Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Food For Thought

Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most respected leaders of modern history. A Hindu, Ghandi nevertheless admired Jesus and often quoted from the Sermon on the Mount. Once when the missionary E. Stanley Jones met with Ghandi he asked him, "Mr. Ghandi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?" Ghandi replied, "Oh, I don't reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ." Apparently Ghandi's rejection of Christianity grew out of an incident that happened when he was a young man practising law in South Africa. He had become attracted to the Christian faith, had studied the Bible and the teachings of Jesus, and was seriously exploring becoming a Christian. And so he decided to attend a church service. As he came up the steps of the large church where he intended to go, a white South African elder of the church barred his way at the door. "Where do you think you're going, kaffir?" the man asked Ghandi in a belligerent tone of voice. Ghandi replied, "I'd like to attend worship here." The church elder snarled at him, "There's no room for kaffirs in this church. Get out of here or I'll have my assistants throw you down the steps." From that moment, Ghandi said, he decided to adopt what good he found in Christianity, but would never again consider becoming a Christian if it meant being part of the church.

Over the years I have had many conversations with people who claim to be Christian "backsliders" or non-believers or atheists, and nearly every time I hear their personal histories I discover a story similar or in some way relatable to this one in their past. It seems to me that when damage is done to the horizontal in spiritual relationships, it always affects the vertical. I've never met anyone who just decided to be an atheist for no reason...the disconnect in every case seems to be more about people-experience than about God-expereince.

Do you know of any situations like the Ghandi story? Did something like that ever happen to you, and, if so, how did it affect you? How did you get past it?

Consider these quotes and this passage and tell me what you think.

"I am not sure exactly what Heaven will be like. But I don't know that when we die and if comes the time for God to judge us, He will not ask, "How many good things have you done in your life?" Rather He will ask, "How much love did you put into what you did?"
- Mother Teresa

"Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"So this is what I need to leave with you - these are my last words to you - what I want, more than anything, for you to remember. I have given you many instructions and insights during our time together, but here is the new commandment, the new order, the thing that is superior to every other thing, in a word: LOVE ONE ANOTHER. In the way that I have loved you, so you must love one another. Do you understand? You see, this is the only way that people will know that you are My disciples. Your love for one another is the solitary thing that will validate My message in the long run - not the miracles, not the signs and wonders, not the teaching - but your unconditional love for each other. It is not optional." (John 13:34, 35 - JITN)


DoubleBack Alley said...


Messrs. Lennon and McCartney say it best for me...

Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy.
There's nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be in time
It's easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
There's nothing you can know that isn't known.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
It's easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
All you need is love (all together now)
All you need is love (everybody)
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

Ono, no one is unsaveable.

Ain't god Good?

Donald said...

I've gotten to the comment section several times thinking that I wanted to write something but would then close the page. I can't get into this one because it hits too close to home. Sorry, it just brings me down when I think about the stuff I grew up seeing.

tracy said...

I love the Ghandi history lesson. I had never heard that before, but it is so true. I could fill up this page with stories of people we know who say they will never go back to church after some horrific offense occurred to them or a family member. Stories of children dying and burning for eternity, stories of mental retardation in babies because of a spirit of alcoholism, my aunt wouldn't take another aunt to church one Sunday because all she had packed were pants and no dress.
No wonder it is hard to fill seats! We had a pastor chastise us for hearing through the grapevine that David was preaching grace and mercy to a youth group instead of threatening hell and damnation...the only way they would turn apparently was to scare them! I am so glad we are away from that and in a place where Christ prevails and not some self righteous made up crap! Now that that has all been said I think I will go throw up, I had forgotten about alot of that and it ain't pretty to remember!

LP in SC said...

Wow. I have to wonder if doesn't all come down to pride rearing its ugly head. Perhaps that's why we hear so many stories of the demise of 'great Christian leaders.' You know?... the whole pride goes before a fall thing. All too many have the "I'm right; you're wrong" philosophy, and have been conditioned that way from the beginning, so that it is nearly impossible to accept any merit in someone else's opinion or in another belief system. It's so sad, really, because the majority of people... no matter the race, nationality or religious affiliation... have so much good in them. It's ashame that all of the good gets clouded by fanaticism. And believe me, I include 'Christian' fanatics in that bunch!

Lisa said...

Thank God for CITN! This subject cuts very deeply for me. When I moved 12 years ago and had to leave my church home I dreaded leaving my church. I started back to my husbands church for him ( they never could accept my way of thinking) I did what I could to be a part but when we adopted our 1st child it was ok they made snide remarks about our beautiful baby from China. We would ignore things and move on. When we adopted our 2nd child we were chastised and told how dumb we were and our son was treated like no more than a pet. Boy if they knew we are going for our 3rd child!!! I was so so so happy to see Bishop put services online. Now every sunday we all sit in front of the computer and my little gifts from God dance and raise their hands and praise God. I know the local church body here is missing out on a wonderful blessing these children are remarkable and someday soon we will be able to attend a church in person that sees these children as the blessings they are no matter how many God asks us to Love and care for. I could fill a page myself on how the church has hurt rejected, but God seeks out those who seek him and God is not in the box called church. I am so thankful for my experience of finding my Father without all the rules laws and threats. I have found that once you get over the pain and anger of rejection and let God be who he really is Oh Voy what a wonderful ride. He is good all the time and his Love abounds. I wonder if Ghandi would have been the man he had beome if he had not been thrown off the steps of that church? Would he have had the same relationship with God if he had learned to put him in a box? Would he have been stopped from doing the work he did because the deacons thought it was against doctrine? Would he truly know who Jesus was and what he really did for us? Would he have taken on the chains of sin and fear of eternal seperatness from God? Yes it is really sad that he and many of us have been rejected by "the church", but knowing what I know now is it truly a bad thing?
I know there are many who once rejected reject God all together and I pray for them to see it wan't God who rejected them but men trying to play the role of God.

Anonymous said...

