MY BRIEF TESTIMONY

BRIEF 5 min. PERSONAL TESTIMONY - BARRY BALLARD

On a warm summer day in Washington D.C., I sat in a small movie theater listening to a re-broadcast of a Billy graham crusade that had been previously given elsewhere. I was attending with a Christian group who ministered on the air force based where I was stationed, "Andrews Air Force Base". At the conclusion of the presentation, there was an invitation given to receive Christ and counselors were standing up front to pray with those who came forward. The house lights went up and I went forward and prayed to receive Jesus Christ into my life. This was not the moment of my true conversion, this was "preparation-of-heart", part one.

On a humid pitch-black night in 1969, my plane touched down on the Saigon airfield that was currently under rocket attack. Black-out conditions were in effect and we were rushed to trucks and then transported to our barracks and its inclusive bunker for protection. I was assigned an m16 rifle, two clips of ammo, and given a helmet and flack-vest. I spent my first night in Saigon standing in the bunker, wondering "why?" I was even here. I understood none of it, except that supposedly it had to do with communism and we were protecting democracy. But, I just felt abandoned to the most bizarre and remote assignment I could imagine. I worked "support", so I do not want to give the false impression that I was "combat"; but I did serve some time in the jungle. Only one man died in our group during the year I was there; and he told me beforehand that he wanted to die and never return home. He had received his divorce papers in the mail about a week before my arrival. He was shot down in a helicopter "one" day before he was to return home. My one year in Saigon was a lesson in the deterioration of the human spirit and soul. Eventually, I also learned to hate myself and "living" and could care less about what might lie ahead. I was returning to the states with a crushed human soul, devoid of all optimism. This was "preparation-of-heart", part two.

On a humid gray-dusk-like-evening, I found myself, in 1970, driving through the main gate of Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas. I soon settled into my tasks of working in the 7th bomb wing headquarters, in support roles again as usual. I also served on the honor guard for special occasions for fallen veterans funerals, or award ceremonies. Even though my personal psyche was "wasted“; I was considered an admirable employee and respected for my abilities. My inner life however was an absolute disaster that I did not "share" with anyone. Strangely enough; I was visited by representatives of the "Navigators"; the same Christian organization that had approached me in Washington D.C. I began attending bible studies two nights a week and felt a little better about life by receiving this follow-up. I'll call this "preparation-of-heart", part three.

During my term of service at Carswell, I met my wife to be, Beverly, who invited me to her church in River Oaks, "Trinity Baptist Church". They had a young pastor, John Hatch, who was just finishing his doctorate at Southwestern and the atmosphere attracted me. It was in 1973, “4” years after that initial "preparation-of-heart"; that I made an honest commitment to Jesus Christ and immediately followed that with baptism.

From there, the road did not get any smoother, but my “soul” began a healing process that eventually went from healing to true "Wonder and Discovery". The first thing that was revealed to me was my spiritual gift, which is "Teaching". While at Trinity, I ended up writing three commentaries: James, Colossians, and Philippians. All three helped me grow in my commitment to Jesus Christ.

True conversion was preceded by three moments of "preparation-of-the-heart" in my case. Over a four year stretch of time, God never gave up on me. I think the strength of my testimony must be given to the strength of God's loving patience; to lead me along the final path that would secure my faith. Thank You.

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lectures on jurgen moltmann

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Monday, April 29, 2013

deleuze: final words before he died.

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Deluze is one of my favorite thinkers and I was already familiar with his work. This volume was supposed to be something that evolved just before his death and represented his comprehensive thought. I found it to be very comprehensive, presented in a logical order, and very accessible .


he doesn't give a vague answer; he tells us exactly what philosophy is; it has three specific steps: the pre-philosophical plane of immanence; the conceptual-persona; and finally, construction of the "constellation-event". He fills each area with substantial content and links the areas together.

one exciting aspect of the presentation is the way he enlists Hegel's concept of "counter-blow". With his theory of an extended plane; he articulates the eventual curves that evolve along this plane, and the "folding-back",

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

SIKH RELIGION: neo-colonialism

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IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE "ABDA-GURU". And the "abda-guru" was with god; and the "abda-guru" was god. Mandair's new book on how the east can move beyond colonialism to post-colonialism is a significant contribution from Columbia's insurrection series. This time, however it is not post-modern thought. It goes beyond that to post-colonial thought. The fundamental premise is to move forward by adopting Zizek, with a few modifications. This means that Europe and India look at the same events and hold the same purpose from two distinct perspectives. Their paths will run parallel to each other, but will never converge or synthesize. A past attempt at a synthesis was colonialism and it absorbed and obliterated India's distinct identity. Parallax is the only workable solution.




neo-colonial texts have emerged that provide false signification for India. These were Singh's Sikh theology and Mcleod's systematic theology. What is needed is a new signifier to couple with the hermeneutic of parallax. That new signifier is "sabda-guru" or "word". The word-model will transcend both false models of "humanism" and "post-modernism". This model is constructed through the "vanishing mediator of an authentic India-identity and voice.


