Monday, March 30, 2020

"Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others" - Barbara Brown Taylor

“The only clear line I draw these days is this: when my religion tries to come between me and my neighbor, I will choose my neighbor… Jesus never commanded me to love my religion.”
                                                                                                           —Barbara Brown Taylor

How have I missed Barbara Brown Taylor?

I honestly can't think of a better way to wind down one of my most active reading years in quite a few years than with Taylor's Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others." This is a book that informed me, educated me, entertained me, and genuinely moved me on a level that was wholly unexpected and deeply appreciated.

With a title borrowed from Krister Stendahl, Taylor has crafted a book that explores her experiences teaching a Religions of the World class at a small Georgia college - the religions included, essentially the biggies, are Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism. In the class, she devotes four weeks to each religion, hardly enough time to truly even skim the surface, yet she does note giving Islam six weeks given the current climate toward Islam in the world and in the U.S.

I loved every moment of reading "Holy Envy." I appreciated the exploration of what "holy envy" actually means and how it's relevant within the framework provided by Taylor. Mostly, I appreciated Taylor's rich authenticity and willingness to be confident and vulnerable simultaneously in writing from a place where she can acknowledge her own assumptions. She can explore her own world self-critically, opening herself to new truths and willingly placing herself in a space of unknowing. Ultimately, she's even comfortable writing from that place of unknowing.

I've now read 101 books in 2019 - it's the most I've read in quite some time. To be honest, it all largely began when my church began a Harry Potter series and I found myself finally reading through the entire collection. Once I started reading, I realized how much I'd missed it. Now, I'm reading whenever the time allows and bringing myself back into literary circles.

I'm grateful to have discovered Barbara Brown Taylor and I look forward to moving backward and reading her other titles.

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