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Book Review

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Excerpt: "Like most people, my understanding of God’s image and character has been transformed over time: in my case, from the bearded old white man of Sunday school lore, giving judgment from atop fluffy clouds, to a much more inclusive—and, to be honest, more ambiguous—deity, whose being is neither male nor female, bearded nor white. One aspect of God has remained fairly constant, however. I too often believe God to be a vindictive figure, eager to smack me down. Miss church a few Sundays in a row? Something bad is bound to happen. Say one too many swear words? God will get me, for sure.

Rationally, I know this understanding of God is messed up, but I also know this thrum of terror defining my relationship to the Divine is not unusual to me.

For this reason alone, I found Doug Frank’s A Gentler God to be a transformative reading experience. Frank, a faculty member at the Oregon Extension (located near Ashland, Oregon), sets out to reclaim God’s image from evangelicals who, over the last century especially, constructed the character of an angry father God, bent on making His naughty children obey."


Originally published in Ruminate, April 25, 2012.