It is my birthday, and I have taken an emergency house call from one of my professors. She offers to buy me lunch, and then we go into her dining room. She sits in front of her new laptop and explains the demonic forces that prevent her from using email. She has repeatedly tried casting out the spirits of the classroom projector, which refuse to bend to her will every now and again. I begin by asking the professor to take a few deep breaths before we jump in. We tackle these problems, then others that she remembers along the way. I never touch her device: since I won’t always be around, I want her to get comfortable with doing the troubleshooting herself. Every once in a while, I remind her to breathe and to read whenever a box pops up, before closing it. At each step I explain what is happening, what she is doing, what to anticipate, and that it is all invariably okay. By the end of our session, we have managed to tame her mailbox, organize her data, and give her a foothold over the machine. Though she is hard-pressed to admit it, she feels better about using her computer. We agree to make a second appointment.Read the rest of There is such a thing as a tech chaplain.
Shamika Goddard is a student at Union Theological Seminary and a candidate for the Master of Divinity program, where she works at the intersections of service and technology. A first-generation college graduate, her past job titles include Party Hero and Customer Happiness Associate. She is @shamikalashawn on Twitter and techchaplain on Facebook.