Read Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle Online

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Gregory Boyle presents an awe-inspiring series of parables about universal kinship and redemption distilled from his twenty years of experience running a gang-intervention program, and demonstrates the remarkable power of unconditional love.“Destined to become a classic of both urban reportage and contemporary spirituality” ( Los Angeles Times )— Tattoos on the Heart is aGregory Boyle presents an awe-inspiring series of parables about universal kinship and redemption distilled from his twenty years of experience running a gang-intervention program, and demonstrates the remarkable power of unconditional love.“Destined to become a classic of both urban reportage and contemporary spirituality” ( Los Angeles Times )— Tattoos on the Heart is a series of parables about kinship and redemption from pastor, activist, and renowned speaker, Father Gregory Boyle—now in paperback.For twenty years, Father Gregory Boyle has run Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention program located in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles—also known as the gang capital of the world. In Tattoos on the Heart, he has distilled his experience working in the ghetto into a breathtaking series of parables inspired by faith.From giant, tattooed Cesar, shopping at JC Penney fresh out of prison, we learn how to feel worthy of God’s love. From ten-year-old Pipi we learn the importance of being known and acknowledged. From Lulu we understand the kind of patience necessary to rescue someone from the dark—as Father Boyle phrases it, we can only shine a flashlight on a light switch in a darkened room. This is a motivating look at how to stay faithful in spite of failure, how to meet the world with a loving heart, and how to conquer shame with boundless, restorative love....

Title : Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
Author :
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ISBN : 9781439153154
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 217 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion Reviews

  • Shelli
    2019-06-07 13:41

    This book makes me want to love better. PERIOD. I have never had such a clear picture of how God loves even me... especially me. Everyone should read this book and buy 10 copies to give away. All proceeds go to Homeboy Industries.

  • Liz
    2019-06-12 19:28

    It is interesting to me that if you read about people who work with the most wounded of human beings, they tend to have a very expansive view of God and a very inclusive Christian theology.Fr. Greg Boyle works with Latino gangs in the public housing projects of LA. (I could have said "gang-infested" projects but Fr. Boyle makes a point in the book about language which brings shame to "life and love challenged" kids- I mean what do you think of when you say something is "infested"?) Instead he says, "Here is what we seek: a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment of how they carry it." The book is divided into chapters that stress a theological point and then he illustrates it with stories from his 20 years as director of Homeboy Industries, the ministry he started to help willing kids get a job and get out of the gang life.("parables inspired by faith") Unfortunately, many of the stories end in funerals since the sense of worthlessness among these "throw-away" kids is very deep. What I liked is that he didn't go into blame. Blame leads to shame which excludes the possibility of grace and hope. Instead he chooses love and compassion, expressed most often as just listening, calling them by their true names, and finding a place for them as equals in the world. (Though he shares some stories where he does get mad when kids self destruct.) So be prepared for some tears as these essays and short "sermons" do pull at your heart strings. The little sermonettes are often enriched by quotes from some of my favorite authors and poets: Pema Chodron, Marcus Borg, Mary Oliver, Emily Dickenson, Richard Rohr, Al Sharpton(!),James Gilligan and Mother Teresa. (A companion book might be Borg's "The Heart of Christianity") One minor complaint is how often he uses latino language which at first was educational, but later began to bother me. I'd have to stop the sentence flow and translate ( not being good at languages made it a problem for me) and I don't recall any stories from the last 10 years. Perhaps it takes time to reflect but most of the book takes place 10-20 years ago.And a caviat -The reasons given for showing compassion are wrapped in Judeo-Christian theology. Compassion and love, however, are not unique to Christianity. "Standing with" the poor is the heart of any spirituality or religion expressed in hundreds of versions of the "golden rule". That does not change the impact of the wisdom in this book. For many Christians, it will open your heart to realize that your God has been too small.

