Friday, October 22, 2010

From the Heart

I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support that I have received in recent days from friends, colleagues, fellow pastors, and from so many of you whom I’ve never met. Your words of kindness have been life-giving, and I’ve read your beautiful e-mails, texts, tweets, and public and private Facebook messages over and over again, many times with tears. I’ve tried to respond to all of them, but if I somehow missed yours, please forgive me and know that I’ve read what you had to say, and that I really appreciate it.

I haven’t returned a lot of phone messages, but I’m glad to hear from all of you who have called, especially those of you with whom I’ve lost contact…we’ll talk, eventually.

Those of you who have had less than supportive things to say, please know that I really do understand where you’re coming from, and I’m sure many of you actually mean well, and want to help me. Believe it or not, I appreciate your input, as well…I just don’t want to argue or debate the Scriptures. I respect your opinions and viewpoints, and can only ask for the same consideration.

It’s been really nice to hear from so many of you who have said that you want to visit CITN, and it’s been especially gratifying to hear from those of you who have left the church for whatever reason, and now wish to return. I really hope all of you will follow through with what you’ve said, and that I’ll have a chance to meet you when you come (or come back)…

More than anything else, though, I have loved hearing from so many young people, including teens who are dealing with some serious issues, along with parents of teens who have been touched by some things that I’ve said. If you’ve been helped at all, it’s been worth any negative reactions or bad publicity that I’ve received.

To those few of you who have severed ties with me, I want you to know that I understand, and that I love you, and I also want you to know that I hope our division is not permanent. If my transparency has offended anyone, I apologize.

I pray that all of you will be blessed, and again, I can’t thank you enough for your support…

JES

141 comments:

Debye said...

Soooo Lovin u JE Swilley!...The Ultimate Bridge Builder!...I honor you!

Beautifully stated and full of love and compassion!...what a great combo!

Movin Forward with a new anointing, a new grace, a new spirit and a new love...so very proud of you!

Anonymous said...

You are what one hopes to read when they look up quality in the dictionary. Also really like your sign off, JES. I'm certain it has been noted by others and it is also important to say again, all you need is us to be complete. Blessings to you, our friend...

Melissa Hall said...

and this..... all of this is why I love you beyond measure...

My heart swells with love, gratitude, and honor...

Someone once said "The greatest hero is the one who shows you the way, not just through the medium of themselves... but, above all, through the medium of yourself."

You are my hero...

Pamela - IamIcan said...

I agree with Melissa - I cannot say it any better.

You are my hero too.....

Donald said...

Cool!

SCRIBE said...

Bishop,

Thanks for simply being exactly who you are... and in being who you are is exactly WHO GOD FASHIONED and INTENDED FOR YOU TO BE FROM THE very foundations of creation. HE takes those things and people whom others condemn and sets them up to serve as examples to confound the "worldly wise".

As my grandmother Esther used to say (may God rest her soul) "Do not pay any attention to the looks on their faces and never fear when you have stood in TRUTH." It is not the truth that will set them free, but the truth they CHOOSE to receive, accept, process, and incorporate into their own lives is what brings about freedom and liberty. Those who reject others for walking in their own personal truth that God imparted, the rejection has nothing to do with who you are as a pillar of truth, their rejection comes about in who they are afraid of should others come to see beyond their masks and costumes that they live in / underneath to HIDE WHO THEY REALLY ARE. Real TRUTH-- the GOD kind of truth begets truth and INTEGRITY. Many may not like the truth, but the TRUTH and Love stands on its own merit, which is noteworthy and warrants absolute respect.

What a spectacular community and world it would be should everyone make a conscious decision to LIVE IN ABSOLUTE TRUTH-- taking no thought to the opinions of others. We are only completely liberated and bask in the freedom that God intended as we embrace our own real truth, then let our light shine throughout humanity and not strive for the causes of acceptability and social proprietorship. When we truly LOVE and accept WHO WE REALLY are, (the real us) not the phoniness or facades to masquerade all our flaws and frailties (which everyone has) then it wouldn't be as difficult to LOVE and ACCEPT others as who they really are-- even if it is not who we thought or desired them to be. Because GOD is with and within YOU who shall dare rise up against you, contend with you, and expect to be victorious? God is greater than all the hoopla and garbage and as long as HE KNOWS WHO YOU ARE and ACCEPTS THE REAL YOU, then the heck with those who don't. Yes, many may have had their comfort zones challenged... HOWEVER is that not "their problem"? Perhaps, they should ask God to open their eyes that they may SEE what is really within them as opposed to mocking and ridiculing what is in others. We are to ALL "work out our own salvation" in God so that we may come to know and acknowledge who we are in Him who loves and created us.

Bishop, just continue to be TRUE to yourself and as you are TRUE to yourself you are walking in the TRUTH of GOD and who HE created you to be. Those who may be / may have been uncomfortable with your transparency, would in not be quite the splendid thing if they were to pray and ask God to help them to do reality assessment... then having the boldness, confidence, INTEGRITY, and acceptance of themselves enough to simply allow WHO THEY REALLY ARE to shine through.

This comes about through Love, Wisdom, Mercy, Grace, and acceptance which God has so generously bestowed upon us, so why would anyone not want to be a sower of the seeds that they have already received a harvest of.... (those things that makes you go hmmm !)

The Love and Grace of God is far more vast than all of our preconceived notions and idiosyncrasies. He is the God of Love, Truth,Grace, Mercy, and Wholeness--- not the God of "religious doctrine". Because God has so lavishly poured out His LOVE, Magnanimous Wisdom, Revelation into you and empowered you with the gift to teach others by serving as a living epistle, LIVELY STONE, and through the words of your testimony-- it is but simplistic faith and wisdom for us to celebrate who God is in you and through you because you are broken bread, fine pressed oil and poured out wine for the feeding of multitudes.

SCRIBE said...

PART 2...

I thank God for His grace, loving-kindness, and faithfulness to bestow upon us a prolific teacher, bishop, apostle, and most of all a LOVER OF PEOPLE as God loves people in who HE ordained you to be. Thanks for running with the vision of CITN and being the beacon of light and City Set Up on a Hill whose builder and maker is GOD to draw in all of us other visionaries who hunger and thirst after the Holy Spirit, which is the sustaining life force and the foundation that shall not crumble. No apologies are necessary for WHO YOU ARE, and it is because of WHOSE YOU ARE that we have all learned, grown, been fed abundantly, and blessed beyond measure! We all are who we are and whose we are by HIS unmerited grace and because HE LOVES US.

Rejoice! for the BEST IS YET TO COME! Because you have built CITN, lived in TRUTH, and Loved according to HIS SPIRIT that dwells within you, many more will come.

SCRIBE said...

(PART 1...)

