Tag Archives: Language

Names #2: Don’t Think of an Elephant

So this is a short series on why names matter. but more specifically it’s a series on why the book of Genesis talks so much about names. Because one of the greatest gifts that God gives to humans is create with Him, and to name that creation.

I’ve noticed that it’s trendy among younger Christians to use language that older generations find offensive. And I get that. After all, every generation stretches the boundaries of language. Otherwise we would never hear the word pregnant on television, and “sucks” would still mean what my mom thinks it does. But I think it’s important to not forget that the Scripture is telling a story in which the language we use, the names we choose matter very much.

And here’s why:

I have a friend who had been married to his wife for a decade when he found out that she had cheated on him…a lot. He remembers the night that he found out that she had really never been faithful to him, in fact, he discovered there was a very good chance that their kids weren’t even his. And so my friend had a choice. He knew that the marriage was over, in a sense, it had never really existed. But he had to decide what to do with the children. He could probably walk away from any responsibility at all, or he could get DNA testing to find out which ones belonged to him biologically.

But he didn’t. Instead my friend went to court and fought for everyone of his kids without qualifiers. It cost him a small savings, but he did it. And later, when his kids found out that there was a chance that he wasn’t their biological father, they asked him why he fought so tirelessly for them. He told them, “Because I named you.”

Which is an interesting answer isn’t it?

It implies that there’s more to creating a kid than a sperm fertilizing an egg.

Naming a child has something to do with what kind of child you have created.

A couple of years ago, I heard a story on NPR about how the Social Services had noticed the most popular names for children right now are Jacob or Isabella or Edward. Which sound like great names, until you realize that they are all from the movie Twilight. So it’s a bit like the naming version of getting a Justin Bieber tattoo.

I think most of us name our kids after stories we like, stories that have affected us, that inspire us, but be careful how you name. Because some stories can’t bear the weight of the names. Some stories are just too trivial to become names. Continue reading Names #2: Don’t Think of an Elephant