A bold take on Christianity, religious pluralism and the search for God.
McSwain (The Giving Myths, 2007) examines Christian faith with an unofficial Buddhist perspective. He sees the search for God as a death of the ego and a letting go of attachment. He is refreshingly against Christianity as the only path to God and opposed to the interdenominational politics and pettiness and backstabbing rampant in many churches. Rather, he looks to Jesus, as well as numerous other religious figures, for guidance along a path that he believes is not so much searching for God but clearing away illusions to realize that God is already found. His take is vaguely related to the biblical figure of Enoch, who appears only briefly in the Bible and this book—a fact that makes the title somewhat confusing. The book is a little unfocused, jumping from story to story and thought to thought. McSwain liberally sprinkles his prose with quotes and utilizes large block quotes from a wide array of spiritual and popular thinkers. While these quotes add context and support to the original content, they quickly become frustrating roadblocks to the flow of the text and cause the author to seem overeager to validate his argument. This is perhaps not without reason, as his argument stems from a brief, unprompted revelation that he experienced one day while sitting on the couch. It can be hard to understand how such a small, spontaneous moment could give birth to a systematic theology and its attendant practices, but McSwain grounds the ensuing book in a variety of religious traditions and a truly goodhearted intention to help people be closer to God. Given all the quotes and McSwain’s doctorate in ministry, he could better cite his sources, especially in regard to which translation of the Bible he is quoting. Overall, though, McSwain has no ulterior motives or self-aggrandizing sentiments, just an earnest wish to express his views and to share his ideas and experiences with others.
Christians tired of church politics and proponents of interfaith practices will draw inspiration from this well-intentioned text.