about Me

about Me

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY / 6 YEARS LATER


In honor of today, October 11, being 'National Coming Out Day' ( +National Coming Out Day on Facebook), and because day after tomorrow, October 13, is the 6th anniversary of my publicly coming out, I have a few reflections and observations that I'd like to share...

First of all, I'm amazed at how time flies, and at how much things have changed in my life, in my thinking, and in the world at large concerning what it means to come out.

As of this writing, Ken and I have been together for going on 5 years, and have been legally married for nearly 2 of those years. We are very happy, very much in love, very committed to one another, our kids and grandkids are good, I am still in the ministry, still a Bishop, and for the most part live the life that I at one time only dared to imagine.

The avalanche of hate mail that I once regularly received from the mainstream Christian world after coming out has pretty much completely disintegrated, and has been replaced by a fairly regular stream of supportive correspondence from around the world. Haven't had a death threat in several years now, and most of my loudest detractors in the Christian media have either lost interest in my story or have died off.

My ministry is considerably scaled down now in size from what it was, which is frankly the way I like it, and the majority of the people who attend Metron are those who have been in covenant with me for many years. Most of them are straight, most of them are married, and most of them were a part of Church In The Now. I'm very proud of the megachurch that I started and pastored for 30 years, but I don't miss the stress of maintaining the budget, physical property and staff that was required to keep it going at all. I just do the part of ministry now that I love, and I live a happy, stress-free life because of it.

I have more to say, but I'll put the rest of the post into video form.
Please click on the link for the video...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahcaY0Vc3ZY



56 comments:

  1. Frances Martin said...

    I didn't know you back then.."BUT" I am so glad I know you now. I have watched that video several times and videos of your ministry then and I am so thankful for what you teach now...

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  2. Linda M Curtis said...

    I knew you then, I know you now; I respected you then, I respect you now; I called you friend then, I call you friend, now; I loved you then, I love you now; you were there for me then, you're there for me now; I heard you then, I hear you now; I used to see you in the NOW, I still see you in the NOW. Was anything "supposed" to change, because you "came out" ? If so, I didn't get that memo. Just keepin it REAL ;)

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  3. Beth Laraine Rehbein said...

    A great day for so many, to live their genuine lives unashamed!

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  4. Leesa Decker Duarte said...

    I don't know who could say it any better than Linda Curtis did! Just perfect!

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  5. Paul Markham Laughlin said...

    I'm so glad u came out. Being visible like that has helped countless others. Thank you Bishop!

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    1. Paul Markham Laughlin said...

      Jim Swilley You have helped me too. I was mistreated very much by the Christian community and by Christians who were close to me. But through you I have learned it is ok to be gay. God made us all different and special.

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  6. Frances Martin said...

    So proud to call you my bishop and friend. I love ya!

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  7. Sherrie Hicks said...

    Geez!!! I've know you about 8 years!! Time flies! #proudofyou

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  8. Larry Young said...

    Wow Bishop...That video was so inspiring And I've heard this all before, but what an affirmation of truth and example of grace & peace your life is Sir! We love you!

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  9. Cynthia Alford said...

    So happy for your courage to be true to yourself and others. Those who love you (like me) will continue to love you. And those who don't, well we know what their opinions are like..

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  10. Galen Collins said...

    Blessings to you and yours. I am touched by you and all that you've been through. You're a true example of what our group should be, but few attain.

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  11. April Woodall said...

    It's been 6 years wow...

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    1. April Woodall said...

      Times flies when your havin fun

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  12. Matilda Hudgins Adams said...

    I always watched you on TV and had respect for you; but,the courage you had to come out,increased that respect so much more.

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    1. Matilda Hudgins Adams said...

      Welcome Bishop! I pray that I get to meet you some day.

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  13. Lori Finch Coyne said...

    You're simply wonderful. ❤

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  14. Sophia Davis said...

    Thank you for sharing! I just watched and got so much from this. <3 <3 <3

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  15. Deea Lewis said...

    Such an awesome video!!! We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. Living in your truth is such a liberating and beautiful thing.

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  16. Ken Marshall said...

