Editor's Note: Mark Schloneger is pastor of North Goshen Mennonite Church in Goshen, Indiana.
By Mark Schloneger, Special to CNN
It seems frivolous, even foolish.
On Tuesday, as the world turns its attention to who will occupy the most powerful office of the world’s most powerful nation, hundreds of churches will gather across the United States to worship a servant.
As votes are counted to elect a president, thousands of Christians will take the bread and the cup to remember their crucified Lord.
As winners are projected and the electoral map is updated, Christians of many denominations will sing their praises and proclaim their loyalty to Jesus.
It seems ridiculous, even silly.
After all, America is at a crossroads, and we are in the midst of one of the most critical presidential elections of our lifetimes. We know this because people have recited this same tired mantra before every presidential election.
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Our fears, our hopes, our worries and our struggles are the currency that buys our votes. And how do politicians and their supporters acquire this precious currency? They invest billions of dollars to foment fear, inspire hope, create worry and exploit our struggles.
It’s a power play. Some of us are pawns, and some of us are participants. But some of us are choosing a different part.
I initiated the Election Day Communion Campaign out of a concern that Christians in the United States are being shaped more by the tactics and ideologies of political parties than by our identity and unity in Christ. Out of this concern, a simple vision sparked the imaginations of congregations nationwide: the church being the church on Election Day, gathering at the Lord’s Table to remember, to give thanks for, and to proclaim its loyalty to Jesus.
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Gathering for Communion on Election Day seems fitting, for the practice of Communion is an inherently political act. It is both a pledge of allegiance to Jesus and a declaration of independence from all other powers making claims on our bodies, minds and souls.
Far too often, the church has abandoned its first love for the siren song of political parties promising protection, prosperity and peace. Far too many times, the church has ceded the practice of its faith to the spiritual and the private while leaving others to address matters of justice. And far too frequently, the church has attempted to speak truth to power while seeking and relying on that same power for protection.
The bread and the cup are God’s antidotes to our fickle memories. As we eat and drink together, we remember that all things fall under the lordship of Christ. We remember our sin and need to repent.
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We remember that God has lifted up the humble, filled the hungry with good things, and chosen to reveal God’s strength through our weakness.
We remember that the only Christian nation in this world is the church, the holy nation that transcends all human-made walls, boundaries and borders.
As we gather at the table, we remember that the power to redeem, to save, and to transform comes not from atop the seat of power but from within the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
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We will gather for Election Day Communion not because we think that the issues at stake in this election are unimportant or that our votes don’t really matter. No, we will gather for Communion because we think that the issues at stake in all elections are far too important to be relegated to our votes alone.
The Lord’s Supper reminds followers of Jesus to practice the politics of Jesus. To me, practicing the politics of Jesus means working to protect the sanctity of all human life, whether it is found in the womb, in prison, or in countries at war against us.
It means choosing the way of forgiveness and reconciliation rather than vengeance and violence. It means practicing an economy based on generosity and mutual aid.
It means offering care and compassion to suffering people regardless of their immigration status, economic class or religious practice.
It means being good stewards of God’s good creation. And, most of all, it means allowing God’s kingdom to break into the entirety of our lives, from the privacy of our homes to the politics we practice in public.
The bread and the cup keep calling me back to the table inscribed with memory. There, I remember God’s choice for the transfer of power. There, I remember where to go with my fears, my hopes, my worries and my struggles. At the table, with my sisters and brothers, I am in the presence of the Holy.
Though I’m interested in the outcome of the presidential election, I won’t be watching the projected results as they are announced. I’ve made a prior commitment. I intend to honor it.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Schloneger.
God is Santa for grown-ups
I thought I was the only one who had that same idea. If you're good (for goodness sake), he'll bestow gifts on you, but if you're bad, you get coal in your stocking (only the coal is very very hot).
You are right. I wrote this over a year ago:
The main reason why many Christians are turning away from their faith is because of 'Santa Claus.' When they were still mentally undeveloped, their loved ones told them about a man who lived "up" in the North Pole. This man knew when they were sleeping; he knew when they were awake. He knew when they were good or bad so they had better be good for goodness sake :) If they were good on a certain night of the year he rode through the skies on a flying vehicle and came into their homes through a chimney, with all types of wonderful gifts for the children who were good. These young undeveloped minds were also told about a G-D who lived "up" in the sky with HIS angels. This G-D knew if they did bad things or if they were good. When they became older and met other children who ridiculed them for believing in Santa; they went to their parents or some older adult to get the facts. And, once again they were lied to. Then later on in life when it finally sinks in that this Santa story was a load of dung, they start wondering if this Christian story about a G-D living "up" in the sky with HIS angels was also a lie. Thus began the doubt about everything they have ever been taught in Christianity. The god up in the sky, hell and heaven etc. Stop feeding young and accepting minds falsehood.
