In The Blue Parakeet, Scot McKnight provides his thoughts around how it is that we should read the Bible, and apply it's words in today's culture. His questions are thought provoking, and his analysis of the lenses through which we peer at the Bible are helpful. He argues for the timelessness of scripture, while exhorting the timeliness of it's importance.
The overreaching question of how we are to live out the Bible in our culture is central to Scot's exploration of biblical study. What I found most helpful was the detail surrounding the question of how do we read the bible. I think it is safe to say that we all fall into default modes of interpretation that are often culturally and traditionally conditioned.
I remember back in the day when every bookstore I went to I saw 'The Bible Code'. The Bible Code was a system of tricks by which the author(s) had claimed to find hidden and timely prophecies encoded within the words of the Bible. As time has proven this was no more than a theory, and I would say a sensationalistic money grab. Scot affirms that we can not use gimmicks to better understand the Bible, we must instead rely upon the narrative story present in scripture from front to back. From creation to consummation the Bible narrates God's story as told from the vantage point of many different authors in many different cultural contexts.
The blue parakeet is a metaphor for those things that are beautifully unique and stand out against the sparrows of the world. At first they are troublesome, scary, and out of place, however as we read the narrative as it is presented and begin to understanding micro/macro nature of the Bible those blue parakeet passages and personas that we don't quite know what to do with become less frightening. In time we begin to listen to the parakeet's distinct song, and discern it's place among it's peers.
The Blue Parakeet is a great introductory study for those interested in understanding how it is that we are to be reading and applying the Bible in our cultural contexts in a way that is both true to our way's today and to the story of God among his people. The language is conversational and accessible; rich with practical application without diving into big academic words.
The last half of the book wrestles with the 'blue parakeet' of women in Christian leadership roles. Scot's analysis in this area while not exhaustive to the topic reveals the heart of this books potential for helping us understand and correctly apply the intent of Paul's letter.
As mentioned earlier the accessible and conversational tone of this book suits it's purpose however it leaves me wanting Scot to further develop his hermeneutic technique in a more academic piece. One that can truly lay the groundwork not just for a personal understanding of the Bible, but a work that provides a more fleshed out framework from which further scholarly study of the Bible can develop.
I recommend this work as a great place to get your feet wet in critical thinking about the Bible, especially as it relates to understanding God's story both within the author's context and today.
The Blue Parakeet will be available generally in November.