    Excellent ! I am so proud of you and us ! When I met you I knew it was time to come out ! It didn't matter who didn't speak to me or not . want to be around me all I knew was it felt right and it was time to live my life and I didn't even look back ! I've said this before but when mama was getting worse and I had to do things for her that really was very emotional for me I prayed for strength and God gave me the strength I needed to do what had to be done to keep her at home . I've been gay all my life and God knew that and he took my hand and walked me through a very emotional time in my life . After mom passed I knew that it was time to live my life so I called on God again to send me someone that I could do that with . I never dreamed he would send me the best he had ! I truly believe you are my reward ! I got the best of both worlds A Pastor that is anointed and the most wonderful husband that I get to share a blessed life with ! I love my husband more every day, I love my family and Jim's family, I love God and I'm very thankful for all his blessings ! I'm very proud and thankful to be able to live my life now as an openly gay married man and not have to hide anymore !

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    1. <3...wow, Ken...that's beautiful and amazing...you're such a good man, and I am so blessed to share my life with you...I love you...<3 <3 <3

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  17. Ed Jarnagin said...

    Thank you for always being so open and thoughtful. I have shared my story with you and Ken and you know some of what I've been through. After seeing your coming out sermon in it's entirety, your honest words and bravery helped me come out in a different way. I was already out to the world as a gay man, but I had closed myself off to the world as a grieving man. I was in a very dark place and wasn't living life. You showed me that if you want to be happy, you have to be you. Words matter. Truth matters. Your words helped save my life. I was at a point where I really didn't care anymore. I am happy now and found love again. 1 year 3 months now! I am super happy for you and Ken. I am thankful that you both are friends of mine. I love and respect you both so much. Thank you for what you've done and continue to do for me and thank you for what you have done and continue to do for so many others.

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    1. Wow, Ed...that just gave me chills...thanks so much...so happy for your happiness!

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    2. Ed Jarnagin said...

      Love you both!

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  18. LeAnn Skinner said...

    Love you Bish. :) <3

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  19. Amy Hamrick said...

    Never been so proud of you!!

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  20. Earl Harville said...

    Your authenticity is so very welcomed. It is inspiring. We need more folks in ministry to stand up and speak truth about their God-given sexuality so more people, in turn, can find live honestly. God bless.

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  21. Trey Daniels said...

    I watching this in its entirety yesterday and was very touched by the love in the room for you and knowing this must have been very difficult for you.(yes it made me tear up) I have not known you very long since I recently met you through Ken, but I certainly look forward to more time with the two of you. Both of you are very good men and I wish you all the best in your future with the ministry and personally.

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  22. First rate pastoring.

    "You have a strong heart." ~ Neytiri

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  23. Deb Perkins Muehlstein said...

    Bishop so proud of you & to see how much you have grown over those 6 yrs. So thankful you can be true to yourself & live your best life... Congrats! <3

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  24. Earl Harville said...

    Your authenticity is so very welcomed. It is inspiring. We need more folks in ministry to stand up and speak truth about their God-given sexuality so more people, in turn, can find live honestly. God bless.

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  25. Nancy Lynn Pugh said...

    I told you then and I think it's even more true today ... You have saved so many lives and impacted so many people all over the world with your courage and openness ! Please know that what you did had an impact that I don't think you or most others can understand ! You were a voice that some of us needed and your voice continues to give us hope and courage! You are one of the bravest people I've ever met and you continue to inspire myself and so many others ! Thank you from the depths of my heart and being! I love you !

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  26. Laura Irby said...

    If you had never had the courage to come out, I never would have had the pleasure of getting to know you through this forum...you have enriched my life through your zest for life, compassion for your fellow man and obvious love of family and your calling. It's only right that you are free to be your most authentic self!

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  27. David C Denny said...

    Thanku bishop Jim Swilley for your openness , strength and courage to me and so many in the community that have your true support. growing up in such a conservative town where i live its hard to be ones self, you have saved so many lives out there and that truely means alot to me and so many. Im so thankful each and everyday for you Jim , Ken , & your whole family and all of your ministry its touched me and so many lives your our true voice . Thanku for all that you do Jim it touches so many of our lives and makes a true difference Thanku Jim.

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