What’s in a Name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.” Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

The topic of names has been big in the news recently with stories about naming the royal baby and Bruce Jenner’s new name choice.   As a little girl, I imagined getting married and having children, as most girls do.  I even chose names for these imaginary children. My favorite girl name was always Elizabeth.  Since Rick’s sister’s name is Elizabeth, I realized when we got married that we’d have to pick a different name than my childhood favorite. We were excited to come upon the name Bethany which was like Elizabeth and yet more unique.

I was named after my grandmothers, Angel and Evelyn.  Rick was named after his dad (he is officially Carl Frederick Schupp, Jr.).  In the Middle East, every child’s middle name is the first name of his or her father.   We named our boys Joshua Carl and Jonathan Carl (Joshua to keep passing down the name Carl without having him be “the Third”; and Jonathan since we were living in Jordan when he was born and decided to follow the Middle Eastern pattern). Bethany Grace was always considered Bethany Grace Carl Schupp in the Jordanian schools she attended.

Bethany and Ryan have decided to combine last names and to use Ryan’s mother’s maiden name instead; he is close to his mother’s family and hasn’t talked to his biological father since he was a child.  They will be officially Ryan and Bethany Schupp-Blevans.  I think this is a great way to keep the family names alive and for them to do something unique.

“As a researcher, I have to say that we don’t know exactly what the effects of names are. However, as a parent, my intuition tells me that it’s true that it’s not the dominant effect on the human you become, but it plays a certain role. The name probably puts some constraints on you and opens up some opportunities…There’s a big debate in the academic literature as to whether or not names can affect your socioeconomic opportunity. There is some evidence, for example, that boys who end up with gender-ambiguous names tend to be more disruptive or get into more fights or get into more problems in school once they hit adolescence. There’s evidence that kids with blacker sounding names get treated worse in schools than kids with whiter sounding names. We can’t really know for sure, but I think there is enough evidence to say that there are some serious consequences for names.” Dalton Conley, sociology professor at New York University

In the West, the name that parents choose for their child is most often a reflection of their own personal taste, either because they like the sound of the name or it has some sentimental value.  In the East, a person’s name is considered to carry much more importance, and its meaning is often a serious consideration in the choice.   (The name Muhammed means “praiseworthy” and Abdul Azeez means “servant of the Almighty/most powerful”.  I find it ironic that the Chattanooga shooter did the opposite of something praiseworthy and proved NOT to be a servant of God by murdering men made in God’s image).

In the Bible, names were often used to express the nature, function and purpose of a person.  In fact, sometimes God would give a person a new name to indicate a change in destiny (i.e. Abram became Abraham).  The best example of this is the name Jesus which means “the Lord saves”.

Filled with wonder awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name
Jesus, Your name is power, breath and living water
Such a marvelous mystery
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You  Kari Jobe, Revelation Song

God exalted Christ Jesus to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

...these things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.  John 20:31

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  Acts 2:38

By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through Him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.  Acts 3:16

You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.  1 Corinthians 6:11

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