We’re living in a day that is increasingly depersonalized. Nothing makes this
more clear than the impersonal computer glitches which are becoming more
frequent. I read about a letter that went out from the president of the Arizona
State University Parents Association to the parent or guardian of Truman
Bradley of Boulder, Colorado. The names and numbers were changed to keep the
persons anonymous. It starts out:

“Dear Parent or Guardian,
Congratulations on 987-65-4321’s admission to Arizona State University! We
commend you for the significant role that you have played in helping him to
prepare for this exciting and critically important time… We are fully
prepared to assist 987-65-4321 in making a successful transition from high
school to college.”

The letter goes on to elaborate on the acceptance of this young man, in each
case referring to him by his social security number.

As you can imagine, his father was quite amused by this. He then chose to write
back to the president of the parents association, whose name was Ms. Olson. He
opens his letter by saying:

“Dear Ms. Olson,
Thank you for offering our son, 987-65-4321, or as we affectionately refer to
him around the house — 987 — a position in the A.S.U. class of 2003. His
mother, 123-45-6MOM and I are very happy that such a prestigious institution of
higher education such as A.S.U. has extended this offer.”

Illustration by: John A. Huffman, Jr.,
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, CA

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About The Author

Dr. John A. Huffman Jr. served many years as pastor of the St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, California. Early in his ministerial career, Huffman served as an assistant under Norman Vincent Peale, pastor of Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. He has published several books, including “The Family You Want,” “Forgive Us Our Prayers,” and his memoir, “A Most Amazing Call.” He has served on the boards of several influential evangelical organizations, including Christianity Today, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, World Vision and the National Association of Evangelicals.

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