Memories of Mom

Three years ago today, my mother left Colorado for the last time–all the way to heaven itself. At the age of 90 she still looked as she does in this wonderful picture of her that I took just about nine months earlier. That smile and the twinkle in her eyes stay with me even today. Mothers are one of God’s greatest gifts, even with any faults they might have (my mother’s were very few). Sons, on the other hand, are much farther from being perfect and she loved to remind me that some of her gray hair came because of me. Then she’d chuckle and say, “And, looking at your gray wreath around your bald head, God paid you back with children of your own.” Don’t misunderstand–she didn’t look at children as a curse, but as a tremendous blessing. And how she loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren! They all brought huge smiles to her face and a dancing light in her eyes. She remembered when those phones were a household item–she worked as a telephone operator when people owned such phones.

This photo was taken in 1943 (maybe 1944) when Mom was working as a telephone operator in Craig, CO. Her “career” at the telephone office came to a close the day after she got engaged to my father–he had returned home for a leave in 1945 after service in North Africa and Europe in WW2. They married and had a brief honeymoon in Denver before his leave was up. As their firstborn, I entered this world as one of the earliest of the “Baby Boomers.” Then came my sister Martha, our brother Jim, and lastly our sister Susan. When people talk about acronyms for MOTHER, I always begin with My and Our, because that relationship is so very, very precious. And, with Mom, the T was for Tease–how she loved to tease! Just ask my brother-in-law, Warren, who also loves to tease. She was #1 practical joker in our family–in other words, she was fun. That leads to H for Happy, because that is how she was and what she made all of us. E was for Excellence–she demanded it and expected it, and we grew to seek it as a pattern in our lives. Lastly, R for Redeemed. Yes, when she came to the Lord in faith in 1962 Mom became an even better and happier Mom. Her faith became the candle burning brightly in our home. She stayed active in the church until the week before she left earth to enter heaven.

Mom graduated from Moffat County High School, Craig, CO in 1942. Her graduation picture is the way I think I might be seeing her in heaven–restored to the bloom of youth as she worships her Savior in His presence throughout the infinite future. Her appearance changed with the years, but I remember her ever youthful heart and attitude. In her late 80’s I took her fishing–and she loved it–even though we caught nothing that day. She loved drives in the Colorado countryside through cedar breaks, canyons, over hills, mesas, and into the mountains and forests–even the sagebrush flats and arroyos. Soon after her salvation she chose Galatians 2:20 as her life verse (in the KVJ, of course):

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

Precious, precious memories. Thanks, Mom. See you in heaven.

Mary Jean (Holt) Barrick

July 5, 1923 – March 17, 2014

Northwest Colorado

Note: My mother-in-law, Lucille Dow, also worked at a telephone switchboard in Alamosa, CO at about the same time. Barb and I have wondered if our mothers ever spoke to one another from their respective switchboards. We both also had great-grandparents who lived in Cripple Creek, CO in the last of the 19th century who might have met each other. I feel a Twilight Zone episode coming on.

Telephone Switchboard ca. 1943

A Dispensational Discourse: Interview

Coming March 11. Over the past year I have written a number of blog posts for Dispensational Publishing House. Recently, Paul Scharf interviewed me by phone for this biographical post. In this post I speak of my dispensational viewpoint and how I came to it and how I view the current landscape regarding dispensationalism. I hope you find it of interest and helpful. Below I have posted links to the top ten books I recommend on the topic of dispensationalism. They are listed in order of preference.

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True Spirituality, Dealing with Addiction, and Self-Help Manuals

Counseling individuals with various types of addictions presents an ongoing challenge. How can you best help them to help themselves? How can you encourage them? What resources do you recommend? How do you help them better understand their addiction and its consequences (both short-term and long-term)? Frequently we depend too much on self-help manuals. There are many good books available. Warning: the thumb nail does not represent one that I would recommend–it is just a good visual for the blog post.

My blog today on ParkingSpace23 addresses this issue–at least in part. Addictions and recovery from addictions are sometimes complex matters. However, we really need to begin back at ground zero with the most basic of basics. Only then can we be certain we are following the path of God’s wisdom, which is greater than ours.

Hi-def Leadership in a Hi-def World

The attributes of godly leaders occupies a good deal of Scripture. Sometimes we find it necessary to synthesize the biblical teachings on leadership in order to sharpen our understanding of its seriousness and its challenges. In my recent ParkingSpace23 blog (February 2, 2017) I address this topic by means of using “Hi-def” as an acronym to structure a high-definition approach to the concepts of leadership.

