Busted Halo
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August 2nd, 2007
Our search for order in the darkness

A friend of mine just left her husband. She told me that she had been unhappy in the marriage for a long time but couldn’t find a way out. “I had seen a psychologist and a lawyer,” she said. “But I couldn’t act—it was too confusing, too painful. I felt overwhelmed. Then one day last week I was driving down the street and I said, ‘God, please give me a sign. Give me some sort of sign and I’ll leave.’ It was a street where I’d always wanted to live. I was driving and praying, and I looked up and saw the poster that said For Rent…. I knew what to do.”
Though I wanted to be a good, supportive friend, I have to admit that a part of me secretly recoiled at these words.

July 31st, 2007
Does Springfield Get Religion?

In a recent print “interview” with USA Today, Homer Simpson explains his theology this way: “Every time I see my sweet girl Lisa, I believe in God. Every time I see Bart, I believe in the devil.”
Now, those of us who have seen the movie – contributing to a worldwide opening weekend box office of $168 million – know what he meant.
Well, sort of… The Simpsons Movie is not about …religion. Like the TV show, it is about a family and a community in which religion plays a part. But many of the spiritual elements present in the show’s past eighteen seasons are present in the movie, driving the plot and complicating the lives of the Simpsons family and the residents of Springfield.

July 23rd, 2007
The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde: The Challenges of Cohabitation

Recently I received a letter from a Pure Sex, Pure Love reader–we’ll call her Bonnie, to protect her privacy–and I thought it was such an important topic that I wanted to share it with the BustedHalo community.
Bonnie is in her early 30s and her boyfriend, let’s call him Clyde, is in his late 30s. They’ve been dating for more than three years and have lived together for the past year. Even though the two share the rent, make plans for the future and have joined their lives in a very intimate way, there’s been no discussion of marriage. In fact, Clyde hasn’t even said “I love you” yet. When Bonnie brought up marriage in a light-hearted way—for the first…

July 11th, 2007

Our readers sound off on Dr. Christine Whelan’s latest Pure Sex, Pure Love column
Readers responded from around the world with great passion to last week’s column on the notion of whether men are inferior to women. Below is a selection of their responses.
<<Read the original article here.
My father’s a frequent complainer about the way men, particularly fathers, are portrayed in the media—one of his personal bugbears is commercials which depict the dad as clueless about how to do laundry, make food, etc. However, he recently said to me of my new boyfriend “He’s lucky to have you—and I’m sure he gets reminded of that frequently.” Dad, we’ve…

July 9th, 2007
How different faith traditions help get couples ready for the days after the big day

From rings to registries and videographers to wedding planners, getting married is an estimated $161 billion industry in the U.S. But preparing for lifelong commitment often seems to fall by the wayside when couples are presented with the pressing concerns of party planning: Should the candy-coating on the dessert almonds be the same color as the dinner-menu cardstock?
This week, Hollywood takes the focus off of “bridezillas” and puts it on marriage preparation courses. In “License to Wed,” which opened Wednesday, Robin Williams plays the “Reverend Frank,” a clergyman of unspecified denomination who puts his charges through a series of tests-including an exercise…

July 2nd, 2007
Are men inferior to women?

As our June 16 wedding day approached, my fiancé got a lot of advice from married coworkers and friends about how to navigate his future relationship. It boiled down to two similar messages: “Do whatever she says” and “She’s always right.”
He smiled and nodded at these bits of “wisdom” but with a few weeks to go before we took our vows, he told me he was getting a little concerned. Was I going to change into some sort of bossy she-monster after our wedding day? Was he signing up for a life-sentence of being wrong and apologizing?
It’s the dead-man-walking trope that is so common in our modern discourse about relationships: Once a man gets married, he’s…

June 12th, 2007
Surviving your Catholic Wedding

Pop quiz: May a Catholic couple get married on the beach? May the bride boogie down the aisle to a modern tune?
Bemused? Things are changing fast in the wedding business.
From 1857 to 1957 American weddings would have looked fairly similar: Most couples got married with family and a few friends present, followed by a nice lunch afterward; grand weddings were reserved for the wealthy elite. But starting in the 1960s—and then really picking up steam in the 1980s—the wedding industry took on a life of its own. From rings to registries, videographers to wedding planners and welcome baskets to party favors, getting married is a $161 billion industry. Engaged couples, priests and wedding guests are struggling…

June 4th, 2007
The National Catholic Singles Conference

In just a few weeks, more than 500 Catholic singles will head to San Diego, California for a weekend of panel discussions, socializing and prayer about the vocation of singles and the search for a perfect match.
The National Catholic Singles Conference was founded in 2005 by Anastasia Northrop. There have been conferences in Denver, Chicago and now San Diego, and because of its popularity, there are plans for east, west and central U.S. conferences in coming years.
What happens at a single’s conference and why is it so popular? According to one of this year’s conference organizers, Michele Fleming, director of the Office for Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Diego, it’s an opportunity…

May 21st, 2007
What makes a date? What makes it great?

