Why did Jesus tell parables?  Here’s a clue: “The kingdom of God is like.”  The parables deal with one basic question: What is God like?  Everyone has opinions about God.  Even the atheists write books describing the God in whom they don’t believe.  Conservative evangelicals fill the television and the media outlets with their version of what God is like.  On and on this preaching goes, this belligerent God-talk, this toxic message that demeans and wrecks the reputation of God. Why do preachers feel the need to assault the reputation of God with such outlandish claims? There are enough preachers across this country telling people that God is a God of wrath and punishment. God’s reputation has been hijacked by zealots who have distorted God’s image and failed to show the   softer, gentler side of God. I believe these pictures of God are a case of biblical photo-shopping that paint a false picture of God’s reality. This sermon offers a different picture for us to hang in the living rooms of our minds – a gentler God.