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More than a personal odyssey, The Enoch Factor is also a testimonial to the innate dangers of fundamentalist thinking. It is a persuasive argument for a more enlightened religious dialogue in America, one that affirms the goals of all religions-guiding followers in self-awareness, finding serenity and happiness, and discovering what the author describes as "the sacred art of knowing God." Unapologetic and moving, McSwain's take on The Almighty is sure to ignite spirited debate. Full of wisdom, humor, and truth, The Enoch Factor bridges the gap between secular and Christian book titles on spirituality, setting a new standard in both.
Posted March 10, 2011
This book is not for the spirtually faint of heart of mind. If you let go of all your pre-conceived notions, this book will put you on the road towards that thing you really seek... a deeper connection to the Source from which flows all truth. Or to put it bluntly, closer to God!
Try it and see...
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Posted July 1, 2014
In "The Enoch Factor," Dr. Steve McSwain does a beautiful job of weaving together and making sense of our beingness as three part creatures. The book showed me, in easy to follow examples, how I've been listening to my mind rather than living from the place of my soul. It's virtually a how-to book in easily digestible language about how to live a much deeper spiritual walk. I've read many, many, volumes on a deeper spiritual path. However "The Enoch Factor" truly touched a resonant note with me by giving me significant instruction on how to live from the place of Spirit which touches the Divine daily, rather than seeing my spiritual walk though the helter-skelter thoughts of my far to busy mind. I recommend this read to anyone searching for a deeper, spiritual understanding of walking with the Divine in each blessed moment of now.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 26, 2013
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For the curious, a man named Enoch is mentioned in the book of Genesis. Appended to his name, in a list of “begats,” is the phrase, “he walked with God.” Popular tradition has taken this obscure phrase to mean that Enoch never died. Along with Elijah (who was swept up in a flaming chariot) this would make Enoch one who never passed through death. Rather than his death, McSwain places the emphasis on Enoch’s life and stresses that Enoch had a transforming relationship with the Living God.
McSwain’s book centers around a life changing experience that he had on a Sunday afternoon. Having been a church goer all of his life and a pastor for a couple of decades, McSwain claims that his experience altered his perspective of the Church and the Christian faith. His book is an invitation for others to experience God, like he did, in this close encounter with the Divine. In his invitation, he brings up a few points to which I can shout, “Amen,” and many more at which I cast a wary eye.
McSwain is highly critical of the Christian Church. I think he has a right to be. There is a lot that is good about the church, but the church has also made many mistakes. Much of worship is for entertainment, McSwain claims, and not to help a person encounter God. Though debatable, I think this is a point well taken. He also observes that many people who call themselves Christians are simply going through the motions; their weekday lives don’t reflect their Sunday beliefs. Again, I think that many would agree. Many leaders of the church have stressed the “personal relationship” of Christianity though the years. McSwain simply reinforces their claims.
Personally, I like the fact that McSwain is open to dialogue with other faiths. He includes some of the teachings of Buddha, Mohammad, and others in his book. He also adds to the mix self-help gurus and atheists. I like the conversation. What I object to is his affirming that many followers of these different faiths have had valid encounters with the divine, while claiming that few Christians have truly had a life transforming encounter with a living God. That’s not all that I find questionable.
A brief list of points I object to is:
• There doesn’t seem to be much difference between an Evangelical’s claim that a person must accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, a Pentecostal’s belief that baptism of the Holy Spirit is a religious necessity, and McSwain’s claim that a unique encounter with God is what makes faith real.
• McSwain stresses that the experience that he had was purely by God’s grace. Yet he writes that through meditation a person might open himself or herself up to this experience.
• Church membership is optional according to McSwain. He sees faith as being between the person and God. I think this is contrary to the teachings of Jesus who always places an emphasis on community. Self-centeredness never has appeared to be a very effective path to God.
I confess that I really struggled to get through this book. I found it not to be a book of grace, and certainly not inspirational. I came away from it burdened rather than uplifted. Because of this, I cannot find any reason to recommend this book. There are too many good books to read to spend time reading this one.