  • Trish
    2019-06-11 21:34

    It could be the thing I like best about Boyle’s stories are the changes made to one word of common phrases so that the meanings come up again, fresh and clear and relatable, like “wash your iniquities,” or “I hear your cancer’s in intermission.” The other thing I enjoy Father Boyle’s work for is to hear how he takes the thoughts and work of others to meditate on. In this book he quotes the poet Mary Oliver many times, Rumi, Mother Teresa, Pema Chödrön, among others. There is always something interesting in what those leaders of thought say, and also in how Father Boyle chooses to apply their lessons to his daily life and ministry.And let’s put this in perspective. I am not a religious person, having become inured to such teachings in Catholic schools—how did they manage to strip the joy and beauty out of love, for cripes’ sake? And then, of course, the scandal that enveloped the Catholic Church, revealing even ordained ministers to be hypocrites…Since then I just try to pay attention. When goodness appears in our daily life, what happens? When evil appears, what happens? How to deal with evil? How to consider at the bad things people do? How to look at the people who do these bad things? Father Boyle gives us his answers to these questions. He’s interesting, and he seems to be able to transform bad attitudes into good ones. He has written only two books, both of which are wonderful to read, but are also good texts for meditation, since his writing style are short…parables, really. Boyle has a M.A. in English, and his ability to write may reflect his interest in reading. But take for example, his paraphrase of Mother Teresa: “We’ve just forgotten that we belong to each other.”You can put that at the beginning of a tale or at the end. It says it all.

  • Herbie
    2019-06-24 15:44

    I should mention, first, for the benefit of anyone who doesn't live in Los Angeles or follow closely the arena of gang prevention, that Father Greg Boyle is the founder of Homeboy Industries, the most well-known gang prevention program in the gang capital of the US, Los Angeles. The organization's slogan is "Nothing stops a bullet like a job," and Father Boyle (or "G" as he is known) has made it his vocation to hire convicted felons straight out of jail and employ them in various Homeboy enterprises. They run a bakery, a screen-printing factory, they wash cars, they sell merchandise.Tattoos on the Heart compiles the many extraordinary stories Father Boyle tells in casual sermon format, the stories that both sprinkle and structure his public speaking. He recently received an honorary degree at Occidental College's graduation, and his central message when he spoke was that we must create kinship. He said, "We are sent to create a community of kinship such that God might recognize it." That actually followed a joke that went like:The homies, they teach me things. For example, they're teaching me how to text. I was driving a homie home, and he got a text on his phone. "What does it say?" I asked him. He said, its Louie. He says they've got him locked up in County holding facilities. He says they're charging him with being the ugliest vato in the universe. He says, "You need to come down here and show them they've got the wrong guy!"Father Greg let everybody at the Oxy commencement laugh. Then he said that right after this went down he appreciated that these two guys used to be members of rival gangs. They used to shoot bullets at each other. Now they shoot texts at each other. He ended by repeating what he had opened with. We are sent to create a community of kinship, such that God might recognize it.I don't know who God is, but this statement really stayed with me. It put all the infighting and disagreements in the bike advocacy community in LA in perspective. If rival gangs can get together and bake bread and hold down jobs, and even rib each other via text, surely LA's bike activists can put any hurts behind and aim for a higher purpose.This is one of the only books I read during my first year of graduate school. I found time to read it because it forced me to - I couldn't put it down. Like an episode of This American Life, the book wanders all over the globe, from wacky circumstances to the improbable and seemingly miraculous. Fr. Boyle connects it all, somehow, makes it all attest to the immense possibility in this world, to our essential connectedness, our ineffable grace, our clumsy humanity... to deeper lessons than I can pretend to regurgitate in this review. I will need to revisit this book many times. All of us, especially those of us who are trying to fire up social movements or make change, need spiritual leaders. I trust Father Boyle (a fact all the more amazing because of my distrust of religious institutions, especially patriarchal, homophobic ones). I trust him because of his overflowing armful of stories and the way his narration focuses on the actions of all the people around him, in all their shapes and sizes and backgrounds and quirks and graces and flaws. We must understand this kind of principled humility if we are to do any worthwhile work in this world.Addendum: Homeboy has been hit hard by the recession. They really need your money, I mean, they really need it or they can't hire any more homies! They just laid off almost all of their staff, leaving only their core outlets, like the bakery and the printshop. Learn more about them and donate here.

