In his new book, Close Enough to Hear God Breathe, Greg Paul seeks to shatter the illusions of a God that is an old man that desires to chastise His rebellious children. Instead, Paul invites his readers to imagine the Christian God as a God of intimate love and hope. Framing the book around the theme of families and fatherhood, Close Enough intertwines the Gospel with images of families and togetherness.
Through the lens of the family, the book describes God as a parent who loves His children despite their many, many flaws. Rather, Paul suggests that God uses the shattered lives of Christians to create a “beautiful mosaic” of pieces that create a larger picture. Similarly, Paul uses images of his son clumsily helping him build a home in a carpentry business. Despite the son’s clumsiness with the hammer and nails, Paul did not turn his son away, but rather helped him develop his skill. Using this flashback, Paul suggests that God, the creator of the universe, does not turn those away who are clumsy like novice carpenters, but rather shows joy that a child would help the master builder.
In less than 200 pages, Paul conveys a message that God, the one who has “galaxies to play with” finds joy in His human creation. By sending Jesus, God-in-flesh, God acknowledged that humanity needed saving. Though the book often reads too much as a personal narrative in some places, Paul’s text does emphasize the importance of the human experience in relation to Christianity. How we live, work, and love are all important aspects of the Christian life that cannot be ignored.
Through carefully inserted personal stories of family and faith, Close Enough to Hear God Breathe allows readers to leave behind images of a strict God that punishes in exchange for a loving God that creates and rejoices over His children.
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