Posted November 9, 2011
Half way through the book, I began to see your heart and relatoinship with God, and it soothed my soul. I love the way you describe the awakening and the simplicity of relationship in Christ. I love the way you did not bash others ways of knowing God. I had done this in the past b/c i believed i needed to set the world straight.... Honestly, your book left me with a new sense of God in me - no effort, no striving just be still and enjoy His company. Awesome readWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 19, 2011
If you consider yourself a Christian, but feel left out of the mainstream - this is the book for you. Apparently, "we" are not alone. This book gives me hope for the future of Christianity, and other relgions as well - and thus, hope for the world. The last half is instruction on how better to "walk with God" - thus, the Enoch Factor. I wish EVERYONE could read this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 26, 2011
If you've been discouraged or frustrated with your organized form of worship, then The Enoch Factor is a must read. Steve McSwain, a career oriented successful Baptist Minister, takes a provocative stance on his Christian upbringing and the hypocrisy he felt with his beliefs.
The magic of his words had me screaming "yes" and raising my fist with a resounding confirmation of my own experiences. I felt as though I had discovered gold and was not alone in questioning my own Pentecostal upbringing. Guilt turned to joy as McSwain gave personal testimony of his before and after "Awakening to God".
Ego or God.which do you recognize as your master? Steve will challenge you in a sincere and caring way to examine your life and dare you to ask. Belief or Faith.is there a difference? He points out, the teachings of Jesus is a far cry from the now worship of Jesus.
I was touched by his life stories and his own conflicting values that gave me a glimpse of McSwain's personal struggles. Another nice touch in his book was the quotes from well recognized poets, writers, and religious leaders that long-established mans search for life's meaning and personal relationship with God.
With candid and sincere delivery, McSwain made a very convincing case for "The Kingdom of God is Within".
When I closed on the last chapter, I felt this book was no accident and his calling had been acknowledged.
Posted September 21, 2011
My experience with much of contemporary religion is that it does little to help us get in touch and experience first hand The Presence. Yet, the longing to "know" God is stronger for many of us than just to know "about" God. Dr. McSwain's insights help us to better understand the peace that comes from satisfying this longing and how it aligns not only with the teachings of Jesus but also those of the other great world religions. And Dr. McSwain provides good supporting reference documentation for his points, yet the book flows easily for an enjoyable reading experience. The challenge that this book creates for me is finding a church that can help with this "knowing" spiritual quest.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 20, 2011
To be brief, this is easily the most profound book I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Growing up in a fairly fundamental, conservative, protestant denomination which emphasizes Christian perfection above much else, I entered my adult years with a concept of God that mostly centered around fear of ending up in an eternal hell. Sometimes as a child when I would hear a biblical story or teaching I would think to myself that it seemed a little weird, but I never seriously pursued my doubts and continued to march to the same drumming around me which mostly drowned out all else. Post high school education consumed so much time through my twenties that I really just went on automatic through church (and all that goes with church) not thinking much about the supposed beliefs within me. When my brain cleared a bit after getting into life as a married young professional, my thoughts were quiet enough that I began to hear those doubts raise their voices again. I gradually became more intensely frustrated that it felt more and more like what was required of me as a Christian seemed to be a system of beliefs that took erratic twists, senseless backtracks, the long way around, and filled in the gaps with empty answers like that I just needed to trust God more or have more faith or believe in more in God's wisdom. After being fed up with a system of beliefs that did not mirror my experience in life where I was repeatedly finding myself in a place of failure that my "worm theology" taught me to believe about myself, I began to pray to God that if God did actually exist, God would assist me in understanding God the way i God desired to be understood. I began to have an intense internal notion that my faith ought to at least have a feeling about it that it makes sense rather than having to go through the complicated gymnastics I was taught growing up. This began in me a process over the next 6 years which led me to The Enoch Factor this last summer.
