Reaching Your Prodigal by Phil Waldrep

Webster’s online dictionary defines “prodigal” as “1. Rashly or wastefully extravagant” and “2. Giving or given in abundance; lavish or profuse”. This pretty well ties in to the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son, who indeed lived a wastefully extravagant life…. at least until the money ran out. A modern retelling of the thematic elements of this story might be, “spoiled rich kid takes his inheritance and blows it all on wine, women and song, and upon realizing his physical and spiritual condition, comes back home with tail tucked between his legs.”

Christian communicator, Phil Waldrep, delivers a paradigm that causes most of us to see a prodigal in a completely different light. I “Reaching Your Prodigal”, Waldrep shows us other situations in which we could consider a loved one as a prodigal under circumstances that aren’t necessarily the norm.

Much can be said of the Father in the prodigal story. One factor that struck me in this biblical tale is the fact that the father saw his defeated son returning home from a far distance away. It speaks of a father who very much loved his wayward son, regardless of his dumb decisions, and constantly had his eyes focused on the horizon. I think the loving father knew in his heart that his prodigal would one day return home, and he didn’t want to miss that occasion.

Waldrep directs us to look deeper within the psyche of the prodigals in our family. He doesn’t limit the prodigal title to those family members who simply take physical leave of the family and run off and live the high life. His variety of prodigal family members shows us that most all of us have some sort of prodigal living under our roof. Whether they be physically absent, socially or mentally absent, or absent from the family dynamic because of philosophies of life, illness, addictions or other contrasting beliefs. This is where the book gets quite interesting as it guides us through the processes of welcoming and loving the prodigal back into the family fold.

All in all, I found this look at our prodigals to be refreshing, new, and quite challenging. And I commend this book to you for your own edification and reading enjoyment. Many books have been written through the ages about this all too familiar biblical story. But, I think Phil Waldrep does an excellent job in addressing his own view of things, and passing those understandings on to those of us who are either parents of a prodigal, or a one time or another, were prodigals ourselves. A very good read, from a very good author and communicator.


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