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Tattoos on the Heart (Book Review)

The Boundless Power of Compassion By Gregory Boyle

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion is a memoir written by Gregory Boyle about his life’s work as a pastor in Los Angeles. Los Angeles has the highest concentration of gang activity in the US, and the neighborhood Boyle worked in had the highest concentration in the city. Boyle started Homeboy Industries to provide outlets for people trying to step away from gang life.

“In the city of Los Angeles, Homeboy Industries has operated as a symbol as much as a place of concrete help. For more than twenty years, it has asked this city, ‘What if we were to invest in gang members, rather than just seek to incarcerate our way out of this problem?’”

This seemingly common sense solution to violence was met by surrounding peers as “radical.” Yet, what is so radical about this, especially for people with faith?

“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.”

Boyle’s work focused on letting others know you love them, and loving yourself. His life views of surprising yourself with who you are, and surprising others with who you believe they are, spread to those around him.

“Resilience is born by grounding yourself in your own loveliness, hitting notes you thought were way out of your range.”

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© Copyright 2018 Annie Windholz

midwestern librarian, writer, activist. subscribe —

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