walk.
And now faced with the pregnancy of her …
August 29th, 2008
Contributing Editor Marc Adams Video Blogs from the DNC and speaks with an Arab-American delegate from Democrats Abroad.
August 27th, 2008
Contributing Editor Marc Adams Video Blogs from the DNC and speaks with Politico.com’s Chief political writer Mike Allen.
August 23rd, 2008
In the early 1980s, when Jerry Kellman interviewed a young, idealistic Ivy League graduate for a $10,000 a year job with Chicago’s Developing Communities Project (DCP) he had no way of knowing it would be a meeting that would follow him for the rest of his life. Now, nearly 25 years later, he is frequently asked to speak about Barack Obama’s tenure as a community organizer and how it shaped the candidate’s sense of himself and the world. What many people miss, however, is how both men’s sense of faith has fundamentally altered the way they see the world.
While Obama and Kellman eventually moved on from DCP—each because they felt that community organizing was not effective enough to solve major domestic problems—they both continue to work for justice in their own, unique ways. Kellman, who was raised Jewish, had a conversion experience and is now the Director of Spiritual Formation for several parishes in the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. In this role Kellman—who was the basis for the character “Marty” in Obama’s 1995 memoir Dreams from My Father—leads small group parish missions, weekend retreats and discussions with participants about areas they have struggled in their life.
Kellman recently spoke with Busted Halo® about his experiences with Obama and his own evolution as an activist and believer.
BustedHalo®: You’ve received some attention as one of Barack Obama’s mentors since you hired him as a young man for Chicago’s Developing Communities Project. Are you surprised with his fast rise through politics and his run for President?
Jerry Kellman: I’m not surprised that people respond to Barack. He’s carried himself with integrity and he has had the discipline to be successful in his political career.
BH: What did Obama learn from you and DCP during his tenure there?
JK: He didn’t learn from me, he learned from the experience. Barack came in idealistic, but the streets of Chicago made him practical and realistic in a way he had not been. He learned he liked working with people in the …
August 12th, 2008
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 him in his buggy, he blasts his rap music and watches their expressions. “It’s priceless,” he laughs.
“But it serves them right. How would you feel if strangers came up to you all the time, snapping pictures?” he says, taking a swig from a carton of chocolate milk.
“Anyway, I’m in my rumspringa phase, so I guess I’m supposed to get a little out of control,” he adds, wiping away a chocolate mustache.
The Running-Around Years
Until baptized, Amish youth are not official members of their community and are given a lenient period called rumspringa (running-around) to sample the non-Amish world of drinking, car driving and wearing modern clothes. This permissive period for Amish youngsters—which some believe is becoming too lax—normally begins at 16 and continues to the early twenties, or until baptism.
A middle-aged Amish father says he’s not crazy about Amish kids today driving cars, drinking and staying out late. “They’re doing more than I ever did during my rumspringa,” he says. “But it’s a different era. Maybe they need more time today to decide if they want …
August 12th, 2008
If he’d done nothing more than pen the seminal “Wild Thing,” Chip Taylor would still be a force to be reckoned with. The garage stomp classic that The Troggs topped the charts with in 1966 has become so emblematic of the genre that if you mapped the DNA of rock ‘n’ roll Taylor’s name would no doubt appear on several strands.
But Taylor has done more…much more. During the 60s and 70s the Yonkers, NY native also wrote “Angel of the Morning” which has been a massive hit in three different decades—the 60s, 80s and, most recently, in 2001 with a reworked version by Shaggy. Taylor — who was born James Wesley Voight and is the brother of Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight and renowned geologist Barry Voight (talk about DNA…) — also wrote scores of hits for rock ‘n’ roll acts like Janis Joplin, The Hollies and Jackie DeShannon as well as country legends Wille Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Emmylou Harris. His songs have also been recorded by such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Fats Domino, Dean Martin and Bonnie Raitt.
