Busted Halo
feature: politics & culture
October 25th, 2010

Looking Back and Moving Forward…

Busted Halo’s Editor-in-Chief says goodbye after six years


GoodbyeMCG.INSIDEWhen I took over as editor-in-chief of Busted Halo in May 2004 we were still living in a web 1.0 world. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist and updating this site involved working with a content management system that—compared to what we use today—might as well have been designed by Fred Flintstone. So much has changed so quickly in the world of the web and social media that it’s almost as if we now exist in a different universe.

Social media isn’t the only thing that has changed in that time. The conversation about the intersection of faith and everyday life that we’ve hosted at BustedHalo.com has grown exponentially. Hundreds of thousands of seekers have come here in an effort to make sense of their own spiritual journeys. In the past year alone, we’ve experienced a 40% increase in site traffic over the previous year and a 90% increase over the past two-years. We’ve covered controversial topics ranging from the reality of immigration with Busted Borders and homosexuality and the Church to everyday issues in Moral Dilemmas and the diverse viewpoints of our La Lupe and Girls Meet God bloggers. Our content has been picked up or featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, USA Today, NPR and the Houston Chronicle and we’ve won top honors from both the Catholic Press Association and the Associated Church Press.

Busted Halo has also taken major steps toward moving past the online world and into the realm of taking action. Our spiritual seeker adventure to the Camino as well as our service trip to Peru offered opportunities to put faith into action and our soon-to-be-released Young Adult Ministry in a Box (due early 2011) promises to be a great resource for parishes and dioceses across the US and Canada who want to reach out to people in their 20s and 30s.

Looking Forward

After six very busy and productive years, I’ve decided to move on and look for new opportunities beyond Busted Halo. I am very proud of this site’s transformation into the vibrant multi media platform that it is today. The discussion happening on Busted Halo has been unlike any other in the Catholic Church, or any other I’ve seen online. I’ve been inspired by the conversations that we’ve started, moved by the comments readers have shared, and honored by the support we’ve earned from so many during my tenure here. I am grateful to have been able to help shape this dialog, along with the support of our our small staff, many contributors and interns, and, you, our community of fans and supporters. My last official day here will be November 1 but I will remain affiliated with Busted Halo through The Freshman Survival Guide book that will be published in April 2011 by Center Street Books. (What? You haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet? Here’s how…)

After six very busy and productive years, I’ve decided to move on and look for new opportunities beyond Busted Halo. I am very proud of this site’s transformation into the vibrant multi media platform that it is today…I’ve been inspired by the conversations that we’ve started, moved by the comments readers have shared, and honored by the support we’ve earned from so many during my tenure here.

Truth be told, working in church-sponsored media was never even remotely on my radar screen before coming to Busted Halo. As a longtime songwriter/musician in New York–who also did editorial work to help pay the mortgage–I saw little evidence of how my interest in culture, politics and the arts was connected to my questions of faith and religion. What originally attracted me to Busted Halo was its mission of talking to spiritual seekers. The “spiritual but not religious” people who long for meaning and believe in some form of a transcendent truth but exist outside of traditional faith communities. These were people for whom issues of dogma and doctrine took a very distant back seat to the more fundamental question about the relevance of institutional faith communities in the first place. How was their everyday experience in the world connected to their spiritual instincts? What did those spiritual instincts have to do with established religion?

It wasn’t long after I began hosting this dialogue six years ago that I realized I was also talking to myself. Where did my own sense of faith fit into a world in which the public debate over religion increasingly seemed to be polarized—to the point of absurdity—between fundamentalist creationism and evolutionary atheism? On an even more personal level, how can I remain a Catholic with some sense of integrity while the seemingly never ending sex abuse scandal continues to reveal that some members of our family of faith are so deeply troubled?

A Grown-Up God

I wish I could say I had clear and easy answers to questions like these, and countless others, but I don’t. What I do know is that not facing these spiritual challenges and doubts really isn’t an option. If we are called to be mature adults in our personal and professional relationships why does our relationship to God all too often seem to be stuck at a fifth grade level? If I’ve learned anything it’s that these questions are enormously personal and they draw us into greater levels of depth, complexity and maturity in our lives. The conversation here at Busted Halo has helped do that for me and I hope it has done the same for you on some level as well.

The reason I came here and the reason I’ve stayed for so long is that I believe that having a discussion at the intersection of culture and faith that takes both the world and religion/belief seriously is essential. I trust that Busted Halo will remain a welcoming place for seekers of all stripes. Our world and our church desperately need it.

