Top 113 Greg Boyle Quotes of 2020

“Don’t forget, you are the hero of your own story.”

― Greg Boyle

“You prevent kids from joining gangs by offering after-school programs, sports, mentoring, and positive engagement with adults. You intervene with gang members by offering alternatives and employment to help redirect their lives. You deal with areas of high gang crime activity with real community policing. We know what works.”

― Greg Boyle

“You stand with the least likely to succeed until success is succeeded by something more valuable: kinship. You stand with the belligerent, the surly and the badly behaved until bad behavior is recognized for the language it is: the vocabulary of the deeply wounded and of those whose burdens are more than they can bear.”

― Greg Boyle

“Even gang members imagine a future that doesn’t include gangs.”

― Greg Boyle

“My job isn’t to fix or rescue or to save. It’s to accompany, see people, listen to them.”

― Greg Boyle

“Abject poverty, political instability, torture, and other abuses push thousands across our border. There is not a deterrent imaginable that equals the conditions that force their migration.”

― Greg Boyle

“The wrong idea has taken root in the world. And the idea is this: there just might be lives out there that matter less than other lives.”

― Greg Boyle

“You can’t reason with gang violence: you can’t talk to it, sit it at the table, and negotiate with it.”

― Greg Boyle

“People have to see that there is a high degree of complexity about belonging to a gang. It’s a symptom, not a problem.”

― Greg Boyle

“Redemption is possible, and it is the measure of a civilized society.”

― Greg Boyle

“Metro police can’t infuse hope into those for whom hope is foreign. The algorithm does not exist that can heal the traumatized. Data-driven predictions won’t result in the delivery of mental health services.”

― Greg Boyle

“Reactive and proactive policing are both necessary. Still, we need to lower expectations that such efforts can ever be responsive to crime.”

― Greg Boyle

“What do we know to be true about gang violence? We know we will fail if we fixate on the symptoms and not address what undergirds it.”

― Greg Boyle

“The highest hallmark of a civilized society is not the rapidity by which it exacts vengeance, but its ability to hold victim and victimizer in its compassionate heart.”

― Greg Boyle

“The business of second chances is everybody’s business.”

― Greg Boyle

“I spent the summers of 1984 and 1985 as an associate pastor at Dolores Mission Church, the poorest parish in the Los Angeles archdiocese. In 1986, I became pastor of the church.”

― Greg Boyle

“Homeboy Industries has chosen to stand with the ‘demonized’ so that the demonizing will stop; it stands with the ‘disposable’ so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away.”

― Greg Boyle

“I always have a funny story at communion time that underscores that no one is perfect, and that communion is not for perfect people but for hungry people.”

― Greg Boyle

“The power of community policing is in the relationship. This can happen only if an officer sticks around for a while.”

― Greg Boyle

“You are exactly what God had in mind when he made you.”

― Greg Boyle

“The mark of our society as civilized will come when we embrace confidence in the power of redemption.”

― Greg Boyle

“When the vastness of God meets the restriction of our own humanity, words can’t hold it. The best we can do is find the moments that rhyme with this expansive heart of God.”

― Greg Boyle

“If you are paying attention, then the day is going to be pretty joyful, and a lot of delight will fill it.”

― Greg Boyle

“Most citizens viewing the tape of Rodney G. King being beaten by police officers were stunned and uncomprehending. Most citizens, that is, but the urban poor.”

― Greg Boyle

“Our best selves tell us that ‘there but for the grace of God… ‘ and that, in the end, there is no distance, really, between us and them. It is just us. Our best and noble hope is to imitate the God we believe in. The God who has abundant room in God’s grief and heart for us all.”

― Greg Boyle

“The desire of God’s heart is immeasurably larger than our imaginations can conjure.”

― Greg Boyle

“In Los Angeles, the gang capital of the world, we have 1,100 gangs and 120,000 gang members so it is a daunting, complex social dilemma.”

