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Thursday, August 28, 2014

NAMASTE!

The world is a beautiful place...

I hope that's what you see...I hope that's the reality that you observe...I hope that you view the Universe as your ally, and not as your enemy, but if that's not the way you see it, it's not my place to judge you because of it...you have a right to see whatever you see...if you don't see what I see, or if your observation of the Infinite Quantum Field of Potential is different from mine, then it just is what it is...the only way that I will ever try to convince you to see it otherwise is if you come to me for help, and I'd really like to help if I can...

People throw the word "Namaste" around a lot these days, and I'm not sure that they all understand what it means...here's a part of what Wikipedia says about it:

Namaste ( NAH-məs-tay; Hindi: [nəməsteː], sometimes expressed as Namaskar or Namaskaram, is a customary greeting when individuals meet or farewell. It is a form of greeting commonly found among people of South Asia, in some Southeast Asian countries, and diaspora from these regions. Namaste is spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest. This gesture is called Añjali Mudrā or Pranamasana. In Hinduism it means "I bow to the divine in you."

Another definition of it that I have read and heard many times is this: "That which is sacred in me honors that which is sacred in you."

This is how I personally interpret it: "I am on my own journey, finding my own answers, walking with my God as I know and understand "Him" (or "Her" or "It" or maybe nothing or no one at all), and that part of me that is reaching for transcendence and trying to understand this life respects and honors your journey, your search, your God (or lack, thereof), and if your experience is different from mine, then so be it...you don't have to be wrong for me to be right, because in the end it's really not about who was right and who was wrong...let us be at peace with one another!"

If I have an influence on you, I hope that it's a positive one, but I can only teach you what you're ready to learn...furthermore, I'm not convinced that anyone ever really teaches anyone anything, truth be told...the definition of "education" is "to draw out"...the best that anyone can do for anyone else, including me for you, is to draw out of you what you already know on some level...or maybe to confirm something that you've already thought...maybe we knew each other before we got here and both agreed to meet up at some point, and that's why my words resonate with you...maybe we talked about these things already...who knows? But I do have the need to communicate with someone on this level, and if you perceive that I am a worthy teacher or positive influence in your life, then I am happy and blessed to know it!

Of course I still have enough ego to hope that everyone sees me that way, in all honesty, but I can't make you or anyone else see me the way that I think I am or hope or aspire to be...you're going to see me however you see me, and there's very little I can do to change that...people saw Jesus the way they saw Him, and they had very different experiences with Him because of those varying observations...He was basically powerless in His own home town because of the town's collective vision of Him ("Is not this Joseph the Carpenter's son?)"...if there are roughly 7 billion people currently living on the earth, then there are at least 7 billion different realities in which each of those individuals is living...

I'm not a scientist, and don't claim to be one, but the things about Quantum Physics that make sense to me on some level, and seem to flow with my knowledge of spiritual things are very interesting to me, and I like to talk about them...I assume that you're at least somewhat interested in them, too, or you wouldn't be reading this...

I've sort of opted out of the Christian church world, but I'm not against it...without sounding pretentious (hopefully) I feel like I've just outgrown it...doesn't mean I'm superior to anyone else, just in a very different place...but I don't want to abandon everything that I once believed...the part of me that believes in the concept of a "Ministry of Reconciliation" wants to bridge the gap between belief systems and find ways for people to walk in harmony, even if they aren't in the same spiritual place...

In the Upper Room - Jerusalem
I do believe in God, and I love the Jesus that I know and believe in...and, yes, I know all about Horus and the similarities in his story/myth and the Jesus narrative...and I know about Dionysus and the wine and the roots of the Eucharist...and I know about how the Adam and Eve story existed in other ancient religions centuries before the Bible...and it's not even interesting to me to try to debate these things one way or the other...I very definitely believe in the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit, which is one reason I am particularly proud of my Pentecostal/Charismatic heritage (even with the legalism and all the crazy stuff that came along with those movements)...I believe in the Gifts of the Spirit...

