What’s in a Name: The Origin of “Ironweakness”

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10

This morning in church our pastor cited a passage from 2 Corinthians 12 which included the following verse “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9b) Now this verse is meaningful to me because the spiritual reality it portrays is one I need reminded of regularly but it is also the source of my namesake in most MMOs and here at Waiting For Rez— Ironweakness. However I’ve never shared how I arrived at that name so if you’ve ever wondered what in the world an “Ironweakness” is, here’s your answer!

It began in early 2011 when I started playing multiplayer 1v1 matches in Starcraft 2. Prior to SC2, I hadn’t really played any video games in a long time, PC or otherwise but I had asked for it as a Christmas gift the year before for nostalgia reasons. As a high school student I played the campaign mode of the original game so when I received the sequel I initially did the same. However after beating it I started looking at the multiplayer options and discovered this whole subculture of competitive gaming that I did not even know existed. I spent a lot of time watching matches, learning builds, and even went to a live competition put on by MLG in Columbus, OH. I remember thinking at that event, “this must be what sports fans feel like,” because for the first time I actually understood the rulesets and skills of a competitive sporting match enough to actually enjoy it. I may no longer remember who won, but doing the wave in a convention center full of nerds before the final match is something I’ll never forget.

All this excitement for competitive SC2 drove me to improve my own gameplay. However skill was not the only thing I lacked, I also needed a good gaming handle. When I initially loaded SC2 I just used my first name as the username because at the time I didn’t know anything about the multiplayer components and thought it was just used for identifying users in the campaign mode. However after seeing so many other great names watching matches on YouTube and Twitch— so many distinct “identities” in the community— I wanted to develop one of my own. I thought long and hard on this one. You were only given one chance to change your name in SC2 so I had to make it count.

That’s when I was reminded of the above verse from 2 Corinthians. See, there were two primary types of names in SC2, those that were meant to be humorous and those that were meant to sound tough, a real competitor. Think of all the gladiator names from the show American Gladiators in the 90s and you’ll know what I mean. Turbo. Laser. Nitro. Or better yet, Nitroturbolaser. They were names meant to be boastful, to declare yourself a worthy opponent, a competitor not to be taken lightly. I decided I would turn that naming paradigm on its head a little by creating a boastful name in line with the apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth. And so “Weakness” was born.

Fast forward a year and I stepped into the world of Azeroth for the first time. After playing around with several classes I finally settle on a hunter whom I named “Weakness” as well. At that time I saw character names in an MMO the same way I did my SC2 handle, it was a nickname representative of me rather than of the avatar I had created. Of course in time I began creating alts but I wanted to have that same core name so that regardless of which character I played, “Weakness” would still be the base name. Because of the 12 character limitations in WoW I had to think up four letter words to use as prefixes. Rageweakness, Findweakness, and ultimately, Ironweakness.

Ironweakness started as a Horde side hunter. I landed on the word “iron” because of the hunter talent “aspect of the iron hawk” that had been added in Mists of Pandaria. That hunter did not last very long but I loved the name so much I used it later for a Monk. I don’t remember if there was a Monk specific ability with the word “Iron” in it but I still thought it was fitting. “The Monk with the Iron Fist,” sounded like a great title for a Kung Fu movie from the 70s or 80s (in fact, it probably is). Later when I began to try other MMOs I found the name “Weakness” to be unavailable most of the time and so more and more I began using “Ironweakness” instead.

However it wasn’t just convenience that drew me to that name, I had lots of other rad “weakness” names to choose from. What I liked about “Ironweakness” was that it conveyed the fundamental reason I chose the name “Weakness” in the first place by illustrating the truth that there is strength in being weak from the biblical perspective, an “iron weakness.” When Paul says that he will “boast” in his weaknesses, he’s stating a core theological truth of the Christian faith. The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches that men and women are sinful by nature and no amount of religious tradition, moral living, or generous philanthropy will erase the consequences of that sin in the same way that most judicial systems will not pardon murder simply because you helped a lot of old ladies cross the street. Freedom from the consequences of sin is found only in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The crucifixion was a substitutionary death, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6) and as such, forgiveness of sins is not for those who try to earn it by their own merit but rather for the person who “believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (Romans 4:5). In other words, if you want to stand before God on your own two feet, you’ll be judged accordingly and fall short, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). However if instead you will “boast in your weaknesses,” and rely on the power of Christ’s death and resurrection, the righteousness of Jesus Christ will be your own righteousness and regardless of guilt, you will be found blameless before God. So the weakness the apostle Paul urges Christians to boast in is a weakness that leads to strength; not personal strength, but the imputed power of Christ.

And that’s why I continue to use the moniker “Ironweakness.” It’s an affirmation that I really am weak and helpless in so many ways—especially spiritually— however I am not a hopeless victim of my own weakness. I am by the grace of God able to overcome any circumstances or shortcomings, but because my victories will always be built on borrowed strength I will have no grounds for boasting in myself, only in my weakness and in the generous God “who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’” 1 Corinthians 2:27-31

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