Sunday, March 03, 2013

Homeboys' Blessings

Jesuit father Greg Boyle was interviewed by Krista Tippett for her radio show "On Being."  He once tried to make peace through shuttle diplomacy among LA's street gangs, but he gave up on that: "There is no conflict," he says, "only violence." 

Instead, he has focused on getting members of different gangs to work side by side on other projects.  He tells of blessing one, adding, "While I love you, you can sometimes be a pain in the butt."  The boy-man replied, "The feeling's mutual."

His main insight seems to have been that all of these boys and "homegirls" are fleeing from something, and he offers something positive to want.  He tells of a boy -- now a man on the other side of drug addiction and crime -- whose mother told him at age six to kill himself and save her the pain of raising him.  She beat him, and he wore three tee shirts into adulthood, to cover up the wounds.  "But now I love my wounds," he says. "How else can I help others with their wounds if I don't love mine?"

Is he afraid of death? He quotes the Dali Lama:  "Death?  It's just a change of clothing."

He quoted Ruskin, that our main calling in life is to "delight in each other."  When Krista Tippett asked him about why he chose the epigram for the book, he confessed,"Oh no, it's my Krista Tippett nightmare coming true.  I don't know why I chose it.  Now I'm revealed as totally shallow." But the poet observes how all of us wish to be told "I love you," and asks why we can't be the one who tells thaqt to others.

So, from a hard-hitting, mean streets area of the world, there's a call from the warm and fuzzy side.

Here's a link to his website:

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