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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Saturday, August 24, 2013

JEAN-LUC NANCY: PHILOSOPHY NEEDS AESTHETICS FOR "TRUTH"

click on:  direct link for file http://www.mediafire.com/listen/d69gdvxddidx4dr/nancyx1.mp3

THE  LARGER PICTURE IS PRESENTED: Jean-Luc Nancy has been the one post-modern thinker to eventually rise to the top. A thinker with real substantial thought for our post-modern times. James, in recognizing this fact, devotes this text to drawing the reader into the larger context of Nancy's theory. The project is an amazing success; and illustrates the author's deep understanding of the entire movement of french post-modern thinking. Nancy becomes an extension of the "big-3" in German philosophy: Kant, Hegel, and Heidegger. James tells us that all three hover around a central problem; that of "presentation", or the eventual positing of the true. The issue first emerged with Kant who was stuck with a methodology of "schematism", where presentation is split into "darstellung" or the rational and "dichtung" or the metaphorical. Hegel tries to surpass the problem with "absolute spirit" but is trapped, according to Heidegger, in being situated in a dichotomy of "subject / object", which he cannot escape. Nancy feeds off Heidegger who also fails in presenting a "groundless subject"; and comes up with the radical post-modern notion of the imperative necessity of philosophy returning to its embeddedness in literature and aesthetics. James tells us this is where Nancy began in his early years. The later years must be filtered through this general conviction.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

NANCY: EMERGENCE OF "SACRED-IMAGE"

click on:  direct link for file http://www.mediafire.com/listen/zamfpde1m7rta5q/nancyx.mp3


THE EMERGENCE OF THE "SACRED-IMAGE": Aesthetics is not a tangential area of thought in Nancy's system; it is a critical part of the core of his position. This book is an essential part of understanding his thought. The "cognitive-registers-of-meaning" in today's society have failed and fragmented. Aesthetics rescues us by taking us beyond the "cognitive"; similar in the way Hegel introduced "counter-blow" as a necessity to pass back out of philosophy and rejoin art, for the "beyond-of-saying".

Jean-Luc Nancy primarily addresses "painting" here but the principles apply to all aesthetics. And he combines "creator"and "observer", rather than restricting perspective.

In this book, Nancy reveals to us the "8" moments of the emergence of the "sacred-image". I will give them to you now , as it may assist you in your reading. They are as follows:

1. Image-as-hidden-surface
2. Image-as-distinction
3. Image-as-mystic-intimacy
4. Image-as-trace-of-meaning
5. Image-as-horizon
6. Image-as-access
7 Image-as-cut-out
8. Image-as-poetry

Sunday, August 11, 2013

NANCY'S "CORPUS"

click on direct link for file.http://www.mediafire.com/listen/ya76w7ksjc3ucbw/nancy9.mp3

this is my 7th reading of Nancy; I am a huge fan of his thought. But I want to give a helpful and honest account of this work, without my bias. If you have not already studied Nancy, you should not make this book your first reading. STOP; and purchase this book instead: "the sense of the world" . If you have studied Nancy to some degree already, then: PROCEED.

all post-modern thinkers emphasize the fact that "significance -of-spirit" cannot be articulated in language. But they have to write books and essays presenting this fact; so they are left on the edge of the void-point, looking for new words. Since none exist; they engage in poetic-writing to express their ideas. "Some" of this is allowed. Let's be fair about that. But the over-use and obscure-use of poetic language is not allowed in an academic text. The beginning of this book is a "dark-comedy", as the other reviewer of this book emphasizes. I agree with that review. It helped me to stay objective. Bravo, for writing an honest critique. But I'll go a step further and call this dark-comedy - "bad-poetry". The beginning of this manuscript completely evacuates the reader from the void-point, where Nancy prefers that the reader remain. It is very frustrating and can be endured only if you already have internalized his system; so you cannot be lost.

But, staying un-lost is important; because , later he returns to a "teachable void-point" and actually clarifies previous concepts he had left unclear during his dominance during the years of 1993 to 1997.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

NANCY'S: "CIVIL SOCIETY"

click on:  direct link to file. http://www.mediafire.com/?mj50a22puai8y84

NANCY'S PHILOSOPHY OF CIVIL-SOCIETY: Nancy consolidated his thought during the French-publication years of 1993 to 1997. This manuscript was published in 1996 and falls within that range. It should be considered as essential to understanding Nancy's overall position. Each work during these 4 years presented an important point-of-view concerning his structure of "Being".

In this text, he centers on the philosophy of civil society and adds that the "primary" function of philosophy is to articulate "civil-society". He traces this emphasis back to the Greeks of Athens; where even the theater played a role in presenting the"myth" that would inform the direction of society.

some of the more important aspects of this work consist of: (1) his first specific step-by-step articulation of the birth of the "self" when confronted by the "other". (2) a better presentation of "ex-scribing" as both moment and process. (3) and a better job of integrating the mediation of the "void-point" into the system; actually linking psychology and mythology. Nancy's system runs from psychology to mythology to ethics. Here, they are presented together.