RITE OF PASSAGE: Walter or Walker?
Last week, a radio host conducted a live interview with me as a part of the publicity for my new book, Rite of Passage Parenting: Four Essential Experiences to Equip Your Kids for Life (Thomas Nelson, 2007). I felt comfortable answering the many questions and thought the interview went well. Only one small problem occurred: throughout our time together, the host kept referring to me as “Walter” Moore.
I can only imagine how confusing life must be for people with common names. Since I have an unusual name, I do not understand how, in a large group, people with the same name can ever figure out who is talking to whom.
“Hi, John, I would like you to meet John.” “Good to meet you, John.” “John and John, have you ever met John?”
I am usually the only one who answers when my name is spoken…but how should I respond when someone calls me by the wrong name? Although this has happened throughout my life, I’m still not sure. During the radio interview, I simply answered as if the host had called me “Walker.” Since I was the only one being interviewed, at least I knew he was talking to . . . me.
A few years ago, I looked up the names of all the ministers in my denomination, and discovered two other men who share both my first and last names. In fact, I met the wife of one Walker Moore by accident . . . literally. I was standing out in the foyer at one of those religious conventions. (You know, no one really attends those meetings intending to learn anything. Instead, most of them go so they can meet their friends in the foyer . . . and get away from the deacons.) I watched one lady leaving the auditorium in a hurry, saying she did not feel good. As she passed the place where I was waiting, she fainted. Wanting to be a Good Samaritan, I attempted to offer some assistance. When she regained consciousness, I leaned over her, speaking quietly, “My name is Walker Moore. How can I help you? I will be glad to call an ambulance or someone else.” She looked at me blankly and said, “You cannot be Walker Moore . . . that is my husband.” I felt very awkward, looking down at this new Mrs. Walker Moore who was not . . . my wife.
Once, after speaking at Oklahoma Baptist University, I encountered one more person who shared my name. Two students approached me, saying, “We would like to introduce you to Walker Moore.” I smiled and prepared to extend my hand. One of the students told me, “No, not you.” Pointing to his friend, he added, “This guy’s name is Walker Moore.” I smiled again, thinking it was a joke. Most of the college students I know spend most of their time sitting around eating pizza and thinking up pranks. I said, “You want me to believe that your first name is Walker and your last name is Moore?”
It was true. I had just met another Walker Moore. He thanked me, saying that people kept coming up to him to say how much they enjoyed his articles and books. Standing face-to-face with someone who had the same name as I did was a brand new experience.
In some ways, though, I am used to having the same name as others. As His child who has taken on His identity by faith, I can be referred to most accurately not as Walker Moore, but as Walker Moore Christ. When you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, He adopts you as His child. Now, you share the name that is above every name-a name higher than any given to you at birth or acquired along the way.
Scripture teaches us that “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” (Prov. 22:1) So, for all those who share the name “Christ” (and any other Walker Moores), carry your name as He intends.
Dear Father, I know you think names are very important. You asked Adam to name all of the animals. In Your Word, you give us many different names we can use to refer to . . . You. You even say You have a name that no one knows except You. You intentionally use names to convey meaning. Sometimes, you even change people’s names to reflect what You know is true. Help us to carry our individual names with honor as we reflect the name of Christ. Amen.