Blue Parakeet 4

BPkeet

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re also familiar with Wikipedia. The title of the web sites come from the practice of publishing a data dump of your knowledge on a particular topic. It is a loosely constrained document that can take any number of shapes so long as it stays within the framework of the defined topic. Though the modern idea is credited to Ward Cunningham, the concept is centuries old and found in the Bible. Scot McKnight brings this concept to the discussion of reading the Bible as story in The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible’ target=_blank>The Blue Parakeet.

The Bible has a unique composition as we are all aware. Numerous authors writing over many, many years in a wide variety of environments and genres tell a single, continuous story. God superintended His story across this swatch of humanity and time to express His relationship with the world and His people. Rather than a systematic theology, He elected to tell the story as a series of ‘wikis.’ Each of the Bible’s authors is free to tell the story the way they see fit as long as it conforms to a consistent, sacred plot line. The authors may use poetry, history, or even a personal letter to tell the story but each remains based on the same plot.

Scot outlines the plot line as follows, using the Greek word Eikon. This becomes our anglicized ‘icon’ and means image, specifically in the Bible, the image of Christ into which we are being transformed. The storyline will be our creation as Eikons which become broken and finally restored. He suggests this order:

    • Creating Eikons – Genesis 1 and 2   (Oneness)
    • Cracked Eikons -  Genesis 3 to 11   ( Otherness )
    • Covenant Community -  Genesis 12 to Malachi  ( Otherness Expands )
    • Christ, The Perfect Eikon Redeems – Matthew to Revelation 20  ( One in Christ )
    • Consumation – Revelation 21-22

Each author works with this outline but does not necessarily have to use each one. When we view the Bible in this fashion, our understanding changes. Rather than sixty six different stories, we can understand the interaction of the authors as variations on the same story. This unity is missed when we use another approach to reading and can tempt us to pull books or passages out of the whole context, leading us to misinterpretations, something we should desire to avoid. Any impressions on this idea?

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Blue Parakeet 4

  1. This may just be the deranged musings of a paranoid student of scripture, but I think there is danger in this description of inspiration:
    He elected to tell the story as a series of ‘wikis.’ Each of the Bible’s authors is free to tell the story the way they see fit as long as it conforms to a consistent, sacred plot line. The authors may use poetry, history, or even a personal letter to tell the story but each remains based on the same plot.

    In Matthew 22 Christ declares the doctrine of the resurrection as a settled issue based on the verb tense of a declaration made in Exodus 3:6. In Galations 3:16, we see much the same thing, as the plurality of the word “seed” is used to prove that it was Christ that was being spoken of.

    Granted, you might not object to any of this, but I think Scot McKnight wouldn’t like it that much at all. McKnight believes that the Genesis account is poetry until after the flood (probably post-tower of Babel, but I’m not sure), he pretty much believes that the modern evolution theories are correct and that the earth is million of years old. Of course this requires learning to “re-read” all the discussion in Scripture about death coming about by sin, and Peter’s warnings about scoffers in the last days (II Peter 3:3-7), but that is part of the reason he wrote “Blue Parakeet”.

    Wow, didn’t really mean to write all that!! I guess I would caution you against the book, or at least encourage you to suspect the motives behind its writing.

    Take care,
    C

  2. Charles – Interesting thoughts though I don’t follow your scripture references. Ex 3:6 has nothing to do resurrection so I’ve missed the point of its comparison with Mt 22.

    Can you provide us with a reference in which McKnight points to the creation account as poetry? I’ve not seen this. As to his acknowledgment of the scientific discoveries over the years, wouldn’t you also say that science is of God and contributes to His revelation? None of this requires relearning how to read scripture.

    You seem to be attributing nefarious motives to McKnight’s book. Have you read it?

  3. In Matt 22, Christ says to the Sadducees (who didn’t believe in the resurrection) and I paraphrase, “regarding the resurrection, don’t you know what God has said? He said, I am the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. If they were dead, I would have said, I was the God…”

    I meant to link to the section where McKnight says that the literal interpretation of Genesis is an incorrect reading. Try this link instead.

