Book Review: God in the Alley by Greg Paul


God in the Alley, by Greg Paul

Hosea’s love for Gomer was very human. Her betrayals made him crazy with grief and anger and prompted him to issue extravagant promises of revenge. He’d pout that she “went after her lovers, but me she forgot.” And in the next breath he’d “allure her…speak tenderly to her,” then he’d runt out and pay her bills, purchase her back from the pimp. All this is a literal description of what happened time after time with Mutt and Wendy. The utter brokenness of it – the conjoining of two lifetimes of dysfunction, codependence, and addiction – the abjectness, the lack of dignity with which Mutt/Hosea loved Wendy/Gomer… How could I see Jesus in this?

How not? All the words of Hosea – abject, angry, whiny, or tender – all are declarations of the Lord, according to the book that bears Hosea’s name. Whose love is more transcendent, more truly human, more generously offered out of profound brokenness than that of Jesus?

~ Greg Paul: God in the Alley;

In a world where self is so often promoted, it seems strange to read such a modern version of Hosea’s story. I really recommend the book if you haven’t read it. We tell people who are in bad relationships to just get out. We say the words: “This person isn’t good for you.” Then we roll our eyes at their ignorance; their blindness to the other’s faults seems ludicrous. I wonder, would we then roll our eyes at God and his extravagant love for us? Or will we recognize that we are like Wendy/Gomer, continually breaking the heart of one who loves us completely?

I guess, the biggest realization of this, for me, was that love can be painful. And yet, if we are all worth it, then we must show love to everyone else as though they are worth it.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants their eyes opened to the people who live on the street. They are more than a statistic, they have souls, and are worthy of His love too.