Friday, September 19, 2008

Blue Parakeet: Chapter 2 Begins

Chapter two is a little more complicated. It starts off with the story of the blue parakeet, and I'll be honest, at first I wasn't too sure about that bird. We'll see. He goes on to talk about three ways of reading the Bible, the first of which is reading to retrieve, or "reading the Bible to retrieve biblical ideas and practices for today." This seems very natural and straightforward. For instance, we see in the Bible "Thou shalt not kill," and so we retrieve that forward and live by it. Other things are not quite as clear.

Scot makes reference to Paul's intention to be all things to all people, as being a strategy of "constant adaptation." That word adaptation is crucial. It says that somehow we take the meat of biblical ideas and embody them in 21st century practice.

The point being made here is that New Testament practices don't take place in a vacuum, but in their own local context. It's tricky business to move a biblical idea or principle from one context to another without disturbing either the idea or the context. Maybe something like that is what Jesus had in mind when he spoke about wineskins. (TM) The new wine of whatever the Spirit is doing in us through a particular passage can't be restricted by the context of an old wineskin, unsuited to fresh fermentation.

Scot says, "...if we read the Bible properly, we will see that God never asked one generation to step back in time and live the way it had done before." That's a mouthful, and a little troubling as well.

It's difficult for your average person to see a call back to biblical values as not being a call back to those same behaviors, practices, and attitudes. You see that in songs like "Give Me That Old-Time Religion." You see it in Samuel rebuking Saul's disobedience (TM). So I think Scot should have explained this in a little more detail, or a little more clearly. This would lead some people to raise an eyebrow, or worse, to wonder about just where Scot was going with this.

That's the reaction of your more conservative readers, while those of a more progressive bent might sniff a little at Scot's statement, "...if we read the Bible properly..." They will think Scot is saying he has the one true way of reading scripture when I don't believe that's his point at all. I'm sure this will be developed further as we get into the book, that God speaks in each generation in the ways of that particular generation. His truth is universal, but He speaks locally.

This is getting fun. Next, the second way of reading...

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