Bishop,

Thanks for simply being exactly who you are... and in being who you are is exactly WHO GOD FASHIONED and INTENDED FOR YOU TO BE FROM THE very foundations of creation. HE takes those things and people whom others condemn and sets them up to serve as examples to confound the "worldly wise".

As my grandmother Esther used to say (may God rest her soul) "Do not pay any attention to the looks on their faces and never fear when you have stood in TRUTH." It is not the truth that will set them free, but the truth they CHOOSE to receive, accept, process, and incorporate into their own lives is what brings about freedom and liberty. Those who reject others for walking in their own personal truth that God imparted, the rejection has nothing to do with who you are as a pillar of truth, their rejection comes about in the mind of those who they are afraid of, as well as rejecting themselves should others come to see beyond their masks and costumes that they live in / underneath to HIDE WHO THEY REALLY ARE. Real TRUTH-- the GOD kind of truth begets truth and INTEGRITY.

What a spectacular community and world it would be should everyone make a conscious decision to LIVE IN ABSOLUTE TRUTH-- taking no thought to the opinions of others. We are only completely liberated and bask in the freedom that God intended as we embrace our own real truth, then let our light shine throughout humanity and not strive for the causes of acceptability and social proprietorship. When we truly LOVE and accept WHO WE REALLY are, (the real us) not the phoniness or facades to masquerade all our flaws and frailties (which everyone has) then it wouldn't be as difficult to LOVE and ACCEPT others as who they really are-- even if it is not who we thought or desired them to be. Because GOD is with and within YOU who shall dare rise up against you, contend with you, and expect to be victorious? God is greater than all the other hoopla and garbage and as long as HE KNOWS WHO YOU ARE and ACCEPTS THE REAL YOU, then the heck with those who don't. Yes, many may have had their comfort zones challenged... HOWEVER is that not "their problem"? Perhaps, they should ask God to open their eyes that they may SEE what is really within them as opposed to mocking and ridiculing what is in others.

Bishop, just continue to be TRUE to yourself and as you are TRUE to yourself you are walking in the TRUTH of GOD and who HE created you to be. Those who may be / may have been uncomfortable with your transparency, would in not be quite the splendid thing if they were to pray and ask God to help them to do reality assessment... then having the boldness, confidence, love, INTEGRITY, and acceptance of themselves enough to simply allow WHO THEY REALLY ARE to shine through. We are no surprise to God at all, we are more of a surprise to ourselves as well as to others.

This comes about through Love, Wisdom, Mercy, Grace, and acceptance which God has so generously bestowed upon us, so why would anyone not want to be a sower of the seeds that they have already received a harvest of.... (those things that makes you go hmmm !)

The Love and Grace of God is far more vast than all of our preconceived notions and idiosyncrasies. He is the God of Love, Truth,Grace, Mercy, and Wholeness--- not the God of "religious doctrine". Because God has so lavishly poured out His LOVE, Magnanimous Wisdom, Revelation into you and empowered you with the gift to teach others by serving as a living epistle, LIVELY STONE, and through the words of your testimony-- it is but simplistic faith and wisdom for us to celebrate who God is in you and through you because you are broken bread, fine pressed oil and poured out wine for the feeding of multitudes. TRUTH, LOVE, and HONOR before God and before humanity is worthy of all respect, for these things are praiseworthy and bring glory to the Lord. Through these foundations, we are then SALT and LIGHT in and to the world.

Tierra said...

Thank you for being transparent and honest!

SCRIBE said...

Bishop,

Love your sign off too... JES. This could be interpreted as Jim Earl Swilley plus CITN community (US )... You bring the JES then God brought US and together we form a great picture of JESUS in the earth!

SCRIBE said...

Anonymous said...

Peggy Harrison said...

We love, appreciate, and support you more than you can fathom....... Thank you for being you!

Anonymous said...

Philip Del Rocco said...

You're the bomb Bishop!!!

Anonymous said...

Ryan Norman said...

I love to argue. I haven't had any nasty messages in a few weeks. Send them to me. I am pumped up and ready to go again.

Anonymous said...

Jeannie Glover said...

Bishop, you are THE BEST! We love and support you now more than ever!

Anonymous said...

Phil Howard said...

‎"From the Heart" is the perfect title...I've never read more heart-filled, heart-felt words. Just when I didn't think I could possibly love and respect you more...

Anonymous said...

Chad Smith said...

Why wouldn't we love you Bishop and support you through everything?...I mean, why wouldn't we?

Anonymous said...

Debra Murphy said...

Love and spirit of God in action...love you Bishop!

Anonymous said...

Renee Dunbar-Scott said...

Love you. We got your back!!!

Anonymous said...

John Wanza said...

Bishop, You are GOD's gift to this large community that is seeking his heart. And your transparencey, give us another way to reaiize how transparent, he is with us... Love U

Anonymous said...

Jeff Thames said...

Bishop, I could write about a hundred paragraphs outlining the ways that your message of inclusion has changed my life, but I will save that for the day I get to come and minister in front of you. ;o)

If I were to give one testimonial on yo...ur behalf, it would simply be this...

Dear Sir or Ma'am, I cannot attest to how BISHOP Jim Earl Swilley has impacted your life, but what I can be witness to, is how God spoke through him a life-giving message that has forever changed my life and opened my eyes.

Thank you Bishop for being a willing vessel for God to use. You are a genuine example of wanting to live (a life) so God can use you ANYWHERE and at ANYTIME!!!

I'll stop there, but the preacher inside of me wants to keep going. I LOVE YOU MAN!!!

Anonymous said...

Rhonda West said...

So Christlike....

Anonymous said...

LaDonna Paulk Diaz said...

I have never really noticed this before, but your initials are the first three letters of "Jesus" - cool

Anonymous said...

Tracy Kiser Mathis said...

I embrace your honesty. That is what this world is missing. Staying proud of you.

Anonymous said...

Debra Murphy said...

JES + us=Jim Earl Swilley loves us = Jesus loves us!!!

Anonymous said...

Gregg Kennard said...

Gregg Kennard and family fully support you. You are my bishop. You are my pastor. You are my friend. You are my hero.

Anonymous said...

Aubrey Brey Gallimore said...

There's really not anything more I can say at this time. I'm sure as you read this comment, you can only imagine what my heart could sayl about you. Just no words. You mean E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G to me and sooner than later you will see that in action and not just words!!!! Make room in your life for me...because I'm coming in!

Anonymous said...

Sonya Sawyer said...

You have only given love and support to my family. We will return that same love and support to you and your family. We love you Bishop!

Anonymous said...

Adriane Stefano Anderson said...

