Wednesday, September 30, 2009
SWET 2 Cooking!
I was recently on a weekend retreat for men known as “SWET” which is an acronym for “Spiritual Warfare Effectiveness Training”. There are three different levels of SWET weekends - SWET 1, 2, and 3 – and each is prerequisite to the one following it. There is also a Colorado version of SWET 1 which happens occasionally. This weekend it was “SWET 2”.
These trainings have been happening for over ten years now under the leadership of Rev. Grant Schnarr who is a Swedenborgian minister and author of several books including “The Art of Spiritual Warfare” (Schnarr, 2000) on which the weekend retreats are loosely based (Grant's blog can be found here). Although Rev. Schnarr is a Swedenborgian himself, he insists that all beliefs and all non-beliefs are welcomed and supported at SWET. This is typical of the Swedenborgian belief system which holds that charity (or love to the neighbor) is the essential of all true religion - differences of doctrine notwithstanding.
The nonprofit counseling center for men that I work for, Men’s Initiative, has been a collaborator with SWET for over a year now. Men’s Initiative hosts a two hour group spun off of the SWET model every Wednesday evening. We call this group “SWIG” for “Spiritual Warfare Integration Group.” About ¼ of the men attending SWET 2 this time were also participants in the SWIG group at Men’s Initiative and/or were clients of MI. As an aside, Men’s Initiative also hosts 12 Step recovery meetings and is a strong advocate for community education regarding recovery from substance abuse.
I have participated as a “camper” in SWET and SWET 2, and, have subsequently staffed several of each. Lately, I have been privileged to serve as cook which was my blessing this past weekend. I LOVE TO COOK! There is something very spiritually satisfying about preparing and delivering good food from the good Lord to a large group of good men who are intent on creating “a world of love and integrity, one man at a time, from the inside out.” This is part of the mission statement of SWET which can be found on the SWET homepage. Due to the intensity of the job of food service on a weekend like this, the cook does not usually participate in the processes and activities which are facilitated on a SWET weekend. This allows for a certain amount of observational objectivity as one cracks the eggs or stirs the soup; and I have to say that this weekend seemed to be quite extraordinary energetically. Everything seemed to go so smoothly and the bonding and support experienced by men was very evident.
The concept of “spiritual warfare” perhaps needs a bit of clarification. “Spiritual warfare” refers to the practice of facing and confronting one’s own personal “demons” or troublesome issues. Part of this practice involves calling on a Higher Power for aid (through prayer and meditation). It also involves seeking support from the fellowship or brotherhood of one’s fellow spiritual warriors. Spiritual warfare does not in any way involve the violence of natural warfare; it is rather based on the strategic principles found in the ancient Chinese text of Sun Tzu “The Art of War” as those principles can be applied on the inner battlefield of life. The warfare metaphor is a valid tool in the enhancement of consciousness through spiritual practice as it requires disciplined mental states not normally found in the uninstructed average man. These disciplined mental states are the preparation referred to in the Sun Tzu quote on SWET’s homepage, “The warrior who is prepared for battle, even before taking the field, will have the victory.” —Sun Tzu
Schnarr, G. R. (2000). The art of spiritual warfare: A guide to lasting inner peace based on Sun Tzu’s ‘The art of war’. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books.