Busted Halo
Features : Religion & Spirituality
December 22nd, 2008
What will you give away?

How should we celebrate Christmas in tough times? Maybe the way we should have been celebrating the birth of Christ all along. All religious traditions call us to be generous and care for the poor and needy.
“All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.”
To see that saying framed and embroidered you have to watch It’s a Wonderful Life … very often and closely. Capra’s camera focuses in on the saying, which appears under the picture of Peter Bailey, as George and Uncle Billy discuss how to confront the run on the bank. George and Mary put up their honeymoon money to keep the “old, broken down” Bailey Building and Loan afloat, and out of the hands of miserly Mr. Potter,

December 12th, 2008
Before "Doubt" the Oscar winner found the spirit on stage in an "unwieldy" Jesus

With the much-anticipated release of Doubt, Philip Seymour Hoffman is once again receiving the kind of critical kudos reserved for actors who are generally tagged as the ‘best of their generation.’ His portrayal of Fr. Flynn, in John Patrick Shanley’s film version of his Pulitzer Prize and Tony winning play, has already garnered Hoffman a Golden Globe nomination. This is not the first time the Oscar-winning actor has dealt with difficult religious topics in his work however. In his new book, A Jesuit Off-Broadway, James Martin, S.J.—who served as a theological consultant to Doubt…—recounts his experiences as a consultant to the debut production in 2005 of the off-Broadway play “The

December 10th, 2008
Busted Halo speaks with the director of "Soul Searching," a new documentary about monk, writer and peace activist, Thomas Merton

Introduction and interview by Bill McGarvey
It is no surprise that a young seeker—as Morgan Atkinson was back in the mid-1970s—would be interested in the life of Thomas Merton. Merton’s journey from poet, artist and bohemian to poet, writer, artist, activist, mystic monk has all the required elements of adventure, risk and creativity that easily sets fire to the imagination of a young man looking to find his way in the world.
But, unlike so many fascinations that grip young minds for a brief time before being replaced by newer interests, Atkinson’s attraction to Merton’s life remained strong more than three decades after he first discovered the Trappist from Kentucky. After

December 10th, 2008
Forty years after his death, Thomas Merton still causes controversy

Forty years ago today, Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk and perhaps the most popular American Catholic writer in history, stepped out of a bathroom shower during a visit to Bangkok. Slipping on the wet floor, he grabbed a poorly wired fan for support and was electrocuted. For many years, Merton had unsuccessfully sought permission from his superiors to travel outside his monastery in Bardstown, Kentucky. A few months after a new abbot was elected in early 1968, he assented to Merton’s request to attend an interfaith conference that December in Thailand. En route he met the Dalai Lama, who called him a “Catholic geshe…,” or spiritual master.
Merton enjoyed paradoxes, and spoke of himself, like

November 25th, 2008
Surprising Info and Prizes on EACH DAY of Advent

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The Grand Prize drawing in our Advent Surprise Calendar contest — a Sirius Sportster 5 Satellite Radio with car and home installation kits plus a free six-month subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio (a value of over $200) — will be conducted Friday night / Saturday morning at 3 a.m. EST. Enter in today’s calendar posting.
Remember, all valid entries for a daily prize received between November 30 and 3 a.m. EST December 20th will be eligible to win our random drawing for the grand prize. There is no limit to the number of times you can enter (each entry however must be accompanied by the…

November 16th, 2008
Descended from the Jesus Movement of the 60s and 70s, The Twelve Tribes strives to restore true Christianity

When Shuvael and Matanah Hebert sold their upscale, four-bedroom home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to join a controversial Christian commune called the The Twelve Tribes, friends and family said they were crazy. But seven years later, the middle-aged couple insists that they have no regrets, despite sharing bathrooms, a living room, a kitchen and a washing machine with 40 devoted members in a community home in a working-class area of Brunswick, Georgia.
“It’s about surrendering completely to God’s providence,” insists Matanah, 45, who also left behind a well-paying chemist’s job. Matanah, who doesn’t wear makeup, perfume or jewelry because God didn’t…

