This collection of papers is a chronological sampling of what I have found in my own exploratory, experimental approach to spirituality. I know my way is not the only way to learn about spiritual life and growth and ministry, and it may not be the best way for you. Therefore, all I am doing is offering my experiences and insights for your consideration.

I was asked to include a bit of information about myself, so people will know where I'm coming from, but I am reluctant to do that, as a matter of principle. As a reader, I'm not overly impressed by a writer's credentials. I think that whatever is written should stand or fall on its own merits.

Suffice it to say, I am a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, but I do not subscribe to all the doctrines of any religion, including the ones that now bear his name. Perhaps I'm a maverick--or a heretic--but I know what I believe, and why I believe it, because my beliefs are based on my own experience and personal research. Thus, I consider this entire collection to be an empirical research report.

An earlier version was circulated in 1993. Much of the feedback was positive, but several people refused to read it after taking one look at the table of contents. Some said, "This is obviously not Christian," and others said, "This is obviously too Christian." So ... Okay ... I've heard those comments before.

I'm not trying to prove anything or sell anything. My purpose in releasing this material is simple: some of my friends told me that none of it was doing any good buried in my files, and I should make it available. So here it is.

If you find anything useful or interesting, well and good. If you want to copy all or part of it, go ahead--you have my permission. Each paper has my name on it because it was originally intended to stand alone.

In any event, you have my best wishes for your spiritual journey. You will find what you seek; may you seek what you need to find.

Ben H. Swett

Home | Foreword