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What Happened to the Name Brittany?

2006 November 14
by Mike

Knowing now that a granddaughter is coming . . . and awaiting word on what her name will be, I’ve been curious about names.

I can’t even remember exactly how Diane and I settled on names for our three children. Somehow, Matthew just fit the first one, as did Megan the second and Christopher the third.

We didn’t go far outside the box, I guess. I noticed that the three most popular boys’ names in the 90’s were Michael, Christopher, and Matthew. That covers the three guys in our family. (Of course two of us weren’t born in the 90’s!)

I believe the most common girls’ name in my class at ACU the past couple years has been Brittany. Lots of Brittanys were born in the 90’s. It was the fourth most popular name. Last year it wasn’t even in the top hundred. (Could that have anything to do with a less polished image of a famous Brittany/Britney? Does stuff like that really effect babies’ names?)

Whatever her name is, she will be eagerly welcomed by two parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents, two uncles, two aunts, and two older cousins.

– – – –

Wow! Big coverage of Farmer’s Branch today. Surely the arguments of the people pushing for anti-immigration legislation (including making English the official language of their town) aren’t what they’re being depicted as in the media. Especially in light of what scripture says about how to treat aliens (Lev. 19:10, 33-34; Jer. 7:5-7; Ez. 22:29; etc.). Too often such debates have pushed emotional buttons of racism and of “there’s not enough for all of us” and “they’re taking over our town.” (I’m not at all saying that’s what has happened in Farmer’s Branch. I’m guessing it has more to do with the process and the problems of ILLEGAL immigration. The folks I know in that city are avid Christ-followers who I’m sure have a concern both for the struggling alien and for the legal process.)

While some focus on keeping illegal aliens out, I love hearing of churches that are figuring ways to care for them and to draw them into community: providing basic needs, language assistance, teaching, and friendship.

I try to imagine what I’d do if I couldn’t even feed my family and I knew that there was a place I could go work so that food, clothes and shelter could be provided for my children.

– – – –

An example of how bad theology can impact international policy.

– – – –

An amazing report on wholeness in a city (in this instance, Dallas) is available here from the J. McDonald Williams Institute.

73 Responses leave one →
  1. November 14, 2006

    I’ll plead ignorance about a lot of this discussion, but here are a few things I’ve been thinking..
    1. Unless you’re a Native American; someone in your family immigrated to this country. People immigrate. They always have, especially when their is such a huge disparity in socioeconomic levels.

    2. As far as using up our country’s resources… It seems to me that our wealthy country has more to share than anyone else. And we’re not even having babies at a fast enough rate to maintain our population.

    3. I don’t think it is realistic to believe that we could ever possibly have “secure borders.” I don’t think there is any amount of military presence or government policy or long fence that can keep people who intend harm to our country out.

    4. I don’t think anyone who has actually been through the process of “legal immigration” would say it was easy… maybe the occasional Canadian.

    5. We need to be careful not to prioritize our personal safety and security over the principles that Jesus taught about loving our neighbors (and our enemies).

    6. I’m a law-abiding citizen, but If it comes down to taking care of the poor and oppressed and following our government’s laws, I choose the poor and oppressed, and I think Jesus would too.

    7. It’s easy to assign people to their “proper places” when we are always thinking about them as “they” and “we.” It’s a little harder when you get to know the “they’s” stories, and find out that “they” crossed the border illegally, so that their 8 y/o daughter could get the only treatment that could save her life.

  2. Israel permalink
    November 14, 2006

    Israel is like the spoiled brat that gets a slight shove and then throws a tantrum for several hours. Seriously, they overreacted with Lebanon. What bothers me is that we turn a blind eye to everything they do in the region, but we slam everyone else. I think we have some closet-Zionism going on. If Israel (the nation) really is that important, look at the Old Testament. God was constantly having to put the nation in its place and punish it. Who’s to say that’s no different from today.

    So yes, we have a responsibility to hold Israel accountable for their actions. Being the chosen people of God doesn’t give us a blank check to do whatever we want.

  3. Israel permalink
    November 14, 2006

    I think securing are boarders is very important. “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.”

