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about Me

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

PEACE ON EARTH...


“Peace I leave with you; I’m talking about My own, personal sense of peace, wholeness and well-being; I’m actually transferring it to you. You see, My peace is unlike the peace that comes from this realm...the peace that is reactionary and temporal, dependent on outward circumstances to determine its strength and presence. My peace is other-worldly – settled, absolute – causing you to be in harmony with your whole life – past, present, and future – and ultimately with the whole of creation. It will empower you to refuse to let your heart (your inner world) become troubled, agitated, or upset, no matter what is happening around you, and you can be fearless because you will be at peace with the Father, with yourself, and with the universe."
(John 14:27 - John In The Now)

Friday, November 1, 2013

CHURCH IN THE NOW MIDTOWN IN THE GA VOICE

CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE: http://www.thegavoice.com/community/sports/6732--religious-organizations-at-pride-in-abundance - Or read it here (paragraphs about CHURCH IN THE NOW MIDTOWN in blue)

____________________________________________________

RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS AT PRIDE IN ABUNDANCE

Written by Ryan McKenzie   
Friday, 25 October 2013 12:47
 

Religion is often a controversial, hot button issue when it comes to the LGBT community. Although many of the more devout members of various faiths are notoriously anti-gay, numerous Christian churches as well as the LGBT-led Congregation Bet Haverim came to the 43rd annual Atlanta Pride to show their support and love for those who identify as LGBT.

10-25-13 churches p. 10 McKenzie

Pride festival attendee confronts anti-gay protestor, who refused to reveal the name of the church he attends.

Clearly, they were in the majority. However, there was a small contingent of anti-LGBT individuals – most armed with placards quoting Biblical scripture – who attended specifically to protest.

St. Mark’s United Methodist Church has been attending Atlanta Pride for several years and is a well-known place of worship in the Atlanta gay community. Eighty percent of the congregation is LGBT, according to church member Larry Lucas. St. Mark’s has seen its fair share of opposition, especially from First Baptist Church of Atlanta.

“They were boycotting us because of our support for LGBT people, but First Baptist is no longer in Midtown. They moved to Marietta,” said Lucas.

The Episcopal Church has several locations throughout the metro Atlanta area that are welcoming of the LGBT community. This year marked the 25th anniversary of Atlanta’s chapter of Integrity, which is the national Episcopal organization for its LGBT members.

The Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception displayed its booth to let Pride goers know that the Catholic Church is accepting of LGBT people, despite statements made by the previous Pope. “We believe that everyone deserves God’s love. We are open and accepting, no matter who you are,” said Immaculate Conception member Joe Agostini.

Bishop Jim Swilley of Midtown’s Church In The Now made a bold move when he came out to his congregation a few years ago. He claimed to have lost about 2,000 of his members when he revealed that he was gay. However, he is impressed with the progress that has been made since his church has been affiliated with Pride. 

“This is our third year, and each year I have been able to tell how much things have progressed,” said Swilley. “The first year I was here, I didn’t notice any families or straight couples, but this year I have seen so many people with kids and even straight couples attending. Pride is sort of a touchstone for me to see how much things have progressed, and this has been the best one yet.”

Although messages of love and tolerance from churches resounded throughout Piedmont Park, there were some with a not-so-accepting ideology just beyond the park’s gates. Protestors with blaring megaphones and signs touting hate and intolerance towards gays gathered outside of the park to let Pride goers know that their church viewed the LGBT community as immoral.

This led to several shouting matches between the protestors and those attending Pride. One group of Pride members sang Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” to counter protest the negative messages. One protestor, who called himself “Brother Ben” but would not identify the specific church he was affiliated with, claimed to be “upholding the righteousness of the Bible and Jesus Christ.”

When asked if he would be attending the Sunday parade, Brother Ben said, “Oh yeah. We’ll be here for that. We’ve been coming to this for 13 years.”

The array of churches and religious representatives with differing viewpoints on the LGBT community that showed up at Pride exemplified the contrasting attitudes among denominations.

In response to the religious protestors, Swilley said this: “Everybody has a right to say their thing. My issue with these guys is if they feel so passionate about six verses in the Bible, then why aren’t they everywhere where people are doing things that go against the Bible? I don’t understand why they are picking on this [LGBT] group specifically.”

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013

REACHING OUT AT ATLANTA PRIDE 2013

What an excellent weekend we've had here in the ATL at this year's Pride! In two days I never even left our booth to go look around, except to grab a quick bite, because the stream of thousands of people coming by never stopped or even diminished. So many from around the country came up to me to thank me for coming out (today was the third anniversary of doing it publicly), and for continuing to minister to the LGBT community. I was able to do several interviews, network with other churches, ministries, and charitable organizations, advertise CHURCH IN THE NOW MIDTOWN, and make hundreds of new friends. Here are a few highlights...more pics to come on the CITNM blog...
 
