At some previous point I already noted that I read Pope Francis’s 2015 Laudato Si’: On care for our common home. It is available for download at the Vatican website (see HERE for the text, PDF and other language versions).
I haven’t really got the words to fully do it justice. It is an appeal to all people – not just Catholics – to reflect on our relationship with the Earth, nature and cosmos. To consider how our actions of consumption, greed, control, and for many Christians, a theology of Dominion, deplete and damage the world of which we are a part. And that it is the poorest of the poor who experience the worst effects of environmental degradation. This Papal encyclical is a God-send for me, as a person of faith with a university degree in Environmental Sociology, and who tries to live a minimalist lifestyle (somewhat unsuccessfully) and who makes an ethical and ecologically-conscious choice to live on a plant-based, wholefoods diet (“diet” in the sense of a lifestyle of healthy eating, as opposed to a temporary fad to effect extreme weight loss), and who is deeply concerned with the sociological impact of theological perspectives on ecological conditions.
This quote grabbed my attention (transcribed by me as well as I could from this video, around the 18-19 minute mark): “We are this unique period of history that has benefited from this marvellous gift called the written word. We’ve got to know that that has not been true for most of history. And we’re just a little window of time. And we fell in love with it. Even though we were the religion of the Word that became flesh, we returned the compliment, we said, ‘we prefer the word.’ … At the heart of what we’re calling emerging Christianity is this rediscovery of orthopraxy … over merely five hundred more years of argumentation about verbal orthodoxy.”
EDIT: (17 December 2015): Unfortunately due to the fact that these video links are derived from external sources, I can’t guarantee that they will remain available after I’ve shared them. However, I hope the Fr Richard Rohr quote I transcribed from the video will still be helpful to readers.
"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. God Himself is not secure, having given man dominion over His works! Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Faith alone defends. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable." -Helen Keller