Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others

Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others

The renowned and beloved New York Times bestselling author of An Altar in the World and Learning to Walk in the Dark recounts her moving discoveries of finding the sacred in unexpected places while teaching the world’s religions to undergraduates in rural Georgia, revealing how God delights in confounding our expectations.Barbara Brown Taylor continues her spiritual journe...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others
Author:Barbara Brown Taylor
Rating:

Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others Reviews

  • Matt

    Over the years I have had the opportunity to experience from time to time the worship styles and expressions of faith of other religions. In each instance, I have left feeling much richer for the experience - and there have been times when I left feeling the impacts of these experiences quite deeply. I couldn't put words to it at the time ("holy envy" wasn't a phrase I had heard), but Barbara Brown Taylor does - magnificently - in this book. If I tried to pull a few quotes to represent the beaut

    Over the years I have had the opportunity to experience from time to time the worship styles and expressions of faith of other religions. In each instance, I have left feeling much richer for the experience - and there have been times when I left feeling the impacts of these experiences quite deeply. I couldn't put words to it at the time ("holy envy" wasn't a phrase I had heard), but Barbara Brown Taylor does - magnificently - in this book. If I tried to pull a few quotes to represent the beauty of this book, I would end up simply quoting the entire thing. If I tried to summarize it, I would cut out something important. So I will simply say this: read this book; reflect on this book; and discover how this book enriches you - both in a deeper appreciation of whatever faith or traditions you have and of the gifts we can receive from our neighbors.

  • David Jordan

    As an enthusiastic reader of all this author’s work, it isn’t even a little surprising that I love this one as much as I do. Brown Taylor’s spiritual journey is reminiscent of my own, and I found much to appreciate in the way she describes her devotion to and preference for the Christian faith in which she has flourished, while simultaneously expanding her knowledge of and appreciation for other religions and their means for attempting to define and worship a dine being. The broadening of her re

    As an enthusiastic reader of all this author’s work, it isn’t even a little surprising that I love this one as much as I do. Brown Taylor’s spiritual journey is reminiscent of my own, and I found much to appreciate in the way she describes her devotion to and preference for the Christian faith in which she has flourished, while simultaneously expanding her knowledge of and appreciation for other religions and their means for attempting to define and worship a dine being. The broadening of her religious mind that has come as a result of her interaction with people of radically different religious faiths (even other Christians) has allowed her to appreciate and envy the most meaningful and beautiful aspects of others’ devout faith.

    It’s a wonderful book that is encouraging to the evolving faith of the contemporary Christian who wants to be more “authentically human” in the experience of receiving and sharing the life-changing love of God. This is one of those titles that will stick with me as I attempt to exemplify the values of the generous Christian in a multicultural, multi-religious, and ever changing spiritual world.

  • Michael Austin

    Barbara Brown Taylor is perhaps the best thinker and writer that I ever blew the chance to hear live. Several years ago, I attended a conference at which she and Miroslov Volf were the featured speakers. Volf was the opening plenary speaker, and Taylor was the closing plenary speaker. I was not familiar with Taylor at the time, and I had a fairly small menu of flights to choose from when I booked the flight. So I chose an evening flight back home that required me to miss the closing session. To

    Barbara Brown Taylor is perhaps the best thinker and writer that I ever blew the chance to hear live. Several years ago, I attended a conference at which she and Miroslov Volf were the featured speakers. Volf was the opening plenary speaker, and Taylor was the closing plenary speaker. I was not familiar with Taylor at the time, and I had a fairly small menu of flights to choose from when I booked the flight. So I chose an evening flight back home that required me to miss the closing session. To make up for it, I bought

    and read it in the flight. By the time I landed, I realized what a mistake I had made.

    Since then, I have come to see Barbara Brown Taylor as an indispensable Christian writer. She combines depth and clarity, which are two traits that are rarely found together in any kind of writing. Other Christian writers I admire are deep without being clear (Miroslov Volf, for example) and clear without being particularly deep (Rachel Held Evans fills this category for me). Taylor is both. She has enough theological sophistication to write profound--and unread--treatises for fellow academics. But she writes like, well, a writer. And a really good one.

    Even though I knew this about her--her book

    was one of the best things that I read last year--I was fully prepared not to like

    . I don’t much like the term to begin with. Almost every time I have heard it used, it describes a sort of religious tourism that either 1) overly romanticizes distant religious practices (“look at all those noble savages worshipping God in their state of nature”) or just assumes that everything that another culture does is inherently superior to our own (“why can’t my Church look like the Sistine Chapel and have music by Bach?”) . Both of these attitudes drive me nuts.

    Not only does Taylor not adopt these attitudes. She tackles them head on and talks about the ethics of learning from other people’s religions. We cannot simply appropriate other people’s beliefs into our own--lifting them from their original context and adding them to our spiritual practice to show how open-minded we are. I mean, we can, but it is not a very ethical way to treat others. Holy Envy is not the same thing as spiritual imperialism. Taylor calls this "spiritual shoplifting," and it is not a good thing.

    Brown works out a much more nuanced approach. She grounds herself firmly in the Christian tradition, while, at the same time, acknowledging that this tradition is not uniquely or exclusively representative of God’s will. This is a very tricky position to occupy, since it involves reading against a fair bit of that tradition itself and very carefully interpreting its sacred texts. But she pulls it off and says something like (and I am paraphrasing here), “I am a Christian, and this is the context in which I experience God. It is a beautiful tradition, and I believe that it can lead me to God. But it is a tradition that works for people who have a specific set of experiences--and there are equally valid traditions that can lead people in different who experience the world differently to the same God, who is too big to be captured in any particular aspect.”

