Friday, January 21, 2011

Epistemological Baby Naming

I(Cross posted from freejinger)
Continuing on in my review of the Vision Forum Baby Conference, I give you Doug Phillips' seminar on Baby Naming. This is just an outline, as I could not even make enough sense of it to actually do a logical and analytical review.

*Being epistemologically conscious when naming babies

Doug relates a story about going through his house at 4 am, waking his children up and telling them that their baby sister was born.  They have a rule that all the children have to line up outside the door of their parents' room before coming in to see the baby. Then the lovely epistemologically-named children holds the new epistemologically-named child.
"A name that the parent gives a child is extremely important and has lifelong ramifications for the child."  No kidding, so why did you name your son Providence Mather?  Doug says that names reflect theology, worldview, and the priorities they have for their children. Doug also slips into his 200-year-vision thing, assuming that his descendents will name their progeny after Doug's, so when naming his children, he looks ahead to his future descendents and thinks about them when he chooses names. Basically, Dougie assumes that there will be many many Jubilees and Providences and Justices. He also thinks his future descendents will look back and thank him for epistemologically naming his children so they can name their children the same.  (As a descendent of Dougie's heros, Cotton Mather, I a. will not name my child Mather and b. think my ancestor was completely insane.  I think Dougie's descendents will have the same feeling)
So once again, I think Doug's just completely stuck on himself.
Doug lists some other country's rules about naming and the latest social security lists for  baby names(Jacob and Isabella are number 1).  None of this seems to be anything more than a time filler and excuse for Doug to hear himself talk.

Doug's bad reasons for naming a child:1) looking at popular names and using those to determine whether or not you want a popular name
2) hiring a baby naming consultant (this is "genuine ridiculous foolishness)
3) naming your little girl Tallulah-Does-The-Hula-From-Hawaii. (He's serious)
4) Anything Frank Zappa would name his child. (Ok, I give you that one)
5) Marketing strategies, practicality, foolishness
6) Picking a name based on a whim and because it sounds good, because you will completely
uninspire your child if you name her Mary because you like it, and not because it fits in with
a larger worldview.  I can't make this up, people.  This is straight from the mouth of  Doug Phillips, esq.

So what does the wise one suggest that we do?

Doug's good reasons for naming a child:
1) You want your child to be able to say "My daddy named me something that matters."
2) You want something that will be "able to disciple the recipient through his name."  Doug points out that his name, Douglas Winston, is after Douglas McArthur and Winston Churchill.
Because of this name and knowing that his dad named him after them, he has became a great leader.
3) Even more important than the name itself is the context that the parents ascribe to it.   "The way you craft the story behind the name is EVERYTHING." He says that his daughter Jubilee
was born when his family was given a brand new direction in life, liberation and freedom, and  so they named their daughter Jubilee, and it is Such. A. Blessing. to be able to tell her this.
4) The great generations give their children great names.  "When there is a great work, you see parents name their children great names."  Other than Biblical names, in the rare cases that God tells the parents what to name their children(like "Jesus" and the symbolic story of Hosea), Doug has no examples of this. 

Approaches to baby names:
1) Virtue names, like the Puritans. They went from traditional English names(john, arthur, mary) to "virtue names," like Remember, Humility, and Resolve.
2)Naming children after historical great people.  Like George Washington. And Douglas Winston Phillips.  
3) Names of Biblical honor(Mary, Joseph, Adam)
4) Names of generational honor.  This is naming after members of your family that you want to continue. Especially if you are one of Dougie's descendents

There are other legitimate, but not overly important considerations, like how it sounds. Dougie also says that if you give names that speak great signficance to your children but that may be
somewhat strange, expect great resistance from other people, in particular grandparents.  Because you know those grandparents have no vision.

So to sum up, when you name your child, forget how it sounds, what the initials are, and especially what may be popular or easy to pronounce and spell.  Instead, focus on how great you are, how great your vision, purpose,and signficance is, and name your children that way. And then Dougie finishes with a shout out to his BFF, the Great Baby Namer Of All Time, Peter Bradrick himself.
Because we should ALL be naming our children Loyal Cromwell.


  1. Aunt Sally Sue, where are you? =)

  2. I remember reading this in article form, and concluded that Doug just wanted to talk about the names he chose for his kids.

    Tallulah-Does-The-Hula-From-Hawaii was, I believe, an actual name. A court was involved, something like refusing to allow the dad to name his daughter that? I forget.

    I laughed about your insane ancestors, and Doug's descendents' insane ancestor. :)

  3. Triumph Perseverance, Knox Defender,Geneva Constance are the rest of Peter's brood!

  4. My kid is screwed. She's a Mary. Named after her great-great grandmother.

    He may have a point about character traits of those children are named after. My great grandma is a feisty little old lady, the kid is just as ornery!