The Author : Bill McGarvey
Bill McGarvey is co-author of Busted Halo’s Freshman Survival Guide. Bill was editor-in-chief of Busted Halo for six year. In addition to having written extensively on the topics of culture and faith for NPR, Commonweal, America, The Tablet (in London), Factual (Spain), Time Out New York, and Book magazine, McGarvey is a singer/songwriter whose music has been critically acclaimed by the New York Times, Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Billboard and Performing Songwriter. You can follow him at his website billmcgarvey.com or on Facebook.com/billmcgarvey
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Brittany

    Thanks for all you’ve done for Busted Halo, our Church, and for me as a friend. I’ll miss our end-of-the-work-day chats. Best of luck in your next adventure. I’m sure, whatever it is, it will be inspiring, ambitious, and involve large amounts of Nerf weapons ;-) Keep in touch!

  • http://www.thejewspot.org Monica Rozenfeld

    Goodness, what you’ve done here is so unbelievable. Thanks for taking in a little Jewish girl with lots of questions about her faith and making her ask even tougher questions. I would never have opened up so much if it weren’t for you.

    I cannot wait to see what you do next, and look forward to thinking, talking, writing, etc. etc. with you always and then some.

  • Brooke Thomas


    It has been a long time…but thank you for all of your service. Your energy, humor and care have certainly helped shape this ministry (and those you have worked with). Many blessings in your future endeavors!

  • Marc Adams

    This is clearly the end of a great era at Busted Halo. You’ve done worlds for the site and for me personally. For that I thank you. You helped give me the confidence to write and contribute to the website in ways I hadn’t thought of before. I have always admired your vision and dedication. It really has been a pleasure working with you over the years my friend and I wish you all the best in whatever it is that comes next. Please stay in touch!

  • jack collins csp

    Billy, your enormous energy, your vibe and instinct for all things good about being catholic and being church always took me by surprise. you are ONE of a kind. I will miss you tremendously. Since my office is near yours I will have the happy/sad oppor

  • Nancy de Flon

    So sorry to see you go, Bill! It’s been great working with you. God bless your future journeys.

  • Tom Gibbons

    Bill, thank you SO much for everything that you have given to Busted Halo and to me personally. Your vision to have a place of a place to have an open conversation about religion is so desperately needed and has made more of a contribution than you know. I am going to miss seeing you around the office during my visits to New York, but I am grateful for our continuing friendship. God bless.

  • Eric Andrews, CSP

    Dear Bill, THANK you so much for bringing this site to a whole new level, and allowing me the honor of working and collaborating with you. If he were around, I know Frank would tell you at this point in your life: “The Best is Yet To Come and won’t it be fine…”

    God Speed,

  • Rick Malloy, S.J.

    Yo Bill,

    “I still lose my faith, nearly everyday… Turn Around.” The music is still playing. Peace, Mugs

  • Ginny Kubitz Moyer

    Bill, you’ve been so great to work with all these years. I’m really sorry to see you go. You’ve helped create a website like no other; so many of us have found an online “spiritual home” here, a place where we’ve been encouraged, enlightened, challenged, and affirmed. That’s a huge gift. Thank you and God bless you.

  • Daniel

    Good Luck, Bill, in the future as your leave BustedHalo.com. May God continue to bless your work.

  • Christine

    Beautifully written, Bill.

    In the last five years, you’ve become a close friend — in addition to the great editor who brought Pure Sex, Pure Love online. I can’t wait to see where your next adventure takes you.

    You rock–in all that you do–and I know there’s more greatness ahead.

  • Paul Snatchko

    Thank you for all the good work you have done at Busted Halo, Bill.

    May God abundantly bless you all your days!

  • Jarrad

    Bill, I am saddened that you are leaving Bused Halo but grateful for what you leave behind. Your passion and enthusiasm always made it a pleasure to work there. I wish you nothing but the best.

    BTW, whoever took that headshot of you knew what he was doing.

  • Mike Hayes

    As one of the founders of Busted Halo, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to what Bill McGarvey has been to Busted Halo, the Catholic Church and to me personally in our own professional endeavors and in friendship.

    Bill brought the site to new and exciting places. I think I speak for everyone who writes for the site that Bill McGarvey made all of our stories more exciting, more readable and in a word, better.

    Thanks, Bill for making us all just a bit better…not just as writers and creative people or even as Catholics! Rather, we are better for having known and worked with you.

    Peace Brother,

  • David Van Biema


    I’m sorry to hear of your leaving. Busted Halo was a resource to me when I was on the God beat at Time and it’s been a tremendous pleasure actually getting to know you, as well. I can only hope that the site continues to innovate, and I anticipate staying in touch personally.

    All my best

    David VB

  • James Martin, SJ

    Thank you for your constant creativity, your boundless passion and your hard work, which helped this site become not simply an enormous resource to doubters, seekers and believers, but also a signal asset in the Catholic Church. May God bless you in your next venture.
    Jim Martin

  • Mark Mossa, SJ


    Thanks for all you’ve done. And many blessings on what’s next!

  • joe

    It’s been nothing but a pleasure working with you and I wish you the very best with your next endeavor. You will be missed.

  • James Oliver

    Best of luck and may God bless us all.

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