25 April 2016

4 Unique Reads for The Year of Mercy

Sure you could read something by Pope Francis.

But if you're looking for different types of books to read during this jubilee year of mercy, I'd recommend each of these unique perspectives on mercy and forgiveness.

Left To Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust
This book is incredible. There are very few books I have ever stayed up all night to read and this was one of them. It is the story of a young woman who survived the Rwandan genocide of 1994. She lost most of her family except one brother. She forgave and met with some of the men who slaughtered her family. Immaculee is a woman of courage, faith, and radical example of mercy and forgiveness.
Just read this book!

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice & Redemption
I read this book several months ago. It was absolutely eye-opening and equally heart breaking. Bryan Stevenson is a man who works tirelessly for men and women on death row in the South. He looks at some many issues that affect the incredibly high incarceration and death row numbers: poverty, racism, and prejudices of the criminal system still in effect today.

While I have always saw the death penalty as a critical pro-life issue, this opened my eyes in so many ways to the reality of life on death row and the many issues that affect the high incarnation rate in the US. A hard read, but one I think we all need today.

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
I just finished this one. WOW. 
Fr. Greg Boyle is a Jesuit priest living and ministering to the Boyle Heights neighborhood in Los Angeles, the gang capital of the world. He created Homeboy Industries to help men and women leave the many life, create jobs and training, and offer them a new life of hope and healing.

Fr. Greg's writing was incredible and often left me breathless and deeply reflective. He is now on the ever growing list of people I would love to meet someday. Reading about the gang lifestyle opened up my eyes as it is not something I am terribly familiar with. I finished this book with a fuller, richer heart. And you will too.

Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community 
This is maybe one of the best books I have read since the New Year. What initially interested me in the topic is that the author and his wife purposefully moved to Boys Town in Chicago, a predominately LGBT community. Their life work is dedicated in ministry, outreach, and working to have this conversation with love and understanding in the church.

When my brother was in college he did a mission trip to Boys Town with Emmaus Ministires, reaching out to and ministering to men in survival prostitution. I remember the experiences my brother shared with me, and being so touched by what he told me. It was something that stayed with me.

The premise of this book is how to have loving and pastoral dialogue with those in the gay community, whether Christian or not. An enlightening read that helped me start to understand the perspective of someone who identifies as a gay Christian and the pain many have experienced from church. This is an area I am increasingly convinced that the Church needs to be able to dialogue. 

Mercy, grace, and forgiveness come in many different shades. 
We can learn these life-changing lessons from many simple, even unexpected places, people, or situations. 
Each of these books for me is giving me a radical, unique insight into the power of grace and the healing that comes from forgiveness. If you're looking for an different kind read during the year of mercy, I'd highly recommend any of these!

What books would you add to this list? What reads are teaching you about grace and mercy right now?

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  1. Love this! I just did a similar post (and have one of your books on my list too ;)): http://muffindome.com/books-to-read-during-the-year-of-mercy/ I really enjoy looking at mercy from all these aspects, not just a theological perspective, but a down-to-earth, every day, orthopraxis kind of way. Thanks for a few more to add to my list!

  2. I love "Left to Tell"!!! Have you heard Immaculee speak in person? (she's so awesome!! I got to hear her speak once, and it was great. I also just love her books). I haven't read the other books, but they also sound wonderful! Currently, I'm still digging my way through Amoris Laetitia (LOVE it!!!), and during Lent I started "A Call to a Deeper Love," which is the family correspondence of St. Therese's family (mainly letters from St. Zelie to her relatives), and it's really good. I haven't picked it up in a few weeks, though, so I need to get back to it-it gives a beautiful, very real picture of the struggles, joys, and sorrows of the saintly Martin family :)


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