I have had many doubts and questions over these recent years and explored many ideas about my faith. During time I have read many, many books by a wide range of authors most of which have been significantly valuable in my searching. The Enoch Factor though felt as if it brought a lot of my questions and answers down to a point where there is a feel of coherency. As I read Dr McSwain's words and thoughts, he seems to have had much the same experience with similar doubts and frustrations. I had the feeling that he had been there and done that and came out the other side in a better place where his faith was far from abandoned and in fact markedly deepened.
This journey began for me at a place of starting over. As all good postmoderns do, I deconstructed my beliefs, started back at the beginning, and picked up the pieces as I went along that felt real, leaving the broken pieces to lay where they lay, all the while looking for any new realness that I might have missed because of the blinding height of the theological walls that had been built around me both by myself and others. The Enoch Factor helped me bring my ideas about what falleness and hell and redemption may really be all about and why that realness may have been missed along the way. The result is that my soul has found a more restful place than any previous, and I feel I have a much greater understanding of how to continue to deepen my spirituality and my connection with God and the world God created. To think that I have arri
Posted September 2, 2011
The Enoch Factor - the Sacred Art of Knowing God, is so much more than about 'Enoch', the lesser-known and mostly ignored figure of the time of the Hebrews/Israelites of antiquity, although Enoch was a man who 'walked with God' and was important enough to be given a special - if brief - mention in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Part 1 is an exposé of Dr McSwain's understanding and experience of the 'Sacred Art of Knowing God'. It is part narrative from his own life, and part overview of guidance on how we can reach and go through an astounding spiritual 'Awakening' into a new life, after which we also can walk with God.
Largely written from the author's own Christian standpoint (as the tradition of which he has most experience), but not entirely - it also pulls no punches on how what we call 'organised religion' has largely lost the plot. This is no tough-to-read book comprising fusty diatribe against organised religion(s) or attacks on one faith/spiritual tradition over another. It's no academic tome - although it would make very challenging reading in Christian seminaries in particular. Dr McSwain uses light and appropriate humour in places, and the text is littered with wonderful, enriching quotations from spiritual/philosophical 'giants', past and present.
Part 2 - Archetype of the Sacred Art - is where, in a few chapters, we get to meet Enoch, Dr McSwain's 'muse' and spiritual companion on his journey. The man Enoch, mentioned briefly in the extant Hebrew Scriptures, IS an archetype - a man who embodied the way to 'walk with God'. Readers would also benefit from reading The Books of Enoch (not in today's Bible).
Part 3 - Mystery of the Sacred Art - is the shortest section but by no means the least important or valuable. It gives detailed guidance on how an ordinary person can achieve something apparently extraordinary: get to know God (although, in fact, this is our state at birth but the potential is lost during childhood 'programming'). In common with other spiritual traditions, this involves 'going within' and finding Divine Spirit - God - who is already there, and always has been.
The book presupposes a sense that the existence of God is real. Dr McSwain calls God 'God' unapologetically, but the God he describes is God/Divine Spirit/Source which all spiritual traditions speak of as The Creator and Sustainer of All That Is. According to Dr McSwain, and I concur, God is found 'hidden' in our being, but the Divine Essence of Self - or of God, of whom we are part - becomes relegated by the Ego. In Part 1 Dr McSwain describes in detail the role Ego plays in God's subjugation, and how this may be undone.
Once found, it's impossible to un-find God, i.e. to 'lose' God again. The relationship with the Divine becomes unforgettable and un-losable. As Dr McSwain rightly alludes, once you go through the portal (or door) into God's Kingdom, you become Awake - and sometimes this requires the proverbial 'leap of faith' - after which you are in full touch and constant communion with God, the Spirit within. How is this made possible? By Divine Grace. And the reader will learn more about this on reading Part 3.
