Recently Read: First Wednesday in Advent: Better to be feared or loved?


by Kevin Alton

First Wednesday in Advent

Psalm 90; Isaiah 1:24-31; Luke 11:29-32

I struggle with the Old Testament’s depiction of God as the bad guy in a gangster movie.

I understand the sentiment. In pre-scientific culture, the world was enchanted. God was in everything—trees, the earth, animals, even behavior was attributed to God. The only way to make sense of the world at the time was to figure that if things were good, God was happy. If things are bad, God isn’t happy. If things stay bad, God is trying to teach you a lesson. If things are good for an extended period of time, God is giving you the almighty high five of approval.

Trying to wrestle with these texts in a modern world can be confusing. Over a couple of decades in youth ministry I’ve seen teens walk away from their practice of faith over an inability to bring reconcile the God of love expressed by Jesus in the New Testament with the rage-prone, mood-swing God of the Old Testament. Where’s the hope in that?

Finish reading the devo here.

Originally published on

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Recently Read posts are stories the editors of The United Methodist Reporter have found interesting from other sites and wanted to share with our readers. The editors do not necessarily endorse the opinions shared in these stories, and referral here should not imply endorsement of that content.

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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George Nioxn Shuler Recent comment authors
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George Nioxn Shuler
George Nioxn Shuler

Well, there’s always this: “I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there’s purpose and worth to each and every life.” – Ronald Reagan

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