Jehovah’s Witnesses often argue that they are the only true Christians, because they are the only ones who know and use God’s proper name, Jehovah. Of course, the counter argument could be made that God’s proper name is NOT Jehovah at all, but YHWH, but this essay was an online response I gave to the JW charge that the churches disrespect God by not calling on him by His name…
My dad’s name is Vaughn. It is a great name, and I hope that all revere the man behind the name. But I don’t call my dad “Vaughn.” I call him “dad” or “daddy” and have done so since my earliest infancy. I have never even thought about calling him Vaughn, because I have always sensed that would not be an expression of honor or respect coming from me, but perhaps even an expression of dishonor.
Now that does not mean that other people outside the family would be insulting him to call him by his name. In fact, outsiders do not have the right to call him “dad” as I do. They would be presuming upon a relationship that they do not possess to call him “dad” or “Daddy.” So, he has been called different things by “outsiders.” To some, neighbors and friends, he might be referred to as “Vaughn.” To others, he is “Mr. Nielsen.” Still others might have referred to him as “the boss.” But I had a special relationship to him, so I never referred to him as “the boss,” with all the intrinsic insecurity that title suggests.
But my relationship with him was special. He was, and still is, my dad, though he is now safe in heaven. I am sure there were prettier little girls than me, and smarter girls too, and some were perhaps better behaved. But I was my daddy’s little girl. Such is the wonderful nature of family relationship – to be loved for who you are rather than what qualities you possess or what you may do. And such is the nature of dads.
In thinking about this, I don’t think the name “Vaughn” was heard too much around our house, although of course all seven of his kids knew my dad’s name. We were his children. We just called him “dad.” That is what we were taught to call him, and we never considered calling him anything else. We certainly never would have imagined addressing him by his name. And even in discussing him among ourselves, we still did not use his name. It was, “Where is dad?” Or, “I’m gonna tell dad on you.” What would be considered disrespectful familiarity to an outsider was our very birthright. He was our protector, provider, and our disciplinarian, but we belonged to him, and he loved us deeply, beyond any doubt.
This of course does not imply that it would be wrong for me to ever refer to my dad as “Vaughn” when speaking to others about him. There are appropriate times to do so, such as this essay. “My dad’s name is Vaughn,” is an appropriate statement in the third person.
Funny thing is, my dad did not seem to see the passage of time in his “little girl.” He didn’t seem to notice when I started turning grey, nor gave much attention to my reading glasses and such. He ever called me by the same pet name he always used when addressing me. And no, I’m not about to release that information. For my part, I always called him “dad” or “daddy,” and he still is “daddy” to me. Expressions of familial love … terms of endearment.
But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons, and because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:4-6)
Terms of familial love … Terms of endearment.Ω
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