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

mp3's

Sunday, June 30, 2013

NANCY'S ENTIRE SYSTEM:

click on:  direct link      http://www.mediafire.com/listen/8dvzccc8ams4v00/nancy3.mp3

A COMPREHENSIVE PRESENTATION OF THE "NANCY-SYSTEM". This is my third reading of Nancy. I recently finished his two-volume set on Christianity which were also excellent. However, I have a suggestion to make that will hopefully enrich your experience. Nancy is the 20th century version of Kierkegaard, as synthesized with Hegel. Nancy frequently references Kierkegaard's "Abraham and Isaac". But the best possible correlation is to be found in Kierkegaard' "sickness unto death". Read this very short piece first and you will have a tremendous leverage when discerning this text of Nancy's. Nancy's writing style is organized in a very precise manner. The chapter divisions mean something to Nancy. He separates ideas by chapters, which he keeps brief. This helps the reader to organize his thought, according to his own divisions. The text was written in 1993, but took till 1997 to reach an English translation. He was 53 years old when he wrote this and it was considered to be a culminating and inclusive work (which it is).


Thursday, June 27, 2013

KIERKEGAARD: WHY POST-MODERNS LOVE HIM

click on:  direct link http://www.mediafire.com/listen/zpj0hlbd8hm6kyr/kier.mp3

AN AMAZING ACCOMPLISHMENT by anyone's standards. Kierkegaard gives his readers, for the first time; the presentation of existentialism as a complete system. And especially as a system that is easily adaptable to post-modern thought. Kierkegaard is frequently being referenced by the post-moderns and there is a good reason. His thought profoundly addresses the issues that are just now being addressed in post-modern thinking. This applies especially to the idea of establishing the "self" as "spirit". And being obligated to fulfill this inscription and questioning. The benefits are numerous with reading this text; but a few gems are: 1. The articulation of the human condition as passing through five levels of despair. 2. The "3" moments of the unconscious as: a. inscription of the primitive-plan of spirit. b. The infinitizing of the imagination in reaching self-possibilities. c. synthesis in creating pregnancy of the "personality-of-spirit". 3. The work of consciousness as "mid-wife activity" in three steps of: a. infinitizing. b. praxis. c. finitizing. And 4. The constitution of the self through the posited Notion that becomes actualized in concrete reality in the tension of the available space "before god" - that prods us with the promise of "self"as"spirit".

Sunday, June 23, 2013

NANCY: CHRISTIANITY FOR 21ST CENTURY

click on:  direct link 
http://www.mediafire.com/listen/08mxmtt78ona76b/nancy2.mp3

THIS IS PART ONE OF A TWO-PART PROJECT. At the age of 68, Nancy set out to write his post-modern position on the Christian faith. That project lasted for 5 years and finished with volume two being published in 2013, when he turned 73. This is not meant to be a stand-alone volume. And Nancy even directs his reader to realize that no "system" of thought is being presented here. In fact he recommends reading the essays in any order you prefer, since they were lectures given at separate and diverse dates and address various issues in post-modern thinking. The publisher was gracious enough ,however, to split the project into two separate works; one addressing de-construction(this volume), and the other addressing re-construction. I actually read these volumes in reverse; and I'm glad I did. Volume two does present a complete system; and then you can integrate the essays from volume one. But for now, let me address this volume separately:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

JEAN-LUC NANCY: LIFE IS SPIRIT

click on:  DIRECT LINK. http://www.mediafire.com/listen/sj3vjnb7g70d55x/nancy.mp3

Nancy holds the Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel Chair at the European Graduate School, which already makes me a fan. But, as much as I enjoyed this challenging book, I did find one hole in it that I wish he would fill. (I did not read volume one, so I can only address this volume as a self-contained unit) Nancy tells us humanity needs an awakening. This awakening will come about through a deconstruction of Christianity. Remember this: Nancy's position is a de-construction of a Christianity that "informs" his system. So don't just throw him out if you feel your Christian sensibility is being threatened. You will find much value here.

the emphasis is on the explored unconscious, rather than cognitive consciousness. This is the rule for post-modern thinking so don't be alarmed. Nancy says that we can return to the vitality that underlies Christianity if...


THE 5-STEP PROCESS OF NANCY’S “ADORATION”

1.  The self questions how the current “resonating-referral-state” can be opened towards co-existence.
2.  Questioning leaves the “rational” self facing  the “absurd” or the “abyss” of a huge dissemblance between universal co-existence and the particularities of contingency.
3.  The unconscious accompanies the positing with the motivation-set and the stored feeling-percept of the vertical intersection of reality by the “kenosis” of spirit.
4.  This is Kierkegaard’s “teleological suspension of the ethical”, where the self suspends the rational-logical evaluation of history and its “dissemblance.
5.  Self posits the “elevated language of affirmation”; in  spite of the tension we face and our own dis-placement.  We posit an  anticipatory opening of co-existence out of our “straining forward” standing purpose from the motivational set .  (Called “faith” in Christianity).

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

schliermacher changed hermeneutics: 25 min. from 19th cent.

click on:  DIRECT LINKhttp://www.mediafire.com/listen/ef4509awzyn0sbp/schlier.mp3

Schliermacher has gained popularity again in the post-modern era. His hermeneutics emerged in the 19th century and followed Schlegel's. he was influential with regard to the big "3" of the 20th century; Dilthey, Heidegger, and Gadamer. He is considered to have created a new turning-point in hermeneutics, with his emphasis on psychology and the unconscious side of understanding. His monumental work was "the Christian faith", which was condensed to this version in 1911. This version is superb and excludes none of the essential material.  highly recommended


Saturday, June 8, 2013

WILHELM DILTHEY: HERMENEUTICS FROM 1910

click on:  DIRECT LINKhttp://www.mediafire.com/listen/k1og2005n82yv83/dilthey.mp3

WILHELM DILTHEY represents one of the "great three" in the development of philosophical hermeneutics in the 20th century; where we had: Dilthey, Heidegger, and Gadamer. Dilthey held the Hegel-chair at Berlin University, so it should be no surprise that his approach emphasized the triad- type of analysis and emphasized history. The criticism against Dilthey has been that his writings don't present a cohesive structure and that he is difficult to follow.
His collected works in this volume actually make the best presentation of his position in the series.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

DERRIDA ON THE "GIFT"

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Derrida is best known as the "father of deconstructionism" for post-modern thought. But approaching this book from that narrow perspective would rob the reader of a great deal of significance in this work. This book truly is about "THE GIFT"; and that point should be honored. But the best key for understanding this manuscript is given to us by Derrida himself on page "9": "Even if that is not the case, nothing prevents us from putting a psychoanalytic reading of these words (Patocka's) to the test, at least on an experimental basis. This is Derrida's "philosophy of psychology", through the interpretive lens of Patocka. He willingly takes up this approach as an experiment because post-modern thinking has almost exclusively taken the subjective/psychological framework as their best model for articulation;