Good morning! How timely to chew on this morning. My brother is in the hospital, having had a setback in his health as he awaits a liver transplant. My father tells me of the emotional moment they had in the ER- how my brother is just so tired of being sick. I ask if he has talked/prayed with anyone and the response was "well, your brother isn't that kind of person". I offer that in times like these is when your faith and spirituality need to be strong, to give hope in the situation. My (very Catholic) father tells me that he asked my brother if he would like to receive communion-- but he would have to have confession since it's been 30+ years since he has. I literally had a Homer Simpson, slap my forehead, "DOH", moment when he told me that! Here is a situation where I feel that the "mom and them" factor of religion-- is going to keep him from finding comfort and hope. It is "not in my wisdom" right now to travel there and be able to bridge that gap. I suppose that right now, all I can do is pray and correspond with him, and build our relationship so he can see that it is about loving one another. In my parents advanced age as well, I can hope that they will eventually see outside their box... and like Mother Teresa's quote, be able to evaluate the love and not just the deeds they have done. Thanks for the "cyber counseling" session... :) AC

Friend4Life said...

Good Morning All!!

Donald I feel ya.

Tracy..yeah I forgot too.

I am glad you put this on your Blog. I really didn't talk about this at all with anyone. Just between me and GOD.

I believe there are generations lost because of this. I'll give some experiences that happen to me and tell you how I got through it.

I sung in my school choir. My dad and stepmother told me if I can sing in school, I should be singing in the church choir. Well, I said ok. Get this I had to be re-baptised.
My pastor's wife(choir director) ask who baptised me. I told her, and she said I had to get baptised. I don't understand why; but then I know why they want me to.(The pastor who first baptised me, left his church and congregation.)

Ok. after being re-baptised. Our youth drama team went to minister at a church. After we minister, a pastor asked if we felt the spirit to come forward.(14 yr olds) I go forward and so do almost everyone.

I am trying to get to the point. For some reason it is taking longer. Maybe this is for someone to read.

I got baptised in the Holy Spirit that night. The only thing that made me feel bad was my sister. She went forward and the pastor was trying to get her to receive. She was trying to speak in tongues and he said your not speaking sweet heart. They take her to a table trying to get her to speak in tongues.

I don't know what they were doing. As I am on the floor praying in the spirit.

The next couple of Sundays, while singing in the church choir I felt the spirit. Crying and singing praises to God. Well, long story short, I was ask to step down from the choir.

God knows I was hurt by this. I asked him why?? He said "Let it go, you'll get another chance to sing to me". I couldn't imagine being in church anymore. I moved to GA. Didn't like the churchs my mother tried to put me and my sister in. I'll tell you I was lost.

Easter 2002 at a small church I gave myself back to the Lord. Even being at the alter, a older woman was telling me what I need to say to the Lord. I hear God speaking to me saying, "You say what you want, not what they want you to say!!" 3 weeks later I find my birthmother.

Well, what a story. "This is my Story, this is my song" God is GREAT and GREATLY to be PRAISED..YEAH!! Guess what??

I do get to sing to God again. Can't even begin to tell you I thought I would be judged if I cried on stage. CITN excepted me!! That is Christ!! I have been singing in the N.O.W. choir for almost 2yrs now. Love everytime I am up there.

Thanks, Bishop for this Blog. And for you being you.

Love ya all,

Friend4Life said... the way. Love the cover of your AYITN. LQQKing-4ward to getting 1.

Pentecost is @ CITN. Sunday's communion was very sweet. I felt like you were Jesus washing our feet with communion. The last song we song, "How Great Thou Art" at the end it felt like, "Fireworks."

Great finally!!


Anonymous said...

Ah yes Ghandi, “Yes I am a Muslim, and a Hindu, and a Christian, and a Jew, and so are all of you” I love that man. I remember discovering the movie “Ghandi” a few years after it came out (1982). I rented it and loved it so much I bought it and watched it several times. Then I told the pastor of the church I was attending about my discovery and he said “you need to be carful watching stuff like that”. I thought what is wrong with it? So I watched it several more times trying to find what was wrong and felt guilty because I couldn’t find anything. I still have it and love it I guess I need to get a new one on DVD. This same pastor said that Mother Teresa was going to hell because she didn’t do it our way. I am ashamed to say that I eventually fell into that trap but never felt comfortable there. I felt like just what it was “a trap”. I am so glad to have found the truth and my family and to see it growing all over the world. Yes “love, love, love, all you need is love” and God is Love and Jesus is God manifested in the flesh and Spirit; pretty easy equation wouldn’t you say?
Grace, Peace, and LOVE,

Ebony said...

When I think of the MILLIONS of people (cause it's gotta be that high) that have had this kind of disconnect, it's heartbreaking. A friend of mine was asked to leave an AG church where she was going to school b/c they found out her and her fiancé were staying together, and this was just after she had re-connected to God, so it was a HUGE setback for her. Even now as I type this, I'm being tested as I watch my best friend, having experienced heartbreak upon heartbreak at the hands of every male figure in her life, finally find some happiness with someone, the "Good Christian" girl in me is harping on the fact that they met under very un-orthodox circumstances, and "how in the world can their relationship be blessed by God, they didn't follow His plan. They don't go to church. etc etc etc", and (we're all family so I can say this, I'm a little jealous b/c I'm still single, it is what it is)Instead of praying that their love for each other can be strengthened in a growing love for Him, and that He shows them How. So I know how easily it is to get into that "I'm better than you" mindset because it's when we can see the flaws in others, we don't have to see them in ourselves.But I work on changing because I know the damage it can cause.

Scribe38 said...

Good Morning Family:

It is quite amazing at how the topic of discussion today is a reflection of the conversations that I've been having with my nephew over the past two days.

Religion is a "trip" and "traditional church folk" even more so. God loves all of us, so why can't they show love to others and accept them just as they are instead of trying to change and conform others into their own likeness / kind before they deem them worthy / worthwhile.

