Bishop Jim Swilley, Called by God, Gay by God

Bishop Jim Swilley, Church of the Now, Conyers, GE

This week, a wonderful story/video is in the process of going viral.  Bishop Jim Swilley, Church in the Now, Conyers, Georgia came out to his congregation of over 1,200 people.  After 39 years in ministry (25 of them at his current church), a twenty one year marriage (his second) and four children, Bishop Jim chose to tell his congregation the truth about his sexual orientation. He is and always has been gay.

I had the opportunity to interview Jim with Jeff Blevins on for our weekly radio show.  Here is the short version of a  fifty-two year story.  Jim Swilley is a fourth general Pentecostal preacher. He knew at an early age, thirteen,  that he was called by God to be a preacher and, he also knew he was “different”.  He had no vocabulary as a child to describe the feelings; he was gay.  Prayers, begging God to change him, casting out of demons followed—the usual route for young GLBT Christians.  Nothing changed the orientation or the calling.

Bishop Jim married Debye 21 years ago. She knew of his orientation, they were in love, agreed to “handle it” and they became husband and wife.  Two more children were added to his two from a prior marriage.  You may ask “how can that be?”  How does a gay man father children with a woman? I will give you the answer many gay men in mixed orientation marriages have given to me, “a whole lot of fantasizing.”  This scenario is more frequent than you could imagine. You can love someone deeply,  it does not however, change the orientation and natural attractions.  Much of their married life was spent in celibacy.

Two years ago, Debye told Jim that they were not living up to the “Real people experiencing the real God in a real world” motto of Church in the Now.  Debye encouraged Jim that they be as open and honest in their own lives as they encouraged others to be. Jim feared this decision and knew this would eventually “out” him.  The first step was divorce, about eight months ago.  It was clear to those around them and in the ministry that both remained devoted and loving friends, exceptional co-workers and co-parents. So the questions, whispers and rumors swirled, “why divorce?”.  Last week, it was time to be real in the real world and hope the real God would sustain them.  He  has and He will.

“A Real Message to Real People” to the Church in the Now congregation is long (about 1 hour 20 minutes) and it is riveting.  No matter where you are on this issue, it is worth the time invested.  If you are GLBT, it is encouraging. If you are a straight Christian and already mumbling “heretic”, it may well bring you some enlightenment.  I can empathize with the entire spectrum of reactions.  Really.

I come as close as is possible to straddling the two communities: the straight and gay/bi/trans community.  So close that, in fact, I regularly have my orientation, motives, spirituality and integrity questioned. In 2000, I had one gay friend, one.  Today, I know about 800 to 1000 GLBT people.  So, I have creds when discussing this issue.  I hear the voices, the concerns and the stories of the gay/trans community and can understand as best as a straight person possibly can.  Five years of advocacy affords a level of expertise that deserves, at minimum, listening to what I need to say to the straight community and in particular, to the Christian church, of which I have been a part for over twenty five years.  My feet are firmly planted, my heart is directly pointed at God and my voice cannot be silent.  Please, please listen to me, especially those that have little to no personal relationships with the GLBT community.

People are born straight, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Forty-seven percent of Americans still believe that being GLBT is a choice.  If you ask the approximately 7% of Americans that are GLBT, they will tell you they knew somewhere between five and eight that they were different. Before any child ever has a sexual thought, they sensed they were different.  By puberty, most know they are having same sex attractions and by their late teens, they are somewhere in the coping process.  Come out? Hide? Try to change to be heterosexual? Stay unnoticed on the fringes?  Or maybe, suicide even?

If you are part of that 47% that believe sexual orientation is a choice, you cannot possibly be in intimate relationship with any GLBT people. Intimate, meaning an honest and trusting exchange between the two parties.  If you are in such a relationship, you cannot possibly still believe being GLBT is a choice.  Just not possible. “Oh, I have a gay co-worker, neighbor, brother.”  If you would ask questions and listen rather than avoid and assume, you would know the truths I know.  My blog is filled with writings that may be a starting point for folks with no close associations with GLBT people. Words cannot be substituted for personal interactions but, they may cause you to doubt  your current opinions if they indeed  have no basis in personal experiences.

The issue of  “born gay v. it is a choice” is the singular  most reliable predictor of how someone feels about equality.  If you have no personal experience with this issue and still hold a negative/”it is a choice” opinion, might not that be a bit foolish?  Only twenty-two percent of people who believe being gay is a choice are for equality, whereas overall, 52% of Americans believe in equality. Seventy percent of those who believe people are born GLBT are for equality.

I wish I could scream this into the ears of the folks that think being gay/trans is a choice: “You are wrong, wrong, wrong!” Children choosing to be GLBT before they even think sexual thoughts? Come on, is that a rational concept?  People choosing to be gay or trans knowing they will be mistreated, marginalized and possibly be denied marriage and families?  Would you ever make that choice?

When did you heterosexuals know you were straight? I knew it when I saw Paul McCartney on the Ed Sullivan Show in 4th grade and it was fully confirmed when I saw David Thompson in freshman Algebra.  I did not have to have heterosexual sex to know I was straight.   We must, must remove this “sex act thing” from the discussion;  sexual orientation is about attraction.  This is from my own  extensive observations:  those that struggle most with gay issue, cannot get beyond the picture of  two men having sex when they think of  “gay”.  When you think of two heterosexuals dating, is your first thought one of a bedroom scene?