 
Doing an interview with The GA VOICE...
 
 

Signing copies of 'FIRST, THE GOOD NEWS...
 
 
With the staff of David Magazine...
 
 
1,000 CDs of 'A Real Message to Real People' passed out...


With Cori Lamont from CHURCH IN THE NOW EAST...


 With Philip Bray of Safehouse...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

LIVE AND LEARN!


I posted this article a few weeks ago about Alan Chambers, the President of EXODUS INTERNATIONAL, who officially closed the doors of the ministry and offered a public apology to gay people who have been hurt over the last 37 years by it and its unfulfilled promise/hope of conversion and sexual orientation reassignment.

CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/exodus-international-closes-article-1.1378129

I have been extremely outspoken about EI over the years, and was even very opinionated about Alan, personally, after seeing him interviewed by Lisa Ling for the documentary, 'Pray the Gay Away' some time ago. My thought was that people like him (he is married to a woman and has two adopted children) just continue/reinforce the illusion that gay people can change their orientation, or that orientation is a choice. Without even knowing him, I judged him as being a liar, a coward, and a hypocrite because he just seemed to me like another gay man in denial, and I'm so far on the other side of coming out that I want to tell every gay person (including every gay Christian) who is married to the opposite sex to stop the delusion and the delaying of the inevitable, and just come out so that both they and their spouse can stop living a lie and get on with their authentic lives...

And in the last three years since coming out, I have received so many letters from gay people who have told me horror stories of being put through conversion therapies, shock treatments, exorcisms and what have you, and nearly every one of those letters included a reference to being a part of EI at one time or another...so my already negative opinion of it was greatly colored to be even more intolerant of it.

In a word, I rejoiced when I read that Mr. Chambers had ended the ministry.

But I was invited to a retreat last week of mostly ministers, and Alan Chambers was there and we spent some time together and talked very openly and candidly over a couple of meals during the week, and what I found from meeting him and talking to him was that I still have a lot to learn.

As it turns out, Alan is a good man, and from what I can tell, seems to be a good husband and a good father. In our initial conversation I was very free in expressing my ideas about what I thought about him and about people that I perceive to be like him, and I said several things that he could have easily been offended by or taken issue with, but he seemed fine with everything I said.

He listened very calmly and intently to me, and never took a defensive posture about his marriage and/or about what it represents, especially in the Christian church-world. He was very open minded about everything that we talked about, and even gave me a better understanding of what EXODUS actually was and was not.

And even though he is on somewhat of a different theological page, he never got argumentative over my interpretation of Scripture, and never passed judgment on me for my decision to come out and live as an openly gay man (and stay in the ministry...)

Most importantly for me, he never denied that he has SSA, and knows he always will.

I was so impressed with him, that by the end of the week I offered him an apology for all I had thought and said about EI and about him, and thanked him for educating me about several things that I needed to know.

Don't get me wrong, I still think the world would be a better place if all the gay people in it would just go ahead and come out and stop trying to be something that they are not and never will be. And I still do not believe in conversion therapy (although, according to Alan, EI never actually dealt in that, which was news to me)...I still believe that it is very dangerous.

But I met a man at that retreat who was and is in a different place in his life than I am, and I understood that he has to do what he feels is right for him, just like I had/have to do what was/is right for me. He loves his wife. He loves his kids. His children are still small, and he is very engaged in their lives, which I certainly understand (been there, done that), so his commitment to his home-life is the product of a very different paradigm from mine (one with grown kids)...


What I realized after talking to him is that every person's (including every gay person's) journey is completely different, and is, frankly, none of my business. If Alan Chambers chooses to stay married to his wife for the rest of his life, live in the heterosexual relationship model, and raise his children in a more traditional home setting, then more power to him...especially because he is telling the truth about his innate sexual orientation, and not pretending that it is something that it is not. And, even more especially, because he is not condemning of those of us who could no longer live that way.

It was good for me to meet him and talk to him.

I learned a lot.

And I'm still rejoicing that EXODUS INTERNATIONAL is no more (by the way, it was very brave of Alan to close it)...

And I'm happy that Alan Chambers is my brother...

 
 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less.
That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought."
(Matthew 5:5 - The Message)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

FIRST THE GOOD NEWS: A Thorough Examination


Hi Bishop!

Kevin Main blessed me with a copy of your book and I finally got it on Thursday. Read almost half of it in the first sitting that same day, then finished it off on the second pick-up on Saturday (yesterday). I had felt like I was the last person on earth to get to read it and so the anticipation was huge. I had avoided, as much as I could, reading your early blogs that shared parts of the rough draft and I think I only read one. So I really wasn't sure what to expect.

