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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holy Envy at Christmastime

Amongst other things, the late Krister Stendahl was the Lutheran Bishop of Stockholm when the Church built the Stockholm Sweden Temple. In a rather interesting story where he held a press conference at an LDS stake center he offered his support for the temple and presented what has become known as Stendahl's three rules of religious understanding. According to Wikipedia here they are:
(1) When you are trying to understand another religion, you should ask the adherents of that religion and not its enemies.
(2) Don't compare your best to their worst.
(3) Leave room for "holy envy." (By this Stendahl meant that you should be willing to recognize elements in the other religious tradition or faith that you admire and wish could, in some way, be reflected in your own religious tradition or faith.)
One of the Christmas traditions my husband and I have established is attending as many Christmas programs as we can given by area churches. We've found these programs to help us focus on Christ as well as helping us retain the Christmas spirit throughout the holidays.

Our religion does not usually produce Christmas programs of this magnitude at the local level at Christmastime. Our Christmas programs tend to be smaller and part of our regular church services. There are numerous good reasons for this.

We've attended all denominations throughout the years including Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Assembly of God, Methodist, independent denominations and even midnight mass at Catholic churches. We have enjoyed them all.

So, now that Christmas has officially ended for this year, I thought I'd confess to a little "holy envy"

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