People in our home town seemed determined not to pronounce our last name correctly. Perhaps its nine letters looked threatening. I remember hearing my father explain patiently, over and over –
“It’s phonetic – you pronounce it exactly the way it’s spelled. Chen – o – weth.”
“Oh,” the listener would not. “Chinnyworth.”
My father would permit himself a brief frown. “Think of it this way. ‘Chen’ rhymes with ‘when’ – then ‘o’ – then ‘weth’ rhymes with ‘Seth’.”
“Okay, I got it. Chinnyworth.”
So I grew up, known as Wilson Chinnyworth’s little girl Susan. In college I was known as Susie. And now, for many years, I have been a sedate and matronly Sue or Mrs. Olesen. This six-letter last name has continued to baffle my relatives, after nearly 60 years. They continue to experiment with Olsen, Oleson, or Olson. Apparently, two e’s are too much to expect.
Do you suppose the people in Nazareth had trouble pronouncing Jesus? Did he have a nickname? Did his brothers and sisters call him the Aramaic equivalent of Bro? Did Mary have a pet name for her precious first born?
Discussion: What do you like best to be called?
Activity: Learn the name of someone in our church whom you have not yet met. This person will be pleased, and our church family will seem warmer and more welcoming.
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