Sunday, July 01, 2007

Calling Names

I posted previously about the power to name. I took a look at the negative side of naming, which I will call labeling.

There is a good side to naming. Giving or using appropriate names is different than, even the opposite of, labeling a person. Parents name their children. It is a powerful thing to do. It is an intimate thing to do. That name almost always remains for the duration of the child's life.

People who know your name can talk with you. People who know you by a label cannot speak with you. They can talk at you or near you - they might be able to talk (down) to you, but not with you. People who know you by name know more than just the word you respond to. They know you.

You know who the people are who are capable of, who have the right to, call you by name.

The book Watering On Water is a great book that has a lot to say about the power of naming, and the power of labeling.

And then there is God. The ancient Jewish people had a way of referring to God a the YHWH. This has been translated as Yahweh, Jehovah, or Lord. What I like about the way the Jewsih people dealt with the name of God by not actually having the name for God means that they recognize that they cannot name God. Not being capable of naming something means that the thing, whatever it is, defies the container in which a name would place it.

God cannot be named, contained, or defined. God cannot be labeled and cast aside like so many people have been from all times. God names. God names the namers. God does not label.

God has released the power to name to people. There are few greater acts of trust than giving someone the power to name.

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