Wonderful. Another non-reality based life spewing their non-reality based dribble.
This is exactly why we have and need to emphasize even more the separation of church and state. People are obviously free to vote their conscience, but a persons religious affiliations have NOTHING to do with their ability to govern and we do not need anybody forcing their religious views on another. What is it that people have against non-believers anyway? Engage in grown up conversation about the issues and quit bringing your Dogma into it.
Didn't Jesus say something like " give to god what is god's, give unto caesar what is caesar's"..? or something like this?
So, what is the drivel by this deep thinker supposed to mean?
Election day is a civic right, a freedom you have. If citizens don't vote, then why bother with 'democracy'. Let's just have the pope and caesar back in charge, they'll take care of business and tell us what to do. .... right?.... NOT.
I am speaking here to American citizens who are eligible to vote. Use your right to vote.
You can go to communion later on that day or the other 364 days of the year. But election Tuesday has nothing to do with Jesus or Jesus freaks.
No need to bother with that silly "I am so tuned into Jesus and so tuned out from wordly matters"-garbage.
I'm still trying the part in the Bible which says, "Give unto Caesar all that you have and let Caesar decided who gets what and who wins and who looses because Caesar knows best."
That's in the Gospel According to Reagan.
In response to MalcomR: you still haven't offered a plausible explanation for the birth of the universe. Until you do, I will continue to have faith. The existence of everything is not for me, it is for us. Your anger is a vile part of your being, let it go and be kind to all. Life is short, to short to be angry all the time. Don't hate others, try to be understanding and be accepting of others. Give it a chance is all I ask.
and your "plausible" explanation is a magic man in the sky?
I have a question for you in return, if your god is omnipotent and omniscient how can her creations have free will?
do think carefully before failing to reply
In all honesty, since no one was there to see it all happen, anything is the possible creator of the universe. A shifting atom, a chain reaction, a deity, a cat, a puppy, two puppies and a kitten working together, all those socks that are lost in the dryer got together, 5 drunk Xym's (I just made that name up, there are no Xym's... or are there? hmmmm.... Xymism, the belief that 5 of them got together, got drunk and a little rowdy and BAM, universe).
Anyway, my point is that you can believe whatever you want for the origin of the universe. What you shouldn't do is allow it to impact your life to such a huge degree. Does it honestly matter how you got here? No. What matters is that you live your life as best as you can.
If it takes a gawd to make something from nothing, who made gawd? It would take a gawd, to make a gawd.
@Edweird69- read Aquinas and you will find the answer to your question
@nowIknow – Really? There's something out there, that you have to tell me via internet, to find his "real truth". Apparently, the Xtian god did such a lousy job with his writings, they're having to be supplemented.
Thank you edweird69 for again proving the point about atheism. Peace
All this religion talk makes me want to sacrifice a goat or something
No, the real problem is that too many Christians are falsely led by pastors who spew politics both from the pulpit and among the pundits instead of actually concentrating on the teachings. But it's probably nothing a few eons in Purgatory can't cure in the retched few.
There is a reason for the division of church and state and that is by this measure government and its role can be free. If religion and state are not seperated in this manner , religion will crush the government and its ability to function..Religion is just too powerful However our Christian faith is very important in our individual lives.
Jesus taught us to love our enemies. To turn the other cheek when attacked. To forgive.
Jesus taught his followers to sell all of their possessions and give the proceeds to the poor and sick in order to follow him.
Jesus taught us that it is blessed to be meek and hummable and to treat others the way you want to be treated.
I haven't seen any politician espouse those kinds of values for a nation.
CNN is trying very hard, to portray Barack Hussein Obama as a Christian!! I know Liberal media is Panic and now want to get Evangelical Votes!! All these time CNN and Liberal Media wants to bash Christian Voters and now they want Evangelical Voters to Vote for Barack Hussein Obama. Good Trick!!!!