So, all who seek can enter into the Divine Presence - thus coming into Heaven on Earth (as Enoch did, and Jesus said we could/would). All CAN know God, and be able to journey through life with God as a constant, faithful and integral companion. AND, of course, onward through physical death, as a continuation of Life E
Posted June 23, 2011
Dear Dr. McSwain, As I sit here this morning reflecting on my morning meditation reading from Mark Nepo, I am at awe how everything I reflect on brings me back to you and your book "The Enoch Factor". I am the typical cookie cutter white, middle class, Christian, American of today....most importantly I can say now" I was" and now have been awakened and on my way to receiving the gift that Enoch and yourself have been given. My husband, came home one evening from work, (we both work in health care), with your recent book. I began reading it that night and finished it within the next three days!!!!! I have to say it has been the most influential, spiritually awakening and changing moment in my 48 years. I am reading it again for the second time. This time reflecting more, putting more into practice and knowing that as the saying goes "It's the journey not the destination". I feel like I have found someone who has written a book that defines and shows the path to the "spiritual awakening" that I have been searching for, thought I found, but just didn't bring me a sense of inner peace, or as Oprah would say, that "Awe moment" until now. My husband and I have had many talks about our frustrations within the organized Christian community. I can say now that my believe is "A God realized-life". I have read from a many of your quoted authors in your book, and your book has shown me what I have felt all along but unable to define and more importantly to see! To share my own experience of how we are all so different and unique but are all connected to God (love), as a critical care nurse I have witnessed, experienced and have to say now have been honored to be a part of many patients physical deaths from this earth. With that said, having been there to see each at their most humbled moment on this earth (besides our birth), all the outer layers peeled away like an onion, there in that moment in front of me not knowing their pasts, their external identities including their religious practices was a sense of one, peace. I could never understand (but I always knew and now "Get It") how someone who had a different belief system or life style could be connected to the God I was raised to believe in. So I finish this message to you by saying thank you Dr. McSwain for your perseverance, your courage to seek and break the mold. and as the saying goes. I hope I have the pleasure of someday meeting you. Your book has already been and will be that birthday, graduation and so on gift from me. Oh and one more....Hey, you have to read this book! category.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 9, 2011
Take the time to read this book - you will not be disappointed. McSwain is thought-provoking and intellectually challenging with no pretense of stuffiness. His words spotlight what has been missing for eons in religious practices.
I highly recommend it and look forward to future books by Dr. McSwain.
Posted April 7, 2011
When I was young, the infinite power and presence of God was a constant part of my being. Communication with God was as natural and essential to me as drinking water. Over the years, religion and those I held with high esteem indoctrinated me into a life of rules, guilt, fear and limited fundamentalist thinking. I laughed and cried as I read Steve McSwain's book, The Enoch Factor. McSwain's personal life experiences undoubtedly have hit home with many of us who have found ourselves disillusioned by a religious status quo. McSwain explains the frustrations of years in the ministry, while often feeling detached from the presence of God. Like many of us have experienced, McSwain associated the lack of connection to the infinite to failure on his part. McSwain describes a personal 'awakening' of sort that forever changed his life as well as the direction of his ministry. This too can happen to you! I would encourage you not to make assumptions before you read the book. McSwain is not anti Christian or religion. If you find yourself unimpressed by the religious 'norm', this book is for you. If you are motivated by fear because of deep rooted doctrine, be assured, this book is based on McSwain's personal experience with spirituality, world wide observation and educated teachings from the bible and other great texts. The honest simplicity of McSwain's message is for those brave enough to first go within. You can know peace under any circumstance if you choose to wake up, the reward is priceless! Vicki Vincent, Central FloridaWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 28, 2011
I loved this book! It was full of challenges for a Baptist Believer like me.
While I am still a One Way kind of guy, it did help me to become more tolerant of the beliefs of others. I very much believe that the relationship is more important than the formality of religious institutions. It helped me realize that maybe different religions have more in common than we observe at first blush.
While I still believe that attending church is an important way to build upon one's faith, I don't beleive it is the only way. God's presence can be felt everywhere and in every circumstance. This book artfully demonstrates that concept.
Well done Steve.
