Unpacking the Parakeet (Part 1)

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I have been reading Scot McKnight’s new book Blue Parakeet and wanted to share a few thoughts. Hopefully those who are also reading the book can chime in and those who are not reading the book might get curious enough to start. Before I begin I must be honest and say that many of my thoughts here my be riddled with distraction and loving agitation as I am now the parent of a one week old baby boy.

So first thing is first let’s start with the cover of the book. I usually like to start with the first page but the cover of this book is interesting enough to warrant its own post. You have a picture of a parakeet sitting atop a nondescript pair of binoculars with a subheading that is more helpful than the title itself – “Rethinking How You Read the Bible.” Flip it over and you find some interesting yet exaggerated blurbs about how great this book is. I say exaggerated very kindly because what I have read so far inside the book is enlightening, challenging, and creates a sort of self-examination and eye opening experience that I have not had in quite some time. I have found myself over and over again thinking “that is what I have been trying to say but just didn’t quite know the words” as McKnight makes insightful comment after insightful comment. Here is the claim on the back of the book,

Until Scot McKnight wrote The Blue Parakeet, today’s Christian had little choice – either side with out-of-touch fundamentalists or unrealistic liberals…which left millions in the middle disenfranchised, unsure how to read the Bible in a postmodern world.

Now if you are like me that statement is a highfalutin way to describe your book! We have no choice, no options, no way to think for ourselves? I think it is the lack of sleep that is doing it to me but that just struck me a little odd and I was a bit surprised McKnight let that be put on the back cover of the book. But don’t let that bother you…what is on the inside is a worthwhile read and unpacks the way many have viewed and still view scripture, the problems that come along with faulty intrepretive schemes, and a healthy alternative (the Bible as story) that many authors have advocated but few have described and outlined in as practical and helpful way as McKnight has in this book.

0 Responses

  1. Just finished the book last week. I’m teaching through the spiritual disciplines with they 2030’s group at my church. We were going over scripture this week and I felt several of the things he said were very helpful in discussing the subject. I did share that I wish that the day that I first picked up the bible ten years ago that the Blue Parakeet would have been next to it. Not because it tells me what to believe about the Bible but describes how the Bible was meant to be handled and approached.

  2. Hey Matt,

    Below are the books I read ahead of time before I started the study. Then from there I skim through books that have to do with the specific subject being discussed (eg. Blue Parakeet for Scripture).

    Spirit of the Disciplines: Dallas WIllard
    Celebration of the Disciplines: Richard Foster
    The Life You’ve Always Wanted: John Ortberg
    Finding Our Way Again – Brian McLaren
    The Holy Longing – Ronald Rolheiser
    The Imitation of Christ – Thomas a Kempis
    The Practice of the Presence of God – Brother Lawrence


  3. Rob,

    That is funny because about 2 and a half years ago I did a similar series for our 20s-30s class and used material from all but 2 of those books. Thanks for the great list.

  4. Cool! I’m always looking to learn from what others have done. If you have any resources or thoughts feel free to shoot them my way (robgmerrill@gmail.com). Sounds like you got a new baby on board so no rush on that!

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