  • Heather Jacks
    2019-05-29 21:38

    I have always been a little left of center; deeply spiritual, not terribly religious; a modern day hunter and gatherer of theological principles and wisdom. I imagine something akin to a recycling center inside my head. Everything separated and compartmentalized, waiting to be processed and then smooshed into something new; something that I can use...that `fits' me. In this new creation bits and pieces of many great spiritual traditions are found and the unused portions are released, like mist into the ethos, to be used by others. For me, this works.That being said, I have just finished, Tattoos On The Heart, by Jesuit Priest Gregory Boyle, a small-yet significant book with great impact; a book, that incorporates bits and pieces from many great spiritual traditions; and therefore...works.In its simplest definition, it is a series of parables; succinct stories, which illustrates one or more instructive principles. Analogies, which you can reduce, reuse and recycle. From Mother Teresa to Rumi to the `homies in the hood'; the wisdom, the lessons, the parables are relayed with such a raw and stark truth, that we cannot help but consider, that we are here for the sake of others; that are souls are connected through some cosmic bond.Tattoos On The Heart is about Homeboy Industries, a gang intervention program, located in the gang capital of the world; Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, California. But it is not a story about gangs. It is written by a Jesuit Priest, Gregory Boyle, who has traveled to many places in the world, as a missionary; but it is not a story about religion. It has received the California Peace Prize and numerous humanitarian awards ; but it is not a story about rewards for worthy behavior. What it is about is compassion, learning, growing, falling, stumbling, getting up, moving on and moving beyond. It is about hope. From 10 year old Lula, we learn about the importance of hearing our name, of being known. From Matteo and Julian, we learn to dissolve the illusion of separateness. From Fabian we learn that by latching onto the singularity of love, it doesn't melt who we are, but who we are not. Story after inspiring story we learn, we grow, we stumble, we fall, we get up, we move on-together.Ultimately, these stories, and this book, are about transformation; for the reader and the subject, because in the end, we are truly more alike than unalike.

  • Sandy
    2019-06-17 18:20

    I think I cried more listening to this book than any book - and that's saying a lot. I think I laughed more reading this book than most books I have read. Father Gregory Boyle, a Jesuit priest and founder of Homeboy Industries (whose motto is "Nothing stops a bullet like a job") in Los Angeles, has dedicated most of his life to working with gang members in the projects in L.A. He is my new hero. His life is dedicated to compassion and inclusion and joy, and his God touches my heart like no other. His courage and steadfastness in the face of heartbreaking death as well as heartwarming transformation is truly inspirational. Through his "parables" we meet many young men and women that become less "scary" as we see them laugh and cry and struggle. And Father G introduces us to the guiding principles of his life and we see how he lives them. As I listened, I found myself thinking I had to remember something he said, but then along came another, and another, and another something to remember. This book makes me want expand my compassion and inspires me to be a better person.A very few of many "somethings" I want to remember:"Close both eyes, see with the other one. Then we are no longer saddled by the burden of our persistent judgments, our ceaseless withholding, our constant exclusion. Our sphere has widened and we find ourselves quite unexpectedly in a new expansive location, in a place of endless acceptance and infinite love.""If there is a fundamental challenge within these stories, it is simply to change our lurking suspicion that some lives matter less than other lives.""Here is what we seek: a compassion that can stand in awe of what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it.""You stand with the least likely to succeed until success is succeeded by something more valuable: kinship. You stand with the belligerent, the surly, and the badly behaved until bad behavior is recognized for the language it is: the vocabulary of the deeply wounded and of those whose burdens are more than they can bear."