A friend of mine who struggled with the GLBT equality issue for years recently understood the bottom line was equality and not sex. The tipping point finally came when he hung around with me and did relationship with some of my GLBT Christian friends.  He admitted, “Kathy, when I thought of two men getting married, I thought of them having sex and kissing and it bothered me. But, when I thought of a man and a woman getting married, my mind did not go to the bedroom scene. I think of love and family and a life of sharing all that will come their way. I think of the families joined and the wonderful stuff ahead for them.” He was guilty of packaging the same sex attraction into the “it is about sex” box.  Common thought process for those who have few or little connections with the GLBT community;  they do not envision gay/trans folks  as  whole people.

If you are one of those that just cannot get beyond the simple truth that people are born with an orientation somewhere on the scale of fully heterosexual to fully homosexual, you are the one that needs to do the  processing work. Please stop asking other people to change to fit into your binary system of boy/girl, pink/blue, straight men/straight women.  It is not reality.  If you only know people like you, it sure may appear that you have the sexual continuum  dialed in.  I want to be a voice shaking your non-experiential paradigm.  I am one who straddles these communities.  I was where you are.  When you have one gay friend that you know tangentially, your opinion does not count as truth, sorry, it just does not.   In 2000, I had opinions based on hearsay, “truths” based in rhetoric and biases formed by propaganda.  Now, I have experiences far beyond what simple words here could convey.  Have I compromised my Christian beliefs to become an advocate?  No; read my blogposts: “Scriptures and Homosexuality”.

Church in the Now

I am convinced that the singular most important concept contributing to a person’s perception of the GLBT community and the issue of equality can be  reduced to one belief:  are people born gay or is ita choice?  Christians will default to the “homosexuality is a sin” stance. And, I would challenge that. So, is mistreatment of others, prejudice and not esteeming another as highly as you do yourself part of the Jesus-agenda?  If you are stuck on the sin-aspect, concentrate on your own sin as an antidote to unsticking you; that should be time-consuming enough. Yelling “sin” at a GLBT person does not make them ex-gay, it makes them ex-Christian.  So much for the Great Commission of “making disciples”.  Again, if you cannot get beyond this point, consider reading another point of view on the five verses (of over 31,000 total verses) in the Bible on my blog “Scriptures and Homosexuality”.

The superior way to come to an informed, knowledgeable, valid opinion is through relationship.  If you do this in earnest, there is no possible way to continue in the “gay is a choice” belief.  This singular commitment to knowing another person, will usher in the truth.

Netto & Kathy

For my GLBT friends, please patiently endure us straight people that think we know who you are without any interaction with you.  We will say stupid things, assume wrong beliefs and treat you as less than equal . . . for awhile.  It was one person that God used in my life to smash open my well-formed prison of opinions. God used an agnostic lesbian to unshackle me and start to teach me grace towards others, all others.  Today, she is a beautiful Christian lesbian woman and am a less ugly Christian straight woman.

Misconceptions can be cured in relationship.  Men of God like Bishop Jim Swilley are born gay.  He is now free to be who God created him to be.  He can feel that freedom and openness already.  Listen to his testimony.  If you really believe that people make a choice for sexual orientation, you are making a choice to not hear what GLBT people are saying about their own lives.  Can you see the folly in that?

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” Martin Luther King

We have been here before as a society, as a church.  Treating others with respect involves relationship and listening. Open your ears and hearts to Bishop Swilley’s story; listen to GLBT people you may know.  They have a message for you, one that has for too long been silent.  Be brave enough to listen and more importantly, hear.



Grace and mercy

Holy Spirit wisdom to you.



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42 Responses to “Bishop Jim Swilley, Called by God, Gay by God”

  1. tiredofsuffering February 20, 2014 at 6:25 am #

    When we take the words of the bible,and twist them to fit our lifestyle,God is alive and & woman have to be of God,simply because it is the only way to multiply,being gay or lesbian is not the way.who calls himself a pastor and then lay down with the same sex is misleading and should step down from the pulpit.who without sin cast the first stone,but you can’t serve God & satan,make your choice and keep it moving and don’t worry about what man think.deep down inside we all have sin’s and we all will be judged,the people of this world is totally confused.

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  3. MPHollins December 8, 2010 at 7:06 pm #

    Dear Kathy,

    Please understand there are hundreds of interpretations of the gospels, and we are not debating small differences but core, fundamental concepts, such as who is Jesus Christ and what does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I advocate for Christ, I would never tell anyone to follow whatever makes them feel warm and comfortable. Christianity is inclusive and exclusive at the same time, it is also mercy and judgement at the same time. Every faith must draw a line in the sand at some point. Why? Because God does, everyone is not righteous.

    I wished Rev. Swilley preached a message of Christian inclusion but he is not, although he wants many people to believe that he is. I am feel very sorry for those who are so trapped in his personality, that they can not see the forest for the trees. “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage” 2 Peter 2:19. He told enough fake stories during his so called coming out speech to the congregation that I wanted to vomit. (By the way, I knew Rev. Swilley was Gay some 25 years ago and so did many others in his congregation at that time.)

    Anytime, I repeat ANYTIME someone tells a group that they can stay or take their families someplace else and risk their children committing suicide, they are preaching from an arrogant and manipulative spirit and not from the spirit of Christ. He is preaching the same type of slow brainwashing that his uncle, Rev. Earl Paulk practiced very successfully for years. Although Rev. Paulk was a champion of the rights of minorities and did many beneficial things, his personality denominated the congregation so much that members were fearful of coming against him. A congregation should have the freedom to speak their minds and to debate or disagree with their leaders and teachers, but who can if they have experienced years of brainwashing that God has anointed their pastor/bishop as the authority on the Word. “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” Romans 8:15.

