Tuan N'Gai (TN): Good after noon Pastor Mills, and thank
you for your willingness to do this interview for Operation
James Mills (JM): Thank you for considering me to be a part
of this movement.
TN: I start every interview by using three words to start
a thought, and I'd like you to finish it. "God Opens Doors…"
JM: …for everyone who makes themselves available to Him.
TN: Interesting. So give us a little information about you
and the church.
JM: Well, I have served as Senior Pastor for Transforming
Word Cathedral for the past two years. I have an Apostolic
and Methodist background. Bishop Keith Jones founded the church
about six years ago, and we have a history of being an affirming
church. But until we started preaching "radical inclusivity"
the affirming was on a "don't ask, don't tell" basis. Thank
God that all changed. Our mission is to be bridge builders
between all people. We want to unify the community again.
We endeavor to be a church with no walls. We will be hosting
our 3rd Annual "Miracle Weekend Celebration" during the Memorial
Day Weekend, May 27 - 30. Our conference has grown every year.
People come from across the country to attend. That's one
of our biggest events every year.
TN: Seeing as most affirming or inclusive churches are stigmatized
as being "gay churches", as the Pastor, has your sexuality
ever been in question?
JM: Well, yes and no. I say that, because I don't have any
qualms about being a Same Gender Loving (SGL) man. Yet when
I am asked, I let people know that my sexuality is not my
identity. People need to start accepting others as whole people
and not try to define their personhood by one aspect of their
TN: Okay, so how do you define yourself?
JM: I am a man of God who can stand before my maker with
out any sense of guilt for being who I am.
TN: So many churches have different platforms…. like prosperity,
healing, faith, deliverance, etc. What would you say is your
ministerial platform, or do you have one?
JM: We are a balanced ministry. We deal with faith, prosperity,
healing, etc. But we teach those principles as they relate
to the whole person. We preach and believe the Bible and we
try not to focus on just one aspect of its message.
TN: Being the leader of a church that preaches and practices
radical inclusivity, what would you say is your biggest obstacle?
JM: Well, surprisingly the obstacle doesn't come from outside
forces, but from the slave mentality of those we are trying
to include. It's like we're trying to tell them because of
Christ's sacrifice; you are the righteousness of God and no
longer have to be bound in guilt. And they are clinging to
the message that they ARE sinners and will NEVER be holy because
of their sexuality. It's almost like they WANT to continue
to live in guilt and in bondage. It's like in Dr. Martin Luther
King's day, when he and those like him started the Civil Rights
Movement, it wasn't the white people who opposed him…it was
BLACK FOLKS. And the black church didn't start supporting
him until he began to get "recognized" in the media for his
TN: So true, so true. So how do we overcome this "slave
JM: The church needs to crate a safe, non-abusive space for
everyone to come in and feel comfortable. We need to create
an environment where everyone feels welcome. And not just
a place where they feel it, but they must SEE it. A place
where nobody feels like the leadership is trying to change
them. Where we get in trouble is, WE want people to change,
and WE want to do the changing. That's not our job. We are
to love and accept people where they are, and allow God to
change whatever needs to be changed in a person.
TN: While we are on the subject of struggle, one of the largest
opponents to the inclusive message of Jesus Christ is "gay
bashing" preachers and their sermons. What do you see is the
root for this "gay bashing"?
JM: it's the need to pick on somebody. Having a "safe subject"
to preach on. It's like this; they used to bash blacks from
the pulpit…that's not safe anymore. They started preaching
against women…until women started leaving and starting their
own churches. Now that women are pretty much accepted in ministry,
that's no longer a safe subject. They need to have someone
to preach on without somebody saying something about it. Gays
and lesbians are that somebody now. The SGL community is an
easy target. I say that because we'd rather stay and enjoy
the comforts of a large mainstream church that will beat our
brains out rather than move to a small storefront that is
a place of safety and freedom. Part of that is, affirming
churches have not shown people that we're serious about the
cause of Christ. We are looked at as second class because
we don't seem to stand for anything but being gay. That has
to change. We MUST show people that we're about Kingdom Business
when we make an appeal to them to come to our churches.
TN: Would you perform same-sex marriages?
JM: Yes, if they agreed to counseling. We need to understand
that if we're going to do this, our credibility is at stake.
We can't just be marrying people because it's the hot thing
to do right now. We have to think about the commitment and
teach people how to honor that. So, yes. I would do same-sex
marriages, if they'd agree to like five counseling sessions.
I am concerned about the same-sex marriage debate. Because
it reminds me of the prohibition of interracial marrying.
The Federal Marriage Amendment could set us back like 40 years
if it's passed. It's discrimination. Financial discrimination
at least. Coming from a financial counseling background, I
know about spousal inheritance. For instance, if a straight
man dies and leaves everything to his wife of 20 years, the
inheritance is in a "tax-deferred status". But if a gay man
dies, and leaves everything to his partner of 20 years, that
inheritance is taxed. It's not right. We shouldn't allow politicians
to make laws that can hurt people in any way.
TN: As one of the founders of the Operation Rebirth, I consider
all of the people who are spreading the message of inclusivity
and equality as part of the movement. How are you and your
church a part of the Operation Rebirth Movement?
JM: We're a part of this movement in that WE DON'T HIDE!
We don't have a "don't ask, don't tell" mindset anymore. We're
out there telling the truth to people. My church meets in
a hotel conference room. And not too long ago, there was a
lady staying in the hotel who wanted to worship with us, but
was told by the Front Desk that "we were a gay church". She
stood outside the door and listened for a few minutes before
coming in and sitting down. At the end of the service she
stood and said "I wasn't going to come in because of what
I was told by the staff about this church. But you are preaching
the truth. And that's exactly what I needed to hear. When
people realize that you are telling God's Truth, you cannot
be denied. I'll never forget what Bishop Yvette Flunder told
me. She said, "we learned Christianity on the back of slavery.
So we look at everything from a victim point of view. We don't
make change, we wait for it to happen." Only getting people
to see the truth will bring about change in our cause. We
MUST stand up and tell the truth.
TN: Powerful indeed. I like that. In closing, if you had
45 seconds to address the entire world, what would your message
JM: Like I said before. We are all the righteousness of God
because of Jesus' sacrifice. Therefore we should never be
afraid. We should never live in the bondage of guilt because
of who we are. God loves us all.