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“Reading with Tradition”

A Review of
The Blue Parakeet:
Rethinking How You Read the Bible.

by Scot McKnight.

By Chris Smith.

The Blue Parakeet:
Rethinking How You Read the Bible.

Scot McKnight.

Hardcover. Zondervan. 2008.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $21 ] [ Amazon ]

Blue ParakeetThe Blue Parakeet is the second book by Scot McKnight that we have reviewed here in the Englewood Review in the last year (The first book was A Community Called Atonement – hereafter ACCA – reviewed in issue #2).  McKnight, a professor of religious studies at North Park University, has authored numerous books and also is the author of the popular blog  Like ACCA, The Blue Parakeet, dares to challenge prevailing theological ideas and practices in today’s churches.  In ACCA, McKnight addressed our understanding of atonement and how that is fleshed out in our churches.  In The Blue Parakeet, he turns to questions of what Scripture is and how we read it.  The book’s creative title comes from a story that McKnight, a birdwatcher, tells about seeing such a bird in his backyard.  As it turns out, this particular bird had apparently escaped from its cage and its owner’s house.  McKnight is struck by his own response to seeing this bird.  The trajectory of his responses goes from not realizing what it was to wishing the parakeet would go away, to trying to catch it and re-cage it, to finally being content to observe it and seeing how it behaves.  After some reflection, McKnight realizes that the blue parakeet serves as a wonderful metaphor for our experience of parts of scripture that do not fit with our present understanding of Scripture and the way in which our reading is embodied in the practice of our church community.  Such “blue parakeet” experiences might include the more obscure commandments of the Israelite law, the practice of footwashing or the Sabbath or passages on the ministry of women in the church.

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