‎"From the Heart" was fittingly titled and beautifully written...prayers are with you always, Bishop. You will always be the one whose words helped me find my way back to my Father after ending a bad marriage and moving to Conyers on my own. I attended CITN for a little over a year with my best friend, Ebony Thornton, and during that time we were both overjoyed to attend. Though I have moved to Griffin and haven't been back to CITN, I've kept up w/the blog and with your family and Ebony has brought me several of your messages on CD. I can't imagine what you're facing right now, but you are today and always in my prayers and I will forever be grateful for your words-I know that with a ministry as large as CITN, you can't "know" everyone-but even when you don't know us personally, you've been a vessel for the Father's loving words and I want to say thank you...God bless...

Anonymous said...

Dixie Bennett said...

I think it is cause we See Jesus in You...How can we not love you...

Anonymous said...

Aubrey Brey Gallimore said...

Dixie...that was so profound and so correct!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Leslie Holloway said...

Oh Bishop, this brought tears to my eyes. One thing that is for sure now and always has been as long as I have known the name Jesus, is that you are REAL. Never could I ever have one negative thought about you or Pastor Debye regardless of anything that you all are going through. The truth will ALWAYS set you free, and I respect that you are following your true calling. I love and support you unconditionally always. Through this all you have demonstated a strength that no words can illustrate. May your burdens be light and you continue to bless us all.

Anonymous said...

Mekeba H. Bryant said...

Bishop you are just too much....your love transcends so strongly through your writings....you have been such an example of LOVE. May God bless you abundantly and continue to prosper you in all your ways. I just thank everyone for your beautiful words for our beloved Bishop.

Anonymous said...

Linda M Curtis said...

When it's all ♥ , it's all GOD .. and there's little else to say or wonder about. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ... ALL means ALL
56 minutes ago · LikeUnlike.

Anonymous said...

John Destito said...

You are so loved and respected Bishop. Thanks for living, loving and leading. jd

Anonymous said...

Mike Gordon said...

‎"And I pray that they ALL may be ONE in the NOW...all around this world of Yours, not just the ones here in this time & place. Make them ALL ONE as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You. INTEGRATE them as You and I are integrated: UNIFIED, in HARMONY, INSEPARABLE." -John In The Now 17:21

brenda said...

For all that you give it is given back to you. I admire and love you and so thankful that I have had this opportunity to know you. I did not have to read about you in a text book or look you up on the internet and say gee I wish I had known him but God has allowed me the grace to be here with you in this time and for that I say WOOPI!!

Anonymous said...

Connie Lyle said...

AMEN

Anonymous said...

Connie Lyle said...

You are AWSOME Bishop Swilley just awsome Thank You for helping us all we love you and your family !!!

Anonymous said...

Vanessa Chavez said...

Agreed

Anonymous said...

Wayne Freeman said...

Pastor Bubba aka Tony and I glady walk beside you in this time and know you have our love and support

Anonymous said...

Tommy Yancey said...

Bishop, you are a Wonderful Man of God and a Great Teacher of the Word. Ed and I want you to know we love and support you!!!

Anonymous said...

Jean de Sousa said...

Love you Bishop and I am proud of you. There are no words to tell you how much you have meant to me over the years and will always. Stay strong the best is yet to be!!

Anonymous said...

Renee Lingold Mills said...

There is no other pastor like you. You have meant alot to me and I have learned alot from you over the years even though I moved away and do not attend CITN anymore. Love ya!!!

Anonymous said...

Torri Hornsby Griffin said...

Like I always say, Bishop, you are the bomb!

Anonymous said...

Larry Usher said...

Beautiful thoughts from a beautiful soul! Bish, the Refiner" has been working overtime making you into a vessel of honor, the best is yet to come and greater thing are yet to be done in the "City Set on a Hill"!

Anonymous said...

I just saw your sermon totally by accident. My God, it was one of the most powerful things I have ever heard because you spoke so directly from your heart. Please please consider making a video for that "It Gets Better Project". Struggling kids are the ones who really need to hear your message. The tribulations you have gone through and yet you found the courage to come out is so inspiring. Your words brought total joy to my soul.

Anonymous said...

Jonna Sanders Gayle said...

Making a differance means not being the same. It takes real umph to be all of who God made us to be. Cookie cutters are good for making cookies.

Anonymous said...

Kristy J. Marek said...

Bishop, for a long time of course many of us were wondering "whats up"and your faithful and loving staff had your back, down to all the very inquisitive little minds out there. But I can honestly say "Thank you Lord thats all it was" ...all this hooplah had me scared, and for notta. (Where was my trust....hmmmm...)I have always been fed by your words, love Pastor Deb and miss you more than ever. I will definitely be streaming. May peace surround you, your friends, church & family and of course those who have never met the amazing Bishop at CITN. Much Love from Texas

Avatar said...

"You shall know them by their fruit."
Clearly, Bishop, out-of-season and in, your tree is fully-laden with all that Paul listed. He didn't mention "classy", but in my epistle, you're it.

Ditto, Mike. And interesting that your comments were posted here at 5:55.

Father, thank you again for this amazing and holy place to gather...!

Not1Lost said...

What a man! I highly respect you sir. what valor, what faith, what integrity! You have been & continue to be the voice of the Spirit to me. I will always honor you brother.
Peace, grace, and love,
P. Dennis

Erik said...

Bishop,

We are ALL with you. For my life, CITN has been an experience to come to a greater awareness of myself, and celebrate each day more than I had before. I had not found a place that so vulnerably experienced God until here. This is the vision you have shared with so many.

I appreciate and understand those who do not want to expose all, openly with God, and go naked before God, walk in the Garden without shame, where God talks with us, walks with us, and calls us His own. Simply loves us as we are. The peace then is like none other. That is what CITN presents, and the manifestation of your vision expresses.

Tonight I watched the DVD 'Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny' with Jeff Black. It is very inspired and presents through art and music what so many do through physical and emotional abuse. Those that attempt to diminish us are only pillows with paper plate faces, disconnected voices in old, bad cassettes. Even when we face our created over-sized satan, we break through our created demon in our weakness and our love.

I followed that with 'Dogma' and perennial favorite, can't say enough about it, especially the song sung form God's perspective as the credits roll at the end.

This mornings services add to our freedom and depth in Love of God, each other, and every single other in existence. We are one body.

New awakenings occur, long sought peace is recognized, and deepened. Faith and trust in God is expanded through barriers any and all of us have. We celebrate another day of loving.

Thank you for being the M.C.

Gretchen said...

My husband and I have never been to your church, we've been in Conyers for about 3 years now. We've been traveling to Atlanta (Decatur) for a church that is open and affirming. What's kept us away from your church are our beliefs that no one should put a period where God has placed a comma, and that no one should be turned away from any faith because of race or sexual orientation. We are all God's children. He made all of us, and he loves all of us. I applaud you for your honesty, and for opening doors, and provoking thought (and hopefully tolerance) amoung your members. May your mission thrive--and we look forward to coming for a visit.

