Sometimes we just look at the culture around us and shake our heads. Like last week when I heard about the top trending baby names for 2015. While some old names like Noah and Eleanor are making a comeback, there is a disturbing trend. Not disturbing theologically—just in terms of stupidity. People are naming their babies after the names of Instagram filters.
For those of you who are not familiar with Instagram, it’s an app that allows you to edit photos and apply different effects (filters) to your pictures.
Yes, this is how people are naming their infants. Names like Lux, Valencia, Willow, and Ludwig. And those who aren’t using a picture editing app are using teen fiction. I cannot roll my eyes hard enough.
Call me a stick in the mud, but I think that names are important; too important to leave up to something silly to name a baby (if you’re named after something silly, I mean no offense—you’re a wonderful person). I like my name and it’s meaning. My wife and I put thought into naming our children. Names are important. This is especially true in the Bible. From the beginning of creation, humanity was given the task of naming.
Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. ~ Genesis 2:19
Names are important.
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. ~ Proverbs 22:1
God himself has a thing with names. When God tells Moses to return to Egypt in order to free the enslaved Israelites, he has a naming discussion.
Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?”
The New Testament continues this understanding of the importance of names—especially the name of Jesus. Peter famously preaches:
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
As we’re now in the holiday season you’ll find a lot of Christians get bent out of shape when people remove the name of Christ from Christmas and replace it with an X. While there is no need to be upset (X is the Greek letter that has been used to abbreviate the name Christ since the beginning of the faith), it’s obvious that people care about names.
Names set us apart and give us identity. In a world that is constantly vying for our attention and is trying to assign us identities, it’s important that we choose our “names” carefully. Sometimes we get caught up in worldly names: Democrat, Republican, American, European, Male, Female…the list goes on and on.
But the only name that really matters is one that is given to us through faith: Christian.
How about you? What name do you want to be known by?