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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Friday, June 20, 2014

DERRIDA: PHENOMENOLOGY OF "ANIMOT-VOICE"

click link:  http://www.mediafire.com/listen/ac31cbm5xzvimif/derrida3a.mp3

THE ROLE OF “HUPAKOUO” IN AUTO-BIOGRAPHY:
How are we to define the “self” as “subject” if we ignore “spiritual-seeing” and “spiritual-hearing”?
There is more to humanity than the cognitive and the construction of rational propositions. There is a more primitive dimension that also defines us. This dimension speaks to us in an unknown grammar, one that appears to the Hupakouo attribute of the “psyche” who possesses the right perspective or “stance”. Of course, this is the concern of phenomenology in the first place; and the concern of post-modern thought. It is time to re-acquaint ourselves with the “Animot-voice” of the animal-other.
In 10 days at a conference held at the Cerisy Cultural Center in Lasalle, France Derrida did just that. This is his treatise of “awakening”; his plea for a new “auto-biography”, one that will give the animal-monster, that currently exists in the world, a “new name”.

HOW DO WE WRITE THE NEW NAME?

Derrida proposes a triad with regard to his approach. We could call this his “triad-of-Hupakouo”; a new LOGOS. Its parts: 1. the “being-after” of the self as a state of latency with regard to this quest for auto-bio definition. This is the self of shame and impropriety, and under the gaze of the interrogating animal-other. 2. The “being-alongside” marks a transition of the self where self enters the role of “negation” and negating the “monstrous animal”; and positing instead the “theoretical animal-other”. But discernment is still missing here. The self needs dialogue to get past this “lack” with regard to auto-biography. 3. The “being-near” of the self recognizes the role that ”Hupakouo” plays at the level of “presentation” concerning the “other” and “listening” with regard to the transcendentally intuitive “psyche”. Self and animal can co-exist in dialectic.

This is the same Derrida of the “phenomenology-of-writing”; therefore, we should recognize that the “PRAXIS” of all this is the positing of a written “zoo-to-biographical sketch”. This is a sketch of relation between the “I” of the self and the history of the “animal-as-concept”. We will enlist the attestation, argument, and proof of our recalled “auto-bio memory” as the apologetic accompanying proclamation; to help empower this PRAXIS.

The “notion” of this praxis-positing is formed through a process Derrida calls: “Limitophy”; which is a deconstruction of the false-singularity of “animal” currently in existence, coupled with re-interpreting the limit-point of our situation in a way that is “non-linear”. And the “cultivation” of the results of dialogue at the conversation-threshold with other selves involved in the process of forming a new name for animal. Cultivation takes place under the critique of a posited 3rd party called “Universality”.

Give yourself the benefit of reading this manuscript slowly; it is rich in content and addresses Derrida’s fundamental position in a way that centers on ”listening”. We are never so well advanced that we cannot learn new ways to awaken our spiritual listening.
5 stars for this 10-day conference.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

BULTMANN: PHENOMENOLOGY OF CHRISTIANITY

click link:  http://www.mediafire.com/listen/0ytpmri03jyrh5u/bultpm.mp3

A TRUE PHENOMENOLOGY OF CHRISTIANITY FROM 1953:
Bultmann; much in the same manner as Levinas (but well ahead of his time), tells us that the self is confronted by both: a historical situation and text of existential importance. For Levinas, the text was the Torah and Talmud. For Bultmann, the text is exclusively the New Testament, and especially the gospel narratives (with a preference for John).
And both Levinas and Bultmann addressed the problem of a “kerygma-of-saying” that was enclosed in an “enclosure-of-said”. Bultmann calls this the “enclosure-of-myth”. Now; Bultmann precedes Levinas by about 8 years, so we should recognize just how ground-breaking Bultmann’s offering was and still remains today.

The “myth-of-the-said” that tries to enclose kerygma is composed primarily of Jewish apocalyptic and Greek Gnosticism. We need to extract the kerygma from this inauthentic enclosure and acquire the existential significance of New Testament narrative in its originary proclamation-state. Our task therefore includes this extraction coupled with the ongoing development of the self’s “self-understanding”.

The “psyche” makes its contribution by passing through the triad of: anxiety – faith – and eschatological-existence. The tension of “security vs anxiety” interrogates the self to open itself to the intangible love of god and openness to the future. This eschatological stance must be repeated again and again for every new situation; a continual negation of “egoism”.

The transition to the notion of the “true” passes through the relational-threshold of the “act-of-god”. For Bultmann, this means working through a triad: first; we internally posit the idea of “self-as-other”, where the love-of-god creates a self-acceptance equal to a self that is “other” than it already “is”; “self” becomes “eschatological-self”. Second; we pass through “dialogue with others where the “gnosis of revelation” is unveiled in the encounter with other selves that are also perceived eschatologically. And thirdly; the content of “kerygma” is articulated, as that within the Christ-event that is hidden under the mythical narrative. This means articulating the cross and resurrection as kerygma.