    History’s full of lasting and effective walls: Berlin, Jericho, China, Hadrian’s — well, at least for awhile.

  4. November 14, 2006

    Speaking of Israel and how premillenialism impacts foreign policy, has anyone read Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation? One of his (and others’) main arguments involves how the religious faith of evangelicals impacts US relations to Israel. I know his vindictive attacks on faith aren’t pleasant reading for Christians, but it might be a good intellectual/spiritual exercise. I’m actually attending a home study on Wednesday nights where we’re reading through Harris’ book and discussing his views, and it’s been rather interesting. Sometimes those you disagree with the most can be the most enlightening to read.

  5. charlie s. permalink
    November 15, 2006

    Isreal a “spoiled brat!” A history lesson might be in order. The Germans were not the first people who tried to wipe the Jews from the face of the Earth, nor were they the last. People have been trying to do that for many years. Remember, the Germans did not come up with the requirement of the Star of David having to be worn by Jews so that they could be more easily identified, and therefore persecuted. The English did! (Interestingly enough, the English also came up with the idea of the concentration camp). Hard for me to criticize a group of people who have had to fight for their existence for such a long period of time, to now be surrounded by people who want to destroy them, after having just recently gone through the nightmare of the Holocaust when the majority of the world, that’s right even the “Christian” world did not lift a finger to prevent it. After that type of history, including the indifference of the christian world, I might overreact also. Does that make it right or ok? No. Does that make it the reality that they deal with, supported by history? Yes. Spoiled brats indeed! My, how the world has pampered them so!
    The immigration debate can become very simple if you keep one fact in mind. The immigration we see in this country is caused by the fact that there is no comparable support system in the countries these people are leaving. We are the welfare system and the medicare system for Mexico and Central America. Until something is done to correct the problems in those countries, we will continue to have to deal with this situation. That is exactly why Mexico does not want us to close our borders. They do not want to take care of the problems. They want us to deal with them. You want to remedy this problem, make those countries take care of the problems instead of relying upon us to do it. Better yet, go down there and fix the problems of poverty and inadequate health care and unemployment. If you do not want to do that, then accept the reality that the U.S. is going to have to subsidize these countries.

  6. Israel permalink
    November 15, 2006

    charlie s.,
    I never said Israel IS a spoiled brat — It was analogy to explain the overreaction. The U.S. needs to stop saying, “your actions don’t bother us… We understand you’ve been oppressed.”

    You may be on to something there with the borders. If we stopped wasting money on walls and border protection, and started using it to spur development in nearby countries who have been ravaged by our economic policies, then people might have less reason to come here. (I don’t mind “them” being here, though.) The pen IS mightier than the sword, after all.

  7. November 15, 2006

    Israel – It’s basically the “teach a man to fish” principle. I’m down with that. It’d be nice, though, if America would take more interest in developing countries for reasons NOT connected to our own interests (but because we both have and expend more resources — natural and otherwise — than any other nation on earth, plus it’s the right thing to do).

    What I’ve observed in the immigration debate is this: few people are willing to ask the “why” questions. As in, “why are they coming over our borders.” Is it to terrorize us? No. Is it to take jobs and benefits away from “hard-working Americans”? Of course not. They come because they want a better life for themselves and their families, and America obviously offers them something they cannot get in their own countries.

    This is where Israel & Charlie’s suggestion of spending more money developing these nations (teaching people to fish) is a good start.

  8. charlie s. permalink
    November 15, 2006

    I do not mind “them” being here at all either, and I resent the implication. It is misplaced, especially considering my family and the ethnic roots of same.
    What I do resent even more is the comment that it is our economic policies that have ravaged these countries. There is plenty of corruption in these countries that has nothing to do with the U.S. A trip to Mexico easily proves this. That is a country with abundant natural resources that could easily support its population, yet will not.
    I am not advocating one position or the other. I am merely pointing out that the reality is either these countries fix their economic problems for the benefit of their citizens, or we will be left to do it. This country needs to plan accordingly. (of course, we will not, since it would take a political course of action that would not be popular in this country)
    After having gone back and re-read my prior post, it is obvious that the “them” I refered to was the problems of the countries, not people of those countries. Do not be so quick to try to mischaracterize or miscast what I said.