What I discovered was a book that captivated me, kept a smile on my face faithfully, brought me to tears more than once and continued to confirm what I've always said before: you are the most anointed and relevant minister I've ever known.

This is a well-crafted masterpiece. Rare and original. I'd often toyed with the idea of creating such a book based on my own studies and life. But in the past few years when I finally discovered that there were believers who had already published such affirming books I felt it was not necessary, nor did I feel any longer qualified as theirs were so good.

Yours certainly joins the ranks as a "must read" and adds so much more to it that, as you said, it's not really just a book about being gay. You had something to say that no one else could have said.
 
I also appreciated the fact that you shared opinions/beliefs that are not necessarily in alignment with those of other authors of gay-affirming books. Such as what certain verses really say. Example, if Jesus really did (even thru implication) say anything about gays, if the word Eunuch could imply both gays AND physically mutilated men, if Paul ever had in mind any same-sex oriented men in  his writings, etc.

I'll admit when I first read books such as Gay Christian 101 (by Rick Brentlinger), The Children Are Free (Connely & Tyler?), Pastor Sandy Turnbull's latest (God's Gay Agenda), etc, I was quick to agree with their findings. We often do that, don't we? We can get so eager to "prove" our beliefs, so when we hear anything that adds weight to our argument we eat it up! "See! See! They see it too! Why can't you?!" hehehe.

But you have helped me to appreciate, once again, a diversity of perspectives. Even concerning bisexuality. So I'm still digesting all you said and of course will begin reading it again probably later today or tomorrow. I'm still shaping and forming my beliefs as we all are. Right now I DO think the books of the Bible contain many affirming passages (including things Jesus said) and that in it's original language and context none of the "clobber" verses were referring to the committed love relationship found between two people. But again I take your thoughts into consideration and value them equally as well.

As I've said before, our personal stories aren't identical but they do have points that are similar, so your personal letters at the end to your kids and Terri and Debye moved me personally as well. Your pain from venom-laced messages from "concerned friends" is a pain many of us have felt for decades, yet I think you probably get top-prize for volume. Take what I dealt with from others and multiply it by a gayzillion and that's probably what you went thru. Hats off to ya again! You stood your ground, kept your cool (as much as you could) and are still standing!

Finally, I thought your book was complete and covered much of my favorite issues within religion, fundamentalism, and current mainstream theology. I loved the way you kept the GOOD NEWS thread clear through it all. You wrote about what you knew and that was powerful! I only have three questions that lingered in my mind as I finished.

1. You had mentioned in Chapter 9 that you'd talk about David & Jonathan but you didn't get a chance to or perhaps changed your mind about addressing your thoughts on their relationship. I'm just curious what you see there between them, if anything.

2. You mentioned not really seeing others as bisexual. I, myself, don't use that label anymore, but I still have to admit I have an attraction to women. I've read studies on how its all on a scale and that someone can be like 80% attracted to the same sex and 20% to the other or 60% to same and 40% to opposite and so on. From an early age I recall attractions to both and they were genuine. So I can't deny its a real issue for some. If we flat out deny there is such a thing as a bisexual, isn't that the same as when others flat out deny that we are born gay or that we could have possibly started having same-sex attraction at an early age? Which brings me to the final question:

3. You mentioned believing that we are born gay. I believe the same also. But do you think its hereditary? In the genes? From what limited studies I've found on it, there does seem to be some findings to suggest it, and in my own family I've seen a match on what I read but I was just curious what you think.

So once again you have created a gem, worthy to stand alongside all your other classics. Your mind, your writing style, your "realness", your wit, your ability to talk TO this generation and not over them or down to them (us) is always refreshing and once again I'm changed, encouraged, built up, inspired and more determined. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

In Christ,

Mike Gordon

Gordon Family Ministries, Philippines


Thanks so much for your very thorough, thoughtful, and insightful review, Mike...I really appreciate it...I was going to answer your three (very good) questions here on the post, but I think I'll just write them to you, personally, for now...again, thanks!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Great Message!


Thank you for allowing God to work through you. I watched your interview on TV and tears rolled down my eyes, I sobbed. I didn't accept who God made me since the time I was taught that who I am wasn't right. Yes, I got to a point I felt suicidal. But then you coming up an speaking out saved my life. I started to study the bible in context I learnt again that God told Moses that He is who he is, and then I began to accept myself that I am that I am. I came to conclude that Moses was homophobic when he wrote that law and some of his scholars like Paul echoed it... Paul used some of Moses laws to persecute the Christians. Moses was raised and educated by Egyptians, took up some of their habits too, how they wrote their laws and build their temples. Yes He met God and wrote the first five books from the creation story and he was used by God in an amazing way but.. We all are imperfect with a perfect God. We can't put God in our box. We can try to define God using human language and understanding and give Him names as we have always done over thousands of years and even write books but He is who He is as he told Moses. If u literally translated it from the Hebrew bible it is "I will be what I will be" or shall be. But despite what I have come to learn, there is still more and God still speaks. I want to Thank you for the step you took You brought down the images that governed my mind And I came to understand God better.

