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Essay & Thoughts

A Cover to Match the Book: Finding the Israel in Your Jacob (8/1/2009)

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After Jacob wrestled with God, he came away with a new identity and a new name - Israel. The practice of choosing a name to match your spirit and calling is mostly neglected in American mainstream society, yet it is another important opportunity for truth-telling. We think of choosing a name as the simple filling in of a legal document but the repercussions are far reaching. The family names we take and pass down are a remnant of the days when men owned their women and children and slaves - is it time to think more deliberately about the names we take and live with?  
A "Faith Matters" prepared for the 8/1/2009 Eau Claire Leader-Telegram by Mark Helpsmeet on behalf of Eau Claire Friends Meeting.

Image of Jacob wrestling with the Angel is from


Ken Schaefer
Essay & Thoughts -A Cover to Match the Book: Finding the Israel in Your Jacob
Great essay, Mark. I also feel there is something more in a name. We can either pick a new name or look in a different manner at the one we have. My last name is Schaefer. It means shepherd. I have been examining this name for years. My daughter is an artist and drew a picture of a shepherd with sheep and with calligraphy wrote SCHAEFER under the picture. It means very much to me on many levels. My confirmation name is James. I actually took it because the bishop who confirmed me was named James and we shared a birthday. Perhaps a shallow reason but the spirit has guides me to hold the name James in the Light and discern that the author of James wrote about social justice and righteousness. Thanks for all you do.