October 9th, 2008
A personal encounter with Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen leaves a young reporter puzzled, inspired and intrigued

I recently learned of the Cause of Canonization of the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (the process by which Fulton J. Sheen may become a saint). While I’m not and have never been a Catholic, nor even religious for that matter, I feel compelled to share a deeply personal story involving him that intrigues, puzzles and inspires me to this day.
An Encounter With a King
In 1975, I was an intern reporter for WROC-TV news in Rochester, New York. The Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was a famous priest who wrote numerous books and hosted a television series entitled Life is Worth Living… (still seen today).
He’d also served as the Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester earlier in his career, and was back in town to deliver a noontime

October 8th, 2008
When a beloved family pet passes away, how do we help children face the reality of death?

We found out over the phone, while on vacation. The housesitter called us to tell us that he was at the animal hospital back home with our cat, Smokey. And then he put the vet on the line. We heard about age-related kidney disease, complete renal failure. We learned that medication and intravenous fluids might help keep him alive another month—or maybe just another week.

October 6th, 2008
A Parent, A Child, A Knife—and a Command from God. What Would You Do?

A few years ago during Yom Kippur, the holiest holiday on the Jewish calendar, I was in a little wooden synagogue on the Lower East Side of New York City. The rabbi, a venerable man whose voice carried throughout the temple, was extremely charismatic. For the first time in my temple-going life, I found myself listening intently to the sermon.

September 9th, 2008
Nearly 30 Years After His Murder, The Slain Archbishop’s Death Haunts Salvadoran Elections

On a hot and sticky Sunday morning, pilgrims pour into the crypt of San Salvador Cathedral to pray at the tomb of Archbishop Oscar A. Romero. Grown men and women approach the tomb on their knees, whispering, “reza por mi” (pray for me). The pious scene may strike visitors as unremarkable for a Catholic country, yet there is deeper significance here: It is an election year, and the pilgrims are predominantly leftists.

September 5th, 2008
Seeking the sacred dimensions of daily life

Faith, spirituality and religion are too often looked upon as the province of “experts” who spend all their time in places of worship. At BustedHalo.com we frequently hear from readers who desperately want to explore their spiritual questions but feel alienated from traditional faith communities. The fact of the matter is that the experience of sacredness is as unique and personal as our fingerprints, but we sometimes fail to recognize these moments as God’s way of speaking to us in our everyday lives.
“Where’s God?” is our attempt to look more imaginatively at the movement of grace in each of our lives and chronicle the countless different ways God is at work.…

August 23rd, 2008
Decades after he gave the Illinois senator his first job in community organizing, Jerry Kellman talks about Obama, his own religious conversion and both men's approaches to creating change

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…

August 12th, 2008
Amish teens flirt with modernity before deciding to embrace the church

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…

July 29th, 2008
In the past decade, hundreds of thousands from around the world have descended on Northern Spain to trek hundreds of miles on the Camino de Santiago. What is it about this 1000-year-old pilgrimage route that attracts them?

The modern-day pilgrim who struggles across Spain to the shrine of the Apostle James faces one more challenge in a church office that gives out an official certificate to those who complete the journey on foot or bicycle. A clerk asks: Was the reason for the trip spiritual?
For many of those who hike or bike the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage trail all the rage during the Middle Ages and catapulting in popularity in recent years, it’s not an easy question. In walking a segment of the route in June and another chunk five years ago, I found that the reasons people had for undertaking the trip were often mixed. In more than a few cases, the spiritual aspect of the long trek grows on them unexpectedly. It did for me, too, even…

July 23rd, 2008
Busted Halo's® Mike Hayes sends along his multimedia reports on World Youth Day from Sydney, Australia