Erik said...

Power mongers act out of fear, lack of love of themselves and others. Demonizing others who think or live differently, is part of the demonizing party's fear. Of course, expressing a different opinion is a great part of the tapestry of God.

Loving those who differ or think differently is part of that as well. I love people who differ from me, and those that differ extremely. it can be wonderful talk, seeing where we each are coming from. Disagreeing, and respecting each is different. Some heinous acts or thoughts (dehumanizing, justifying treating horror through fear, seeing the person without seeing God in them) are very difficult for me to understand, and I know God is also in people that act or speak in that way.

Since we are ALL one, it is true, and those that actively hate and spread the fear and hate are also part of The One. Tree of Life and Tree of knowledge of good and evil are part of the tapestry and part of God. Each of us can choose.

Each choice is allowable, one gives life to love, and one surely provides death from the lack of love. Either way, ALL are welcome to the table and to eat well for free.

Also, this Saturday should be very entertaining in Washington DC as John Stewart has an assembly to 'Restore Sanity' while Colbert has an assembly to 'Keep fear alive'. Hopefully it will be televised, can't be there.

Mystic aka Patti said...

You are in luck Blondie! The Rally to Restore Sanity will be televised LIVE on Comedy Central and online at the Daily Show/Comedy Central.com...would love to be there!

Erik said...

An idea to add. Individuals are human. Organizations, religions, (doctrines, dogmas, rites, set of rules) are not human. They are tools, process that are servants to humans. They are ALWAYS below and subservient to humans. When it is individual or religion, religions only option is to submit to the individual, put its existence in peril, to die as a system if needed, to serve each individual.

God is so beyond and outside of any possible religion, like life is so much more than a car, although a car is very helpful and subservient to the driver and passengers. The car can be sacrificed for the benefit of driver, passenger, and others in the vicinity of the car.

As can religion be sacrificed at anytime and replaced by a new or used model. Religion is a commodity. To be used as needed and valued by individuals. At no time do individuals serve religion. That means everything about religion is constantly open for change and to accommodate individuals. Religion is to bend, die, restructure, be deconstructed and reconstructed as any individual desires.

Individuals are the pinnacle of God's creation. Everything serves the individual. Individuals gather together to create systems that serve them. Governments, religions, economic systems, social structures - all serve the individual.

Anonymous said...

I guess I would have to be categorized in the 'young' category. The world I live in, this 'news' is definitely an 'is-that-it?' kind of moment. I couldn't think twice even if you wanted me to. It's crazy how different generational mindsets are. The fact that anyone is freaking out, is just plain bizarre to me.

But I loved this blog. I love how even in a time where you could easily say "I'm right and you're wrong," you still respect everyone. You still see the good in people, even if you do not agree. I love how you could easily school anyone on scripture but choose to let them have their beliefs and you have yours.

These are the things I see in people. I strive to be a good person first and foremost. I take note when I see characteristics in people that I hope to master. Everything else doesn't matter really, because I don't think that changes who the person is, nor do I think it changes how God sees them.

All this to say that I think you're one of the raddest bishops/pastors/preachers out there. I will continue to be front and off-center every Sunday (excluding the rare Sunday that I accidentally oversleep, which I am totally working on - blame college).

Erik said...

Amen Anon

Anonymous said...

Proceed in your journey free of shame/separation...

Just as the universe is constantly expanding, so are our minds...

No labels - Just LIGHT...

Anonymous said...

No rules - Just LIGHT...

No opinions - Just LIGHT...

Erik said...

Anon 740 AM & 1017 am, right there with you. Amen !

Anonymous said...

Today's AYITN is very powerful - check it out...

Enjoy your day!

Marmalade said...

Well done, Jim.

You've said something because it is the right thing to say, even though it won't be very popular in certain quarters.

People like you spread the message of Christianity as love and acceptance, not hate, fear and intolerance.

MM said...

I don't know much--well, anything--about you or your work. But your reasons for coming out are to be commended. Thank you.

MEM1044 said...

Congratulations! I know that may sound odd, but I mean that sincerely. I was raised as a fundamentalist Christian and know how difficult it is to face yourself, your God, and those around you who seem to understand (judge?), but really don't. It's lonely, isolating, and terribly sad. That you saw that in the children who are committing suicide and risked your career to help them, I applaud you. So, congratulations. This is a long journey that is just beginning. But, that you have done so to help others, makes it all the more meaningful to me and to so many who continue to suffer in silence. God bless you. Mark Melton - Chicago

Sarah Vessels said...

Found your story via Reddit, which led me to the WSBTV news article. Gotta say, I love the "To think about saving a teenager yeah, I'll risk my reputation for that" part. That's an awesome attitude, and I wish the best of luck to you.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations. I saw your story online and thought what you did takes courage and your reasons were noble. I hope your openness brings you happiness and your message touches others.

Giselle said...

That took a lot of courage, well done! The world needs people who place integrity above the straight jacket of outdated norms that are small-minded and ultimately devoid of humanity.

lisainbc said...

I am convinced, like many others, that God is moving to reclaim GLBT people who have been judged, rejected and damned by the church, families and community. How lovely it is to know that Jesus accepts us and that he is looking forward to present us the the Father --and He calls his friends if we do what he commands, to love others as He has loved us. I look forward to how God is going to use JES and his testimony to draw many to Himself and to reconcile many who have been hostile and unloving.

lisainbc said...

I am convinced, like many others, that God is moving to reclaim GLBT people who have been judged, rejected and damned by the church, families and community. How lovely it is to know that Jesus accepts us and that he is looking forward to present us to the Fathers. I look forward to how God is going to use JES and his testimony to draw many to Himself and to reconcile many who have been hostile and unloving towards God and each other.

Birdie said...

God will use your honesty and transparency to bring more to him. Those who have been waiting for God's welcome will come pouring in to fill the pews. I am a straight Christian, and I am so proud of you for putting young gay kids before yourself. Your action is life-saving and life-giving. God bless you and your ministry. I wish I could be in Atlanta to attend your church and feel the true welcome of God's love.

Anonymous said...

Bishop,

I have never met you, nor have I ever been to Conyers or even have heard of your church. Nonetheless, I applaud you for your honesty. All too often the messages coming from the faith community to the LGBT community are of the most vile, divisionist, and destructive messages I have ever heard. It is, I believe, why many LGBT persons steer clear of the "faithful", and that in turn makes the gulf between our communities all the more pronounced. That is a truly frightening dynamic.

You give me hope, and it is my sincere wish that you, your family, your church, and your community prosper as a result of your honesty. I hope you will consider a messaged contribution to the Trevor Project, many youngster of all sexual identities should hear your words.

