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Friday, August 30, 2013


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."


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!

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


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?



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 . . . .”