Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.
Discussion: The Blue Parakeet by Scott McKnight
From Chapter 4, “It’s a Story with Power!: How, Then, Shall We Read?”
To introduce the concept of reading the Bible as a story, McKnight tells us about how he used to read the Bible leading him to change his way of reading.
For many years, instead of grasping the Bible as a Story, I was a Maestro Bible reader. I learned to tame the blue parakeets – and there were plenty in the Bible to tame – by making them all sound like Maestro Jesus, the uber-Rabbi.
He explains that while reading the Bible in this way he began to dislike the way the apostles Paul and John did not use Jesus’ words and expressions.
Furthermore, as a Maestro reader of the Bible I also nursed a grudge against the puzzlers of the world, and my grudge emerged from two convictions about how to read the Bible. First (and I still sense this at times), those who have a solved puzzle rarely let Jesus’ kingdom message be what it is. Second, every approach I’ve read by puzzlers somehow managed to avoid the Story and the Plot as central categories for knowing the message of the Bible. Instead of creation and fall, exodus and exile, as well as community and redemption, the Story was flattened out. Categories like God, man, Christ, sin, salvation, and eschatology were pieced together from various authors.
But that all changed when I realized that God chose to communicate with us in language. This may seem either profoundly obvious, on the level of the person who says the sky s above us, or “profoundly profound.” For me it was profoundly profound. Since – and this is why it changed how I read the Bible – God chose to communicate in language, since language is always shaped by context, and since God chose to speak to us over time through many writers, God also chose to speak to us in a variety of ways and expressions. Furthermore, I believe that because the gospel story is so deep and wide, God needed a variety of expressions to give us a fuller picture of the story.
McKnight moves through the chapter to compare the Bible to a Wikipedia entry. Just like Wikipedia entries may change and new entries added, the different authors of the Bible speak the old stories in new ways for their day. The Bible, in a sense, is made up of “wiki-stories.” McKnight stresses, “Many New Testament specialists will tell you that nearly every page is a wiki-story on an Old Testament wiki-story.” So where are we know?
The Bible is a Story.
The Story is made up of a series of wiki-stories.
The wiki-stories are held together by the Story.
The only way to make sense of the blue parakeets in the Bible is to set each in the context of the Bible’s Story.
Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?
He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things will never be shaken.
Proverbs 11: 24 – 28
One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell. He who seeks good finds goodwill, but evil comes to him who searches for it. Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;
may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;
may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;
may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.
Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?
Photo credit: Kathi – Standing tall through the end of summer!