Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.
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!