    I am not saying to trash the personal friendship and admiration that you may have for him but rather to run not walk away from the ministries and messages advocated by Rev. Jim Earl Swilley. This is my best advice to you and anyone else reading this blog, if you need to know more then send me a personal email and I will respond back only to you.

    I desire that all may understand the freedom and joy available through Jesus Christ and not be caught into the bondage of shame and fear.

  4. Bob/Florida December 1, 2010 at 8:53 am #

    If he were born gay by God, then child molesters, rapists and killers are also born by God. Born to be gay, born to molest kids?.Typical religious insanity Your answer was appreciated and we believe in very different things.
    Sadly, we do not know the truth about any of this and never will, for what lays ahead is blackness, in the end. We are no more and cease to exist at the time of death.
    I am incapable of having friends who are, by nature, nuts.

    Kathy Reply:

    Bob—you are uninformed on this subject. Pedophiles are AGE attracted and not orientation attracted. MOST pediphiles OVERWHELMINGLY are heterosexual males. So perhaps we ought not let THEM near children. Bob, you also admitted to knowing very little about the Scriptures. In studying, I have come to an informed decision on this issue. Your decision is based in bias, lack of information and bigotry. Again, I suggest you concentrate on your own relationship with God. And thanks again.

  5. Christina Swilley Hickel November 15, 2010 at 8:56 pm #

    “The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it; not having it, to confess your ignorance.” -Confusius. How are all of you speaking for God about who he condemns so confident (arrogant?) about what he thinks? I also don’t understand why people equate orientation with pedophilia. I am a heterosexual female, I’m into dudes, not little boys. I can’t help thinking that every time someone makes that comparison they might be dealing with some pretty crazy issues of their own….. I also can’t help thinking that homophobic people are probably gay and mad at themselves. That’s just my unvalidated theory. If we don’t like or understand something, we don’t have to hate it. God is love, It’s simple. It’s not our job or duty to condemn people we think God doesn’t like. Do you really think you know God so well? Work out your salvation and leave other people and their relationship with God alone.
    If you call yourselves “followers of Christ,” keep in mind that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. Jesus said that there were two commandments: To love God and to love people. Why is that so hard? The Old Testament writers condoned and condemned all kinds of things that we know are wrong; stoning lazy people, condoning rape as long as a fee was paid to the woman’s father, condoning slavery. I think it’s safe to say that we don’t agree with those things. So Christians need to drop all the self-righteous judging and mean-spirited opinion offering until they go through and read the entire Bible and take every passage literally. I’ll consider someone’s anti-gay argument after they stone their lazy son to death or accept money in exchange for a man raping their daughter.
    Love. God=Love. I can’t speak for God, but I know he loves.
    The older I get the more I realize that I don’t know everything. We don’t have to have an opinion about everything and everyone, especially when we don’t understand the people or things we are so opinionated about. It’s liberating to know that you’re not in charge of being everyone’s judge.
    Also, my dad rules. He is the best dad ever and my brothers and I love him and support him. I hope he can one day find someone to share his life with, someone really wonderful.

    Kathy Reply:

    I have a GREAT deal of respect for Rev. Troy. I had lunch with him two years ago and spent much of the time crying and apologizing for the false assumptions I had made about him and MCC years before I became affirming. I honored him again in my post that I put up today “You’re invited to an Engagement Party”.

    Kathy Reply:

    Christina, we wished your Dad the very same thing when we interviewed him the week this all became public, Being in your fifties is NOT too late. I found the most wonderful man in my 50’s and it has only just begun. I think VERY highly of your Dad.

    HuskerFan Reply:

    “Work out your salvation” sound just like your dad, Christina…LOL I very much agree with you. There is a dichotomy between the Old Testament condemnations and the New Testament grace. There are certain things that are wrong/sinful as stated by God, but HE is the one who makes the call.
    I will put this out, and if if angers, upsets, or offends people, that is something they will have to work out. I am neither pro-gay, nor anti-gay…I feel that the situation with a person “is what it is”. That being said, I must say that I have many gay friends, but for awhile I still harbored the old “gays will burn in hell” mindset. Years ago I started thinking differently, partly due to some reading, researching and soul-searching, and I had a gay friend who committed suicide because of the turmoil he went through. I am still in the process, but I no longer think that it is a straight trip to hell. As I study more on it, I may or may not adjust my opinion.
    I do see it unfair for people to make blanket judgements on a person without knowing the man. I was a member of your dad’s church for several years, sang in the choir, worked in several ministries, and know your dad. He ALWAYS followed the spirit, and never shrunk away from any issue. He never, to my recollection, attacked any person or group of persons because of his personal beliefs, and I think it is hateful for people to do this to him.
    I agree with you…your dad Rocks!! And I am sure he will find someone really wonderful.

