Names for No. 2 – Jonathan K Benton

baby namesI’m sorry if you thought this blog was about book titles. It’s about names for my second child, estimated time of arrival this week. Wanda and I have thought long and hard on this topic. Wanda loves surprises, so we don’t know if Bubs is a boy or a girl. I don’t like surprises, but nevermind me.

Wanda initially suggested Keanu. I cannot disassociate the name from the actor. I feared my better half was about to propose other names, like Brad (as in Pitt), Vin (as in Diesel) and Chris (as in Hemsworth). I prefer names like Ashen-Shugar (Feist’s Dragon Lord), Aragorn, Thor and Batman – Batman might result in bullying unless Bubs mastered jujitsu and saved Brisbane from an evil lord before starting preschool.

KatnissAfter confirmed conception, the initial flurry of names slowed into a more thoughtful measured approach. We agreed that we would not name Bubs after a fruit, although our firstborn still calls our unborn child Peach. Vegetables were also out of the question, as were names like Cassiopeia and Andromeda. Constellations (even if they originated in Greek mythology) were to remain in the sky. Quentin is a name that both Wanda and I love. Quentin Benton doesn’t work though.  Wanda likes Charlotte, I like Luthien – my desire to name my child  after some magnificent character of fiction would never work. We didn’t want to be accused of choosing a name inspired by a popular 2013 movie either. This eliminated Katniss (Everdeen), Clarke (Kent), Jay (Gatsby), Clary (Fray) and Gollum (Gollum).

In the end, I chose Bubs’s boy name – it is a name steeped in literary greatness without sounding like a comic book. Wanda chose Bubs’s girl name – a beautiful name indeed. I’d love to reveal these choices but it would be unfair to Bubs. He or she should hear it first.

Let me know what your favourite names are – perhaps you’ll convince me there’s a better name for Bubs.

Jonathan K Benton

First experiences must count for something or am I judging a book by its cover: Jonathan K Benton

c 3 chruch 2A friend invited me to the C3 Church Christmas concert in Bridgeman Downs Brisbane.

C3 Bridgeman Downs is based in an impressive complex with a great café and a large air-conditioned hall. I was expecting to listen to a few hymns sung by monks in brown robes followed by a lengthy sermon from an ancient priest carrying a gold sceptre and who glared down at the masses through a pair of steel-rimmed spectacles – such was my Roman Catholic upbringing. This simply was not the case.

People sat on the floor inside the vast hall on picnic rugs and small chairs. The children gathered at the front – the concert was more for them than the older generation, evidenced in jolly Santa being pulled down the aisle by a group of fit youths wearing antler hats. I found myself clapping along with everybody else. Laughs aplenty.

A talented young band provided live music to the equally talented singers and dancers. Great choreography was on show. It was a well-organised event full of positive energy. A brief sermon by an energetic pastor highlighted the symbolism behind the star that sits atop most Xmas trees. Jesus is that star, his light leading us to him (the pastor’s words were far more eloquent than my own).

A good church creates a sense of community – I felt this sense of community at C3 Bridgeman Downs. Representatives of Ronald McDonald House and Foster Care Queensland received generous donations from the church to their respective charities.

Like most religions, The C3 Global movement encourages its members to donate money to the church. The hall and café wouldn’t be possible without these contributions. I believe in freedom of choice. If someone wants to donate money to their church, who are we to judge. To make an analogy: sports clubs wouldn’t survive if people didn’t pay their membership fees … As long as an organisation doesn’t force its members to give money through bullying and threats of divine retribution.

My thoughts – some churches take advantage of the perceived weak to increase the church’s coffers. These churches lure potential members by promising security and well-being to those who possess little of either. Then there are the churches that genuinely care for their members. First impressions, and based on the wonderful evening I experienced, I believe C3 is a genuine community-based church.

Thank you for the lovely evening, C3 Global.


Jonathan K Benton

Please note: Before joining any church I highly recommend talking to as many people as possible to make an informed decision. Prayer also helps, one would think!!!

2014 – the year we woke. Philosophy is inspiring!

2014I believe that most people are good. If the reverse is true then humanity is in a whole lot of trouble.

Being good doesn’t mean being perfect. We are all capable of behaving selfishly – perfection is mostly subjective anyway. An example of good is this: if we saw a child crying, and if it were obvious that child was lost, we would ensure the child’s safety by delivering him or her to the appropriate authorities or caregivers. I believe 95% of people would act this way, their sole motive to protect the child.

Anything can happen in the future and I’m sure it will. I think our concept of wealth will change: is changing. Various forms of evolution like technology will redefine our notion of what a reward actually is. In the distant future, money will not exist. Greed will be a thing of the past, assigned to the history books. Reward will be defined by the depth of the relationships we have with ourselves, with each other, with the Universe itself. These things are infinite – material possessions are not.

Left-Right debates in terms of politics are largely pointless. It’s a bell curve, anyway, and most people sit somewhere in the middle. There are extremes (I’m not referring to ‘extreme’ in terms of terrorism) on both sides. We must remember that the people sitting on the edges of the bell curve are just as likely to be ‘good’ people as those in the middle. Everybody is entitled to an opinion. Extremes propel us towards a balanced future; they are the narrow walls of the river canyon. Humanity is the river that will emerge from that canyon into a tranquil meandering waterway leaving the extremes behind. The river is always more powerful than the rock. There will be no such thing as left/right, liberal/labour, democratic/republican in a few hundred years as we move towards an economic system completely alien to anything we know today. The goods and services will be different, the resources foreign. Freedom of choice – and I fervently believe in an individual’s right to choose – is the way forward. It nourishes and moulds our future.

Bill Gates gave his opinion (click here) on how the world improved in 2013: the worldwide poverty rate went down and so did the rate of child mortality. These are positive developments. Little steps towards a bright new future.

Serious exponents of change don’t lecture us on getting from A to C without telling us how to deal with B. B is the roadmap, the transition period. It takes real brilliance to understand B. Most ideologues who loudly advocate change possess no realistic idea how to achieve it. They will use key words to obfuscate their lack of understanding. Search for that rare and brilliant individual who can transition.

I’m aiming to finish my next novel by September this year. It’s a heady mix of fantasy and adventure with a pinch of literary cleverness. I’m excited to be working with an entirely fresh set of characters. Australia is a great setting for any book and I love Minaea.

Have a great 2014

You’re beautiful – yes that’s you. Everybody.

Signing off

Jonathan K Benton