― Greg Boyle

“In my barrio, jobs work and money saves lives. When I have had the funds to place a gang member on a job site and pay his salary, I’ve seen him stop banging. When, on the rarest of occasions, an employer has offered a job to one of these youth, I’ve witnessed kids suddenly have a reason to get up in the morning.”

― Greg Boyle

“I work with gang members, and I feel a kind of affinity and gift, even. But who would’ve thunk it, you know? I mean, I didn’t anticipate it.”

― Greg Boyle

“Relapse happens, especially when you’re dealing with folks who are frankly the least likely to succeed based on their own pasts and difficulties. We can work with the most likely to succeed. I’m not interested in that.”

― Greg Boyle

“For over twenty years, Homeboy Industries has chosen to stand with those on the margins and those whose burdens are more than they can bear; it stands with the poor and the powerless, with the easily-despised and the readily-left out.”

― Greg Boyle

“As a society, we come up lacking in many of the marks of compassion and wisdom by which we measure ourselves as civilized.”

― Greg Boyle

“We are among the handful of countries that has difficulty distinguishing juveniles from adults where crime is concerned. We are convinced that if a child commits an adult crime, that kid is magically transformed into an adult. Consequently, we try juveniles as adults.”

― Greg Boyle

“The poor evangelize you about what’s important and what is the Gospel, and that that’s where the joy is.”

― Greg Boyle

“Dorothy Day, Cesar Chavez – these are people whose thoughts are so important.”

― Greg Boyle

“We don’t need a specialized gang unit. We need patrol officers who specialize in knowing their community.”

― Greg Boyle

“Kids are different from adults. They are not as developed as far as brain science, controlling impulses, and maturity, and fall prey to all kinds of pressures.”

― Greg Boyle

“Showing up in the lives of children is everything.”

― Greg Boyle

“I’m the priest who has been mistaken for an ATM machine.”

― Greg Boyle

“I have never seen a hopeful person join a gang.”

― Greg Boyle

“Homeboy Bakery is an alternative to kids who have found themselves, regrettably, in gangs and want to redirect their lives.”

― Greg Boyle

“Does God feel like that same-sex marriage could happen? I don’t think anybody who has a connection to God and God’s understanding and depth of compassion who’s gonna say ‘no.’”

― Greg Boyle

“We need the disruption of categories that lead us to abandon the difficult, the disagreeable, and the least likely to go very far.”

― Greg Boyle

“The arms of God reach to embrace, and somehow you feel yourself just outside God’s fingertips.”

― Greg Boyle

“I don’t save people. God saves people. I can point them in the right direction. I can say, ‘There’s that door. I think if you walked through it, you’d be happier than you are.’”

― Greg Boyle

“Gangs are bastions of conditional love, and one of the ways to counteract it is to offer community, which will always trump gang, and that’s what happens at Homeboy Industries.”

― Greg Boyle

“I think not everything that works helps, and not everything that helps works.”

― Greg Boyle

“I founded Homeboy Industries in 1988 after I buried my first young person killed in our streets because of gang violence.”

― Greg Boyle

“I’m not always optimistic, but I am hopeful.”

― Greg Boyle

“Children find themselves adrift not because the informational signposts are illegible, but because there is no one around to guide and accompany them.”

― Greg Boyle

“I would hope that government officials have a healthy respect for the complexity of the gang problem. They should never lose sight of the fact that there are human beings involved. There is no single solution.”

― Greg Boyle

“Gang members aren’t frightened into acceptable behavior by increased penalties, enhanced punishments, and the promise of new detention facilities.”

― Greg Boyle

“The draconian spirit that seeks to enhance penalties and to lower the age at which juveniles will be tries as adults, is part of the ‘whole cloth’ of three strikes. Our failure to address the depair of our inner-city youth is only delayed by our over-confidence in a stance that is ‘tougher than thou.’”

― Greg Boyle

“The powers, conditions, and desires that propel Mexicans and Central Americans into this country are so fundamental, so vast, that no action, legislative or other-wise, can discourage this flight.”