I grew up in
"Southern Baptist-ville" down in Louisiana. In this land called "Southern Baptist-ville, they condemn you to hell for everything. If you kids talk in church, the elders tell you that you'll die and go to hell. If you don't like church, you're going to die and go to hell. If a kid falls asleep in church, laugh in church at the foolishness, they told us were were little heathens and we were going to bust hell wide open. If we asked why we had to give our money away in church without knowing why it was necessary to give, they said if we didn't we would die and go to hell because we were stingy and didn't love God.

I HATED church as a kid and truly disliked church folk and nearly everything associated with church. I reached the point where I told my dad that I no longer wanted to go to church with my mom because all those people were crazy and mean and I didn't like them hugging or kissing me because it felt creepy. My mom then just left me at home with my dad who did not go to church and told me that I was a heathen just like my dad and I was going to die and go to hell. I remember tell the church people that if you say my dad is a heathen, at least he's an honest man and doesn't talk mean about people all the time, so if I go to hell, at least I'll be with my dad who I know is a decent person and treats people well. My mother would sometimes cook early on Sunday mornings, we left to go to church around 10:30 and didn't get back sometimes until around 4:00 pm or later because after leaving our church, my mom would drag us to go visit other churches!

So, for a few years after my crying, complaining, and raising sand about hating church and the people, I finally got to just stay home with my dad, we spent Sundays cooking great dinners, playing games, watching the Roller Derby, and eating roast beef sandwiches after we watched Oral Roberts on TV. (Ha Ha ha)

My parents divorced when i was about 9 after having been married for 10 or 11 years and then I was back to being dragged off to church again, until I found the great escape of going to spend weekends with my dad...

I'll probably tell a bit more of this story at a later time. So, even as a kid, I knew that there was something gravely wrong / disturbing to me about church, religion, and "traditional church folk". And most kids relate knowing God to what they see in church folk and it can leave one quite distraught and confused!

Thank GOD for Church in the Now! and the modern technologies of being able to stream in the Cyber congregation even when we are not able to be in the building. The ministry of CITN and BITN transforms minds and heals hearts, and points people in the direction of GOD and God alone, and through God and His grace He teaches us to be able to deal with and love those things and people which are unlovable... bridging the gaps between the past, present, and future. Amen.

Anonymous said...

this is off the subject but if anyone tries to call me; my phone is messing up again. I am on my way to Alltel.

Erik said...

Hello most wonderful neighbors!! Pardon me, I have used limited time for net access. The YITN for today, the post, the bridge builders, who we are all that are here. That is one of the critical skills inherebt in us that drew us here--- all that aside for the sec. The 1st day I walked into CITN, I witnessed the Love, the acceptance, that created an environment for all to worship God together in Joy and Peace, regardless of their historical or current paradigm, because what everyone experienced was the Love and presence of God, and the horizontal connection, that fed, and was fed by the vertical, in that beautiful circuit, open circuit.

That is what Universal Peace Federation experiences with Bishop, and what they are looking for for their members. In my para phrase, what we see at CITN, from all backgrounds and current environments, all worshiping God together in Love, Peace, & Joy.

If it can happen at CITN, it can happen anywhere.

That is what God speaks in our hearts, this is where the plane is going, this is what drew and draws all to connect, the vision that is written in our heart, for these close encounters. We know it when we see it. The world knows it when it sees it, and we have 'it', along with others, but it seems 'it' shines quite brightly here. Bishop, you are the torch bearer, we all appre4ciate that God brought each of us here, we draw from you Bishop, and give back to spur you on further. Because we all experience with each other what teh world wants. Teach a man to fish ....

Friend4Life said...

(Donald)was reading your blog profile and saw that its your wedding anniversary today.

Congrats and many more.

God Bless

KC said...

Wow! For the first time in my life, I have experienced unconditional true love. I am loved for every part of my being, the good and the bad. I am loved for my idiosyncrasies, my intellect, my humor, my impulsiveness, my outer beauty, my inner glow, my smile that lights up a room, my insecurities, my clumsiness, my attitude toward life. I am free to be me and loved inspite of myself for myself. This special person was rejected by church as his father is a Mason. When the church found out, he was asked to leave. He has not been back to church since. He feels he can worship and be close to God without having to abide by someone else's "rules." "How can another man tell me how to worship when he too is just a man?" He and God are very close and he thanks God everyday for bringing him me. He too says he had never been loved in this way before either. I told him he had never been loved by a woman in love with her God before. I love greatly because I am loved greatly. Why hold back - Life is too short. Love with all you have - if you are hurt, it is the other person's loss, not yours. Love is all we have, love is all we need. True unconditional love!

Kettly said...

Good afternoon, everyone

Do not be fooled by appearance! You can always rely on the Divine love of

Love in its higher sense, is the nature of reality: God is Love. Love is of God.
Creates harmony, clarity and brings about transformation and unity.
In its lesser sense, it is an emotional attachment one has or shares with another.
It comes and goes depending on one’s mood or attitude.
(Iyanla Vanzant)

I know some friends of mine, the same incident that happened to MR. Gandhi has happen to them. For the same reason they do not want to hear or have anything to do with Church.

As we recognize the power and the presence of God as the very essence of our beings,
God’s Love surrounds and supports us, moment by moment. We live in the Light of God’s
Love always.

Early, this morning the LORD asked me. “What Do Wednesday mean To Me?
I thought about the question all day today. And I come up with these Reponses:

Wednesday is: The Woden’s day.
The fourth day of the week.
Welcome day at CITN.
A well, a spring fountain of fresh water giving week after week at CITN.
Can be a wonder day. An awe which is exited by something new,(like a NOW extraordinary word).
Worship to the Highest, King of kings and the Lord of lords.
School. Education, Learning.

Wednesday to me is:

Whole- Lacking nothing essential, because I am learning and getting the best from you.
Wholehearted- you don’t have any reservation to teach us the truth of the Gospel.
Wholly- you teach us how to be altogether and absolute to the fullest.
Will- you let it be our will and desire to choose.
Wonderful- Wonder, Remarkable, Amazing, Fabulous, Rejoicing, Reflection, Reconciliation, Remedy, Remembrance, Repentance, Resourceful, Reward, Necessity.

