What happened to Matthew 25:34-40?

th-7  In the past few weeks images of the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernadino, alongside the pictures of desperate Syrians jumping off flimsy rubber boats, or worse, their children’s corpses washing up on the beach, have rendered me fairly mute. Are there words eloquent enough to express the heart wrenching emotion of these events? Is there any wisdom to offer making sense of this global chaos? What is an appropriate response to madness? 

FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015 file photo, a Syrian refugee child sleeps in his father's arms while waiting at a resting point to board a bus, after arriving on a dinghy from the Turkish coast to the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos. Bold ideas for helping Syrian refugees and their overburdened Middle Eastern host countries are gaining traction among international donors who were shocked into action by this year's migration of hundreds of thousands of desperate Syrians to Europe. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen, File)

(AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen, File)

th-8Then there’s The Donald and others waving Bibles while spouting rhetoric filled with fear, anger and vengeance representing the face of American Christianity. As a follower of Christ myself, I want to tell the world, those people do not represent me.

But where is there somebody offering a Christian message as I understand it? Where’s the Jesus guy who stands with the poor, the whores, and the sick? Where’s the teacher who forgives 70 times 70 and turns back a killing mob by suggesting “he without sin cast the first stone?”

What happened to Matthew 25:34-40?

‘Come you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ and the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it one to of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Awards, Xander TaylorI recently  took my daughter’s suggestion and listened to #47 of the RobCastRob Bell‘s interview with British evangelical leader, Steve Chalke. While famous in England, he was unknown to me. Chalke was born in South London, a poverty-entrenched area. His accent reveals his roots, a “bloke” of the common class. Of unremarkable parentage, society didn’t expect much from him. At age 14 he was attending a Baptist youth group, mainly to be close to a pretty girl he fancied. Though she rejected him, he discovered the Christian message and relationship with spirit that set his thinking apart from those around him.

One night on a walk home after church, he received a vision of himself. He would open schools, hostels, and run hospitals. He would work with the disenfranchised, the abused, neglected. Society’s rejects.

In other words, he would represent Christ on earth in very practical ways. When he was 24, he and his wife, Cornelia, founded their first hostel for abused teens and named it The Oasis. That was the beginning. Bringing his vision to fruition, he took over management of violent, failing schools and dilapidated churches and shepherded them into places of vitality, kindness, and success.

288743_503411136339400_1953442212_o Much like Father Greg Boyle and Homeboy Industries is transforming the gang culture of Los Angeles, Chalke is working from the inside out of a rotting British society to restore and renew people through the simple message of love and compassionate action that Christ taught.

They may not be the loudest voices in the din, these workers of the Light. They aren’t followed around by media hounds trying to get the next sound bite. Like Mother Teresa, like Salvation Army Founders William and Catherine Booth, and countless other ministries across the globe, the followers of Christ are feeding the poor, helping the widows, and sharing the good news of God’s love. It’s that simple and easily overlooked in the noise and chaos of politics and anger.

I hope that in the next elections I have the opportunity to vote for someone who lives by the standard ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it one to of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Even if I don’t, I’ll keep supporting the people who live by that philosophy because it’s clear to me that is the true path to peace on earth.

jesus_embracing_kid_

It was the way Christ fought the terrorists of his time and still the best model for us today.  The Light still overcomes the Dark.

Listen Here: Steve Chalke and the Oasis Story

For more information visit:

Oasis, UK    Homeboy Industries  Tattoos on the Heart

 

 

Boundless Compassion in Action

Spiritual Activism–Article Three

Putting faith into action is certainly exemplified by Homeboy Industries, founded by Father Gregory Boyle. Father Greg is the long term priest for the Dolores Mission in the gang center of the world, Los Angeles. Seeing a dire need for jobs to short-circuit the cycle of violence and prison sentences, Father Greg began putting gang members and ex-cons to work. As he relates in the excellent TATTOOS ON THE HEART: The Power of Boundless Compassion (see my review), having rival gang members work side-by-side often fostered a kinship that led to a life beyond the barrio.

“Homeboy Industries has been the tipping point to change the metaphors around gangs and how we deal with them in Los Angeles County. This organization has engaged the imagination of 120,000 gang members and helped them to envision an exit ramp off the “freeway” of violence, addiction and incarceration. And the country has taken notice. We have helped more than 40 other organizations replicate elements of our service delivery model, broadening further the understanding that community trumps gang — every time.”  – Father Greg

The Homeboy Bakery and the Home Girl Café produce wholesome food, while employing and training marginalized members of the community. Other businesses Homeboy Silk Screen and Embroidery, Solar Panel Installation Training and Certification, Homeboy Farmer’s Market, and Homeboy Merchandise. Services to the community include tattoo removal, job counseling, mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence counseling.

Visit HomeboyIndustries.Org for more information.

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Homeboy Industries and the philosophy of Father Greg is influencing communities around the world with the Power of Boundless Compassion. Click Here to see Video.

Read the Homeboy Stories at their blog http://www.homeboystories.blogspot.com/

Order bakery goods now on-line at HomeBoyFoods.com

  

“Tattoos on the Heart,” My Favorite Book

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

Taylor email 03 Review by Dana Taylor

“His ways are not our ways…but they sure could be.” 

Tattoos on the Heart author Gregory Boyle, aka Father Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries and long-time priest of the Delores Mission in Los Angeles, aka “G-dog”, sums up his approach to life in that simple, but profound, phrase. Father Boyle has been honored with numerous awards, including the California Peace Prize, and even brought gang members to dinner at the White House. A bout of leukemia prompted him to finally write a book inspired by his twenty-five years ministering at the ground zero of gangland—Boyle Heights of Los Angeles. Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion is my new favorite book and it will take something pretty special to bump it off the top of my list.

It hit me on so many levels.  First, the writing style—there’s a dose of barrio homeboy vernacular to make it real.  A homegirl acting as receptionist answers a bomb threat with “Go ahead and bring that bomb, motherfucka. We’re ready for your ass.” (Christian publishers passed on the book because of those moments.) Then, in the next paragraph Boyle might quote Thomas Merton or a Catholic saint.  He uses so many different colors to paint the palette of his book.

Next, the content is the stuff of inspiring sermons—spiritual lessons couched in anecdotal stories of the homies. Rather than writing a chronological autobiography G (as he most often is called) offers chapters that focus on the gifts of the spirit—Grace, Compassion, Gladness, Kinship. He makes the barrio come alive through the eyes of man who sees the value in people who can’t see the value in themselves. This isn’t a Disney-like portrayal of the happy mean streets. His heart has been broken by the 167 times he’s buried the homeboys because of senseless violence.

 Yet, there is hope because he knows who the Savior is.  He sees Him in every scary, tattooed ex-con who comes through the doors of Homeboy Industries. G knows the Boundless Compassion of God and does his best to pay it forward.

Father Boyle lives among the angry, the marginalized, the under-educated throwaways of society and shows them God’s love. Indeed, his ways are not our ways…but they sure could be.

If you read it, Tattoos might turn into your favorite book also.

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle

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Ever-Flowing Streams: Christ, Reiki, Reincarnation & Me

   “A book not just to read, but to experience”–Tampa Bay Examiner

Available as ebook and paperback at Amazon