“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
In this brief, affecting memoir, Paul chronicles his life as pastor of the evangelical Sanctuary Community in Toronto, which "make it a priority to welcome people who have, for the most part, known only rejection and abuse." As Paul tells stories about prostitutes, drug addicts and abuse victims, he shares an epiphany from early in his ministry: While helping a man with AIDS who had soiled himself, "It became clear that being Jesus to Neil... was most perfectly summed up in the odious task of gently wiping excrement from his foot." Paul goes on, "I recognized that Neil was, at that moment, a physical representation to me of a vulnerable and dying Christ." In a similar vein, Paul writes about Mutt, whose love for his prostitute girlfriend mirrors almost exactly Hosea's love for Gomer and, as such, Jesus' love for humanity. Most refreshing about Paul's book is his awareness that many at Sanctuary may never have a conventional Christian conversion experience or may fall off the wagon even after conversion. In the midst of one story he explains, "This is not a fairy tale. Nobody, in this life at least, lives happily ever after." In Paul's experience, God does not make everything better in this life, but instead allows people to connect redemptively to one another and to Him through their brokenness.