"Just saw the CNN report tonight with Pastor Swilley. I don't normally email, blog, etc, however, I must share that I found his interview VERY refreshing. Never have I seen a pastor, especially of a megachurch, be so honest. I am a wife and a mother and a heterosexual. I do not attend church, mainly because of too many churchgoers wanting to cast the first stone and be so judgmental of others. I would absolutely go to church if this man was at the pulpit. He is obviously very intelligent, and I am so pleased to see him have the courage to step forth and handle his "coming out" so professionally and with confidence. Pastor Swilley, you will hear many harsh words in the coming days, weeks and months. You know what you did was right, and hopefully this will give the strength to others to stop trying to live their lives according to how others think they should. Perhaps you will even spare a suicide. Stay strong!!!"
"This weekend I happen to be surfing the web and somehow landed on your story of truth. There are so many things I wish to express after spending time researching your story both in the past and present. However I will not try here.
Simply, all I want to say is THANK YOU!
Observing your courage to openly express the truth of your being gay to your spiritual community was uplifting to me. I am a 56yo, African American gay man whose journey has been somewhat similar. I am not a minister but have been a musician of sorts throughout my life in the church. Having walked the Christian, Non-denomination, and now Unity path, I reached a point where I felt confused and challenged by trying to be truthful to my gayness while being a man of faith.
You have inspired me to continue the journey and have faith that God loves me. I have a bit of fear as I get older and look towards my future. I think by finding your ministry I will be able to connect to an online community that will help me navigate that journey in a positive.
I look forward to continuing to following, no connecting, to you and your ministry!
Peace and Blessings"
Dear Mr. Swilley
I recently watched your video, in which you formally come out as gay to your congregation. For many years of my life I have ran from all forms of religion, and grew a strong hatred for Christianity. I was touched, it brought tears to my eyes to see the open mindedness and support you have given people. I honestly watched the video for distasteful reasons. I have for the majority of my life had very low expectations for Christians. Where others see love and community I see hate and slavery. What I was looking for was another reason to hate, but instead I found a reason to love. I wish you the best. I am truly happy I stumbled across this video. Maybe there is hope for the rest of the world after all.
...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,MG
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,
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,
Maxine S. Blake... and I add my AMEN!!