As a pastor working in a neighborhood with the highest concentration of murderous gang activity in Los Angeles, Gregory Boyle created an organization to provide jobs, job training, and encouragement so that young people could work together and learn the mutual respect that comes from collaboration.
Tattoos on the Heart is a breathtaking series of parables distilled from his 20 years in the barrio. Arranged by theme and filled with sparkling humor and glowing generosity, these essays offer a stirring look at how full our lives could be if we practiced compassion.
Erudite, down-to-earth, and utterly heartening, these essays about universal kinship and redemption are moving examples of the power of unconditional love in difficult times and the importance of fighting despair. With Gregory Boyle's guidance, we can recognize our own wounds in the broken lives and daunting struggles of the men and women in these parables and learn to find joy in all of the people around us. Tattoos on the Heart reminds us that no life is less valuable than another.
©2010 Gregory Boyle. Recorded by arrangement with Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. (P)2011 HighBridge Company
“One of my favorite books in years. It is lovely and tough and tender beyond my ability to describe.” (Anne Lamott)
“Destined to become a classic of both urban reportage and contemporary spirituality.” (The Los Angeles Times)
“Read, and let your life be changed!” (Father Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation)
While Boyle was teaching a class to a group of lifers, one of the prisoners, on the spot, gave his definition of compassion. He ended slowly on, "...Compassion is God." Interestingly, before reading "Tattoos on the Heart," I read Lama Surya Das' "Awakening the Buddha Within." No matter how much I read about Buddhist, it never ceases to amaze me that there are groups of people in the world that actually sit and meditate on love and compassion. I think why this gets me is that Buddhist are perceived as being atheistic in nature. Yet, large numbers of Christians I have met, who believe in God, think constantly on wars and rumors of wars, and of storing up food and buying guns to kill people. They may think about love and compassion, but it sure isn't high up on the list of things to think about. Yes, I see irony in that.
The thought hit me, though, that if the definition of compassion is that, "compassion is God," then my definition of a saint would be: a saint is someone that not only meditates on love and compassion, but takes it into the world and puts it into action. By that definition, Gregory Boyle is a true saint.
Seriously, what is not to like about Boyle? A Jesuit priest that quotes Richard Rohr and Thich Nhat Hanh. A person that cares more about the good things you have done than the bad things. A much needed friend in a world full of enemies.
In my opinion, "Tattoos on the Heart" isn't just a book, but rather a training manual for how to rebuild America. No matter your political leanings, left or right, everyone should put aside their differences and see that this book is the way.
As we do crazy things like send all of our good jobs overseas and then pay people to sit around here doing nothing, "Tattoos on the Heart" shows us how much a simple job can mean to someone. It can mean the world to them. Literally, the difference between life and death. We should fight for every job we can keep here in America, like America depends on it, because it does.
As our foreign policy sees people as less than human, worthy only of carpet bombing, "Tattoos on the Heart" shows us that the way to make humans out of troubled people is not through violence, but through compassion. Indeed, the only winning move is to treat humans like humans.
As a whole, we have tried doing the same things over and over again, and got the same results. "Tattoos on the Heart" shows us a different path. Lets take it and see if something different happens this time. What exactly do we have to lose?
This book was a breath of fresh air. In today's world it is so difficult to see the beauty in everyday things, let alone those whom society has deemed unworthy. I applaud G for his efforts, and I hope he has many more years of successful work at this mission. We have these needs of charity and love right in our own country, even right out our own back doors sometimes, and we do not see them. I hope this story has made some small change in my own personality to be a better person and to not overlook the beauty, light, and raw potential in people I may not give enough credit to.
This is an extraordinary book. Inspiring, funny, sad. Really makes you think about how you view people. Especially people who are struggling or considered "less". Highly highly recommended.
It was amazing and is sure to be something I come back to over and over again, for it speaks to my faith and my humanity. I'm so glad it was read by Gregory Boyle that made it just astounding!
Wasn't sure about this book at first but it's definitely one of my favorites. Opens your eyes to inside the lives of people whom are usually looked upon in a negative way.
Several years ago I had the pleasure of hearing Father Gregory speak to a group of educators in a large urban school district in San Joaquin County where we have over 1,000 documented gangs. As our homicide rate continues to rise, I continue to pray for something like Homeboy Industries to come to San Joaquin County so the souls of these young people might feel their worth. "G's" incredibly touching stories have remained indelibly etched on my heart. This is one tattoo you will never wish to remove.
Father G, certainly love his children and I have a new found love for them as well. Thank you for sharing the lives of these young men and women. Father G you give them possibility and great hope for there future. Story's in this book about your children made me cry and laugh not at the same time, still the same thank you for all your hard work and your love that you have given over the course of your life. Father G you are most loving!!! Bless your Heart!❤️😘
I'm glad I listened to this book, rather than read it. Father Boyle does a wonderful job of telling his story, getting the accents and ages and dialects so "just right." He's a powerful artist on many levels and his voice is just one of his skills.
The memoir is really a collection of anecdotes about the people he's encountered during his 20 years developing and running "Homeboy Industries" in a neighborhood in Los Angeles known as the "gang capital."
His stories are a walk into a world many of us could not imagine is real but is, in fact, deadly so, endearingly so, dangerously so. But they also provide hope and humor while they break your heart. It's a wonderful gift Boyle has to be able to make the people he's encountered come very much alive and make us care about them. And if you don't laugh out loud and also find yourself tearing up at least once while you listen to this, you're made of stone.
Recommend without hesitation.
One of the absolute best!
The humility, love and compassion of father Boyle.
The whole book.
An absolute must read.
Simply a wonderful book beautifully narrated by the author. I didn't know what to expect - would it be cheesy? Would I be able to get into the subject? Etc etc In the end it was a wonderful uplifting and deeply moving collection of stories related to the personal experiences of this amazing man.
Each story contained humour, sadness and a deep message that can apply to everyone and anyone. I found myself listening to bits again and was regularly moved to tears. I rarely recommend audio books but I can't recommend this highly enough. Simply beautiful!
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