about Me

about Me

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


A few observations about the show Preachers on Oxygen ("Preachers of Atlanta"), premiering tonight on the Oxygen network...

First of all, I couldn't be more proud of Judah Benjamin Swilley for rising to the occasion of this opportunity. 

All of my kids have been completely supportive of me through my coming out and living my own truth, they all love my husband, Ken Marshall, and they’re all coming over to our loft tonight for a viewing party (Judah is co-hosting his own event, but he’s going to stop by, too). All four of my kids live 5-10 minutes from us, and they really are all my best friends.

But because Judah is the one who is in ministry, he is the one whose professional life has been the most (negatively) affected by my journey. His public support of me has closed countless doors for him in the church world, but ironically, it’s also the main reason he was chosen to be on the show. The very thing that has closed doors for him has now opened a huge one for him!

‘POA' actually approached me a couple of years ago about being a part of the ensemble cast that they were putting together at the time, but decided to move in a different direction. It would have been an obvious choice for them to make the ATL part of the franchise sort of a Pastoral “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”...they could have made it about wealthy megachurch leaders and their mansions and Bentleys (sort of a “'CRIBS' for Jesus’), but they opted for going with a younger cast of charismatic individuals who were a little more urban, a little more “street", and a little more in touch with the grittier side of ministry.

As you can see from the clip, the show isn’t afraid to deal with cutting edge topics, and they certainly don’t make it easy on Judah, particularly about me.

As soon as I posted something on my FB page the other day about the show, the religious, homophobic hate mail started back up almost immediately, and several people said to me “I hope it’s worth it for you to go through this all over again.”

The answer to that is yes, it’s worth it!

Judah knew what he was getting into when he took this on, and he and I discussed it at length before he signed a contract with NBC/Universal (the parent company). 

He can handle the pressure from the religious fundamentalists, and the exposure from this show will be a national platform for his own unique ministry. It’s really a way for him to be proactive with the hand that life has dealt him, and it’s a good thing. His experience with the production team has been very positive, and he was paid handsomely for doing the show, so what’s not to like about it? 

As far as the negative things that people say on Social Media, there’s nothing that we haven’t heard a million times, and for him, as it is with me, that stuff is like water off a duck’s back. We don’t even pay attention to it or notice it any more. When you’re an iconoclast, that kind of thing just comes with the territory. 

The entire “Preachers of…” franchise is mostly an African-American series, geared to an African-Amercian audience, and the conventional wisdom has been that homophobia in the Black Church is more extreme than it is in other parts of Christendom. You can’t prove that by me because I’ve experienced just as much vehemence from white church people as I have from anyone else, but I do believe that it's part of the reason they found Judah’s story compelling. The conflict makes for good TV. 

But, all in all, this is a good thing, and we're excited about it. 

i am grateful that Judah’s gift has made room for him.

Should be an interesting ride...


  1. Linda M Curtis said...

    Judah TIME......He's gonna Rock these Ages and then some...

    Good post right there, Bish ~ enjoy your family & your <3

  2. Melissa Floyd Hall said...

    I'm so proud of Judah Benjamin Swilley and I can't wait to watch him let his Light shine on POA...

  3. Dennis Massie said...

    Great clip, you should be very proud of Judah I know I am.

  4. Patricia Hutchinson said...

    That was a good clip. Will get the talking and communicating started.

  5. Ken Marshall said...

    Great post ! Very proud of Judah ! Looking forward to watching the show with everyone !

  6. Mark Alan Fout said...

    Wow! This is great! Kudos to Judah for taking this opportunity and all that it entails both positive and negative. I'm sure that as his father you couldn't be more proud..and rightfully so! I commend every one that has contributed to the building of this young man's character. Wonderful!

  7. Emilio D'Angelo said...

    I'm proud of Judah and this is something that most of us would say we would do the same and I don't believe that is true. He is very strong and I know God will help him and give him what he needs for the task at hand. I'm thankful to everyone around him who helped in his journey with God to bring him to this point. I feel that most people who are gay would not get this kind of support from their family member. I'm not saying that any of this is really about Bishop specifically but that because of Judah's life it makes him the perfect person for this part. Love you all and praying all of God's best for Judah and all the family.

  8. Emilio D'Angelo said...

    Bishop Jim Swilley I just have to say again thank you for being strong and coming out the way you did as a popular and well known minister of the gospel I know your life was hell for a while until you worked through the pain and God raised you up again. I know watching you is a big part of why Judah is the strong independent man he is. I thank God for you and your whole family, Hugs!

  9. Avery Price Rogers said...

    Well, then! Loved the faces after Judah's announcement smile emoticonI hear in my head a teaching, given @1877 Iris, about how living a real life with Jesus is like riding a roller coaster with Bubba...us white-knuckle screaming all the way the first time...and when it's over, He says with great glee "Let's do it AGAIN! Hands up this time!!" ...click,click,click...

  10. Matthew Ryan Smith said...

    Bring it!! Glad our generation is moving in the right direction. Movers and shakers. Amen!!

  11. Terrell Christopher Davis said...

    Maaannnn I'm soooo stoked!!

  12. Jonathan Rutledge said...

    I am excited to watch.

  13. Jojo Bongos Bailey said...


  14. Terrell Christopher Davis said...

    As a member of Church in the Now since I moved to GA back in 2006 I am a product of the love and acceptance that flowed from the pulpit and life of Bishop Jim Swilley, and am very honored and blessed to have spent some one on one time with Judah as friends and as my youth pastor. I have no doubt that everyone who watches this show will be absolutely blessed by it, and will see the spirit of integrity and Christ's truly unconditional love that flows through this family.

  15. I wish I lived closer to you guys. I hate the closed minded negativity of churches anymore, and might go to church if there were pastors like you and your son around here!

  16. I wish I lived closer to you guys. I hate the closed minded negativity of churches anymore, and might go to church if there were pastors like you and your son around here!