Category Archives: Loose thoughts and musings

Padre Steve Plays Devil’s Advocate: The Complex and Often Confusing Issue of Religious Liberty

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World
It is a busy Saturday working around the house, working up in my attic and taking care of things that need to be done. So today a I am re-posting something that I wrote over a year ago, but with all the controversy over religious rights going on I figured that this would be a good read for those interested in a pretty good historical treatment of the subject. Have a great weekend.
Peace
Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

rockwell_worship

“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The First Amendment of the US Constitution

Religious freedom is a central tenant of the Bill of Rights and has been a central facet of American life since our inception as a country, in fact pre-dating our founding in some of the original 13 colonies most notably Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. Now before anyone gets the idea that I am about to write something in favor of limiting the freedom to worship or for that matter any limitation on religious practices I am not in fact I am a stalwart supporter of religion in the Public Square and not just mine. You see I am…

View original 3,445 more words

About these ads

Leave a comment

Filed under Loose thoughts and musings

An Evening at an All-Star Game

I was able to attend my first All Star Game tonight. I travelled with the Norfolk Tides fan club the Tidewatchers to Durham where we watched the all stars of the International League play the All Stars of the Pacific Coast League I the Triple A All Star game. 

It was a wonderful experience at a beautiful ball park. It was nice to be with friends from Harbor Park. Likewise it was nice to go to an away ball park of your division rival and be treated with absolute friendliness and hospitality. The Durham Bulls organization is amazing, first class all the way. They put on a fantastic show in the nicest Minor League ball park I have ever been to to see a game. The stadium and venue were amazing, the refreshment and beer prices very good for a ball park and as I said every person that I met, staff, vendors and fans were awesome. 

Since I am blogging from a bus I am going to sign off for the night.

Peace

Padre Steve+ 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Loose thoughts and musings

Muddling Through PTSD Recovery: A Chaplain’s Story of Return from War

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World
I was too tired to write anything new today, I started working to finish my latest chapter of my Gettysburg tome, but for whatever reason could not stay focused. Part may be due to the fact that I haven’t slept well this week. The past few weeks I have been reminded of Iraq almost every day, not only in the news, which seems always to be bad, but because the city has deployed a generator to a pumping station located just down the street from me. For those that did not serve in Iraq or Afghanistan this may not be a big deal, however big generators were and are ubiquitous and provide most of the power for our bases. The continues growl of the big motors that power them is something that you get used to when you are in theater, even small FOBs have them, silence is something that is hard to find. So when this recent adventure began it was unsettling to go out all hours of the day and night to the same sound that pervaded my Iraq experience everywhere I went, except in the small Bedouin camps. That produces some anxiety. So I figured I would re-post something I wrote about a year ago about my return from Iraq and my adventure muddling through life with PTSD. I hope that it is helpful to others going through this, or those who have to live with people like me.
Have a great night and weekend.
Peace
Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

400236_10151328400862059_541742014_n

“Captain, you do need time. You cannot achieve complete recovery so quickly. And it’s perfectly normal after what you’ve been through, to spend a great deal of time trying to find yourself again” Counselor Troi to Captain Picard in Star Trek the Next Generation after his encounter with the Borg.

Coming home from war can be harder than going. At least it was for me. I have always been a hard charger. When I was at war in Iraq I was at the top of my game but when I came back I was broken. I experienced things there that changed me forever and it has taken a long time to find myself again.

I came home with chronic, severe PTSD, anxiety and depression. I suffer severe Tinnitus and pathetic speech comprehension. The ringing in my ears is non-stop and in any kind of group setting or conference I struggle…

View original 1,015 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Loose thoughts and musings

The “Comfortable” Experts and the Real Soldiers

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World
I finally got to see a baseball game tonight and it was nice being out at the ball park. So tonight since it is late I am going to re-publish an older article but one that still has a lot of relevance as certain “experts” with no skin in the game keep advocating military actions of dubious wisdom and promote weapons systems that do not work as promised, are way behind schedule, are breaking the budget. It shows the complete disconnect between the pundits, politicians, and preachers, that unholy trinity who promote war and their benefactors, those defense industry contractors who leave the military which has been at war for over 13 years with weapons and equipment that don’t even support the battle and those that actually serve and put their lives on the line. But I am preaching now so I will sign off for the night. Have a wonderful night and weekend.
Peace
Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

“Too many people learn about war with no inconvenience to themselves. They read about Verdun or Stalingrad without comprehension, sitting in a comfortable armchair, with their feet beside the fire, preparing to go about their business the next day, as usual…One should read about war standing up, late at night, when one is tired, as I am writing about it now, at dawn, while my asthma attack wears off. And even now, in my sleepless exhaustion, how gentle and easy peace seems!” 

