So many voices these days uphold the "rights" of multinational corporations; defend the billionaire 1 percent and their weapons; actively obstruct free health care for those who need it; legitimate drone strikes, bombing raids and extrajudicial assassinations; ignore Fukushima, the BP spill and catastrophic climate change; and support the unjust status quo of global systemic injustice. On top of that, few even mention the voiceless 3 billion people stuck in the deadly systems of extreme poverty.
This week, Orbis Books has published In the Company of the Poor: Conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez (edited by Michael Griffin and Jennie Weiss Block), a collection of essays and conversations by perhaps the world's two greatest Christian lifelong advocates for the poor and marginalized: Gustavo Gutierrez and Paul Farmer. I've been sitting with it for days and feel renewed by these serious thinkers and practitioners and their Gospel vision. I highly recommend it.
Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez is perhaps our greatest living theologian. A Dominican priest in his 80s, he is the founder of liberation theology and the author of many classic works such as A Theology of Liberation, We Drink from Our Own Wells and On Job. He continues to teach part time at Notre Dame and work part time in the slums of Peru. Though right-wing church officials have condemned his Gospel vision of solidarity and liberation for the poor, he has continued to live and teach that Gospel vision. His humility, clarity and wisdom are disarming and inspiring.
Dr. Paul Farmer is the world's most well-known medical doctor who advocates for the poor. His Gospel vision has introduced public health care for the poor into every medical school in the world and real, state-of-the-art health care to the poor in Haiti, Rwanda, Peru and elsewhere. Mountains Beyond Mountains, the award-winning biography of Paul, brought global attention to Paul and his nonprofit organization, Partners in Health. Paul has authored several bestsellers himself, most recently a massive study about life in Haiti after the earthquake.
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