Yes I begin lots of post with these disclaimers. Its because I strive to make this blog different, and so when I tackle the hot spot issues I don’t want you to read the same ole thing every other blog rants about.
This is not a post supporting gays in the church. The post is intentionally neutral on the subject, so rather than stating whether it is right or wrong or good/bad the post instead looks at the greater thing going on. I am not neutral on the subject, of course, but I want to make clear that this post is in no way choosing a side in the debate of homosexuals in the church.
Thank, well, someone it’s a reverse scandal. Another mega church pastor I’ve never heard of until now has come out as gay, and not because a scandal ripped away the curtain. Sans allegations, lawsuits or some other terrible way to have your deepest secrets revealed, Bishop Jim Swilley came out to his congregation a few Sunday mornings ago of his own volition. He leads Church In The Now, which meets east of the massive sprawl that is Atlanta.
He and his wife divorced earlier this year after 20+ years of marriage, and his ex-wife states she knew he was gay when they got married but hoped they’d work through it. They have four children together.
It’s a stunning story, one I admire. Jim, 52, says that his wife challenged him to come out, because though he was preaching be who you are he himself was “not being real.”
I applaud the conscious effort at more honesty in the church. One of the collective church’s biggest downfall has been striving toward perfection/holiness at the expense of honesty and transparency. For as much as we pick apart Hollywood culture for its vain superficiality we are totally concerned with our image and it being spotless. I cannot overstate how this tendency is counter productive for the church, and works against what God does in hearts.
Jim’s honesty will pull the church forward more than openly accepting homosexuals in the Christian community.
This pastor is bold and I hope that he inspires others to be honest with their community about who they are. We are often manipulative in our honesty, throwing out certain morsels that may actually distract from our true area of struggle, the classic throw a stick behind your back to divert attention.
But Jim’s confession cost him something, not just some followers and some scathing blog posts, but possibly his position and influence. Knowing this, he came out anyway.
Another thing I appreciate is that he admitted he is gay. Not WAS gay. Its very easy in Christian circles to only admit past sins, and not current things we’re dealing with. I’ll be honest, I don’t want to admit what I currently struggle with (and certainly not online, as something like that shouldn’t be published). You can of course pick Jim apart because he has no plans of repenting, but nonetheless his confession is a true one, and not simply showing a victory over something after the fact.
Do you agree that Jim’s honesty could pull the church forward? Regardless of your belief in the homosexuals in the church debate, what do you think of this story?