Holy envy is a phrase coined by Krister Stendahl (1921-2008) who was Bishop of Stockholm (Church of Sweden), professor of divinity (Harvard), and master interfaith dialogist. Holy envy recommends that people of varying faiths, even rival faiths, may discover attributes and characteristics in each other’s traditions that merit emulation of the highest order, or holy envy. Searching for and identifying holy envy may be the noblest aspiration of interfaith engagement.
The Parliament of the World’s Religions is now in full swing here in Salt Lake City. The opening ceremonies last night were breathtaking and enlightening. I had the fortunate opportunity to present today on Mormonism and Judaism. There are 9000 attendees representing 50 religions and 80 nations of the world. There is much holy envy to be had amongst so many people that love God.One example from the conferenc came from an adherent of the Baha’i faith—a minority religion whose headquarters are in Haifa, Israel. Baha’i embrace the view that the relationship between a man and woman is like the wings of a bird. One wing represents the woman and the other represents the man. In order for the bird to fly effectively there must be equality in strength and unity in motion between the two wings—men and women. In my mind, this precept and core value of the Baha’i evokes holy envy in my mind. Perhaps it evokes the same for you.