    MPHollins Reply:

    Dear Christina,

    I agree Christians need to learn the Bible. Please let us not get into what Jesus said and did not say, because I can also put into that same cracked logic you used, to argue that Jesus never said anything about Jim Crow Laws, America slavery of Africans and other groups, spousal abuse and so forth. A pastoral leader needs to be above reproach and when it is impossible to live in such a way, then it is time to remove oneself from the office of pastoral leadership. Do you believe that God prefers deception above honesty? This is not about sexual orientation, for me it’s clearly about being truthful to the ministry of Jesus Christ and Rev. Swilley made all kinds of excuses to approve covering over his sexual orientation for decades. He accepted being an Assembly of God ordained minister, but he did not have to. He preached fundamentalist, evangelical sermons for decades, but he did not have to. Jesus did not force Rev. Swilley to be anything other than who he was called to be, however he decided to walk a path of lies, falsehoods and hypocrisy and now wants everyone to say, that is okay, we understand, you’re Gay. Give me a break! Sexual orientation is not an excuse before God for being a narcissist.

    Peace and many blessings, mphollins

    PS. I really, really, really like Jim Earl a whole lot.

    Kathy Reply:

    Altho I am not Christina, I do want to respond to this. Jesus said a whole lot about love, equality, mercy and everyone is welcome. You can easily connect what Jesus DID say to Jim Crow, slavery, abuse of others—all easy to cross reference with what Jesus did say. Jim Swilley did lead a life above reproach–it was for the most part celibate actually. He was honest with his wife and God. As I understand this issue for the many gay men in mixed orientation marriages–they hope for a VERY long time that God will change them and after decades when they see it is NOT happening, they STILL try to stay married. And then, the lack of authenticity before God and to their spouse is the deceit.
    The deception is coming from the church when it says; believe harder, pray more, do _____ more and God will change you. No, sexual orientation does not change. Sexual orientation = narcissism? You have a sexual orientation I would assume. I would encourage you to invest a little bit of time on my blog on the posts under VERSES. There is another point of view that is Biblical. You can assume Bishop Swilley spent more time than you will ever know wrestling with this. There are so so many closeted preachers afraid to come out because of the lack of understanding. They want to serve God and are indeed called by Him and need to hide who they are. It comes down to being love for who you are not or hated for who you are. Keep the mask on and we will love you. Somehow, I don’t think Jesus would encourage that. Thank you for the read and i do hope you will read under VERSES, thanks.

    MPHollins Reply:

    Dear Kathy,

    I know Pastor Swilley, he was my pastor and teacher for years as well as his parents and I really like the entire family. Therefore when I speak, I am not speaking in ignorance.

    Next, I’ve been a practicing believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ for 50 years and going. Not to mention I’ve have a Masters in theological studies, therefore when I testify to something about the gospels, this is not coming off the top of my head. I can match scripture and verse of many gospel passages in which Jesus did not practice a loving position with those around him. Let us not forget, this is same Jesus who is going to one day set in judgement of the entire world and for some it will be eternal life and for others it will be destruction. The hardest part of loving a person is to risk losing them by telling them the truth for their own well being.

    Another point, and this I feel is the most important, I advocate for the rights of gay, lesbians, bisexuals and their inclusion in ministry, full marriage and all aspects of culture and society traditionally given to straight men and women. I am member of liberal a Christian congregation, that is highly inclusive of same sex partners. I’ve in public come against the traditional Black church unfair and prejudicial treatment of men and women living in the life.

    I said all this to make one point, the gospel of Christ has not been preached by Rev. Jim Earl Swilley for years, and for this he and those who follow him will give an account for in this life and beyond. I experience him as having a narcissistic personality disorder, this has nothing to with his sexual orientation, but rather how a person conducts themselves with others.

    I have not heard any repentance from Rev. Swilley or any empathy for the many people he verbally abused with his mouth from the pulpit, and this includes same sex couples. I have not heard any repentance about his misrepresenting the gospel of Christ and leading others to believe his message offers some thing more liberating and beneficial than other congregations.

    Do not believe the words coming out his mouth, they sound beautiful but are seductive traps aimed at pointing to an anti Christian religion.

    Peace and many blessings, mphollins

    Kathy Reply:

    First thank you Millicent for the kind reply. I see that you have experience here with Bishop Swilley and have been under his teaching. I am not aware of any anti-GLBT teachings that he has preached. I also am not privy to the ‘verbal abuse” from the pulpit. I do know that he preaches a gospel that many are uncomfortable with that is inclusive. I am sure that not even my closest friends do not agree with all of my theology. I tend to be gracious towards the differences and embracing of the basic tenets we each should share as followers of Christ. There is too much work to do OUTSIDE the church to focus on the differences which I do not believe take away from salvation.
    I respect your experience, but until I find a reason for ME to not be supportive of where he is on this piece of his life, I will remain supportive. Thank you for taking the time to clarify. I do appreciate it.
    And, I also appreciate your speaking out in the Black community. Too many women are getting HIV from ignoring that many men are indeed on the DL because they are gay.

  6. Slade Childers November 15, 2010 at 8:47 pm #

    In 1968 and openly gay man, Troy Perry started Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in Los Angeles. Imagine, a church back in 1968 with a special outreach to the gay and lesbian community. I recall Rev. Perry saying back then that he wished that MCC didn’t have to exist. That day would only happen when churches accepted gay and lesbians for who they are, as children of God. We are all children of God. Today the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches still welcomes gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, hetrosexual people-whoever you are, whatever you are. Today I listened to Bishop Jim Swilley for the first time. What I heard was a person of God speaking. From your Mega-Church in Conyers, Georgia to a city (population 112,000+) in central California you reached out and touched my heart. You spoke the truth and it is my prayer that the truth has set you free. Free to be the awesome person of God that you are. May God, our Heavenly Parent, (as Rev. Troy Perry often says) bless you, real real good.

