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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Monday, July 1, 2013

SELF AS SPIRIT:

KIERKEGAARD AND NANCY: THE “15" STEPS TO REACHING “SELF” AS “SPIRIT”

(copyright: Barry L. Ballard, July 1, 2013)


1.   NANCY: inscribed.  Self begins with a preceding “origin-identity-truth” of self that is on-the-way to arriving completely. An inscribed “trace-of the-eternal” which is opening.

KIER: despair.  Self is in despair of “weakness”, but where introversion results in the “infinite-self” being posited as an abstract possibility.

2.   NANCY: inscription is opened in a “waking” moment.

KIER: abstract possibility opens as “primitive-plan”; the waking out of despair.

3.   NANCY: opening leads to “imagination”; an imagination which is “praxis-based”.

KIER: infinitizing. The imagination engages an unconscious activity of
“fantastical-expansion”.

4.   NANCY: internal posited desert.  Unconsciously,  the self reserves a “space” for the “feeling-percepts” of the “trace-of-sense” found in the situation that correspond to the trace within the self.

KIER: internal posited mirage.  The unconscious space for the feeling-percepts of possibilities is  not the entire desert; it is the fuzzy and non-distinct hint of a mirage of possibilities that don’t appear as hard-edged certainties.

5. NANCY: self forms a “body-of-pattern” called “world”.  Unconsciously,  and based on feelings, arranging the feeling-percepts of the desert into a  felt-model of “transformation” or “body-of-transformation”.

KIER: not a “body”, but a “pregnancy” is created as the “personality-of-sprit”; waiting for the mid-wife activity in cognition.

6.   NANCY: arrangement of sub-systems.  The self,  unconsciously , based on feelings, keeps relating the “thought-picture” of the “body-of-transformation” to the “process-of-appearing” in externality and recognizes that the “feeling-model” can be refined into a “punctuated” group of  sub-systems of “truth” that can then be organized into an “enchaining”of interrelated spacing and structure. Called: “originating-spatiality”

KIER: arrangement of sub-systems becomes less distinct in kierkegaard and means  the resolution  of contradictions facing the self in the mirage.  Therefore, he creates the step of “temporary-suspension” of the teleology of the moral-stand-point, in  favor of an eschatological ethics, similar to Abraham.

7. NANCY: “punctuation” concentrates into “central- glimmer” , which is more than the sum of punctuations.  It is represented as an influential “excess” of spirit.

KIER: “passage  through the eye of the needle” (part 1).  Begins as a process that first demands that the self posit the sense of the possibility of the divine , in  the new eschatological ethics.

8.   NANCY: situation narrows as cognition takes over.

KIER: “passage through the eye of the needle” (part 2).  For kierkegaard, it is a “fight” ; a fight against the pain of childbirth.  A “travail-of-birth- pangs” that means faith is not easily decided in view of the lack of certainty.

9.   NANCY: "passage through the eye of the needle".  Cognition takes up the “excess” in a responsible “faith-decision”.

KIER: “passage through the eye of  the needle” (part 3).  For  Kierkegaard,  self also takes responsibility for the excess of the mirage.  But that means choosing to be a “mid-wife”,  by a willingness to conceptualize the “infinitizing” into an “idealizing” of language that can be posited.

10. NANCY: cognition appropriates the feelings and the “body of transformation” with its imaginative possibilities

KIER: consciousness re-appropriates “infinitizing” and works it through a “cognitive-praxis” in the external world.

11.   NANCY: cognitive partitioning.  Cognition concretizes the “spatiality-model” of:
“punctuations” into “lexical content”   & “enchaining” into “lexical form”.

KIER: consciousness enlists a lexical content called: “transferred-language”, which is symbolic language of the spirit with metaphor ; used to articulate the “cognitive-praxis”.

12 NANCY: cognition also conceptualizes the “excess” as “infinite liberation”.

KIER: Kiekegaard’s cognition also conceptualizes the infinite-excess of possibility as:
“the generic-verb of “building-up”, rather than liberation.

13. NANCY: positing linguistically. self posits th result as “being-to be-completed”; or as an eschatological promise.

KIER: the model of “transferred-language” is coupled with the empowerment of “love-as-building-up” ; and is ready for positing.

14. NANCY: the result is actualized in the instability of the “realm-of-difference” or “appearing-process”.

KIER: the result is actualized in the “tendency-of a -community” of selves ; where all selves are perceived inscribed with the infinite ground.

15.   NANCY: result is returned to self.  Self grows in “spirit”.

KIER: the positing is relinquished to its own self-actualization and return.  Self grows as “spirit”.  



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