  9. November 15, 2006

    Mike, when the legal process devours the struggling alien, the person of faith will gravitate toward the struggling alien, at least that is how I see it. As for serious Christ followers. . .all I know is some of the attitudes at work today in Farmers Branch likely make the Lord we say we seek sick to his stomach.

  10. November 15, 2006


    You didn’t catch my meaning. “Our citizenship…” was a quote from sacred writ. When it comes to law breaking I am most concerned with God’s will, not our governments’.

  11. Jason O'Quinn permalink
    November 15, 2006

    There is a difference between “alien” and “illegal alien.” I think that’s the whole point.

  12. Ruthie permalink
    November 16, 2006

    Mike wrote: “I try to imagine what I’d do if I couldn’t even feed my family and I knew that there was a place I could go work so that food, clothes and shelter could be provided for my children.”

    Mike’s sentiments are real, and I should know — I am a middle-school ESL teacher in the Houston area, and have spent a lot of time with immigrant children (and their parents). In the couse of my job, I have had many opportunities to hear for myself the stories of what life has been like for these familes, some of whom are here illegally. Feeding and clothing their children is an issue for them, but safety can be pretty high on the list, as well.

    The following is a true — and not untypical — story about a family I knew from Colombia:

    Daniel (who was 11 when I taught him a few years ago) was from a well-educated family who lived in an upper middle-class neighborhood in Colombia, where the homes looked a lot like my “nice” middle-class home (I saw pictures). His father had an important, well-paying white-collar position with a corporation in Colombia.

    Daniel’s parents personally knew many families whose young sons had been taken by the rebel military, and they also knew that Daniel, at ten, could very possibly be taken soon, as well. It was not unreasonable to think that they would never see their boy again, if that were to happen. An additional concern was the shootings in their “nice” neighborhood, which were becoming the norm; as a matter of fact, Daniel saw a man shot and killed right in front of their house.

    Daniel’s parents felt that they needed to get out of Colombia, and soon, and although I do not know for sure if the family immigrated here illegally (the schools don’t ask, and that’s fine by me!), I had my suspicions. I do know that they gave up everything they had and left all that was familiar to bring their family to the U.S. Daniel’s dad, whose lack of English was not a problem in Colombia, ended up washing rental cars for Enterprise, because jobs like the one he held in Colombia require one to speak English here in the U.S.

    Daniel’s grandfather, back in Colombia, was shot near his own “nice” home a couple of years after the family came here — and the family was unable to return to help care for him during the weeks that he suffered before he died, nor were they able to return for the funeral. Daniel was fearful throughout his grandfather’s illness, and was inconsolable when he died.

    I’m guessing that Daniel’s parents would do it all over again to keep their kids safe, and I’d be willing to bet that most of us would do the same for our kids, too, if legal channels failed us. If you’re not sure about that, go in and watch your children sleeping in their nice, warm, safe beds — what would you do to keep them safe from people who might come in this very night and take them away?

    I’m in awe of the courage it takes for many of the parents of the kids I teach to come here, then go to work at demeaning jobs — sometimes two or three jobs — to take care of their families.

    Jason, I’m sure you’re right — there is a difference between “alien” and “illegal alien”. I sure can’t tell what it is by looking at the kids in my classroom, and I’m betting you couldn’t, either.

  13. don permalink
    November 16, 2006


  14. Jason O'Quinn permalink
    November 16, 2006

    Ruthie, I live in Farmers Branch and I should know as well. I humbly respect your story and your experiences. But there is a story HERE too. My compassion for people and my wrestling with this issue is why I was running for Farmers Branch City Council in May 2007 and now why I am not. I’m not comfortable running on this platform and the voters in FB will vote in a Councilman in unwavering favor of the ordinances.

    Micah 6:8 calls us “…to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Mike may more clearly address “justice” because it can be defined as moral principle just as well as lawfulness. Or should our moral principle lead us to lawfulness?

