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)
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
Every Christian, alright every PERSON, needs to listen to Father Boyle's Tattoos on the Heart. Because he has absolutely NAILED IT DOWN. One day at a time, one person at a time, he is loving people, accepting people, walking through the valley with people. Only by the grace of God, were you or I NOT born to a mother in the ghetto, into a gang ridden neighborhood. And are we BETTER than those who are born there??? NO, NO, NO . . . In so many ways we are poorer and more pitiful. We cannot see the forest for the trees. The story of the young father who would go home and watch his young children eat supper, DELIGHTING in them, after having worked all day long, not touching any food for himself, until his wife and children had been satisfied, touched me so deeply. If then, there was any food left, he would eat, if not, he didn't, having FILLED HIMSELF up with delight. A former gang member, this young man, had found himself and found that he was worthy of being loved. We try to complicate the gospel of Jesus Christ, sometimes just to try to get out of having to DO SOMETHING, I think. When we do that, we are robbing others and robbing ourselves.
After reading this wonderful book I went to the HomeboyIndustries website and ordered a hardbound copy for my personal library. I want to be able to refer back to certain chapters and read quotes to friends and family.
There is no comparison that immediately comes to my mind, however, Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers, would be a good supplementary read for anyone questioning the practice of criminalizing the poor and/or emotionally wounded people who have received little or no support in their lives. Gladwell's book demonstrates that people succeed largely through some proven advantage. This underscores Boyles simple brilliance in working with gang members. He offers genuine love and encouragement while working within his community to create "jobs" rather than jails.
I'm glad he read his own book, It let the listener get an even deeper feel for who this man is.
I laughed and cried. Cried because I hunger to hear stories about the love in action. It was healing for me to hear these stories.
I wish there was a Gregory Boyle University where people could get degrees in Kindness, Generosity and Understanding.
Storyteller, reading teacher, author...when it comes to stories/books, it's my vice and I have unashamedly made addicts of my entire family!
What is not to love about the compassion and love and commitment of Gregory Boyle's service as a parish priest making a real difference in the barrio? He is an amazing storyteller both as author and narrator; it takes skill to tell true anecdotal stories and find a common thread to connect them into a larger context.
It makes a connection to The Help, although it is a fictional book. Both books contain many small stories within a lager context. In these books we are offered a glimpse of human dignity, spirituality and raw truth.
Each story of an individual triumph was my favorite in the moment. I also liked the contrast of stories that ended less than fairy tale. Together they depicted the harsh reality of living in gangland which showed the successes of Delores Mission and Homeboy Industries as extraordinary accomplishments.
I found a depth of emotional poignancy in this book. It gave me a new perspective into a group of people who are easy to stereotype or marginalize in our society.
This book helped me see failings in myself and society. It is so easy to judge that which we do not understand, or that we have distanced ourselves from.
Gregory Boyle, or "G" as the gang members he works with call him, is a wonderful story teller. In "Tattoos on the Heart" he's taken the stories he's collected from many years of working as a priest with gang members and their families in East L.A. and shared them with us. No other narrator could have read them as well as he has, with the dialects and intonations and experience of retelling these stories. But I'll warn you, it's hard to get through the stories without shedding tears. Boyle has buried nearly 200 people over the years due to gang violence. His dedication and selflessness is lovely to see. Don't get me wrong--he's not tooting his own horn, but merely relating his experiences of trying to get through to these young men and women. There are successes, but many failures. I found the book a wonderful encouragement and will most likely read it again.
I do not cry much. I cried through 50% of this book but in a good way. It is a beautiful collection of stories told in a touching manner by the man who experienced them. For someone who is just beginnning a career in social work, this was an invigorating listen. My only warning is if you are listening in public, wear sunglasses to hide your tears.
One of the best. The pages of this book hold the key to feeling compassion for everyone.
When a man came to father Greg and said "some people say this isn't a real church anymore". Father Greg replied "some people say that it finally is"
God loves everyone, don't matter what you've done or where you've come from.
Tell us about yourself!
What a powerful book. Los Angles gangs wars..it seems like a loosing battle. Yet here is one man who pulls a neighborhood together and chooses to face the odds and love those the world has deemed unlovable. Reading this book was a humbling experience and made me question my own values when I go thru union station each morning and see those the city has thrown away.
Audible obsessed lifelong learner.
A story of unconditional love, acceptance, second chances, longing to be loved, bad decisions, hope, tragedy, and above all belonging. Father Boyle truly has touched many lives of the boys caught up in gangs and struggled to fight against the finality of the existence they have lived. Many rays of hope in this book but also gut wrenching tragedy of the senselessness of violence as well.
This is one of the best audio books I've listened to in many years. Full of compassion and love. It'll make your day to take a listen!
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