That’s How You Picked Your Baby’s Name? Really?

baby-84552_1920Sometimes 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.iphone-1055371_1920

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. Um…wow.

Call me a stick in the mud, but I think that names are important; to 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?” ~ Exodus 3:13

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.” ~ Acts 4:12

xmas-1021208_1920As 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?


Why Jesus Must Be White

Ain't Nobody Like This Buddy
Ain’t Nobody Like This Buddy

So there’s a minor kerfuffle going on with Megyn Kelly of Fox News. The other night she was talking about an author who wanted to do away with the idea of a white Santa. Ms. Kelly found the idea to be ludicrous and insisted that there are some people whose ethnicity you cannot touch. Jesus, for example, was a white guy – you can’t change what it is.

Here it is…

Now, here’s the thing. There have been a lot of people making fun of Ms. Kelly. I’ve even cracked a few jokes like:

Of COURSE Jesus was white. Who on earth would want to worship a middle eastern Jew?

Please understand that the previous sentence is a joke – I’m not serious. The simple fact of the matter is that Jesus was a middle eastern Jew. There’s a good chance he looked like a lot of cab drivers in New York.

In the midst of the discussion about Ms. Kelly’s goof there have been some accusations of racism. We need to be careful about the words we use, because I don’t think racism is at play here.

Racism is treating people as inferior because of their race.

What happened on Fox News the other night was not about inferiority. It wasn’t racism. It was racial bias but not racism. And racial bias is normal. It is a normal human trait to imagine stories from our own perspectives. When we read our imaginations usually make the characters look like us. Even when the author is clear about a character’s description we will often overlook that description in our heads.

There were many fans of The Hunger Games who were upset when the character Rue was cast as a little black girl. They failed to recognize the description the author provided and filled in their own gaps from their own perspectives….

The story of Jesus is no different. We don’t have any photos of the man, so we are left to use our imaginations to see him. Left to ourselves, we fill in the blank spots from our own experiences, culture, and background.

Megyn Kelly wasn’t being racist. Ignorant, sure, but not racist (and honestly, it’s hard not to see Jesus as white when the majority of sacred art we’re exposed to is European…).

One of my most prized possessions is a book called “The Life of Jesus” (1978, Buechner and Boltin). I don’t think it’s in print any more, but you can get it used on Amazon.

It’s the story of Jesus combined with sacred art from around the world. Let me show you some famous art of Jesus…

Christ Crowned with Thorns. Wood. Philippines, 20th Century
Christ Crowned with Thorns. Wood. Philippines, 20th Century
Virgin and Child. Oil on Canvas. Uruguay, 20th Century.
Virgin and Child. Oil on Canvas. Uruguay, 20th Century.
The Last Supper. Crayon on Paper. U.S.A., Contemporary.
The Last Supper. Crayon on Paper. U.S.A., Contemporary.
Mother of Divine Grace. Textile. Japan, Contemporary.
Mother of Divine Grace. Textile. Japan, Contemporary.
Crucifixion. Bronze. Italy, 1933.
Crucifixion. Bronze. Italy, 1933.
Adoration of the Magi. Rome, circa 200.
Adoration of the Magi. Rome, circa 200.
The Holy Family. Painting on Silk. Japan, 20th Century.
The Holy Family. Painting on Silk. Japan, 20th Century.

We all tend to fashion the Bible from our own background. Is it wrong to see Jesus as a white guy? As Japanese? As African? Historically, sure – he was a middle eastern Jew. But the whole point of the Incarnation is that Christ is WITH us. God is not far away and removed – He is one of us. So the God who left heaven to be like me might look like me. What other god ever bothered to become like us?

The mystery and magnificence of YAHWEH is the Incarnation. His name is Emmanuel, which means: God with us.

Ms. Kelly might want to apologize for her cultural bias and ignorance but I don’t fault her for seeing Jesus from her background and heritage. I don’t really expect my blog will ever cross her path, but if you do know her send her the link, okay? 😉

This Christmas season take some time to reflect on the idea that God cares enough for us to become like us. To feel like us. To suffer like us. To die like us.

Yes, even to look like us.

Liberals Are Killing Christ!

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap at
Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap at

You ever wonder how the liberals are winning the war on Christmas?

They’ve taken out Christ and substituted it with a vague X…

Xmas just doesn’t have the same ring, does it?

Every year I see Christians lament about this battle. But you don’t have to be concerned.  No one has taken Christ out of anything. Let me ‘splain it to you.

The Bible was not originally written in English – not even in the King James English!

Say what?!? It’s true. The New Testament was written in Greek, and the Greek alphabet is a lot different from the English alphabet.

In Greek, the word Christ is “Christos” but it looks like this:


Because all writing was done with quill and ink, writers would frequently abbreviate people’s names (in order to save on parchment/vellum space and ink). Thus many godly writers would abbreviate the name of Christ with the simple X.

You see, Christ never left Christmas – he just became sleek and streamlined – Christ 2.0!

So have a Merry Xmas, and rest easy that, no matter what happens in this world, God is still in control!

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