Thursday, September 10, 2020

What Is In a Name?

Many Boomers may remember a children's chant, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." (The Christian Recorder - March 1862) or "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me." (Anne J Cuppler - 1872)

Early photo - Timmy
Throughout childhood I was referred to as: Timothy, Timmy, Tim, Syrup, and Two Bellies. Obviously not all of these names held the significance nor conveyed the same meaning. In its original form, Timothy (Greek origin) means "honoring God." My two older brothers had names from Christian Scripture, as well.

Concluding my year of internship as a portion of graduate divinity school in order to become a pastor in Lutheran traditions, this advice was offered by an elderly person, "Make certain that people call you, 'Pastor' because it is a name of respect."

Names and labels are everywhere. Not only are they used to identify, but as previously mentioned they stir up feelings and images. Some are lighthearted and laughable while others cut deep into our sense of being. The present culture seems to use names as weapons to paint with broad strokes those with whom they disagree. Pharmaceutical companies create names for medications that seemingly have no connection to anything. In a previous entry titled, "Training for Life" posted July 14, 2020, I shared my perspective that everything we do and experience should train us for daily living. Now I want to explain the rest of this blog's name, "SPC Adventures."

As the previously mentioned person insisted that I be called "Pastor", that name held images and power for me. There was status, respect, and a vocational definition in that word. I was not totally certain of its parameters, but I found some safety and aloofness in the title. As years passed my previous understanding of the name became uncomfortable. I questioned how (in my understanding) maintaining a rigid and at times impersonal stance allowed for personal integrity. Was I playing a role or being myself?

Opportunities for more training were crucial in helping answer questions concerning pastoral identity. Yes, I still serve part-time as a pastor for 2 congregations.  However,

Hillsboro ND Parish
I enjoy assisting with the integration of faith into life.  Life is an adventure. There are surprises, disappointments, deep awe, and painful missteps. I combine Specialized Pastoral Care into life's adventures. Pastoral care comprises emotional, spiritual, and social support. This is not bound by religious structures or institutions. Pastor: a Latin word meaning "shepherd." So pastoral care is concerned about the feeding, well-being, and growth of people throughout the spectrum of life. I specialize in relational care, creative education, and life transitions. The importance of faith, as well as the dynamics of faith are to be used in daily adventures. At times there is need for assistance, insight, and accompaniment on the adventure. Those are the times when I can be of assistance. 

Thus the name: Specialized Pastoral Care Adventures and the tagline: Training for Life.

I was recently interviewed by JJ Gordon for his podcast, "JJ Meets World." JJ is a radio personality on KFGO 790 in Fargo ND. He is on the midday show "It Takes 2." He also acts, is a stand-up comedian, and enjoys movies. His in-laws attend the Hillsboro United Parish.  If you have some time to listen, we discuss many topics. Our discussion is longer than my sermons!!  You can access the podcast via the colored link "JJ Meets World."

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