Names and Roots

Names and Roots

Names and roots matter; Who do people say that I am?

They mean something; they are identifying markers. If you don’t know someone’s name, you won’t ever be able to call on them or to them. People have a first name and a last name.

Some people change their birth names for various reasons; this wouldn’t happen if names weren’t significant and didn’t matter. But they do matter. Names say something about who we are.

The politics of naming is important. What you are called and who gets to name you—these things set your place in the world and sometimes set you apart.

A name will always say something about who we are, whether it be racially, sexually, denominationally, or otherwise.

From the outside, people may see a simpler identity—or just a wrong one. But what is key is that individuals—under the watchful gaze of political powers—assume the power to name themselves. Their identity is their own, and they can make it public when and to whom they choose.

The time comes when Jesus chooses to reveal his true identity, his name, to his disciples. Jesus knows who he is, but he checks with his disciples to see what they and others are saying about him. Who do people say that I am?