What we ought to believe.

Not much in my life makes sense outside of God. Certainly, a place like Homeboy Industries is all folly and bad business unless the core of the endeavor seeks to imitate the kind of God one ought to believe in. In the end, I am helpless to explain why anyone would accompany those on the margins were it not for some anchored belief that the Ground of all Being thought this was a good idea. – Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart

Before we lived here, I didn’t understand this quote.

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I first read Tattoos on the Heart last summer. We were in the thick of packing up our earthly belongings to move across the country. We used adjectives like “at-risk” and “under resourced” and “poor” to describe the neighborhood we were joining.

That was before we lived here.

Now, I agree with Father Boyle; not much in my life makes sense outside of God.

We left our hometown with five little people and nowhere to land.
We live on a street where bullets fly. 
I home school my 23-year-old neighbor.

It’s all foolish and poor financial planning to live on the gifts of others. It’s reckless choose this neighborhood. It’s absurd to be stubborn about hope.

Unless.

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Unless the core of it all is to imitate the God we ought to believe in.

But can I let you in on a little secret? Sometimes it’d be easier not to believe.

This God says we’re standing in the right place if we’re with the poor. With those who mourn. The hungry and thirsty. He says if we are persecuted and lied about and pushed around; we’re in the right place.

There’s not a one of those things the world can make sense of. Stand with the poor? Move into someone’s broken heart? Join the parched and the weary? You’ll know you’re with me when you’re lied about? Pushed around? Really Jesus?

Really.

The God we ought to believe in, He hasn’t so much promised the things this world counts as important. Or wise. Our even just a decent enough idea. Imitating Him is swimming upstream the whole dang way.

That bit about being helpless to explain these choices? I get that part now too.

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Last summer, one of my friends who lives among the marginalized in London told me this is her favorite quote from the book.

I secretly thought maybe she was a little cruel. Like somehow she had been a mean girl in high school and hid it really well as an adult, or maybe my judge of character had started to slip.

Yes, yes, in some Church circles choosing to stand with the marginalized is sexy business. Until you do it. Until it isn’t.

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I was recently interviewed for a podcast and, of course, the host asked me about safety in our neighborhood. I gave the standard Christian answer, you probably know the one, something about the center of God’s will being the safest place to be.

Here’s the thing: I have lots of thoughts on the topics of safety and wisdom and privilege and laying down our lives, but at the end of the day, I’m helpless to explain it outside of God thinking this is a good idea.

Helpless.

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Are you reading along with us? What quote(s) impacted you? Was there a homie’s story that brought you to tears or made you laugh out loud? Leave your words in the comments OR meet us tonight on Facebook at 8:30pm EST. If you’re a blogger, you can link up your own post below as well.

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4 Comments

  1. Julie Leon April 4, 2016

    So good, Lindsy. Thanks again for being real. Though it may not “feel” encouraging, it is.

    Hoping to have the kids “all tucked in” (without too many trips out of the room thereafter) by 7:30 my time and ready to chat. Thanks for hosting the book club! You’ve got me excited, and in a strange way feeling like I have more of a community of like-minded friends, even if just for a season!! 😊

    Reply
    • Lindsy Wallace April 20, 2016

      This comment slipped by me Julie – so sorry! And thank you for the encouragement. I agree, the realness of others encourages me as well 😉

      I’m so glad you’re reading along and have enjoyed your input on Monday nights. I hope the community continues beyond this one book!

      Reply
  2. LindseyB April 4, 2016

    The story about Carmen in chapter 2, she calls herself a disgrace. I already cry at everything, but this one really touched me. Maybe because he had to be at that baptism and she was an “interruption” and I know how many times I’ve seen someone who needed to just be heard as an interruption. I see their lives and worldview as so bizarre and almost “unreachable” and she reminded me that even with a tough exterior some people still search for Truth and are ready to hear it. P. 43 “In the face of all this, the call is to allow the painful shame of others to have a purchase on our lives. Not to fix the pain but to feel it.” The Lord puts people in our path whose lives can feel draining of our own. As exhausting as it is, our hearts and homes should be open to it of the sake of the life transforming gospel of Jesus!

    Reply
    • Lindsy Wallace April 20, 2016

      Yes Lindsey! I love this takeaway! Thank you for sharing! Carmen’s story really got to me too.

      Reply

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