My own experience in a variety of contexts suggests that the number one problem, the most common source of resistance to both evangelization and spiritual growth in Christian terms, is the angry, punishing father-god of patriarchal oppression. It is something of a mystery to me that this God concept, so foreign to the actual contents of the gospel and Jesus’ picture of his Abba, should be assumed by so many to be what in fact Christianity offers, and the degree to which it remains embedded in Christian literature and art. Furthermore, I find this problematic image deeply infecting all “brands” of Christianity, from the most anti-ecclesial charismatic/evangelical to Catholic to liberal. I do not mean they all deliberately teach it, but rather that all are somehow infected by it, one way or another, indeed have embraced it, even in rejection of it. Many have abandoned or rejected Christianity because their affective and intellectual development has rendered this notion of God intolerable, and they do not know and indeed often cannot imagine that Christianity has something else to offer. Intellectual conversion will mean, as Shug says to Celie inThe Color Purple, first, you gotta get that angry old white man out of your head. It will then mean finding truer images of God in the tradition itself. For most of us this will obviously also include some psychological sorting out of our own family/childhood issues.
— Robert Davis Hughes III, Beloved Dust:
Tides of the Spirit in the Christian Life