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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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

BUBER: THE FIRST PHENOMENOLOGY

click on link:  http://www.mediafire.com/listen/hp1ih2j3gl3g2n9/buberext.mp3

IN 1923, the concept of “phenomenology” did not exist. Instead, such positions were called “existentialism”. Such was the label attached to Buber. And phenomenology is equal to “existentialism as relation”.
However, as is the case with “prophetic-voice”; Buber anticipated phenomenology by 40 years. His “I and Thou” presented a phenomenology of “Relation”, long before the science would take birth in the 1960’s.

Roughly we can form a preliminary “Judaic-outline”:
1. RELATION-OF-EXILE: while, at the same time, being conditioned by “grace” and “covenant”. Where the self seeks out “meaning” in this barrenness.
2. RELATION-OF-MEANING: and direction, symbolized in pillar-of-fire. Where self interprets the acquisition of the “units-of-meaning” as gifts of grace in perceiving “meaning”. Self takes on receptive attitude of “stance-of-prayer” for this perceiving.
3. RELATION-OF-WORD: as symbolized as ark-of-covenant. The threshold of dialogue where self encounters three sub-system relations concerning the “speech-act”: a. “BELOW-LANGUAGE” of sensate-percepts. B. “WITHIN-LANGUAGE” of “cogito” relating to other selves. C. “BEYOND-LANGUAGE” of “spiritual-being” and acquiring the traces of the “eternal-you” in the shared experiences of other selves.
4. RELATION-AS-POURED-OUT: symbolized in the “mercy-seat”; where self articulates the form of the “eternal-you” from the compiled “traces” and conceptualizes them into “altar” & “sacrifice”; a sacrifice of risking “whole-being” in the positing.
5. RELATION-AS-ELECTION: symbolized a tabernacle in the desert. The hinge pivot-point of true subjectivity that never quite reaches a fixed home with itself; always no more than a tent for a tabernacle. Never a determinate “it” to define the interrogation for “praxis”. “Praxis” demands more than this.
6. RELATION-OF-PRAXIS: as a “relation-of-incarnation”; incarnating the “you” of SOCIAL-HUMANITY. It INCLUDES “3” sub-system-relations as follows:
a. “Relation-of-aesthetics” in the world of things.
b. “Relation-of-love “in world of other selves.
c. “Relation-of-meditation” in world of mystery and spirit.
AND THE “LOGOS”: for Buber, the “logos” is metaphorically represented as the “Manna-of-nourishment”.
This logos passes through a triad of: 1. the “i-it” of psyche. 2. The “blossoming-i-you” of “cogito”; and 3. The “i-you” as “process-of-event”.
This masterpiece of around 100 pages should be studied by any serious thinker who wants to better understand the current post-modern position. Highly recommended; 5 stars

Saturday, May 24, 2014

LEVINAS: GOD IS RELATIONAL, NOT METAPHYSICAL, FROM 1995

click link:  http://www.mediafire.com/listen/pphn9epytxlplqs/levinastra.mp3

LEVINAS’ CONCEPT OF “GOD” ARTICULATED THROUGH TWO MODALITIES:

This manuscript appears 30 years after Levinas’ masterpiece of “Totality and Infinity”, where he depicted his Phenomenology. Now he gives us the detailed articulation of what he meant in that essay by “transcendence”; understanding it within sociology. The following outline represents his position in this 121 page essay:

LEVINAS’ JUDAIC CONCEPT OF “GOD”; UNDERSTOOD WITHIN TWO MODALITIES:“TRANSCENDENCE” AND “ALTERITY”:

TRANSCENDENCE: “3” moments:

1. The “psyche” describes the “space-of-transcendence”
a. Found in the face of the fellow-self.
b. Ethical-awakening takes place and quest for “logos”
c. Logos = the space of the “social-ideal-vigor”
d. Transcendent space = this “social-ideal-vigor”

2. The “conversation-threshold” describes the “time-of-transcendence”
a. “Psyche” breaks from spatial thinking.
b. Self seeks “originary-I” of the “other” behind the articulated “ideal-vigor”
c. Concept of “being” is posited.
d. The “originary-I” is the companion of the “logos-I”.
e. “originary-I” is posited as “prophecy”, which is anterior to “logos”
f. It is expressed as “motivation”

3. The “cogito” describes the “panoramic-notion-of-transcendence”
a. Formed through the following equation: psyche’s articulated “ideal-vigor-logos” (Greek philosophy) – plus: the “prophetic-motivational-base” (Jewish spirituality) = the logos-proper; or “transcendence”.

