I've always gotten a bit of mileage out of my name. Or at least others have.
My parents named me "Billy Wilder," about the time the other guy by the same name had finished directing "Kiss Me, Stupid." By high school it was "Bill" rather than "Billy," so my name became "Wild Bill." To whatever extent that was true was entirely due to my brother..., also a "B. Wilder," whose campaign for senior class president I orchestrated under the failed slogan "Vote Briant for a Wilder next year"--or, simply, "B Wilder next year." He lost, or as he would have it, the vote was stolen due to a vast left-wing conspiracy among the school administration against him.
Perhaps the low point of my name's career, which I have chosen to memorialize in this blog's title, came when I was teaching at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary. Standing one day before fifty or sixty students at the beginning of the term, I introduced myself to the class by writing my name on the chalkboard: Dr. B. Wilder. Ahhh, Dr. Will-der, we presume. Will Der.
No, that's "Wilder." Long i! As in wild, Wilder, wildest. A correction of pronunciation all the more important to make, because, as it dawned on me in a flash, my name was in dire danger of descending from "B Wilder next year" to "Dr. Bewilder." Definitely not how I wished to be known by my students.
And yet, now some ten years later, I've chosen to name this blog "B-Wildered." Not, I continue to hope, a description of my students past and present. Mainly, I think, because... well, it's my name and I think it's funny. And too, I see bewilderment (confusion, losing one's way) as a pretty good description of where we are in much of life's journey. I also happen to believe that, for the Christian, the "wilder"ness is also a place of provision and guidance. But more on that later....