Each month I'd like to share with you something I'm reading. My hope is that the book I'm reading is at least somewhat relevant to what we are thinking about in our congregation, whether it is amongst our lay leaders or in a series of sermons. In my reflections, I hope to share the highlights, helpful quotes, etc. I hope that what I share encourages conversation and increases our faith, hope, and most of all--love.
This month I am rereading "Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion" by Gregory Boyle. This has been an annual read for myself since seminary. The copy shown in the photo belongs to my spouse, because each time I purchase it for myself, I give it away. You can tell our (Emily's) copy has waited outside in the rain while waiting for the "T" in Boston, it's probably had spit-up from both of our children, and like most things in our home has spaghetti smeared on the inside.
This powerful book recounts Boyle's time in the Delores Mission Church in Los Angeles (mid-80s) and how his time there "turned me inside out." While Boyle is a Jesuit priest, there is a theme throughout the book that should resonate for United Methodist readers: growth in holiness. You'll have to read it to learn more.
Anyways, I'd love to share a couple of quotes that I found powerful:
"Suddenly, the welcome mat was tentatively placed out front. A new sense of "church" had emerged, open and inclusive, replacing the hermetically sealed model that had kept the "good folks" in and the “bad folks" out."
"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."
"There is a longing in us all to be God-enthralled. So enthralled that to those hunkered down in their disgrace, in the shadow of death, we become transparent messengers of God's own tender mercy. We want to be seized by that same tenderness; we want to bear the largeness of God."
Be sure to grab this book, it'll keep you hooked.