Posted March 5, 2011
As a Reiki Master Teacher I am always on a quest to find heart felt material to suggest to my clients. Beautifully written Dr. McSwain a Baptist Minister describes his life's challenges while on his spiritual journey and the struggles with ego and how he finally awakens to find God within. He quotes the Bible and many well known Spiritual Teachers of our time. A must read for everyone and especially Christians searching for God!... BJ BolanderWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 25, 2011
In a beautifully written, thoughtful style, Steve McSwain takes his readers into a journey of exploration of their belief systems and gently prods them to question, to explore, to grow into the possiblity of seeing the Divine with new eyes and an open heart. As a person who struggled for years to break free from the tyranny of fundamentalism, the author's kind words were validation for my difficult journey and for the joy that comes with breaking free of the shackles. In every sense of the words, the author is a "practical mystic."Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 29, 2011
The Enoch Factor is one of those rare books in the (too-crowded) marketplace of spiritual essays: it is intellectually challenging without being stuffy or "preachy", and the reader feels connected to the deeply human story of the author's journey. Steve McSwain is tackling what is arguably life's toughest puzzles: Why are we here and, more directly to his point, What is our relationship to a creator? He is emphatic, articulate (and delightfully self-critical) about how he came to hold his own beliefs, namely that "Knowing God" is not just his purpose, but also his source of solace. But he didn't get there overnight. Perhaps the chief joy of The Enoch Factor is watching McSwain passionately untangle the knot that is his personal story: a people-pleasing Preacher's Kid who slept-walk through a unsatisfying career as a so-called successful preacher, only to realize that he was deeply unhappy, that he missing The Point of It All. Setting the tone for his newfound belief in a loving, non-authoritarian ministry, McSwain invites you to join him as a true equal, walking at his side on new paths in search of answers to our oldest questions. Be forewarned that this book is not going to give comfort to those readers who want to be told that the Bible (or any sacred text) has All The Answers for spiritual seekers. Quite the opposite, McSwain happily (some would say gleefully) takes his flashlight and shines it unflinchingly at several of Christianity's most errant inerrancies. But he does so with a clear, loving purpose. He is challenging us to look beyond parsing the texts of Christianity and other religions, asking that we stop craving proof "about" a creator and instead seek to simply "know" our God, whoever He or She or What that may be. By the book's end, you are on new ground, but somehow the journey will have made sense and the final stopping point will seem "old" and completely comfortable.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 6, 2010
Not many Baptist preachers write what they think and survive to tell about it: but Steve McSwain has not only survived but thrived. He writes what many preachers think and wish they could say; thank God for people like Steve. His ministry to the church and to the world is much stronger now than when he was preaching all the time.
This book is good. It is well-written and well-edited. The stories are terrific and the over-arching story of his journey into himself and into truth is bracing, courageous, and rare. More preachers need to write like this.
Not that I agree with everything he asserts: not at all, but I like the fact that he says it and that he has discovered a new way to minister to the faith communities that he once served as a clergyman.
I recommend the book, and I recommend the man!
Posted July 2, 2010
With the very first sentence Steve McSwain captured my own thoughts and spirit. From there I journeyed page by page with him through his own spiritual experience that so entirely connects with many of our own it felt as if the words on the page could have been mine. Woven from his own personal journey, Steve confronts each of us with our deepest desire. The Enoch Factor plumbs the depth of our hunger to know God, not just know about God, and gives us the hope and the peace that we, like Enoch, can know God and can walk with God. This book is written with courage, wisdom, faith, and the deep, abiding passion of a Christ-follower who has enriched and blessed both my life and my faith.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 3, 2010
If you were brought up as I was in a traditional Southern Baptist Churcho of the forties.and now wonder about some of the things you were taught this book is for you
If you want a no holds barred assessment of organized religion as it is today,you will find it in the pages of The Enoch Factor.
Posted July 3, 2010
The Enoch Factor is an eloquently written masterpiece filled with deeply profound insights leading us to a more intimate relationship with God. Anyone seeking to fully embrace God and truly be at own with their Creator must read Steve McSwain's book. It contains the key to a Divine Life. One of the most beautifully written books I've even read! I am reading it again for the second time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.