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Month: August 2009

When Rhubarb Isn't Rhubarb

My father has a well-developed sense of humor, coupled with an unnerving ability to bring up obscure bits of trivia that sound highly implausible. Usually on the infrequent occasions when he mentions these arcane details, I question the accuracy of what he is saying, only to discover upon further investigation that he is correct. Of course, this fills him with great mirth and gives me a healthy piece of “humble pie” to eat. This occurred a few months ago concerning the word “rhubarb,” and reminded me of the importance of defining terms – particularly in connection with biblical terminology. It all started when my father referred to an argument between two men as a rhubarb. It went something like this:
Dad: “They’re having a rhubarb!”
Me: “What did you say?”
Dad: “A rhubarb. You know: a fight.”
Me: “You’re making that up! That’s 50’s slang from Beech Street. Nobody talks that way. A rhubarb is a plant.” [He grew up on Beech Street in Pottstown, PA.]
Dad: “I’m not making it up. Look it up.”
Dutifully, I opened up the electronic version of the Oxford English Dictionary and looked up “rhubarb.” To my surprise, “4. c.” says “U.S. slang. A heated dispute, a row, spec. a disturbance or argument on the field of play at a sporting (orig. Baseball) event.”i The dictionary further cites confirming evidence from The New York Herald Tribune, July 13, 1943, attributing the expression to “Red” Barber who announced baseball games for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Once more, I acknowledged my father’s astonishing mastery of verbal-historical minutiae.
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When Rhubarb Isn’t Rhubarb

My father has a well-developed sense of humor, coupled with an unnerving ability to bring up obscure bits of trivia that sound highly implausible. Usually on the infrequent occasions when he mentions these arcane details, I question the accuracy of what he is saying, only to discover upon further investigation that he is correct. Of course, this fills him with great mirth and gives me a healthy piece of “humble pie” to eat. This occurred a few months ago concerning the word “rhubarb,” and reminded me of the importance of defining terms – particularly in connection with biblical terminology. It all started when my father referred to an argument between two men as a rhubarb. It went something like this:
Dad: “They’re having a rhubarb!”
Me: “What did you say?”
Dad: “A rhubarb. You know: a fight.”
Me: “You’re making that up! That’s 50’s slang from Beech Street. Nobody talks that way. A rhubarb is a plant.” [He grew up on Beech Street in Pottstown, PA.]
Dad: “I’m not making it up. Look it up.”
Dutifully, I opened up the electronic version of the Oxford English Dictionary and looked up “rhubarb.” To my surprise, “4. c.” says “U.S. slang. A heated dispute, a row, spec. a disturbance or argument on the field of play at a sporting (orig. Baseball) event.”i The dictionary further cites confirming evidence from The New York Herald Tribune, July 13, 1943, attributing the expression to “Red” Barber who announced baseball games for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Once more, I acknowledged my father’s astonishing mastery of verbal-historical minutiae.
TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE, CLICK ON THE TITLE.

The Terror of Unanswered Prayer

“When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” Prov. 1:27-33i
Alluding to the words of Revelation 6:16, the classic hymn, “The Love of God” says: “When years of time shall pass away/and earthly thrones and kingdoms fall/when men who here refuse to pray/ on rocks and hills and mountains call/God’s love so sure shall still endure all measureless and strong…”ii This haunting stanza reminds one that a fearful day of judgment will one day overtake this planet. Disbelieving creatures, now heedless of the danger to their souls, will then cry out for mercy, but it will be too late. By contrast, believers will never come into condemnation and possess the settled assurance that God hears and answers their prayers. One must weigh the difference between the saved and the lost in regard to prayer.
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