Inspirational and uplifting, Tattoos on the Heart analyzes the impact of unconditional life. Gregory Boyle, a pastor, working in Los Angeles where gang activities were rampant, founded an organization to train, encourage, and provide jobs for young people. The organization was founded in LA in 1988 and named Homeboy Industries, (Musinguzi & John 2009). The mission of the organization was to transform former gangsters into better people who could contribute to the community. The young people learned how to work as a team and had mutual respect for one another. The inspirational story is told through genuine and heart-rending vignettes extracted from the experiences Father Boyle had while working with the gangsters.
Father Gregory Boyle expressed a superior desire to work with and for the poor. He was assigned to pastor Dolores Mission Church, a poor parish in LA. Under Boyles leadership, the church establishes programs to reach out to the gangs. The programs align with keeping Christian values that the church professes. Devout and brave women in the church bring influence leading to a new sense of a church that is inclusive and open. The church sends signals to the gang members when it refers to them as sons and daughters whether they brought them to the world or not. The recorded experiences bring Gods love strongly. From the Tattoos on the Heart Gods image comes out. Bill Cain took a break from the ministry to take care of his father who was ailing with cancer. The father had depended on Bill for everything because he had become frail. This should be common for all adult children to care for old and ailing parents. Bill would watch and read his father on the bed until he slept, exactly what the father did for him when he was a child. Bill did this until the father passed on. Anthony De Mello says, how much more so God.Whenever one of the Jesuits had a birthday, a surprise party would be organized before, and they would celebrate. Women would dance and sing rhymes to God.
The parish builds an alternative school for many gang-involved kids expelled from public schools as one of its first projects. Women established a Committee for Peace who went marching, singing, and praying to neutralize growing tension. It yielded significant positive results in the long run, (Gottfried 2002). It became clear that members of gangs wanted jobs; therefore, Jobs for the Future organization was launched to provide employment to those willing. Homeboy Industries draws gangs from destructive lives, and the organization grows to include silk-screening businesses, a cafe, a bakery, and maintenance and merchandising operations. Many opportunities for employment were created. Some gang members come seeking counselling, tattoo removal, and legal services.
Father Boyle states, Not much in my life makes sense outside God. Homeboy imitates exactly the kind of God people ought to believe in. Cesar, who is from prison, is moved to tears when Father Boyle accepts him. This is the exact picture reflected when Jesus accepts the adulterous woman. Father Boyle has the revelation that God is happy when he loves such people. Many gang members who had lost hope resorted to violent lifestyles slowly got hope and started seeing that life had not come to an end. It can be concluded that Father Boyle was totally interested in making disciples. Through his good example of showing compassion, effectual is seen as change from inside out.
Tattoos on the Heart provides lessons of compassion, success, and kinship besides Gods love. Many lives were impacted and transformed by interaction with Father Boyles mission. New Testament lessons are purely derived through affection, love and faithfulness evident in the service. Compassion is about bringing those in pain towards you. Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. Its a covenant between equals.Compassion is always, at its most authentic, about a shift from the cramped world of self-preoccupation into a more expansive place of fellowship, of true kinship, (Fremon & Celeste 2009), said Father Gregory Boyle. He did not only feel for those in pains but made steps of drawing them closer to himself. He gave himself fully to be part of them. He had the same feelings the gang members had and was determined to move with them step by step to see them living a life of hope.
The message that comes out of Tattoos on the Heart strongly is everyone belongs. All people are equal and everyone deserves compassion care in the community. Father Boyle gives equal opportunities to all homies. This is demonstrated when a saint in Homeboy Industries gives money to Danny to ensure he doesnt go hungry. It is evidence of concern and support to show he wants Danny to do well. Father Greg is sincere in his helping not for glory but for the good of the whole community of mankind. Regardless of sex, color, race, how people were raised, Father Boyle treats everyone with equal compassion. He can be quoted, if you were my son, Id be the proudest man alive. Father said these words to Loony to express the much love he has foe him.
The book Tattoos on the Heart makes one understand Gods love from a deeper depth and greater heights. Action speaks louder than words. Many profess love and faith, but deeds do not march. If love is made real, all the gangs would disband. The fight against criminals by the governments is always violent, but Father Greg gives a perfect solution. Nothing can stop a bullet like a job, (Kuratko Donald 2009). If there were enough jobs and proper approach to dealing with criminals, less effort would be required.
It is important to see beyond life experiences and remember that all of us deserve Gods love. Despite the fact that some people lose hopes along the way and seem to become monsters, each person wants to live a purposeful life. We are all equal; therefore, everybody deserves care from the community. No matter how monster a person can become, when loved genuinely, they can reciprocate and turn from their wicked ways to be useful in the society. Every person who reads Tattoos on the Heart will never remain the same, especially how to relate others.
Fremon, Celeste. G-dog and the Homeboys: Father Greg Boyle and the Gangs of East Los Angeles. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2008. Print.
Gottfried, Ted. The Death Penalty: Justice or Legalized Murder?Brookfield, Conn: Twenty-First Century Books, 2002. Print.
Kuratko, Donald F. Entrepreneurship: Theory, Process, Practice. Mason, Ohio: South-Western Cengage Learning, 2009. Print.
Musinguzi, John B. An Analysis of Homeboy Industries As a Model of an Empowerment-Oriented Non-Profit Organization. Pomona [Calif.: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, 2009. Print.
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