Conversations, VOLUME 12

Barbara Brown Taylor – Holy Envy [NPR Interview]

Listen to this great NPR interview with Barbara Brown Taylor, author of:

Holy Envy:
Finding God in
the Faith Of Others

Barbara Brown Taylor

Hardback: HarperOne, 2019
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Listen to this interview with Terry Gross of Fresh Air…



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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at:


  1. Listening to this I gasped at a certain point. I have books by B.B. Taylor and have appreciated her preaching and writing skills. But at around 8 minutes into the interview Gross brought up Taylor’s comments that she got more respect in classroom as a teacher than as priest because she gave grades. Gross asked, Isn’t the idea of eternal life in heaven like the ultimate report card- heaven /hell depends on how you are graded in a way, weather you sinned, the extent to which you changed your life, accepted God, and have done right thing, it’s the ultimate report card. Brown responded, That’s brilliant Terry, maybe that’s why main line churches are decreasing- the grading of heaven and hell, the threat and promise and punishment are not filling churches.
    I gasped because this Episcopal priest missed the central teaching of her faith: Jesus and the cross. The main point of Christianity is not about grades. Christianity teaches that Jesus came to save us from our sins. Paul said “he took them away, nailing them to the cross.”
    Taylor said she identifies now more with Buddhism. But isn’t a central teaching of Buddhism the idea of Karma? What you do in this life determines what you get here and hereafter. That’s an ultimate report card. Christianity is about grace! Jesus sets us free to know and love God. Jesus did what we cannot do- he got an A on the test of life and when we are “in him by faith” we are clothed in his perfection & love.

  2. Richard J. Vantrease

    I throughly enjoyed Terry Gross and her interview with Barbara Brown Taylor. The respect they showed to each other and the honesty with which they engaged each other was refreshing to my ears. I did not even have to agree or disagree with the questions or answers they each gave. I could simply listen with the same respect and openness they demonstrated between them about the subject of God Envy. Well done good and faithful servants.