After becoming disillusioned with the music business in the 1970s, Taylor switched careers and became a professional gambler who specialized in blackjack and horse racing. True to form, Taylor excelled at this as well, becoming one of the foremost thoroughbred handicappers in the United States. His skills as a card counter were so good that he was banned from major casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Europe.
On the ride home after a particularly successful day at the track in the mid 90s Taylor had an epiphany that changed his life. The revelation came while bouncing between two different radio programs featuring a preacher and a self-help guru. It led him to quit gambling completely and go back to making music. Eventually he began to share his insight — what he calls The Church of the Train Wreck — through his website and podcasts (and, soon, on satellite radio).
Taylor’s “church” isn’t intended to replace …
July 3rd, 2008
In a cultural climate such as the United States— where the sense of polarization along social, economic, political and religious lines seems to be the default posture — maintaining unity amidst great diversity has become a profound challenge. As this division grows it can become increasingly difficult to hold onto one’s identity while being open to the values, beliefs, and cultures of others.
How can I be a free person while living in community? This question is a practical application of the age-old philosophical problem of maintaining unity amidst diversity. How can I retain my uniqueness while belonging to others is a question faced by every family, every neighborhood, every village, and every nation, but it is by no means a new challenge.
As we celebrate our nation’s independence it is important to remember how this same issue was faced by our forefathers who, during the Continental Congress of 1776, appointed Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams to create a seal and motto for the newly declared United States of America. The thirteen colonies, with a highly diverse population, were to be one nation, one free people. The motto Franklin, Jefferson and Adams arrived at was e pluribus unum, the Latin phrase meaning "out of many, one" which can still be found today on the reverse side of the one dollar bill, within the Great Seal of the United States, on the ribbon carried by the bald eagle.
The opening of the “Pauline Year” on June 29, 2008 by Pope Benedict— celebrating the 2000 years since St. Paul’s birth—also reminds us that this same concept of unity out of diversity was taken up by Saint Paul 1700 years earlier. His model of the Church as the Body of Christ is ingenious: "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, and have all been made to drink of the one Spirit." (1 Corinthians 12: 13)
More recently, those seemingly diverse strains of thought—America’s and the Catholic Church’s—found their convergence …
June 19th, 2008
Ever since re-engaging with my faith a few years back, I’ve found myself hanging out with a growing number of other Catholics. They support me in my spiritual growth; they understand my obscure Catholic jokes. There’s comfort in this.
But I’ve always had many non-Catholic friends too, with whom I’ve shared interests and struggles and laughs. And they too, have made invaluable contributions to my faith journey.
They’ve given me a more balanced picture of Christ. My best childhood friend Jenny, whose family belonged to a non-denominational Bible church, had a picture on her bedroom wall. It showed a smiling Jesus sitting in the grass, surrounded by kids in modern clothes. Contrast that with the prevailing iconography at my Catholic school—a sad-faced Christ with a halo and a “sacred heart” pierced with swords. While that Catholic Jesus felt remote and scary, the kids-in-the-field God was like a favorite babysitter, someone you could go to for a hug when you skinned your knee.
I liked that image of Christ. Heck, I still do.
They’ve helped me delve more deeply into my own beliefs. On the cusp of my re-engagement with Catholicism, I had a Mormon friend and colleague. The extent to which he was able to explain his beliefs was inspiring. It made me take a good hard look into the center of my own faith. What do I believe? Why do I believe it? I checked out library books on Catholicism, the first serious study of my faith that I’d done as an adult. Five years later, I’m still reading. Even better, I’m still growing. …
June 14th, 2008
“When he saw those values reflected back to him in the people he came across like the Jesuit priests who taught him, his dad’s drinking buddies or Senator Moynihan who he once worked for, Russert drew a clear line tracing it all back to his father’s living room in Buffalo.”
May 29th, 2008
He was a Cal-Berkeley dropout who sought to impress his friends in a local computer and electronics hobby club with a slick, new invention that in turn ended up selling incredibly well and starting a revolution in the computer industry.
