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Discussion on: Software development and spirituality - what's the connection?

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krhoyt profile image
Kevin Hoyt

I have been in the field of developer relations for over a decade, and I have leaned heavily on my spirituality - faith - as a Christian to build and model teams. After all, few people groups have spread a message as successfully.

When I started this line of work, people in the field were called "evangelists" and that term strikes pretty close to home in the Protestant traditions. An "evangelist" is someone going out to "spread the good news". It is an outward, mostly one-way, activity. Then I began to think deeper about the choice of terms.

Take for example a "pastor" is somebody who tends to the local congregation. This might be akin to a local meetup. So now we have somebody out there spreading the news (conferences), and somebody tending to the local needs/questions (meetups).

Taking this further, not all ministries are evangelistic in nature. Food banks, building schools in less developed nations, etc. These activities are about serving, which I connect with the role of "advocate" used in developer relations today. And indeed, I feel that organizations that neglect the breadth of these roles/titles actually do the field a disservice.

If all we focus on is the serving, then the marketing team (evangelism) is going to feel neglected - or whatever misalignment of balance you want to infer. Too much evangelism, and you become a corporate shill. And so on ... balance is key.

Depending on how deep you want to take it, I have even found the way Jesus teaches and deals with the apostles to be very informative. For example, rather than give a direct answer, Jesus typically presents parables (stories). This allows the learner (hearer?) to make the mental connections themselves. I can give you an algorithm, or I can help you discover the algorithm.

Jesus even spent time meditating before a big "project". Or you can look at code as an act of creation. There are so many wonderful intersections between spirituality and our lives as developers (and of course simply as human beings). I feel it is a bit taboo to speak of in this manner though, so I really appreciate you bringing it up.

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codingmindfully profile image
Daragh Byrne Author

Thanks for sharing - wonderful to hear how your faith has let to positive contributions to your working life, that's a fabulous answer. And yes, it can be a taboo subject. But I find more and more developers who have some kind of larger framework, or at least a curiosity. Spirituality is both so personal and so universal. Interesting to hear your take on pastoral care and the sharing of information in Christian terms - absolutely spot on about how effective the sharing of the word has been!

I'd noted the evangelist terminology myself, I found it quite interesting.

There is so much to be found in the wisdom traditions of the world. I'm very curious about the commonalities and the differences, and applying what I discover to my own life and work.

Thanks again for your thoughtful answer.