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April 2013

Tattoos On the Heart -- Book Review

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

Over the years I have heard references to Father Greg Boyle and his amazing work with gang members in Los Angeles. He has been making a difference for a very long time in an extremely dark place and he is greatly admired by many.  He has given his entire life to the work of helping youth see themselves as worthy contributors beyond the hopeless trappings of gang life.

Last week on iTunes I noticed a new documentary called “G-Dog.”  It is a glimpse into the life, work and ministry of Father Greg Boyle.  I watched, or more specifically “wept,” my way through the movie and when it was over I started the movie (and my crying) all over again. The story of Homeboy Industries and the work of Greg Boyle is nothing short of amazing.

G dog movie

Through the movie I learned of Father Boyle’s book, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.  I immediately bought it on Kindle and read through it in two days.  It is a great read.  I could hear Greg Boyle’s voice throughout the book.  It was the same gentle voice that I heard in the movie, G-Dog—full of patience, wit, care, solidarity, compassion and extravagant love.

I found this book hard to put down.  It is full of real life stories—replete with humor, tragedy, victory, loss, hope and love. Boyle’s writing is much like his life.  He doesn’t just visit the margins to help and to minister to those less fortunate; instead, he dwells in the margins with them, as an equal.  In his writing, Father Boyle, the Jesuit Priest and former English Teacher, expounds upon poetry and various quotes from desert fathers/mothers and Catholic writers in a way that enmeshes the profound with the prosaic and the result is a glimpse of the very Truth that resonates throughout the Gospels.

I cannot help but recommend this book (and the movie) to you.  Enjoy.

The Old Tire


              The Old Tire 

by Ryan M. Roberts


                     As one of four, I carried a car;

On business of utmost import.


From summit to shore, I traveled afar;

All the while my time growing short.


I rolled along, till my tread was all spent;

Tossed away—thin, worn and unfit.


On the side of the road, to the ditch I was sent;

To die lying still in the pit.


But life ebbed again at the hand of a boy;

A push and a roll was my test.


I found all joy, in the guise of a toy;

These miles are some of my best.