The Prodigal Species

I posted this share of a great blog post sent around by Leah Jacobs Schade last week, and I was just re-pondering it a few minutes ago, and posting it to group that I’ve been attempting to “evangelize” for the better part of the past year, since March of 2018 (this is a group that is mostly very conservative United Methodists. I have centered my postings on Biblical notions of Creation, and how this “current” of Scripture has been lost. It is particularly important, in this age of technological prowess, that we realize the impact of collective sin; or “structural evil”. This post is about the “Prodigal Species” (a name I came up with for this article, although I’m sure I’m not the only one to have that come to mind, especially since the author actually uses the word “species” 4 times in the article. So it’s almost like a really easy “fill in the blank” open-book quiz : “The Prodigal Son becomes the Prodigal _____ ” )

“When he came to himself…” (Luke 15:17). The young man comes to himself, he turns, and he starts to travel home. That’s such a great line: “He came to himself.” It’s as if he woke up, he broke through the spell, he remembered who he was: created in love, created for love – love for himself and his neighbor, love for the natural world, and love for God. When we come to ourselves, when we are truly ourselves, we begin the journey home to God. Our basic nature, our truest nature, is found as we turn and head toward God, our divine Father and Mother, the lover of our souls and the source of all life.

What would it look like if humanity “came to ourselves”? Maybe it would look something like this: one individual after another saying, “Hey, wait a second. We don’t have to live like this. We don’t have to settle for a death-dealing, materialistic society that willy-nilly gobbles up all the land and trees and creatures of this world, extracts and burns dirty fossil fuels, pours toxic pollutants into the water and air, and stuffs the landfill with plastics and waste. We don’t have to settle for a suicidal course that steals a habitable world from our children. Through the grace of God we can make changes in our own lives, so that we live more gently and lovingly on the Earth, and we can resist and protest the powers-that-be that are determined to make huge profits by treating people and planet alike as completely disposable, extracting every last drop of oil and gas and every last ounce of coal, and cutting down every last tree.” We can say to ourselves, “I’m going to turn my own life around and make the changes I can make, and I’m also going to stand with all the people of the world who want what I want – a society marked by generosity, not greed; by justice, not prejudice and inequity; by love, and not indifference and hate.” Like the prodigal son, we can say to ourselves “I will get up and go to my father” (Luke 15:18) and begin the journey home.”

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