My Wednesday Prayer:
The LIGHT of God surrounds us
The LOVE of God enfolds us.
The POWER of God protects us.
The PRESENCE of God watches over us.
Wherever WE are God is.
Where there is GOD there is TRUTH, PEACE, STERNGTH, and LOVE.

Love to ALL of YOU.

Tom said...

Bishop Swilley,reading your post today I can't help but remember Psalm 55:,were David wishes he had the wings of a dove to escape those who were attacking him,those who were not his enemy but his companion,his familiar friend who walked to the house of God together.The church is supposed to be an instrument of mercy in the earth not an instrument of condemnation or judgement in the earth.Why is every commandment we find in the Bible more important than the 1st and only commandment Jesus ever gave us,to love one another?Everyone seems to be able to quote John3:16 but nobody seems to know John3:17,that the Son came not to condemn the world,but to save the world.Why does it seem so easy for man to kill for God but near impossible for him to love for God?I just don't understand.

Peace to everyone!

famman87 said...

Hey, y'all,sorry so late. been gone a couple of days,tryin' to deal with stuff. missed you all.

I grew up in a verrrrrrrrry small town, easy to say "unenlightened". Church was all about religion, God's love was secondary to the fear aspect of God.(P. Scott gives a great message about the opposite of fear being love. if you've never heard it, you should.)Unfortunately, it still is there. I can't say that anything other than that kept me from church, but when I was about 15, God found my Dad, and really laid it on him. He took to spirituality in ways that I now consider very Bishop/CITN. However, where we were, that was not considered to be a good thing. Everyone really considered him to be crazy as a loon. I saw him try to worship God the way we do, and be asked not to return to church after church after church, because he wanted to raise his hands, or speak in tongues, or be demonstrative in his praise and worship. To this day, he doesn't go to God's house to worship, and unfortunately seems to have become more "religious" because of it.
(I gave him a copy of AYITN a while back, he reads it every day, and seems to be opening up his mind a bit again. We have some interesting dialog, he and I.Thanks Bish.)

Here is what worries me. I have a 15 year old neice who my family and I communicate with via MySpace alot. We told her about our involvement with our youth group and how awesome it is. She visited the CITN website and was amazed at what she saw and read. She said that she had become a part of a youth group, but that the constant "hell" and fear factor made her not even want to go to church, and nearly every kid she knew felt the same way. In an area where towns always have as many or more bars than churches, this is not a good thing. Churches are dying there because young people won't attend, and no one is willing to change the message to reach them.

About a year ago, my sister was killed, and my family and I went home for the funeral. All through the veiwings Caity's friends were full of questions about God,love, forgiveness,and why everything they do wrong is going to send them to hell. She had told them about how we are taught things are, and they so wanted to hear about His love, and mercy, and grace. In a very depressed area, these kids are not being given anything to be hopeful about. It seems that a whole generation is being lost there because no one is willing to let go of their religious strongholds enough to even let them know how much He loves them, and they are literally starving for it.

I pray that He sends someone there to feed them, soon.

Much Love...

Donald said...

Thanks friend4life and yes today is our 25th wedding anniversary and it's been great.
I took off work early and we went to New Orleans for dinner. Let me tell you folks, if you're ever in N.O. go a few more miles over to Metairie and check out Drago's. Lord have mercy! You actually don't even have to do that because there is one on Poydras also. I love N.O.

Kettly said...

you, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose.
But as for you, continue in what you learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it. (2 timothy 3:10, 14)
you then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2-And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witness
entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to us to teach others.
(2 timothy 2:1-2)

1 Timothy 4:6- If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, You will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the Faith and of the good teachings that you have followed.

Thank You, for giving to us, our Spiritual Brother in Christ,to gives this Rhema Word tonight "NOT TO GIVE UP IN THE DREAM GOD HAS PLACE IN YOUR HEART.” I am telling you this is a true Rhema word for me. Thank you for trusting Pastor Willie to enlightened us about our Destinies.

Pastor Willie I want to thank you also, for saying “Yes” to Bishop tonight.Keep preachings the word. May God Himself keep on placing His Word on your mouth always?

And Bishop, you are truly a gift to us and also to the world. And that’s what LOVE
Is All about.

ALWAYS; Kettly

But as for you, continue in whyou learned and have become convinced
Of, because you know those from whom you learned. (2 timothy 3:10, 14)

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2-And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witness
Entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to us to teach others.
(2 timothy 2:1-2)

1 Timothy 4:6- If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you
You will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the
Faith and of the good teachings that you have followed.

Thank You, for giving to us, our Spiritual Brother in Christ, to gives this
Rhema Word tonight “ NOT TO GIVE UP IN THE DREAM GOD HAS PLACE IN YOUR HEART.” I am telling you this is a true Rhema. Thank you for trusting Pastor Willie to enlightened us about our Destinies.

Pastor Willie I want to thank you also, for saying “Yes” tonight. Keep on “preaching
The Word”. May God Himself keep on placing His Word on your mouth always?
And Bishop, you are truly a gift to us and also to the world. And that’s what LOVE
Is All about.