― Greg Boyle

“I feel called to be faithful.”

― Greg Boyle

“There is no such thing as a bad cop, only disturbing and dominant cop thinking that will invariably lead to excessive force and tragic outcomes.”

― Greg Boyle

“Like the suffering child, gang members act out of their despair, and their actions are all the more alarming now for our not having heeded their cry long ago. The shortsighted neglect that keeps us locked up in our outrage has also kept us from viable solutions.”

― Greg Boyle

“The employer is not going to choose the gang member who’s just been released from prison: they’re going to choose the person with the skills.”

― Greg Boyle

“The margins don’t get erased by simply insisting that the powers-that-be erase them.”

― Greg Boyle

“Jesus did not only serve the needs of the people, but truly hoped that the people and Jesus would be one.”

― Greg Boyle

“I kinda don’t do guilt. I gave it up for Lent years ago.”

― Greg Boyle

“People have started to see that ‘smart on crime’ rather than ‘tough on crime’ makes sense.”

― Greg Boyle

“Young people can change and grow. Every parent knows that.”

― Greg Boyle

“I want to be prophetic and take stands and stand with those on the margins, and I want to laugh as much as I can.”

― Greg Boyle

“I wouldn’t trade my life for anybody’s.”

― Greg Boyle

“You are so much more than the worst thing you’ve ever done.”

― Greg Boyle

“The Church should say, ‘I’m frightened that women will be ordained;’ that’s honest, say that. But don’t say, ‘It’s a grave sin,’ because that’s nonsense.”

― Greg Boyle

“I’m not opposed to success.”

― Greg Boyle

“There is no ‘them’ and ‘us.’ There is only us.”

― Greg Boyle

“All politics are local, and so in church.”

― Greg Boyle

“My church is in the detention facilities where I preside and celebrate the Eucharist. To me that’s the church. That’s the people of God.”

― Greg Boyle

“At its best, an injunction creates a kind of vigilant heat that moves kids toward the light.”

― Greg Boyle

“God can get tiny if we’re not careful.”

― Greg Boyle

“God seems to be an unwilling participant in our efforts to pigeonhole Him.”

― Greg Boyle

“Businesses have come and gone at Homeboy Industries. We have had starts and stops, but anything worth doing is worth failing at. We started Homeboy Plumbing. That didn’t go so well. Who knew? People didn’t want gang members in their homes. I just didn’t see that coming.”

― Greg Boyle

“Ours is a God who waits. So who are we not to?”

― Greg Boyle

“I love movies.”

― Greg Boyle

“I know two L.A.s. Half my life was around the house my folks had for 46 years at 3rd and Norton. The other half was in Boyle Heights on the Eastside, working with gang members.”

― Greg Boyle

“You don’t really get Jesus saying very often there’ll be pie in the sky when you die. He’s really talking about now and today, and it’s supposed to be like that. You’re supposed to delight in what’s right in front of you.”

― Greg Boyle

“We ought not to demonize a single gang member, and we ought not to romanticize a single gang.”

― Greg Boyle

“I think that any program that’s born from below rather than on high is going to survive.”

― Greg Boyle

“Most employers just aren’t willing to look beyond the dumbest or worst thing someone has done.”

― Greg Boyle

“We lose our right to be surprised that California has the highest recidivism rate in the country if we refuse to hire folks who have taken responsibility for their crimes and have done their time.”

― Greg Boyle

“I don’t believe in mistakes. Everything belongs, and, as the homies say, ‘It’s all good.’”

― Greg Boyle

“I do believe in lessons learned. I have learned that you work with gang members and not with gangs; otherwise, you enforce the cohesion of gangs and supply them oxygen.”

― Greg Boyle

“I know now that gang warfare is not the Middle East or Northern Ireland. There is violence in gang violence, but there is no conflict. It is not ‘about something.’ It is the language of the despondent and traumatized.”

