What’s in a Name? Introducing My New Son

Last Monday night, February 25th, at 9:33pm my life changed in the most dramatic way. Rose gave birth to our son who we named Judah Parker Braun.

For most of Rose’s pregnancy I didn’t care about choosing a name for our son. Does a name really have value? I don’t think much of my own name, though I will admit to it being the best name out there.

It was the immature me thinking, because names are of immense value.

In many ways, names constitute value.

Something without a name that has value is always given a name. Every beautiful place in the world has a name. There’s no such thing as that huge waterfall in New York, there’s the Niagara Falls.

For people we especially love we give the name of husband, wife, son, daughter, etc.


Rose loved the name Jude, but I could only think about Jude Law and that isn’t a good thing. But then I thought about the full length version of Jude, Judah.

Judah is the name that Leah gave to her fourth son due to her declaration “this time I will praise the Lord.” His father was named Jacob, who is one of my favorite people written at length about in the Bible.

Jacob is every man. He’s given every opportunity a man could want or need, but he continually chooses the selfish way.

At one point Jacob wrestles with God. Not figuratively. He wrestles with God and God is impressed with Jacob’s fortitude. God gives Jacob a new name. But within a day he’s back to his old scheming ways. I’ve always seen a lot of myself in Jacob. Fits and starts but unable to get out of my own way.

God uses the man Jacob (Israel after his name change) to do incredible things, but I think his legacy is seen in being a good father to his 12 sons. His son Judah ends up leading the most powerful tribe in all of Israel by honoring God through his leadership. Judah does something Jacob could not.


I grew up calling my grandpa by “Park” instead of his full first name Parker. Grandma only called him Parker when she really wanted to get his attention 🙂

My grandpa Parker went to be with Jesus on Saturday night. If you read this post you know more about that.

Even as his body was breaking down over the past decade grandpa never lost his quick wit. Sure he couldn’t walk as quickly, but he could still crack a joke faster than anyone in the family.

Just a year and a half ago the family played a game of Apples to Apples. Grandpa was always a sneaky Apples to Apples player. Too bad Vegas doesn’t allow for betting on Apples to Apples because betting against grandpa on that game is always a losing bet. He knew when to sneak in the “great fit” kind of card and when to throw down the “funny” kind of card.

No surprise, at the age of 82, grandpa won the game.

Before grandpa went into the hospital we planned to name Judah also after his great grandpa, praying that he could develop the kind of joy for life and quick wit that Parker always had.

Last Tuesday Judah and Parker met for the first time, and grandpa said he thought Judah was a beautiful boy.

What’s in Name?

This week I wonder what nameless things exist in your life?

Do you have relationships that don’t extend beyond the superficial? Friends who could be named best friends but you keep them at arm’s length?

When you give someone the name of love or cherished you allow the transcendent God to become real and tangibly felt in someone’s life.

I never lived close to my grandpa Parker but each time I was with him he always let me know how much he loved me. I had a titled name of grandson to Parker, but he gave me a greater name. Through grandpa I knew I was loved and cared for. Grandpa was always proud of me. Grandpa gave me a glimpse of the Father’s love.

Everyone has a name on their license or ID card, but few people believe deep within them the names God has given them.

We each are given opportunities everyday to give people the names that bring life. (tweet this?)

Here’s a video of the day Judah was born:

Judah Parker Braun from Jay McKenney on Vimeo.

Last word: I know I’ve written quite a bit on this blog and other outlets about life and death the past few weeks. In our culture both events are extremely private, especially death. We don’t know what to say, so we give people space. But life doesn’t exist on islands and death has something to teach all of us. I believe death is a communal event. And I hope my grandpa’s death and my son’s birth can teach us all something that might change our lives.