God Bless you

You and Ken are a beautiful couple and I love you

Thank you for accepting my friend request

Yours in Christ,

Nic

Friday, August 30, 2013

GAY ICON: BAYARD RUSTIN

 
This week we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. Basically, the event would have never taken place without BAYARD RUSTIN (1912-1987), who was the organizer and the brains behind the entire unprecedented and history-making gathering.
 
Mr. Rustin was not only a brilliant administrator, he was also a brave, openly gay man, even in the early 60's and at the time of the march. He was a leader in social movements for civil rights, pacifism and non-violence, and gay rights
 
It is appropriate to give honor where honor is due, so hats off to a great gay man who was ahead of his time!
 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

In Today's Mail

"Bishop Jim I just finished reading your new book about Good News. Wow thank you for your openness and transparency...It was so refreshing to read your thoughts and inspirations. Thank you, thank you for being real! When I got to the story of your first love at age 11 before Wed. Night church I just wept driving my car with my mother-in-law and my drummer just looking at me. I turned the kindle off and drove the rest of the way in silence to church. You brought me back to Love! It has opened a place in my soul to love like when I was 11. I have spent so many years as an out gay affirming minister helping our community reconcile their love for God and the Bible that I truly had lost the tender innocence of love. I have been singing a song all year in my private worship time by Amy Grant called "innocence lost"...Thank you for being obedient to The Lord and writing that painful chapter. I am amazed and thankful at the gentle work of Christ in our lives."

JW
 

Thanks so much...your message really did make my day! As I said in the book, that chapter was really hard to write, but I included it for the sake of all the straight people who think that orientation is a choice, or that being gay is just a sexual aberration or some kind of fetish or perversion...I get so much mail from people who tell me they have similar stories of non-sexual, first-love...some people call it puppy love, but that kind of love is very real to the puppy...many of the gay teen suicides aren't about being victims of bullying, they're about relationships, and kids trying to understand their innate, emotional feelings...
 
Thanks again for your kind words...I took the liberty of including them on the blog...may God continue to bless you in all you do!
 
JES

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

RE-POST: Yes, Jared Swilley is My Son! Part II

This was originally posted in May of 2011, and until recently was the most-read article on the blog...Jared turned 30 last week...the pic is from the birthday party he shared with Jonah (my youngest who turned 20 a few days before)...so much has happened since he originally wrote me this letter, and a lot has changed...but none of the important things have changed...I am so thankful for all the relationships in my life, but especially the ones with my kids and grandkids...God is good!

8/11/2013 - Judah Swilley, Jim Swilley, Jonah Swilley, and Jared Swilley
CLICK HERE FOR ORGINAL POST: JUST AS I AM: Yes, Jared Swilley is My Son! Part II: A couple of hours ago I spoke to Jared (my oldest son) in Manchester, England, where he and his band are currently playing. They are doing v...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

GOD LOVES LEFTIES

Today is INTERNATIONAL LEFT-HANDERS DAY, and on this auspicious occasion, I would like to take the opportunity to wish all of my leftie brothers and sisters a Happy Holiday...I am also including a pertinent excerpt from my book FIRST THE GOOD NEWS: The Positive Truth about God, The Gospel, and What it Really Means to be Gay (available at https://www.amazon.com/Swilley and www.jimswilleybooks.com) about being left-handed in this very predominately right-handed world...it's a piece that I think many gay people who have experienced religious intolerance will relate to...



One other thought...

It was suggested by someone...maybe more than one person, actually...that over the last few years I "created" a theology for myself that would make it easier for me to come out as a gay man...in other words, I just did away with hell, entirely, so that I could say I was gay with no fear of being sent to that bad place where all the gays go, according to conventional church-wisdom.

When I first heard this accusation I deeply resented it because what I believe about the Scriptures and about Jesus, the Word made flesh, is the result of years and years of my own prayer and study and revelation.

Preaching the Ministry of Reconciliation....the saving of the whole world by Jesus Christ on the cross...is not a theological fad for me.

I don't believe in it because someone else taught it, or because it's a popular teaching (because it's not...)

I am not a devotee of any other preacher or teacher...what I believe and preach is what I really and deeply believe to be true.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the accusation may not be entirely untrue, and I came to terms with it.

I can say that with no apology.



As I already said, I'm left-handed...I was born that way...I know I didn't choose it...but there was a time in history (and not really that long ago) that left-handed people were burned at the stake by the church because they were thought to be demon-possessed.

Had I lived in that time, I'm sure my left-handedness would have forced me into a deeper study of the Scriptures...that is, if I had time when I wasn't running for my life!