― Greg Boyle

“Me wanting a gang member to have a different life would never be the same as that gang member wanting to have one.”

― Greg Boyle

“The idea that any law enforcement agency or person would ever know these gang members better than Homeboy Industries is impossible.”

― Greg Boyle

“I’m not going to be here forever. I don’t plan on going anywhere, but I don’t know anybody for whom death is an exception.”

― Greg Boyle

“We can’t get at crime unless we know what language it speaks. Otherwise, we are just suppressing the cough, not curing the disease.”

― Greg Boyle

“Gangs are born of a lethal absence of hope, and hope has an address: 130 W. Bruno St. in Los Angeles, CA 90012.”

― Greg Boyle

“Richard Rohr is a theologian that I read.”

― Greg Boyle

“I have a lot of people in my life, and I think there’s something key: the thing that leads to intimacy and relationship and connection is tenderness.”

― Greg Boyle

“I’ve never met an evil person ever.”

― Greg Boyle

“No kid is seeking anything when he joins a gang; he’s always fleeing something. He’s not being pulled; he’s being pushed by the circumstances in which he finds himself.”

― Greg Boyle

“Delegations from all over the world visit Homeboy Industries and scratch their heads as we tell them of our difficulty in placing our people in jobs after their time with us. Americans’ seeming refusal to believe in a person’s ability to redeem himself strikes these folks as foreign indeed.”

― Greg Boyle

“Anyone who knows gangs knows that lawmakers cannot conceive of a law that would lead a hard-core gang member to ‘think twice.’”

― Greg Boyle

“If the Los Angeles Police Department had enough officers, it could focus on one part of the community and stay there long enough to know and respect the people the officers are called on to protect and serve.”

― Greg Boyle

“The task of dealing comprehensively with gangs belongs to the city, not to law enforcement.”

― Greg Boyle

“What is ultimately compelling for our children in helping them conjure images of a future for themselves is our willingness to walk with them as they do it.”

― Greg Boyle

“It has become an accepted tenet that kids will rarely listen to their parents but seldom fail to imitate them. Communicating the message has never been a good substitute for ‘showing up’ and embodying the message.”

― Greg Boyle

“We need a pope to oversee not simply a modernization of the church but its total transformation.”

― Greg Boyle

“The church needs a pope who can call us to conversion and lead us to take seriously what Jesus did.”

― Greg Boyle

“We need a pope to usher in a new era of inclusion, the end of a sinful clericalism, and a strong sense of duty to those on society’s margins. The 1 billion faithful long for a leader who is fearless and driven – not by terror but by love.”

― Greg Boyle

“We can’t just settle for the low bar of pope as media-savvy, canny Curia manager.”

― Greg Boyle

“I didn’t take my vows to the LAPD.”

― Greg Boyle

“The truth is this: Brutalized, victimized children invariably will brutalize and victimize when they grow up. Is our only response to this the certain promise that we will penalize them when they do? Or will we commit to keeping our children safe from brutality and victimization?”

― Greg Boyle

“We are less than honest and commit a grave error if we insist that what happened to Rodney G. King was isolated and an exceptional case. The poor know better.”

― Greg Boyle

“We need not wait for further, well-placed home video cameras to see that low-intensity warfare is being waged against low-income minorities. We need only listen to the voices of the poor; they can testify that they are dehumanized, disparaged, and despised by the police.”

― Greg Boyle

“The highest religious and spiritual ideals of any faith would invite us to a compassion for all lives destroyed by the violence that plagues us.”

― Greg Boyle

“God is compassion.”

― Greg Boyle

“As much as I dislike the suggestion of single solutions to complex problems, jobs are as close as we will get to a single, effective answer to the enormous problem of gangs.”

― Greg Boyle

“So complex are all the ingredients that cause gang membership that it seems virtually impossible to isolate one solution that can address them all and thereby manufacture a hope for the future upon which these kids can rely.”

― Greg Boyle
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