ALTERITY: “3” moments:
1. “transcendental-cogito” is awakened.

2. Buber’s moments of “ethical-alterity” are taken-up by the transcendental-self.
a. “morphological-desire” is expressed toward exteriority.
b. Negation of any “i-it” relation in sociology
c. Categorical-imperative of “justice” toward the “other” in an “i-thou” relation is posited.

3. The “originary-I” discovered through dialogue is coupled with the “originary-I” discovered through “ethics”.
a. Speech: beginning with speech-act at the DT. Conversation-threshold.
b. Inscribing: of the self’s “psyche” and “cogito” with the trace of “transcendence”.
c. Suffering: through the “decay-of-human-relation” which is present today.
d. Articulation of FACE: in reciprocal-understanding between dialogue and ethics; transcendence and alterity; Greek philosophy and Jewish spirituality.

Postscript: this work, of course, is done by the exiled self of “Exodus”. Wandering in the desert and constantly disturbed by the memory of genocide by the Nazi regime during WWII. Levinas believes there is the possibility of reconciliation, even after this horror. Absolutely worth 5 stars!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

LEVINAS: JUDAIC FAITH AS POST-MODERN:

click link:  http://www.mediafire.com/listen/r0bsl6f4u6929f9/judaicpm.mp3

FOR LEVINAS: the Judaic intellectual: “freedom” passes through these “8” steps:

1. “Masculine” individualistic violence of the unconscious of forming ecstatic intuitive units of meaning.
2. “Feminine” conjugal bond of being for “psyche”, through figuration based on uniting Epekeina-horizon with units of meaning in a pre-cognitive thought-picture.
3. Reaching “Understanding” through dialogue and interpretation, relying on prophetic-traces of promised messianic-era; and finding the “Epekeina-other” defined as the irreducible identity of “being” or “I AM”.
4. Articulated notion of “Investiture” (his version of “incarnation”); through a negation of the numinous concept of the sacred as revealed in the theatro-logical presentation of Moses on Sinai.
5. Then a taking-up of the name “ISRAEL”, as the exiled-self, relating to “humanity” before any “landscape” or geographical place.
6. Then taking up the modality and designation of “PHARISEE”; as the “writer-of-praxis”; who couples epistemology with speech and differentiation; in dialectical relationship.
7. Finally, the act of writing as “breathing-through-literature”. Similar to Derrida here. Writing can change history. Get literary and poetic work out there in the world where it can create alterity.
8. Lest we forget; now we inscribe our psyche-tablet in the “return” from “free-act”.

For Levinas the “Talmud” itself is an expression of Judaic-philosophy. Synthesizing Jewish Revelation with Greek thought. (p. 15). Therefore the “self” begins with the “traces-of-meaning” within this historical text and returns to it, after working through the “8” moments of “freedom” for new “inscribing”. He is doing that with this treatise. 60 pages are dedicated to structure, then he gives us 40 pages of commentary.

The Talmud has two parts: “Mishnah”- oral instruction & “Gemara”- elucidation and commentary. The “Gemara” includes “Aggadic-statements that address “interpretation”. This interpretive work is reawakened for Levinas. Thus the evolution of this treatise. The Pharisees favored the Talmud, but the Sadducees rejected it. That is why Levinas states that “Pharisee” is the name to be taken-up by the “writer-of-praxis”.

Friday, May 9, 2014

LEVINAS' PHENOMENOLOGY FROM "TOTALITY & INFINITY"

click link:  http://www.mediafire.com/listen/4jkdsu5desy7550/levinaspm.mp3

NEW METAPHYSICS OF "UNIVERSAL INCARNATION":

MASTERPIECE: this manuscript is considered essential reading for anyone researching phenomenology or post-modern thought. Derrida found it so significant that he wrote a separate commentary for it that later appeared in his collection of essays. The manuscript is 304 pages and is divided into "4" sections as follows: 1-109: "phenomenology"; 109-187: "auto-affecting interiority"; 187-254: "dokounta threshold of conversation and seeking of FACE; 254-304: "ethics and ambiguity". The first 109 pages are the declarative-phenomenology, and the heart of the essay. The remaining sections are elaborations for the reader, if needed. Depending on your experience with the structure and function of phenomenology and its sub-sections; it is possible to read the primary first section and get all of the necessary content for Levinas' position.