I'm sure I would have thought that God just couldn't be so impossibly unfair as to create you as you are, but then send you to hell because of the very way He created you!

And even though the right-handed people couldn't understand why some people "chose" the evil left-handed lifestyle, I would want to make them understand that even if left-handed people forced themselves to write with their right hands to please God, by nature they were still and always would be left-handed. They could write with their right hands, but it would always feel wrong (unnatural) to them.

I have blue eyes, but if I had read in the Bible that all blue-eyed people go to hell, I think it's safe to say that I could not have accepted that. My biological reality together with my belief in God would force me into a deeper study of the Scriptures...because if God's that mean and unjust, then we're all in big trouble.

So did my being gay force me into being open to interpreting the Scriptures differently than in the way I had been taught about salvation and grace and eternity and all that?

Perhaps.

Probably.

But if that's what it took to move me into a discovery of the fullness of the Truth, then so be it.

I would hope that I would have come to my theological conclusions had I been born heterosexual, but who knows?

One way or the other, it's all good.

It has brought me to the conclusion that, in the big picture, all that really matters is the GOOD NEWS.

OK, enough about that...I have other questions to answer...


But, yes, Jesus is the way...


Jesus is Lord...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Reflections On a Chicken Sandwich

This is a great article written by my friend, Howard Blount...
 
 


So today marks a year since thousands of Christians waited in line for hours in fast food chicken sandwich outlets across the nation to support the COO's First Amendment right to freedom of speech. But this show of support did not feel loving, compassionate, or tenderhearted as one might expect from Followers of Jesus. It smacked more of "mob rule," not unlike that of historical inquisitions, witch hunts, and lynchings. I remember sitting at my computer that day in shock and awe, as I watched the Body of Christ show its true colors.


I was incredulous.


Painful pictures and posts from people I loved, people I thought were my friends, family members, and church leaders rolled across my screen.

"I waited in line for four hours!"


"Cars were lined up around the block . . . ."


"I finally got mine!"


I do not believe any Christians who participated in this shameful event paused for even a moment to ask themselves if Jesus would have waited in that line, or held up a bag of fast food in triumph. WWJD was thrown out the window. Not that we all don't fail to show love in some regard on a daily basis. But this was different. This demonstration was corporate, offensive, and intentional.


And what was the effect of this militant public display? Did any marginalized person feel God's love? Was anyone drawn closer to Jesus? Were the church altars packed the following Sunday with repentant sinners?


I think not . . . .

But I do believe some good—other than record-breaking sales for a fast food chain—was accomplished that day. In addition to its status as an infamous day in Church history, August 1, 2012, was an effective polarizer. Although there will always be those who stand by in apathetic silence, most Christians were put in a position where they were forced to choose sides. Unfortunately for most, the side of love did not win the day. My prayer, however, is that in the past year many Christians who demonstrated un-Christlike behavior that day have "considered their ways" and perhaps even repented of their actions.


The commands of Jesus are two-fold and simple: Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. If waiting in line does not show love, then it's time to step out!


I like the way the Phillips translation of the Apostle Paul's words in Romans 2: 1-4 puts it:


"Now if you feel inclined to set yourself up as a judge of those who sin, let me assure you, whoever you are, that you are in no position to do so. For at whatever point you condemn others you automatically condemn yourself, since you, the judge, commit the same sins. God’s judgment, we know, is utterly impartial in its action against such evil-doers. What makes you think that you who so readily judge the sins of others, can consider yourself beyond the judgment of God? Are you, perhaps, misinterpreting God’s GENEROSITY and patient MERCY towards you as weakness on his part? Don’t you realize that God’s KINDNESS is meant to lead you to repentance?"


So, should Christians ever defend the First Amendment right to freedom of speech? Absolutely! I am exercising that right even now, as I write this note. But before we take action, we should examine the content of the spoken words we endorse. Are they words that build up, or words that tear down? We must never abuse our freedom by condoning speech that pronounces judgment upon a sister or brother, nor should we ever support hate speech directed at others, even when we disagree.

Jesus said it BEST, "By this EVERYONE will know that you are my disciples, if you LOVE one another . . . .”


https://www.facebook.com/notes/howard-blount/reflections-on-a-chicken-sandwich/10151843465635439

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

This Just In

Dear Mr. Swilley,
I want to thank you and commend you you for being brave and coming out. You have already saved some young child from harm by letting them know there is nothing wrong with being gay. I wish in my day I had more role models like yourself so my self loathing would have never appeared. I tried numerous times to kill myself and thankfully I did not succeed. I am not a Christian nor a church goer but, I do know the higher spirits are thankful for you and the world is a better place with you in it.
   
Happier days for everyone,  - T.B.




