Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Scot McKnight's Blue Parakeet: It Arrived!

I got it in the mail yesterday. I started reading it.

It's very readable, and I suspect that readability, in and of itself, might be a key point for potential readers of Scot's book. Here's the deal: I'm not a scholar, and while all of Scot's work (that I've seen) is readable, I've always found his blog, Jesus Creed, to be the most readable. This book is readable like his blog, and that's a good thing, a very good thing.

It starts right off with Scot's account of the prayer at camp that changed everything. I think these kinds of stories are great; I think that almost every Christian has one (or several) of them; I think they need to be hauled out, dusted off and shared.

Just the process of thinking through what your story or stories might be is a beneficial exercise. It got me thinking about my trip to church camp the summer following my seventh grade year. We were given a slender booklet called "Your Quiet Time," or something like that. I remember it had a glossy white cover, center-stapled, and a green leaf motif imprinted on the front. I was fascinated with it. We were sent out on our own to work through part of it that first day. I remember winding up down the hill close to the tennis courts and swimming pool, sitting under a tree. I remember reading about the "ACTS" form of prayer: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.

That entire week was huge for me, and did a lot to define who I would become, and what kinds of values I would hold dear. Scot does this in chapter one, detailing his sudden transformation into voracious Bible reader and student.

Then the fun started.

He jumps right into the notion that we all pick and choose from what we read in the Bible. This is a divisive topic, but Scot handles it the way he handles everything on his blog: fairly and equitably. This ability to handle divisive topics in a friendly, considerate way is one of the great strengths of Scot's ministry, and it's in evidence here.

People want to believe that they are the good guy, they wear the white hat, they are the ones with reason and intellect and all right thinking on their side! Therefore doing the right thing is like falling off a log - easy, easy, easy. "Hogwash!" says Scot, and an honest scan of my own personal history leads me to agree with him. We are "Biblical" on a few select points, and "not-so-Biblical" on others, and our tribes tend to convene at least part of the time around how we draw these categories.

If you are a cranky person, you won't find this very palatable. But I believe this book can help. More on chapter one tomorrow.

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