Anonymous said...

I don't know you, your church, your parish, or anything else except this news blurb - but it makes me happy. (Especially since I'm pretty skeptical of megachurches.) I hope more people have the courage to do what you've done, say what you've said, and been themselves instead of hypocritics. All the best!

Anonymous said...

Pastor Swilley:

THANK YOU! As a white inner city pastor of an all inclusive mutli-racial, multi-ethnic church that consists of prostitutes, drug addicts, homeless, abused, gay, bi-sexual, and everything in between; your walk is my walk.

It is nice to know that there are Pastors who have a heart after God like I do, yet still want to live in integrity before a Mighty God and see people LOVED into the Kingdom of God!

You have MADE MY DAY! Thank you!

Pastor James

Wendy said...

Hello Bishop: I am not a member of CITN... But I have attended church there several times. I love the message I receive from you. I support you 100 percent. Youre still my bishop. Continue being the honest and funny man of God. Love you Bishop

Wendy H.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU.

Anonymous said...

I am not religious, and I never
heard of Jim Swilley before the
news articles, but I know a brave
man when I see one. I wish you
well in all your endeavors, and
I hope that your coming out
encourages other Christians to
do so, and helps trigger a
reevaluation by the Christian
church of their opposition to
equal rights for gay people.

Linda in Douglasville said...

Pastor Swilley,
I visited your church many years ago when you were still in the store front location with my then Pastor and old school friend from Rock. I applaud you for your decision to be completely honest with your Parishners and it is my prayer that God will continue to use your ability to reach souls that cross all lines and barriers. I have followed your blog for a while now and I thank you for your obedience to post what God lays on your heart. You will be in my prayers.

KennyGardner said...

Dear Jim,
I just found your blog and I am looking forward to reading it when time permits. Though I have been reading your postings and others postings on facebook, I know this will be a treasure to read

kenny

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. You don't know how much your courage and love means to people. You give hope to so many people who have felt desperation. You give courage to so many who have felt fear. You show love to those who have felt only hate. You are an amazing person. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

God will reveal to each of us how to "be" the message...
I have a new awareness this morning of the statement "Thank you that You always HEAR me"...
What an incredible, joyous day to be alive...
I am enjoying my choice to be radically obedient to my purpose as it unfolds before me...
Experience the totality of Our Creator today and live in the NOW!

Cathy 'n Bosley said...

You get my full support, love and prayers.
(The Rev.) Catherine O'Connor.

Erik said...

Bishop - Tears of joy with the comments. It is good. You have always made a difference, and it broadens each day.

Anonymous said...

Ann Ronayne said...

THIS is the answer to the question "What Would Jesus Do?"

Anonymous said...

I found your video to be honest and moving, and I applaud your leadership on this issue. Your actions will save and improve many lives and shift the dialogue about religion in the U.S. With much respect and admiration.

Anonymous said...

We would like you to reach the place where you're not willing to listen to people criticize one another… where you take no satisfaction from somebody being wrong… where it matters to you so much that you feel good, that you are only willing to think positive things about people…you are only willing to look for positive aspects; you are only willing to look for solutions, and you are not willing to beat the drum of all of the problems of the world.

--- Abraham

Excerpted from the workshop in Cincinnati, OH on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2004 #608

Our Love,
Jerry and Esther

Anonymous said...

It would be amazing if more well-known and successful people came out. That would be the cherry on top of the "It Gets Better" movement. Don't ever let what anyone tells you bring you down, it is too important what you're doing now to ever stop.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your courage and integrity!

Anonymous said...

I wanted to say how brave I think you are and how much I admire you for having the strength to come forward like this. I'm not a believer, but I don't have any problem with religion, except when it promotes bigotry. Thank you for helping our world to take another step forward to some kind of harmony.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say, as a bisexual Christian who was taught unceasingly how disgusting people like me were from a very young age, to see a man of your years stand up against the hypocrisy with the simple Christian intention to save lives is absolutely inspiring.

I hope your message touches many people.

Mystic aka Patti said...

I knew it Bishop! I just knew your integrity in sharing your truth and in lifting Him up would draw even more to God and to CITN! I have seen them "coming" for so long...it's really good to know it is being manifested NOW! I wonder...did you consider that your sharing your truth might actually be the catalyst for such positive and wonderful change and manifestations?

I know you have said that you have gotten ignorant responses as well...but looking at these postings is an absolute JOY! (I happen to agree with the suggestion about your making a video post for the Trevor Project and/or the It Gets Better Project as well...I do hope you are considering it.)

God I thank you for the wonderful leadership at CITN...Bishop & his Staff are the BEST anywhere and if I thanked you every second of every day for the rest of my life, it would never equal the amazing gift of CITN...let alone all the other wonderful things you have given/done for me.

Watch & Pray CITN! The masses are on their way into CITN and we must be ready instantly in & out of season to BE LOVE! We MUST LOVE and BE LOVE to them all! The things some have suffered at the hands of other 'Christians' have caused deep and painful wounds and terrible scars...some may trust no one who says they love them, some may cringe at the statement that God is their 'Father' because the only father they've ever had hurt and abused them...but whatever the pain, whatever the scars, whatever the issues they may bring, we must BE LOVE...the 1 Corinthians 13 Love...what we have been given, we must give to others. The love, acceptance, understanding, and compassion we have received may be exactly what they crave but cannot trust. It may take time...lots of time to reach them...lots of time for them to learn to trust again...and lots of time for them to begin to receive any of those things from us. There will be those who will have sudden and complete transformation performed directly by the Spirit of God with or without us...but they will still need to receive all of these things from us...His Body…things that only our Body can do for them.

I'm sure that, like me, you have had things that you needed to change and wanted to change but no matter what you did or how hard you tried, the things took lots of time to change...if they ever did...some of them are just to be and our purpose is to learn to accept them as they are...and ourselves for who we are. Whatever the necessary lesson and/or change...we cannot expect others to follow arbitrary timelines. How long would it take to learn to trust others again? I cannot say and I don't think anyone would know...it is up to the individual and aside from accepting them for EXACTLY WHO THEY ARE without asking for or expecting ANY CHANGE whatsoever—that is what we must understand.

I know we are up to the challenge CITN, and it will be an absolute JOY to watch and pray and Rejoice upon their arrivals...we will rejoice that these individuals...these other parts have been added to our CITN Body because God has chosen to bring them to US...Halal to Jah! What a day that will be has become what a day It IS in the NOW!

Let's do this!

Blessings Blog Fam!

Mystic aka Patti said...

I knew it Bishop! I just knew your integrity in sharing your truth and in lifting Him up would draw even more to God and to CITN! I have seen them "coming" for so long...it's really good to know it is being manifested NOW! I wonder...did you consider that your sharing your truth might actually be the catalyst for such positive and wonderful change and manifestations?