This threshold moment marks the self’s transition to cognition and the conceptual articulation of the cross and resurrection into an intelligible posited “word-of-reconciliation”. Essentially we are to posit the “saving-efficacy” of the cross as “intelligible” and available for proclamation and differentiation in actuality. For Bultmann, the cross is really all of the content we need. Resurrection simply stands for “faith” in the saving-efficacy of the cross. “Physical resurrection narratives” are later additions to the primitive text according to Bultmann.

“Praxis” means taking up the triad of: 1. taking up the stance of “being-for-another”; plus 2. Uniting that stance with the impelling “question-about-god” to form 3. A realized objectivity of the dialectical involvement of the kerygma in actuality. It will include using the existing lexical content of one’s tradition and its specific philosophy; but critiquing that philosophy with the “right” of an eschatological understanding of human existence.

What we can all learn here is how; after 61 years; a manuscript like this can take on new meaning in light of further offerings by post-moderns like Levinas and Derrida. 5 stars; and truly a transformative document.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

LEVINAS: PHENOMENOLOGY OF "KERYGMA"

click link:  http://www.mediafire.com/listen/0aiumzmkvnu88k2/levinaskey.mp3

13 YRS LATER: A PHENOMENOLOGY OF "KERYGMA":
In 1961, Levinas gave us his masterpiece of "Totality and Infinity" where he outlined his basic position on phenomenology. Now, 13 years later, in 1974, he gives us a refinement of his phenomenology that emphasizes the otherness of "being", by designating it "Kerygma"; much in the same way as Bultmann did for Christianity. Levinas wants to emphasize this kerygma, stripped of the contamination of the enclosure of the "said" (or imposed ontologies, etc.). His Judaic-demythologizing would strip or disrupt this "said", in order to create a fragmentation that would free-up the concepts so that the responsible self can engage in the task of re-instating their dynamic life as "signs" of "saying".

The proto-subjectivity takes up the act of the event-of-responsibility and enters the conversation threshold, where the dialogue passes through a triad of: "SUBSTITUTION - SENSIBILITY - SAYING". This dialogue has as its purpose to articulate the "proximity" of a "communal-sign-image" that "inspires" or motivates. This is the middle moment of one self standing-in toward another. But next, the self must articulate a "thematization" which will involve a new stance of the two selves standing together, facing a 3rd party; all within the atmosphere of "justice"

From "thematization", he moves on to "praxis", where he depicts in the triad of: "QUESTIONING - RESPONSE - DIACHRONIC PLOT". The idea of "plot" is interesting because it suggests "narrative", which is important for the Judaic-LevInas. The space between "questioning" and "response" is designated the workspace for articulating this non-ontological expression of "truth". All taking place in the "modality-of-responsibility"

LOGOS, therefore, is centered on the idea of "kerygma", a triad consisting of: "THE SAID-OF-KERYGMA / THE SAYING-OF-KERYGMA / THE DIACHRONOLOGY-OF-KERYGMA". The "diachronic-other" is the other of time that transits through all times; and therefore; usurps the previous autonomy of linear-time. "Time" is eschatological for Levinas.
This is a powerful manuscript that gives the view of a Judaic-Bultmann. Powerful and deep, but accessible if taken in small reasonable bites. 5 stars.

Friday, June 6, 2014

LEVINAS': PHENOMENOLOGY OF COVENANT

click link:  http://www.mediafire.com/listen/5b53br0wcwmk899/levinasrel.mp3

INDIE DIGITAL PUBLISHING PRODUCES USEFUL MONOGRAPH ON LEVINAS:
Digitally published in 2013; this 90 page monograph addresses Levinas by articulating his phenomenology of “covenant”. I found no information on the author, so I guess she wants anonymity. But I would give her high marks.
Morris takes us through the Judaic symbols in order to define Levinas’ phenomenology. Basically these run as follows: SINAI; BASE OF SINAI TO PLAINS-OF-MOAB; GERIZIN; THE “AMEN-RESPONSE” AT EBAL & GERIZIN; TENT-OF-MEETING; AND THEN THE PRAXIS-OF-INVERSION & THE LOGOS AS “PLOT-OF-BEING”.
I thought she did an excellent job of articulating the symbols, except for shorting us on an articulation of the tent-of-meeting. But you can extrapolate that, based on your own understanding of Levinas: essentially this is the moment of the distribution of the tribes and symbolizes “proximity” which she does talk about.
To get the most from the monograph you should already have the thought-picture of the form and structure of phenomenology already in your mind. If you do; you can integrate this material easily. I would call it accessible, but deep enough to satisfy grad-level work.
For an indie-kindle-manuscript; I was pleasantly surprised and give it 5 stars. Enjoy this manuscript.