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Discussion: The Blue Parakeet by Scott McKnight
From Chapter 11 – The Bible and Women: Women in Church Ministries 1
It’s been a while since we have looked at Scott McKnight’s book. As a refresher, McKnight’s position is that the Bible should be read as a story. Verses should not be picked here and there but should be taken in context of the writer and the greater story.
I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to jump ahead and start covering why I appreciate this book so much. McKnight has been very supportive of women in ministry for many years on his blog, Jesus Creed. This book does not offer every single argument in favor of women in ministry because the majority of the book is about how to read the Bible. McKnight offers women in ministry as a “test case.” It is a good starting point for further study about women’s roles in the church and there are several excellent academic authors who offer more.
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 1 Corinthians 9: 22-23
McKnight starts this chapter off with a story about a former student who graduated with a Master of Arts in Religion with an emphasis in New Testament. He states that he admired this student because she understood the Bible and theology, had good interpersonal skills, and was a good preacher. He thought she would make an excellent pastor. The problem, though, was that she was never able to find a preaching and teaching job. All roles offered to her were for children’s, youth, or women’s ministries. Even if she did accept one of these positions I’m sure she would have been given a title of director and not pastor.
McKnight compares this student to a blue parakeet (hence the title of the book); a woman that the church wanted to keep in a “cage and to keep quiet.”
Let’s look again at the Bible and I will show you in the next few chapters how many have discerned what we are to do today with the blue parakeets, women, who think they are called to sing and fly in the ministries of the church. I will argue that we should let the blue parakeets sing, that in reading the Bible with tradition instead of through tradition, we are set free both to respect and challenge that tradition. Furthermore, the direction of the Bible itself encourages us to think of facing the future by expanding the church ministries of women.
As soon as I read this paragraph I became excited. I, too, was a ministry student that experienced the difficulty of finding acceptance in the church as a minister. It influenced me enough during my undergraduate time that I did a completely different major for my master’s degree. Looking back, it was a good thing for me because I found an area that I am more passionate about than preaching and theology. However, I knew women that I went to school with who were passionate about the Bible, theology, and felt called to serve as a pastor. I knew they would have a difficult time finding a preaching and teaching job in our “denomination” of churches (non-denominational Christian church – which really is like a denomination).
The rest of Sunday gatherings through this book will focus on women in ministry:
In this and the next few chapters we will offer a positive argument for why we think the Bible affirms the ongoing presence of women in church ministries. We will look at a variety of topics, including a quick sweep through the whole Bible to show how the Bible as Story informs our reading of these passages. Any discussion that defends women in church ministries can be responsible only if it examines in more detail the so-called silencing of women passages in Paul (I Corinthians 14: 35-35 and 1 Timothy 2: 8-15).
I hope you find his positive arguments interesting and hopeful.
Hear, O Lord, my righteous plea; listen to my cry. Give ear to my prayer – it does not rise from deceitful lips. May my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right.
Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin. As for the deeds of men – by the word of your lips I have kept myself from the ways of the violent. My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped.
I call to you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer. Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.
They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance. They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground. They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a great lion crouching in cover. Rise up, O Lord, confront them, bring them down; rescue me from the wicked by your sword. O Lord, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life.
You still the hunger of those you cherish; their sons have plenty, and they store up wealth for their children. And I – in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.
Proverbs 12: 2
A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but the Lord condemns a crafty man.
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 – Welcome Fall!
8 thoughts on “SSB Sunday Gathering – November 5, 2017”
I love Blue Parakeet. It was the first book of Scot’s that I read (one “t” in Scot). Now I’m studying with him at Northern Seminary, and he is just as encouraging and emboldening of women in real life as he is in his books.
Hi Becky! Thanks for sharing your experience with us! Scot’s book was the first that I ever read with excellent arguments for women in ministry. The next time you see him please pass on how much I appreciate what he’s done.
Thanks for all the work… You end with…
“I hope you find his positive arguments interesting and hopeful.”
Sorry, but, I find McKnights arguments very mis-leading.
“From Chapter 11 – The Bible and Women: Women in Church Ministries 1”
“He (McKnight) states that he admired this student
because she understood the Bible and theology,
had good interpersonal skills,
and was a good preacher.
He thought she would make
an excellent pastor.“
BUT – I’m-a-thinkn…
When McKnight uses the words ”church.” and ”pastor.”
And, ”The Bible” uses the words ”church.” and ”pastor.”
It just ain’t da sam ting…
The pastors, WE, His Sheep, His Servants, His Friends, see today…
Ain’t nuttin like the shepherds, ”In the Bible.”
When McKnight uses the words, ”The Bible and Women:”
And, “He thought she would make an excellent pastor.“
Shouldn’t WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Church, His Body…
Be able to find these things, what McKnight says, ”In The Bible?”
In the Bible… Can anyone find…
One of ”His Fe-male Disciples” who “called them self” pastor?
Or shepherd? Or poimen? Or leader? Or reverend?
One of ”His Fe-male Disciples” who was “Hired” as a pastor?