  7. Humble thyself and Pray November 14, 2010 at 9:56 pm #

    Since Jesus was God as well as man, he did not have to mention homosexuality specifically for us to understand how he felt about it.
    Jesus, God and the Holy Ghost are the blessed trinity, the three in one. So when we speak of God’s words we are speaking of Jesus’ words. Attempts to separate the Old Testament and the New Testament and the Old Testament God and the Lord Jesus; is futile and ludicrous. Jesus is the Creator of all and the very one who instituted marriage. Marriage is the picture of Christ and His Bride (the Church) using the same compassion. “31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery (or revelation of God): but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Ephesians 5:31-33

    Incidentally, the “Jesus never said anything about it” argument is absurd on its face value. He never mentioned pedophilia, bestiality, cannibalism, rape, wife beating or any number of other sins. The only one who would use such rationale is someone trying to defend some kind of a practice that he is involved in. It’s kind of like a witch defending seances. God in the New Testament addressed it, but Jesus never referred to it, so He permits it.

    Sin blinds people to their own foolish rationale.

    Kathy Reply:

    Frist, thank you for taking the time to read my post, it is appreciated. Briefly to your points. I would appreciate if you would read what I posted on each of the verses used with regards to homosexuality in the Bible. They are all listed under the tab VERSES. EVERY instance of same sex behavior is associated with one of these: idolatry (the BIG one that God does not tolerate), rape, violence, or sexual abuse or the sex trades. Not one is in reference to a same sex mutual relationship of love and commitment. A firs century Jew would not have written about that sort of relationship, it was out of his radar. I would hope that any Christian would know that following OT laws does not supercede following Jesus. Even He did not follow OT laws. If you would like to bind yourself to the purity Laws then you must bind yourself to ALL of it and good luck with that. Yes, marriage IS the prophetic picture of Christ and His bride and men are most cerainly included in that bride. In Christ, there is no male or female. A loving relationship is only a GLIMPSE of what we will realize when we sit a the Lamb’s Supper. The Bible speak indirectly about pedophelia—do not harm a child or it be better that YOU were never born or had drowned. About beastiality in Jude when giving the picture of mixing a different species (fallen angels) with human women (which happened before the flood and in Sodom). Rape and wife beating —treatment of others, Sodom, Judges, I Cor and I Tim about sexual abuses. And overall in how we are to treat one another. He did however speak of divorce twice and Paul did three times DIRECTLY.
    I would appreciate you taking the time in VERSES. I happened to think there are several things that many younger people think are completely appropriate which I personally find way out of the constructs of Jesus-following behavior. And are they legal and never mentioned in the Bible? Yes. I see people spend and waste countless hours playing games online that are violent and many include rape, murder, abuse, violence, and huge amounts of anger. We are told to spend ourselves ON others and many younger people spend themselves on violence which DOES indeed shape their thinking. Sin does blind people to their own foolish rationale. I agree.
    I think we could each do with huge doses of time looking at our own shortcomings and lack of service and love to others before we condemn others for what they have settled with God. Clearly Jim Swilley has settled this issue with God as have hundreds of GLBT Christians I personally know. They have done this with prayer, seeking Him, usually years of struggle and searching the Scriptures (all of them, not only the five verses) to see how God speaks to them. BE grateful you were not born gay or you would be in that same place of wondering if God really does still love you the way so many of my friends have been.
    I can understand where you are, I was there. Go make this personal and meet and listen to some GLBT Christian. Just as you would never wnat someone to ASSUME they know you and how you think, get to know and LISTEN to them. You may well see Jesus in them, fruits of the Spirit and THEN you will be challenged to look at your theology and see if it still holds. Reading the VERSES may well be enlightening for you. Blessings abound on your day and Holy Spirit widom to you as you grow in Him and walk in your own holiness.

  8. Kimberly November 14, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

    1st Corinthians 6:18 flee from sexual immorality all other sins a man commits are outside of his body but he sins sexually sins against his own body.19 do you now know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you whom you have recived from God ? you are not own you were bought at price therefore honor God with your body .

    2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and turned from their wicked ways , then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 – now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to prayers offered in this place.

    Ephesians 2 :1 as for you , you were dead in your transgressions and sins 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world of the ruler of the kingdom of the air the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient .3 all of us also lived among them at one time gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thourghts . Like the rest we were by nature objects of wrath . 4 but because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy 5 made us alive with christ even when we are dead in transgressions it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

    Kathy Reply:

    Kimberly, do you have any personal words to say? I think I have read all the scriptures that you have read and I am well aware that these exist. Would you like to put into your own words what you would like to say? I don’t not want to make any assumptions but I do see that you are probably not pleased with Bishop Swilley’s decision to be honest about his sexual orientation. I would suggest you read the latest post on Sexual Orientation for a bit of clarity and understanding. When was it that you made the choice to be attracted to men? I would really be interested in your own words on what you are trying to communicate. As I see it, Bishop Swilley has not been involved in sexual immorality. I see that he is a man humbled to God and attentive to Him. And has been born again. I see you are from Conyers. Were you a member of CITN?

    Kimberly Reply:

    Hello Kathy , I do understand that he is being honest with his church and I respect him being honest because its his decision , God will be the Judge and its not what we think its about what God says. I was a member that was a very long time ago not anymore.

