Young Adults Learn About Going Green
at Theology on Tap Talk
By Katherine Jass Lopez
For Today’s Catholic
To quote Kermit the Frog, it’s not easy being green. Or maybe it is. As our world continues to grow each person has an obligation to care for the earth we call home, not just because it’s socially popular, but because it is our responsibility as Catholics. Young adults gathered to hear about the spiritual side of “How to be a Green Catholic” at Theology on Tap March 15.
Theology on Tap, sponsored by Young Adult/Catholic Campus Ministry for the archdiocese, is a six week discussion and lecture series. For this session, Sister Linda Gibler, OP, was invited to the Blue Star Brewery to challenge the way we think about taking care of our environment, or being green. The term being green often refers to those who live a life of recycling and being environmentally responsible.
“You might have come here expecting me to talk about things like recycling, paper or plastic or should I eat the beef or the chicken. All those things just don’t make a difference if you haven’t changed your heart. Your behavior doesn’t matter if it’s coming out of a set of do’s and don’ts. But if you fall in love with the God of creation everything you do will be source from that,” Sister Gibler said.
From the beginning of her talk, Sister Gibler stressed the importance of looking at being green from a spiritual viewpoint. “So rather than spending time talking about paper or plastic, beef or chicken, I want to talk about how caring for creation is part of our Catholic Christian tradition; how it is essential right now today.” Referencing Scripture, Sister Gibler encouraged the young adults to use the Bible as a guide to being green.
“We care for creation because God is present in all creation; this is as ancient as the Psalms. Look at Psalm 19 — here we are taught to care for creation. Creation speaks to us constantly and declares God’s glory. In Genesis we learn that God created the universe and that man has dominion over it. What does this mean — dominion? Some think God gave us all this to whatever we want with. We need to look at the root of the word dominion which means to be as the lord to creation. We are told we are made in God’s image and likeness and we are to treat the creation as God himself treats the creation. We are not given permission to do whatever we want — we are called to treat the earth as God would.”
Sister Gibler continued to use Scripture to stress this point of caring for God’s creation. “In John we learn that God so loved the world he gave his only son. For so God so loved his creation he sent his only son. God did not send his son to condemn creation but to save it. In Romans we read the whole creation is waiting for God to be revealed; the entire creation will be freed of its slavery to corruption and brought to glorious freedom. The future is tied up in our own future. When we all work together in the kingdom the entire creation is saved. What does knowing this do for you — does it change your emphasis a little bit on what you are doing on the planet?”
Even Pope Benedict XVI, as other Holy Fathers, has spoken on the responsibility we have as Catholics to care for God’s creation. “Pope Benedict has said that we must learn the laws of creations and that we cannot do just anything we want with creation; we must respect the inner laws of creation of this earth; we must obey these laws if we wish to survive. The pope is telling us we have to pay attention to the creation, know what it is about, not just for creation sake but so that people can act rightly. So if you think this is some California hippie chick idea, it is so not. It is in our Scriptures, it’s in our traditions, and it’s in our pope’s,” Sister Gibler said
As Catholics, we must also remember that part of caring for God’s creation is not to harm it. “Our sin and our behaviors can harm God’s creation so we need to be mindful of this. This is why we must have a conversion of heart and think deeper than just paper or plastic; we must think about how we are treating the creation that God so loving made for each of us,” Sister Gibler said.
Article courtesy of Today's Catholic. Used with permission.