Grace and peace to you Bishop. I met you at the vision church during our convocation. I want to first say your a blessings to the body of Christ and it was an honor serving you during the service. I am launching my church next year and I have been in prayer for a great mentor and The Lord gave me your name. I pray that God would revel the same to you. Don't have much to say but I really thank God for you Bishop. Blessings upon you and your family.

- ESM



Bishop Swilley,

I guess I am coming late to the party because somehow I just now found your coming out video online. I do not know how I have missed your story all this time, up until yesterday in fact, but I just finished watching it for the third time and in the words of Elton John, "Someone saved my life tonight".  
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.
- JTK

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Letter to a Fundamentalist Homophobe

Dear Fundamentalist,

Please stop sending me passages of Scripture that you think are applicable to my life, in an effort to vent your homophobia upon me, and sit in judgment of me or of things about my life that you couldn't possibly understand. I've read the Bible throughout the entirety of my life, and have studied at length the handful of statements made by Moses and Paul that people like you continually use to try to manipulate people like me, and I understand them in their proper context, so your efforts to rebuke me are in vain.

I am a Christian, and I know that Jesus was completely silent on the subject of sexual orientation, so don't even try to go there with me, because what matters most to me as a follower of Christ is what He said.

Don't tell me about Sodom and Gomorrah, because the weird account in Genesis of those ancient, barbarian people wanting to gang-rape angels ("strange flesh") in the streets has no more relevance to my life than it does to yours. Besides, according to Ezekiel (16:49), the "Sin of Sodom" was arrogance and indifference to the poor.

Read your Bible.

And don't quote me the two statements Moses made in Leviticus about two men lying together. You don't live by Levitical Law, so don't try to impose it upon me, either...unless you also think it's wrong to eat shrimp, lobster and pork, shave, wear blended fabrics...or you stand for a law that says that kids who have bad attitudes should be stoned to death by the elders of the city, or believe that when your wife is on her menstrual cycle she should sleep outside, or that if your daughter is raped you should be able to sell her to the rapist at a reduced price. If you're going to play the Moses card, then play the whole deck!

And please don't cut and paste the first chapter of Paul's letter to the Romans to me. Whatever rites of pagan temple worship involving prostitute-priests that is described there is no more applicable to me than it is to you. Besides, I do retain God in my knowledge, I am very thankful, I do worship the Creator, and believe that He is the Creator of all things, and I certainly have not been "turned over to a reprobate mind". People like you really like to use that one because it can be so intimidating to people like me, but I assure you that I know I have the Mind of Christ, and my knees bow and my tongue confesses to the glory of God that Jesus Christ is Lord! You should read the rest of the chapter and look at all the kinds of people who are listed there, and you may find that YOU have, in fact, been turned over to a reprobate mind! Then go read the first part of the next chapter and see what it says about the people who judge the people mentioned in the first chapter! You may be surprised.

Paul I know...

And I know what he said to the Corinthians in his first epistle to them (Chapter 6). Don't try to keep me out of heaven with that one because he was talking about who he personally thought would not inherit the kingdom, and it wasn't just people with same-sex attraction. And, by the way, if you're such a devotee of Paul's, then you better have short hair if you're a man, and long hair if you're a woman (and cover your head in church and submit to men), you better be cool with slavery, and you better not get married for any other reason than to keep yourself from burning with lust!

Paul was a great man who was mightily used by God, but even he himself said that some of his words were just his opinion, and not the commandment of the Lord. The Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit, but it was written by straight men to straight men, and is therefore limited in its scope of understanding of the issues of same-gender loving people.

And don't call me a "dog"...I am a Son of God, and that word (translated into Elizabethan English) was used for any one who was perceived to be "different". And in the last chapter of Revelation, John says that the Spirit and the Bride say "Come" to all who are outside the City of God, including the "dogs"!

And don't cite stupid platitudes to me like "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve", or tell me that you "Love the sinner, but hate the sin", because I know the Genesis story, and I know that you don't love me, or people like me, you just have a need to mind the business of other people for some reason, or you fear what you don't understand. Perhaps you are dealing with your own sexual orientation issues and need to deflect on people like me. Whatever the case, you're wasting your time in trying to clobber me with the same 5 or 6 Bible verses. I wear the helmet of salvation, and am immune to your silly mind games!

And I've heard it all before.

The bottom line is that you don't own God or Jesus or the Bible or Christianity. He's my God, too, and I am fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. He's my Jesus, too, and He is my Lord. It's my Bible, too, and I love it as much as you do, even though I know that it must be rightly divided, because the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life! I've always been gay because I was born gay, and I am fine with who I am, just as I am ("Can the thing formed say to Him that formed him, Why did you make me thus?"). I am God's workmanship!

How about just minding your own business, and try concentrating on doing what JESUS actually said...and what He didn't say. He didn't say a thing about homosexuality, but He did say a whole lot about walking in LOVE!

