What’s in a Name?

By Scott Keith

What’s in a name? Well, I suppose it depends on the name. My name is relatively common. While growing up, I always knew two or three people my age with my same name. In fact, my best friend in high school was named Scott. If you Google the name “Scott Keith,” you will discover that there are many people with my name. The most popular among them is a gentleman who seems to have made a decent living blogging and writing about professional wrestling.

When I began writing for the Jagged Word, Paul Koch asked me to pick a pen name. My pen name was to be something witty, telling, and poignant. After much discussion, we landed on The Cantankerous Critic. I suppose that I am, at least at times, somewhat cantankerous. I usually enter new situations with a more pensive than joyous demeanor. I am somewhat dry and even sarcastic at times. Additionally, at the time, I was just beginning my work in Student Affairs at the University. The things I saw and realized about the millennial generation led me to be very critical of our current cultural milieu.

I have to say that I no longer enjoy the title Cantankerous Critic. I try hard not to be cantankerous––though I am still curmudgeonly––and I have also attempted to veer off the path of continual cultural criticism. Writing my book, Being Dad: Father as a Picture of God’s Grace changed the landscape of the discussion for me. I began to see that there was more value in describing the reality of who we are called to be in Christ, than criticizing our general lack of vocational awareness. In that work, I was able to discuss the value of fatherhood as a vocation gifted to families by a good God for the sake of Christ, rather than merely criticizing the current cultural attack on men generally and fatherhood specifically.


Now, I consider the reality that I am about to be a grandfather. And so, I am exploring the possibility of yet a new name. What shall my grandbabies call me? I, being kind of old school, like the classic moniker, Grandpa. But, my family is encouraging me toward a more creative solution. Upon learning I was going to be a grandfather, one of my employees at the University immediately began calling me Grandpappy. I’m not sure I want that one to stick. Yet, I have discovered that there is a cadre of possible titles available to me: Grampa, Gramps, Granddad, Granddaddy, Grandpop, PawPaw, Big Paw, Peepaw, Papadaddy, Pop, Poppa, Pops, Pop-Pop, Poppy, Big Daddy (probably not), Boom-pa, Bompa, Bumpy, and Boppa. The possibilities are seemingly endless!

So what is a soon-to-be grandfather and Jagged Word author to do? One name I don’t like and one I can’t decide upon; I am a real mess over here. My name has always meant little to me until my name was Dad or as my daughters say, Pa. It is in this name that I have found my vocational identity. I love the name Pa, but is there nothing more?

There is much more. I am a part of the name that is above every other name. I am named among those whose names have been written in the book of life. Christ has chosen me and made me His own. He lived a life in perfect fulfillment of the Law, for me. He offered Himself as the final sacrifice, for me. He died on the cursed tree, for me. He was laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, for me. He took back His own life, for me. He descended into Hell pronouncing His victory over sin, death, and the power of the devil, for me. He rose again on the third day, for me. He established His church, for me. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father preparing a place, for me.


He has claimed me and made me His own; thus, I am named a Christian. I am named after Jesus, and He has many powerful names: Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8), Arm of the Lord (Isaiah 51:9), Author and Finisher of Our Faith (Hebrews 12:2), Author of Eternal Salvation (Hebrews 5:9), Beloved Son (Matthew 12:18), Bread of Life (John 6:32), Captain of Salvation (Hebrews 2:10), Good Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4), Christ of God (Luke 9:20), Desire of Nations (Haggai 2:7), First Begotten  (Revelation 1:5), Glory of the Lord (Isaiah 40:5), Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14), Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14), Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 21:11), King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2), King of Kings (1 Timothy 6:15), Law Giver (Isaiah 33:22), Lamb of God (John 1:29), Lord of All (Acts 10:36), Lord of Glory (1 Corinthians 2:8), Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:15), Messiah (Daniel 9:25), Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6), Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) , Redeemer (Job 19:25), Resurrection and Life (John 11:25), Shepherd and Bishop of Souls (1 Peter 2:25), Son of God (Matthew 2:15), Truth (John 1:14), Word of God (Revelation 19:13), and so many more.

His name is my actual name; in Him, I find the only identity I have which is worth anything. So call me cantankerous, call me a critic, call me Pa, or call me Grandpappy, but know that I have been called to be in Christ my Lord. And my God has made me His, redeemed me, set me free, granted me life eternal, and made me part of His resurrection; He is risen! So what’s in a name? Life eternal when that name is Christ the Lord.