Jim Swilley was a megachurch pastor in Georgia for over two decades.
According to one reader (via email):
They’re located right on I20 and you can’t miss the sign [for the Church in the Now] if you’re headed east out of Atlanta. The place looks insane; like a casino had sex with a WalMart. I’ve heard stories about how they supposedly have ATMs in the lobbies…
But that’s all about to come to an end for Swilley now that he’s come out with his secret:
Swilley, 52, founded the church 25 years ago. He seemed the stereotypical picture of a pastor, with four kids and a wife who doubled as his associate pastor. But Swilley said he’s known he was gay since he was little boy. He said his wife, Debye, also knew his secret from the start.
… Swilley came out to his kids and his congregation. He said he knew he might risk everything, but the recent rash of gay teen suicides pushed him over the edge.
“As a father, thinking about your 16, 17 year old killing themselves. I thought somebody needed to say something,” Swilley said through tears.
“I know all the hateful stuff that’s being written about me online, whatever,” Swilley said. “To think about saving a teenager yeah, I’ll risk my reputation for that.”
We’ll see how much the Christian community supports him.
Evangelicals are so quick to come to the defense of pastors who speak out against homosexuality but who privately have sex with other men.
What happens when one admits to being gay? My hunch is they’ll either condemn him or pretend he doesn’t exist. Or they’ll throw out that awful line about how they hope he’ll find the “error” of his ways and come back to Jesus.
In any case, I’m glad Swilley had the courage to come out. I just feel bad that he felt he had to live a lie for so many years so that (among other things) people would trust him as a pastor.
There’s one big reason to leave Christianity: What the faith preaches is true is often not true at all.
But this idea that you must live a certain kind of life according to someone’s warped view of the Bible? That’s gotta be a close second.
(Thanks to Paul for the link)