I know you have said that you have gotten ignorant responses as well...but looking at these postings is an absolute JOY! (I happen to agree with the suggestion about your making a video post for the Trevor Project and/or the It Gets Better Project as well...I do hope you are considering it.)

God I thank you for the wonderful leadership at CITN...Bishop & his Staff are the BEST anywhere and if I thanked you every second of every day for the rest of my life, it would never equal the amazing gift of CITN...let alone all the other wonderful things you have given/done for me.

Watch & Pray CITN! The masses are on their way into CITN and we must be ready instantly in & out of season to BE LOVE! We MUST LOVE and BE LOVE to them all! The things some have suffered at the hands of other 'Christians' have caused deep and painful wounds and terrible scars...some may trust no one who says they love them, some may cringe at the statement that God is their 'Father' because the only father they've ever had hurt and abused them...but whatever the pain, whatever the scars, whatever the issues they may bring, we must BE LOVE...the 1 Corinthians 13 Love...what we have been given, we must give to others. The love, acceptance, understanding, and compassion we have received may be exactly what they crave but cannot trust. It may take time...lots of time to reach them...lots of time for them to learn to trust again...and lots of time for them to begin to receive any of those things from us. There will be those who will have sudden and complete transformation performed directly by the Spirit of God with or without us...but they will still need to receive all of these things from us...His Body…things that only our Body can do for them.

(continued next post...)

Mystic aka Patti said...

I'm sure that, like me, you have had things that you needed to change and wanted to change but no matter what you did or how hard you tried, the things took lots of time to change...if they ever did...some of them are just to be and our purpose is to learn to accept them as they are...and ourselves for who we are. Whatever the necessary lesson and/or change...we cannot expect others to follow arbitrary timelines. How long would it take to learn to trust others again? I cannot say and I don't think anyone would know...it is up to the individual and aside from accepting them for EXACTLY WHO THEY ARE without asking for or expecting ANY CHANGE whatsoever—that is what we must understand.

I know we are up to the challenge CITN, and it will be an absolute JOY to watch and pray and Rejoice upon their arrivals...we will rejoice that these individuals...these other parts have been added to our CITN Body because God has chosen to bring them to US...Halal to Jah! What a day that will be has become what a day It IS in the NOW!

Let's do this!

Blessings Blog Fam!

Kyle said...

I just wanted to compliment you on your courage and strength of character to endure what must have been a terrible secret to keep, and even more terrible to tell a world in which most will hate you for telling. I am not Christian, but support Christians like yourself and wish more would be like you. You set a good example for everyone - religious and not.

Anonymous said...

You have made me feel closer to the Christian faith than I have in a very long time. Congratulations, sir. May we move into a brighter day, however much they want to pull a cloud over us all.

Anonymous said...

You might never know what coming out has done to change and help other people around you and throughout the world, but is something you should never forget.

I admire your courage, I thank you for being honest with yourself, I wish you all the best for your future. :)

Anonymous said...

I am not a Christian, but I couldn't help but be moved by what you've done. You are very brave risking your reputation, and it's such an admirable thing to do. The world needs more wonderful people like you, and less of the people attacking you for something so trivial as sexuality. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jim,
I watched the video and found it to be enlightning. Thank You. May God watch over & continue to bless you and your family.
Same Sex attraction / orientation is just one of of many of mysteries of our imperfect world. For some, how the mistreat people who are LGBT is the obstacle in their claim to follow Christ. Christ commanded for us to love one another.


Another 50+ Guy

Richard M said...

Read about your statement and think what you've done is brave and courageous and honourable. Bravo.

Anonymous said...

I am not a God fearing man. I haven't been for many years. I consider myself a humanitarian, and am often at odds with conservatives of all types. You however, are doing a great thing. I wish you strength in this endeavor, you will surely need it. This is a powerful powerful message you are sending to the US, to the Church, to the gay community, to the world at large. God speed your journey.

Anonymous said...

Although you probably don't need another anonymous person's validation, I just want to say that this Methodist appreciates your courage and willingness to speak the truth, and to put your reputation on the line for the good of the church. As long as I live I'll never understand why so many Christians accept and encourage the belittling of groups of people different from themselves. Many times I think it's the ones who struggle themselves with their homosexuality who are most afraid of it. May peace be with you, your family and your church in the coming weeks.

Ray Panner said...

I'm not a religious person, but knowing that there are people like yourself leading others in their beliefs warms my heart.

You are a good man doing great things and I hope your message finds everyone who needs support in a difficult time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you-- a lot. You've already accomplished so much healing for the body of Christ with this.

You see, I had a Christian friend of mine commit suicide about four years ago. His decision was based on a lot of problems ranging from addiction to depression, but a huge factor was the lack of compassion and love coming from our church family. After he confessed to his own struggles with coming to terms with his sexual identity, a large part of the church treated him more like a problem to be eliminated than like a hurting human being.

I can't imagine how much it would have helped if he could have talked and prayed with someone going through the exact same ordeal as a pastor. I also can't imagine how much having a church family where he could be true to himself without risking condemnation in return would have comforted him when his life seemed so out of his control.

You have an opportunity now, to be an agent of healing to some of the most abused and rejected members of the body of Christ, to bring them reconciliation in the name of Jesus. I can think of no better honor. No matter where the Lord leads you, however, stick close to His love-- and take care.

Anonymous said...

From someone who'll probably never meet you I want to say, I heard your story and I'm almost in tears now. In this world it feels so rare that we have such beautiful souls like you, and we're truly blessed for it. The love you hold in your heart for God and your fellow man is stronger than any hate or misunderstanding could ever be.

I thank you for your strength and honesty.

God bless you.

Anonymous said...

The world needs more people like you. Thank You for your courage!! You are an inspiration to us all. Gay or Straight!

JESS

Nathan said...

Kudos and congratulations to you, Pastor. In a time when millions of self-proclaimed "Christians" preach violence and hatred against minorities, against the poor, against those of other religion, or against anyone with whom they disagree, it comes as a joy to see someone spread the message of truth and love that Jesus taught. To all others, I remind them of Matthew 25:40: "The King will reply, Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

Matt D. said...

While I find your religious affectations distasteful, to say the least, (I especially don't care much for so called "megachurches") I absolutely have to commend your courage and honesty.

It is all too rare to see a leader of your religion stand up and try to do a good work at the peril of their own prosperity, or, in other words, to actually attempt to emulate the man they purport to follow.

As a firm non-believer, I am surprised that I actually hope to hear more from a Christian in the future. It is refreshing.

Liz B said...

