Saturday, October 30, 2010

Georgia Megachurch Pastor Comes Out With Integrity

Religion and Christianity in specific seem to be undergoing an upheaval the likes of which I have never seen before...and much of it seems due to national debate over gay issues. The evolving Eddie Long situation and George Allen Rekkers scandals just being two of recent memory. But in both cases, these men were outed against their will. It has been the pattern of influential politicians and religious leaders to come out only after having been caught with their pants down...literally. After the denials...after the tears, we find the admissions that they had been gay all along.

On the positive flip side and on the heals of the "It Gets Better" testimony of Randy Roberts Potts...grandson to Iconic Evangelical, Oral Roberts...comes a Mega church leader coming out of the closet. Claiming the rash of LGBT teen suicides and prompting by his ex wife, Jim Swilley of "Church In The Now" in Conyers, Georgia has blown the doors off his own closet...and he did so with grace and panache.

Having watched the televised outing nearly in its entirety(nearly two hours worth), I can honestly say that its is in incredible and moving admission on his part that came from a very real part of himself. It is an act of integrity that I could not help admire because the video I post here is his first public acknowledgment to his it you see congregants get up and leave the service. He also acknowledges losing the backing of many friends, colleagues, and affiliate ministries....He is giving up a lot to make an admission that he claims was brought about by the news of so many gay teen suicides.

It amazed and inspired me...I hope it will you too. Like many, I had not intended to watch the entire thing, but ended up doing exactly that. His coming out begins at about the 9:30 mark...

This was an amazing moment to watch and In the wake of news that retired military Chaplains had signed a document to the Pentagon threatening to remove support from our troops if Don't Ask Don't Tell is repealed, it reminds us that religions can be home to just as many people of integrity as they are to wingnuts and culture warriors.

And a note to closeted politicians and down low pastors...this is what coming out with integrity looks like. These are the consequences. For all that Swilley will lose for coming out..I believe that he will survive and thrive. Losing what portions of his ministry he has is insignificant next to the everything we would have lost had he been arrested hiring prostitutes or propositioning his flock.

He has my admiration and support....Now off to bed to get rid of this nasty cold so I can trick or treat with the kids tomorrow : )

Happy Halloween Everyone!...and until next time....


  1. Like most in the LGBT community I am wary of religion. That being said I have always kept my faith. It is the churches and their misinterpretation of doctrine that kept me away.

    To many people have been hurt from the misinformed and those seeking to use religion for their own ends. It's good our struggles are bringing an internal examination of such things.

    Being condemned, shamed, made to feel such pain is not the message that should ever be sent. I don't know how many disillusioned people I've talked to and tried to console over the years. Too many is certain.

    Randy's message was so lifting, yet sad. I'm so happy he found the strength to share it with us. It is side we needed to hear, to heal.

    Rev. Swilley...I am pleased he stepped forward to make a difference. I'm also pleased he never preached one thing while being another. I can't fault his secrecy. I think we all know how it can be.

    I only wish he never had to be that way. I wish none of us had to be that way. Faith can be very important in life and to many have been cast out or driven away. We all need faith in something even if it's just ourselves.

    Maybe now that we are entering honest discussion and debate those who come after us will have an easier time. The pain and tears we shed may have nurtured a new faith and freedom to be ourselves.

    At the very least may we all know peace.

    Thanks for the good blog post as always.


  2. Wow, Bryan. I do hope there will be more pastors and preachers like him to come.

    Thank you for the post.

  3. T, I find it helpful to distinguish between religion and spirituality. They are closely linked, but they not the same thing.

  4. Tavdy, I do separate the two. Maybe I was not clear in that. Thank you for telling me. :)