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Naming Rights: What Name Will You Adopt for 2018?

Have you ever had this thought: “I am never going to get those 30 minutes back?” It may be more time or less time, and the regret may be over watching a video or reading a blog, engaging in a conversation, argument, or fight that went nowhere, or choosing to take the other highway only to find yourself in bumper-to-bumper traffic. We may wish to push the reset button, but there is no way to turn the clock back.

This may be another reason why the “reset” of a new year provides us with some hope—we can’t get time back, but perhaps we can use time more wisely starting NOW.

As 2017 came to a close, dozens of videos popped up across the internet with short takes expressing that 2017 was the “Year of ___.” After watching the first video of this genre, I realized, “I am never going to get those few minutes back.” And then the lesson came full force: What did I want 2018 to be? The year of ___?”

Naming is a way to take an intention and make it real. That is why we place such a value on choosing the name of a child. Or selecting the name of a company or organization or team. The second of the Five Books of Moses is named Exodus, as the central theme of the book is the story of the freeing of the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery.

In Hebrew, the name of the book is Shemot, which translates as “Names.” It is given this title because of the initial listing of the personal names of the seventy people of Jacob’s family that left the land of Canaan to sojourn in Egypt. It was their descendants that became slaves to Pharaoh—and yet it is told that while they languished, they held onto their names—they were not simply the other, the downtrodden, the slave; they preserved their identities, they held onto their names.

What name do you want to adopt for this year? My intention is to expand the reach of our unique Kabbalah teachings, and so I name this year, “2018, my year of Legacy.” I predict that you will not regret the time spent personalizing your intention for this year. So, contemplate your “naming rights” and choose wisely: “2018, my year of ___.”

Comments 3

  1. My name for 2018 is Earth Mother.
    I have been keeping track of climate change, but I have reached a stage where I can voice out my thoughts and educate people on the coming crisis.
    Greater parts of the world are becoming uninhabitable.
    We are also seeing millions of climate refugees…this global exodus…the greatest refugee crisis in Europe since world war II. The reaction has lead to xenophobic, hate crimes on the rise, and right wing governments being elected to office.
    Borders are militarized,police drones carry out surveillance and walls are being built. Climate change is having huge geo political effects. The neo liberal policies of the north towards, the south can’t subsidize the farmers who can’t compete and protect their markets from global competition. The current rebelions,riots,wars that are being waged came about, as sever droughts in Egypt,Libya,Tunisia, Syria,Afghanistan, Pakistan,Yemen lead to failed states, where bread riots and farmers commited public suicides in sheer desperation…ultimately these stressed populations,were met with bombing campaigns from the global North.
    This has caused a hardening of the global north’s policies, a hardening xenophobia, increasing quasi fascist kind of policies, and militarization of borders.
    Europe needs young immigrants, but to give them immigration status with out rights is not a fair deal.
    In the same way that we in the U.S. treat our migrant farmer and worker populations.
    Of we don’t act now…global temperatures will likely increase by much more than 2 degrees celsius,that will trigger a set of dangerous positive feed back loops,which will unleash self-compounding run away climate change.
    We are seeing a dying off of tropical and boreal forests, which are our carbon sinks, as they pull co2 out of the atmosphere. If they die and the wood burns or rots, they can become net emitters of green house gases.Huge methane deposits are held in the Arctic ice, and at some point there is a tipping point.
    And how do we all deal with the emotional side of the crisis…alone in our homes…how do we cope with the overwhelming fear. We need spaces to grieve.
    We need to have our governments come up with a marshal plan for climate earth.
    We need to double down on having more renewables and NO to carbon.
    The money in politics problem needs to be faced head on. We have to divest from fossil fuels and have a polluter pay principle.
    We need our government to tax the fossil fuel industry,as capitalism nurtured this industry into being all along. We need to withdraw subsidies from fossil fuel.
    We need to stop allowing our public lands to be used for extracting fuel.
    Buildings will need to be retrofitted with solar panels and electric vehicles need to be used for public transport.
    Under Trump,we are moving in the other direction.
    For now, the global north has resorted to using military methods to deal with the failed states that were the result of long term climate collapse and famine.
    This is a poor way of adapting. We have already seen how that catastrophic convergence is lived on the ground.
    Militarism and border walls are not the solution. We need to get our government to be responsive to our voices, concerns and to invest on our green future. If not. This great earth will become our hell.

  2. Rather than referring to the thousands of mostly Hondurans now journeying across Mexico as a “caravan,” with all the fears and dangers this can stir up, the public discourse can shift significantly if this is referred to instead as an “exodus” of people fleeing from oppression and violence. It is similar to the Exodus described in the Bible, as well as the many stories and waves of immigration throughout Scripture. Exodus politics are at work whenever those in power take advantage of and exploit the powerless, as US policies have been doing for decades in Central America.

    This is consistent with the many ways the story of the Exodus has empowered many people throughout history, such as African-Americans and Central Americans seeking freedom and liberation. “Exodus can be read…as the story of the revolutionary struggle of an oppressed people who search for their liberation, and as the story of the formation of a new society based on other principles…than the generalized slavery of Egypt and Canaan.” [J. Pixley in Global Biblical Commentary, p. 28]

    Those desperately fleeing from extreme poverty and violence in this exodus today may seek a better life in a “promised land” but what awaits them is far from that! There are powerful forces of resistance, militarization and even criminalization that await them, and if they are even able to reach the US, no promise of a better life assured. But this does not deter them, nor did hurdles turn back the ancient Israelites. Instead, as one exclaimed on behalf of many, “only God gives us the strength to go on, and to hope.”

    In the original Exodus story, the Pharaoh was so fearful of the oppressed people growing in number and power that he ordered the midwives Shiprah and Puah to kill all their male babies (Exodus 1). However, they deceived and went against the Pharaoh’s order and instead, respected God. How might people of faith along with others today be like these midwives and resist, even block what the current “pharaoh” is intending? What policies might be developed on the basis of compassionate justice rather than the perpetuation of fear and more violence?

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    The Rev. Dr. Karen Bloomquist is a Lutheran pastor and theologian living in Oakland CA, who seeks to connect faith perspectives with what is occurring politically today (bloomquistkaren@gmail.com).

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