Guy Sajer “The Forgotten Soldier”

Currently well under one percent of Americans are serving in any branch of the military and of these not all have served with boots on the ground.  There is no shame for those that have not as land war is the prevue of the Army and Marines though a significant number of Sailors and some Air Force personnel have served alongside their Soldier…

View original 983 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Loose thoughts and musings

England Expects….Horatio Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar October 21st 1805

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World
It has been a busy day, time teaching and meetings taking much of the day. I am still writing my next Gettysburg article and like last night an evening at the ball park has been interrupted by some pretty rough weather. I got home in time to keep our living from from flooding. We live in the Tidewater area of Virginia. For those that don’t know what Tidewater means, it is a more inviting word than swamp. We have been our house for over 10 years. We have been through several hurricanes, tropical storms and a big nor’easter or five… Today we picked up around 3 inches of rain in under an hour. Our back yard and porch flooded and water spilled over the threshold of our French doors and flooded part of our living room. Thankfully we were standing at the door when the water started flowing in and we were able to fight the flooding. Likewise we were thankful that after our water heater blew out in February that we had our floors replaced with tile. Thus other than the inconvenience we survived. The same storm caused a lot more damage to the Virginia Beach waterfront and may have included a tornado touchdown. So for tonight I am republishing an article about Admiral Horatio Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar.
Have a great night and peace
Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

497px-HoratioNelson1

Admiral Horatio Nelson

“Duty is the great business of a sea officer; all private considerations must give way to it, however painful it may be.” Horatio Nelson

I have always been fascinated by the life of Admiral Horatio Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar. In fact I still have a biography of Nelson written for young people and published by American Heritage Publishers that I bought when I was in 5th Grade.

Since then there has been a lot of water under my keel but even today, about 43 years later I still am fascinated about the very heroic and flawed man who commanded the British Fleet on that day.

HMS_Victory

HMS Victory

In 1805 Britain was facing the threat of invasion by Napoleon’s French Empire which was allied with Spain. All Napoleon had to do was have he combined French and Spanish naval might to defeat the Royal Navy and…

View original 1,146 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Loose thoughts and musings

“The Artillery…Must Concur as a Unit” -Henry Hunt and the Union Artillery at Pickett’s Charge

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World
Today is going to be a fairly busy day and my newest article is again delayed. Since today is July 3rd and it is the 151st anniversary of Pickett’s Charge, I thought I should take a few minutes and re-publish an article on Union General Henry Hunt who commanded the artillery that smashed the Confederate forces on that climactic third day of battle and helped seal the doom of the Confederacy.
Peace and Blessings
Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

220px-HJHunt

Major General Henry Hunt

Fires are defined as the use of weapon systems to create specific lethal or nonlethal effects on a target. All fires are normally synchronized and integrated to achieve synergistic results.Joint Publication 3-09 Joint Fire Support30 June 2010 p.I-1

Major General Henry Hunt the Chief of Union artillery was the admitted expert of all the artillerymen present at Gettysburg. Prior to the war he had taught artillery theory and tactics at West Point and written the Army’s artillery doctrine. However, he was no mere theoretician. He was an excellent battlefield leader who had a keen eye to assess the tactical situation and effectively employ his batteries. Hunt also understood the change in warfare brought about by small arms, particularly the rifled musket and that artillery had become a support weapon instead of an assault weapon, something that Lee had not yet…

View original 2,626 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Loose thoughts and musings

The Forgotten Hero: Brigadier General George Sears Greene at Culp’s Hill: Night of July 2nd and 3rd 1863

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World
Very busy day teaching and working with my ethics class, so the next new Gettysburg article is still in process. Since it is now July 2nd and the anniversary of the second day of battle at Gettysburg I didn’t want to write about anything else, even though I am planning to write about the recent Supreme Court decision and the ongoing situation in Iraq. So tonight I am re-publishing this article about a nearly forgotten hero of that battle, a man who Like Strong Vincent on Little Round Top helped save the Union at Culp’s Hill, where he helped by his actions bring about a new birth of freedom.
Peace
Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

220px-George_S._GreeneBrigadier General George Sears Greene

On the night of July 1st 1863 Dick Ewell’s Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac on Cemetery and Culp’s Hill prepared for another day of battle. Despite a significant amount of success Lee’s Army had failed to drive the lead elements of the Army of the Potomac off of Cemetery Hill. As the evening progressed more Federal troops in the form of Henry Slocum’s XII Corps began to take up positions on Cemetery Hill as well as Culp’s Hill which Oliver Howard and Winfield Scott Hancock recognized to be vital to holding the Federal position.

