Grading Parents might take more than Originality.

Lately a trend on the facebook is folks taking a quiz that grades their parents on originality in naming them.  The only metric (as far as I can tell) to factor into the grade is how many other folks were named what you are named during your birthyear.  Making it easy to simultaneously grade highly and win an award for a terrible parenting decision.

Here’s a few of the names Jacqueline and I came up with that we think would grade highly:

(and, by way of disclaimer, if this is your name or the name of a loved one, I mean no disrespect.  All in good fun.)

Festus.  I doubt there were many other Festuses during your child’s birth year.  That’s a guaranteed A.  It’s also a guarantee of the nickname “Fetus” at some point during your child’s seventh grade year, or whenever sex-ed first takes place.

Basil.  This name means “Kingly” according to some baby naming websites.  It also means “condiment,” according to my spice rack, though.  So while you get an A+ for originality, you also get a certainty that your child will hate you by age 20.

Xanthus. This name gets an A, because it has to have a middle name that serves as a pronunciation key.  It means “Golden haired” which means you either have to wait until puberty to name your child, or risk the significant chance that your kid will grow up to be named something that they aren’t.  This also applies to naming your child “Christian,” or “Buddhist,” or “Cable Repair Guy.”

Manville. This name means, as you might surmise, “Men’s village” and thus gives you an A for originality and and a low F for a name that sounds like (and means) “testosterone filled neighborhood.”  Naming your child after a group of people=not cool.

Vanity. In my brief online “research” for this post, I came across this little girl’s name that means “stuck up brat.” You’d get an A for originality, and a strong chance you’d spend way to much on this little jewel when it comes time for prom, sweet 16, and nuptials.  That’s assuming you could find a guy named “Codependent” to marry sweet Vanity off to.

Butthole. (pronounced Buh-Thole) OK, so this one wasn’t an actual name from a baby-naming site, but it is one that Jacqueline wants me to make sure I give her the credit for coming up with. (unless you’re offended, then it was all me.) This name would get you the highest possible A, given that (unless there are other cultures where “Butthole” comes across more like “Stanley”) nobody in the world has named their child this, ever.  You’d have some fun times at, say, the nursery when you drop them off and sign them in, as well as more than one chance at an awkward role-call experience on the first day of class, for the rest of his (or her!) life.  “Hello my Name is” name tags would also be a hit.

(Not) Helping us Pick a Baby Name. Part 1.

A while back, we looked at a disturbing facebook trend in parenting.

Recently Jacqueline did a google search for “Biblical Baby Names” and we spent so long laughing at the sites that I’ve decided to make it a regular practice here on the blog to look at a list of biblical-but-not-practical names.

Here’s this week’s edition of what promises to be the weekly “Just because it’s in the Bible, doesn’t mean you go with it.”

I went with a Ladies-Only theme this week.  In the future, I’ll nail down some boy names.  But maybe it’s because I am hoping for a girl on round 2.

Succoth-benoth — This jewel is taken directly from 2 Kings 17:30, making it thoroughly biblical.  Problem being, according to my bible dictionary, it either means “booth for girls, booth for prostitutes, or a localized pagan deity.”  See, there’s a principle of basic reading in play here.  Like the word “Placenta,” if you don’t know what it means, it might sound pretty. But even if you don’t know what it means, it still means something. Don’t name your child the biblical equivalent of “demon-whorehouse.”

Baal-berith — Those familiar with the Bible will immediately note the prefix “Baal” which is a word that means “god” and can be used as a common noun or a proper noun, but in both cases refers to demonic Caananite “gods” who are at all times opposed to the true and living God and his work on the earth.  This begins to underline why we shouldn’t name our next bundle of joy this.  Baal-berith is a specific god referenced in Judges 8:33 with whom the Israelites directly disobeyed the command of Exodus 34:12.  Nothing like having to say that every time we explain why we call our sweet little girl “Beri.”

