Friday, March 14, 2008
Bishop Jim Swilley: Yes, Jared Swilley Is My Son! (repost)
Hey, bloggers. This isn’t my article for today...you can scroll down and find it below (title: God Is In The Now!) and can post your comments there. And, in honor of this being Palm Sunday weekend and the beginning of Holy Week in the Christian church, I plan to have one posted tomorrow that will have some reviews of movies about the life of Jesus.
Someone from church e-mailed me and told me that they had blogged on the AJC blog about this blog, because "hell" was being discussed there, and that may be why I'm starting to get some questions about it again (take a look at "How Great is our God" and the responses. I don't really want to go "BLOGINTHENOW-RETRO", but we'll do what we have to do.
Anyway, I wanted to post this again for a couple of reasons, so I found the cache online and cut and pasted it here. I've noticed that the way the search engine is shuffling that many people are clicking on the articles about my son's band which are posted under my name (if you click on them, do so at your own risk...you may be shocked at what you see!) And his band is also starring in a movie that is about to be released, so I expect that there will be more media buzz coming up. I don't know that much about the movie...he is on tour right now, and we have been phone-tagging for several days, but I would imagine that it's provocative.
Whatever the case, I just decided to "nip it in the bud" and repost this before the e-mails start up again. I'm not necessarily expecting feedback, I just want this back up for my own reasons.
Originally posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Yes, Jared Swilley is My Son!
My oldest son, Jared, is in a well-known and sometimes controversial alternative rock band called Black Lips (occasionally billed as The Black Lips). The group, which has been together for several years, is sort of in the garage genre, and has a large national following, and a very large international following. Many people assume that they are a kind of Goth band because of the name, but they actually are more of a punk type group with a kind of rough-edged pop sound. They have gotten a lot of press in the last few years, were hailed by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of their five most-watched up-and-coming bands, and recently appeared on Late Night with Conan O’brien. They have received consistently favorable reviews in media such as the Village Voice, Vibe Magazine, the New York Times, and even the Wall Street Journal, and spend basically all of their time touring in the United States and Europe. Strangely enough, they have an exceptionally huge following in Israel.
The reason that I am writing about Jared and his band here, however, is not because of the music. My younger sons, Judah and Jonah, also have a band called Velocity, which is a hybrid of a Christian worship band and a hard-driving “crunk-rock” group, as they call it, and they easily flow in churches, as well as in venues such as The Velvet Underground and the Masquerade. The fact that all three of my sons play secular music is not a problem to me (my own musical tastes are quite secular, in fact), but Black Lips have been known for something other than the music, and that’s what I want (need) to talk about here.
Normally, I wouldn’t draw attention to this kind of stuff, but Jared’s band has gotten so much media coverage of late that I can’t ignore this aspect of his art, and how it affects me, any longer. This is particularly true now, because he frequently mentions me and the ministry in interviews that he does for national magazines, which causes online articles about his band to come up all over the place when you Google my name on the internet. Because of this, I get a good bit of prayer offered to me for the salvation of my son from people who are scandalized by some of the articles that they have read about them in cyberspace.
I won’t go in to detail or specifics, but when Jared and his friends started their band many years ago as teen-agers, they drew attention to themselves and developed a certain reputation (or infamy) by performing stunts on stage that appealed to the underground youth culture’s affinity for shocking the establishment (for lack of better term). In the spirit of Ozzie Osbourne biting off the head of a bat, or the Red Hot Chili Peppers performing on stage wearing only socks (and not on their feet), the Black Lips began as sort of a musical version of the show, Jackass, and the reputation that they developed during that time still follows them. They broke instruments, got in fist-fights on stage, and supposedly acted indecently. Their audiences loved it, and they got the attention from the press that they desired.
Much of what you read about in the press concerning their “Borat” kind of behavior is actually urban legend, and the majority of the kind of gross-out stuff that gets written about so often can be attributed solely to one, shall we say, rather eccentric member of the band named Cole. I have seen them in concert twice, once with Debye and the boys, and once with our outreach Pastor, Scott Pettite, and none of the “crazy stuff” happened at either show. In fact, their music both nights was reminiscent of early Beatles…nearly a rockabilly kind of vibe…and other than a lot of cigarette smoke in the building, there was nothing that I found offensive there. My daughter, Christina, has seen them perform numerous times, and says that she never saw any of the things that the press writes about so much.