  • Hunso
    2019-05-30 16:27

    I read Tattoos on the Heart because the title caught my eye. Regina King, the star of Southland, was interviewed in O Magazine in the March issue, and was asked what was the best book she had read recently. She named this one.So I looked it up on Amazon and loaded it on my kindle. I was on vacation at the time and I read it in less than 2 days. I once read somewhere that compassion is a muscle that gets stronger with use. Fr. G is what we are all called to be, humble, caring, loving, and able to let the face of Jesus shine through him when others look at him. He makes it seem so easly. His stories, sad as they are, are a celebration of humanity and all that is right with the world. To quote a phrase a friend of mine uses, I found the book "eye washing". Think about what he says " In Africa, they believe a person becomes a person through other people". I think that sometimes other people help return you you to yourself.Imagine if everyone took this approach " Just assume the answer to every question is compassion". What would the world be like today. After reading this not only do I want to send Fr. G a donation towards the good works that he does, but I would also send him a tube of Ben Gay. Doesen't Ben Gay take away all aches and pains. This man's heart must just ache at the end of the day for all that he sees. I would wish for him this could take away some of his pain. God Bless you Fr. G.

  • Robin
    2019-06-08 15:31

    This book tells the story on Father Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries in LA, and those of the "homies" that he serves. The organization helps gang members in LA find work, get their tattoos removed, and have a fresh start. I was inspired by how beautifully Fr. Boyle lives out his Christian faith. I think a lot of people could learn from his example of truly serving the poor and expressing love rather than judgment. However, as someone who is not a Christian some of his messages didn't resonate with me. Several times Fr. Boyle makes the statement that there is no reason to be compassionate or serve other humans except for Jesus or because of faith. I personally believe that there are many non-religious reasons to express love to other humans and value their inherent worth and dignity no matter what they have done in the past. It was hard from me to how some of the messages could apply to non-Christians. That aside, this book gave me a strong appreciation for the circumstances and lives that lead to people ending up in gangs. I found the book a bit repetitive, but to have a completely unique voice and perspective.

  • Martha
    2019-06-06 14:20

    I met Fr. Greg Boyle several years ago, and later began working as the psychotherapist in residence assisting people from immigrant communities to gang communities. Fr. G's life was previously written by another author, Celeste Fremon, who wrote about Fr. G but after many years, and after telling the many stories about his Homeboys and Homegirls at conferences and at universities, today, December 15, 2010, he spoke on the Dr. Phil show. Fr. Greg is a humble, holy, courageous and wonderfully compassionate man, a Jesuit Catholic priest who has entered into the hearts, lives, and homes of the many homeboys and homegirls who have reached out and accepted his love. I read this book in two days, enthralled by the accuracy of the pictures drawn for the imagination of the reader. His sense of humor, his kindness and his realness in talking the talk with the people reflect his connected to the message of Jesus which he lives day to day in his work with the homies. Love to you, Fr. Greg. You are an outstanding present day saint. We love you.

  • Danielle Palmer
    2019-06-17 21:23

    This is not a book I would have chosen to read. My mom and I have a book club, and she chose this one, and I was dreading reading it. What a surprise I encountered, then, to find a book that is not preachy - but instead humorous, eye opening, and thought provoking. I laughed out loud more times reading this book on God and gangsters than I did reading any book that was classified as a comedy. This book made me grateful for the location and circumstances I have been born into, and hopefully less quick to judge others.

  • David
    2019-06-04 20:28

    The website caption for Fr. Greg Boyle's organization reads: "Homeboy Industries assists at-risk and formerly gang-involved youth to become positive and contributing members of society through job placement, training and education." While apparently accurate, having read about his experiences first hand it seems like a bit of an understatement.Tattoos on the Heart contains the insights received by Fr. Boyle through his work in the gang capital of LA. Powerful almost seems an understatement as you read through the stories of this priest's life work with those who are commonly called "gang-bangers", for whom he uses the more casual and respect term "homies". This is just one of many ways Fr. Boyle reveals the humanity of people whom the news and popular culture tends to portray as thugs. It possesses much compassionate wisdom and a practical theology that can move anyone, whether they are religious or believe in God or not.The book overflows with its central message -- that we are made for joy and we are loved. Emphasizing the expansiveness and inclusiveness of God and the importance of standing with the marginalized and the outcast rather than merely standing for them (from a safe distance), this book is not short on inspiration nor education. Each vignette about a particular homie can readily serve as the basis for contemplation, a la lectio divina.While changes in public funding and the recession have caused a great hardship for Homeboy Industries, there is good news, including the fact that proceeds from this book go directly to that organization. You can even donate through a virtual car wash at the HI website. If God can be found in honestly seeing people for who they are, especially those who others fear and reject, then something of God will be communicated to you through this book.