ALWAYS; Kettly

Ebony said...

famman, you've brought up an interesting point. One of the articles I read in USA today mentioned tips on "millennials" (people born from around 79-87)in the workplace. One of the primary tips was that they was workers had to have a complete paradigm shift on their treatment of younger employees by laxing dress code and providing more instant incentives because they don't view work the same way boomers do (I'm one of the few people in in my circle of friends who has a career, not just a job) and that can be seen as lazy, when it's just a different set of priorities. We won't work overtime, or put in extra shifts because we saw our parents do that, and got divorced, or their health failed because of it. And I think that a shift is needed in the body of Christ as well. There needs to be a different approach to reaching them. We have hearts for God, but we're on a religion overload. Not only were we bombarded with hell and damnation, but you add "the last days" to it, it's too much. Our youth ministers meant well, they just wanted to keep us on the straight and narrow, but when you see "traditional values" implode in your face, it's a turn off. We want relationship, we want honesty, we want acceptance. We want something that resonates deep in our spirit. That's why I love this church so much. You preach the love of God and redemption through Christ Jesus and you accept the tattooed, the pierced, the rainbow haired, the urban male with cornrows and timbs on...all of it. HOWEVER, you still hold us to a high moral and ethical standard at the same time. So I know it can be done if shepherds are willing to embrace change. It has to be for the church to survive.

peacemaker said...

Ever heard the lyrics to Lennon’s' "God". Like "Imagine", you have to have ears to hear his message. His disdain for organized religion (and the Beatles) is very obvious. Discerning his heart though, the words to the song you referenced were never truer.

While reading Bishop's post, that very same line from "Gandhi" was resonating in my mind. I also have seen the movie several times and each time I am compelled to rewind that particular scene and listen to that line again and again. God help us all discern its truth.

A very dear friend of mine, Dr. Harold Lovelace, sent me an article titled "Nones". It told of a growing group of Christians in America who had withdrawn from any affiliation with organized church. Not one described themselves as atheists but for the most part still considered themselves as "seekers" who journeyed on to find the will of God for their lives.
Their disdain, it seemed, came from an awakening to the hypocrisy and lack of love they were seeing from their so-called fellow Christians and the unchallengeable control of their church leaders.
Most really missed the connection. Most realized the importance of community and the inherent need for fellowship and after a time of healing and introspection, vowed to find it again.
In a country where the vast majority consider themselves "believers", isn't it interesting that the growth rate of the "Nones" exceeds that of regular "church-goers". Something is missing. Has the true message of Jesus been transmuted into doctrine, dogma, judgments, prejudices and control? My Brothers and Sisters, these things ought not to be.
I am truly thankful for Bishop Swilley and his relentless desire to challenge the stronghold religion has built around the simple message of the Gospel. That is what CITN is all about.
I am also thankful to be connected with such an open-hearted, mature group of seekers as those who grace this blog with their wisdom.
I am proud to be aware and a part of the great "Shift" that is now underway in the consciousness of humanity. World peace and Oneness is possible. We have the privilege of sharing in a time when the Christ is revealing itself in heart of all humanity, transcending illusory lines drawn to divide.
What an awesome time to be alive!

Sharing the Love

Anonymous said...

Hi Bishop and fellow/fella bloggers. It is good to have you home Bishop and here's to you BITNers/you guys rock. You are amazingly bright and intelligent.

Yes, I have several similar experiences that I can share. After years of being married to a baptist preacher, my marriage had ended. I was very active in the church where the husband (at the time) was the assistant pastor with teaching Sunday school, heading some special events, and the like and really thought I was received on my own merits in this church. Well, on the first day of our separation, his brother who was also, senior pastor called me to let me know that he knew we were separated and that was not his concern. His concern, he further stated was that his brother was allowed to finish his master's degree, to get his self financially straight and to further pursue his secular career, secure "his own church" and then he could divorce me. No one in the church or the ex-inlaws ministered to me, called me, prayed for me or any Christ like thing at all. It was like when he decided he no longer wanted to be married, I had to be the guilty party, the bad one so my children and I was left on the road to die (scripturally). So, I cried a river for the next 6 months and when I stopped crying I was better but not really healed. Believe it or not I have ministered to many women who have had broken marriages/many in leadership throughout the years, and the Lord has turned what was very ugly and sordid into something He can use for his glory. I needed to interject that to let you know He has read (and written) the back of the book and He wins, We win. God has and is getting the glory out of a broken vessel.

To say that I was shocked was an understatement. There was no concern for the covenant relationship, the marriage, our family with three young children but only for the welfare of his youngest brother. Well, I was wounded and really turned off from the "baptist church", however in error, as I thought surely there had to be a church that embraced us although the family was fragmented, there had to be a real church where people cared and prayed for you and counseled you and supported you and loved up on you! These wounding was never dressed, or bandaged and I was never swaddled or held or embraced as a sister soldier who was in need. The more I searched for man's comfort, and the longer the wound stayed open, the more magnified the frailty (including my own)was evident. Spiritual abuse is horrific whenever in operations, but especially when it tears away at the very fabric of the kingdom of God. Righteousness, Peace and joy in the holy ghost is the kingdom of God and those manifestations will be evident in the true church of Jesus Christ. Anyone or any church or any denomination that further scars the face of Jesus with hate, fear, deception, bias, racism, selfishness is guilty of the crucifixation again and again and again.

So, I attended the next church for several years and was honestly looking for all that was wrong, (although I thought my heart was pure,) so I could further my point about spiritual leaders, that they were in error, my bad. And then another church for 6 months, then a move to another state, and maybe 5 churches in between that baptist church until I arrived at the Church in the now! I have been at the Church in the Now for almost 8 years and I can say that the truth and love of God is being ministered on a real tip. I am convinced that all of that moving around was to get me to my spiritual destiny. I needed to see the real Jesus and the real church. I do know that there are people who sit next to me on the pews who are going through many hurts and obstacles and hinderances but I can truly say, if you stay for a while (as the Lord leads) you and you truly listen (with spiritual ears) and watch as well as pray you will see the real Jesus, being magnified. His word says if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me. I don't necessarily want to be so transparent but I find it important because I know that yes we overcome by the blood of the lamb but also by the word of our testimony. It is my prayer that someone has been ministered to and helped today but letting you know, you are in the right place, although not perfect.

I also want to say that part of what happened at the end of my marriage was directly due to gender bias. If I was the man and the shoe was on the foot, I probably would have had a very different dynamic going on. Too often women and singles for that matter are not acknowledged as vessels in the church that can be used mightingly by God, so we sit and watch and many times are passed over. It was the same disrespect in Jesus day, not too much has changed, some thousands of years later. That's a trip!

