Monday, January 24, 2011

Tattoos on the heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

  I finished reading “Tattoos on the Heart” by Greg Boyle today.  Honestly when I picked this book I had no idea how new it was or how much of a pop icon this guy was becoming.  In fact I only happened to start reading it because it was recommended on if I liked another book which was also recommended if I liked “Messy Spirituality” (which from my previous blog post you can tell I did).  Anyway the story…or rather shall I say compilation of stories are about “Father G” and the gang members/families he ministers to through Homeboy Industries which he’s created into a multi-faceted outreach to gang members in Los Angeles.
  As you read through the pages of this book you get a very real sense of this guys heart for the people he serves.  And although at times the intermingling of Spanish and English in each story can be distracting, Boyle has a way of drawing you in…and gripping your heart.  His main theme seems to be that everyone no matter who they are or what they have done deserves to be cared about and treated as a person.  That in essence we are all important….whether “good” or not because we all are created by and completely loved by God!
  One thought he comes upon that really spoke to me is that it’s not just the people who are hurt or offended that need to be cared for, but it’s also the ones who are hurting and offending  that need care.  I think often times in my life it has been easy for me to look down on people because of what they have done….to forget that, as the saying goes, “Hurt People Hurt people”.  I see the pain they cause and demonize them instead of seeing them as people who themselves have been hurt.  This book certainly opened my eyes to see the person behind the action…the story beyond the facade.  I am learning as father Boyle says (which consequently is a quote from a Rumi poem) to “close both eyes to see with the other eye”!

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