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, December 12, 2008

Final Week #6 - The Blue Parakeet

Yesterday, my Thursday morning bible study group concluded our focus on the new book, "The Blue Parakeet: How We Study the Bible" by Scot McKnight, a New Testament bible scholar.

This final session was basically a summary of our past sessions regarding the themes in this book which is that we are to see the Bible as a grand narrative (Story) which includes several smaller stories within the story. The key to interpreting the bible is to wisely and prayerfully decide the cultural context of each biblical passage and determine what truths are meant to carry over into our present day and age. The author argues that what we tend to do is take short-cuts in drawing conclusions regarding a particular text in scripture.

One example of this is the whole issue of whether or not women should teach/preach. In the United Methodist Church, my hunch is that most people in our denomination see this as a non-issue since women have been ordained in the Methodist church since 1956, however, based on some things I hear from female clergy colleagues, we still have a ways to go!

Our bible study group must be farther along than most bible study groups because we ended up having an honest and insightful discussion on the controversial topic of homosexuality by applying what we learned from the "Blue Parakeet" book. We shared opinions which represented a variety of perspectives on this issue.

Just to make sure that the readers of this book do not forget that the bible is a grand narrative (Story,) the author points to Stephen, the first martyr of the early church, who tells the story of God, (Acts 7) beginning in the Old Testament the whole way through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We are to be like Stephen and remember to not take any particular part of the bible out of context but always locate a passage of scripture in the larger grand narrative.

For anyone who is interested, our next bible study topic will be on the Book of James beginning next Thursday at 10 A.M. at the church.

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