When I started Padre Steve’s World…Musings of a Passionate Moderate one year ago it was pretty much an place for me to deal with what was going on with me after coming back from Iraq in February 2008. When I started the site I was still pretty much a mess. Initially the site began as a place to deal with what was going on in me and as I began to write I began to realize that there was a lot more going on in me than I had imagined. As I began to hit the keyboard and fill cyber trees with my musings it was at times cathartic and even painful. I cannot recount the number of times that I would start writing and end up in tears trying to get hold of myself. This was especially true when writing about Iraq, PTSD and the spiritual crisis which enveloped my life over the past two years. There are still times when I will read some of those posts and feel the emotions well of from the depths of my soul and nearly overwhelm me. Since I am by nature a thinker who is much more comfortable in the realm of logic, fact and exploring concepts and not someone who is really wired well for these ugly things called emotions this was unsettling to say the least. It was like LCDR Data in Star Trek the Next Generation getting the emotion chip….very unsettling. As a result as a logical kind of person I had to find a way to make sense of my world and all the changes that I was experiencing.
As I did this the number of subjects that I wrote about began to multiply not just PTSD and Iraq and my struggles with life, faith and where I fit on the theological and political spectrum but branched out into baseball which I guarantee that you will see a lot more of, history, military history and military theory; theological, philosophical and ethical issues and matters of social and political controversy. As I wrote I began to live in the moment and in real time take on things that hit me where I was.
Enmeshed in the all that I was going through were my real life and current struggles with my father’s Alzheimer’s disease, struggles with my mother and my relentless push into the issues of life and death in the Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in the medical center where I serve and a multitude of other duties. Eventually I hit the wall and my boss rearranged my duties in order to give me the chance to begin to heal emotionally, physically and spiritually. I still remained engaged but he smartly limited me so that I would have a chance to recover. Thankfully, despite my initial reluctance to do this it was the right move. In December I had what can only be called a Christmas miracle where after nearly two years I began to feel reconnected to my faith and revitalized in life and ministry. Thankfully that continues even now.
While writing on this site I have encountered a lot of very kind people from all walks of life who have served to encourage me and by some stroke of luck on their part found that things that I wrote helped them or touched them in some way. I have also encountered some people who to be kind are idiots, but who in their own way also helped me along the path to doing better spiritually and emotionally and to better formulate the theological, philosophical and existential foundations of whom I am as a Priest, Chaplain and Naval Officer.
So without getting deeper into that right now what has been the result of this site? Personally it has allowed me to integrate my experience in Iraq with the rest of my life and to become much more settled and happy with the person that I am. The site itself and the subjects that I have written about have become much more diverse than I could have expected. From PTSD, spirituality, ethics and philosophy, history and military theory as well as baseball the site has dealt with issues such as gay rights, abortion, right and left wing ideologues, heath care, freedom of speech, the civil rights movement, the rights of minority groups such as Moslems, the nature of the American republic, national security counterinsurgency history and theory, local issues, music, television, relationships, football, the Olympics, veterans issues, relationships, the death of shipmates and friends, love and a ton of writing on various military history subjects as well as things much less serious and just simply humorous. There is a series of articles on my deployment to Iraq which is incomplete and that I need to finish, a number of series about Navy ships and even a alternative history about the Battle of Kursk.
It has also brought me back in contact with people in my life that helped me at various times or the relatives of those friends who have since passed away. I have had comments from people in Europe, Australia, other locations around the world and many of the 50 States.
The site has surprisingly to me had a bit over 851.000 visitors and had articles on military history and theory translated into other languages including Russian. The most traffic that I had in a 24 hour period was on November 5th 2009 when 6,713 visitors showed up, good thing it was cyber space or I would have never had enough beer or food. The most hits in a month were also in November with 112,672 while my average number of hits per day was 2251 in 2009 and 2878 in 2010. I have had articles linked to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Slate.com, the Huffington Post, Jay Mariotti’s ESPN blog and a bunch of other places that I never expected it to attract attention. In the coming year I hope that it will be even more successful.
People tend to find this site through a wide variety of search terms the most popular of which are: Star Trek, Kirsten Dunst, Checkpoint Charlie, Hitler, Martin Luther, Tom Brady, Joan Jett, Satchel Paige, Caen and Einsatzgruppe.
The top ten posts over the first year are:
Star Trek, God and Me 1966 to 2009 (May 29th 2009)
Halloween Book Burning Update: Bring the Marshmallows Please! (October 25th 2009)
I Miss the Music of the 70’s and 80’s (January 9th 2010)
D-Day Courage Sacrifice and Luck (June 6th 2009)
The Forgotten Cold Warriors (July 26th 2009)
Operation “Dachs” My First Foray into the Genre “Alternative History” (August 9th 2009)
Cowboys Stadium meets Seinfeld: A Scoreboard and a Nose that You Can’t Miss (August 30th 2009)
Now some articles that have not attracted as many hits but I think are worthy of mention are listed below. Some are more specialized in their emphasis but certainly worthwhile.
Remembering the Veterans in My Life…Memorial Day 2009 (May 21st 2009)
This is Nuts…The “Conservative Bible Project” (October 4th 2009)
The Manhattan Transfer: Why I Cannot Sign the Manhattan Declaration (December 2nd 2009)
Baseball in Between Life and Death in the ICU (May 7th 2009)
Padre Steve’s Christmas Miracle (December 24th 2009)
Jackie Robinson and Dr. Martin Luther King they Changed America (January 18th 2010)
Mark McGuire, Tony LaRussa and the Dirty Secret of the Steroid Era (January 12th 2010)
Padre Steve’s World Series Prediction and Book and Bible Burning Update (October 27th 2009)
My Life and Baseball: How Padre Steve Makes Some Sense of the World (October 15th 2009)
So what is next? Some of the things I want to do are to finish the Going to War series and continue to write military and naval history and theory. I also want to do more with baseball and begin to write more about the Negro Leagues as I have an idea for a book that I want to pursue this year. I figure that there will be planned and unplanned ventures in theology, philosophy, ethics and social issues.
Above all I hope to remain a moderate in all and try to always remain objective and not be captivated by any ideology. I will be writing an essay in the next few days about ideologues and the various idols that they fashion of their ideology, but that is not for tonight. I’m sure that those on the extremes of the right and left will not find that a comfortable subject but certainly something that needs for the sake of truth to be addressed.
I am hoping to be published in some professional journals in the coming year and as baseball season takes off I will definitely keep you informed of my view of that most wonderful of sports from my place in Section 102, Row B Seats 1 and 2 at the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish.
So I thank all of my readers who have through their reading and comments helped me through this past year and I pray God’s blessings on you all in the coming year.