This morning I traveled to Riverview for a Catechesis (teaching) session along with some young adults from Chicago who are active with Charis Ministries in Chicago—an organization that does retreats for people in their 20s and 30s (BustedHalo Retreats is essentially an affiliate of this organization).  Riverview is the site of a Jesuit High School where the Magis… Experiment is taking place. The Jesuits decided to gather young adults together from their various provinces and to do a type of retreat pilgrimage
the week before World Youth Day.  So my travel partners have been here in Sydney a week longer than I have.  After a brief catechesis I was able to talk with three very
impressive young

July 21st, 2008
Busted Halo's® Mike Hayes sends along his multimedia reports on World Youth Day from Sydney, Australia

I woke up this morning in my nice cozy hotel room thinking about my companions sleeping out in the dewy cold air at Randwick Racetrack and awaiting the Papal Mass amidst 150,000 young pilgrims. When I left them the place was packed and kissy-faced teens were starting to huddle together, others were breaking out footballs and hackey-sacks.  My only thought at leaving my 10 young adult female friends out there amongst the teens was simply: Better them than me.
However, revenge is often sweet indeed. Upon awaking a bit later than I had planned I tried to take a taxi over to the racetrack and was snubbed by all the cabbies.  No cars allowed anywhere near the racetrack.  So I took a subway to the Central Train Station and…

July 20th, 2008
Busted Halo's® Mike Hayes sends along his multimedia reports on World Youth Day from Sydney, Australia

CNS Photo
This morning the U.S. Bishops celebrated mass outdoors for American Youth at The Domain—a first at World Youth Day. It was a vibrant mass with superb music and great preaching by the Cardinal-Archbishop of Chicago Francis Cardinal George, who is also the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Since I’m traveling with Chicagoians I got to meet the Cardinal after mass and gave him a copy of my book, Googling God. He was a very gracious man and spent a good deal of time with the folks from his Archdiocese and engaged almost all of us in conversation. Considering that he’s still recovering from cancer and that his legs aren’t strong to begin with (he had polio as a child)…

July 19th, 2008
Multimedia reports on World Youth Day from Sydney, Australia

An on the spot report to start:

A consistent theme I’m finding among young adults here—and one that’s also been heralded by many members of the clergy here at World Youth Day—is the struggle of being embarrassed of being Catholic.  In secular society, religion is often a taboo subject, relegated to “a private matter” for most people. In other segments of the world, religion is a nuisance, at best, or a complete farce—something that is overly restrictive, or a fantasy that one tells themselves out of comfort. At World Youth Day those pressures simply disappear.
Below are interviews with some young adults who talk very openly about their struggles with being…

July 17th, 2008
Busted Halo's® Mike Hayes sends along his multimedia reports on World Youth Day from Sydney, Australia

Nearly 150,000 young people from all over the world have gathered in Sydney, Australia to meet, learn, share their faith…and to get an experience of the Pope up close and personal.
While there are plenty of scheduled events to attend, the most compelling aspect of World Youth Day is easily the opportunity to interact with so many different young adults from all over the globe. On the afternoon of the event’s opening I had the chance to interview some young women from Tonga—a group of islands in the southwest Pacific—…about the challenges of integrating their faith and Tongan culture. (Hear the interview here.)
My companions from Chicago and I ran off to the Opening Ceremonies later in the day

July 13th, 2008
Busted Halo's® Mike Hayes appears on Canadian National Catholic TV Network

On Sunday, July 13th Busted Halo® Managing Editor Mike Hayes will be featured on Canada’s National Catholic TV Network, Salt and Light at 7pm and 11pm (EST). The show is called “Catholic Focus” and Mike will be interviewed for the entire program by host Pedro Guevara-Mann on How to Minister to Young Adults in the 21st Century and the findings in his book Googling God… (Busted Halo® Books).
Salt and Light TV is Canada’s first national Catholic Television Network. You can watch the show live over the internet as well by going to their website www.saltandlighttv.org and clicking on “Live Streaming” just under the logo on the upper left side.
Mike will also be covering World Youth Day

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