    Learning from other traditions, then, requires empathy, understanding, respect, and a lot of effort. It requires us to learn what other people believe, why they believe these things, and what aspect of God they address. When we do this, we can see some of the gaps in our understanding that grow out gaps in our experiences. A religion is basically a set of narratives that help us make sense of our relationship to things that are outside of ourselves--including divinity, nature, history, the universe, and other people. These are such big things that no set of narratives can say everything (or even most things) about them. So there is value in understanding the ways that other people, and other cultures, try to grapple with the “big questions.” They are big questions precisely because they support many answers.

    Perhaps the best metaphor for how Taylor sees religion is language. We all learn a language, and most of us are more comfortable using our own language than one we learned from others. However, learning another language can help us see things differently and understand concepts that we could never quite make clear in our own language. And usually, understanding another language teaches us things about our own language. (I never really understood how the subjunctive worked in English until I tried to learn how it works in Spanish). As Taylor puts it, “As natural as it may be to try to translate everything into my own religious language, I miss a lot when I persist in reducing everything to my own frame of reference” (34). Learning from the faith of others is very similar to learning from the language of others. And neither one can really be done without going to new places and meeting new people.

    The main body of the book is highly reflective memoir of Taylor’s experiences teaching a Survey of World Religion course to students at Piedmont College. A typical semester involved teaching five major world religions: Hinduism Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. She documents her experiences with mainly Christian students encountering these religions for the first time. She addresses some of the aspects of these religions that have helped her supplement blind spots in her own point of view: the Muslim relationship to prayer, for example, or the Hindu embrace of multiple spiritual paths.

    But she presents this as real work, not a tourist's vacation. We have to understand, not just the religions, but the people who practice them. She also flips the lens at the end of the book and shows the things about Christianity that can teach things to people of other faiths. Because this really isn’t a book about learning from other religions at all. It is a book about learning from other people who have religions. It is part of having humility and learning to love other people and to see them as fully human moral agents whose interactions with the divine are as valid and important as our own.

  • Elyssa Gooding

    This book is well written and expansive. I find the message to bring more questions than answers and that is a good thing. I recommend this for anyone who is interested in living peacefully in an interfaith world.

  • Stephen Kramar

    I found this book fascinating. The questions the author has struggled with mirror many of the ones I struggle with. I am not sure I agree with all her conclusions, but she has certainly opened my eyes further to the perils of interpretation of holy scriptures. The emphasis of action over belief -- or belief that leads to action -- is of critical importance to me, and something I need to ponder in more depth. If you want a different perspective from which to view Christianity, and other world rel

    I found this book fascinating. The questions the author has struggled with mirror many of the ones I struggle with. I am not sure I agree with all her conclusions, but she has certainly opened my eyes further to the perils of interpretation of holy scriptures. The emphasis of action over belief -- or belief that leads to action -- is of critical importance to me, and something I need to ponder in more depth. If you want a different perspective from which to view Christianity, and other world religions, then I highly recommend this book.

  • Rebecca

    After she left the pastorate, Taylor taught Religion 101 at Piedmont College, a small Georgia institution, for 20 years. This book arose from what she learned about other religions – and about her own, Christianity – by engaging with faith in an academic setting and taking her students on field trips to mosques, temples, and so on. The title phrase comes from a biblical scholar named Krister Stendahl who served as the Lutheran bishop of Stockholm. At a press conference prior to the dedicat

    After she left the pastorate, Taylor taught Religion 101 at Piedmont College, a small Georgia institution, for 20 years. This book arose from what she learned about other religions – and about her own, Christianity – by engaging with faith in an academic setting and taking her students on field trips to mosques, temples, and so on. The title phrase comes from a biblical scholar named Krister Stendahl who served as the Lutheran bishop of Stockholm. At a press conference prior to the dedication of a controversial Mormon temple, he gave a few rules for interfaith dialogue: “1. When trying to understand another religion, you should ask the adherents of that religion and not its enemies. 2. Don’t compare your best to their worst. 3. Leave room for holy envy.”

    Taylor emphasizes that appreciating other religions is not about flattening their uniqueness or looking for some lowest common denominator. Neither is it about picking out the aspects that affirm your own tradition and ignoring the rest. Of course, the divisions within Christianity are just as noticeable as the barriers between faiths. This book counsels becoming comfortable with not being right, or even knowing who is right. A lot of Evangelicals will squirm at this relativist perspective, but this book is just what they need. Releases March 12th.

    “To walk the way of sacred unknowing is to remember that our best ways of thinking and speaking about God are provisional.”

    “Once you have given up on knowing who is right, it is easy to see neighbors everywhere you look. … when my religion gets in the way of loving my neighbor, I will choose my neighbor.”

    “I asked God for religious certainty, and God gave me relationships instead. I asked for solid ground, and God gave me human beings instead—strange, funny, compelling, complicated human beings—who keep puncturing my stereotypes, challenging my ideas, and upsetting my ideas about God, so that they are always under construction.”

  • Charity

    If you want to have some aspects of Christian elitism challenged, read this book.

    If you want to face up to the fact that we are not always right, read this book.

    If you want to find more understanding for other religions, read this book.

    If you want examples from Barbara's Religion 101 class, read this book.

    If you want to take an interest in other religions, read this book.

    But I expected to learn more than I did.

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.