Grace and Peace to you …
Gregory Boyle is a Jesuit Priest and the founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries – a gang intervention programme in L.A. In his book, “Tattoos on the Heart” he shares his twenty years of experience with us. I highly recommend you get hold of it. Here is an extract from the book, enjoy …
“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.
The American poet Jack Gilbert writes, “The pregnant heart is driven to hopes that are the wrong size for this world.” The strategy and stance of Jesus was consistent in that it was always out of step with the world. Jesus defied all the categories upon which the world insisted: good-evil, success-failure, pure-impure. Surely, He was an equal-opportunity “pisser off-er” in this regard.
The Right wing would stare at Him and question where He chose to stand. They hated that He aligned Himself with the unclean, those outside — those folks you ought neither to touch nor be near. He hobnobbed with the leper, shared table fellowship with the sinner, and rendered Himself ritually impure in the process. They found it offensive that, to boot, Jesus had no regard for their wedge issues, their constitutional amendments or their culture wars.
The Left was equally annoyed. They wanted to see the ten-point plan, the revolution in high gear, the toppling of sinful social structures. They were impatient with His brand of solidarity. They wanted to see Him taking the right stand on issues, not just standing in the right place.
But Jesus just stood with the outcast. The Left screamed: “Don’t just stand there, do something.” And the Right maintained: “Don’t stand with those folks at all.” Both sides, seeing Jesus as the wrong size for this world, came to their own reasons for wanting Him dead.”
Grace and peace, Alan
It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong
or feel abandoned.
If you know despair or can see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need to change you.
If you can look back with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand.
I want to know if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living
falling toward the center of your longing.
I want to know if you are willing to live,
day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter unwanted passion of your sure defeat.
I have heard, in that fierce embrace,
Even the gods speak of God.
~ David Whyte from Fire in the Earth
©1992 Many Rivers Press