  • Jennifer
    2019-06-09 17:44

    From My Blog...[return][return]Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle is a deeply moving, heartwarming series of essays from some of the most memorable times of Father Boyle’s career. Father Boyle has been a Jesuit Priest for 25 years working with many sections of the population that others deem frightening at best, including his work at his beloved Dolores Mission and the creation of Homeboy Industries (which is brilliant and what he refers to as a “tiny drop in a pretty big bucket” yet one we all could learn from), creating jobs for gang members in Los Angeles, working in the gang laden barrios of Los Angeles, at juvenile detention centers, probation camps, as well as at prisons. Tattoos on the Heart is not an autobiography of Father Gregory Boyle’s life and works but rather a collection of essays if you will, showing examples of grace, forgiveness, love, compassion, and faith. Father Boyle shows us how we are all ultimately looking for the same things in life. Through his book the reader comes to know those whom Father Boyle befriends and in turn the reader learns valuable life lessons from some of the most hardened of criminals and gang members. Tattoos on the Heart is exquisitely written, full of life and love, and Father Boyle allows the reader a glimpse into his heart and the hearts of others offering up one of the most memorable non-fiction books I have read in a long time. I would not hesitate to recommend Tattoos on the Heart to anyone, religious or not, the stories speak for themselves.

  • Heather
    2019-06-18 21:33

    Ok, so this was a book I was reluctant to start, but we were reading it for book group. So two days before I opened it up. I knew the general story about Gregory Boyle's work with the inner city gangs of Los Angeles, and how he started Homeboy Industries . . . but wow. I can't even explain how much this book affected me. Not because of the horrible lives of the gang members, and even when they tried to get out, oftentimes they ended up dead anyway. But because of the many lessons and examples of compassion and true humanity that was shown by Boyle and others who ministered to these kids. And how Boyle never gave up, never judged. He just continued in his ministry to the poor, the needy, the afflicted, the fatherless, and the homeless. So many of the stories are unforgettable. I've never been to law school, but I think TATTOOS should be required reading for every judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, and police officer.

  • Tim Eby-mckenzie
    2019-06-22 15:21

    Quite possibly the most powerful book I have read to date. I spent late night reflection time reading this book over a period of months, just soaking it in. I found myself unable to resist tears quite often, so moved by the compassion and wisdom reflected in the stories "G-dog" relates. The grace communicated so expansively through Father Greg's exposition of the "Narrow Gate" completely changed my perspective on Matthew's gospel. Before, I just hoped I might be able to squeeze in by the skin of my teeth. Now, I want nothing less than to dive through it head-first. This book causes me to want to be a better man. Unlike so many other terrific books that have moved me in my gut, this book has grasped the sinews of my own heart and has moved me to take action. That's the power of the gospel truly spoken. In my own rascally way, I look forward to daily walk into a wider jurisdiction of delight in and kinship with my fellow souls. May we all find our worth.

  • Barbara
    2019-06-18 13:27

    I heard Father Boyle interviewed on NPR a few months ago and was inspired by his work. He is a Jesuit priest who founded Homeboy Industries in LA in 1988. Homeboy Industries helps former gang members redirect their lives and become contributing members of their families and community by offering training, job skills and much more. Tattoos on the Heart is a collection of anecdotes of Father Boyle's work which are compassionate, inspirational, thought-provoking, funny, tragic and unforgettable. His main message to readers is that these former gang members, outliers of society, need love and to know that they have personal worth and value. He also stresses the importance of kinship, "Kinship-not serving the other, but being one with the other. Jesus was not 'a man for others'; he was one with them". Although there is a strong religious tone to the book the messages are universal and readers of all religions (and even non-believers like myself) can relate.

