He grew up in the Baptist church, but he's an advocate of interfaith dialogue. He was a Christian minister for over 20 years and today promotes spirituality among all traditions.
McSwain reaches out to an ever-growing segment of the American population: those who came to church to find God, but discovered a complex and frustrating set of rules and burdens instead. Disenchanted, they switched denominations, or left entirely.
“Instead of a bridge to God, religion is often a barrier to God,” says Dr. McSwain. “Why else would over 34 million Americans have left the church in recent years? My goal isn't to bring these people back to church, but help those who hunger for an authentic spiritual life create the conditions for one.”
Following in his father's footsteps, Dr. McSwain was a minister for two decades in some of America's largest churches. He received his Doctorate in Theology during that time (in 1986), and preached feverishly to God's followers.
But while steeped in religion, his life lacked spirituality.
“Sometimes I wonder if being 'Christian' for many people is little more than some ego identification, a role they play. It was for me,” says Dr. McSwain. “I mistakenly thought being a Christ-follower was subscribing to a certain set of beliefs, holding membership in a Christian church, or both.
When I awakened, however, this all changed: I now realize there's a day-and-night difference between labeling yourself a Christian and living a Christ-conscious life, one in touch with what Buddhists call your 'Buddha-nature.'”
He experienced his “awakening,” what he describes as a satori in Eastern terms, on a normal Sunday, but outside the church. Detailed in The Enoch Factor, this event inspired Dr. McSwain to embrace a new kind of spirituality: One that connects people to God and to other human beings, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or religious persuasion.
He hopes his circuitous spiritual path helps others re-discover their sacred selves.