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Radical Compassion: Finding Christ in the Heart of the Poor [Paperback]

By Gary Smith (Author)
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Item description for Radical Compassion: Finding Christ in the Heart of the Poor by Gary Smith...

A Jesuit priest chronicles his life and work in the poverty-stricken Old Town section of Portland, Oregon, revealing the gritty reality of life on the streets, and sharing his hard-won wisdom on love, acceptance, and forgiveness. Original.

Publishers Description

Loving the Unloved of Society "I realize that God brought me into this world, blessed with skills and talents. The only thing that makes sense to me is to use them in the service of the poor. It is at their feet that I find myself."
For almost ten years, Gary Smith, S.J., lived and worked among the poor of Portland, Oregon. With this memoir, he invites us to walk with him and meet some of the abandoned, over-looked, and forgotten members of our society with whom he has shared his life. Just as Smith found a deeper, truer understanding of himself and of the heart of God through his work, these people and their stories stand to transform us. "Although its subject matter is bleak, the book is not. Smith has found love amid the despair. His book is touching, at times hopeful, and the kind of book that is hard to put down, that fascinates, horrifies, and rivets one's attention."
--"Booklist" "Smith takes us where we would rather not go, the heart of the poor, the lonely, and the abandoned. In true Ignatian fashion, he finds God there. An unforgettable experience for those who have the courage to walk with him."
--Michael L. Cook, S.J.
Professor of theology
Gonzaga University "Smith performs modern-day miracles of compassion, and his book sets a new standard for writing about the rich faith of those who are materially poor. His stirring prose and utter honesty will change the hearts and minds of many readers."
--Gerald T. Cobb, S.J.
Chair, department of English
Seattle University

Citations And Professional Reviews
Radical Compassion: Finding Christ in the Heart of the Poor by Gary Smith has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Booklist - 10/01/2002 page 292

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Loyola Press
Pages   191
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.1" Width: 6.04" Height: 0.49"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2003
Publisher   Loyola Press
ISBN  0829420002  
ISBN13  9780829420005  

Availability  7 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 21, 2016 07:21.
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More About Gary Smith

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Gary Smith, SJ, worked for six years with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Sudanese refugee camps in Uganda. He is the author of "They Come Back Singing," a journal of his time in Uganda, "Radical Compassion," an account of his ministry to the poor and disabled in Portland, Oregon, and "Street Journal"

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > General
9Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about Radical Compassion: Finding Christ in the Heart of the Poor?

Messy Hope  Nov 20, 2007
This book are nothing but stories of Jesuit Priest Gary Smith finding Christ in the heart of the poor. The book is full of the beautiful mess that is serving the inner-city poor and homeless. The stories are painful. At times physically sickening from the details of the dirt and despair. And they are sometimes so heavy with heartbreak that they leave you speechless. But then there are stories that carry with them an amazing amount of hope. Stories of simple romance and huge sacrifices. Smith manages to describe how he finds God in both extremes. In the pain and the hope and how they both convey beauty, even when it's messy.
Read the book & then find a way to serve!  Jan 2, 2004
Halfway through his book, Jesuit priest Gary Smith describes a 2 a.m. street scene he once witnessed. A couple of guys, both probably drunk, were having a shouting and shoving match. Tempers escalated until one of the two pulled a knife. The other guy shouted: "You can't kill me, motherf***er! I'm already dead!"

This haunting scene serves as a metaphor for the book's message. The people with whom Smith lives and ministers--the street people, the abandoned, the unstable, the addicted, the hopeless--too frequently see themselves as the walking dead. Why wouldn't they? "Respectable" society dismisses them as the dark, dirty secret it would like to sweep under the rug. It doesn't take too much exposure to our success-oriented culture to internalize its standards of social condemnation. If you're told often enough that you're garbage, you begin to believe it.

The stories that Smith tells about these people are heartrending. But they also sometimes shine with a certain dignity and hope that helps readers break through the stereotypical way we've been trained to think about the homeless. In listening to Smith's stories, those of us who are fortunate to live on the right side of the tracks just might be able to recognize that we're also among the living dead. Our pocketbooks may be healthy, but our hearts are dead because we tolerate the suffering of our fellow humans and do nothing about it. Radical compassion--to which all of us are called--quickens us back to life. The poor's very existence is a challenge to our lifestyles and a gift to us of the possibility of conversion.

Smith refuses to be a zombie. As he says (p. 98): "I take it all [the suffering of others] personally. If a woman or a man is abused, then I am abused, and if I don't feel that way, then I want to feel that way. If your flesh is lacerated, so is mine."

To which I say: "Amen!"

A Stunning, Brilliant Book on the Subject.  Aug 22, 2003
I could not put this book down. The poor were fairly and honestly represented and the author treats them with such dignity and kindness. One is hard pressed to find any fault with a man or woman who ministers to the poor. They are often a light to us and Mother Theresa made this blatantly clear through her life and work among them. A magnificent text; worth reading and worth living!
Seeing the heart of the poor  Aug 3, 2003
What a great book! A great balance of compassion and indignation at the way we treat the poor. It gave a me a wonderful insight into the heart of the poor and challnegened me to look at each person as a precious individual
heartbreaking and hopeful  Jun 26, 2003
Gary Smith shows a view of the poor that I never thought of before. Ultimately, that they are human beings and have feelings. Smith helps people without wanting to receive anything in return. It's a fascinating book and very touching.

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