Summary: The minute you open up the Bible it’s as if God has taken your face in His hands, is looking you in the eyes, and saying: “Read my lips … I am God … I am Elohim … I am the eternal Creator and Sustainer of Life who made you so that I can love you and you can love me.”
We all have them … be dumb if we didn’t, amen? You can’t go around saying “Hey you over there” all day. Names make sense … but how often do you think about your name … or names? And I do mean “names” plural … because we all have more than one name. For example, I have three names officially … “Gordon” … “Arthur” … “Pike.” I also have the Roman numeral “II” after my name … Gordon Arthur Pike the Second … indicating that there is more than one of us running around with the names “Gordon” … “Arthur” … “Pike” … and, in fact there is. My father. He’s just “Gordon Arthur Pike” … there’s no Roman numeral “I” after his name.
I was taught that the “second” was very important. It was drilled into my head that my name was “Gordon Arthur Pike the Second” … “second” … not “Junior”! My mom would correct anyone who tried to put “junior” after my name because she once had an uncle named … well, nobody knew his name because everybody called him “Junior” till the day he died. So, thanks, mom! I sincerely appreciate not getting stuck with the name “junior” … seriously!
In our culture, my first name is my “given” name … the name that my parents gave me … “Gordon.” I’ve been called “Gordo,” “Gord,” or “Gordie.” “Gordo” means fat in Spanish … no comment. I don’t like “Gord” or “Gordie” because it makes me sound like some kind of plant.
Then I have a last name … a “surname.” My “surname” is my family name, which tells you which tribe or clan I belong to … the “Pike” tribe or “Pike” clan. The name “Pike” is all about my heritage. It connects me to all the Pikes in my family that came before me … my grandfather and grandmother …. My great-grandparents … my aunts and uncles … cousins. My surname connects me with the people in my nuclear family as well. We all share the same last name … Gordon Pike, Marie Pike, Ron Pike, Scott Pike, Emily Pike.
Technically, that’s my tribe or clan name on my father’s side. I also belong to the “Dufraine” clan on my mother’s side … which is why I find the way that they use surnames in the Spanish or Latino culture so interesting. They keep both their father and their mother’s clan or family name. For example, the name “Manuel Perez Rodriquez” means that Manuel is a member of the Perez family on his father’s side and a member of the Rodriquez family on his mother’s side.
The heritage … or historical or familial connection is so important in some cultures … like Japan or Korea or China … that the surname or family name comes first. So, in my case, I would introduce myself as “Pike Gordon.”
My name … “Gordon” … is an Anglo-Saxon name that means “from the three-cornered hill” or “from the marshes.” The name “Pike” is also Anglo-Saxon and is usually translated as “someone who resides on the peak of a hill.” Hummm … I see a pattern here. So … when you put the two names together … Gordon Pike … is means “someone who lives on the top of a three cornered hill” or “someone who lives on top of a three-cornered hill in a marsh.” Neither are very exciting … but there you have it.
That’s three of my names. I have other names too. To the IRS, I’m 051-68-0996. Now … if you were quick enough or clever enough to catch that, I have to tell you … that’s not my real Social Security Number … I just made that up. G-mail knows me as “pastor … dot … pike.” Sometimes my name is “Pastor Pike” … just “pastor” … “Pastor Gordon” … and “Pastor G.” My all-time favorite name is “Dad.”
Now that I’ve pointed that out, I hope that all of you realize that you have many names yourselves. Most of us probably don’t know what our given and family names mean … or if we do, we probably don’t really think about what they mean a whole lot … until it’s time to name a baby, am I right? Then it becomes serious business. A major deal. The new parents spend hours pouring over books of baby names … surfing baby name websites … and yes, there are tons of ‘baby-name websites’ on the internet. The new parents hash over family names, Biblical names. Name after name is proposed and rejected. “No … that one’s too weird” … “That name will get him beat up … a lot” … “that name has too many suggestive names that rhyme with it.” And the arguments, amen? “What’s wrong with ‘Orville’? That was the name of my favorite uncle.” “Yeah … well, my son’s gonna be named after some popcorn guy over my dead body.”