Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Blue Parakeet

by Scot McKnight

The last few years many of the younger set at the church I attend have opted to leave this congregation in which they have grown up and find a new church home. At the same time our fellowship continues to be blessed with other young families new to the church. It makes me wonder why that might be. What is it they are turning from or turning to? While I haven't come right out and asked (but probably should) knowing some of them, I think they are just trying to figure out how to live a life that reflects Christ to others. They are wondering how to live out the Bible today. How do we read, interpret and apply Scripture in our 21st century? This can be a huge challenge when scripture seems so counter cultural. In The Blue Parakeet, Scot McKnight poses some theories on Bible reading and Bible doing.

Let me say personally this was a challenging book to read. Not in that it was hard, rather the ideas challenged some of my thoughts on scripture reading.  Here are a few of McKnight's thoughts on scripture:
  • God gave us the Bible not so that we can know it, but so that we can know and love God through it. (emphasis mine)
  • The Bible is God's communication to us. We need to listen as He speaks. 
  • God speaks to people in their day in their way.
  • When we take our hands off the pages of the Bible, read and listen to its words, and enter into its story by faith, something happens. It renews and continues to renew its powers. 
McKnight says most of us approach the Bible as bits of laws and morsels of blessings. We read the Cliffs Notes version of the Bible and we pick what we will adopt and choose what we will adapt, often basing our decision on a "that was then, this is now" philosophy.

Scot uses a number of examples to support his theories, but his champion is the role of women in the church. His interpretations of the scripture verses used to establish these roles is new to me. My church tradition in that regard is rather conservative and limiting. Yet, I think the role of women is one of the big questions confronting most of today's churches in America. How do women fit into God's plan? How do men and women continue to carry God's plan of salvation to all nations?

Here are some of my thoughts about scripture:
  • Reading and doing the Bible is not easy. It sometimes seems to contradict itself and it sometimes seems impossible. 
  • I feel like I need to know it all and I want to be right because I'm committed to it. But I don't know it all and I'm not always right and I have to be okay with that.
  • I need to be a better listener when I read God's word.
  • Love is the key.
Go ahead and read The Blue Parakeet. Be challenged. Then call me for coffee and we can talk.