A Review of Barbara Brown Taylor's Lecture

I find Barbara Brown Taylor’s lecture appealing because she utilizes her interesting class experience to illustrate her idea of the holy envy. Holy envy, as she explains, is an acceptance of religious elements from the other religions and also an incorporation of these elements into her own faith to reflect it. As a world religion professor, she takes her students, mostly Christians, to various field trips that help them understand the practices of other religions. I believe it is important to go beyond the textbook to learn the materials. Even though textbooks or readings have abundant materials, they are two-dimensional and are often difficult to grasp in real life. Take Orientalism, a popular movement in the 19th century, for example. The artists back then learned and heard the Near Eastern and Far Eastern culture from explorers and scholars. However, these artists did not see authentic Oriental products, and subsequently produced artworks merely coined in its name but far from its truth. In the case of the class, visiting temples and mosques helped Taylor’s students to learn materials directly from those who practice the religions. In this way, field trips add on to the students’ experience by engaging them with real scenarios. 

The most meaningful takeaway from Taylor’s lecture is that her students learn how to accept the diversity of other world religions besides their own faiths. I am glad to hear that her students enjoyed this course and believed that it had opened their mindsets. There are many common grounds between people’s own religious beliefs and that of other religions taught in class. The class encourages students to develop critical thinking over their own beliefs and investigate deeper meanings. By reflecting on their own beliefs with others’, students eventually garner a better understanding of their own religion. Taylor’s experience inspires me to learn more about the similarities and differences of various religions and develop my own worldview based on that.