  • Brennan
    2019-06-08 16:48

    It is difficult to put into words how deeply moved I was by the message of this book. Gregory Boyle is a Catholic priest who ministers to the youth in Los Angeles probation camps and juvenile detention centers. In an effort to combat gang related violence, he founded Homeboy Industries - an organization that provides jobs and meaningful work for youth affected by gangs. What he has done -- and what the countless number of youth have done in response -- is as inspiring as any thing I know. His stories are full of heartbreak, hope, sorrow, joy, unconsolable loss, and transformative consolation. Ultimately the book shows time and time again how the power of compassion can transform the life of another. By truly loving others free of conditions, they can discover the worth to their soul -- especially when they have never known it because so many people have never believed in them or have given up on them. There is boundless power in compassion and love - they transcends all other attributes and virtues - they are the keys to helping others realize that they matter, that their life has purpose, and that they are loved for who they are, not for what they do. This is a book I know I will read again. And I will probably read again that.

  • Mike
    2019-05-29 15:28

    A wonderfully moving (and occasionally hilarious) account of 25 years of work with gang members in Los Angeles. The author is a Jesuit priest and the founder of Homeboy Industries, a program probably most famous for their motto Nothing Stops a Bullet Like a Job. But this isn't a "how to fix gang members" book. It's much more about living with and finding kinship with people that most of society prefers to either demonize or write off as unsalvageable or both. I highly recommend it. One of the best things I've read in a long time.

  • Carmel
    2019-06-02 15:24

    the new American dream: what one person can do to make a difference for a lot of people. Making the world a better place. Choosing love over hate. Fr. Boyle is a hero.

  • Judith
    2019-05-30 14:46

    This is an amazing, inspirational, funny, sad, well-written book. Gregory Boyle is a Jesuit priest who founded Homeboy Industries to assist the most violent gang-ridden section of Los Angeles. The style of the book is very casual, as if you are sitting at a party with an expert story teller, who never runs out of real life anecdotes. He is a preacher, but never seems to be preaching. In fact, it is the best spiritual book I have read in years and made me wish I was still a believer. The author is so humble and down to earth. He never frames anything in terms of what he has done for people in need, but he makes you want to join him in his mission because he does seem to be improving the world in a very dramatic way. At the same time, he is humorous, self-deprecatory and very human. He has won the California Peace Prize, but he should really get the Presidential Medal of Freedom. One of my favorite passages in the book is actually atypical of the book because it is not generally pedantic, but I guess all priests have to draw pithy conclusions they can use at Sunday mass. "Here is what we seek: a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it." That hit me between the eyes because I am always guilty of thinking that the bum on the street corner should not be begging for money, but rather he should go to a shelter and accept the charity of the organization in exchange for following their rules. And why, I ask, should I be judging that person at all? I really loved the practicality of his mission. He speaks at prisons and Juvenile Halls and Youth Authority camps, and he gives out his card to the inmates, telling them that when they get out, he will help them get their tattoos removed and get a job. And what a great start---but he does so much more for them. He's really a wonderful human being.

  • Robin Boggs
    2019-05-27 18:45

    One of the best if not the best read I've had all year. A collection of stories of a truly compassionate man Father Greg Boyle who founded Homeboy Industries in LA and has dedicated his life to reforming gang members by first showing them love and compassion and showing them that they are valued and that God loves them and created them the way they are on purpose. Then providing them with jobs and counseling and even tattoo removal. The power of God's love has no bounds! As Mark J Torres , beloved spiritual guide at Homeboy Industry says " We see in the homies what they don't see in themselves until they do . " I've highlighted so many passages in this book that I can't possibly share them in this review. You'll just have to pick up the book and see for yourself what love and compassion for others is truly about . Just don't forget your highlighter and a box of tissues!

  • Katina
    2019-06-19 20:21

    "G," Father Boyle, is a perfect contrast to Greg Mortenstern. Instead of bragging and inflating the success stories of his amazing organization, "Homeboy Industries," he tells personal stories and shares spiritual insights into what it has meant to him to serve and, eventually work alongside, an impoverished and gang-dominated public housing community in Boyle Heights, L.A.Boyle is a strong writer and I really couldn't put this book down. I will probably buy a copy so I can (shamelessly) dog ear and underline his reflections on the transformative power of love and compassion.Note to self: would also make a great MBCC book club selection.

