Gus Gordon, a priest in the Diocese of St. Lucia in the West Indies, has been preaching for Food for the Poor for 21 years. For the past 30 years, he has been living in a hermitage in middle Tennessee. Gordon sees solitude and compassion as two major dimensions at the heart of the Gospel. He quotes Pope John XXIII who said: "All people have a right to life, food, clothing, shelter, rest, medical care, education and employment."
And yet, the author notes, if we were to divide the world up into fifths according to the standard of living, every person in the United States lives a lifestyle in the top fifth. In other words, if all economic factors are considered, the poorest person in the United States lives materially better than four-fifths of humanity. In the bottom fifth are 1.3 billion people. Every one of them tonight will go to bed hungry, and every one of them will have to try to survive on less than $370 a year!
In a section on solitude, Gordon salutes both the Buddhist and Judeo-Christian approaches to meditation, inner work, self-discovery, uncluttering the mind, and more. He then turns to compassionate solidarity, which must be balanced with solitude. Here he examines solidarity mysticism, engaged Buddhism, the Hebrew tradition, Jesus and his radical Gospel, and steps toward a Judeo-Christian future vision.
In the last section of this paperback, Gordon delineates what he calls "A Spirituality of Integral Humanity." Under the rubric of solitude he suggests a spirituality of subtraction, emphasizing voluntary poverty, simplicity, and the feeling that enough is enough. Under the rubric of compassionate solidarity, he emphasizes a spirituality of addition, which embraces more and more of every aspect of life. Gordon has given us a rich and deep vision of the heart of the Gospel.