    Science or knowledge can definitely help us make sense of what God has said. But knowledge recapitulates bias as much as anything else. What we “know” is very much subject to what we believe. For instance, at the end of the post that I linked to by McKnight, he signs of with the phrase “Believolution”. Read through the post if you will. What he is saying is that because science tells us something, it is very clear to us that Scripture must not be read the way we have read it in the past. Because creationism has been proven wrong, we must updating our reading/interpretation of the Word. What before we took to be literal, we now must read as figurative.

    As to nefarious motives, no, I don’t think McKnight has nefarious motives. I don’t think he wakes up thinking that he wants to lead men astray. I don’t think John McCain does either though. Or Nancy Pelosi.

    As far as the book goes, I’ve only read parts of it, but I’ve read Jesus Creed for years and I’ve seen the pattern that McKnight has followed.

  4. After reading the link you posted, I don’t think I would go as far as you in seeing McKnight saying that ‘creationism has been proven wrong.’ There is much discussion that occurs when the Genesis account is read in Hebrew. Has this been a part of your scripture studies? Isn’t the word for day used in the 7 days of creation different from that used later for a 24 hour period?

    The premise of Blue Parakeet is actual quite fundamentalist. Rather than our current tendency to zero in on verses and passages and use them to formulate doctrine, the Bible is meant to be read in the context of the whole. That is, there is a complete story being told in a variety of ways. We are to form our doctrine in conversation with the whole of scripture, not some small section that might be misunderstood when pulled from that large context. He uses women in ministry leadership as an example.

    The Jesus Creed is an interesting animal. McKnight is sympathetic to the emerging church but he is not McLaren.

  5. Part of the reason why I reference the two examples in Scripture (of Jesus with the Saducees, and Paul remarking on the fact that the word for seed was singular, which indicates Christ) is because Scripture is (by the very nature of the exampleswritten in a way that allows one to zero in on certain verses and to se them to formulate doctrine.

    The book of Romans is further example of this. Throughout the book, the manner of Paul’s dialogue is one of taking basic points of knowledge in the Christian faith and applying logic and reason to expound upon them. “If this is true, then this as well, and this and this and this.” The book is full of furthermores and therefores. And if Paul were merely making these doctrinal assertions by apostolic fiat, then he would have just said: “here is truth, have faith in my authority as apostle, because there is no way to rebuild these truths from the Word, there are no proof texts”

    I want to very clear though: I agree that Scripture must be read as a whole. I agree that you cannot take a verse and set it against all of Scripture (though there are places where God says he is explaining a concept in a passage and it stands somewhat alone and as the only place in Scripture where that concept is explained)

    Anyway, thanks for putting up with me, sorry for the long delay in responding to you,
    Charles

  6. (I fixed some significant typos in the other entry, feel free to delete it)

    Part of the reason why I reference the two examples in Scripture (of Jesus with the Saducees, and Paul remarking on the fact that the word for seed was singular, which indicates Christ) is because Scripture is (by the very nature of the examples it uses for developing doctrine) written in a way that allows one to zero in on certain verses and to use them to formulate doctrine.

    The book of Romans is further example of this. Throughout the book, the manner of Paul’s dialogue is one of taking basic points of knowledge in the Christian faith and applying logic and reason to expound upon them. “If this is true, then this as well, and this and this and this.” The book is full of furthermores and therefores, full of references back to Old Testament text, full of analogy. And if Paul were merely making these doctrinal assertions by apostolic fiat, then he would have just said: “here is truth, have faith in my authority as apostle, because there is no way to rebuild these truths from the Word, there are no proof texts” instead of giving us an unfaithful methodology.

    I want to very clear though: I agree with you that Scripture must be read as a whole. I agree that you cannot take a verse and set it against all of Scripture (though there are places where God says he is explaining a concept in a passage and it stands somewhat alone and as the only place in Scripture where that concept is explained)

    Anyway, thanks for putting up with me, sorry for the long delay in responding to you,
    Charles

  7. Good to hear from you Charles. Your example from Romans makes a good point but expanding it to the Pauline corpus finds the same truths being presented to a variety of cultural contexts in Galatia, Rome, and Ephesus. To each he spoke in a way that would be understood given their surroundings. In order for us to understand what God was saying through Paul, it is necessary for us to place the truth in the immediate context from which it came.

Comments are closed.