The three brigades of Geary’s division entered the line to the east of Wadsworth’s division of I Corps along the northern and eastern face of Culp’s Hill. Key to the position was the placement of the brigade of Brigadier General George…

View original 1,421 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Loose thoughts and musings

Gettysburg Day One: John Reynolds’ Finest Hour

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World
Another day of writing, reflecting, discussing Gettysburg and other issues including what is going on in Iraq with other faculty. I have also been preparing for the first meeting of my Ethics elective for this class. The number of students in this class is the largest that I have had since I have been on faculty. It is always challenging because I am not exactly traditional in my teaching methods and since many of our students are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) majors at the undergraduate and graduate level our ethics course, though very introductory and more concerned with Just War Theory, it is new ground for many. All that being said today is July 1st, the 151st anniversary of the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. This article is one that I wrote for my Gettysburg Staff Ride class last month, Reynolds was one of the men who helped win the Battle of Gettysburg and though he was killed helped bring about the New Birth of Freedom.
Have a great night
Peace
Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

z_maritato_ironbrigadeforward1

While A.P. Hill and Harry Heth ignored warnings and launched their troops towards Gettysburg, Buford believing an engagement was in the offing sought out good ground to give battle and hold back the enemy until the army could arrive. This he found on the ridges west of Gettysburg. The choice of ground is always important and in this battle was paramount to the success of the Army of the Potomac. Buford alerted Major General John Reynolds and the cavalry corps commander Alfred Pleasanton to the location of the approaching Confederates on the night of June 30th. However, Buford’s warning, and that of the intelligence bureau came too late for Reynolds or Meade to take action on them that evening, nor give Meade “to dictate the choice of giving or accepting battle.” [1]

The Army of the Potomac had the good fortune of having Reynolds in this key position…

View original 2,729 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Loose thoughts and musings

The Gettysburg Campaign: Lee Moves North, the Battle of Brandy Station, Stuart’s Ride and the Relief of Fighting Joe Hooker

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World
It is now the evening of June 29th and 151 years ago two armies, the Army of Northern Virginia and the Federal Army of the Potomac were on a course that would lead them into one of the most decisive as well as the bloodiest battle every fought on the North American continent. This is a short introduction to the movement of the armies leading up to the battle. I am in the process of doing a major revision of it as part of my Gettysburg Staff Ride text that I use to teach that at the Staff College. That being said, apart from being less academic and detail oriented than I prefer I believe that it is a nice introduction to that part of the campaign for anyone with a casual interest in this battle. I will be posting more Gettysburg articles over the next few days, including a new one for my text on Robert E. Lee’s decision to continue his attack on the night of July 1st and if I finish it in time one on Pickett’s Charge. As for the last subject I have three articles on it already, two about the artillery and one about the tragedy of friends at war, dealing with Lewis Armistead and Winfield Scott Hancock. Those are all on this site. I have been working on the article on Lee’s decision the past couple of days, hopefully I will have it completed tomorrow. But then with me it seems that nothing is ever complete when it comes to Gettysburg, I am always reading, researching and discovering new things, some of which cause me to revise previous thoughts or ideas. While in the newer articles I seek to provide as much detail as possible, I also attempt to find current application for leaders, as well as to shape a readable and interesting story. That is harder than it looks. Barbara Tuchman so eloquently wrote “Historians who stuff in every item of research they have found, every shoelace and telephone call of a biographical subject, are not doing the hard work of selecting and shaping a readable story.” To find the balance is what I seek. While this article is less detailed and sourced than my other work, it does tell the story. So until tomorrow,
Peace
Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

on-to-gettysburg-900L

Lee with his Commanders at Williamsport 

Note: This is another of my preparations for for the Gettysburg Staff Ride that I will be conducting with students from the Staff College that I teach. 

On June 3rd 1863 Robert E Lee began to move his units west, away from Fredericksburg to begin his campaign to take the war to the North. He began his exfiltration moving Second Corps under Richard Ewell and First Corps under James Longstreet west. Initially he left A.P. Hill’s Third Corps at Fredericksburg to guard against any sudden advance by Hooker’s Army of the Potomac toward Richmond.

Once it was ascertained that Hooker was not making for Richmond, Hill’s Corps followed and on June 7th all three Corps were reunited at Culpepper. Lee’s movement did not go unnoticed, Hooker’s aerial observers detected the move, but Hooker after throwing pontoon bridges across the river and discovering that Hill’s…

View original 1,734 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Loose thoughts and musings

Star Trek God and Me: Ecclesiastical Tyranny Today, the Drumhead Revisited

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World
I have spent much of the day writing another chapter of my Gettysburg tome, after which I got together with my wife and friends at our local watering hole. This article is a few years old, but like last night’s is still relevant. Look forward to some material over the weekend, including the Gettysburg article. Have a great weekend.
Peace
Padre Steve+
P.S. Yes I am watching Star Trek the Next Generation episodes on Blu Ray tonight.

Originally posted on Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Passionately Progressive Moderate:

Picard being interrogated by Satie and her assistants (Paramount Pictures)

We think we’ve come so far. Torture of heretics, burning of witches it’s all ancient history. Then – before you can blink an eye – suddenly it threatens to start all over again. Captain Lean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) Star Trek the Next Generation “The Drumhead”

Back in May of 2009 when still struggling with faith, belief and God as I wrestled with PTSD and a number of other life issues I wrote an article entitled Star Trek, God and Me 1966 to 2009 . At the time I was pretty much a mess but as I wrote it I realized that all of life is connected and my Christian faith does not occur in a void that has no connection with the rest of life. It is this rediscovery of the reality of faith that helps guide me now…

View original 2,406 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Loose thoughts and musings