    HuskerFan Reply:

    I was a member of that church for over 10 yrs before I moved back north. I agree that it is what God thinks, our opinions are merely our attempt to speak our minds, or to accomplish an agenda…as if we believe people will reag these posts. I know Biship Swilley, and I know he has always been a man who spoke his mind and had no problem relaying the word of God. I respect him for making this announcement. It takes a great amount of courage to do what he has done. It is not for us to point fingers, castigate him, nor rake him over the coals…and I applaud you for not jumping on the bandwagon.
    I will be on later to post more as I read more of these posts….

  9. jesusadvocate November 9, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    god said two mean should lay together. if your preaching gods word shouldnt you be trying to live as holy as possible. im against any homosexual pastors. how can you say your gay by god. god doesnt make anyone a homosexual regardless of your crooked beliefs and mental handicaps. god gave his people the ability to make all choices alone. but only the saved will make them in his image and in his understanding.

    Kathy Reply:

    I find it highly ironic that your screenname is “jesusadvocate”. I could RIP this statement apart piece by piece but nothing will open your eyes to “love others” in relation to the GLBT community EXCEPT the Holy Spirit and your own interaction with gay/trans believers. So, I won’t go sentence by sentence. It would be fruitless. What will you do with your theology when you see fruit in the lives of GLBT believers (if you ever got close enough)? I suggest you change your screen name. No one would be crazy enough to follow the Jesus you advocate. Thank you for the read. i do hope you will consider spending time on other posts. I suggest you look at “Words on My Heart” and “I am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” and ALL the posts under the VERSES tab. Go serve and love as will I, Holy Spirit wisdom, Jesus love and God mercy on and with you.

  10. Clayton November 3, 2010 at 9:38 am #

    This was so well put! May I repost it on the Gay Spirituality Blog at

  11. Kathy November 2, 2010 at 8:07 am #

    clean up your language and I will post your comment. Also, give a few of my posts a read. You clearly DO have issues with gay people. In particular read the post “Words on My Heart”. Your attitudes are of greater concern to God than someone else’s sexual orientation.

  12. elocin November 1, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

    This is an amazingly blatant slap in Gods face. If I were not watching this with my own eyes I would have never have believed people could know the word like this man does and still decide to succumb to his own lusts KNOWING what God says abut homosexuality and THEN try to pin it on God as though God made him that way. Did God also made a pedophile desire kids? Did God also make a woman desire to have sex with a horse? What about men who cant get erections unless they look at dead bodies? What about necrophiliacs …God too? What about a woman only having an organism if she’s urinated on…did God do that too? Sex is not a requirement for life, whether or not you have sex IS A CHOICE – and who or what you decide to have sex with is a CHOICE. You cant help who or what you’re attracted to but you can help who or what you have sex with and just because you feel better having sex with the same sex or a child or a horse or a branch – DOESNT MAKE IT RIGHT and it will never be ordained by God. Just go be gay, stop trying to make God ok with it.

    Kathy Reply:

    Elocin–you are precisely who this post is directed at, so I appreciate your taking the time to read it. You have some quite distorted views of GLBT people an I would encourage you to try and do some relationship with a GLBT Christian. That is the only way I think you will get a better reality of what the issues are and who the people are. You have some wild ideas Elocin. I hope you are brave enough to challenge your fears and misconceptions. Peace and wisdom to you.

  13. Bob November 1, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    Yes, thanks for the civil exchange. Just for your information, I do not oppose legalizing gay marriages even though I don’t think they are God’s best will but I will look through some of the material on your site under verses. Thanks again.

  14. Bob November 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm #


    Thanks for the response. I understand your issue relating the concept to divorce and the inconsistency and I agree. We as a church do paper over and excuse ourselves greatly over divorce when God has forcefully said “I hate divorce”.

    Yes, I can apply the same grace to LGBT people but there are several caveats. Just as I say divorce, as most Christian people do it, is wrong and yes, I believe God forgives them, but it is still wrong, I would have to say that while I agree that “Being born homosexual is NOT A SIN”. and that “This is not an innate sinful desire” in the sense that any desire is not sinful in itself because the sin is the act of indulging a desire when God has forbidden it. Nevertheles, advocating that Gay people can physically express love for each other in a way God has not intended still is sin. So, while I agree you cannot help who you love, you are still under a Biblical mandate as to how you love. Now, as I said, I may turn out to be theologically wrong on that point but I cannot in good conscience accept the I am wrong because the LGBT community has strong feelings or because I may happen to know some nice LGBT people.

    Another caveat is that the same rules God applies to man/woman relationships such as sex outside of marriage is wrong, would have to apply to Gay relationships. But many Gay activists berate the idea of any God given morality. LGBT people don’t get a pass on the same morality that applies to non-gays.

    The heart of the matter is Christ and I can put up with a lot of disagreement but the issue is what does Christ really think about gay sex? I have a real hard time thinking He is just fine with it.

    Kathy Reply:

    Bob, we will have to leave it at “disagree”. My posts clearly show my views on the Scriptures and I can hold both homosexuality in committed relationship as I do heterosexuality and adherence to the will of God. Also, in the US, during slave days when we did not deem blacks citizens, they still “married” or “jumped the broom”. Their marriages were not LEGAL, yet in the eyes of God, I am quite sure He was okay with that.
    While we deny same sex marriage as a country, I believe union and commitment to one another, before God, before community is as valid as any union I as a straight woman would enter. We just disagree and that is okay. I appreciate civil exchange where both may voice and be heard. Blessings on your walk with the One Who gets to say the truth in the end. K

  15. Bob November 1, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    “If you really believe that people make a choice for sexual orientation, you are making a choice to not hear what GLBT people are saying about their own lives. Can you see the folly in that?”

