Henry's Zoo

Living Out in Faith

October 16, 2018 • ☕️ 5 min read

Just rambling off some thoughts about the podcast Nadia and I are releasing: Hope in Source. Please check out Nadia’s post first!

Parallels

I started out in open source like a lot of us: wanting to get my name on a commit and counting on “getting” something out of it. But as I unintentionally committed myself to this vision, I learned to enjoy being a part of something bigger than myself. It wasn’t all that dissimilar to my faith: I wanted to adhere to some rules to gain something; but as I continue on I learn that I’ve already been given everything in Christ and to live from abunduance from the inside rather than the outside. The last few years has a real test of faith in many ways: whether it be struggling with physical health in need of hope, moving to a new city, both joining/leaving Adobe, and ulimately quitting to pursue more of open source itself. Along the way I realized how my views on faith and open source shaped one another.

I’ve always felt that open source pushed against culture in many of the same ways that faith did: the idea of selfless service (why do we call ourselves maintainers/stewards, on behalf of others) to others, a focus on building a sustainable community (volunteering, tithing, etc), stewardship of our lives (time/money is a gift), and engaging in creativity (God is creative). To me both the beliefs/practices of faith and open source engage us in a way that moves opposite to the default self-centeredness we find ourselves thinking and engaging in.

Faith and Work

When I quit my job back in March, I said I wanted to explore more of what open source itself was about vs. focusing entirely on writing code (or doing what we typically expect someone to do for someone doing “open source full time”). That “expectation” has haunted me for some time and it hard to do anything different; it’s a reason why I feel like doing full time open source at a company wouldn’t ever be the same. I feel like in any other environment I wouldn’t have even given thought to this idea.

So I was elated at the opportunity to partner on this with Nadia. Why should we limit being a maintainer to just code, what of all these other possibilities? Maintainers clearly do have all these other responsibilities, why not focus on them?

Imperfect Work

But we didn’t have any big aspirations for this podcast! After all, that’s how we came up with the kind of format that we have. It was hard for me to not want to “prepare” and study beforehand to be able to have something to say, but we both didn’t want to turn it into some kind of journalism or research.

Rather we just wanted to share what we knew in a casual chat (as if we weren’t recording). It’s in that sense that I feel proud that we attempted to embody some of the virtues that we talk about in the podcast itself (to walk the talk): whether it’s about how we aren’t making this for some kind of external validation but more from an internal motivation of wanting to discuss and learn more (#3) or not wanting to either rush out a “release” and just do things at our own pace and making a set number of episodes to push against this idea of content for the sake of content (#4).

Does everything have to be so perfect? The mic quality isn’t the greatest, we both hate the sound of our voice, I have no sound editing ability (I probably missed a lot of things, so you’ll probably enjoy hearing the sirens of NYC in the background), we aren’t especially knowledgable in theology. And yet here we are about to release a podcast. I hope that this kind of idea inspires in a way that you can feel our intentions in the way the podcast was actually done. God uses inadaequte, imperfect people in amazing ways and we can embrace that.

I’m so glad I was able to be a part of this: it’s been a project that I really felt free to do just whatever - I didn’t have to lookup how people did podcasts before and follow it or set expectations on the number of subscribers or if we should make money for it. It made it a joy to work on even if looking back it was a lot of work for the last 5 months. Not caring about the result really helped to push things forward all the while we tried as hard as we could to come up with a good title, artwork, topics. I learned to let go and just enjoy a good discussion with a friend vs. simple wanting to cover certain things.

Public Faith

There are lessons to be learned in so many ways we aren’t thinking of that may be discovered in both learning/living in faith, so I’m really looking foward to the further discussions we will have with one another and the community. It’s been such a blessing to be able to chat with Nadia; in some aspects I don’t know of anyone else that I’ve been to really connect with about these two subjects in depth!

We do have similar fears about releasing something like this: faith/religion has it’s stereotypes and saying something as deeply personal as this can be very scary as you don’t know how people will respond. But it’s just such a core part of who we are and we’d like to make it a more common point of discussion especially as we move to a world that is using so much open source and wanting to understand how to deal with community.

I’m happy to discover despite much difference in worldview we still have much common ground to explore. I’ve learned a lot more about myself, how to talk about the topics of faith, and enjoy it. That’s already success in my book, whether we release this or not, whether we have a good or bad reception to it.

It’s like what we talked about with evangelism, we’re not going to convince most people of anything via argument. But I think I’ve been noticing how many things that seem secular are “religious” in nature and even the smallest things point to their own kind of cosmology and view. Believers will experience doubt, and non-believers may feel a sense that there’s something more to be had. And through the telling of a narrative in a community of friends, we can share in stories that tells us about who we are, what makes us human, and where we find our hope.

Thanks

Much thanks to Nadia for going this little journey for the last few months. Please let us know what you think! Stay tuned for a new post that goes into the process behind this effort (behind the scenes)!

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