|Junia less than 100 seconds old...|
So, it’s been a while since we blogged… almost 3 and a half years actually, since that was when we last had a child. Life just isn't as unique as when we lived in Kenya, and we're a little busier than we were then as well.
Regardless, as is our wont, here is a blog about the name we gave to our fourth child, who was born on January 19th, 2018. Turns out it is much more difficult to write these posts when you A. have 4 children 5-years-old and under, B. aren't getting much sleep, and C. don’t finalize a name for your child until she’s been alive for 24 hours and the hospital is passive-aggressively bringing you forms to fill out that ask for a name for your daughter so she can be discharged…
Since this is (probably, hopefully) our last child (biological, at least), here’s a little background on how we name kids… pretty much, I have a bunch of rules and Colleen gets annoyed by them.
1. No character or famous people names… if the first thing you think of when you hear a name is an elf, wizard, famous athlete, actor, musician, etc. then it’s out for me. Sorry Rey, Arwen, Serena, Hermione, Enya, etc… (Blaise stretches this rule a bit, since he’s named after Blaise Pascal, but let’s just say there is a 300-year posthumous statute of limitations on famous people. Lookout for Lebron Wittig sometime around the year 2380.)
2. There must be a 2-syllable or less version of the name… if I’m going to be saying/yelling it 7 million times across the backyards, soccer fields, and from the passenger seat of a car while I’m teaching my teenage progeny to drive, I need verbal efficiency. Cash. Cacia. Blaise. Juni/Nia (TBD). 4 kids, 6 syllables – necessary brevity.
3. No unpronounceable Gaelic spellings… there are many beautiful Irish names that we love, but sorry Siobhan, Saoirse, Ciaran, Tadhg, Aoife, Caiseal, etc., you just didn’t make the cut. I’ve had to spell my name my whole life, but at least there is some chance people will say it correctly when they read it phonetically. Not so much with Aoife and Saoirse.
I’m not saying they should be your rules (though as a father and coach, I highly advise the 2-syllable or less directive), but those are mine… though honestly, after her performances in the delivery room, Colleen can name our biological children anything she wants, including Saoirse Arwen Frodo Tolkien Galadriel Éowyn Samwise Wittig. So really, the rules don't mean anything.
Like I mentioned previously, it took us 24+ hours to finalize Junia’s name, and only under the threat of leaving the hospital without a name were we forced into a decision. That agony over name choice means that we’ve got a couple of amazing unused girls names in the hopper… possibly the 3rd and 4th best girl names of all time (obviously, Acacia and Junia are tied for #1). Now that we will (probably, hopefully) not be needing them, we’re offering them to… the highest bidder! Please submit your bids for 1 or 2 amazing female baby names… bidding starts at $39.99. Happy bidding!
On to the name…
Junia, pronounced joo-nee-yah (3 syllables, like Julia with an “n”), is a Biblical name from Romans 16. It means “youth” and is a feminine form of Junius, which derives from the Roman goddess, Juno, who was the queen of the gods and married to Jupiter. Juno was a protector, the goddess of marriage and childbirth.
|Don't I look like a JuniBird?|
One of the things we most like about Junia is the exceptional nickname-ability… so far, the kids have been calling her Juni almost exclusively, but Nia is also a possibility, as well as Junebug, J-bug, JuJu, JuniBird (personal creation and favorite), J-Bird, JuniGirl, JuJuBe (like the candy), etc. Like Acacia going by Cacia (kay-sha), the Juni/Nia/JuJu/J-Bird possibilities also help Junia abide by the two-syllables-or-less rule #2 above. Like we said, we had 2 or 3 names that we liked, but after spending a day or so with her, it was clear that she is a Junia – it just fits her little personality and sweet face.
Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. Romans 16:7 (NIV)
In Romans 16, Junia is a woman who Paul praises, along with a man named Andronicus (which didn’t make any of our previous boy name lists… obviously too many syllables). Though only mentioned in that one verse, Junia is a somewhat controversial figure in some circles of Christendom, because she is a she. There is some debate about whether Junia was actually female, though most scholars believe she was, and about the phrasing of Paul’s admiration of her and Andronicus – “outstanding among the apostles” (NIV, NASB, KJV, etc.) or “well known to the apostles” (ESV and a few others), the operative word being “among.”