Stephen Gary “Woz” Wozniak, is best known as the co-founder of Apple Computer and the inventor of the first two personal computers, the Apple I and Apple II, in the mid-1970s. Since leaving Apple in 1985 he has directed most of his efforts toward philanthropy. In 2007, MTV Real World Alumn, Joe Patane, now, a social worker and close friend of Woz, asked for his collaboration in forming a new camping experience focused on creativity and technology alongside living in a communal environment. To achieve their goal Patane asked Wozniak to open his home to ten ‘emotionally and behaviorally challenged’ young men from New Jersey, ages 14-20, as the first host of The Patane Family Foundation’s ‘Dream Camps—in this case known as Camp Woz.
Clearly an introvert, Wozniak allowed Busted Halo® to send him questions via email and while retaining much of his guarded personality, we gained a slight bit of insight into some of what makes Woz tick. Patane and Wozniak also had the Camp Experience made into a documentary: Camp Woz: The Admirable Lunacy of Philanthropy, where both Wozniak and Patane, both eccentric, in their own way, gain respect and admiration from these young men who often find it hard to fit into the world around them, despite their gifts for art, music and other creative ventures.
Busted Halo’s Mike Hayes received these cryptic answers from Wozniak regarding “Life After Apple.”
BH: For some time after you left Apple the big question in the technology world was “Where’s Woz?” You just kind of disappeared (at least in the eyes of some people). What was that time like for you-what were you thinking about in terms of your own life’s journey?
Woz: Tons of philanthropy (starting museums, etc.), startup company to make first universal remote, raising family, tons
May 29th, 2008
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 eyes—is fresh off a six-hour car trip from Tuscaloosa. She is driving around a low-income black neighborhood of Aiken in her silver Honda Civic hybrid, along with three students from the University of Alabama: Ruthie Puckett, Crystal Murray and Jarvis Edwards. Like Geissler, they’ve come to help any way they can in the hours before Obama’s most important primary yet.
On streets like McCormick, Dillon and Toole, the houses sit close together. Many feature wooden front porches, held up by cinder blocks, and cars, as often as not, sit parked on the lawn. The four volunteers take turns hopping out of the Civic with a list of addresses where they have permission to place Obama door hangers. Together, they make up a diverse quartet, representing in miniature their candidate’s broad appeal. They are black and white, younger and older, and even American and Canadian—Geissler is a native of Nova Scotia.
In her almost stereotypically polite, North-of-the-border accent, Deb Geissler expresses her faith in Barack Obama. And she explains that in her eleven years in Alabama, she’s seen how much nastier America’s politics can be than their Canadian equivalent. For her, there is no clearer example than when she spoke with that man back in Tuscaloosa, wondering how he got his information or, frankly, why it would even matter.
Faith, the Facts
Nobody is exactly sure where the rumor came from. Newsweek, which not long ago published an article about unsubstantiated accusations against Obama (all of which the magazine found to be maliciously false), wagered that …
May 22nd, 2008
Raymond Lewis, a retired mechanic living in the Navajo Nation in Arizona, tucks away his rosary and rises from kneeling and praying in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary in his living room, “Tonight, I take peyote and maybe see the Mother Mary,” he says.
Lewis, a 67-year-old full-blooded Navajo, who preferred not to use his real name, says he’s not unlike many Native Americans who practice their Catholic faith alongside their native religion. “There’s no contradiction. Both religions speak of being kind and living in harmony with one another, the Creator and nature,” Lewis says as he straightens a picture of a Navajo goddess, hanging behind the statue of Mary.
The Peyote Way
Lewis says taking peyote (a hallucinogenic) has always been a way for him to deepen his Christian convictions by allowing himself to meditate on Christ and occasionally see visions of the Mother Mary and other Christian saints, including Saint Francis and Saint Anthony. “Peyote is a sacrament. When I consume it, I feel holy and more open to holy things.”
