Sunday, January 22, 2006

Father Greg Boyle SJ

Father Greg Boyle S.J. was amazing. I just got back from hearing him speak at SLU. Funny guy. He works with some pretty hardcore characters. He works with former gangsters, criminals. Guys that usually can be very difficult to work with. I have had run ins with a few genuine thugs, and I don't care for it at all. Then again, these thugs have no interest in going straight. Then there are the ones who play they have gone straight but don't behave that way. That can be worse. No fun at all.

Father Boyle really has made a lot of progress working with people that our popular society has found very difficult to integrate. He really has a straight forward approach, but he really sees the humanity in people. He sees the equal value among people. How to get rid of the demonized by standing by them until it goes away. It is really amazing and simple. He calls it kinship. He works with kids who have been in gangs and tries to get them jobs. He has a tattoo removal project.

I have dealt with guys who are reformed or are trying. That can be a mixed bag. I have had some incredibly positive dealings with these guys. You would never know some of these guys have records. And then there are others that you have to be especially careful around. Really careful. I have had a few guys do some labor jobs for me. I did okay for I was cautious, but it is not without risk. A couple of the guys are no longer reformed. I try to limit the exposure by not dealing with the guys that have not clearly dealt with their dangerous side. Dealing with questionably reformed con men is not too bad as long as you don't expose yourself too much. You just have to be conscious and careful. It is pretty straight forward.

A very good friend of mine has gone straight and wonderfully so. He is a key partner on one of my projects. He owns his own house, has been working steady now for about seven or so years since geting out. He has done it all on his own and gives back quite a bit.

Some of the people I spoke to at this event were curious about the gym. I deal with knucklehead kids. Some are on the border by getting in trouble or tempted gangs, but most are not in real trouble. They are mostly at risk. Although there are a few that have treaded over the edge and I just try to tug them back into a halfway decent fold. That is usually really hard.

Father Boyle has not succeeded all the time. He has buried hundreds of young Americans in East
LA. It is tough. You can hear it in his voice. I don't know how he does it. But he does it. Regularly. Props to Father Boyle.

I didn't talk to Father Boyle afterwards for he was surrounded by fans. I didn't know what to say to him anyway other than to voice my support of his efforts. I wonder if he would want me to remove the large crucifix I have tattooed on my right arm. I doubt it. I got to be claimed by some gang.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

kudos for "men for others" that actually live it and don't shy away from problems.

10:26 AM  

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