He tabernacled among us too


About

Hey!  Thanks for looking in.  I dare say there are more than enough blogs already, but I’m going to stick my oar in the water and hopefully have some fun and get some folks – including myself thinking.

I’m a Christian guy who is gay.  I want to use this blog as a safe place to discuss matters of faith and sexuality in the 21st Century. 

To that end I first want to comment on the name of this blog – Mishkan.  This is a great Hebrew word used in the Old Testament to talk about the Presence of God dwelling amongst his people – particularly in the Temple context.  It relates to one of my favourite passages in the New Testament in John 1:14 

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” 

The word translated “dwelt among us” is related to this Hebrew word Mishkan and literally means ‘tabernacled among us’ or ‘pitched his tent among us’.

It is a fundamental understanding of the Christian faith that God has drawn us close to Him by coming down to us and meeting us where we are at.  This is a crucial theme throughout both Old and New Testaments – from the Pillar of Fire and Cloud guiding the Israelites in the Wilderness back in Exodus, to the Presence of God in the Tabernacle/Temple and coming to its promised fulfillment in God the Son taking flesh and becoming fully human as John talked about.  This revolutionises the whole concept of ‘religion’ from the Christian viewpoint.  No longer is God purely ‘distant’ but is immanent in that he is close in the Person of Christ – beautifully expressed in the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ in the heart of his people.  This immanence and the implications of it are clearly stated that:

14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Heb 4:14-16)

However, for hundreds of thousands of Christians the comfort and reality of this Presence is denied by the leadership and establishment powers of the Church, either explicitly or implicitly.  These people are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender folk (lgbt) – or perhaps people that identify themselves as struggling with same sex attraction (SSA) or gender identity issues (what traditionalists sometimes call confusion). 

Thats why this blog exists.  To attempt to deal with the issues involved in the lives and struggles of lgbt Christians (whether or not they identify with those terms) and the faith communities they live in or have been excluded from. 

I don’t have all the answers (or any perhaps!) but I am on a journey the same as others.  I am not an expert either in biology, theology, psychology or anything else.  However

1) I was brought up within a conservative evangelical Church and subscribed to its world view including on sexuality.  2) I struggled with same sex attraction and had no attraction for the opposite sex from puberty, but fought against it as sinful – but never thought I was gay (from the teaching of the Church that no one was gay).  3) I got married in faithfulness to the normative working of God and in the full belief that I would have normal attraction to my wife. 4) I was a minister in a conservative Presbyterian Church. 5)  I came slowly to realise that I was gay and this was not inconsistent with Scripture and I came out (that sounds a lot easier than it was!!)  6)  I believe that the Bible is God’s Inspired Word and is as relevant and authoritative today as when it was revealed.

So thats my hands up and declaration of where I’m coming from.   The whole ‘gay’ issue is so politicised in the Church with so much fear and anger which is crushing people in the Church and ostracising people outside the Church.  Yet, there are growing numbers of people who are reassessing the Biblical text to realise it has been misinterpreted in the past.  Many within the conservative tradition (where I would count myself) however, are taking the debate to another level and raising their interpretation of Scripture on the issue of homosexuality to a whole other level.  They are raising it to a Primary issue of the faith rather than a Secondary issue.  It is becoming (or has become) a litmus test of fidelity to their cause.  One is led to wonder however what the cause is.

The aim of the blog therefore?  To express my thinking and clarify my own thoughts.  To attempt to open a dialogue with folk struggling within the Church with their sexuality and faith.  To demonstrate to the rest of the gay community that there is a growing part of the Church that is inclusive and values them and recognises the love and reality of Jesus is open to all including them.    Also I welcome dialogue with brothers and sisters in the Church who take the traditional view and who are willing to discuss the issues in a spirit of respect.

And so, lets hope that on the journey of this blog we’ll know a sense of Mishkan and that it would always be in the spirit of the Psalmist:

4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths;  5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. 6 Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.  (Psalm 25:4-6)

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