But Lewis emphasizes that the purpose of peyote—which federal law protects the right of Native Americans to use in religious ceremonies—is not to get high or see visions. “If you see something, that’s fine, but it’s more important that you use the experience to look objectively at yourself and see how you can become more holy, more righteous, more Christian.”
Knowing nothing about Catholicism, Lewis says he converted to the Catholic Church thirty-one years ago after seeing a vision of the Mother Mary while on peyote. The next day, a Sunday, he says he went into a Catholic Church and saw the same image of Mary on the wall and knew he had to be a Catholic. “You can’t tell me that didn’t mean something,” says Lewis, who was formally baptized less than a year after his vision and today still regularly attends Mass and confession. “Just like Quanah Parker, I saw something holy that changed my life.”
Quanah Parker, a Comanche chief in the late 1800s, was important in …
May 19th, 2008
Dr. John F. Haught has spent nearly 40 years as an educational innovator in creating an understanding of religion combined with educational facets of cosmology, biology and ecology. In 2002 he was the winner of the Owen Garrigan Award in Science and Religion which honors an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the fields of science and religion.
Haught was recognized in 2004 with the Sophia Award for Theological Excellence. The Sophia Award is given annually in several categories by the Washington Theological Union, recognizing leaders in religious education and ministry.
Aside from leading the Theology department at Georgetown University, Dr. Haught was the only theologian to testify as an expert witness in the landmark 2005 trial that ruled against teaching intelligent design in public schools.
What’s Really Going On?
His latest book, God and the New Atheism was published in March, and he was the Keynote Speaker at the Spirituality for the 21st Century Conference, May 16-17 in Iowa.
On May 16, he presented, ‘What’s Really Going on in the Universe?’, a lecture that looks at why so many scientifically educated people today view the cosmos as “pointless,” and also examines several 20th Century theological attempts to respond to modern and contemporary cosmic pessimism.
His May 17 presentation was titled, "Evolution and Faith: What is at Stake?" This lecture looked at post-Darwinism and the possibility of a plausible understanding of God that is consistent with traditional beliefs and core ethical aspirations while at the same time being adequate to the reality of evolution.
BustedHalo: How is spirituality in the 21st century different now for young people than in past generations?
John Haught: From my point of view, I have found that young people now desire a more holistic and relational spiritual experience. They desire to have a spiritual affiliation that takes part within the current natural world, which is a lot different than past generations.
Young people are torn between traditional spirituality, the destiny
May 12th, 2008
The Chronicles of Narnia has been a classic of children’s literature for over a half century, beloved by millions of readers the world over who are intimately familiar with—and highly protective of—the fantasy world created by C.S. Lewis over the course of the seven novels he wrote between 1949-1954. None of the devout, however, have the sort of perspective on Narnia that Douglas Gresham does.
Young Douglas was just eight years old—and already an enormous Narnia fan —when his mother, Joy Davidman, Christian convert who moved to England from the United States, married C.S. Lewis and moved into “The Kilns,” the home Lewis shared with his brother, Warnie, in Oxford, England. Gresham and Lewis often explored The Kiln’s lake and extensive grounds—which served as one of Lewis’ inspirations for the land of Narnia. On those walks, Douglas would listen to his stepfather’s imagination come to life describing how a particular mythological creature might live in those woods. Their adventures together amounted to a guided tour of Narnia by the author himself. (Much of this period in Lewis’ life is chronicled in the 1993 motion picture, Shadowlands.)
Following his mother’s death in 1960 and Lewis’ death in 1963, Douglas and his brother David inherited Lewis’ estate. Since the late 1960s Douglas has had an adventure-filled life of his own living in Tasmania, Australia, Ireland and now Malta while trying his hand as a farmer, radio and tv broadcaster and restauranteur. His work with the C.S. Lewis Company (formerly as director and, now, creative consultant) has also occupied much of his adult life. His stewardship of his stepfather’s estate reached its zenith with the theatrical release of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in 2005—on which he served as co-producer. This first installment in The Chronicles of Narnia went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of all time.
