Monday, March 02, 2009

The blue parakeet - 1

I am enjoying Scot McKnight's 'The Blue Parakeet.' I'm not too far into it yet, but I relate well to his style and humor, and his books have all been splendid reads for me.

The front flap of tbp says:
Parakeets make delightful pets. We cage them or clip their wings to keep them where we want them. Scot McKnight contends that many, conservatives and liberals alike, attempt the same thing with the Bible. We all try to tame it.

McKnight's 'The Blue Parakeet' has emerged at the perfect time to cool the flames of a world on fire with contention and controversy. It calls Christians to a way to read the Bible that leads beyond old debates and denominational battles. It calls Christians to stop taming the Bible and to let it speak anew for a new generation.

In 'The Blue Parakeet', McKnight... challenges [us] to rethink how to read the Bible, not just to puzzle it together into some systematic theology but to see it as a Story that we're summoned to enter and to carry forward in our day.

He calls his bold new approach to the Bible the "Third Way," a path that walks confidently - and joyfully - between theological extremes.

I like that. As with all of my blogging-about-books, this will not be a review, but just some things I find interesting or feel like jotting down to remember. I suggest you read the book yourself for the full impact. Here are some of my highlights so far...

p. 42... The Bible's story, in the simplest of categories, has a plot with a:
  • Beginning (Genesis 1-11), and a (long, long)
  • Middle (Genesis 12-Malachi 4; Matthew - Revelation), and an
  • End (Matthew 25; Romans 8; Revelation 21-22).
On pp. 44-54 he lists 5 shortcut approaches to reading the Bible that leave us lacking ("as shortcuts in exercise prevent full health benefits, so also shortcuts in Bible reading affect our spiritual health").
  • Shortcut 1 - Morsels of Law
  • Shortcut 2 - Morsels of Blessings and Promises
  • Shortcut 3 - Mirrors and Inkblots
  • Shortcut 4 - Puzzling Together the Pieces to Map God's Mind
  • Shortcut 5 - Maestros
On p. 45 he points out that it was Stephanus who divided the New Testament up into numbered verses... not until 1551. Hmm.

p. 52... "God did not give the Bible so we could master him or it; God gave the Bible so we could live it, so we could be mastered by it."

p. 62... "...creation and fall, exodus and exile, community and redemption..."

p. 65... "Here's the question the Story asks us, and it reveals what we mean by a wiki-story: Is Jesus' temptation the reliving of Adam and Eve's experience in Eden? (Jesus is then cast as the Second Adam, only this time perfectly obedient, and thereby the pioneer of a new Adamic line.) Or, which is more probable, is Jesus' temptation by Satan the reliving of Israel's wilderness testings? (Jesus is then recast as the second Moses leading his people to a new Promised Land.) In either case, Matthew casts the story of Jesus' temptations as an updated version, a wiki-story, of an older story - either the Eden story or the wilderness story. Many New Testament specialists will tell you that nearly every page is a wiki-story of an Old Testament wiki-story. In fact, the Old Testament scholar John Goldingay says the New Testament is nothing but footnotes on the Old Testament! He adds that "one cannot produce a theology out of footnotes." That is, if you don't have the Old Testament in your head, you can't grasp what the New Testament authors are saying.""

That's all the farther I am. Good stuff.