THE UNDERLYING PRESUPPOSITION: fundamental to Levinas' position is his "logic-of-incarnation", which he articulates in "6" moments: IRREVERSIBILITY; RECOVERY OF IDENTITY; PRIMORDIAL RELATION; SOJOURNING; TRANSCENDENCE; & AUTO-CHTHONOUS.

THE CENTRAL IMPORTANCE OF "FACE": "Face", for Levinas, is the metaphorical expression for the "Epekeina-otherness" that lies behind any concrete-form or articulation of "otherness". It is "essence" of the "other. This essence is debated and refined at the conversation-threshold of gathered like-minded individuals who also seek the "site-of-dwelling" that eludes us. This conversation-dialogue leads to an uplifting-epiphany of FACE, a rupture-event.

THE JEWISH TEACHER WHO SAID "ATHEISM": the axis threshold for Levinas' true subjectivity consists of a self who holds in tension "2" fundamental relational concepts: "separation" & "enjoining". Atheist-separation is required by the notion-of-infinity that is absolute transcendence. And the imperative of the quest-for-truth guides the self toward rejoining the "other", in the reciprocal project.

THE TRIAD OF THE LOGOS: Levinas presents the over-arching metaphysic of LOGOS as: INTERIORITY; EXTERIORITY; & COINCIDENCE. "Interiority" is the self-expression of "otherness" as "living-presence". "Exteriority" is the conversation-dialogue of exchanging "behaviors-of-the-other". And finally; "coincidence" is the "language-of-the-eye" that sees the "gesture-of-FACE as "revealed-content" coinciding with "revealer-essence".

ENJOY YOUR RESEARCH: this manuscript is packed with content, logically presented, fully accessible (if read ten pages at a time in small bites), and will create epiphanies of its own. I loved this 5-star manuscript.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

TWARDOWSKI: A LOGIC OF PHENOMENOLOGY

click link:  http://www.mediafire.com/listen/cfyl14hv20i46jc/twardowski.mp3

AN ACCOMPLISHED TWARDOWSKI “READER” FOR 1897-1933 :

BRADL & WOLENSKI have done an excellent job of editing and preparing a valuable reader of “original work from Twardowski. Twardowski played an important role in the development of phenomenology and post-modern thought; but acquiring his work is near- impossible. This volume solves that problem.

Between Brentano’s empirical-psychology and Husserl’s phenomenology, we have the significant contribution of Twardowski’s LOGIC-OF-PHENOMENOLOGY. His field of interest was logic, so be prepared for reading in small bites (my recommendation).
His project is “writing”; which is very similar to Derrida. And he concludes his phenomenology with the writing of the “praxis-document”. His moments can be roughly understood as: 1. Forming the substrate-image-of-representation. 2. Applying the “representations-of-judgments” to images in order to reach “dispositional-sense” of enduring quality. 3. Formation of “psycho-physical-product” of signs-of-meaning. 4. 6 moments for forming the enduring sign-model. 5. And finally; the 10 aspects of writing a praxis-document and its engendering of a mental artifact of universality.

The book is approximately 300 pages and is divided into three parts: phenomenology, epistemology, and philosophy-proper. But; the phenomenology is what he is known for and it is presented in pages 1-147. You will get more than enough content in these 147 pages.
In praise to the editors; they did understand the structure of phenomenology, so the material is presented in proper order. This is extremely important because this “reader” reads like a single manuscript. Great accomplishment for these editors.

Twardowski is very important to the legacy of post-modern thought. To ignore him would be foolish. Now we have “one” volume that gives us all the resource material we need for his position. This is probably grad-level at least, but easily accessible if taken in small bites. 5 stars easily.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

LEVINAS: JEWISH POST-MODERN THOUGHT, STRONGLY INFLUENCED DERRIDA

click link:  http://www.mediafire.com/listen/4brx0rz56jn2gh5/levinas.mp3

A BONUS MONOGRAPH ON LEVINAS:  this 75 page monograph deserves the highest recommendation. Derrida, in his humility, says it will just be a brief overview. Instead; it is a precise, distinguished commentary on Levinas. Derrida articulates Levinas "empirical-metaphysics" as an important contribution to properly understanding LOGOS within a post-modern context. And the final 11 pages of this monograph give us a precise logical articulation of the "metaphysic". This is very significant material to be enclosed in this collection.