Thursday, October 13, 2016
Here is a sampling of the outpouring of beautiful comments on yesterday's blog post...
Your continued love and support is always appreciated, and has made this important milestone date in my life that much more special...
I love you all!
"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 ;)"
"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."
"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!"
"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..."
"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 !"
"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."
"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."
"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...
"I watched 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."
"I'm so glad u came out. Being visible like that has helped countless others. Thank you Bishop!"
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
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...