August 3, 2014

Names Are Important: Genesis 2:19



IMG_4896E  131226Genesis 2:19     Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.  20.  So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. (NI)

REFLECTION:     Noah’s task was to name all the animals in the Garden of Eden. There was no stigma to names then. Life in the garden was perfection.

Names today are important. They not only create a sense of relationship with the namer, they have relationship to history and personal experience.

Jane and John are so common they are used to refer to the Does, a nameless couple. If you pick a name for the unknown choose the most common one.

Plain Jane implies a basic, steady person, with little personality.

Desiree, a name I like, images a too-lively but sophisticated, sexy person.

We’re stuck with the names our parents give us. Or so we think.

Gary decided he could do better with a name other than his given one. He went to court to court as Gary—he left as Noah.

Growing up as a Cornell I felt I should have been named Katherine. That was what many people called me, anyway. Combine my first name, Carolyn, which sounds like Katherine, with Cornell. It was an understandable mistake. Katherine Cornell was the elegant name of a talented, emulated, well-known movie star. Which I did not become!

My father’s youngest daughter born in his second family is Kathleen, nick-named Kitty. Had I been named Katherine our rare visits would be interesting.

My mother told me I came by the name Carolyn from a book she was reading. She does not remember the name of the book. I wish I knew. It is too late now. She passed away January 1997.

But Carolyn I am. I rather like it. It’s not off the wall, yet it’s not too common in northern United States. So call me Carolyn—even though I answer to alternatives!

Yes, names matter—even to cats (see part of T. S. Eliot’s poem at end of prayer).

What does your name say about you? What change, if any, would you make if you could go back and name yourself? Why would you pick the name you chose?

PRAYER: Lord, someone took consideration and thought to name me, and hopefully sought your guidance, as you knew me before I was born. Perhaps it isn’t the name I would have chosen for myself. However, let me rejoice in my moniker and grow into the kind of human being you will be proud of.



The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter…

I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.

First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,…

All of them sensible everyday names…

But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,

A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,

Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,

Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?…

Names that never belong to more than one cat.

But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,

And that is the name that you never will guess;

The name that no human research can discover–

But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess…

His ineffable effable


Deep and inscrutable singular Name.



Judge Changes Baby Messiah’s Name

Bride’s Name at Marriage is a Choice

Adopted by a Cat Now Named King…



  1. Yes Carolyn, names do matter. And I am David (beloved, which I am only on occasion) and I was my parents fifth and final child, after Rebecca (my mother’s mothers name), Elizabeth (?), Robert Linwood (my mother’s fathers name and my father’s fathers name), Helen Joyce (?).

    But we got along great, from what I remember, and lived in harmony. In actuality, I only really had recollection of only Joyce since the others were older and were out and gone to college and the army so quickly. We are, thankfully all still living in this old world of hardship and still keep in touch as we can.

    Thus when my wife and I named our children they too had similar names. The first was a Junior to me, the second, James Andrew was named for his two grandfathers, and the third was pulled from the air, Kenneth Lindsey (we were hoping for a girl and had already chosen Wendy Leigh as her name).

    Comment by David Walker (URlite) — August 3, 2014 @ 9:42 am | Reply

  2. Carolyn…its a nice name…I like it. 🙂
    I don’t know what my parents was thinking when they named me…for both g-mothers and an aunt. I’ve never needed three names, its a pain when signing legal forms. 🙂 but I always like when my mother called me Merry. 🙂

    Comment by merry101 — August 3, 2014 @ 8:55 pm | Reply

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