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May 14th, 2007
How one 20-something turned a brief service trip into his life's mission

Each year hundreds of college students visit developing countries to volunteer on humanitarian projects, learn about another culture and foster solidarity with people whose poverty and trauma are shaped by the geopolitical actions of wealthy nations. While the lessons of the service trip continue to inform students’ actions, as time passes their intensity generally fades.
Not so Matthew Nespoli, a Villanova University alumnus and founder of Water for Waslala, a micro-development initiative that brings safe drinking water to isolated communities in the mountainous Waslala region of Nicaragua. Nespoli’s brief trip abroad in the summer of 2002 has determined the course of his life since.…

May 9th, 2007
You can't spell love without evolve

For most of my adult life, I was what you might call, a casual evolutionist. You know, the type of person who could handle your run-of-the-mill, cocktail-party conversation on Darwinism. All the obvious stuff just seemed to make sense, like how giraffes with longer necks had a better shot than their shorter cousins. Or that stronger lions killed more zebras than the weak ones. Or how Donald Trump is still able to date fashion models because…
OK, well, perhaps Darwin’s theory had its limits.
But during my recent breakup with my girlfriend, Linda—somewhere between the “I swear this is the last 3 am phone call” and the restraining order—I had an epiphany. With all the extra…

May 8th, 2007
Why Latinos are increasingly converting to Islam

As a girl in Catholic school, Khadijah Rivera dreamed of becoming a nun despite the fact she feared Jesus. She was frightened by her church’s bloodied statue of Christ nailed to the cross and was plagued with fear when receiving communion. “When I used to put the host in my mouth,” she says, “I never bit it. I let it melt because I was afraid to bite the body and blood of Christ.” Years later, as an adult, she says she has now gotten over these fears and learned to love Jesus more. The reason for her change of heart? Rivera converted to Islam.
According to Rivera, who founded PIEDAD, a Latino Muslim organization based in Tampa, Florida, with over 300 members nationwide, Latino Muslims are…

April 30th, 2007
A young nun's struggle

When Sr. Luma Khudher, O.P. speaks of her life and her countrymen in Iraq, she does not discuss politics, ideologies or even Saddam Hussein.
Instead, the 30-year-old Dominican nun talks about her friends and family, and her concern that they have food, water, and electricity. But even those basic issues are trumped by her biggest worry: Are her friends and family even alive?
Living and studying in Chicago, Illinois, Sr. Luma is far from the violence that grips Iraq, but while her physical self is sheltered her mind is constantly focused on people back home. She starts each day by visiting a type of small town newspaper website to check and see if friends or family have died during the night. “I don’t want…

April 27th, 2007
Busted Halo talks conversion, pride, and holistic faith with the leader of indie rock's would-be revolutionaries.

Hang around the Christian music festival circuit for very long, and you’ll invariably hear about mewithoutYou‘s Aaron Weiss. Everyone has a story. Some have seen him walking around the festival grounds, picking half-eaten sandwiches out of the garbage and finishing them. Others talk about how he and his friends live in a commune in Philadelphia, sharing their possessions and profits from the band to live a life similar to those in the early church. Most who’ve met him say you haven’t felt a real hug until you’ve experienced his bone-cracking embrace. Everyone swears there’s something different about him, something beyond guitar riffs and record sales.
But standing…

April 25th, 2007
Reflections on Virginia Tech and the importance of campus ministry

Ever since the Columbine high school massacre in 1999 and the Washington, DC Beltway sniper attacks of 2002, “lockdown” is a word that’s been lifted out of the penitentiary lexicon and dropped into student handbooks across the nation. When shots are heard, go immediately into a protective lockdown mode and await further instructions from authorities.
But how do you lock down a sprawling campus? How do you make hundreds of campus buildings, replete with entrances and exits, safe from armed attackers or hidden bombs? Is there any defense against malice and, if there is, how can you tell if and when it’s coming?
Wondering Why?
It is malice, by the way, that was operative in the Beltway snipings,…

April 24th, 2007
Helping people doesn't make me feel better

Despite my apparently wholesome life, I have a deep, dark secret, one so shameful that I must shroud my name in the mists of a pseudonym. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but volunteering, and otherwise helping my fellow man, doesn’t make me feel all that good.
At any given time and across the country, pastors, advice columnists and moms are repeating an old chestnut: if you think you have problems, lend a hand to someone else. Volunteering will take you outside yourself, focus your energies, and cause a warm fuzzy glow to pierce the dark clouds of your bleak, crabby mood.
Natural High
Indeed, volunteering is recommended for victims of much more than a sour mood. A cancer support website encourages sufferers…

