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The Blue Parakeet-Evaluation

October 27, 2008

I was very much looking forward to the release of this book. When the opportunity arose to see an advance copy I jumped at the chance (and was thrilled to receive one). I found The Blue Parakeet to be a thoughtful and important book. Like McKnight’s other books it is very readable and flows nicely from one idea to the next. The thing that jumps out at me most in this book is the call to be honest about how we read the Bible. Our views of the Bible sometimes divide us within denominations, congregations, and other relationships. This troubles me as a follower of Jesus and as a pastor. I don’t always think we (myself included) are as honest as we could be about how we pick and choose when it comes to the Bible, or that such a process is at work in our reading and application. Or we are tempted to just leave the hard work of scripture interpretation to “professional” clergy, who can tell us what to think concerning it. Meanwhile the art of reading the Bible in community and working together at it’s application for today gets lost.

I like the Story approach to the Bible that McKnight puts forth, and think this model helps us keep perspective and value context when we interpret scripture. We learn more about the various individual authors and their “wiki-stories” which make up our Bible, and see how their stories fit into the whole of God’s Story. He reminds us that tradition is important, but it is not the purpose. When we read the Bible with tradition, rather than through it, we are able to focus on allowing the Spirit to guide us as we read the Bible “in such a way that it is renewing and ever renewing, in such a way that we learn how to live it out”(37).

At the completion of the book I’m left wanting to go and look at other “blue parakeet” passages, and practice the elements of Bible reading, listening, and discerning set forth here. And I want to think about how we can do this more intentionally in community. A certain amount of fear exists in the church when it comes to rethinking how we read the Bible. But I hope this book will help launch us into a deeper and more profound relationship with the God of the Bible, recognize and draw us into our part in God’s Story, and help us to live it out.

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