Oh, one more thing...King James, the one who authorized the version of the Bible you like to quote so much was an openly gay man.

Just thought you should know.

Sincerely,

A Gay Christian

Saturday, June 29, 2013

GAME CHANGER!


This phrase keeps coming up when people talk to me about their opinion of  FIRST THE GOOD NEWS, THE POSITIVE TRUTH ABOUT GOD, THE GOSPEL, AND WHAT IT REALLY MEANS TO BE GAY...

I recently had lunch with a straight, published author from the evangelical community, who has enjoyed a fruitful and successful ministry for years, and he also used the term to describe the book after having read it...

He told me that it made him re-think so many things that he had assumed, and that he believed it would have the same effect on others like him...

The sale of  FTGN has really picked up in the last few days, especially after the interview with Jacob Israel (see previous two posts)...

Also, you can now get it on Amazon Kindle/Kindle Fire...we've sold 7 of those in the last few days!

I love the vibration on the words: GAME CHANGER, and I receive the prophetic impact of them!

Available at amazon.com and at www.jimswilleybooks.com

Thursday, June 27, 2013

INTERVIEW ON SCOTUS RULING

Here's the link to my recent interview concerning the
Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality...

 
 
My thanks to Diana Davis and WSB Channel 2 for the interview...the finished product is edited way down for time constraints, but we still were able to discuss quite a bit...
 
 
THANKS, EVERYONE, FOR THE COMMENTS POSTED HERE!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

EXODUS INTERNATIONAL CLOSES!

The headline reads:

Exodus International, largest ex-gay ministry, shuts down, apologizes for causing gays pain

President Alan Chambers, who has struggled with same-sex attraction, says the organization has been ‘imprisoned’ in a worldview that is not truly biblical.

click here for article:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/exodus-international-closes-article-1.1378129

This is such an answer to prayer! And thanks to those of you who contacted me about this story today, because I had not heard the news yet...in the last three years I have received hundreds and hundreds of letters from young men and women who were subjected to this nonsenses (along with exorcisms, shock-treatments, and other bogus "conversion therapies", and they relate heart-breaking horror stories of what it did to them, and of being so much worse off than they were before going in...the whole concept of Exodus International was built on a complete myth, and every person in the LGBT community knows it...I was already having an excellent day, but this just put it over the top! What a great time to be alive! God is so good, and truth really does make you free!!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Favorite Kind of Letter



Hello, Bishop Swilley.

I just happened upon your CNN interview from two or three years ago, on youtube. You had just come out to your congregation and you were making quite a splash.

I am and have been an out gay man for over two decades, in all spheres of my life - home, at work, etc. - and will remain so for the rest of my life. The truth in the statement, "You never stop coming out", runs deep.

The farthest thing from a church-goer and an ever wayward Catholic, I only attend mass these days to placate my mother. It's okay, it's a small price to pay and hardly an imposition on my part.

Listening to your youtube videos and reading your blogs reminds me that there's another way to connect to God and to Jesus Christ, that has nothing to do with going to Church or becoming part of the majority Christian community. I take no interest in joining any church any time soon. Nevertheless, you have inspired me, not just in what you say but also in how you look and behave.

Your vulnerability and honesty during the CNN interview touched me deeply, and it seemed to me that from the moment you had made the decision to come out, you had literally given everything over to God, come what may. God wants us to do this of course, but many humans find doing so very, very difficult, if not humanly impossible.

Your spoken statements now are full of humanity and compassion and somehow, they ring true, closer to what Jesus intended, closer to God. May I also say that the picture you posted of you and your son in Central America is a very handsome one indeed. It flatters you both. I dare say, your eyes say everything; less conflicted, more at peace, and much, much happier.

I wish you every success in your ministry.

A.N.
 
Wow, A....thanks so much...your beautiful words made my day!

 May I use your message on my blog?

I will only use your initials if you prefer...
 
again, thanks...I really appreciate it!

 
Hello again, Father.

Wow! I wasn't expecting such a quick response from you, or any response at all. Thank you!
By all means, please use whatever I've written to you. I'm both dumbfounded and deeply, deeply flattered.

I remain,
A. N.

PS. I was so impressed by you that I just ordered your book on amazon.com. Can't wait to start reading it!
 

Excellent....thanks!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A BEAUTIFUL REVIEW

I've been waiting to write you about the autographed book you gave me while visiting my husband, Edward Blake in the hospital after he had a heart attack last October.

Ironically, I finished the read on February 21, 2013 -- which is Cortne's birthday. Don't know what significance that is right now, but I know it was. I wrote in the margins, trying to outline various things that just stood out at me. First, let me apologize to you and all the gay and lesbian, beautiful, people! Ten years ago, I'm embarrassed to say that because of my own ignorance in understanding, I, too, had some reservations about my brothers and sisters who are in same-sex relationships. God dealt with me, severely, on it and caused my heart to line up with His word -- unconditional love just came flowing through me like a river! I was quite ashamed once the "truth" of it became clear. Your book helped further that truth. The Good News sealed it.