Friday, April 19, 2013

ALICE IN WONDERLAND: 1 & 2

In 19 days. On may 4th, Alice Liddell will turn 161 years old. You may know her better as the girl who fell down the rabbit hole at age 10. She just finished her PhD at Columbia university (which shows it’s never too late to go back to school; and she contacted me through my internet site just recently. When I asked her why me? She responded, " after listening to your lectures I could tell that you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole also. I’d thought we’d get along fine. We ended up going through a series of interviews; she’s always kept a diary, ever since her childhood. She felt that Deleuze had gotten the story slightly wrong; but not entirely so, when he interpreted it along the lines of postmodern thinking. She agreed with the idea, but said she wanted a few things cleared up. I felt honored that she would approach me with such a task; but such is the case; and I am headlong into my notes as you read this. I’d like to make it by May 4th, but that might be difficult. She is an interesting character and still has an active and energetic imagination at age 161.

this is MY work only;  no outside sources whatsoever.  please keep this in mind. 

CLICK ON:  PART 1

OR

CLICK ON:  PART 2

Sunday, April 14, 2013

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY'S POSITION

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Mark Taylor is the head of the religion department at Columbia University. Therefore he is at the forefront of emerging postmodern thought in America; in response to the French philosophy which currently has taken center stage. His university champions this movement and his position is extremely important for understanding how we are involving ourselves in this process in America. Taylor's position is actually situated at the beginning and end chapters of the book. The center section presents a chronological view of how this new school came into being. So if you don't want the history lesson right away; you could read the first chapter and the last two chapters and just take in Taylor's position. This is rewarding in itself. You get two books for the price of one. Taylor's fundamental position is to challenge the theory of entropy ; that everything is unavoidably headed for dissolution and chaos. He says the new science has found room for neg-entropy and that theology should adopt this neg-entropy theory also. In this way, the self can approach the abyss of darkness and its repetition of sameness with a real anticipation of difference and its potential to "self-actualize into a sub-system of order. The key here is that Taylor admits to "objective" self-organizing sub-systems; not just our subjective construction

Thursday, April 11, 2013

LACAN'S INFLUENCE ON POSTMODERNS:

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All of the postmodern thinkers in philosophy today claim Lacan as their inspiration. Therefore, every thinker needs to investigate this psychological contribution. This book by Fink gives you an adequately in-depth look where you don't just get skimmed-over summary material but some relevant thought to apply to philosophy. The book is structured perfectly and so don't skip around. Start on page one and proceed. The book takes you logically through each structural step of the emerging "self" in Lacan's theory. Lacan gives Freud some radical ontological weight which inspired a lot of what we are reading today. Lacan flourished in the 60's when French philosophy was being re-born.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

deleuze: part II - epistemology

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Our positing of difference in the "Spatium" was to follow an epistemology of the triad of: 


"bodies - sense - event", which led to the manifestation of the incorporeal. This earlier volume from Columbia univ. press gives us the epistemology in detail. He concentrates on the 3rd moment of "event" and the "logic of sense", as the title announces. He presents an extremely detailed account of : manifestation of the singularity along the line of "past-future" on the surface of external bodies; next , signification as the"ideal-game", for which he lists "8" aspects. Then 3rd, he articulates abstraction along the "border-of-sense", as that creative frontier where our "rebel-element" emerges that stretches the present. Finally he addresses what many might miss: an actual doctrine of Hegel's "counter-blow". He calls it keeping concepts "liquid" and preventing them from the rigidity that is imposed by the "schizophrenic -self". This liquidity is presented as a triad of: word-passion / word-action / word-aesthetic (my rendition for this 3rd moment). The amount of information here is staggering. He is tough to completely assimilate. But take your time; conquer questions immediately before moving on. I did this with his 1994 book; and then this one was much more accessible. Deleuze offers real transcendence for post-moderns; but it is a "produced" transcendence. After completing this volume you should have a firm grasp on his thought. 5 stars of course.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

marx on representation

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THE MARX ESSAY WAS BRILLIANT AS WELL. Interestingly, you will read the bulk of the essay, minus the final 20 pages and then Hartley breaks out an in-depth summary of "structure" for the former content he just discussed. Take good notes in the beginning and this late structure-contribution is extremely helpful. It lifts Marx out of strict capitalism economics. And adds social dialectic. Ths was an interesting presentation of Marx which synthesized it into postmodern thinking.