For it is by grace you have been saved...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What's In A Name?

I’ve heard that anagrams for your name can be telling. For example:
Clint Eastwood = Old West Action
George Bush = He Bugs Gore
William Shakespeare = I’ll Make a Wise Phrase
And of course Elvis = Lives!

Pretty fun. So I tried it. Here’s what I get from my name:
Tends Cow Lot
Do Clown Test
Old Two Cents
Welds Cotton
Cost Letdown
Clowns Toted
And my personal favorite: Cold Wet Snot

Nothing to write home about (but apparently enough to write a blog about). Of course, if you add in my middle name you can have “A Wilted Scotch Lemon.” I’m hoping this is nothing too revealing about my true personality trying to get out or something.

But seriously, folks (sorry, couldn’t help it). Names can be revealing. As you well know, names used to be picked purposely to express things, not just because they sounded cool. Our oldest was named after grandmothers. Our sons are “a gift from God” and “established by God” (one a faithful disciple, one a leader of music). And our other daughter’s name means “pure joy.” We did that on purpose. The names mean something. We don't take that lightly.

Likewise, the name of God means something. It’s not to be made light of. It’s not to be taken vainly, as in “oh my…” (And for the record, “OMG” is not an appropriate usage either. Just because you abbreviate it, doesn’t make it more palatable.) Neither is Jesus a swear word; not an exclamation. It’s the name above all names, the name at which every knee will bow and tongue confess His Lordship.

I’m not sure what prompted this train of thought. Other than it seems to me that even in the church we’ve become very loose about our usage of the name of our God. We make cheap slogans out of the name Jesus, or tritely imitate some popular phrase or logo by inserting His name or image. Just seems to cheapen the whole thing. Kind of like calling me “cold wet snot.” Just because the letters are the same doesn’t make it less offensive.

God is jealous and zealous for His name. His desire is to have His name made great among the nations. He says it that way because His name represents His very nature. So how we use that name reflects what we think of His nature, His holiness, etc. I don’t think we need to go to the extremes some have, in imitation of the Jews of old, in not uttering the name, or using blank spaces when writing (as in G-d). We can make an idol of His name like anything else.

But we ought to at least show reverence when speaking of Him. Most of us appreciate it when others aren’t too flippant when talking about us, using our name. Don’t you think, at the bare minimum, we ought to at least give God the same courtesy? Just a thought.

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