Here I have discovered that I in fact have been like the proverbial onion with layers of hurts on me from the body of Christ and the leaders efforts to control and in some cases manipulate and in some cases deceive and to use the congregation for their personal gain. I never really saw the real Jesus, until I really understood the power and realness of the cross until you, Bishop, made it real. When you explained the horitizontal and veritical relationship and the love of God, OMG, the peelings began to come off, one by one. I am still a work in progress but I do understand that we gotta have love and that nothing else really matters at the end of the day. Paul said it well, if I give my body to be burned and I have not love, it profits me nothing.

One last story, in my quest for a church my first year in the South, I once took my little girls to a this big church in a little Southern town near Danville, Va and the ushers stopped me at the door and asked what did I want, and I told them I wanted to visit the church and fellowship and they said the service was about over and there wasn't any seats. This was in 1997, not so long ago and my first year in the south, but it was probably the safest thing to leave ASAP and I did. Now after living in the South for over 10 years, I understand that God was protecting me and anyway if you go into a city and they don't receive you, you need to shake the dust...

Now, that was probably because they were racist but still undergirded that spirit was fear and hatred. Religious spirits are really unbelievable however as you know there is a root to these spirits and we as the body have the authority and dominion to put the ax to the root of the spirit. Yes, every knew has to bow to the name of Jesus and every tongue confess to his Lordship. And as important we are to walk in love with our neighbors and sisters and brothers so that when the world sees us we will be known by the love we have for each other. This is how the world will know we are disciples of the living and true God, that we love each other. A

Anyway, I have seen bias on every level and love covers a multitude of sin...WE must always remember two commandments.

In real love

Anonymous said...

Hello all, just checkin in. I have been reading all the latest post and the more I read the more amazed I am at how the web or all our lives is coming together in harmony and unity; resonating one voice crying GRACE, MERCY, AND LOVE!!!! That all the world so desperately needs to hear. Whether they realize it or not.

Zec 4:7 AMP For who are you, O great mountain [of human obstacles]? Before Zerubbabel [who with Joshua had led the return of the exiles from Babylon and was undertaking the rebuilding of the temple, before him] you shall become a plain [a mere molehill]! And he shall bring forth the finishing gable stone [of the new temple] with loud shoutings of the people, crying, Grace, grace to it! [Ezra 4:1-5, 24; Isa. 40:4.]

Php 4:8 MSG Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious--the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

By the way, I got the phone problem solved. I got a new "touch Phone" by HTC. It is similar to an Iphone But not as expensive. I LUUUUVE this phone, it has windows operating system with office and all. It does just about everything and the touch screen is great. I got a big discount for renewing my contract; which I have done for years anyway. I mean I cant do without a cell phone. I don’t know how I got by before. I started using cell Phones when they were great big analog phones, so I really appreciate these new ones. And I do almost everything on computer so I really appreciate this new smart phone.

Sorry about getting off on this, I'm just excited about this new phone. And I just wanted to share it with my extended family I guess.


Donald said...

Hey Dennis don't beat around the bush, what do you really think about your phone?

Anonymous said...

Now Donald, dont get me started on my Extraordinary, amazing, remarkable, wonderful, incredible, marvelous, mind-blowing, mind-boggling HTC touch I said touch screen phone :-) LOL


DoubleBack Alley said...


Just read the post from Bishop Smith. He notes you as Father in the Lord, so I will make the assumption that even though he is in the Philippines; he was, at one time, very close to you physically and emotionally. I think it is interesting how that works. As close as we are spiritually, there is nothing like a physical presence to manifest an even greater relationship.

I suppose that's why betrayal hurts so badly. It's not hate that is spewed, it's unlove that erupts. An abomination that alienates absolutely. How does spirits synched in sinew come unraveled? It is usually unilateral and typically catches the one being unloved totally off-guard.

Bishop Smith,
With every turn of the knife, realize that excision is taking place. This has to happen for you to achieve the word that was prophesied over you by the unloving one. That's not to say that this is a time to celebrate, but Selah is certainly appropriate. Loss of trust can be debilitating, but when the universe confirms the reason, the loss pales in comparison to the gain of clarity for the vision's walk. I pray peace over you and Ging (love that name) and your kids (if you have any- if not, that may be a prophetic word). Don't sweat the small words of small minded men with small wee-little visions. Sounds like you were outgrowing him and despite the axiom, size really does matter. Sounds like some jealousy is involved as well. The fact that the Filipinos were aghast is testament to your influence in their lives. Live well and prosper my brother.

I promise not to unlove anyone. Will y’all help?

Ain’t God Good?

Kettly said...

Dear Bishop,

How are you?
Are you okay?
I pray that the Lord will restore strength to you and to your body. I also pray
That He will bless you with more insight of your trip to Korea and to the other places He’s already prepared you for.
Anyway, I just wanted you to know we (I) miss your comment back to us! But, as much as I missed you, I like the fact after you printed your post out, how each one of us can rely on each other comments. And we are becoming one BIG BLOGGERS FAMILY.
Again! Thank you for your effort to bring us closer with one another! Through this blog

May you continue to bless by our God. And may He keeps you still lie down in the green pastures, by the still waters. Bishop I love your Spirit and I love you. Keep on making our Father proud.
Your Spiritual Daughter

Anonymous said...

Hey everybody, in case you missed this information, Bishop and Pastor Debye are continuing Bishop's 50th B-day festivities in New York for a few days. This mini vacation was planned before the Korea trip even came up. We have missed him on Wednesday night, but he always leaves us in good hands.

He has wanted to post a blog letting everyone know where he is, but his computer is not working in the hotel. So Bish, you're just gonna have to post this and take a vacation and have a great time!

Everyone, please keep up the communication/posting because he can do that from his Blackberry.

Be sure to be here in the house or via streaming (streaming only if you are sick or live far away) on Sunday because he will be back with a great word for you!

