At Last, It All Makes Sense

When I was young, I assumed that I would be a teacher.  A professor, more specifically.  I would charge through the academic gauntlet, completing my doctorate and sharing the wisdom of the ages with younger, eager devotees.  

I began focusing on literature, but eventually more or less split my efforts between literature and ancient history, both eminently practical fields in terms of finding gainful employment.  Not that I wasn’t working, mind you.  I couldn’t afford college without working at least one and often two jobs.  But these were not what you would think of as career paths.  I wound up rather quickly in academia, but on the support staff side rather than on the faculty side – understandable since I was only 19.  I wandered through cubicle-world for almost nine years, during which time I transitioned from generic office support staff into IT.  
It was 1993 or so, and the Internet as we know it was being born.  The World Wide Web was coming into being, and I remember gazing with fascination in our basement offices at the graphics and pictures appearing on the computer screen in front of me.  Much different than the command line interface I was accustomed to!
I left corporate and academic IT support and moved into the technical training field a few years later, an act of God that saved me from what in the day we termed going postal.  I had no idea what I was doing, but there were a few people willing to give me time to learn.  I learned not nearly as much as I should have, but enough to get by and enough to gain credibility.  My oldest friends found this a source of nearly constant amusement, given me decidedly untechnical earlier years.
The technical folks I now spent my time with didn’t have a lot of patience for end users.  We referred to them by their login names rather than their full names, and liked to joke about their particular technical foibles.  Even the IT folks with a more humane streak in them didn’t have time to explain the intricacies of technology to people less versed in it.  There was a marked divide of awe or derision between those who understood the workings of computers, and those who simply needed to work with computers.
I found that this was something I could do – take technical concepts and translate them into ordinary English for people.  I wrote textbooks, taught many classes for corporate IT wizards as well as ordinary human beings.  I attempted to sell curriculum to post-secondary institutions around the country.  When the tech bubble burst in 2000, I left corporate IT training to begin teaching for a small private college that was transitioning from a vocational training institute into a full-fledged academic institute.  My combination of real-world technology experience and technical certifications, combined with my undergraduate liberal arts degree, allowed me to teach both techie courses as well as literature and history courses.  
It was mad, giddy fun, designing and teaching courses on subjects ranging from biometric security and wardriving to the Crusades and Shakespeare and science fiction as literature.  That all gradually came to an end as the institution’s accreditation grew more prestigious and therefore more picky.  But it was fun while it lasted, and it lasted over a decade before my course load was limited to areas more closely aligned with my Masters of Divinity degree.  
All of which is to say that theology and technology share more than just a few letters of the alphabet.  My practice at translating technology for people honed skills that (hopefully) today help me translate theology for people.  In both cases, the translation is never exact.  But in both fields, that level of exactness is rarely what the end user wants or needs.  
In any event, thanks to an old friend for sharing this article which I thought was quite astute and clever.  Computer folks will understand this more, but other folks might find it worth a read as well.

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