We tend to fear what we don't understand. I can't say that I understand everything that you write about, but I don't have to. I just love you in spite of me and in spite of you. ( I, definitely, love hanging out with God! Your book reveals Him, totally.) Isn't that how unconditional love works?

Secondly, thank you for writing "The Good News!" As I read through it...it was hard to put it down. I didn't just read it, I listened to you speak as though we were having a conversation. I heard your words; I heard your heart. It took much courage for you to reveal yourself like that. Coming from one who is so "guarded" like me, I am overwhelmed with you right now! After serving under your ministry for 18 years, I consider myself, my ministry--your offspring. Keep writing and I'll keep reading. Maybe you will experience reading one of my books in the future. I have about 3 in me.

I sign this note,

Respectfully yours,

Maxine S. Blake... and I add my AMEN!!
 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

It Really is ALL GOOD!

Never let anyone be the final judge on your relationship with God and/or with yourself. Your spiritual journey is between you and your Creator, and no individual has...or should have...the authority to manipulate your spiritual confidence, or to damage your spiritual self-esteem.

Know who you are. Know what you believe. Never be ashamed of who God made you to be. Refuse to be overwhelmed by the sea of ignorance that may be surrounding you, and be a good steward of your own reality.

At the end of the day, all that really matters is that you are able to live with you, because you are more secure in the unconditional love of God than you are vulnerable to the opinions of those who hate what they don't understand.

The Bible belongs to you, too. Never let anyone take it away from you just because they choose to pick the same old tired fight with the same two or three "clobber-Scriptures", or because they have no sense of history, context, or ability to rightly divide the Word of God.

Embrace the Scriptures and love them...own them...have faith in them...but also know and remember what they are not. Man lives by every word that PROCEEDS (present tense) from the mouth of God.

All things are working together for your good.

Love the people who have treated you unkindly or unfairly, and remember that they are serving a purpose in your life. They are helping you become a better version of yourself, as iron sharpens iron!

He prepares a table for you IN THE PRESENCE of your enemies, and love wins.

Always.
 

 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
(Matthew 5:5 - The Message)
 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

1 Day Conference


This is a conference that I'm participating in this weekend...



Dear Friend,

March is Vision Month at Restoration Inclusive Ministries International, Inc. (RIM). In honor of Vision Month, we warmly invite you to attend a special Ladies of Lightning and Men of Thunder 1-Day Conference, to be held on Saturday, March 9, 2013.

The Conference will kick off with a seminar on Empowering the Inclusive and Affirming Churches Forward Spiritually, Politically, Socially, and Financially, to be held from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. This seminar, which is intended to help attendees gain an understanding of the education and social integration that is needed for the inclusion of LGBTQIA individuals in the life and work of the church, will be held at the RIM church site located at 1164 Richard Road, Decatur, Georgia 30032. Breakfast will be served.

Come hear first hand a full range of topics important to the inclusive church such as non-discrimination policies, the church’s role in marriage equality, and acceptance, not tolerance. This 3-hour seminar, targeting members and supporters of inclusive churches and the LGBTQIA Christian community, is a venue to learn more about the state of need around the world in the area of human rights and justice; obtain up to date information on issues facing the inclusive church - along with solutions; as well as hear the latest news and updates on the state of the inclusive church.

Other ministerial guests from inclusive churches nation-wide will attend this event, including the presiding prelate of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, Bishop Yvette Flunder.

In addition, this Conference will include our annual Ladies of Lightning and Men of Thunder Award Ceremony/Banquet. Each year, RIM recognizes a few chosen women who have made major contributions to the same-gender-loving community and our community at large, with our Ladies of Lighting Award, plus a few chosen men who have made spiritual, civic, and/or political contributions to the same-gender loving community, with our annual Men of Thunder Award. I also invite you to attend this event, which will be held from 7-10 p.m. at Camellia Hall College Park Women’s Club, located at 3413 North Main Street, College Park, Georgia 30337. At this year’s banquet, Bishop Flunder will receive the Lifetime Living Legacy Award.

Registration for the empowerment seminar is $30, and for the banquet is $30 ($50 for both the seminar and the banquet). To register for the seminar or reserve a seat at the banquet, please contact
rimatlanta@gmail.com or call (404) 284-3113 by Wednesday, February 27, 2013, to RSVP. You may also register at the RIM website at www.rimatlanta.org, click the donate button, and follow the pay pal instructions. We hope you can come out and celebrate Vision Month with us and take part in these powerful events.

Sincerely,

Elder Sonya E. Williams

Sr. Pastor/Founder