We finished reading and discussing Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, Learning to walk in the dark, and we’re ready to jump into Barbara’s recent book. Barbara shares that she wrote Holy Envy for a host of reasons.

In an article found in Publishers Weekly, she said that “What I’ve noticed is how quickly I use traditions to affirm my choices and my way of life.” How true her insight maybe for the rest of us!

The way we view the world is a hand-me-down. And like a pair of pants our older brother outgrew, we wear our religious beliefs proudly without noticing that the inseams are a little short.

There are factions of my worldview, Christianity, that still argue that biological evolution isn’t real. The myth that this view accepts as the basis for their assertions is based on a theory of creation handed down through generations when a lot less was known about the natural world.

Differing worldviews should present us with exciting learning opportunities and often do. However, the historical aggression of at least two of the more pervasive religions causes us to view our differences with suspicion. Killing innocent people because of a religious belief is an act of cowardice and misinformed aggression.

At least, this is how I interpret what my own worldview tells me about relating to persons who view the world differently than I do. Yet, Christianity is one of the religions that are most guilty of acts of aggression and violence. During the January 6 terrorist attack on our nation’s capital, Christian symbols stood out clearly, along with red caps and the name of their chosen demigod. Terrorism is incompatible with loving others.

Barbara Brown Taylor left parish ministry to teach others about some of the different ways that our neighbors experience God. And in her book, she shares some of her most agonizing and sometimes embarrassing moments.

Racism, climate change, and attacks on our democracy from within demand our attention as we craft a new normal together. Making sure that we vote in every election is more critical than ever. So is diligent oversight of proposed legislation that may impact our ability to vote and changes in voting districts.

Meanwhile, sharp increases in new infections of COVID are pushing us back into isolation. While our regular attenders are vaccinated, we realize that a large number of persons are not vaccinated. Therefore, we reinstated our policy to require masks in our building for all persons when not eating or drinking.

We strongly urge all persons to get vaccinated as soon as practical unless advised by your doctor. Avoid news sources that promote baseless claims and pay closer attention to the experts we depend on to keep us safe.

We each make our own arrangements for lunch at this point. However, we look forward to returning to pot-luck lunches when infection rates fall. We anticipate this happening as the number of vaccinations reaches herd immunity levels, and the CDC relaxes precautionary measures.

If you prefer to avoid groups or live too far away I encourage you to join us online for our Wednesday gatherings. Alternatively, you can call in by phone, be heard, and hear what others say by calling (929) 436-2866 — enter the meeting ID, 282 039 5568#.

We are a diverse group, and we are delighted when new persons join us. I hope that you will join in on our discussion.

You can contact our office with questions, by phone or simply type your question on our website’s homepage — FlintAsbury.org.

1 Barbara Brown Taylor. Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others. Harper One, 2019.