Babel — While we’re on the topic of naming children after events in history where the human race in general and God’s people in particular totally blew it, let’s visit another “girl’s name.”  While I suppose my logic here could make for a strong indictment of folks named Adam, Eve, and Saul, it still stands to reason that those names have more upside than Babel.  Plus, if the name Babel becomes prophetic, you’ll end up with a very talkative but hard to understand teenager.  Like, OMG, I’m ROFL and I’ll totally CUL8TR. I’m begging you.  Name your girl “Enunciate” or “Stop-Giggling.”

Raphah — Aside from having to have reoccurring pronunciation clinics at every turn, the only real problem I see from this name, taken from 1 Chronicles 8:37, is that it is a boy’s name in the Bible, but is listed in the female section of some baby-naming websites.  That’s a fun bit of trivia for your sweet daughter to find out in middle school, via the awkward kid that home-schooled last year and had to memorize 1 Chronicles.  Name kids according to gender.  (and if you are a dude named Stacy, calm down.  this entire post is a joke. we’re just having a good time.)

Cappadocia — I’m going out on a limb here, but I am personally against geography names.  See, Cappadocia is “an isolated interior region of eastern Asia Minor lying north of the Taurus Mountains, east of Lake Tatta, south of Pontus, and west of the Euphrates River.” according to my Bible dictionary.  Which is good trivia to know, but bad when your daughter goes on a date and the guy says “That’s a pretty name, what’s it mean?”  I guess naming a child after a region is cool, if something or someone big originated or was made famous there.  For example, Cleveland from The Family Guy  is clearly named indirectly after LeBron James or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as the only interesting things to happen in Cleveland since they took the extra “a” out.  But Cappadocia is known for having a letter written to it–(1 Peter 1:1)–and that’s it.  The “visit Cappadocia” brochure would say “We’ve got dirt.  And half of a lake.  And 17-23 people.” All told, I’d opt out of this as the name of your next girl.

That’s enough for this week.  But rest assured, this one website has enough material for many weeks to come.  Who knows, maybe I’ll actually find the name we want to go with by skewering names every week on the blog.

What about you?  What do you say we should (or shouldn’t) name the next Meredith?

(Not) Helping us Pick a Baby Name. Part 2.

Last week we started something.

Here’s another dose of “Just because it’s in the Bible doesn’t mean you should go with it

This week we’ll stick with girl names. Don’t worry, the boy names are coming.

Quartus: When I said that boy names were coming, I meant next week.  This name is firmly listed in the “female” category on the baby-naming website I’ve got open.  Quartus.  The name makes it’s appearance in the Bible one time, in Romans 16:23.  And it’s a dude.  A Roman dude, from the sounds of it.  His name, though I never took Latin, means “fourth.” So, to give this name to your child, you are essentially saying the equivalent of a YouTube commenter that says “First!” — with the notable distinction that you dont think your child is the best or first.  Unless you, like my father, have a father who is a “Junior” and are yourself a “Third,” there’s really no need to name your child “Fourth.”  And naming your little girl Quartus seems to me to be immoral.

Palestina: In addition to the political undertones of such a name, this one is a real doozy.  According to The Exhaustive Dictionary of Bible Names, it means “The land of wanderers; land of strangers. Rolled in dust. Wallowing.” And that’s precisely what I want to name my sweet little girl.  The website where I found this name gives the definition “Which is covered, watered, or brings ruin.”  I heartily endorse “covered” as a descriptive word for my daughter, and if we are talking about the plans of a 13 year old boy in her class, “that which brings ruin” is something he desperately needs.  I’d be willing to give “Palestina” a pass, if it weren’t for the fact that “Philistia” is how all the other translations (with the exception of the KJV) renders it, and Isaiah 14:29-31 then becomes basically a calling down of judgment on the name of my daughter.  And I think that has implications later in life.