    Granted its not a choice however you missed the larger point. Just because you can’t help it does not means God endorses that. If you cannot grasp the concept that all are born sinners and with flawed and fallen natures, including sexual, you can’t understand that and will assume that “God made me this way so its ok”.

    God condemns no one for what they feel but calls everyone to live by the Scripture and gay sex is just not His will as I understand it. I may turn out to be wrong but I need to see an honest Biblical exposition to that effect which I have not seen to date. Only rationalization and willful misinterpretation. I know this is a hard and seemingly unfair truth but God never promised that this life will be fair or that we will get to do what pleases us.

    People are born with innate desires and tendencies in all sorts of areas which are not God’s will for them to pursue. If a person is born with a desire to force himself on others we say he needs help. If he likes to start fires we say he needs help. If she likes children we say she needs help. So how do you draw an absolute line and say if he is gay he needs no help? Scripture ,as I understand it, disagrees.

    It’s not about what we want.

    Kathy Reply:

    I would VERY MUCH encourage you to read all the posts under VERSES. Being born homosexual is NOT A SIN. We can hopefully agree at this starting point. This is not an innate sinful desire. Please consider that your POV of those scriptures in context and original language may not be 100% correct. And, if you still stick on “it is sin”, how do you deal with divorce in your church? Can you apply the same grace to GLBT people as you do to the divorced people. Jesus spoke twice on divorce and Paul three times and what they say is NOT a translation issue, yet, we seem to allow grace, remarriage and the non-imposition of lifelong celibacy. Hmmm? If you knew GLBT Christians, you would see fruit. If you see fruit and hear profession, I think you leave the rest to God. get to know some and leave your interpretations at the door. You may be surprised as I was. Thank you for the kindness of the read and comments.

  16. Bishop Walter Dixon November 1, 2010 at 5:29 am #

    October 31, 2010 7:30 P.M.

    Re: Bishop Walter Dixon of Atlanta, GA Official Press Release Calling For “Gay” Mega Church Bishop Jim Swilley To Help Save “Church In The Now” Located In Conyers, GA By Stepping Down As Bishop, Senior Pastor and Chief Executive Officer Of The Day To Day Operations Until A Replacement Can Be Found.

    My Dear Brother In “Christ” Bishop Jim Swilley:

    There are times in life one must face difficult decisions that include removing oneself from something he may love so much regardless of the cost.

    This is one of those times you may need to think about your members instead of yourself. Yes, it is a painful decision but I can assure you, your members are going through suffering, severe pain and confusion about your desire to come forward with the truth of your sexual sin desires.

    I’m coming forward as a child of God asking you to stop the hemorrhaging of souls of trust at the “Church In The Now”. No man or woman is greater than God’s temple including you brother Swilley.

    I commend you for coming forward revealing your sin to your congregation knowing you must accept your punishment by God and God alone. It is great to know you realize no lie or sin can live forever without being revealed from the spirit.

    When this is all over and if it is God’s intent for you to retake a leadership role in one of his temple, you will be a stronger and wiser leader. You and I both know you have much inner spiritual work within you to be done and it will take some time.

    If you really love the Church In The Now’s members you must first repent your sins with “Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” in asking for forgiveness, your family and finally you must ask for forgiveness from each one of Church In The Now’s members and allow each member to vote on you reclaiming your leadership role as a minister and leader of God’s tithes.

    I will be moore than delighted to come and pray with you at any time you feel the need. Remember my brother”God” is a forgiven Savior. May you have peace within your soul and may “God” be with you.

    Bishop Walter Dixon
    Box 832161
    Stone Mountain, GA 30083

    ps. I have posted a copy of this request on Face Book, Google, Media, My Space, President Barack Obama and Twitter,

    Kathy Reply:

    Bishop Dixon, I would respectfully offer to you, as a straight ally to the GLBT community for five years, that your attitudes cause “the hemorrhaging of souls of trust” in the church. When messages like your come at GLBT Christians, the DO NOT BECOME EX- GAY, they become EX-CHRISTIAN. I would encourage you to read the many posts on my blog for insight and also suggest you get to know and LISTEN TO GLBT Christians. Your “knowing” so much about another person and the situation and solution without relationship smacks of arrogance to me. I have seen this far too often. I hope Bishop, YOU can learn something from this. He is in the grip of God and has been. Please consider that you may not only be wrong on this, but quite offensive. And do not use “the cross is offensive” line. He is hanging on the cross and you are nailing him to it. Kathy

    Bob/Florida Reply:

    Bishop Dixon is correct. Though I am not a religious man, I do not believe anyone is born gay. It is a sickness, a perversion.
    I have not seen any gay animals in the zoo of late. Swilley is a liar and a sinner before God, if you believe in that.
    First Corinthians 1. 6,9,10 is clear on this and perhaps the only thing I agree with in the bible, the rest of it is pure hersay and fabrication to keep men from going mad, knowing they are to die.
    The bible was written in a time when me feared the sun and thought the world was flat. Why would we believe anything that was said then by simpeltons.

