Five Years of Patheos, Two Years of Me: #Patheos5yrs

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I wasn’t a Catholic blogger when Elizabeth Scalia asked me to join team Patheos Catholic a few years ago. I was a game blogger, as in video games, board games, puzzles: the sort of thing I do in my day job as a tech journalist and an editor of a game magazine. Elizabeth saw my writing on tech and games in a Catholic publication, and thought it would be neat to have a Catholic techie-gamer guy on the channel. It was as simple as that. That’s the kind of weird visionary wisdom the Anchoress brings to the party.

I left behind the game blog and started God and the Machine. The blog has taken off in unexpected directions as I pursued my interests where they led. That meant I started posting about history and archaeology on a blog that, nominally at least, was primarily supposed to be about being a Catholic in a media- and internet-saturated world. Over time, however, even though I never meant for this to be a “personal” (ie, confessional) blog, the topics and views wind up being a kind of snapshot of my brain, which is what blogging should be.

Here are a few links for posts that either got a lot of traffic and social media shares, or which were personal favorties.

Instagram, Vine, and Porn: What Parents Should Know: This is by far my most viewed piece, partly for the simple yet depressing reason that men will click on anything that says “porn.” But with 50,000 social shares, it was also circulated quite a bit, showing that the point of this blog–providing a Catholic perspective on the good and evil of modern technology–resonates with some.

The Mysterious Joy of Matthew Warren is a personal favorite because it generated so much response. People contacted me privately to say how it important it is to address mental illness from a Christian perspective, and how much work we have left to do as Christians to help those who suffer.

A Dishonest Cosmos: Controversy drives hits. Well, controversy and sex. When I saw the Seth MacFarland cartoon that pretended to tell the “history” of the Giordano Bruno trial, I know it was in desperate need of a fact check.

Archaeology is a long-standing passion of mine. If I could have been anyone, I would have been Indiana Jones. I was serious enough about it to begin my undergrad work in Anthropology, until I ran into a sad reality of the 1980s: the discipline of Anthropology, of which Archaeology is a subdiscipline, was hopelessly compromised by political correctness and intellectual fatuity. I gave up on it, but never lost my interest in the subject.

I got to go deep on the subject of Burial in Ancient Israel during research I did for my Masters degree, and I’m still pretty pleased with that series.

Another series that got a lot attention was an expanded version of research I did for a Games Magazine feature on the real history of Tarot cards. Some Christians hated it because they just KNEW that Tarot is evil. Occultists hated it because they just KNEW Tarot was an ancient pathway to hidden wisdom. Both were wrong, and I liked it because it’s what a historian should do: clear the fact from the myth.

Those are some highlights from my two years here: years that have also seen me through a number of personal trials and small triumphs. Just this weekend, I received my Masters degree in theology, with a concentration in Church history: something I’ve been working on for about three years.

My thanks again go out to Elizabeth and all my fellow writers here: members of a small community of writing Catholics who have gathered to support each other in prayer. Thanks for the chance to be counted among you. God bless.

PS: Chickens!

About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.


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