Or shepherd? Or poimen? Or leader? Or reverend?
One of ”His Fe-male Disciples” who took the “Title,” pastor?
Or shepherd? Or poimen? Or leader? Or reverend?
One of ”His Fe-male Disciples” who became a…
Paid, Professional, Pastor, in a Pulpit?
Preaching, to People in Pews?
Weak after Weak?
If being one of ”His Disciples” is important? To you?
Wouldn’t what Jesus taught ”His Disciples” be important?
Wouldn’t what ”His Disciples” DID, be important?
Kathi, thanks for reviewing The Blue Parakeet. I can’t wait to get the book, read it for myself and share it with others. A. Amos Love, it seems that you’ve misunderstood the point of the
“A. Amos Love, it seems that you’ve misunderstood the point of the book.”
That’s very possible…
I haven’t read the book…
Can you help me out?
What is, “the point of the book?”
And… What have I misunderstood?
I’d really like to know what I have misunderstood?
I do like the Title. 😉
“The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible”
A. Amos Love – From someone who has been out of the church for almost 10 years, I understand where you are coming from.
However, I do recognize that organized community church has value for people. When I was in my master’s program, I had one professor who downplayed the significance of the church. We were told that we couldn’t talk about religion or church with clients while in our field placements – even if they brought it up. I never quite understood how a social worker did not accept that some people do find church and religion to be very valuable in their lives. While I would never talk about faith with a client or victim in a way to evangelize, if the person brought up the subject, it is important to them and therefore worthy to discuss. I also think it is good to ask victims who are in a healthy faith community if they have people who can support them.
Moving on to topic…this book is primarily about how to read the Bible. I covered much of that in previous Sunday gatherings. McKnight uses how people read the Bible to silence women in the church as his case study at the end of the book. He validates that women should not be silenced and that they are more than capable to hold pastoral positions in the church.
I understand where you are coming from. We are all called the a priesthood of believers and followers of Christ. However, we the “church” – as in a local body of believers – still exists and many of these organized bodies silence half (or more) of their population. If local congregations are going to exist, I would like to see more women who are gifted in preaching, teaching, and administration be honored to have the title of pastor or preacher.
About the word ‘church’ meaning a local body of believers… if you read Acts 2 you see that the Lord added to ‘the church’ and that ‘church’ met from house to house.
The word church doesn’t mean a meeting or assembly of believers it’s simply a reference to the Body of Christ (which is One. One fold/ One Shepherd/ One Body).
The Christian Word thinks this word ‘church’ means a gathering or assembly or meeting or worse, a building.
When you look at the way the word Ekklesia is used there’s no way it could mean an assembly or gathering. It’s the people (not assembled!).
This is why Amos and I harp on.
The enemy has done a marvellous job working on Christianity with its 35,000 sects (is Christ divided?).
Should we be of Apollos or Paul? (No)
I know you understand this point of view and your post has nothing to do with this…
But as believers who have “come out” (of her) which is idolatry and harlotry we feel compelled to keep on warning people to get away from it and just seek the Lord.
Sure, some people might love ‘going’ to church.
But does God wants his people involved in religion?
That’s the question, isn’t it?
Not, what does it do for me but rather, how does God feel about this all?
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Kathi – You write…
“From someone who has been out of the church for almost 10 years…”
You might want to say that a little differently, because…
From what I know of you…
You are NOT, out of ”The Church of God.”
You, Kathi, are one of
His Ekklesia, His Called Out Ones, His Body, His Church…
Where, Jesus, be runnin the show.
Col 1:18 He is the head of The Body, The Church.
You, Kathi, are one of
His Saints, His Friends, His sons, His Ambassadors…
His Disciples, His Kings and Priests, His Servants…
And you shepherd, care for, feed, tend, God’s Sheep.
With-out a “Title.”
You might have left, and are NO longer a part of…
”Today’s Corrupt Religious System”
Where ”Mere Fallible Humans” honor themsleves with “Titles.”
That do NOT exist in the Bible… For one of ”His Disciples.”
While speaking of themselves, seeking their own Glory.
John 5:42 – I receive not honour from men.
John 5:44 – How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another…
John 8:54 – If I honour myself, my honour is nothing…
John 7:18 – He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory…
“Titles,” create, promote, and give you ”Your Honor and Glory.”
Whether you want it or NOT.
“Titles,” will be used to ”Separate” the brethren…
Shepherd – sheep
“Titles,” will be used to ”Elevate” one brethren over another brethren.
I’m the Shepherd – You’re only a sheep.
“Titles,” will be used to ”Control and Manipulate” the brethren…
I’m the pastor, when you disagree that’s di-vision. NOT two visions.
Don’t touch the head of God’s annointed.
I’m god’s ordained authority.
Submit to me.
“Titles,” will ”Separate”
“Titles,” will ”Elevate”
“Titles,” will be used to ”Control and Manipulate.”
NOPE… In the Bible…
NOT one of ”His Disciples,” “Male or Fe-Male,” took the “Title” pastor.
Or shepherd. Or leader. Or reverend.