  • Squire Whitney
    2019-06-12 20:46

    The author did a lot of astounding work, but I don't agree with his message that humankind is essentially good.

  • Jennifer Defoy
    2019-06-06 18:32

    The stories in this book were so touching. There were times I was crying and times I was laughing. Hope and compassion are really great words to use when talking about this book. There were so many stories, and while they were all touching they were presented in a way that seemed a bit jumpy to me. If the stories had flowed better I would have been much happier with this one. But it was still pretty good as it is. The language took a bit for me to get used to. Greg Boyle's language shocked me the most. There were a few times that he used some swear words, and all I could think was this is a man of cloth.... But given the situations that he was in, and the people he was in those situations with the language was understandable. It just shocked me the first few times. The work that Greg Boyle has done working with the Homies is amazing. The stories he has gained in the last 20 years are a testament to his work. These stories range from sad, to touching, to happy. It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster reading this one, but I think it was well worth it. There is a religious message in this book, and even though it is repeated many times throughout the book I didn't feel as if Greg Boyle was trying to be pushy. For those that don't like to read religious books I would say you should give this one a go regardless. The stories really are touching and they filled me with a feeling of hope.

  • Di Taylor
    2019-06-10 16:33

    I picked this book up as it is the freshman summer read for the university I'll be attending in the fall. While several books have gotten to the very core of me of recent, this book has by far affected me on a deeper level than the other books. Father Boyle is the heart of what Jesus asks us to do for our brother and sisters – the good and 'the bad.' The story is thought provoking, inspirational and helped restore my cynical attitude towards our current world climate. On a cynical level it is easy to make blanket assumptions and look the other way to someone who we may feel is a lost cause. There is love, hope, empathy, compassion, sadness and faith within the stories – laugh and cry I did both, but it reaffirmed my heart and thought towards the disenfranchised. Quite literally some people are born or lead into a lifestyle that society doesn't look upon favorably and it is a tough road out even when you desire it let alone if you feel trapped. I'm not sure how one could continue having a closed heart after reading this book or laying their heart wide open upon finishing the book. If every one of us in the world were to read this book – what a difference.

  • Constance
    2019-06-09 13:31

    This book is incredibly moving. It really underscored the power of love and compassion and kinship in a tangible way, so that sentences like "A spacious and undefended heart finds room for everything you are and carves space for everybody else" made me cry unstoppably rather than roll my eyes. Wonderful.

  • Amy Wright
    2019-05-31 17:25

    Father Boyle presents a profound and basic understanding of God in the parallels between the Gospel and life in a gang ridden area. Although the majority of us do not live in an area full of gangs we can easily relate each of the concepts to our own lives. I laughed and cried throughout the book. His quote references that he used were spot on and so I say, "There but for the Grace of God, go I".

  • Mary Lange
    2019-05-27 18:19

    Listened on audio– I think it would've been five stars either way, but hearing Greg read his own words was intensely powerful. The kind of book everyone needs to read, but it especially resonated with me because of my work and my client population. I can't stop recommending this to everyone, and I certainly won't be able to stop thinking about it for a while to come!

  • Jennifer
    2019-06-10 21:24

    Five stars is a tip-off that I loved this book. Boyle is a great storyteller and his "memoir" is filled with poignant, beautiful, uplifting, real stories of serving with youth in gangs in LA. It's a great read.

  • Joanne Otto
    2019-06-21 18:40

    This chronicle of a priest's interactions with gang members in L.A. is both heartwarming and heartbreaking and should be required reading for anyone who wants to learn more about the art of brotherly love. Believe it or not, it is also, at times, side-splittingly funny. I loved it.

  • Holly
    2019-06-22 14:41

    An all time and instant favorite. i will be re-reading this gem of a book for years to come. next time, i will be sure to have my highlighter handy when i do.