    Kathy Reply:

    Bobby–First, thank you for the read. You must not be in any relationships (that you know of ) with GLBT people. To hold the views you do that people are not born gay are simply, well . . .simple. Listen to some GLBT people and really listen. There are over 400 species with gay activities reported. We are all liars and sinners before God, including you, and Jim Swilley may actually be in far better standing before God because he has a relationship with Him and THAT is what matters, NOT orientation.
    I Corinthians is NOT clear “on this”, please read my post on it under VERSES tab. There are far more important verses in the Bible that you should agree with before these verses. Jesus Himself said the WEIGHTIEST thing in the Law was loving others EQUAL to the way you love yourself. Bobby, may I suggest that you spend time getting to know both GLBT people and Jesus? Both wonderful uses of your time. And then you will actually know if Bishop Dixon is speaking truth or a variation of it peppered heavily with his own discomfort, bigotry and cultural biases.

  17. Erik Stremke October 31, 2010 at 11:03 pm #

    Kathy, excellent summary. I am a member of CITN, more than10 years now. Bishop Swilley is one of very few clergy I have met and respected. Bishop is indeed called by God, and as he has expressed, gay.
    I see no conflict. CITN is the only church I have become a member of. I have seen many churches in my life ( I am 45). I know others express God’s love unconditionally exist, and know all people are accepted by God, and this is the only one I have personally been involved with.
    In my life I have had many friends that are GLBT. I know from my relationships with them it is not an issue of choice. You write well that attraction exists long before sexual interpretation.
    Because of my relationships and the mainstream ‘party line’ of Christians, I very reluctantly, accept the label of ‘Christian’. Generally, I prefer not to accept any belief system label at all. I have not known one person who actually lives ‘the Christian party line’ in thought. I have known many Christians, not one is what the mainstream ‘party line’ describes. I personally do not know it exists. I see that no one beliefe system encapsulates God, All of them together combined get just a glimpse of God.
    One of my closest lifelong closest friends was gay. He is dead now, and suffered through so much oppression. I have known all my life that God loves and dwells within every single person. Even though I could have seen his oppressors in ‘hell’, I knew better, although often was tempted to ignore what I knew. That was my ‘thorn’ to deal with.
    Most people I know that are GLBT have an extremely real relationship with God, Yaweh, Ja, Allah, however one calls the One that cannot be described in a name. ( I have always enjoyed the Jewish idea of G-d, impossible to name). In my personal experience, most GLBT friends know this innately, I suppose as all do.
    Abrahamics ( Jewish, Christian, Muslim) have such a blind spot for the GLBT issue. I personally think that is because Abrahamics prefer violence to love or intimacy. That is a different can of worms. I think of The Song of Songs, ‘being in the bedchambers of God’ , the intimacy of The Christ and for any mainstream Christian, there is a GLBT issue. Are straight Christian men psyched about being the bride of Christ (Jesus)? Especially if they have a mainstream view? What about no male or female, as Paul talks about? Homo or Hetero does not exist. ‘Christians’ do not seem to contemplate intimacy with the ‘male’ God. How intimate does one get? If one can accept God as neither male or female, as a ‘We’, are they into hermaphrodite or group intimacy ?
    I do not ask this of my ‘mainstream or otherwise Abrahamic ‘ friends. They are not ready.
    From your experience, do any of your Abrahamic friends consider these?
    My experience says no.
    My experience of these indicates that religion is dead as it stands, trapped in doctrine, dogmas and rites.

    Kathy Reply:

    thank you for that confirmation of who I perceive Bishop Jim Swilley to be. My experience in the GLBT community has changed who I am–I understand grace FAAAAAR better than I ever did because I am involved with people who swim in it. thank you for the read and stay posted, I have much to say, now is the time to shout to the church to wake up and start acting more like Jesus.

  18. Rodney Fairbanks October 31, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    Jim, I know when I came out, which was only about 10 years ago, I expierenced such great releaf. My family finally knew me for who I really was. The fear was gone. I was able to love in a completely different way. I lost the fear of letting people know how I felt. I also was married for 21 years and loved my wife dearly. She passed away in 1990. I raised my daughter who was 7 at the time. When she decided to go out on her own I knew I did not want to live alone. With guidance I was able to tell my 3 children. I have had a life partner for 9 years now. May good bless you in your future life. I hope you will be a shinning light for all the young people who are hurting because of there sexual orientation. God Bless


    eugene Reply:

    @Rodney Fairbanks,

    I’m not replying to the post per/say, I have been looking for a place to put in my two cents worth all over the internet. I am neither gay, nor a member of the Church in the Now, heck I’m not even liberal except for the subject of unions, which I have been a member of for more than thirty years. I like to shoot guns at beer cans, I like the Confederate flag, and I’m one of the guys beaten down in the civil rights days for making a stand against racial discrimination. SO,you can’t call me a liberal nor a conservative, not even a moderate which is a fence sitter, I’m maybe what you might call a radical moderate, and there are alot more of us coming into being.

    I did visit there a few times and I have always been glad such a church was there in Conyers, I hope it can weather the financial crisis that is going on so that it continue. I really respect bro. Swilley and I respect him now even more now that he has decided to make known his sexual prefererence, because I value his reason for doing so. He knew he was putting his career on the line, but he did so because he believed he might save the lives of kids tormented for their sexuality, and torn up inside already because of it.

    An old military term I’ll use here, I say it “took a pair” to do what he did, and he has even more of my respect for it.

  19. Lloyd Peacock October 31, 2010 at 6:03 am #

    Excellent points Kathy.

    Kathy Reply:

    Thank you loyal friend


  1. Bishop Jim Swilley, Called by God, Gay by God | - October 30, 2010

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LGBT Inclusion, Bible and Same-sex behavior, gay Christian, Transgender Christian, Ally to LGBT, Advocacy to LGBT, Walking the Bridgeless Canyon, Kathy Baldock