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I recommend  Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle (New York: Simon & Schuster [Free Press], 2010). It's the story of a ministry with street gangs in LA. It is very well-written and moving. Here's a quote: "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."

One day a former parishioner returns to visit the church on a weekday:

"Then he takes in the scene all around him. Gang members gathered by the bell tower, homeless men and women being fed in great numbers in the parking lot. Folks arriving for the AA and NA meetings and the ESL classes. It's a Who's Who of Everybody Who Was Nobody. Gang member, drug addict, homeless, undocumented. This man sees all this and shakes his head, determined and disgusted, as if to say 'tsk, tsk.'

'You know, ' he says, 'This used to be a church.'

I mount my high horse and say, 'You know, most people around here think it's finally a church.'"

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Comment by Sharyn Dowd on August 9, 2011 at 8:46pm
Yes,  everybody said Wilkerson was a fanatic when he wrote that first book (including me). But he was the real thing and he will be missed.
Comment by Donna Lynn Easton on August 9, 2011 at 2:40pm
I love that>:) :) :) :) :) .Couple of weekends back on a church family camping trip ;we had a Sunday afternoon service,followed by fellowship and games . those who participated included all young and old campers  from neighbouring campsites including many children from an Islamic family camptime...What a party that was had by all. And more Kudos on your post.Because it reminds me of what tthe late David Wilkerson wrote about in the Cross and the Switchblade,and in one of his video sermons I found on Youtube?Vimeo on the topic of Anguish.

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