A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Friday, November 7, 2008

Week #2 - The Blue Parakeet

Yesterday, my Thursday morning bible studied discussed chapters 3 through 5 of "The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible," by Scot McKnight.

Chapter 3 - McKnight gives a summary of the three major sections of the Bible to help us read it as a grand narrative:

Beginning (Genesis 1-11)

Middle (Genesis 12 through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus)

End (Matthew 25, Romans 8, & Revelation 21-22)

The problem is that we often take short-cuts in reading the bible as a grand narrative. Here are the short-cuts:

1. We see the bible as morsels of law (the Bible becomes a giant encyclopedia)
2. We see the bible as morsels of blessings and promises. (see the many verse a day calendars. What verses are on those daily calendars? Positive and cheery verses. But what about the verses of judgment and God's wrath? We conveniently screen those out!
3. We see the bible as an inkblot. We project our images of Jesus/God into the Bible. ie - if I'm a Republican I tend to fashion Jesus into a "conservative" Jesus.
4. We see the bible as a great big puzzle. The thinking is that once we complete the puzzle, we don't need to read it anymore. Big mistake!
5. We see the bible from the perspective of Maestros. If the Apostle Paul is our favorite biblical author, we make him the dominating perspective for the rest of the bible.

Chapter 4 - Since the Bible is a grand narrative, we always need to be aware of the context of a particular passage of scripture. The 7 important words of biblical interpretation is, "that was then and this is now." Since the bible was written several centuries ago, we need to be aware of the historical time period in which it was written.

The bible is filled with "wiki" stories. Like wikipedia in which people keep adding information to a topic on the internet, the bible is an adding on of stories to the grand narrative. I know that wikipedia has the problem of incorrect information being added and that's where this illustration breaks down. The point is that the biblical authors added their stories to the Story in order to tell God's story of salvation history.

Chapter 5 - The bible can be broken down into these parts of the plot:

Creating Eikons (the word for humans as God's image bearers) - Genesis 1-2
Cracked Eikons - Genesis 3-11
Covenant Community - Genesis 12 - end of OT
Christ, the Perfect Eikon - Matthew - Revelation 20
Consummation - Revelation 21-22

The problem today is that people are so concerned and worked up over the creationism vs. evolution debate, that we miss the whole point of the creation story in Genesis 1 & 2 in which God created humans to be image bearers and good stewards of God's good creation.

Next Thursday - We focus on chapters 6 through 8.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Robert, Thanks for doing this! It helps. Trapped now without a car...