Monday, October 6, 2008

Book Review: The Blue Parakeet

Any book that forces you to stop, think, and reevaluate what you believe is a book worth reading. Scot McKnight's new book The Blue Parakeet is that kind of book.

McKnight uses an odd encounter with an out of place bird (I won't spoil the story) to illustrate the way many people approach reading the Bible. In particular McKnight's concern is that Christians aren't making the effort to understand those passages in Scripture that seem somewhat out of place from the rest. McKnight suggests that there a number of these passages which are not only being ignored because of their apparent difficulty; some passages are even being silenced by Bible readers today.

It's bad enough that Christians might choose to ignore or silence teachings found in God's Word, but as McKnight argues even worse is the fact that the Church is being harmed as a result. McKnight surveys a number of these "blue parakeet" passages in his book, but focuses in on one teaching that he believes is detrimental to the Body of Christ: the role of women in the church.

As I considered McKnight's story there were a number of points he made that resonated with me, especially related to the general level of biblical ignorance that is present in our churches. The book offered some helpful discussion to help Bible readers better under the text they have. There were other times when McKnight's arguments went in directions that I found some discord with. But even in these points of disagreement, McKnight's witting style caused me to at least reconsider that which I believed to be true.

I did feel that the sections related to the topic of women in ministry tilted the balance of the book beyond what the subtitle (Rethinking How You Read the Bible) indicated the book was to be about. I do not think that the example was out of place; in fact it fit well with the other "hot button topics" McKnight pointed to in order to illustrate his point. I wonder if his passion for the subject would have been better served in a separate work. There did come a point in reading this work that I felt as if I were reading an entirely different book from what had come before.

That being said,
The Blue Parakeet is definitely worth reading and will be a helpful tool for anyone who needs to shore up their own understanding of how they approach and read the Bible.

[This review can also be view at]
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