According to our recent BustedHalo survey, respondents said they went on their first date, on average, at age 16. But what if you’re in your college years and beyond and haven’t had a meaningful relationship experience? You’re worried that you don’t know the “rules” or that you’ll make a rookie mistake.
Often it’s the simple things that trip us up in the world of love and dating, especially for young adults who get into the dating game a bit later. Here are some basics – and no matter how old you are, or how many dates you’ve had, it never hurts to remember where things begin:
What Counts As A Date?
This seems like a simple question, but it’s one…

May 15th, 2007
A review of One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding

Planning an expensive and elaborate wedding has become part of the modern quest for happiness, and an ever-growing battalion of wedding professions is to blame for our misguided approach to marital satisfaction, Rebecca Mead argues in One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding.
In the last three decades, simple family nuptials have been transformed into a $161 billion consumer bonanza. And the blushing bride has become Bridezilla— obsessed with the idea that the candy-coating on the dessert almonds must match the color of the menu cards.
One Perfect Day charts this evolution with chapters on wedding planners, bridal registries, destination weddings, gown sales and a separate section with…

May 7th, 2007
Do you lie about what you do on a first date?

Nina, a 27-year-old anesthesiology resident in New York City, met a man at a bar recently. After some flirtatious small-talk, he asked her what she did for work. “I told him I was a health professional, and he assumed I was a nurse. It’s so smooth when I tell guys that I’m a nurse. They smile and that’s the end of it,” she said. “And when I tell them I’m doing anesthesiology, they say, ‘Why aren’t you in pediatrics? Don’t you like kids?’”
Mark, a 32-year-old investment banker, said he is hesitant to tell women he first meets about his job. “I feel like they light up with dollar-signs in their eyes. I want to know that they are interested…

April 26th, 2007
Seeing Planet Earth for the first time

The ocean was placid and calm as a group of ten of us held our breath for what was about to come. Suddenly, with awe-inspiring grace and fury, the surface of the water broke and a giant great white shark rose to a height of nearly fifteen feet, completely suspended in mid-air as its teeth clamped around the neck of an arctic seal. We sat slack-jawed in amazement before some of us started shouting, “go back, let’s see it again!”
Move over “American Idol,” you too “24,” there is a new show that packs more drama, more breathtaking beauty, more moments of utter disbelief than anything else currently on television. “Planet Earth” represents the next era of television.…

April 23rd, 2007
A Catholic engaged encounter weekend

If I could offer one piece of advice to a Catholic couple preparing for marriage it would be this: Sign up for a Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend right now.
Engaged Encounter is an intense weekend where you and your fiancé have the opportunity to question, examine and deepen your relationship with each other and with God. If a successful marriage is built on communication, the experience of Engaged Encounter weekend will be the cornerstone.
You think you know everything about the one you love? This weekend will take you to a whole new level. The workshop is divided into sections— Openness in Communication, Signs of a Closed Relationship, Decisions in Marriage, Married Sexual Intimacy and Forgiveness…

April 20th, 2007
The Sopranos, it's All in the "Family"

Earlier this week, the Paulist Fathers —you know, the people who run this fine website—were the beneficiaries one of the more unusual product placements in recent memory when the Paulist-founded Humanitas Prize, was showcased on The Sopranos…right before it was used to bash someone’s head in.
To quote its network’s old slogan, “It’s not TV. It’s HBO.” As the legendary series makes its way through its final season, its impact on pop culture is secure.
Two hours into the last call for “Bada-Bing” and Baccalas, there haven’t been any major on-screen “whackings.” At least not yet. But it still feels like we’re…

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 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 10th, 2007
Kiss and Run: An interview with the author of a new book on commitment-phobic women

We’ve all heard about men who are “afraid of commitment.” Self-help books warn women away from these men, saying that these guys will break a girl’s heart. But women are often terrified of commitment, too.
Do you find fault in everyone you date? Do you always think you can do better? Do you avoid relationships altogether because you’ve been hurt in the past? In her new book, Kiss and Run: The Single, Picky, and Indecisive Girl’s Guide to Overcoming Her Fear of Commitment, Elina Furman tackles this issue head-on.
Ladies, are you afraid of commitment? Guys, are you dating a commitment-phobe?

In this column, I write a lot about the challenges and benefits of relationships,…

April 2nd, 2007
Was Jesus blindsided?

I envy those people who say that Jesus is their best friend.
I’ve never been able to understand how people are able to think of Him as My Buddy Jesus, confiding in Him like they would a best friend. I have no problem telling Him my innermost thoughts, but when it comes to receiving the satisfaction that one receives from sharing with a real best friend, I’m like the little girl who’s afraid of the dark. It’s not enough to know that God is watching over me; I need “God with skin on.”
Part of what was missing, I thought as I walked to the subway, was the feeling that Jesus could truly empathize with all my sufferings.
I knew He suffered more than anyone else ever has or will. Yet, it seemed…

March 26th, 2007
It's not just another four letter word

Five weeks ago I slipped and fell on the ice on my way home from the gym, fracturing my arm bone straight across the top, right at the shoulder. Your shoulder is connected to your chest, back and neck—a central point that controls the whole upper body—so for weeks, I couldn’t open the cereal box or a bottle of water or the very-necessary Tylenol. My fiancé, Peter, had to do just about everything for me: He was getting some of the “in sickness” parts of our wedding vows a bit sooner than he’d expected.
In the mornings, he’d come over to help me get my day started. At night, he’d cut my dinner up into bite-sized pieces. Mostly, he forced me to slow down by renting…

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…

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