God the Ingenious Alchemist

Transforming Tragedy into Blessing

John R. Claypool

Sep/2017, 112 Pages, PAPERBACK, 5 x 7

ISBN-13: 9781640650862



"God's goodness is bigger than all human badness," writes best-selling author John Claypool. "God's power and willingness to forgive are greater than our human capacity to sin."

The Bible is often held up as a source of family values, but it is also full of families who falter and do so generation after generation. Few families have visited as much evil on each other as Abraham's descendants in Genesis. Using these stories, Claypool explores how God turns the "lead" of evil–like Jacob's theft of Esau's birthright, and Joseph's brothers selling him into slavery in Egypt–into the "gold" of abundant blessing, as alchemists were said to do in the past. God is always more interested in our future, according to Claypool, than in our pasts.

In this book, as in his other books, Claypool explores the biblical texts carefully, and with a pastoral eye for the characters from Genesis and his contemporary readers. This book that offers challenge and comfort to people who feel that their sins may be beyond God's concern and their lives beyond redemption.

John R. Claypool was a pastor, preacher, author, and theologian. He was initially ordained as a Southern Baptist and pastored for thirty yers in that denomination. He became an Episcopal priest in 1986 and served as rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama, until he retired from full-time parish ministry in 2000. He then taught preaching at the McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta.

Known for his catchphrases—"Life is a gift"; "Despair is presumptuous"—Claypool was even more regarded for his ability to live with others in their shared sorrow and pain. "If we are willing," he wrote, "the experience of grief can deepen and widen our ability to participate in life." Though he died in 2005, his words continue to provide hope and comfort.

"In this small gem of a book, John Claypool retells the Jacob/Joseph saga in a way that brings new insight, even to those familiar with the story. Enjoy this book, a remarkable blend of simplicity and substance."--The Very Rev. Charles Hoffacker, for the Living Church, August 2005

"An unparalleled story of forgiveness. Claypool's message in this short volume is not a new insight for him, but the fruit of his own lived experience. To him, God's ingenuity is very real."

"This is a quick but absorbing and comforting read and one not only to read again and again but also to give away."--Episcopal Life, December 2005

"In the stories of Jacob - who stole his brother's birthright - and his family, and in the stories of contemporary people, Claypool shows us how God works through people even at their worst."-- The Anglican bookstore, Autumn 2005

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