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Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless…

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

by Gregory Boyle

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I'm an avid reader; however, I must confess that I'm an even more enthusiastic book collector. My shelves contain hundreds of books that I've yet to read or that I've only read in snippets. And, sometimes, I find myself upset as I read through a book that I waited so long to get to it. "Tattoos on the Heart" is one such book.

I suppose the best description of the book is "memoir," but that designation gives you no real indication of its power. Father Boyle's stories of his work with Homeboy Industries, an organization that works with gangs in Los Angeles is no simple collection of "feel good" stories. It presents, in vivid detail, what Switchfoot once called a "new way to be human."

Father Boyle's touch is sure but light. The book makes you cry and laugh in equal measure, all the while demonstrating the common humanity that unites us all...the "kinship" that is at the root of who we are. He reminded me of something that is so easy to forget: Whatever else "sin" might be, it is an INTRUDER in human existence, a foreign object lodged in our character. And though it may shape much of human reality today, it is STILL an alien presence...and not the essence of who we are. No matter how degraded we become, there is always a piece of us, beyond the touch of any corruption, that retains the divine thumbprint, marks as God's own special creation with inestimable value.

The book isn't "preachy" or "forced." It's just stories of one man's journey into authentic humanness. And it weaves together the tragicomedy of our life together in a way that calls us each not just to BRING beauty to our world but, more profoundly, to recognize the beauty that has been there all along.

Just read it; then you'll understand. ( )
  Jared_Runck | Jan 2, 2016 |
This book added a whole new dimension on how to deal with "the other." Father Greg's answer? You just love them. ( )
  bohemianshell | Apr 25, 2014 |
This book was incredible to read. Father Gregory Boyle works with ex-gang members in LA. The book is filled with stories of his work. It's a touching and inspiring collection. ( )
  ariahfine | Feb 6, 2014 |
Father Gregory Boyle service to gang members at the Delores Mission near Los Angeles is documented in this collection of several short stories of the people G. served. Even with all of the pain, the murders, the abuse and the suffering, Father found hope and holiness all around him. God met each of the young people in the stories he wrote about on their own turf. This memoir praises the sacredness of life as G. taught others to see themselves as God the Father sees them. 217 p. ( )
  sgrame | Jun 18, 2013 |
Father Greg is a Jesuit priest in LosAngeles and runs the Home Boys Industries. The book is full of success stories and failures in a desperate situation. ( )
  pamdierickx | Apr 16, 2013 |
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This day . . . with me . . . paradise.
---Luke 23:43
To the Homies and the Homegirls
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I spent the summers of 1984 and 1985 as an associate pastor at Dolores Mission Church, the poorest parish in the Los Angeles archdiocese.
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Father Boyle started Homeboy Industries nearly 20 years ago, which has served members of more than half of the gangs in Los Angeles. This collection presents parables about kinship and the sacredness of life drawn from Boyle's years of working with gangs… (more)

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