I believe in miracles, and in the power of prayer...I've had too many things come to pass that I've prayed for not to believe in that, even though I have no problem referring to it as the power of intention...same thing...I know what it's like to feel the presence of God, and I believe that it is real when I experience it...

And I believe in love...

For me, personally, the Bible is what I know, particularly the protestant canon...I don't think it's infallible (see previous post), but I love it and know it as something that has been an important part of my life for my entire life, so I still use it as a point of reference, and probably always will...I've never tried to pull off any kind of theological hoax, and even back in the day when I was a bishop and a full-time pastor of a mega-church, I tried to be sensitive to people who maybe weren't where I was theologically when I evolved away from believing certain things that I had been taught...I'm not saying that I always fully succeeded in doing that, but it was always my intention...

So now I've created an environment where I can talk about Jesus if I want to and quote the Bible, if for no other reason than the fact that it is so familiar to me, but I don't feel obligated to hold to certain "truths" that simply don't work for me any more...I'm not angry with anyone who is not in the flow with me on this, but I'm especially grateful for the ones in my life who are! One thing I can tell you, I've never been happier or more at peace in my life...I am who I am, with nothing to hide, and I believe what I believe, with nothing to hide...that's why I can say that the world is a beautiful place...I am very glad to be alive!

I have to make a living, and talking about spiritual things and helping people has been what I have done for most of my life, and the way that I have created in an income for myself, but I want to believe that my desire to still "minister" to people (for lack of a better word) is sincere, and not just about doing what I know to do to pay the bills...if that's all it is, I would rather opt out of that, too...

But something in me - a Voice that speaks to me on the inside that I call God or Spirit or Source still tells me things to say or write to people that somehow makes their lives better, and being able to still hear that Voice is the greatest thing in my life...I hope that whatever "gift" I have is genuine, and that whatever influence I have had on people has made their lives at least a little better...I've believed that for too long, and can't "un-believe" it!...

If you are a Christian, I love you...Namaste! If you love the cross and the blood and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, I love you...Namaste! If you believe that it's the end of the world and that Jesus is about to return, I love you...Namaste! I hope you're not right, but if you are, I'm still good! If you are a part of another religion, I love you...Namaste! I respect your heritage and your tradition and your religious identity! If you call yourself "spiritual" but not a Christian, I get it and I relate to where you are and I identify with you and I love you...Namaste! If you are an atheist, I love you...Namaste! Your personal journey or belief system (or lack thereof) is not a deal-breaker for me, and we probably agree on many things...I believe in God, but I also believe in you, and respect your thoughts and ideas, even on the very existence of God...

If you are a person in my life who has been blessed or positively influenced by whatever it is that I do, and you are an active part of my life still, I love you and I appreciate you and I need you...Namaste, Namaste, Namaste to you!!!

Without you I don't know for sure who I am...you complete me, and I hope I complete you!

Namaste to you, and I hope to see you Sunday at Metron...

Namaste!

Peace to all!

23 comments:

  1. That's why we love you so much Bish, you are always so straight to the point with your opinions. Your honesty amazes most people, but not those who know and love you.

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  2. Donald Cofield said...

    Wow!

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  3. Connie Sue Allen said...

    Intense.

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  4. Avery Price Rogers said...

    agreed... Beautiful, the world is...

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  5. David Jensen said...

    Jim, This is so beautifully written. Thank you so much!!!! Even though we have never met in person, and might never meet in person. You have definitely encouraged me in many ways. So let me tell you a little bit of my story. Ever since coming out in 2011, and also after my suicide attempt in April of this year, my faith has changed. No, I do not call myself a Christian anymore. Yes, I do believe in a God of Love. Yes, I do believe in Heaven, and that everybody goes there no matter what they believe or don't believe. I don't believe that there is a Hell. I do believe in prayer. I do agree with parts of the Bible. And yes, I do have a great support system through my church the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit. I love it there, and it is my second home. I'm sure you have heard of the Metropolitan Community Churches. Thank you so much for your continued love, support, and blessings for all of us. Please have a safe & enjoyable holiday weekend.

