Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Is Steve Jobs a Saint?

The passing of Steve Jobs has created a sensation. Sympathy and adulation alongside a wonder whether he deserves so much attention.  Even more, the question of "sainthood" is providing a whole lot of additional reflection.

CNN's belief blog asked me to contribute a piece that posted today:

Short Takes: Are we turning Steve Jobs into a saint?

CNN asked four experts on religion and technology to weigh in on whether former Apple chief Steve Jobs is achieving a kind of secular sainthood. 

Excerpt from my brief take...

Let's be honest. Steve Jobs was no saint, that much is clear. Every day we know more about his character, most recently through the startling revelations in the best-selling biography published by Walter Isaacson.
Jobs could be callous and cold. He rejected paternity of his first daughter. He refused many co-workers the riches of company stock options. He thought of himself as smarter than just about anyone else he
ever met.
If "saintliness" is measured by the virtues of extraordinary kindness, generosity or humility, Jobs fails the test.
However, "saintliness" in religious practice is less measured by a person's moral perfection than his or her ability to serve as a mediator between the ordinary and the transcendent.
In lived religious experience, a saint is not always admired as a righteous person to be imitated. But a saint is always trusted as a negotiator, a bridge-builder, an esoteric "middleman," who removes obstacles, facilitates progress and promotes blessing.
Fundamentally, a saint is an intermediary who makes the intangible accessible and more readily available.

You can read the rest as well as others' responses to the question on the CNN Belief Blog.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cover - Worship across the Racial Divide (Jan 2012) Oxford University Press

Oxford just shared with me the image for the cover of my forthcoming book, due out January 2012

Oxford University Press (January 2012)