From time to time I’m fortunate to receive advanced reader copies of books from publishers. In the fall I received a copy of The Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight (you can find his excellent blog here: http://blog.beliefnet.com/jesuscreed/)a professor at North Park University in suburban Chicago. I was very happy to find it in my mailbox at the office because I had recently heard a podcast on Emergent Village where Scot had told the story that gives the book its name. I’ll let you read the story for yourself…it’s WAY worth it!
This book is a joy, it provides a thoughtful yet accessible means of understanding how Christians have read Holy Scripture through the ages. McKnight unpacks the practices of tradition, literary and historical criticism and helps a broad audience understand how these practices have changed over the course of the centuries. He does so by giving excellent foundational explanations supported by real experiences in his many years as a teacher of undergraduates and liberally shares his own life experience as a passionate reader of the Bible and seeker after the Truth is offers.
Though McKnight self-identifies as an evangelical christian he doesn’t allow himself or his views about the nature of scripture and its application in the real lives of faith communities to be co-opted by the stereotype of fundamentalist evangelicalism. In fact, at one point early in the book he identifies his church preferences by the hybrid name he gives himself, that of Willowpalian, a play on his affinity for the worship, program and fellowship of a place like Bill Hybels’ Willow Creek Community Church and a fondness for our Book of Common Prayer. He, himself is one of the Blue Parakeets in a group of folks in the Emerging Church from across the theological spectrum who I find incredibly interesting and exciting as how the work of the Gospel is happening in a 21st century, postmodern, postchristian world (though he wouldn’t care for those last two labels).
After laying the foundations mentioned above, he puts the tools to work examining what Scripture says about the role of women in pastoral leadership in the Church today. Once again, the mixture of personal recollection, intellectual understanding and pastoral insight are helpful in understanding how dynamic the church’s and believers relationships have been with the Bible down through the ages.
Long story short, if you are interested in a thoughtful, serious, inclusive, orthodox and faithful way of understanding of how we read the Bible can shape the lives of faith in individuals and communities I recomment you pick up a copy of McKnight’s book. You can buy it from Amazon at this link http://tinyurl.com/8mlbtd
If you read it and like it, drop me a line or leave a comment here!
Blessings on your journey of faith and may Blue Parakeets brighten your relationship with the Bible.