You are an inspiration. Thank you for having the courage to make this stand against prejudice and ignorance. I'm not religious, but I think that if He was around today, Jesus would be very proud of your example. Please know you've touched the hearts of people all over the world.

Anonymous said...

Good on you, More people should have the courage to do what you have done and dont let the hateful idiots make you think otherwise. Hopefully someday the world wont need people to make a stand like you have done and society will be more tolerant, but well done for bringing that day closer.

O said...

Very well done, an inspiration and I salute you. There is something about the age of four, isn't there? Or maybe five, since that's when I began to realize I wasn't a boy and when my parents began to bear down on me hard to make sure that I wouldn't become a girl. Yes, I am a transsexual woman today. Oddly enough, it was also at the age of five that I had an instinctive revulsion to the Christian church which I was forced to attend. I have no idea what gave rise to this, but the feeling never changed despite another eight mandatory years of religious upbringing (in a liberal denomination, too, by the way) during which I paid the minimum attention to avoid having my parents be notified. Since the age of 14 I've only set foot in churches--historic ones--for tourism purposes. Religion to me has for all this time signified for the most part a soul-crushing institution. This is not to say that I feel nothing of spirit, but I think it lies within us, easy to hand, and often needs no coaxing, cajoling, or controlling.

On the other hand, in coming to terms with my transgender nature, I did a great deal of reading about the phenomenon and discovered, among many other fascinating facts, that many native American tribes historically revered so-called "two-spirit" people (who today we would call gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender folks) prior to the arrival of the European colonists. Subsequently, admiration for two-spirit people (those who incorporated both genders into their personalities) was smashed, mainly because of the imposition of various European soul-crushing religions, and today you will find some of the greatest homophobic and transphobic attitudes among these same peoples!

Also, among the native American people prior to colonization by Europeans, two-spirit people were not only accepted socially, but also accorded high status for their many gifts in diplomacy, healing, art, and perhaps above all, in spiritual leadership. It has always struck me how many religious leaders I've seen or met--even decades ago--seemed to be closeted GLBT people, and this is borne out almost weekly these days in the media. I think there is a natural affinity GLBT people have for giving spiritual guidance to people, otherwise known as healing, no matter what their ethnicity. I'm not certain about this, but perhaps it's the result of greater than average empathy occasioned by their experiencing something of both the sterotypical gender roles.

It is interesting also that I sense, in addition to your reaction against the homophobic teachings of many Christian churches, something of a revulsion against the worship of material wealth on the part of many of them. You did touch lightly on this subject in the video I watched. This, too, is something that has struck me over the years as being so completely and so obviously at odds with the teachings of the new testament.

In any case, I wish the best for you in the future.

Anonymous said...

Jim, I have never heard of you before now, but let just tell you that I support you 100%! You are a man far braver than most of us. You hang in there, and be proud of your decision!

Anonymous said...

Broken pieces on the ground
Wounded vessels all around
Soldiers once equipped for warfare
Now lie motionless and stare

Crowds of people walk right on by
With deaf ears to the tormented cry
Blinded by the failure of man
Unable to SEE God’s mighty plan.

But we say that God is dealing
Some great sin he is revealing
And we turn and walk away
Never bothering to pray.

Who are we to judge our brother,
To point our finger at one another?
God alone will judge the universe
He alone will bless or curse

We are called to be restorers
Repairers of the breach and torn.
We are called to share God’s love
To comfort those who weep and mourn.

Anonymous said...

Ok... so the truth is out..now what? does anything change? Not really! Still believe that God's love is for ALL!!! No one is without sin and no one can cast that first stone except Christ Jesus! We are a mess without HIM! But thankfully HE redeemed us and we are accepted "just as I am". Praying for purification and a deeper work of the Spirit..blocking out the negative voices..tuning into the Holy Spirit and His leading and Voice.... We truly must ALL work out our own salvation.
YOU DO HOLD the WORDS of LIFE and HAVE SO Much healing to Give to a dying hurting world. Thumbs up to you!

KT said...

I really admire the stand you've taken. I'm not a believer, but you've given me something to think about.

Anonymous said...

I'm the father of an eleven-year old boy who meets many of the stereotypes associated with being gay. One of my worst fears about his future is that so-called Christians will continue to demonize gays and lesbians to further a political agenda that's built on hate and fear.

So it warms my heart to see you take such a courageous lead among true Christians in accepting your own identity and in encouraging other Christians to practice acceptance rather than intolerance. I know this will go a long way towards breaking up some of the last bastions of anti-gay prejudice in the US.

Anonymous said...

I'm humbled to congratulate you in coming out and supporting gay rights and supporting confused and lost teens. I'm not of the church, but it makes me so glad to see people like you cutting through the hate and bigotry and spreading love and tolerance. If your congregation dwindles, there will be swathes of others ready to support and believe in you. You're an inspiration.

Thad said...

Pastor,

I'm not a man of faith, but I read your story in the news and it moved me.

Thank you for your courage and your example, and never forget that there are people pulling for you whether they're gay or straight, religious or not.

Arvin Chaudhary said...

SO proud of you. Good for you for your bravery and courage of conviction. The society doesn't change until the people in the society change and you have brought us another step closer to a society where love for your neighbor is the rule. I am profoundly impressed and I hope that you feel only pride for the good thing you have done.

Lisa Rayner said...

I'm not used to having good things to say about an evangelical minister. I just want you to know that I *really* appreciate the personal courage you have exhibited by coming out this way. Now if I could only get my evangelical mother-in-law to listen to you instead of Rev. Hagee ... (I'm a bisexual woman married to a man. My MIL thinks I'm possessed by demons).

Anonymous said...

My rhema word this morning:

As I awaken to a world that screams at me: How awesome is this place - it was here all along but I did not SEE it...

Have a Big God Day today...enjoy the transition and transformation as God navigates our ship as only the Creator of ALL things can...

I particularly enjoyed the blog about Native Americans recognizing two-spirited people...those that recognize both genders in themselves...is this not the true definition of God...neither male nor female but all encompassing of both of those polarities...I feel this inside of me now more than ever...

So looking forward to BB tomorrow...

Anonymous said...

ACIM lesson from today:

The gift of Christ is all I seek today
What but Christ's vision would I use today, when it can offer me a day in which I see a world so like to Heaven that an ancient memory returns to me? Today I can forget the world I made Today I can go past all fear, and be restored to love and holiness and peace. Today I am redeemed, and born anew into a world of mercy and of care; of loving kindness and the peace of God.
And so, our Father, we return to You, remembering we never went away; remembering Your holy gifts to us In gratitude and thankfulness we come, with empty hands and open hearts and minds, asking but what You give. We cannot make an offering sufficient for Your Son. But in Your Love the gift of Christ is his.

PianoGrant said...