Here’s the bottom line…Jared is my son, and I love him, unconditionally. I have voiced my opinions about the shock stuff, and he knows that I don’t like it, and that I don’t enjoy having to answer for it because of things written in the press. Once, a few years ago, Creative Loafing did an interview with me for an article about ministers who were making a difference in race relations, and in the same issue was an embarrassing article about the performances of Black Lips! I wasn’t happy about it, to say the least.
Many people think that he and I have a bad relationship, and assume that Jared's alledged on-stage behavior is either the cause or effect of that, but we don’t. He has never even raised his voice at me, tells me that I am his best friend, and talks about me in nearly every interview that he does. He had an issue with substance abuse at one time some years ago, but seems to have overcome in that area. Interestingly, he has a great professional and personal relationship with R&B legend, The Mighty Hannibal, who told me when I met him a few months ago that Jared was destined to be a preacher! Who knows? All things are possible.
The band has gotten a little older (and a little more mature), and now that they are signed to a major record label, they are concentrating more on the music and less on the antics. As I said, I don’t like some of the stuff that I read about them and him, whether it is true or not, but I am proud of his success and his work ethic, and I will not forfeit my relationship with him just becuase I have a reputation to preserve. Please pray for him, but also know that, except for that other part, he is my beloved son in whom I am well-pleased. Love never fails!
Bishop, As part of your extended family, I add my AMEN! I would hope that all the fathers who raise their arms in protest over their childrens antics would instead, like you, be proud and embrace all that is good. We would have a revolution of the love kind....and many more "sons" (the huios kind) in the Kingdom. Critism is SO easy...two eyes and a carnal mind! Thankfully, as your spiritual daughter, I have been priviledged to have you see the better me (know no man/woman son/daughter after the flesh!) and call me to that! Jared, we love you! Bish, You are such a great example of the Father! Love you! Leesa
Bishop Jim Swilley said...
Leesa, thank you...that really touches me. You guys are such a blessing...tell everyone there in Charlotte that I love them.
genna saloff said...
This is Genna, Christina (and Jared's) long time friend you saw a few Wednesdays ago in church. I had to read Christina this article because she doesnt have the internet, but having read it I feel compelled to respond.
I think as Leesa pointed out, it's easy to criticize (along the lines of the music theme, morrissey says "it's so easy to laugh it's so easy to hate it takes strength to be gentle and kind) and to look for the fault in people. Especially if we don't understand them.
I understand the frustration that comes with having to defend other people's actions that are close to you, as my uncle is a Rabbi. But I want you to know, having *personally* known Jared and Christina for quite some time, your reputation should definitely be upheld regardless. More important than any "antics", Jared is a good, solid person who treats other people kindly... I think how we treat other people in our immediate lives/ world is probably a better indicator of who they are as people in the bigger picture (and a reflection of whomever raised them), though this seems marginalized by others today, it is tremendously more important.
So next time people are praying for your children suggest they pray your children continue to recieve and sustain any blessings and talents they have right now, and remain the good kind people I know them to be.
Bishop Jim Swilley said...
Hi Genna, I was just reading your response and Christina texted me that you had read it to her (what's the deal with her computer, already?!)...anyway, I loved your response. Jared might not like that I discussed him here, and I probably wouldn't have if he hadn't discussed me so much (I'm mentioned more in Black Lips articles on Google than anything else it seems)...but I love that my kids have friends like you that have their backs. Thanks and Shalom.
Right on, Hannibal!
The signs are all there for the seeing.
Who else but Bishop Jim Swilley could God choose to raise up His child Jared?
Eddie B. said...
