POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

The Anatomy of a Name

By the grace of God we will be having a baby boy next month.  We are so filled with awe that God would bestow upon us this grace of being parents once again.  This time to a little male munchkin - we know he is likely to be a short little dude as Dad is 5'7'' and Mom is 5'4''.  In thinking through a name we came down to two finalists.

First was the name Blake.  To be honest this was probably the family favorite, but seeing it was inspired by a guy on the Amazing Race, we felt that was a little weak in giving meaning to our Son's name.  I want all my kids to know that their names have significance and call each of them forward in life.  Though Blake and Page were cool folks racing around the world, I could not find enough to give my boy in that.  So, the name we finally lande on was Thomas Reid Monaghan.  

This name has multiple degrees of meaning for us - and our kids.  Much fertile ground here for calling a little man up in this life.  Here are the 5 degrees of meaning for the little dude's name. 

  • Thomas Michael Echstenkamper - Mike X is the guy who led me to Jesus when I was a knucklehead 19 year old wrestler at UNC. His investment in me, his compassion to share the gospel with a lost soul, encouragement for me to ask questions, grow, walk with me in those early years are deposits from a faithful man I do not want our family to forget.
  • Thomas Aquinas - Obviously this Thomas is one of the looming figures in the history of thought.  His philosophical realism is still influencing many thinkers today - the rise in Thomistic thought among theistic philosophers is an encouraging trend in some academic circles.  When I teach little Thomas the basic laws of logic and realism I want him to know the name Aquinas.  Something is what something is...something cannot be and not be at the same time and the same sense.  Yes, the Christian who synthesized the thought and rigor of the ancient world will be remembered.
  • Thomas Reid - His whole name will remind him not only of his Daddy (Reid), but also of the Scottish philosopher who influenced the great theological minds of Hodge and Warfield at Old - Princeton Seminary.  A unique synthesis of common sense realism merged with reformed theology.  I want my boy to know about this.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine - Well, an Anglican reverend created this little gem of a kids series for his own little boy in the 1940s.  My little girls liked that one - Thomas the Tank Engine is big in our home.  I pray little Thomas will love little trains with his pastor Daddy as well.
  • Thomas the Disciple - Many times known as "Doubting Thomas" by those who do not read the whole story.  I want my boy to know that people who once did not believe can be radically changed.  That someone can go from doubting soul to a radical knee bent worshipper of Jesus...Additionally, some reliable tradition holds that Thomas brought the gospel to India where he died as a witness to Jesus.  I want my boy to know the power of the gospel to change lives and send people on mission with Jesus.

Finally, Thomas is very nicknamable.  Some day if he is a tough little dude we can call him Tommy.  If he has potential to be a philosopher warrior we can call him Thomas R. Monaghan...if just a warrior, perhaps in the UFC, we can give him one of those southern hyphenated names - not a progressive feminist last name - but a three syllable first name.  Tommy-Reid.  If he is a theologian with an amazing mind, he can go by TR Monaghan. Anway, very nicknamable - smile.

Now young Thomas, not yet born, do know that a kind providence is bringing you into this world with a family that greatly anticipates your arrival.  You have brilliant little sisters, full of zest and joy, waiting to pull your ears, poke you in the tummy and almost drop you a hundred times.  You have a mother who is talented, compassionate, humble, and faithful who is going to sacrifice body and soul for you.  You mess with her heart - you answer to me.  And Son, you have a Father who is praying to be a strong and wise and godly man for you.  To teach you how to think, pray, love Jesus, fight for what is good, right and true - to teach you to wrestle, respect women, and most importantly the fear of the Lord.  We are ready - we pray you make it into the world without too much struggle.  We trust you even now, your soul and body, to the Sovereign King who has numbered your days.  

Through good and bad - he is God.  In all our roads ahead together, we have a great high King - you would do well to bow your knee and arise a Knight of his realm.

We love you Thomas Reid Monaghan - I pray you will be worshipper of YHWH and a servant of men.