Item description for God in the Alley: Being and Seeing Jesus in a Broken World by Greg Paul...
Overview "God in the Alley" chronicles the author's experiences working with the homeless in Toronto. His compelling stories reveal that people with desperate lives have precious lessons to teach others about the character of God.
Publishers Description ""Greg Paul tells of whores and crazies, misfits and rejects that sound as if they stepped out from the pages of the Bible."" -Eugene Peterson Sam has survived physical, sexual, and substance abuse, terrible violence, and life on the streets. Wendy lives for the next high on crack, oblivious to her boyfriend's love. Neil is dying of AIDS. These are the people of inner-city Toronto. Look into their distorted, obscure faces, their fractured lives, and catch a glimpse of the sublime. Greg Paul calls them tragic heroes-individuals who can offer a testament to God's love and mercy. With emotional depth and spiritual intensity, Greg's compelling stories reveal that people with desperate lives have precious lessons to teach us about the character of God. "God in the Alley" offers a profound message of grace and calling that each one of us needs to hear. "The experience of reading this book haunts, convicts, delights. But one thing is for sure: you don't want to miss it." -Mark Buchanan, author of "The Holy Wild: Trusting God in Everything" "Greg Paul writes beautifully and welcomes us into the life he lives.... I am grateful to have read this book." -David Wilcox, musician, songwriter, and storyteller "I dare you to read this book at more than one sitting. Each page is a seat belt that straps you in and the turning of the page pulls the straps tighter. When the ride is over, you'll want to start again." -Leonard Sweet, author of numerous books including "Soul Tsunami "
Citations And Professional Reviews God in the Alley: Being and Seeing Jesus in a Broken World by Greg Paul has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Publishers Weekly - 11/08/2004 page 50
CBA Retailers - 11/01/2004 page 34
Christian Retailing - 11/15/2004 page 14
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Studio: Shaw Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.27" Width: 5.68" Height: 0.38" Weight: 0.4 lbs.
Release Date Dec 7, 2004
Publisher Shaw Books
ISBN 0877880921 ISBN13 9780877880929
Availability 0 units.
More About Greg Paul
Greg Paul is the founder and director of Sanctuary Ministries of Toronto and the pastor of the Sanctuary community. A former carpenter, Greg s twenty-five years in inner-city ministry began with Red Rain, a band that planted the seed for Sanctuary in the mid-1980s. Lead vocalist and keyboardist, Greg still performs with Red Rain in bars, universities, jails, and other venues."
Reviews - What do customers think about God in the Alley: Being and Seeing Jesus in a Broken World?
Finding Jesus in brokenness Jan 20, 2006
A friend of mine reluctantly read this book, thinking it would make him feel guilty. I suppose a lot of us approach a book like this with mixed feelings, hoping to be challenged but scared of where that might take us.
The book is called God in the Alley, and the subtitle says a lot: it's about "being and seeing Jesus in a broken world." For those of us who are sheltered, we are introduced to unfamiliar places and people, not far from home but far from our experience. I'm introduced to the underside of a park in Toronto that I've visited many times, and I learn where the high-priced working girls offer their services, and where the low-rent girls work. We meet crackheads, prostitutes, and victims of unimaginable abuse. And, surprisingly, we meet Jesus in the lives of these broken people.
"That's what I want this book to be about: the cultivation of our ability to both be Jesus and to see Jesus," writes Greg Paul, "if only by a dim flickering light - the afterimage on the darkened retina of a momentary, brilliant burst." Those of us who think our lives are not all that bad might overestimate our abilities to be Jesus, but Paul challenges us: you can't be Jesus if you aren't truly seeing him.
"If I truly want to be present as Jesus was and is, I must choose to act in very specific ways. Theory, or doctrinal correctness, is not enough. Seeing Jesus is a discipline of stillness. If I really want to see him, I'll need to avoid being consumed by trying always to do things in his name, and I'll need to learn to be motionless, intent on beholding what is in front of me."
Being present involves not only breaking through the comfort of middle-class life. It also involves breaking "beyond the internal barriers I have erected to protect myself.
So we read stories. These stories are not sanitized or romanticized. There is a lot of messiness in this book, and surprisingly, the messiness shows up in the good guys like Paul just as much as it does in the sinners. Even more surprising, we meet Jesus in surprising people: in those who are broken and who have little going for them. In one of the most moving stories, we meet a modern-day version of the story of Hosea and Gomer. Jesus shows up in the most surprising places, and if we're not careful we'll miss seeing him there.
Greg Paul teaches us to see Jesus in people rather than to see people as projects. He offers hope that we, too, may be able to develop the skill of seeing Jesus, just as he has, and ultimately in being Jesus to the people that we meet.
Paul reflects that at one point, if he had been asked how to be the presence of Jesus, he would have talked about being pure and strong and faithful. Although these are important, Paul explains today that he would answer differently.
"I am more likely to have Jesus revealed to me and through me in weakness than in strength, sinfulness than in purity, or doubt than in perfect faithfulness....I come to this astonishing conclusion: Jesus is found in brokenness..."
"The surprise of this brokenness is not just that the Almighty allowed himself to be broken, and that he invites me to touch him there in that brokenness. It's also that my own brokenness - that hidden, ugly, twisted stuff that I had expected would disqualify me forever from his friendship, and that, if it were known, would torpedo all my other relationships too - is precisely the place where he desires to touch me, and it is the place where I am most able to truly connect with other people."
I began this book expecting that it would teach me about how to serve those the middle class usually ignores. I finished realizing that it did much more than that: it introduced me to my own brokenness, with the "most attractive cover" we can find to hide the mess underneath, and it introduced me to the presence of Jesus in some of the people we see as being most broken. It gave me hope that I, too, can be and see the presence of Jesus in a broken world.
Earth Angels Oct 11, 2005
Although Christians would not consider me to be a Christian, (because I also believe in the best of what other religions have to offer) nontheless, to me Greg Paul demonstrates what it takes to embody the "Spirit" of Christianity. Jesus didn't sit in a comfortable pew every Sunday. He was 'in the trenches' as Greg Paul and his staff are.
This book is a great read. It will get you thinking about what it must be like to live in the 'shadow' city areas. It may motivate you to ask yourself deeper questions as to fate and purpose and God? Why them? Why must this be? Where is God in all of this? How can I help?
The personalities described in this book along with their successes and failures, help us understand our common humanity - these were folks who once had dreams and hopes too (and some still do) - despite the fact that reality has faded their aspirations greatly. How could we cope in their place? How can these people still show an indomitable spirit to survive the madness and pain they are exposed to every day?
Buy this book. It is raw and real. People of all faiths (those who are open-minded) will find these true stories to be uplifting and encouraging (no candy-coated trite Bible verses).
Is it possible to demonstrate the highest of spiritual principles on the street? Greg Paul wrestles to understand the complexity of this question and writes honestly about this issue sharing his experiences, vulnerabilities and insights.
A MUST READ Jan 26, 2005
If you love and follow Jesus pick this book up. If you are curious as to why people might love and follow Jesus, pick this book up. If you don't care but just need a good laugh, a heart tug and cry, pick up this book.
Thank you Greg Paul for a wonderful little BIG book! Great big thoughts and ideas in this one that will stay with me for a lifetime.
God in the Alley Jan 8, 2005
This short book is very relevant to all Christians today. It is a quick read but not easy. It is challenging and thought-provoking. I highly recommend this book.