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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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

FOUCAULT'S CONCEPT OF "MADNESS"

click link:   http://www.mediafire.com/listen/ekykredzzmv90mt/foucaultpm.mp3

A FOUNDATIONAL TEXT FOR UNDERSTANDING DERRIDA:
This manuscript by Foucault will either complicate or simplify your comprehension of Derrida; but it should be understood that the two thinkers are closely related in their approach to phenomenology.
"Madness" appeared in France in 1964. Derrida's "Grammatology" appeared in France in 1967 (just three years later). Although they differed in their appropriation of Descartes; Derrida professed a considerable appreciation for Foucault's work on "Madness".

FOUCAULT INTRODUCED THE IDEA OF NEGATING THE CLASSICAL NOTION OF LOGOS that Derrida adapted. It is a first moment to be articulated in this text. From there, the self engages passage on the "ship-of-fools" in search of entering the City-of-Reason"; or "Notion" of the true. The "figuration-of-image" takes place as the self dis-embarks the ship of fools at an inlet river of figuration. It is here where the mast of the ship bears the transplanted "tree-of-knowledge", and the madmen gather around it to form the figuration of possible entrance into "Reason".
From here, the self transitions to the "haunted-workhouses" of the 17th century; metaphorically representing the dokounta threshold of the necessary transition point to "Reason". Here the self learns the "rhythm-of-collective-life" and prepares for transition.

"Notion" is unique for Foucault and is metaphorically represented by the absurd practice of putting the madmen on exhibition, as a presentation of their "nature". These exhibitions were ordered and supervised by attendants; but eventually the madmen practiced self-exhibition; a self-actualizing presentation of their "natures".

From here, Foucault transitions through the "HINGE-OF-ANIMALITY"; which is the madman reduced to animal status; and stripped of all content. This is justified as a "kindness-of-Nature".

From this point on; madness enters the cognitive domain. But there is a need here for some form of metamorphosis of the idea of madness itself. Thus emerges the concept of the Christ-Event.

The Christ-Event for Foucault takes up "madness" within the godhead itself through the suffering and representation of madness by Christ during the passion experiences. This, alone defines our essential "Praxis" as a quest for forming an authentic disposition of "body-state" or motivational base.
"Logos-proper", therefore gets an interesting articulation: PASSION leads to dispersed imprinting of the bodily members; which in turn leads to a concentration of this somatic-imprinting into an image for "inscribing" into the "psyche". Logos is this "reciprocal-pulsation".
This all leads to DELIRIUM, which is articulated madness in language. While including the element of "otherness" or transcendence that the collateral axons of the brain afford (Foucault uses neuro-psychology throughout his text).
There are numerous correlations with Derrida here; and it helps underscore Derrida's trajectory of thought. I found the manuscript informative and a clarification of Derrida, and an insight to early interpretations of madness and insanity. 5 stars; and, I am sure you will enjoy this manuscript.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

DERRIDA'S CONCEPT OF "LOGOS":

click link:  http://www.mediafire.com/listen/cazuwchtzwe4cac/derrida2b.mp3

DERRIDA'S DOCTRINE OF THE "LOGOS" DEFINED:
I had already conquered Derrida's "Grammatlogy"; and that is the best reference for the totality of his position. So I only acquired this volume to get a better understanding of his take on "LOGOS". He does this in a very precise way in the first three essays, pages 1-85. I felt the price of the book was well worth the value of acquiring these three essays. I may read the others at a later date, but right now they do not interest me. My attention was solely on "logos".
Obviously, having an understanding of the "Grammatology" will help the reader; or some prior understanding of Derrida's position. He is not easy reading. But, having said that; he is fully accessible to any reader with some foundational work already internalized.

Basically Derrida gives the reader a triad to consider:

We actually pass through a triad of "logos":

A. LOGOS-COGITO: "logismos" (reasoning") + "huperbole" (madness, in the positive sense of "otherness")
LOGOS = ARCHAIC-REASON

B. LOGOS-CLASSICAL: "logismos" + "hubris" (otherness as derangement and excessiveness; in order to establish a hard duality)
LOGOS = OMNIPOTENT-DETERMINATE-REASON

C. LOGOS-POST-MODERN: "logismos" + "subjective-huperbole"
LOGOS = LESSER-DETERMINED-REASON

Sunday, April 6, 2014

DERRIDA'S "GRAMMATOLOGY":

click on link:  http://www.mediafire.com/listen/d3k65fl7d3vsv8x/derridapm.mp3

HATED, DESPISED, TOLERATED; MASTERPIECE BY DERRIDA:
This manuscript shares a place in history with Hegel's "Phenomenology", as one of the most despised manuscripts of philosophy. And they are both despised for similar reasons; their inaccessibility.
Hegel assumed his readers were already familiar with his entire system, prior to even approaching his "Phenomenology". Derrida does the same. They both wrote for their colleagues. In Derrida's case; he assumes the reader has passed through the following presuppositions: 1. they already understand the structure of phenomenology. 2. They have an understanding of Hegel through the eyes of Heidegger. 3. They already have an understanding of his mentor Paul Ricoeur and even Jean Luc Nancy, who also offered him the "singular-plural". He assumes too much.

Therefore, I strongly recommend reading a prefatory commentary on Derrida first; but then, of course, attacking this original work. My current recommendation is to offer Dr. Christina Howells' book on Derrida. It is extremely well done.
Having said his; I can tell you that the reviews of this manuscript of "Grammatology" will probably reflect "5-stars" or "1-star"; with very few in the middle. This is the writer who gathers the love-hate relationships unto himself. He does gather in 5-star ratings because, as Ricoeur once said, "This is a seminal work" of great importance. No individual can go around Hegel today in the field of philosophy (even if only to disagree); and the same will hold true for "Grammatology" in a few years. No individual will be able to go around this presentation of post-modern "deconstruction & re-elaboration".

This a review and not a commentary, but I will give you the "10" moments of Derrida's deconstruction process. But please consider Howells' book. The "10" moments are:
1. Phonological voice. 2. Deconstruction. 3. Psychic-turn-inward. 4. Auto-affection. 5. Dokounta threshold of "refinery". 6. Transcendental "arche". 7. Hinge pivot-point of true subjectivity. 8. Ecriture. 9. Logos- redefined. 10. Composition threshold and return to mystic body-state.

It took "9 "years for this manuscript to make to America. It will be a few years before Derrida becomes essential reading for American philosophy; but it will happen. I am one of those who "loved" the work done by Derrida, and I give it 5-stars, with a recommendation to enjoin the reading with the help of Howells. Good luck on your research.