On the eve of the May 16 release of Prince Caspian—the second big-screen adaptation of Narnia—Douglas Gresham, 62, reflected on his stepfather’s life and his 30-year quest
May 9th, 2008
“I need to tell you something.” My mom said. “Okay.” I prepared myself for something tragic, when instead I heard, “I’m not Catholic anymore, I just thought you should know.”
My mother’s religious coming out was overshadowed by the more familiar kind of coming out that had occurred five years prior. I was seventeen years old when she announced she was a lesbian. I am as aware as I can be of how difficult coming out was for my Mom. It was something she had been grappling with for the 30 years of my parents’ marriage. But this new announcement baffled me at the time; somehow leaving Catholicism seemed much more entwined in her life long identity.
When I was six years old she graduated from college with a BA in Religious Studies and began work on her masters in Theology, but her dedication to the academic study and practice of religion and Catholicism began long before she decided to go to college. Hoping to achieve the fullest expression of her faith, she joined a convent when she was eighteen. During her year there she slowly realized that though she felt called in some capacity, she didn’t feel that it molded into the life of a nun. She left the convent, married my father and began our family. She became an active member of the local church, and assisted and led community service projects throughout our town.
The Next Best Thing
When she began college and fell into the scholarly study of Catholicism, she found the venue she was looking for—to know the religion as wholly as she could, so she could spread that knowledge to others. The priest-hood was unavailable, so she turned to the next best thing—teaching.
She put together high school courses in Peace and Justice and Bioethics at the Catholic school my siblings and I would all at some point attend. She took to teaching naturally, and improvised her classes with a skillful flourish. This 4’11″ woman could take problem students and reveal them as lumps of love to less compassionate
May 7th, 2008
The controversial comments made by Barack Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright has re ignited a debate among many Americans as to how religious leaders should approach political issues of the day when they are preaching to their congregations. The pulpit has historically been a place where these sorts of topics are discussed—often sparking controversy.
BustedHalo® is interested in compiling answers to the following questions from as broad a cross section as possible of preachers (priests, ministers, rabbis, imams etc) who regularly give sermons to their congregations.
Please pass this questionnaire onto as many priests, ministers, rabbis, imams etc as possible.
Click here to submit your answers
1) How often do you preach?
2) Have you ever addressed political/social issues in your preaching?
3) If yes, how often?
4) If no, why not?
5) Do you think it’s appropriate to speak from the pulpit on political issues?
6) Do you ever publicly advocate a position on a politician or political/social issue from the pulpit?
7) What has been the reaction you have experienced when you have preached on these sorts of issues?
8) Have members of your congregation ever asked you to preach on a particular political or social issue, and if so, what was your response?
9) Other comments/thoughts/anecdotes you’d like to share?
10) Given your experience, what are your reactions to the way Pastor Wright has dealt with the current situation? Has the press been unfair?
May 1st, 2008
At a local environmental action meeting I attended not long ago, I was surprised and encouraged by the diverse grassroots efforts at stewardship taking place all around me. There was a ten-year old boy at the podium who spoke of his passion for rescuing animals and caring for their welfare, while his mom on the same dais spoke of how their family decided to live without air conditioning in their Upper West Side Manhattan apartment as part of an effort to cut down on energy consumption—they went so far as to remove their radiators, take down walls, and renounce take out food for home cooked, healthy local meals that they ate together. None of the topics spoken about that day, however, fascinated me as much as the fact that our meeting took place at a synagogue lunch that featured a panel comprised of the Shul’s environmental action committee. The people in attendance felt that spirituality, sustainability and family time were interwoven. I’d had no idea the extent to which people’s spiritual identity could provide the bridge to their desire to live more sustainably.
