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Close Enough to Hear God Breathe

The Great Story of Divine Intimacy

GREG PAUL is a pastor and member of the Sanctuary community in downtown Toronto. Sanctuary is a community in which people who are wealthy and people who are poor live, work, and share their experiences and resources on a daily basis. It makes a priority of welcoming and caring for some of the most hurting and excluded people in the city, including addicts, prostitutes, homeless men, women, and youth, gay, lesbian and transgendered people. (

Greg has enjoyed a life-long love affair with the Bible, which he describes as “complex, confusing, gruesome, thrilling, desperate, transcendent literature.” He has been powerfully influenced by the writings and lives of C.S. Lewis, Henri Nouwen, Jean Varnier, and other Christian writers. A voracious reader of fiction, with a special affinity for Irish writers, Greg finds every great novel to be redolent with the voice of the Spirit.

Although he never pursued academic theological training, Greg has spent years doing regular intensive, often phrase-by-phrase studies of Scripture—learning basic Greek and a bit of Hebrew in the process. “Bars, alleys and repeated failures in the challenging discipline of family relationships have been the most common forums for my continuing adult education,” Greg writes. Those decades of relationship and experience—within the Sanctuary family and his own family—have forged a reservoir of stories which seep into his writing and speaking.

Greg began writing in college and has followed the advice of a professor who told him to “write about what you know best.” Greg is the author of three books: Close Enough to Hear God Breathe: The Great Story of Divine Intimacy (Thomas Nelson, October 2011), The Twenty-Piece Shuffle: Why the Poor and Rich Need Each Other (2008), and God in the Alley: Being and Seeing Jesus in a Broken World (2004).

Greg Paul and his books have been featured in U.S. publications such as Sojourners, Relevant and Publishers Weekly (honoring God in the Alley with a starred review), as well as Canadian media including “100 Huntley Street,” “The Drew Marshall Show,” Faith Today, The Anglican, and BC Christian News.

A former carpenter, Greg has been involved in inner-city ministry since his teen years and is a founding member of StreetLevel, a national association of Christian organizations caring and advocating for people who are homeless, poor or excluded. He is also the keyboardist and vocalist for Red Rain, a band which has been playing bars and churches for more than twenty-five years. Although his primary ministry focus is the Sanctuary community in Toronto, Greg frequently travels for speaking engagements.

Greg Paul is the father of four children, and is married to Maggie, who has three children of her own. They reside in downtown Toronto.


For NetGalley access to an advance reader's copy, use this link: Close Enough to Hear God Breathe