Something I found interesting and inconsistent with this writing was the way that Paul Farmer seems to be calling people to action. Now, I realize that he quotes proponents of liberation theology quite a bit, so to me it was a bit confusing what his personal views actually were. However, what raised questions in me were two different approaches he seems to advocate. Under the heading “Making a Preferential Option for the Poor” about 4 pages in, the author quotes Brazilian sociologist Paulo Freire, who says, “…evil is…embedded in the very structures of society, so that those structures, and not just individuals who work within them, must be changed if the world is to change.” This would seem to be a call to try and change the way our society is structured in order to effectively help the poor. But, later on in the passage, Farmer quotes Jon Sobrino who says, “There is no doubt that the only correct way to love the poor will be to struggle for their liberation. This liberation will consist, first and foremost, in their liberation at the most elementary level–that of their simple, physical life, which is what is at stake in the present situation.” Why do you think Farmer chose to quote these two very different approaches to liberating the poor, and which approach do you think he supports? Or, do you think he is trying to make a case for both combined? If so, what would that look like? Which approach do you think is the most effective in the long run, trying to change the structure of things and how the poor are treated or simply helping them out with their basic needs?
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