Maybe my path was once that of the stereotypical "sex, drugs and rock n' roll" musician, but it lead me to you Bishop. Through you, I met Jared when he was just an shy little guy with a guitar he wanted to learn to play. I'm very proud of having been the first to show him how to get cool and somewhat coherent noises out of an electric guitar. I loved him first because he was your son, and I've always loved him as an equal in Christ's Kingdom, but I love him more because he's a former student, a hard rockin' successful musician, an overall cool cat, and most of all; my friend! Eddie
Bishop Jim Swilley said...
OK, that brought a tear...thanks
BISHOP,YOUR SON JARED IS YOURS AND NOBODY ELSE BUSSINESS.HE WILL FIND HIS WAY. HOW QUICKLLY PEOPLE PUT A FINAL PERIOD IN SOMEONES LIFE BUT GOD DOES NOT. YOUR SON IS FINDING HIS PATH IN CHRIST AND I BLESS THE MOST HIGH GOD FOR HIS FUTURE BECAUSE IT IS GREAT IN GOD. KNOW THAT,HE IS YOUR FIRST BORN,YOUR MIGHT,THE BEGINNING OF YOUR STRENGTH,THE EXCELLENCY OF DIGNITY AND THE EXCELLENCY OF POWER[GENESIS 49:3] HE WILL MANIFEST THESE QUALITIES IN GOD IN GODS TIME FOR HIM.YOU JUST CONTINUE TO THANK GOD AND BLESS HIS LIFE. I ADMIRE YOUR 100% LOVE UNLIKE JACOB WHO CURSE RUBEN IN THE ABOVE SCRIPTURE,YOU CHOSE TO BLESS JARED LIFE AND YOU WILL REAP IN ALL YOUR CHILDREN BOUNTIFUL AND BLESS LIFE AS YOU AND DEBY HAS BLESSED SO MANY LIVES.IT IS A SPIRITUAL LAW AND NOTHING CAN CHANGE THAT. I ALSO AGREE WITH WHAT HAS BEEN SPOKEN, JARED IS AND WILL BE A GREAT MINISTER OF GOD.I AM SO EXCITED IN MY SPIRIT BECAUSE HIS FUTURE IS GREAT IN GOD BECAUSE OF GOD AND YOUR FAMILY. PLEASE MAKE NO EXCUSE FOR WHERE HIS IS RIGHT NOW BECAUSE HIS IS GOING SOMEWHERE GREAT IN GOD FROM NOWHERE GREAT IN GOD. WITH LOVE MERCY ODUAH.
Bishop Jim Swilley said...
Mercy, I love that you always write in all CAPS...you write like you sound, convinced and authoritative. I receive this word from my favorite Nigerian prophetess. Thanks!
Bish- i met Jared for the first time on a plane to Peru for a mission's trip. It was in my very early days at the church and I was extremely nervous about going. Tracy's dad was in ICI for going on five weeks, and Peru was a LONG way off. Jared sat with me on the flight and was one of the most real, honest guys I have ever met. Sometimes "real" is a ministry because there is always fake crap on every corner...being real is the hard part.David Mathis
Bishop- I wanted to say this too...if my daddy loved me like you love Jared (unconditionally) my path would have been sooooo much easier. Thank youfor showing us what the love of a daddy is supposed to be. David
Bishop Jim Swilley said...
Wow, thanks, Dave, for that memory. I don't know if he's read all this yet or not (I haven't heard from him), and I don't know what he'll think about it when he does read it, but everyone's words here about him are really awesome. Judah and Jonah are so much a part of my life at CITN (and Christina was when she lived with us), that I think it wouldn't occur to Jared that people in my world actually love him for him...not just because he's my son. Because of the way things were when he was growing up, I think he kind of found a sense of "family" outside of the family, and has never connected here the way his brothers so easily do (and sister eventually did). It's nice to think that he could know that he is loved and accepted, regardless (which he is)...thanks, guys.
Bishop, I have been where Jared is. Being the lead in an all black rock band, I was the one performing the wild antics. We had a huge following and I ended up writing with some of the members of Parliment Funkadelics. We got high more than we wrote. My substance abuse and a few other things got me released from Polygram, but I said all that to say that I am now preaching. All things are possible and your unconditional love is more valuable than life. I commend you and stand with you on any and all platforms. I knew I knew you. Whole life to you in the now. One.