The JuniaProject.com and many other books and materials posit that Junia was accepted as a woman apostle for 100s of years after Paul wrote Romans, until cultural shifts and male translators started changing Junia to Junius or Junias, pretty much because a woman apostle didn’t fit their narratives. If you’re interested, I encourage you to read more at the juniaproject.com and elsewhere about Junia, and how translation bias and interpretation have affected her legacy over 2 millennia. Here's a couple of interesting articles from that site:
The fact that Junia was a woman apostle feeds into the debate about the role of women in the church, and complementarianism vs egalitarianism. Outside of blatant poor translation, most of the differences between those stances comes down to how scripture is interpreted in the light of cultural context. In short, many churches, ours included, believe that only men can lead and teach in church and in the home, that men and women are designed for specific roles that complement each other.
|Juni does not currently have thoughts on egalitarianism...|
However, we, and many other churches and denominations believe that the Bible in cultural context was/is liberating, freeing, and humanizing for women, and that the qualifications for leadership, teaching, etc. should only be giftedness. We believe that the gender restrictions in the New Testament were for specific situations, are not universal principles, and that the Gospel completely upset the prevailing patriarchy of first century Rome (where women were merely possessions and baby factories) while working within the confines of culture, as it continues to do today.
But the point of our daughter’s name and this blog isn’t to start a debate about the role of women in the church or the home – many of you reading probably do not care, and I doubt I’m going to change your mind if you do - but rather to share the reasons that we named our daughter Junia… and it’s because we like the sound of "Junia," the aforementioned nicknames seem to fit her, “youth” and ”queen goddess” are not uncool name meanings, the name follows the previously listed rules...
|Cashel is so sweetest with his babysister... see video below|
Aiden is Colleen’s middle name (as well as her mother, Eileen’s), and is Gaelic for “fire.”
So yes, Junia Aiden’s name means “youth fire.”
Colleen’s Mamaw immigrated to Kentucky from Ireland as a young woman, and her sister is an Irish nun named, Sister Aiden. She is known for being extremely loving and gregarious, and is universally adored by the family and her community. When Eileen and her siblings went to visit their family in Ireland as adults, the nuns at Sister Aiden’s convent knew them all by name, because the Sisters had been praying for them daily for years at Sister Aiden’s behest.
We hope our little JuniBird has some fire in her personality, a fierce love for humanity, and, like Sister Aiden, prays fervently for the people in her life.
|Mr. No-longer-the-baby with the baby|
Since I’ve written the “Wittig” portion of these name blogs before, I’m just going to plagiarize myself and copy it here again:
Junia is a Wittig. Like all Wittigs, little Junibird will be cursed with having her last name mispronounced and misspelled for the rest of her life. Whitting? Wittrig? White-ig? Widdic? Sometimes I'm not sure I know how to pronounce it. Juni better get used to spelling it out every time, just like the rest of us.
In 4 years of having "Cason Wittig" announced over the loudspeaker when I played high school basketball, it was never pronounced correctly at a road game. Not once. I think the only person to ever actually pronounce Wittig correctly was my crazy German soccer coach who would scream "Vittig!" at 12-year-old me from the sidelines in between muttered German curse words.
Incidentally, Wittig comes from the German word for "wood" or possibly the word for "clever"... although I was told as a kid that it meant "little wooden head." I couldn't find any evidence of the "little wooden head" meaning on the internet, but I'm going to pass that quirky interpretation on to all of my kids because it is way more fun.
Also, Wittigs love ice cream, so we've got that going for us.
Thanks to those of you who made it this far on the blog post… Even though she doesn’t let us sleep, we love our Youth Fire Little Wooden Head! Thanks for reading!
|Quality time with my girl|
|Juni reading some Harry Potter with the fam|
|Happy naps all day... unfortunately, not all night|
|Love these girls|
|These two are the cutest...|
|He loves her so much|