I-It, I-Cyber, I-Thou

by Arthur W. Anderson

Funny. I’ve never heard of anyone really into computers complain about “Passwords.” Most must think righteously and thus go right on through. Even after my password has been initially accepted, I need a cadre of English teachers, lawyers, and technical experts to have a slim chance for it to allow me to proceed. Each time I try, the red letters of unacceptance bounce back so fast, it seems like something personal. In fact, I’m quickly reviving a big, chunky inferiority complex!

I find myself yelling back: “What in the world do you want?”

Absolute silence!

In my agitated state, I called the company technical experts. Good! Let me talk to somebody! The first response was a recording welcoming my call, informing me that certain securities have to be observed, but then added that they will never leave any questioner’s problems unsolved. That is why we’re in the business.

The next response was another mechanized voice asking routine registration questions, but which didn’t hear my answers. Then, waiting my turn, I got a real person on the line who really tried to help me. The first correction was to return to my original email address. Made sense. Then she gave me an eleven digit password with a combination of letters and numbers which looked like the numbers on a wanted prisoner’s photo in the Post Office.

Confidently, I approached the little window requiring my admission to our chosen email. Contrary to my expectation, even that was turned down. I cried and I laughed, in that order!

The Jewish mystic, Martin Buber, would call this an I-IT relationship. But since put-downs are put-downs shouldn’t there be a new I-Cyber something before we get to I-Thou. Thank God for the revival of “SOUL” which is the deepest dimension of all. And, thanks be to God I don’t have to sweat acceptance because the password is still Grace, justification by faith!