Sunday, May 03, 2009

Why Do Pastors Have So Many Books?

The Blue Parakeet
by Scot McKnight

If reading, understanding, and applying the Bible were an easy thing to do, pastors would have a lot fewer books. Those who love the Scriptures and want to be guided by them in life will need to wrestle with the texts themselves and the long Christian tradition of interpretation.

For a long time now, I've found Scot McKnight's books and blog to be very helpful. His latest book, The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible, is another fine offering. Here are two short quotes from the book that I've chosen to pique your curiosity:

"...Christians and churches do operate with a pattern of discernment, but it is rarely openly admitted and even more rarely clarified. Discernment, I am arguing, is how we have always read the Bible; in fact, it is how the biblical authors themselves read the Bible they had! I want to begin a conversation among Bible readers about this very topic: What pattern of discernment is at work among us?" (p.144)

"Culturally shaped readings of the Bible and culturally shaped expressions of the gospel are exactly what Paul did and wanted. That's exactly with Peter and Hebrews and John and James and others were doing. Culturally shaped readings and expressions of the gospel are the way it has been, is, and always will be. In fact, I believe that gospel adaptation for every culture, for every church, and for every Christian is precisely why God gave us the Bible." (p.206)

Here is a two-part review of the book that appeared on Christianity Today's "Out of Ur" blog:

Review: The Blue Parakeet, Part 1
McKnight Rethinks How we Read the Bible

Review: The Blue Parakeet, Part 2
McKnight Offers Great Insights into Bible Reading

There is also a two page article by Skye Jethani (managing editor of Leadership magazine) in the April 2009 issue of Christianity Today. The piece, titled "How Not to Read the Bible," summarizes (from McKnight's Parakeet) five flawed approaches to Bible interpretation. Sorry, but I couldn't find a link to the article anywhere online.

Friday, May 01, 2009

A Beautiful Poem from Anne Porter


When I was a child
I once sat sobbing on the floor
Beside my mother's piano
As she played and sang
For there was in her singing
A shy yet solemn glory
My smallness could not hold

And when I was asked
Why I was crying
I had no words for it
I only shook my head
And went on crying

Why is it that music
At its most beautiful
Opens a wound in us
An ache a desolation
Deep as a homesickness
For some far-off
And half-forgotten country

I've never understood
Why this is so

Bur there's an ancient legend
From the other side of the world
That gives away the secret
Of this mysterious sorrow

For centuries on centuries
We have been wandering
But we were made for Paradise
As deer for the forest

And when music comes to us
With its heavenly beauty
It brings us desolation
For when we hear it
We half remember
That lost native country

We dimly remember the fields
Their fragrant windswept clover
The birdsongs in the orchards
The wild white violets in the moss
By the transparent streams

And shining at the heart of it
Is the longed-for beauty
Of the One who waits for us
Who will always wait for us
In those radiant meadows

Yet also came to live with us
And wanders where we wander.

"Music" by Anne Porter from Living Things: Collected Poems.
© Steerforth Press, 2006.

Buy the Book