- By Dr. Ernie Prabhakar
- Published 03/19/2008
Dr. Ernie Prabhakar
Dr. Ernie Prabhakar has “been becoming” a Christian for all his life. Though born in Chicago, his family traces their Christian heritage back nine generations to the beginnings of evangelical Christianity in India. He was deeply involved with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship throughout his eleven years in higher education: 4 years at MIT for an S.B. in Physics, and 7 years at Caltech for a Ph.D. in Experimental Particle Physics. During that time he ran numerous Bible studies, discipled over a dozen students, attended Urbana five times, and translated the gospel into calculus!
Upon graduation in 1995, he decided that he ultimately preferred people to particles, leading him to spend two years doing business analysis at the Boston Consulting Group in Los Angeles. While attracted by the data-rich world of business, he ultimately became disillusioned by consulting’s overriding focus on pecuniary advantage (“To a scientist, money is like toilet paper: it is bad if you don’t have it, but you don’t want to spend all your time thinking about it!”).
By the grace of God, everything came together for him when Apple acquired NeXT in 1997. Initially hired as a summer contractor because of his UNIX background, he rose to senior Rhapsody Product Manager within six months (because the rest of the department was laid off :-). He was instrumental in the launch of Mac OS X Server 1.0, as well as of Darwin, the open source core of Mac OS X.
Today, he is the UNIX specialist on the Mac OS X Product Marketing team, focused on Open Source, Web 2.0, Grid Computing, and other “geeky” technologies in line with his scientific background. He is also one of the key leaders of the Apple Christian Fellowship, which sponsors speakers, socials, and other events to help believers at Apple bring their “whole person” into the marketplace.
He and his wife Sandhya reside in Santa Clara, California where they attend Kingsway Community Church. He can be found online via LinkedIn or Facebook. He maintains numerous blogs and websites (technical, political, philosophical, personal) including this one, where he is attempting to blog through the Bible.
The most powerful position in the universe is receptive powerlessness.
Because the greatest power source is not in the universe, but outside it.
During worship today, we sang a chorus that I didn’t quite understand, but nonetheless struck me as true:
So we lay down our cause, that our cross may be found in you.
I must admit, I’m still not sure how to parse that, but the unmistakable point is that the ‘end-game’ of any human effort is to lay down everything we are striving for, and die on the cross of our own shame and powerlessness so that God may resurrect us to His glory (at a time of His choosing). Which of course becomes the beginning of a whole new ‘game’.
This doesn’t invalidate anything I said yesterday (I hope), but it does complete (and perhaps redeem) it. Power is not intrinsically bad, but it is intrinsically dangerous. Being a man, though, requires taming danger, not avoiding it. We need to wield power in order to do what we must to bless this world, but ultimately we need to lay down our power in order to let God do that which only He can do.
I’ve been amazed lately by the number of people who’ve been seeking — and taking! — my advice:
* a female sysadmin pursuing career change took my advice to get a Nordstrom makeover
* a Harvard researcher adopted my chromatic triploid to characterize his personal mission
* an Engineering group enthusiastically adopted one of my long-neglected Marketing proposals
* someone debating me on the Internet had a dream which convinced him that my position was correct
In virtually all these cases, I didn’t do much to push my vision. Or if I did, it was in a slightly different direction than what actually happened, often with considerable latency. The lesson, I suspect, is that “Man plants the seed, but God gives the increase.”
On the flip-side, we’ve had several minor “problems” in the last few days (a tire blowout, a chipped tooth). Nothing serious, but enough to remind me that this is a war. “Great miracles always come at a great price.” And I am largely inadequate to protect myself from any serious (or spiritual) attempts to harm me or my family. Which is why I need to keep running to God, and sheltering in His house. As well as continuing to link arms with my brothers in Christ, so I neither walk nor stand alone.
Father, I come before you, and prostrate myself before — or perhaps on — your altar. I confess my own limitations, my humanness, and my folly. I acknowledge that you and you alone have the power to create lasting transformational change; that without you, I can’t even safeguard myself, much less transform myself or protect my family. Help to be wise and powerful and loving enough to do everything I can and must, but most of all keep me humble enough to receive from you everything I am not. In Jesus name, and by His blood, I pray. Amen.