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  6. Jacob Israel said...

    Most sincere, heartfelt thing i have heard in a good long while... Namaste to you

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  7. Melissa Floyd Hall said...

    I love all of this post but, I'd like to hone in on the "outgrowing" of church or organized religion. Many of us outgrew it...or at least many in my "circles of connection".... and many of us tried to keep going back to it and forcing ourselves to be satisfied with it because, we didn't know what else to do.... Others outgrew it and never looked back. One of the greatest compliments I think I have ever given you is when I have said to people, "Jim Swilley did such a great job teaching me, leading me, and re-minding me... that he took me from Kindergarten to a Master's Degree in a matter of a few years. He taught us to think for ourselves, find God on our own, creative our realities, and conquer our fears. I don't want my kids to wear clothes they've outgrown. I don't want them to be living at home in their teenage bedrooms when they are 40. It makes me so proud to know that I raised them and have taught them so well that they can leave our nest and FLY. Jim Swilley gave us powerful wings. We couldn't stay in the nest forever. In no way is that kind of departure an abandonment. It is beautiful growth." I'm happy this dialogue about that exists. I (we) do love you, believe in you, and respect you. I look forward to visiting Metron. Namaste

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  8. Gregg Kennard said...

    I believe. I believe in you. I believe in God. I believe in love.

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  9. Tony Howard said...

    Wow! To the man I call Bishop and friend. This brought tear to my eyes as I read this posting. You are truly a gift to the universe because of the positive influence and message that you bring to the atmosphere. Bishop we are connected! Namasta!

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  10. Richard Wayne Garganta said...

    I remember the highly controversial Rev. Ike. He would begin a service by walking through the large auditorium giving a big embrace to the crowd saying, "the God in me embraces the God in you." He would repeat this throughout the whole auditorium. I had never seen that before.

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  11. Beth Bonner said...

    I left you a (long) personal message...love ya!!

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  12. Heather Nichole said...

    Having a bit if a hard time with this one since you were one of the first major influences in my life. I guess, mainly because I have not outgrown Christianity.

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  13. Cheryl Bearden said...

    Wow! I feel like you just took your heart out and laid it open for all to see! Your words really moved me. As a confused/frustrated/ex-Baptist/alienated/truth-seeking/spiritually-longing person I did find comfort and a connection in your words and I think I've found a new spiritual home. Thank you!

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  14. Tony Howard said...

    Well said, Cheryl!

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  15. Valerie Hugsy Bridgeman said...

    Thank you. Namaste.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, @Beth...thanks again for your kind words...see you Saturday...

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    2. Hey, @Heather...sorry you saw the post as a negative...as I said, Jesus and I are totally good with each other, but I don't believe that He came to the earth to start a religion called Christianity, especially not the exclusive, organized, judgmental thing that it has become, where all the Christians think that they're right, and the rest of humanity is wrong, and God can only speak through the 40 men who wrote the collection of books we know as the Bible...yeah, I outgrew that a while back...but follow your own heart about what you believe, regardless of what I believe or don't believe (which is the purpose of the post)...I hope whatever influence I once was in your life moved you in a positive direction...

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    3. Wow, thanks, @Cheryl! I love it!

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    4. Thanks, and love to all of you!

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  16. Jeanette Bolt Smith said...

    Thank you so much for this! I am amazed at how many of your thoughts/beliefs resonate with mine. I am so glad my thoughts brought you into my life!

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  17. Aubrey Gallimore said...

    I have outgrown the long rhetorical responses to your posts. All i can say is whether i visit Metron...or the last time i was in the building...my spirit connects to your points. So Namaste to you.

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