When Tony Carnes, our award-winning senior news writer, arrived in Oakland to begin reporting this issue's cover story, he quickly found himself drawn into its fast-paced ethos: His rental car agent gave him a free upgrade to a new, metallic blue Mustang convertible. Tony got behind the wheel and headed for Highway 101, which stretches south through Silicon Valley to San Jose. There he had interviews scheduled with Christian executives in the computer technology industry.

A sociologist specializing in urban settings and immigrant communities, Tony brings a global perspective to his writing for Christianity Today. He draws on many years of research at Columbia University in New York City, where he is chairman of the Seminar on Contents and Methods in the Social Sciences. Tony also heads up the International Research Institute on Values Changes and its sister organization, the Research Institute for New Americans. With Anna Karpathakis, Tony edited the book New York Glory: Religions in the City (New York University Press, 2001).

Tony has covered white-collar crime for CT, as well as presidential politics, international religious liberty, urban affairs, and religion in public education. This broad experience prepared Tony for understanding the growing role for Christians in Silicon Valley, which is just emerging from a historic downturn with thousands of layoffs and a sharp increase in corporate bankruptcies.

According to Tony, several elements of Silicon Valley make it an unusual place. For example, one Silicon Valley obsession is being connected and available 24/7. One executive he interviewed had four telephone lines at home, plus a fax line, two cell phones, two e-mail accounts, and (at work) another four telephone lines, a fax line, and a beeper.

One of Tony's most memorable experiences from this reporting trip was attending a Bible study for Christian executives, during which they explored their personal, spiritual, and business struggles.

Tony found himself drawn deeply into their dialogue—so much so that, at the time, he asked himself: "Who's being ministered to here? Me?"

Back on the road again, Tony sought to measure the impact of the economic downturn. He pulled his Mustang off Highway 101 to visit a repo man (someone who makes his living off of repossessed autos). Peter Lauber of Auction City Inc. eagerly told Tony that business was up 12 percent from a year ago. "This morning, in fact, I just sold a $39,000 Mercedes!" Lauber said.

Every major assignment has a defining moment. For Tony, this moment happened after he returned to New York and thought he had lost 300 pages of handwritten notes. "I searched the parking garage, my offices 12 times, my home another dozen. Finally, I just lay my head on the desk and prayed. Calmed and determined, I started once more to look. The notes were at my feet, having fallen off the desk into some clutter."

And from those notes emerges a portrait of vital Christianity in the global technology marketplace. Our go-everywhere gospel has found a new home in Silicon Valley.

Related Elsewhere

Related articles appearing on our site today include The Silicon Valley Saints and A Church for Internet Entrepreneurs.

New York Glory, edited by Tony Carnes and Anna Karpathakis, is available at Amazon.com and other book retailers.

Recent Christianity Today articles by Tony Carnes include:

New Study Reveals Which Churches Grow | High standards are key, says new survey from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. (April 5, 2001)

Lost Common Cause | Christian focus on racial reconciliation is set back after Cincinnati's riots. (June 14, 2001)

From Lay Pastor to President | Macedonia's Boris Trajkovski uses both compassion and toughness to defuse a Balkan powder keg. (May 30, 2001)

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