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The Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight

The Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight

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: 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

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.

Dear Folks,

I’ve taken the plunge to a self hosted blog.  I’ll post both places for a time.

The new url for Breaking Fast on the Beach is;


The Ordination of Saint Hilary. From a 14th century manuscript.

The Ordination of Saint Hilary. From a 14th century manuscript.

The world often tells us that in order to keep from making waves we would do well to GO ALONG, TO GET ALONG. Today, January 13th is the Feast Day of Hilary of Poitiers and early father of the Church and a central figure in the struggle against Arianism and one who refused to heed the call of compromise or capitulation.

The Arian heresy was named after Arius, an early figure in the Church who claimed that Jesus was not, in fact, God but appeared to be of ‘like substance’ to God.

Arianism , had it gone unchecked, would have undone the doctrine of the Trinity as wel know it and would have rendered the Nicene Creed an historical anomaly rather than what it is, and enuring statement of belief in the nature of God as three distinct, equal and coexistent persons.

One of the hallmarks of Hilary’s contributions to the resolution of the Arian Heresy, was his ability to maintain relationship and credibility as a person and intellectual interlocutor with folks across the spectrum. His realtively calm demeanor, without compromising his beliefs in the face of enormous pressure to denounce the Trinitarian view, is one of his remembered as one of his most outstanding qualities. Though he was thoughtful, gentle, humble, and pastoral; he was no pushover theologically or in his commitment to the Truth as revealed in the Church. He endured exile and maintained faith in his position that Jesus was both fully human AND fully divine.

He was not alone in his endurance, but still remains and example of quiet confidence and faith in the face of secular pressure on the Church to compromise on its beliefs in order to consolidate power and avoid conflict. In many ways it was his commitment to the doctrine of the Trinity as the divine embodiment of mutuality in relationships that I suspect sustained him in the darkest hours and gave him the faith to endure to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Some 80 years later, the Council of Chalcedon (451 CE) affirmed his position as one of orthdoxy and we remain Trinitarian Christians to this day due to Hilary and others of his ilk who had the courage of the convictions and the spiritual strength to stand on them, believing that God would set all things in order in God’s time. Thanks be to God for Hilary…might the Church learn from him the virtue of patience in the face of our ongoing conflicts, assured that God’s love is not dependent upon our being ‘right’.

I just love this. We are truly all in this together and we need each other more than we can possibly know.Stay warm and peaceful

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January 2009

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