Thank you for your recently posted video...being honest at such great cost...modeling honesty and transparency. I have been through the same and 4 yr later still isolated by those who choose fear over trust and love. It's all good and God is always there. I've found that without a doubt. I spent most of my adult life in ministry as well. Thank you for helping clarify for many, many other god-loving men like yourself, how our heart works when we love deeply in this other way.

DaveD said...

I'm an atheist, so you might expect me to gloat about this "scandal", but all I can think of to say is how courageous and heartwarming I found your story. I watched the entire "coming out" sermon, and while you haven't convinced be one iota about God, I am convinced you are a good and honest man. More religious leaders should be like you.

Anonymous said...

It is a very honorable thing to have come out like this in the hopes of supporting gay kids and teens. I am sure it was not an easy thing, given your occupation. But I believe you will help save lives, and I am grateful for that. And I believe you will help at least some of your followers to come to realize that there is nothing wrong or sinful about being gay. So thank you for this brave and selfless act.

Fr. Warren said...

Bishop Jim

I applaud your extraordinary courage and compassion in taking this stand for God's children. I pray for you and the work of all the faithful at CITN and for those who cannot see what a faithful act your coming out has been.

Know that I consider you a brother in Christ and an ambassador of the Gospel of the most authentic variety.

--The Rev'd Warren Hicks, St. Luke's Church, Worcester, MA

Anonymous said...

You are a hero and a great messenger of love and faith.

Poor Lucky Me said...

Your courage and grace has restored my faith- in God and in mankind. Thank you for that, I really needed it!

I pray that you find comfort and hope in all of your supporters, and that your detractors someday see the error in their ways.

Erica Orloff said...

God bless you. I have left organized religion because of the bigotry and unkindness and hypocrisy I see in the name of Christ . . . but it is something like this that restores my heart a little!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Bishop Jim Swilley, you have done something amazingly difficult for anyone, let alone a man of your age and profession. I am proud of you. I am a huge supporter of our local gay community and I commend you for having the strength to be who you are and live your life. My father came out at the age of 61. Finally, after all of these years, he is able to fully be himself and is happier than I could have possibly imagined. Your God made you who you are, be proud :) I hope the difficult times pass as quickly as possible, and you and yours are truly happy. I salute you, Jim Swilley.

Anonymous said...

I have to be honest and tell you that I had not heard of you before you were on the news, but after I heard what you did, I felt I had to write and tell you what a blessing you are to this world and to thank you so much for being honest. I know that had to be so very hard, all things considered, but God was certainly showing you the way. Bless you.

Anonymous said...

Bishop,
As a straight, non-Christian, I have to say-

Preach it.

(and the haters? they need to head back to their holes and examine why their souls are so small.)

Anonymous said...

Bravo! Thank you for being a breath of fresh air in the greater Christian community. We are so used to being vilified by the religious right that your message comes as a shock -- A very powerful, uplifting shock. Thank you for your honesty and integrity.

Anonymous said...

Bish, Debye, DE, --- I just now saw the video!! (Nov.2) I had no idea what y'all were talking about. Guess I don't gossip. I agree(where 2 or 3 agree) that CITN and DE's church, are going someplace no other church has gone. Keep on listening to the truth from your spirit, which is connected to The Spirit. I am amazed that the truth is pulling me to be willing go with you, but I am.( like Tommy in the Philippines) I wish so much that there was a church, really open to all, all means ALL!!!!! I think now
more will feel the truth of the love of inclusion.

Anon in North GA

Anonymous said...

God Bless You. Thank you so much for having the courage to come out and be an inspiration and guiding light of love for so many of us. God bless you and thank you.

Erik said...

I so enjoy all of these comments. Sanity has always been amongst us.

All are excellent. In particular O, comment, 1101, 705 PM. - “Two-spirit” people can also be referred to as ‘spirit’ people, or borderless, or ‘many-spirited’ and other terms. The point is that people have always existed that see, live like a prism, in a kaleidoscope – experience the reality through infinite expressions. If it can be said or written, a light similarity to how G-D sees.

Singular fear is a contrast to peace and acceptance. Law and Love can coexist. In the end, law is subservient to Love. Jesus completed the law, submitted to Love. Thought or consideration that challenges law, is the same as acting it out in full physical reality,

It has always been, The Spirit has always lived as us, before the foundation.

I am pleased to be a witness.

Gentle Lamb said...

Greetings from S'pore. Thankyou for your incredible step of faith,courage and bravery.

Had a visitor to a church once who was gay. Was led by the Holy Spirit to ask him out for coffee. I felt I needed to talk to him. He said no, but smiled at me saying that he is unlikely to come back again. He never came back... he committed suicide and I suspect came to church to reconcile with God.

In Asia, we do really need your ministry.

http://www.psa91.com

Kris K said...

Thank you for coming out. Thank you for having the courage.

If your church was in my area that is where I would go.

God bless

Sonia said...

Speaking of Singapore, there are a number of interesting and moving videos regarding acceptance of GLBT people in that country posted on Youtube if you search using the words: Pink Dot Singapore. To me the best video is still the one created for the 2009 celebration of GLBT families in Hong Lim Park, entitled "Red + White = Pink." There are some other moving testimonies there as well.

dgm2007 said...

cool interview.. i love you guys

Pastor Brian said...

Dear Pastor Jim Swilley,

I just watched the video of your message to your congregation about your sexual orientation. It was an authentic and powerful message for the congregation. But it was also an important and articulate message to the wider Church. I would like to thank you for your careful and care-filled words. At a time of great hypocrisy in the church, depression among gay youth, and tempered support for the LGBT community, you have decided to stand on the side of integrity, support, and boldness. Thank you.

I don't know how this will impact your ministry. But I know that God will continue to use you in good and faithful ways. In fact, I imagine God saying these words from Scripture about your ministry: "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" (Isaiah 43:19). May those sacred words be true in your life and ministry. May God do a new thing through you. And may God make a way in the desert that leads to all kinds of new blessings.

For what it's worth, you have my blessing and support - from one pastor to another.

Peace,

Pastor Brian Brandsmeier

Mary said...

Pastor Swilley, when I found your story on AOL news, you brought a tear to my eye and profound sense of grace to my heart. It takes abundant courage – a blessing from the God you love, who loves you – to go against a popular, often hateful opinion and face the potential of your own alienation in order to save lives. I'm reminded of the question surrounding the Good Samaritan, "Who is my neighbor?" It's the man – the outcast – who showed mercy, and that is what you, through your own cross, have done. You may not physically die by this, but you have laid down your reputation and livelihood on an altar for another's sake, despite whatever consequences there may have been. That's the meaning of Christ's love.

John 15:13 "No one has greater love than this, that one should lay down his life for his friends."

I'd say God Bless you, but I believe he already has.