April 18th, 2007
our readers and listeners respond

When faced with a horrible tragedy like the one that occured at Virginia Tech, we are immediately tempted to want to analyze and search for answers in an attempt to make sense out of utterly senseless acts.
While the search for understanding must continue, we believe that the best use of our space at this time is to offer our thoughts and prayers to the entire Virginia Tech community, especially the victims and their families who need it most.
We ask our readers at BustedHalo.com and our listeners from the BustedHalo show on Sirius satellite radio to send their prayers and expressions of sympathy to prayer@bustedhalo.com.
We will forward your emails to the Campus Ministers at Virginia Tech and publish them here.…

April 17th, 2007
The country music legend opines on God, politics and Bob Dylan

He’s a born again Christian who made his name in the 1970s with a song about the devil. He’s also a “Long Haired Country Boy” who is fiercely patriotic. Charlie Daniels’ 40-plus year career has never been short on contradictions so it came as no surprise that the Grammy-winning perfomer also wasn’t short on opinions either.
Daniels recently sat down for an interview with Fr. Dave Dwyer during Fr. Dave’s daily “BustedHalo Show” on Sirius Satellite radio.
BustedHalo: Now I know the tradition you were raised in was not Catholic, but you’ve got an experience of Catholicism.
Charlie Daniels: Yes, I do and it was a very special experience, and it was…

April 16th, 2007
A short course in Grey’s Anatomy

What is it about Grey’s Anatomy that transformed it from a sleeper, mid-season replacement show into a primetime phenomenon? Of course some will point to the well-written scripts or the diverse age and ethnicity of the cast that draw in large audiences. Or maybe it’s as simple as McDreamy’s hair. While all of the above certainly apply, the show’s characters are what young people across the country can relate to because, like them, they too have problems—big ones.
When, writer Shonda Rhimes created the series she claims her goal was to craft characters that an audience would want to hang-out with week after week. With approximately 23.5 million viewers stopping by every Thursday…

April 12th, 2007
Some highlights from the first 99 episodes

Fr. Dave Dwyer and Mike Hayes’ entrance into the world of podcasting in December 2005 marked a new chapter in the Paulist Fathers’ great tradition of preaching “old truths in new forms.” Their initial inspiration to create a program that would discuss questions of faith and spiritual seeking for people in their 20s and 30s has grown and changed in ways no one could have predicted. Barely a year into the experiment the success of the podcast has been spun off into the BustedHalo Show with Fr. Dave Dwyer a daily program on Sirius satellite radio. The podcast has also spawned additional programs including one devoted to Fr. Dave’s homilies and another that collects the best bits from…

April 11th, 2007
A former staff member wonders if the joke's on us

The door to WFAN’s studio opened wide catching my eye and as I looked up I was greeted with the words “What the f*** are you looking at?” from none other than the legendary shock jock, Don Imus.
I had no idea how to react. Was Imus serious or joking around? There was no time to react but I stalled with a stuttering, “Excuse me?”
Again the words bellowed at least 20 times louder, “What the f*** are you looking at?”
I decided that I needed to play ball and go toe to toe with the acid tongued, leathery skinned morning man and replied sternly, “You, ya ugly bastard!”
Imus smiled and said, “Well stop looking at me, there’s no need to be looking at me unless…

April 5th, 2007
St. Peter denied Him three times, how often have I?

Usually when St. Peter’s denial of Jesus is recounted every Holy Week I find myself feeling somewhat superior. After all, Peter refuses to admit that he even knows Jesus—and here I am standing proud in my pew as a faithful follower of Christ. But this year I’ve begun to see that scene from the Gospel in a different light. Though Peter denies Jesus I wonder if on that tortuous night he also displayed a form of conflicted courage as well.
All the other apostles ran away in fear that night, but Peter followed Jesus all the way into the high priest’s courtyard (in Luke’s Gospel he even enlists another disciple who is known to the high priest to help get him into the courtyard). Certainly this…

