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The Blue Parakeet – Story & Wiki-stories

July 15, 2009

Before we once again delve into The Blue Parakeet I want to mention something Chris commented on regarding to Jesus’ interactions with the Samaritan woman.  He graciously and importantly reminds us that Jesus related to her not as the person she was or the person that others saw her to be, but the person Jesus saw her as.  The self-worth extended to the woman was not a projection of what she might realize or become, it was sourced in who Jesus knew she was.  (For his exact words please check out the comment area from the Samaritan Woman, Part Two).

Chris’ insights reminded me of a story in Tales of the Resistance, the middle book in a children’s (for young and old) trilogy by David and Karen Mains about the kingdom of God.  In the story “The Most Beautiful Player of All” the “King” is in disguise but he makes entrance or actually he interrupts a play about a king.  Everything is upside down in Enchanted City so work and daily life happen during the night and everyone sleeps during the day.  Power is unreliable and there are often power outages.  The setting for this chapter is a play performance.  Of course during the play a power outage occurs, the disguised king makes his way forward providing his own light.  He leaps up onto the stage and the leading character, Thespia standing with the king in the middle and the actor-king to his left saw in his light those in the audience who were gathered near the front.  The ones who had moments before been dressed in worn clothes, with visible wounds, dirty and with matted hair were now clothed in warm clothes, wounds healed, clean and healthy.  She saw the poor and outcast in the audience as Jesus, the King saw them.[1] Thespia is transformed because of her encounter.  He invited her to follow him, “For the real kingdom is wherever I walk and whenever anyone walks with me.”[2] I am realizing just what a perfect complement this is to The Blue Parakeet.

If you have not read Scot McKnight’s book, The Blue Parakeet I encourage you to pick up the book at a local bookstore or on Amazon. To catch up or review prior posts click on the Blue Parakeet under the “Category Cloud” in the right column.  One aspect of this blog has been to “read together.”  How we read the Bible is of course crucial to our understanding of God and our understanding of our relationship with God.  Sometimes without realizing we begin to think about the Bible being God’s gift to us and we forget what we read in John 4, when the Samaritan woman was conversing with Jesus her frame of reference was the Torah and Moses.  Jesus informs her (although she doesn’t fully realize it yet) that he is the gift of God (John 4:10).  The gift of God is not a book, but a person.  Clearly this is something we need to remember.  I think reading The Blue Parakeet strengthens this reminder.

In Chapter Five: “The Plot of the Wiki-stories” McKnight asks, “How does the Bible work?”[3] In the previous chapters we read and have discussed that the Bible is a story.  McKnight reminds us at the beginning of this chapter that he is not saying that the Bible is make-believe, a fictional account about God.  Far from it, but he is reminding us that is it a story about God and his ways.  It is a story because it has three features that stories have: a plot, characters and authors who tell the story.[4] So as you and I read God’s word we have an opportunity to notice and pay attention to the basic elements of the story.  The way the authors tell the story.  What is the plot (What is happening?  What are the specific elements?) And what is the theme?

McKnight outlines it this way:

  • Creating Eikons (Genesis 1-2)

Theme:  Oneness

  • Cracked Eikons (Genesis 3-11)

Theme:  Otherness

  • Covenant Community (Genesis 12-Malachi)

Theme: Otherness expanded

  • Christ, the perfect Eikon, redeems (Matthew-Revelation 20)

Theme: One in Christ

  • Consummation (Revelation 21-22)

Theme: Perfectly One

So when we read God’s Word, the Bible, isn’t part of the joy, adventure, and learning to see how the different authors relate to the plot and theme and how they emphasize one element or different elements?  God is the one directing the “story.” McKnight stresses that “the most important thing to say is this: The unity of the Bible is this Story.  It is the Story that puts the Bible together.”[5]

Each “plot” listed above is examined in “wiki” form (shortened explanation format to fit into a chapter, not a book).  I’ll just refer to several aspects for our reading together.  From Genesis 1-2, Scot reminds us that it was God choice to make Adam (Ish) and it was God’s choice to “split the Adam” into two, to make woman (Ishah).  This choice, states McKnight “is profoundly important for understanding the unity of the Bible.”[6] This is why we are taking time to look at it, because as a Biblical scholar – one who studies, teaches and writes about God’s word, he wants us to not miss something extremely vital –we are created for oneness. The model for this oneness is the Trinity itself.  “God wanted The Adam to enjoy what the Trinity had eternally enjoyed and what the Trinity continues to enjoy: perfect communion and mutuality with an equal.”[7] In fact we know that God goes to great lengths (and it probably took a little bit of time) to reveal and for Adam to know that there was not an equal.  Not until there is Ishah. What if we focused on communion and mutuality within the Creation story instead of evolution and creation (especially 24/7)?  A little different perspective begins to emerge and this itself is a wiki-story that is actually a plot thread running throughout Scripture. Quoting McKnight:

“The loving oneness of God finds earthly expression

in the loving oneness of Adam and Eve.

When Eikons are at one with God, self, others, and the world,

the glory of the One God illuminates all of life.”[8]

In this chapter each of the wiki-stories (plots) reveals the overarching story of the Bible.  For our study an important connection is revealed.  We would all agree and we testify that Christ is the perfect Eikon (image).  In Christ, through Christ, by Christ oneness is restored.  Community is a crucial aspect in the kingdom of God.  McKnight affirms that the “Bible’s story has a plot headed in the direction of a person.[9] The community referred to is created by and formed in Christ (that person).  So here is the connection he makes, I agree with and suggest that we need to hold this against and within all other wiki-stories that have emerged through tradition.

“Everything God designed for Eikons is actually lived out by Jesus.  Everything Eikons are to do comes about by being ‘in Christ’ or by become ‘one’ with Jesus Christ.”[10] The becoming one that is in the beginning and was ‘cracked’ by sin only becomes reality in Christ, when we are once again united with him, both as individuals and within community.  “The story of the Bible then aims at Galatians 3:28:

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free,

there is no longer male and female; for you are one in Christ Jesus.”[11]

We know that we are still in process.  The final wiki-story of consummation spoken of in Revelation 21-22 is still ahead of us.  We need to remind ourselves that the sub-title of the book is to “Rethink How You Read the Bible.” I think that many of our brothers and sisters in Christ whether they are in churches affirming women in ministry leadership or qualifying women within certain roles or expectations often read Galatians 3:28 through the lens of other Scriptures, thus pushing these words to the side.  I wonder what the difference would be in our churches if we structured ourselves and asked are Paul’s words real in our practice.  Would defenses be lowered?  Would openness and safety be present?  Would we be able to discover a dimension of oneness that reflected the intent of Genesis 1-2?  Wouldn’t God “smile” at our efforts?

How do we listen to God?

[1] David and Karen Mains, Tales of the Resistance [Waverly, PA: Lamplighter Publishing, reprinted 2000], p. 50.  Originally published in 1986, they were reprinted in 2000.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Scot McKnight, The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008], p. 66.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid., p. 67.

[6] Ibid., p. 69.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid., p. 70.

[9] Ibid., p. 75.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid. Galatians 3:28 New Revised Standard Version.

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