    The city government of FB is taking a stand. Not a stand against a certain people, but a stand for the law. The beneficiaries of this stand are the taxpayers of our city and state. The result of the lack of a stand are the US citizen children who suffer at the hands of our public school systems inability to meet the demands of such a diverse student base. The absence of tax dollar revenue from those here illegally hurts everyone, including ALL the children we seek to serve.

  15. November 16, 2006

    So you’ll only stand for the alien if it doesn’t hurt your tax base? If it doesn’t affect you? If it’s consistent with the law? What if it is the very laws and governmental structures that create an unlivable situation for the alien?

    A solution to the tax revenue problem would be to push for the legalization of these immigrants so that they can pay all the taxes, not trying to keep them out. (Notably, many illegal immigrants pay into Social Security using false numbers, and other types of taxes, but do not necessarily receive the same benefits as citizens, so your blanket assertion that keeping illegal immigrant out is better for the economy is unsupported.)

    Are there not many situations where acting for justice and mercy-acting on behalf of aliens- may require us to break specific laws that are themselves unjust? How about participating in the civil rights movement when it involved deliberately disobeying unjust laws? Or helping slaves on the underground railroad?

  16. Jason O'Quinn permalink
    November 16, 2006

    FB isn’t requiring illegal aliens to leave, they are requiring them to get legal…or leave. Is that an UNJUST law? I think not. And if you don’t think economic factors are a variable in this, then you are a bit unrealistic. It’s very realistic for those of us who own homes in FB and send our children to public schools.

  17. November 16, 2006

    Jason- Semantics. Is there really a realistic way for them to become legal all of a sudden? Or is your law more or less forcing people (and their children) to leave your school district because they have no other option? I’m afraid your concept of justice (which seems to pertain wholly to following and enforcing the law) and mine (which is concerned with equality, social justice, and a preferential option for the poor) are likely too far apart to be reconciled in a simple conversation..

    I’m certain that economic factors are a variable in this- I’m merely saying that the economic effect of illegal immigration has positive economic effects as well as negative ones.

    As for taxes, I’m not familiar with FB’s particular local tax base, but I would guess illegal immigrants pay sales taxes, and that those who rent properties indirectly contribute to the property taxes their landlords pay. Is that correct?

    And if it’s really about the tax base for your school, why stop with illegals? If your schools should only be giving education to the children of those who contribute monetarily, why don’t you get mad about legal children whose parents are poor or don’t own property, and therefore don’t contribute more tax money to your schools? Why are they benefitting from your tax base…

    The purpose of our public schools has been and should be to provide an education for all in order to equalize opportunity and integrate people into society as citizens, not merely to benefit those who are capable of contributing to the tax base.

  18. Ruthie permalink
    November 17, 2006

    Jason, the wording in your post sounds as if you yourself are conflicted as to how illegal aliens should be treated. On the one hand, you defend your home-town government’s stance, but admit you couldn’t wholeheartedly stand behind it, which is why you chose not to run for office.

    In other words, it seems to me that you couldn’t look into Daniel’s eyes and explain to him why he can’t stay here. You wouldn’t want to be the one to drive him and his younger brother to the airport and put them on the plane back to Colombia, but you hope that someone else will do that distasteful job for you.

    I admit the issue of illegal immigration is a huge one that affects many areas of American life, from economics, to education, to national security. I am the first to admit I do not know how to solve all the resulting far-reaching problems. I must honestly admit, as well, that illegal immigrants make a huge, unmeasurable contribution to the American economy — especially in Texas where conservative estimates put them at 1 in 6 of the total number of our workforce. I must also honestly acknowledge that they hold many of the jobs that most of us don’t want.

    All in all, though, knowing there are so many things I can’t “fix”, I think I am much more comfortable imagining myself standing in the presence of Jesus, knowing that I loved and tried to educate the Daniels in our midst, than if I tried to chase them back to the place they came from.

  19. November 14, 2007

    I like this but I think the name Brittany is coming back. In everyone of my classes there is more than one Brittany I wish every day I couls change my name well bye.

  20. October 4, 2008

    great site lots of useful interesting post keep it up

  21. February 19, 2010

    Can you provide more information on this?

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