In Silicon Valley where tech is god and venture capitalists are prophets, one devout Christian and former tech CEO is hoping to bring the good word to the godless heathens of the tech industry.
His name is Vincent "Skip" Vaccarello and his tech industry bonafides include time at 3Com and a stint as CEO of Applied Weather Technology and Communications. As for his relationship with the big man upstairs, he runs the annual Silicon Valley Prayer Breakfast and he documents his spiritual journeys through the Valley on his blog Finding God in Silicon Valley. Today, Vaccarello has an interesting interview with New York Magazine about what might be America's least religious community.
Regarding the Valley's tech-worship, Vaccarello absolutely sees the technology can be a stand-in for spirituality:
The guiding principle of Silicon Valley seems to be that the world can be perfected through technology. That hope seems to substitute for religious purpose in a lot of the tech people I know. Is that something you've seen?
I’d agree with that. I have a friend who did a book called Soul in Silicon, and his conclusion was that Silicon Valley is actually a very spiritual place, but that some of it is what you mentioned — people are, in a way, worshiping technology and success.
What I’ve found is that God is at work in Silicon Valley in the lives of many people. There really is a very committed group of people who have the desire to help others in their faith, who are committed to charity, who want to make the world a better place.
As for what can bring Silicon Valley types back to church, it seems that bursting bubbles and legitimate acts of god will do the trick:
You're saying there's a counter-cyclical thing going on? When the tech bubble bursts and things are really bad for Silicon Valley companies, it will be good for Silicon Valley churches?
I do think there are absolutely those opportunities. I remember back in 1989, when the earthquake happened, Silicon Valley churches were packed with people. People were shaken up by it. People were saying, "There has to be something else."
Regarding the always-contentious issue of techies vs. the homeless, Vaccarello hopes a techie Road to Damascus moment could help alleviate some of the Bay Area's problems in that regard as well. "I would hope that someone who is a follower of Christ would approach it differently," Vaccarello explained. But convincing a 22-year-old Googler to find Jesus is not Vaccarello's actual purpose, he says. "There’s probably nothing I could do to convince such a person. It may sound odd, but it’s up to God."