Avatar said...

Well, I for one am glad to have the opportunity, before moving on, to continue enjoying the feast of this post especially since I’ve also still been pondering the “Pentecost” painting--a lot.

So, it appears there is still time for my take on the painting. Several things stand out.
--the quote “what does this mean?” from Acts2:12 [the lit up disciples declare the wonderful works of God in all of their listeners own languages]
--“The field is the world” on a RED banner, covering the tower. The only place I find this quote is in the explanation of the weeds parable—Matt 13:36-43.
--the ”point” of the Pentecost dove, which appears to divide the two worlds and could even be seen as a knife blade. One “point” is stippled. I wonder “why?” and then “what IS the point?”

From DBA: Lights who illuminate the membrane that separates the tower from the world and the world from the Spirit.

From Donald: “they” needed to intervene, that says a lot for human potential. God’s issue was “misdirected” human tenacity, not tenacity. (Loved that D.)

From Willie: focused on “potential” in Weds teaching—props Willie! Most excellent and memorable!

Bishop: both weeds AND wheat are in US all.

Mathew 13:40-43 CLNT: (my collapsed “with definitions” version)…at the conclusion of the aeon, the darnel [a poisonous rye grass, appearing like wheat, until the ear (fruit) appears] are culled by the messengers who are dispatched by the Son of Man to cull “all the snares and those doing lawlessness” to burn in the furnace of fire [pur].
“There shall be lamentation and gnashing of teeth. THEN shall the just be shining out as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”

Sermon on the Mount: persecution drives us further into the Kingdom.

What does this mean? They asked. What is the point of this coming of the dividing, yet speaking to ALL, Holy Spirit?

The tenacious messengers of Christ, speaking the WONDERFUL WORKS of God, by the power of the Spirit, are dividing our worlds, so the fiery furnaces, instead of taking us down, are able to purify US into bright lights in the Kingdom. Very cool art, Bishop!!

Which leads me to Ghandi like stories. Yep. I’ve had them, too. One of the toughest was people who smiled to my face but oh the things that got back to me, later [I feel ya Bishop Tommy].

How did it affect me? Took me down. I didn’t have a tenacious messenger of Christ in my life at the time.

After I did have one, here at CITN, I had enough good news in me to be able to stand and turn to the ONE I knew for sure loves me. Sometimes the only thing I could say was “I trust YOU, Lord” and cry. As y’all have said already, it hurts deep when it’s someone you love. But I learned it’s my love and even they don’t have the right to take that away from me, even with the seeming “removal” of their love.

With the 20/20 vision of hindsight, I’ve even come to see that I actually needed some of it, so it COULD actually now be “labeled” loving. The rest of the ...junk? I feel stronger if I consider that I might have been put there to redeem it. Tikkun Olam. Putting back the broken pieces, repairing the world. I sense that is at least a part of being a child of light and a son of the Kingdom, walking by and in the power of the Spirit. Also, it helps tremendously to be able to come here—connect with other lit up parts of the Body, a power cord of three-six-twelve—how cool will it be when it gets to be infinity and beyond (smile).

The quotes?
M.T -- how much love did you put into what you did? I need to put that one on the fridge!

MLK -- power is love implementing the demands of justice. Would be cool to see the old adage “power corrupts” changed to this!

JC -- your unconditional love for each other will validate my message. Can’t wait to see what it looks like and what we can DO as we walk in this more and more!

Reign said...

Got anything on the Dalai Lama?
What's your take on him being called "His Holiness"? Speaking of holiness, will you host another SOTB this year? If so, will you teach on holiness? Do you think that your concept of grace is so extensive that it overshadows holiness? Or is holiness man's idea dictating that you be his rendition of I Am? i.e. what he conceives holiness to be? MMmmm, just thinkin...

Iris said...

Hi family… been out of town… missed all of you greatly….

Like Gandhi… so many people have experienced the damaging effects of a “religious” Christianity… which was never intended by Christ… My heart weeps of what Christians have done to create such a “Great Divide” and made Christ untouchable… unreachable… and unapproachable... What a travesty… what a misrepresentation… what a distortion of a tangible and available Christ… I know if that is what Christianity is… I am defiantly not a Christian… I am what ever Jesus is… but a Christian I am not…

I, along with all of creation cry for unity… it is time for peace… it is time to become aware of the divine life that lives in each one of us… the marvelous heritage that embraces every ones identity as a child of God… Our relationship with each other is a opportunity to discover the underlying bond of love that has been established in each of us since the beginning… We are the love of God expressed here on earth… we are all one with love and one with life… In our relationships, love first makes itself known through acceptance of each others differences… each bringing a unique part of God to the world…

Discovering the universal truth of our oneness comes through diversity… we learn to love others regardless of differences… we are unique individuals…yet at the core of our beings we are all one in God.

We have to embrace our unity with all creation… We have to see that though our diversity we are complete and now can experience the fullness of Christ… and there we will see the twinkle of God’s life that shines brilliantly from every living being…

I thank God for this blog “sight”… it allows each of us to see another part of God through the diversity experience here… we become one… one as individuals… and one corporately… different… but one… family… UNITY…


Avatar… amazing how the water doesn’t run out… it must be living water in that bottle… I think we need to pass it around another time... What do you think?

"I give thanks for diversity among all people, knowing that each person is an expression of divine love, created in the image and likeness of God. One in this love, we each express understanding and acceptance." ~unknown author~

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Everyone,
Speaking of the Garden of Eden being at least partly POETIC, ALLEGORICAL AND SPIRITUAL; as the Bishop was saying in his last sermon. Here is an article I put on my Blog this morning, it’s by Thomas Kissinger. It was very inspirational for me so I just thought I would share it with you all.

