Taking Care of the Environment: Are We the Prodigal Sons and Daughters?

For those of us who love the outdoors, environmentalism is a big concern. Not just because we enjoy the wonders of creation, but because we want to preserve it for future generations also. And while it can be easy to take sides on how to deal with environmental issues – right or left, red state or blue state, liberal or conservative, use or preserve, perhaps there are some ways we can find common ground.

I subscribe to a daily newsletter from the Center for Action and Contemplation by Franciscan Richard Rohr. His focus for this year is Old and New. This week the messages are about Faith and Science. He suggests that by looking at the intersection of religion and reason we may find common ground to take better care of our common home. For example, Christians can look to the gospel story of the Prodigal Son. The son asks his father for his inheritance and then goes out and spends it all on food and drink and women. He ends up living in poverty. Finally he realizes his mistake, comes to his senses, and returns to his father. The father welcomes him back.

Richard Rohr writes:

I believe we have squandered our inheritance, which is the earth itself, the majesties and mysteries it holds. We’ve taken it for granted, using it too freely for our own selfish purposes while ignoring the deeply divine messages communicated in everything from the smallest sub-atomic particle to the largest black holes. Surely it is time for us to bring science and religion together.

It is an interesting take on a gospel story which is often more focused on personal failings. Perhaps by looking at environmental issues from a blending of science and religion we can find some common language to understand and discuss how to move forward. And how to return to a healthy relationship to Mother Earth.

Read the entire reflection on The Prodigal Species from the Center for Action and Contemplation.



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