God produces godly Christian leaders–they do not produce themselves. Spiritual formation of Christian leaders comes about as the result of men immersing themselves in the Word of God and of the people of God bathing them in prayer. I hope my brief and imperfect blog will help all of us think more carefully about church leadership.

Happy New Year!

Blow the Shophar! It’s a New Year!

ParkingsSpace23 has published my most recent blog post. It consists of a brief study of the New Year as presented in the Scriptures–especially Leviticus 23:23-25.

The post serves as a New Year greeting and New Year prayer for all readers of my blog. Throughout 2016 many of you sent me emails via my web site. You encouraged me to continue posting blogs, answering questions, producing Hebrew Whiteboard, and adding to the web site’s many resources. May you find a continually improving web site in 2017.

Above all, keep on trusting and praising the Lord in this New Year.

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Inscription in Pergamon Museum, Berlin

Inscription in Pergamon Museum, Berlin (photograph by W. D. Barrick)

This ancient inscription caught my eye as I walked through the Pergamon Museum in Berlin in November 2015. The inscription above the raised hand says, “I am Barrakib, son of Panammu[wa].” King Barrakib ruled in Sam’al (modern Zincirli) in Turkey. The inscription, dating from approximately 730 BC is written in ancient Aramaic with the old Phoenician script.

Barrakib is pretty close to my own name, Barrick, so I was immediately fascinated. Now, I am certain that anyone who knows me will know that I am not Barrakib, regardless of any faint similarity of names. The man has an impressive beard and apparently quite a head of hair under that cap. I’m about as bald as the moon disk to the right of the inscription–barbers charge a finder’s fee to cut my hair. And, please note that the man lived 2746 years ago. I really am not that old, no matter what my students and some friends think–no, Bryan, I was not on the ark with Noah. Barrakib was a king over a small kingdom; I am only “king” in my own home when my “queen” graciously allows me to act like one (she’s a sweetheart to whom I have been married for one month short of 50 years–I doubt if Barrakib managed to experience such longevity in his marriage).

Although I’m using a good deal of exaggeration in making any comparison between myself and Barrakib, my point is that “Similarity does not equal identity”: =. This principle reminds us that we must be very cautious when we are interpreting Scripture. Sometimes we assume that similarity actually means identity, but it results in doing violence to the text.

Let’s take just one example: In the Book of Job about one-third of its vocabulary occurs in Ugaritic poetry. In his Anchor Bible commentary, Marvin Pope points out many ideological similarities between the Book of Job and Aqht, a Ugaritic poetic epic. He appeals to such similarities in order to date the composition of Job to the middle of the second millennium BC.[1] However, this kind of argumentation based upon similarities has ignored the great number of dissimilarities and the disharmonies presented by such a conclusion. Ugaritic (Canaanite) literature dates from 1550-1200 BC. That is the period of Moses on into the times of the biblical Judges. Such dating for Job would require someone like Moses to be the author, or someone even later.

Evidence internal to the Book of Job, however, indicates that the events took place in the patriarchal period (late third millennium to early second millennium BC). Like the patriarchs, Job lived a nomadic lifestyle and as the head of his family he fulfilled a priestly role. In biblical history, the qesitah (קְשִׂיטָה) as a medium of monetary exchange mentioned in Job 42:11 appears to have been used no later than the time of the patriarch Jacob (Gen 33:29; Josh 24:32). In addition, we have to consider the absence of any reference to Israel or any Israelite entity historically or culturally or religiously (such as Tabernacle, Temple, Law, Levites, etc.). All the evidence points to a patriarchal dating at least as early as 1800 BC, if not earlier. Then, of course, there are all of the claims for the fairly extensive use of Aramaic vocabulary in the Book of Job. However, the Aramaic of Job could be closely related to the Aramaic of Laban and Jacob (see Gen 31:46–53, esp. v. 47; and Deut 26:5), still making it patriarchal in the date of its events, if not also its composition. Most of the Aramaic vocabulary occurs in the dialogs between Job and his friends, so the vocabulary, if the dialogs have been accurately recorded, should also reflect the times in which the conversations took place.

Therefore, if 2100-1800 BC fits better the events in Job, similarities with Ugaritic and Aramaic vocabulary do not mean that the book’s events or its composition took place sometime in the time of Moses or later. Similarity does not equal identity.

[1] Marvin H. Pope, Job, rev. ed., ABC 15 (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1965), XL.