Consumer culture has transformed envy from a moral problem into a marketing ploy, and in so doing, corroded our relationships with ourselves, our neighbors, our planet, and ultimately, with God. Drawing on examples of envy in literature, art, economics and popular culture, Envy: Exposing a Secret Sin shows the dangers of envy and suggests antidotes and practices for healing.
Mary Louise Bringle examines the evolution of envy from something to be avoided to something to be achieved. “If we let our eyes become educated to the multiple guises in which envy masquerades, we begin to see how our own happiness gets soured by feelings of resentment, hankering after what we do not have rather than cherishing what we do,” Bringle says.
Envy proposes several redeeming virtues that can help release us from the grip of the “green-eyed monster.” Bringle suggests, “Once we expose the secret sin of envy to the light, we can begin to cultivate in its place an array of new habits: humility, generosity, simplicity, and gratitude.”
Mary Louise Bringle is Professor of Philosophy and Religion Chair of the Humanities Division at Brevard College in Brevard, North Carolina. She has studied and written extensively on the seven deadly sins tradition, including the books Despair: Sickness or Sin? and The God of Thinness. She was chair of the committee that oversaw the publication of the new Glory to God hymnal.
Envy is available for purchase through Westminster John Knox Press and other major retailers.