Consider the Birds

Consider the Birds
A Provocative Guide to Birds of the Bible

Edgy spiritual lessons that challenge the way you understand the birds of the Bible.

9781426749506From biblical times to today, people have found meaning and significance in the actions and symbolism of birds. We admire their mystery and manners, their strength and fragility, their beauty and their ugliness—and perhaps compare these very characteristics to our own lives in the process. From the well-known image of the dove to the birds that gorge on the flesh of the defeated “beast” in Revelation, birds play a dynamic part in Scripture. They bring bread to the prophets. They are food for the wanderers. As sacrifices, they are the currency of mercy. They also challenge, offend, devour, and fight. Highlighting 10 birds throughout Scripture, author Debbie Blue explores their significance in both familiar and unfamiliar biblical stories and illustrates how and why they have represented humanity across culture, Christian tradition, art, and contemporary psyche. With these (usually) minor characters at the forefront of human imaginations, poignant life lessons illuminate such qualities as desire and gratitude, power and vulnerability, insignificance and importance—and provide us with profound lessons about humanity, faith, and God’s mysterious grace.

Various Artists: Bird Songs

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Reviews

Blue’s book is buoyant.  We fly up like birds in a conversation about a supreme being – and I appreciated so the flight of this god-talk, a subject that doesn’t usually fly anymore, encrusted as it is by gold, shadows, centuries…

— Rev Billy Talen, founder of the Church of Stop Shopping, author of The End of the World.

“A different kind of field guide! From the raven to the dove and the ostrich to the sparrow, Debbie Blue reminds us how rich the Biblical account of the natural world can be, an endless source of metaphor and inspiration!”

— Bill Mckibben, founder of 350.org

Why do Jesus and Debbie Blue both tell us to “consider the birds”? Perhaps because a “corporate person” has never seen a bird and never will. And perhaps because the visitations of spirit are very like being stunned by a wild bird, and nothing like staring at a screen. Birds neither reap, sow, “tweet,” nor “friend.” They just fly into our lives with a powerless power rooted in the fact that beauty is truth and (as this delightful book and birdsong and Origen all agree) “the fowls of the air are also within thee.” To see or hear a bird clearly, for the duration of that clarity, is to be the Way.

—David James Duncan, author of The Brothers K and The River Why

Baby pelicans faint after feeding?  A vulture collided with an airplane at 37,900 feet? How much there is to learn about birds! And, by following Debbie Blue’s meditations on them, how much there is to learn from birds about the Creator and our place in Creation. This book is a delight.

— Marilyn Nelson, Author of Carver: A Life in Poems, A Wreath for Emmett Till, and Faster Than Light: New and Selected Poems.

Debbie Blue points to the sky, and the trees, and the grimy sidewalks of our world the way she points to the Word, saying: “Wisdom: attend!” And through the birds and their Creator and our stories about both, Debbie Blue does midrash on our lives, revealing mysteries and heartbreak, pratfalls and glory. This is a brilliant, astonishing work of scholarship and attention that will become a classic of Christian writing.

— Sara Miles, author of Take This Bread, Jesus Freak, and City of God

Debbie Blue is simply one of my favorite preachers and writers in America today.  Consider the Birds is a singular work of devotion and beauty which will make you fall in love with that which you may have never bothered to notice before.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.

— Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber author, Pastrix; the Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Simmer & Saint

Debbie Blue has a knack for noticing things; things of God and things of life. She not only notices, she sees. She sees the way spiritual guides see – with insight, clarity, whit and truth. Debbie is at her best in Consider The Birds and for those who are up for going on a journey of seeing the ways of the birds and of God this book is a gem.

 — Doug Pagitt: Pastor, Author, Goodness Conspirator 

Debbie Blue knows a lot about birds. She’s ransacked history and mythology, not to mention her own back yard, for a wildly entertaining trove of obscure, comical, and sometimes downright revolting bits of lore about the vultures, roosters, sparrows and pigeons that we hardly notice when we’re reading the Bible. But it’s what Debbie knows about our hearts, and about the texture of life in our world today, and about God, that makes this book a real treasure. Debbie has a keen eye for the inhumane, the self-destructive, and the really stupid stuff that masquerades as cultural wisdom, conventional religion and common sense, and the way she laughs at herself, and us too, when we unthinkingly fall into line is a big part of the charm of this book. In Debbie’s sure hands, the Bible becomes a sly and paradoxical, and often very funny, collection of stories that doesn’t say anywhere close to what we have been taught to think it says, and God becomes a presence so unrelentingly good that we can hardly believe it.

— Doug Frank, author of A Gentler God.