Another panelist, a founder of the Shul’s Environmental Action group, was proud of the new, more efficient lighting system in the synagogue, and shared with us how he had traded in his city job to start Green Boroughs, an organization that promotes everything green in New York City, from leading walking tours to educating youth, to collaborating with businesses. For him, spiritual quest overlapped with the search for more meaningful work, and he met his wife in the process too.
At a recent conference at a local college “Nature, Ecology, and Society,” I learned about The Bronx Environmental Stewardship Program out of the environmental justice organization Sustainable South Bronx. This project is spirited and pragmatic: it offers “green collar” job training to a population that lives in the South Bronx, an area with a history of environmental and social degradation, and job placement with follow up in areas such as brownfields restoration, ecological and dwelling repairs, and …
April 30th, 2008
In the days leading up to the arrival of Pope Benedict in the United States, a number of media outlets contacted BustedHalo.com to get “our take” on the papal visit. During the interviews I did, I discovered a few themes developing that generally went something like: “Why isn’t Pope Benedict’s pending trip to America not a bigger deal?” or “Don’t the statistics about Catholic practice among young adults in the United States indicate that the pope is out of touch with the reality of American life?” There seemed to be some real skepticism about just how relevant Pope Benedict was and how much his trip to the United States truly mattered.
In an age where media and audience fragmentation continues to whittle away at our society’s sense of shared experience, it’s becoming more difficult to convince people of the importance of events that aren’t Presidential elections or Super Bowls. The task is made exponentially more difficult when it involves a public figure like the pope who doesn’t fit neatly into existing categories (liberal/conservative, traditional/ progressive etc). But since his return to Rome four days ago, my lingering impression of Pope Benedict’s time in the United States is that it was—to borrow a phrase from the lexicon of business strategy—a triumph of under promising and over delivering.
Since his departure on Sunday night, the most common reaction that I’ve heard from a variety of people across the board religiously and politically—and one that I share—is genuine surprise at just how important and positive Benedict’s visit turned out to be. Is that simply a function of expectations being so low for anyone who succeeded the charismatic and media savvy John Paul II? The last pope was certainly a tough act to follow, but the impact of last week’s visit can’t be explained away that easily.
Years after the sex abuse scandal first erupted, who could have foreseen how deeply wounded the Church still was and how powerful it would be to hear the Pope speak so openly and pastorally about this shameful time in our history? …
April 25th, 2008
In the eighteen months since the launch of Sirius Satellite Radio’s Catholic Channel, Robyn Gould has certainly seen the Catholic Church from more angles than most people ever will in their lifetimes. As the producer of “The BustedHalo Show” with Paulist Father Dave Dwyer, Gould is in charge of booking guests and planning a three hour show (7-10PM EST) every Monday to Friday night.
During her tenure, the thirty-something has dealt with guests ranging from Deepak Chopra to Cardinals visiting from the Vatican. In addition to her behind-the-scenes duties, Gould plays a major on-air role as a sidekick to Fr. Dave, bringing her perspective as a Jewish woman to the show’s lively discussion of faith, culture and current events.
Following the whirlwind of activity surrounding the show’s coverage of Pope Benedict’s visit to the United States, Gould reflected on her surprisingly personal reaction to the Pope’s time in Washington DC and New York City.
BustedHalo (BH): Last week during the papal visit, you and the rest of your colleagues on the Catholic Channel at Sirius were at the center of a number of events. What was that like for you both personally and as a producer?
Robyn Gould (RG): Well the pope’s visit started out as just an event for me—a very Catholic event. It wasn’t really something that I had much background about and honestly, really didn’t know what to expect, other than what I’d heard, about the Pope. Things like his nickname being God’s Rottweiler or that he was a more traditional Pope, kind of bringing back older traditions. I expected him to be much more rigid, not nearly as human and personal as he turned out to be. Honestly, it was a Catholic event for me at the beginning and that’s how I viewed it. But as the visit progressed and as I got to know more about him as a Pope and more about the itinerary and what was going on, it really became much more