about Me

about Me

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.

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!


Thursday, March 21, 2013


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.


 “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.


Elder Sonya E. Williams

Sr. Pastor/Founder