Sunday, April 17, 2011

Book Review: Tattoos on the Heart Greg Boyle

I thought I'd add a book a review I recently posted on some other sites, the book is called Tattoos on the Heart by Fr. Greg Boyle.  I loved it so much I just had to share it, I read it on Kindle so if you have one I can really share it with you. ;-) 

Fr. Greg Boyle tells us in the preface that this is not a memoir and there is no narrative chronology, and it is not a “how to deal with gangs” book. Then what we are left with are relationships that matter to him with the people he has walked side by side with at the Delores Mission in Boyle Heights, the gang capital of Los Angeles. This book profoundly touches me, it makes me want to do better, to give everyone the benefit of doubt, to forgive my perceived enemies; to love more and complain less. His stories of ministering to gang members shift my perception of those around me. While reading it I find myself laughing out loud, and in the next moment crying because I care deeply about the Homies and realizing that losing someone with so much potential hurts us all. Between the lines I hear God speak, “Remember who you are, an ambassador for Christ, My hands on earth, and a light in the darkness. Don’t give up when it hurts to love, risk it….”

There is one recollection of Fr. Boyle’s that brings tears to my eyes; he is just starting out as a young priest on a trip to Bolivia. He is asked to bring Mass to the village of Tirani, where the Indians only speak Quechua and he doesn’t even speak Spanish. He knows he is inadequate to the task even with a translator, but in the depths of his hopelessness God meets him there. In this book God meets us and we are loved and changed.

I know when I’ve read something great, it’s when I start worrying about how many quotes I’ve underlined, but I’m not alone, on Kindle I can see that others have underlined excessively too. I’ll leave you with one warning, there is, ahem, a certain amount of “coarse language” and Fr. Boyle’s colorful banter with the homeboys might offend some. Don’t let the language stop you, this is a must read and I’ll be reading this book again.

Here is one of my favorite quotes " Suddenly, her shame meets mine. For when Carmen walked through that door, I had mistaken her for an interruption."

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