April 4th, 2007
Holy Week in Haiti

So look, if the divine made flesh really did roll into town to adulating crowds only to be betrayed, tortured, killed and then, holy god, rise from the dead, shouldn’t we be dancing in the streets?
Easter. The birthday of the church. The most holy Catholic festival. A day for really dressing up.
But if we’re taking it seriously, if we’re really taking to heart this utterly insane story of a savior executed and miraculously raised from the dead, doesn’t it call for something more than a dry-cleaned spring dress and a rack of lamb?
Shake It
Last Palm Sunday I was in Haiti, part of a group of Americans visiting the Caribbean nation to learn about grassroots efforts at environmental preservation…

March 30th, 2007
Beyond words and Into Great Silence

At the beginning of March, Philip Groning’s film Into Great Silence—a two-hour and forty-minute meditation on life in the Grande Chartreuse Carthusian monastery in southeastern France—opened at a theatre in New York City for a two-week run. But when each of the three daily showings continued to sell out, the theatre owners put a “Held Over” sign on the marquee after the film’s title. Now, at month’s end, it’s still playing to a full house. Patrons are buying their tickets on-line the day before in order to ensure they get a seat.
All this for a film in which, for the first two hours, the loudest sounds are of rain falling, birds chirping, an axe splitting wood,…

March 27th, 2007
A young Atlanta priest uses a popular morning show as his hip-hop pulpit

by Is God using Naomi Campbell to teach us a lesson? The man Atlantans know as “Father Crunk” seems to think so. Here’s what he had to say about the supermodel, whose cell phone assault of her former maid resulted in “mop duty” at New York’s Sanitation Department this month—”We need to teach bullies a lesson. Bullies need to have the fear of God in them when they start trippin’. You can deal with bullies and still be loved by God.”
For those who may be hip-hop impaired, “crunk” is a type of hip-hop music that originated from the South. A fusion of the words ‘crazy’ and ‘drunk,’ “crunk” music is meant…

March 22nd, 2007
How the history of Chile can help us

Imagine being tortured and raped, and then being forced to watch as the ‘evil-doers’ rape your daughter. All the while you know you do not have the information they want. You simply do not know where your son is, and these security forces want to find him.
No, this is not some plot out of a Stephen King novel. This atrocity actually happened in Chile in the early 1980s when the U.S supported, brutal Pinochet dictatorship was in power. As part of my formation as a Jesuit priest, I served in Chile from 1981-1984. Everyone was aware of the practice of torture in the country. The protest group Sebastian Acevedo regularly, and at great risk to themselves, publicly denounced the use of torture. The group was named…

March 14th, 2007
Robert Siegel's All Will Be Revealed

Robert Anthony Siegel’s new novel All Will Be Revealed combines an engrossing plot with intricately drawn characters and a rich historical setting to create a book that is both entertaining and artistic in a way that literary novels so rarely are.
The book tells the story of Augustus Auerbach, a successful, wheelchair-bound pornographer living in late nineteenth century New York City and Verena Swann, a renowned spiritual medium and the widow of adventurer Captain Theodore Swann. The two meet when one of Auerbach’s models forces him to attend a séance at Swann’s home. At first skeptical, Auerbach becomes entranced by Swann who is able to summon her failing powers to channel Auerbach’s…

March 6th, 2007
An exclusive excerpt from the soon-to-be-released novel, ALL WILL BE REVEALED, by a BustedHalo contributing editor

Verena Swann sat in her carriage, peeking through the curtain at the crowd of mourners filling the avenue. Derbies, bonnets, slick black umbrellas, here and there a pale, wet face like a camellia—pointed straight at her. They were waiting for her to open the door and get out, to become theirs—waiting for a woman who loved her husband so much she would not let him go, even in death.

Leopold, her brother-in-law, peered over her shoulder. “Look at this,” he whispered. “Thousands standing in the rain, for you.”

“For him,” she corrected. It was uncomfortable hearing the thought aloud. This was Theodore’s funeral, after all. They were here to honor him, to…

February 26th, 2007
A different kind of minority

The St. Vincent De Paul Catholic School elementary girls’ basketball team was winning.
Again.
The Nashville school was almost all black, and they were playing a mostly white Catholic school. The white girls showed frowns of frustration—even anger—as did their parents in the bleachers. After the buzzer sounded, the girls started leaving the court when a couple of white girls from the losing squad called the St. Vincent team “niggers.”
The event wasn’t a bad memory from the civil rights era, Crystal Shelton, 20, is now an African American basketball player at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, recalled the incident from her elementary school days as she tried…

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