-Let us take a fresh look at the Garden of Eden and its spiritual implications for us today. The Garden of Eden is much more than a literal garden in which two literal people existed. It has a deep and spiritual meaning that unlocks the purpose and plan of God in our lives.
-Genesis 2:7 states, … And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul … Let us consider the physical Garden of Eden, what was in it, and what those things do represent spiritually. The Garden of Eden contained:
1. MAN ( ADAM )
7. GOD
-Now let us consider the deeper and spiritual meaning of this Garden of Eden. 1st Corinthians 15:45-47 states, … And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven … Can you see that there are ONLY TWO MEN? ...
-We are either in Adam or in Christ! So … Let us get spiritual for a minute.
-As stated earlier, Adam and Eve do also represent our spirit and soul, for our spirit is masculine, and our soul is feminine. As we learn to partake of the Tree of Life ( Christ ), we shall experience His life. If we continue to partake of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil ( the carnal mind, that which is antichrist ), we shall continue to experience death. Please meditate on this garden, FOR IT IS YOU! The "Garden of Eden" means to be hedged about or protected in pleasure and delight. This is, of course, only an introduction to understanding the spirituality of the Garden of Eden. May we see the importance of this garden within, for God is bringing us from death to …

Anonymous said...


I Have to go get another MRI this morning and then I will be going out of town till Saturday evening.

God's Blessing be on you all,

ronnie lee said...

The greatest message ever taught took place on the side of a mount, no pulpit, hype or pomp, yet it filled the masses...a few lyrics from a song i wrote. I wonder if Ghandi would have been excepted in that church that day would he have stayed? If so, I do not beleive he would have impacted the world as he has..I to became very hurt by serving in christian ministry..for a while I felt so confused, God if you are love how come i do not see love coming from that minister or why is everything in this church so conditional on performance? I kept running myself in circles trying to please man and what i thought was Gods will for me...I became more angry and YES offended..there is a rightous indignation that God feels for his people and it is okay for us to feel it as well, Bishop you teach if one can not trust the leadership of a ministry that they should leave, my husband and i did that..and tryed to do it without alot of attention because we did not want to talk about the just was not the right type of ministry for us...OMG! we had people coming over to our house wanting us to explain to them why we left...we were told we were unsubmitted, and we would wonder through the wilderness for years, It was said i was a jezabel and had issues . I became so angry after that experience..A methodist minister took me under her wing, and i began to see how toxic my faith was and how toxic alot of charismatic churchs have much control, so much manipulation...God showed me the idols in my life through that, i was a man pleaser.I began to see that most of my problems were from a low self esteem..that experiance turnred out to a true gift, it lead me on a search for a loving God...I even went to a few new age conventions..thinking wow this is so rebellious..God please do not strike me down! I noticed all the people there were really calm, loving and helpful and God blew my religous mind at that place! I was told that I should be in the ministry, that my mantra for life was "How can I help you? How can I serve you?" I spoke to a lesbian pastor of a unity church! I told her of my hurt with ministry, she told me to bless them, she told me to forgive, release and bless that experience and pray for them and their ministry..How many fundamental christians would pray that for her? I learned so much about the inclusive love of God through that situation, it was a gift.God has spoke to me in ways and venues that have really blown my mind since then! I am a backslider for sure! A backslider of religion...and it feels good!

Avatar said...

Dennis, I assume the MRI is a checkup on your surgery. Agreeing for a good report! You staying internet connected on that NEW phone of yours? (smile) #5 on the Garden...really????? Love the concept of its all us, though.

Donald, so what did you eat at Drago's? How does Nawlens look? Did you tour any areas under renewal?

Iris, YES! Living Water. Keep it going around.

ronnie lee, "I told her of my hurt with ministry, she told me to bless them". God led me to the same place. When I did it, though it took a while, a HUGE weight lifted from me.

Back later. Been art contemplating and food for thought-ing, I feel like I haven't "talked" to anyone in DAYS! Love y'all!

Donald said...

Hey Avatar. Well we started out with some of Drago's world famous Charbroiled Oysters. There should really be a law against those things. Maybe not though because I don't want to be a lawbreaker. I actually ate some fried food the other night, the first in a long time. I don't know what Her Majesty got but it was fine. I can't tell about all the places we went and things we did because I don't want to get excommunicated, but can you say "Crescent City Brewhouse"? I'm sorry Bishop and everyone, I'm still a pretty nice guy though. Plus that live jazz, ah man!
Actually the city looks like it always looked. It's the Mississippi Gulf Coast that got plastered, especially toward the western section where entire towns were wiped out. I know the 9th ward area got wiped out from the levees breaking but that isn't really not a tourist attraction (sorry folks). I got turned around and ended up there years ago on my motorcycle. That's when you start one of those, "Now Lord you know I've always tried to do what's right in thy sight" prayers.

Donald said...

...that isn't really not a tourist attraction...
My goodness am I from Mississippi or something? And I even proofread!

peacemaker said...

You're way too funny, man! Of course, I love everyones stuff but you have a way of saying some cool things that make me laugh AND think.
I know the Cresent City Brewhouse...been there and got to know the barten...I mean, Pastor pretty well.


Avatar said...

donald, no beignets from Cafe du Monde?

DBA, your new pic is Israel?

lisa, the mental pic of your "gifts from God" dancing in front of CITN's streamed services is priceless. Thanks.

kc, loved your description of your unconditional love experience.

kettly, your Wednesday prayer is good for "eight days a week"!

Bishop, cool "colorful" pics you chose for the bridgebuilders of this post.

Donald said...

Not this time Avatar, but aren't they unreal? And we parked practically within sight of the place.

Anonymous said...

Playing Catch Up
Like the G man I was told not to enter Tim's brother's church because I had on a pant suit. You know me I just had to put my two cents in. I told them I'd hate to be them when Jesus comes to their church and they didn't let Him in because He wasn't dressed right. Seems funny a couple years past and Tim's brother invited me back to his church. I let him know I was not planning on wearing a dress. He then let me know it was alright to wear pant suit's. Don't know if it was what I said that day they wouldn't let me in or just times a changing. At least it was a change for the good.
Lucky for them my parents and my church taught Forgiveness.