What’s in a name?

This is a more personal entry (and also one that pertains to charismatic Christianity), so I’ll leave one of those “more” tags for those that want to read on. Otherwise, I have news that a few new paintings are almost finished so I will post those soon. 

In charismatic Christiandom, a great emphasis is placed on understanding one’s identity, both as a child of God and the unique prophetic destiny declared by Him upon one’s life. The name which you are given is a reflection to some degree of that, and sometimes if you don’t like some of the names you’ve been given, you can trade them in for new ones (as evidenced in various Biblical stories).

One morning a year or two ago, right after I had moved back in with my parents after graduating college, my mother recounted to me on the etymology of my name. Up to this point, I had known that it was my maternal grandfather who bequeathed me my Chinese name “Ming Ye,” him being a true master of the Chinese language (especially in calligraphy and its associated histories).

When coming up with names, he had actually had three names ready, and all of them with the connotation of brightness and high quality. Something my grandfather took into consideration was my surname, Zhu (朱, meaning the color crimson) because that character was a homophone with the word for pig. He wanted to make sure that if my name was spoken backwards, it wouldn’t become an insult to me. One of the names he came up with that had the connotation of brightness, when reversed with Zhu, resulted in a phrase that translates to pearl (the character for pearl or treasure is also a homophone).

My mother wasn’t satisfied with this one, because this name, when spoken in Cantonese dialect, was similar to a term that had the connotations of punk or street thug.  Another of the names had the term meaning gold, which sounded cool to me as she explained, since it reminded me of the Symphony X (one of my favored metal bands) lyrics “a heart of gold pumps within his metal skin,” from their two songs The Accolade and Accolade II.

The name that was chosen was, “Ming Ye (明 烨),” means bright flare. Specifically significant to me in the last few years as I grew in the Spirit and realm of the King of kings, I took note of the calligraphy of the character “Ye.” The character is written with the side component of “fire”, and then the sub-character of “man” with the written character of the number “seven”, under girded by the written character of the number “ten”, which is the shape of a cross. It has been a constant reminder that I am to live seated in Christ, who is in the Father, by the Holy Spirit.

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