Name one person that lives by the trilogy: The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it. Once you realize that no one belongs on your list, then you may be ready for Scot McKnight’s new book, The Blue Parakeet.
In his most recent book, Mcknight takes on everyone who claims to completely follow the Bible. Everyone, suggests McKnight, “picks and chooses” the portions of scripture to live out. No one lives out the Bible en toto. But rather than giving up on the Bible, accepting this fact allows us to discover the “inner logic” by which we pick and choose what we believe and what we live out.
Don’t misunderstand. McKnight writes from within the framework of a high confidence in the Bible. His issue is not with the scripture. His issue is with you and me and how we read it.
The title of the book is based on one of McKnight’s experiences as a bird watcher. One day McKnight notices an unusual blue bird in his backyard. As he sought to identify the bird he noticed how the sparrows in his yard reacted to this unusual visitor. At first the sparrows were terrified, then they tried to “train” the new blue bird to act right, and eventually they adjusted to the new bird’s presence. But the new blue bird, which turned out to be a Parakeet, never became a part of the landscape. He became a “familiar stranger” to the sparrows.
The sticky portions of scripture are like blue parakeets in our midst. What’s sticky to you — homosexuality, women in ministry, foot washing, the Sabbath — may not be the scripture that is sticky to me. But the issue is not what do we do with the Blue parakeet. The real issue is what kind of sparrows will we be? Will we seek to tame the blue parakeets, be terrified and avoid them, or recognize that these blue parakeets are different, acknowledge them. This leads to something I consider very valuable in the Blue Parakeet. Scot argues for telling each other (and ourselves) the truth about how we read the scriptures.
If we can acknowledge that we all pick and choose some scripture over other scripture, then we would be in a better position to understand the logic by which we choose what we emphasize.
One of the more fun sections of the book is the list of issues that McKnight touches on. Here’s a sample:
Sex before marriage
Divorce and remarriage
The Death Penalty
Women in Church Ministry
Why do we have different points of view over certain scripture? Is there some scripture about which we can and should say, “That was then, this is now?”Â By what criteria do you pick and choose your scripture? All I can say is fun, fun, fun.
This book is written from the perspective of a very high confidence in the scriptures, and would serve you if you’re wishing to get real with yourself and re-think how you read and understand the Bible.
Have you read the Blue Parakeet? What do you think?
Brian Russel, Professor of Biblical studies at Asbury Sem, joins Eric Bryant (Mosaic) and Alex McManus at
The Human Event
Brian’s Topic: Unleashing the Scriptures: (re)aligning our lives with the heart of God