Most beginnings start with an introduction, so here is mine. My name is Kevin and I’m a software developer in Colorado Springs, CO. I was initiated into the use of open source (OS) software through my job.
It wasn’t until I was married and made a budget, however, that I really delved fully into OS software. I have many hobbies including graphic design, music, and video/audio production, and as a single guy I sunk all kinds of cash into them because I enjoyed them. It wasn’t too long after my wife and I were dating more seriously that I was, um, educated in the wastefulness of my financial ways. So, I got on a tighter budget and being already familiar with OS software, I started looking for projects that supported my hobbies.
As time went on I gradually replaced all of my proprietary (and partially pirated) software with OS alternatives. As I got further into OS, I realized just how powerful the tools were. I also realized some of these tools could replace some of the software my wife was using (Oh, how the tables turn!) and also that Windows and Mac aren’t the optimal platforms for most OS projects (even harder for my wife to swallow than the suggestion that Gimp replace her beloved Photoshop). Then began the slow, prodding process of trying to convince her to “OK” conversion of all of our home computers to Linux. Of course, she finally saw the light – or at least a small flicker – and let me take the plunge. I moved everything to Fedora 8 a few years ago (which is what I used at work at the time) and immediately danced the jig of open source independence.
Since then, I’ve tried out, championed, fought with, and given up on a plethora of projects and distributions. The ride wasn’t without it’s speed bumps, but as time has gone on I (and my wife too ) have grown to love the freedom and community of using, supporting and being a part of OS projects and OS culture in general.
But that’s only the OpenSource part of this blog. There’s also the Church part…which may, admittedly, seem a bit orthogonal.
First of all, let’s talk about what this Church thing is not. This isn’t a church of Linux where we worship the software gods and sacrifice on the virtual alter of ones and zeros…or a community created religion where everyone gets to contribute to a hodge-podge belief system that is in the end completely worthless to anyone.
While those things might be interesting to some people, I’m simply just interested in helping churches and non-profits by advocating the use of open source projects and concepts to help them accomplish their purposes and day-to-day mission. Let me give you a little background on why that’s interesting to me.
I was raised in church by my parents and have continued in the Christian faith my whole life (although my faith in Christ has taken a somewhat windy road and is much different than my parents’). In my life, I see the Christian community always lagging behind the rest of the world in many different ways. Whether music styles or marriage advice, it seems that about 20-30 years after things have gotten popular in mainstream culture that “the church” finally figures out (if they ever do figure anything out) that many things aren’t as non-Christian as they originally thought and are then embraced and subsumed into church culture as the “new way to realize God’s potential for you so that you have a better Christian __fill_in_the_blank_here__”. While this can be a good thing, let me stop and say that this bothers me a lot for many different reasons.
The main reason is that it seems from my perspective that church culture is more often shaped by secular culture rather than Christ and his teaching. It also bothers me that church culture is following and not leading the way in many avenues of secular culture change. One of these areas is open source culture. As a part of this blog, we’ll discuss and decide how well OS culture matches with Christian teaching and why it’s very ironic, at best, that OS culture is being driven much more from “secular” geographies than our “Christian nation” of the U S of A. In contrast, I want to see the church not only effect, but also directly drive culture in many positive, Christ-centered ways. I believe OS culture can be one avenue to do so.
I’ve had the idea for this blog (and many related projects that will hopefully follow) for 3-4 years now, and I’ve finally decided to put my money (and time) where my mouth was…and is. So, here I am at the edge of the cliff. I hope that we can not only come together to help our churches and non-profits, but also that this is just the beginning of something I can’t even possibly imagine.
Most of all, I want to say “Welcome to the conversation!” I hope you enjoy everything to come about the intersection of open source culture and the church and that you’ll join me in making this a successful community.
ps. Many thanks to Hope Presbyterian Church (http://hopepres.com/) for transferring the opensourcechurch.com domain to me.