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Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle
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“Close both eyes see with the other one. Then we are no longer saddled by the burden of our persistent judgments our ceaseless withholding our constant exclusion. Our sphere has widened and we find ourselves quite unexpectedly in a new expansive location in a place of endless acceptance and infinite love.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“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.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“Kindness is the only strength there is.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“No daylight to separate us.

Only kinship. Inching ourselves closer to creating a community of kinship such that God might recognize it. Soon we imagine, with God, this circle of compassion. Then we imagine no one standing outside of that circle, moving ourselves closer to the margins so that the margins themselves will be erased. We stand there with those whose dignity has been denied. We locate ourselves with the poor and the powerless and the voiceless. At the edges, we join the easily despised and the readily left out. We stand with the demonized so that the demonizing will stop. We situate ourselves right next to the disposable so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“If there is a fundamental challenge within these stories, it is simply to change our lurking suspicion that some lives matter less than other lives.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“Sometimes resilience arrives in the moment you discover your own unshakeable goodness.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“Kinship– not serving the other, but being one with the other. Jesus was not “a man for others”; he was one with them. There is a world of difference in that.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“Compassion isn't just about feeling the pain of others; it's about bringing them in toward yourself. If we love what God loves, then, in compassion, margins get erased. 'Be compassionate as God is compassionate,' means the dismantling of barriers that exclude.”
Gregory Boyle , Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“God would seem to be too occupied in being unable to take Her eyes off of us to spend any time raising an eyebrow in disapproval.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“It's my first day teaching," I say to her, "Give me some advice."

"Two things," she says, "One: know all their names by tomorrow. Two: It's more important that they know you than that they know what you know.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“You stand with the least likely to succeed until success is succeeded by something more valuable: kinship. You stand with the belligerent, the surly, and the badly behaved until bad behavior is recognized for the language it is: the vocabulary of the deeply wounded and of those whose burdens are more than they can bear.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“Success and failure, ultimately, have little to do with living the gospel. Jesus just stood with the outcasts until they were welcomed or until he was crucified — whichever came first.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“God can get tiny, if we're not careful.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a covenant between equals. Al Sharpton always says, "We're all created equal, but we don't all end up equal.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“There is no force in the world better able to alter anything from its course than love.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“Pema Chodron, an ordained Buddhist nun, writes of compassion and suggests that its truest measure lies not in our service of those on the margins, but in our willingness to see ourselves in kinship with them.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.” I like even more what Jesus doesn’t say. He does not say, “One day, if you are more perfect and try really hard, you’ll be light.” He doesn’t say “If you play by the rules, cross your T’s and dot your I’s, then maybe you’ll become light.” No. He says, straight out, “You are light.” It is the truth of who you are, waiting only for you to discover it. So, for God’s sake, don’t move. No need to contort yourself to be anything other than who you are.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“The strategy of Jesus is not centered in taking the right stand on issues, but rather in standing in the right place—with the outcast and those relegated to the margins.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“The self cannot survive without love, and the self, starved of love, dies. The absence of self-love is shame, "just as cold is the absence of warmth." Disgrace obscuring the son... Franciscan Richard Rohr writes that "the Lord comes to us disguised as ourselves.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“The principle suffering of the poor is shame and disgrace. It is a toxic shame -- a global sense of failure of the whole self. This shame can seep so deep down... To this end, one hopes (against all human inclination) to model not the "one false move" God but the "no matter whatness" of God. You seek to imitate the kind of God you believe in, where disappointment is, well, Greek to Him. You strive to live the black spiritual that says, "God looks beyond our fault and sees our need.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“How, then, to imagine, the expansive heart of this God—greater than God—who takes seven buses, just to arrive at us. We settle sometimes for less than intimacy with God when all God longs for is this solidarity with us. In Spanish, when you speak of your great friend, you describe the union and kinship as being de uña y mugre—our friendship is like the fingernail and the dirt under it. Our image of who God is and what’s on God’s mind is more tiny than it is troubled. It trips more on our puny sense of God than over conflicting creedal statements or theological considerations. The desire of God’s heart is immeasurably larger than our imaginations can conjure. This longing of God’s to give us peace and assurance and a sense of well-being only awaits our willingness to cooperate with God’s limitless magnanimity.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“The God, who is greater than God, has only one thing on Her mind, and that is to drop, endlessly, rose petals on our heads. Behold the One who can't take His eyes off of you. Marinate in the vastness of that.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“Jesus was not a man for others. He was one with others. There is a world of difference in that. Jesus didn't seek the rights of lepers. He touched the leper even before he got around to curing him. He didn't champion the cause of the outcast. He was the outcast. He didn't fight for improved conditions for the prisoner. He simply said, 'I was in prison.'

The strategy of Jesus is not centered in taking the right stand on issues, but rather in standing in the right place—with the outcast and those relegated to the margins.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“Compassion isn't just about feeling the pain of others; it's about bringing them in toward yourself. If we love what God loves, then, in compassion, margins get erased. 'Be compassionate as God is compassionate,' means the dismantling of barriers that exclude.

In Scripture, Jesus is in a house so packed that no one can come through the door anymore. So the people open the roof and lower this paralytic down through it, so Jesus can heal him. The focus of the story is, understandably, the healing of the paralytic. But there is something more significant than that happening here. They're ripping the roof off the place, and those outside are being let in.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“Terror melting into wonder, then slipping into peace.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“To embrace the strategy of Jesus is to be engaged in what Dean Brackley calls "downward mobility." Our locating ourselves with those who have been endlessly excluded becomes an act of visible protest. For no amount of our screaming at the people in charge to change things can change them. The margins don't get erased by simply insisting that the powers-that-be erase them. The trickle-down theory doesn't really work here. The powers bent on waging war against the poor and the young and the "other" will only be moved to kinship when they observe it. Only when we can see a community where the outcast is valued and appreciated will we abandon the values that seek to exclude.”
Greg Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“Jesus, in Matthew's gospel, says, "How narrow is the gate that leads to life." Mistakenly, I think, we've come to believe that this is about restriction. The way is narrow. But really it wants us to see that narrowness is the way... It's about funneling ourselves into a central place. Our choice is not to focus on the narrow, but to narrow our focus. The gate that leads to life is not about restriction at all. it is about an entry into the expansive. There is a vastness in knowing you're a son/daughter worth having. We see our plentitude in God's own expansive view of us.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“Can we stay faithful and persistent in our fidelity even when things seem not to succeed? I suppose Jesus could have chosen a strategy that worked better (evidence-based outcomes) — that didn't end in the Cross — but he couldn't find a strategy more soaked with fidelity that the one he embraced”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“Scripture scholars contend that the original language of the Beatitudes should not be rendered as "Blessed are the single-hearted" or "Blessed are the peacemakers" or "Blessed are those who struggle for justice." Greater precision in translation would say, "You're in the right place if...you are single-hearted or work for peace." The Beatitudes is not a spirituality, after all. It's a geography. It tells us where to stand.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
“You don't really keep vigil; it keeps you-suspended in awkward silence and dead air-desperate for anything at all to stir some hope out of these murky waters and make things vital again.”
Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

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