Election Government & Politics Opinion Politics Religion News Tobin Grant: Corner of Church and State

This post-election sermon is the one you wanted to hear this week

Pastor Jason Woolever of Crossroad United Methodist Church, Washington, Illinois giving a sermon the Sunday after the 2016 election. Screen capture of Vimeo. https://vimeo.com/191379185

It’s been said that a pastor should preach with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other. This becomes difficult when the news is so political and contentious. But I came across a pastor who managed to get it right this week.

Even in a normal election year, the vast majority of pastors and religious leaders try to stay away from politics. There are certainly some who were unflinching in their support or opposition to the new president-elect Donald Trump, but most pastors know that their congregations will have both Republicans and Democrats in attendance. Preaching directly about politics is a quick way to offend someone.

Pastor Jason Woolever serves at Crossroads United Methodist Church in Washington, Illinois (near Peoria). He scraped his sermon after seeing the reactions to the election. With Facebook on his phone and the Bible in his hand, he wrote a new sermon that took on post-election events head-on.

Woolever prefaces his sermon by stating that it is directed at Christians. That’s true; there will be some language that those who are not Christian will find wrong or offensive. Still, there is a lot of wisdom that others, religious or not, will find useful.

The sermon is long (I start the video about six minutes in). There will be some you agree with; some you don’t. Regardless, it’s a sermon that reminds us that the election is not the end; it’s one point in history. Whatever your politics, you will need to keep fighting for what is right. This fight should recognize that morality and justice is not confined to one party and that even if you’re correct, your actions can still be harmful.

In that vein, let me say this: if this sermon helps, then use it. If it doesn’t, then I hope you find insight elsewhere. We could all use more wisdom to help us understand how to live better in this difficult time of transition.

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About the author

Tobin Grant

@TobinGrant blogs for Religion News Service at Corner of Church and State, a data-driven conversation on religion and politics. He is a political science professor at Southern Illinois University and associate editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

10 Comments

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  • Half way through this…..he is more forceful for what people believe, rather than what Jesus said – like truth is subjective, not absolute . So far, Jesus doesn’t seem to be his foundation….His emphasis is subjective, not godly.
    He seems to not know: Acts 20: 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”
    This gentleman uses scripture to push his opinions, rather than learning his opinions from scripture.

  • Seriously Edward. I went about 20 minutes and heard apostasy. My husband left the area because he couldn’t stand it. The guy is a fraud.

  • I would like to gently disagree that this gentleman is in some way fraudulent. The Gospel does call us to love first. The disagreements I’ve read in the comment section seem to simply condemn, without a word of Grace. I hear Grace and hope for all people in this sermon. Let’s not forget the Master said: “The time is coming when they will kill you in my name,” Let’s gaurd against deciding others are apostates if they disagree with us, and be specific about what the gospel call us to. And “he who is not against you, (trying to stop your actions called forward by the Gospel), is for you.”

  • The message we should now be hearing–indeed, should have heard all throughout the election season is, “Let not your hearts be troubled . . . ” Clinging to the Christ of the Gospel affords us peace in the midst of turmoil, and this campaign has been a most tumultuous time for Christians.

    Why aren’t our pastors more centered in the Gospel, at the outset and all throughout such trying times?

  • “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.” -Jeremiah 6:14

    “Let not your hearts be troubled” can sound like an effort to smooth down feathers and ignore the pain that others face. In 1933 Karl Barth preached from Romans and about God’s covenant with the Jews as Hitler rose to power. I don’t doubt that peace “the world does not give” is at the heart of the gospel, but it does not require shielding our eyes from injustice in order to protect our emotional equilibrium. As we watch growing incidents of bigotry, attacks on churches and schools, I want the peace that is compatible with resolve: we will stand with the victims.

  • “It’s been said that a pastor should preach with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other. ”

    If you’re a pre-trib rapture dispensationalist I suppose.

  • Contemporary Jewry descends primarily from Edomites who were forcibly converted to Judaism 130BC, NOT from the Biblical 12 Tribes of Israel. The prophet Obadiah foretells the complete annihilation of Esau’s Edomite offspring, [which “Modern Jewry” descends from] in Obadiah 1:9, Obadiah 1:18.

    Historian Flavius Josephus: “Antiquities of the Jews” Book 13: Chapter 9, Section 1. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0146%3Abook%3D13%3Awhiston+chapter%3D9%3Awhiston+section%3D1
    Hyrcanus took also Dora, and Marissa, cities of Idumea, and subdued all the Idumeans; and permitted them to stay in that country, if they would circumcise their genitals, and make use of the laws of the Jews; and they were so desirous of living in the country of their forefathers, that they submitted to the use of circumcision, and of the rest of the Jewish ways of living; at which time therefore this befel them, that they were hereafter no other than Jews.

    The Greek geographer, philosopher, and historian Strabo further testifies to the colonisation of Judea by Edomite converts to Judaism in Geography [Book 16 Chapter 2 Section 34]. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0239%3Abook%3D16%3Achapter%3D2%3Asection%3D34

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