Patmos:  Sticking with the P’s, lets head down the page a bit to “Patmos.”  This name rolls off your tongue, doesn’t it?  Easy to say gets a check mark in the “Pro” column.  What will generally put you in the “Con” column is the meaning “Mortal,” or “my killing.”  Though I am sure that more than once during my daughter’s life I will think (and/or say aloud) “You’re killing me!” in a metaphorical sense, I’m pretty sure that naming a child “the death of me” is not a good sign for their future.  Plus, the fact that John was exiled to the “Isle of Patmos” according to his account in Revelation 1:9 makes for more interesting trivia for your daughter. What I wonder is if John gave the island that name, or if it was already called “death island.”  Either way, I don’t think it was intended as a girl’s name.

Dabareh:  Here’s a tricky one.  Not only is this the name of a town, in Joshua 21:28, but you’d most likely just be accused of being the worst speller in the world, and having aimed for the (perfectly acceptable) name “Deborah” (with alternate southern spelling “Debra.”  I love you, mom).  The meaning of the name “Deborah” is quite honorable.  It basically means “eloquent.”  Just change a few letters, and “Dabareh” means “a run for sheep, or pasture.”  You gotta watch out.  “Good at talking” and “good at collecting sheep poo” are worlds apart in my opinion, but only three vowels apart in your daughter’s name.

That’s all for this week.  Next week we’ll see what this website thinks we should name a boy.

In the meantime, how’s about you tell us what names we should avoid in our quest to name #2.  Comment below.

(Still Not) Helping us Name our Baby. Part 3.

Welcome to the second-to-last installment of our fun little weekly exercise.  This week we are going to go over a few more not-so-advisable names I’ve come across in our quest to name our next child something, um, biblical.

Withoust taking up any more time, it’s week three of “Just because it’s in the Bible doesn’t mean you should go with it.” This time around I’ve switched over to searching the boy’s names.  All of the names presented in this series appear via the same misguided baby-naming website.

Abaddon: This seems like a strong name.  Lots of hard consonants, and whatnot.  And it is a strong name.  So strong that in the Bible it’s one of the names used to refer to hell. (Psalm 88:11, Proverbs 15:11)  Literally translated it means “destruction, or what a two-year-old bear cub might do in a porcelain doll shop.”  If you are looking to raise a world-class Mixed Martial Artist, this could be your ticket to making that happen.  I’d go with the middle name “Liddell” or “Bruiser.”

Barabbas: There are several reasons why I think we’ll avoid this name for our next boy.  First of all, it immediately brings to mind the notorious murderer who was released instead of Jesus.  That’s not so bad, given that all of us are guilty and let off the hook by Jesus.  What makes this a name that I am not a fan of is that it essentially means “Son of a man.”  And I think that much should be understood, as opposed to pointed out.  Neat insights regarding how such a general name was given to the man who was released for Jesus aside, I don’t think naming my boy “Kid with a dad” is going to fly.  Other names I am going to avoid are “son of a woman,””amphibious frog” or “overly-nice Mormon.”  It’s just redundant.

Pekod: This is a boy’s name suggested by my now-favorite baby-naming website.  It means “visit”  which sounds cool until you hear it in the sentence “The Lord visited them with destruction and punishment…” which is precisely how some commentators understand this word in the context of scripture.  I’m not sure I want to name my child something that may indicate to him that I think God is punishing me by his very presence.  But, then again, it would give him some great things to tell his counselor later in life, or some good stand-up material.

Dodo: Sometimes when perusing baby naming websites, you might start with the meaning first, and then look at the actual name itself.  That’s what I hope has happened in the event you meet a little boy named Dodo.  His name means (in ancient culture) “Beloved of the LORD; Jehovah is Loving. His Beloved.”  What an honorable, God-exalting name.  However, in the contemporary vernacular, it translates roughly to “my parents hate me and want to create an entire new sub-genre of playground insults.”  That’s about the only reason I could see naming your boy “Dodo.”

That’s all for this week.  Next week we’ll put this ailing blog-series out of it’s misery when we round out the last set of potential boy’s names.  What names am I missing?  Comment below.