I’ve been struggling with names for the past couple of days.
How it started: Christmas Eve I was on Google doing Googley things and somehow found myself in the middle of an article about the transliteration of “Yeshua” and how it changed from Hebrew to Greek to Latin to Swedish (I think) to English and became “Jesus” when a more literal Hebrew-to-English translation of “Yeshua” should be “Joshua.”
So, here I am—on Christmas Day—watching movies with my brother and falling down a spiral of “Dear Josh” jokes and telling him I hope his future wife has a sense of humor because my future niece(s) and/or nephew(s) will be taught by their auntie that the Son of God’s name is Joshua and not Jesus and we start our prayers with “Dear Josh” because He’s kind of like our heavenly brother and we don’t need to call Him by His full name.
Today, I’m sitting in the bathroom—where I tend to dig out my most intelligent (or rebellious) thoughts—and I say out loud to myself, “we shouldn’t even be translating names!” I understand translating the Bible into languages more people can understand, but names are names and don’t need translation.
Like, my name is “Christine” no matter what language you speak.
And then this thought spun me around to a memory of middle school when we would have Asian foreign exchange students come hang out with us for part of the school year, and instead of us being taught their actual names, they were given ridiculous English names like “Cutie” and “Sweety” (though some had less ridiculous English names like “Mary”).
Imagine being eleven, going to a new country, and instead of people calling you by your name, you get stuck with “Strawberry” or “Purple” for your entire stay because it’s easier for the locals to pronounce. Now, we’re not talking about nicknames or shortening a name (Christine > Chris, Michael > Mike, etc.), we’re talking about completely different names here.
It’s stupid. And I’m angry about it.
A person’s name should not be translated into something that isn’t their name just to make it easier for someone else to say.
Calling me “Christina” because it’s easier for you or because you like the way it sounds better (yes, I have actually been told that as an adult by an adult) is a sure-fire way to make me hate you just a little.
So, I swing back to the Yeshua/Jesus/Joshua thing and I’m sitting there like, “Yeshua” doesn’t need to be “Joshua” either. Yeshua is Yeshua. Period.
Now, full disclosure, I was one of those people who thought Christians who called Jesus “Yeshua” were being pretentious and annoying, but I get it now and I’m a little piffed it took me this long.
So, no, we will not be calling the Son of God “Josh”, nor will we be calling Him “Jesus”. His name is Yeshua. My name is Christine.
The point is, call people by their actual name (the one they give you) and not some version of their name that makes more sense to you.