A couple years ago, I started writing a short reading reflection of each book that I read. That continued for about a week until I started classes, and I haven’t really had much time to reflect since then. This post may or may not be an attempt to begin again the discipline of writing a few thoughts from books that I’m reading.
I received a copy of Scot McKnight’s new book, The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible and had the chance to read it over this past week. I’m a regular reader of Scot’s blog, Jesus Creed, but haven’t had the time to read many of his published books. It was interesting reading The Blue Parakeet, as I found myself recalling discussions, reviews, and thoughts from the Jesus Creed blog that found their way into The Blue Parakeet. In a way, many of the thoughts in the book aren’t new to me, as I’ve been exposed to the ideas through Scot’s blog.
The book works from the premise that throughout the Bible there are many “blue parakeets” (an image taken from a story that is shared in one of the book’s opening chapters) – passages, oddities, etc. that we’re not quite sure what to do with. We don’t know right away how to respond to them and we don’t know how we should let them “fly with the other birds” that we find in the Bible. So, throughout the book, McKnight offers insight on how we might approach the Bible in a relational and narrative way using the three part structure of (1) Story, (2) Listening, and (3) Discerning. As the book concludes, the closing chapters take the “blue parakeet” of the role of women in the ministry of the church and uses the principles and guidelines offered in the book to propose how we might think about the issue Biblically and culturally today.
Without being defensive, McKnight makes a good case for the importance of the Bible in the life of the church today. The process of discernment that he promotes fights against the temptation and tendancy to misquote and misuse passages of the Scriptures without first understanding the bigger story and listening to how God is speaking in our world today. I think this book will be a good resource as it helps articulate more clearly what it is that the Bible is, how “it works,” and how wecan understand it in today’s world.