Christians have a real delima it seems...Mr Romney isn't a Christian...he is a Mormon.
i agree. but mitt is also a liar. the worst is, barry is a con artist. vote for lesser evil
Dear mat, where do you get such brain farts? First you claim CNN and liberal media want to basha christians and jesus freaks, but then, by some unexplainable kink in your logic you state that they are also trying to get the votes of evangelicals... Uhmmmm don't know HOW CNN would get votes or the liberal media, since the vote is on Romney and Obama. But hey, logic is a mysterious thing. But I am sure you don't get people to vote your way by bashing them.
Which, by the way they are not doing.
Wise up Mat. You will have to choose between a Christian who is liberal, like Jesus was by the way, or if you believe your own Bible, a Heretic. There is just no way around that. As a Christian I hope you make the correct choice because we all will face the consequences for our choices one day.
Was the God of Abraham created by another God getting it on with 1 of his 50 celestial wives and giving birth to him on the planet KOBOL ? " Mormons was !!! Did the God of Abraham get it on with 1 of his 50 celestial wives and give birth to Jesus Christ on the planet KOBOL ? Mormons was !!! When you die and go to Planet KOBOL will you have to stand before the God of Abraham , Jesus Christ and Joesph Smith to be judged ? Mormons do !!!! If you are shown worthy will they turn you into a God and give you your own Planet with 50 wives to populate that planet with your own Baby Gods ? Mormons think so !!!
So are you a Christian or a Mormon ? But before you answer remember " The God of Abraham said have no other gods before your Lord our God " !!! A vote for Romney is a Vote for a New God !!!
I'm proclaiming my loyalty to Lord Xenu, the dictator of the Galactic Confederacy, or to Tom Cruise, I forget which one is the Scientology G8d.
BWHAHAHAAA!!! LOL!!!! Great comment!
I vote with my WALLET, as MOST Americans do.
If Romney wins both the Hubble telescope and NASA's mission will be changed to the search for the planet Kolob.
@My Name is Legion: That's OK, as long as they find the home planet Lord Xenu (or Tom Cruise) banished us from 75 million years ago.
No responses to my last comment pretty much says it all about the angry people who feel it's necessary to ridicule the religious on this site. I feel sorry for you people. It probably feels terrible to have no faith what so ever. In your dying days you will most likely have a change of heart, most people do.
Intellectual freedom feels great.
You want a comment? You got it? Don't feel sorry for me for not having faith. Faith is not a virtue. It brings us witch burnings, crusades, and untold horror. You are infected with a memeplex. Get counseling. Get deliverence and reform yourself. You are merely a living creature on this planet, like all other living things here. You are not chosen by some magical being. Get over it. Get a life.
Actually being free of religion feels great!
Religion – The elevation of stupidity to it's highest form. A true work of dark art.
in my dying days I will have a change of heart?? for what? to get a chance to enter the "eternal life" bubble with the likes of you, elong?
You must be kidding, sir. why would I want to spent any time with people like you. Your hell sounds really like heaven to me right now.
No faith means that I do not have to rely upon ancient erroneous texts, judgmental self-righteous people to:
a) Justify my actions, thoughts, and feelings.(All of which are moral, reasonable, legal and harm no one else if anyone at all.)
b) Deal with the realities of life.
c) Find happiness
d) And finally, I do not make myself look silly, foolish, and/or insane by talking aloud to thin air.
I hope you are happy; you now have many responses to your posts!
I prefer Old Testament god...He was more angry, vengeful, and loved to smite things! New Testament god just sounds like a big pu$$y
I'll vote for Dumbledore!
This is exactly what I don't like about religion. Vote Jesus! So, what does it mean? It means all of the religious drones hear this call and automatically vote the bible or jesus. For Americas sake, please use the grey matter between your ears and vote with information and intelligence!
So, jesus would vote for a mormon? Wait, I thought "real" xians considered mormons a cult? Oh but wait, Billy "god" Graham changed that with his flip-flop, didn't he? OK, good, everything has been straightened out then, right?
WRONG! Any logical, reasoning person can see just how looney-tunes xians are. You don't even have to read their fairy tale, "thee holee babble," to figure out the insanity of religion.
Spot on! Xtians will believe anyone, or anything, as long as it satisfies their memeplex in some sort of twisted way.
Is that the zombie Jesus you're praying to? The one who came to Earth as his own son, in order to die (but not really) and then go back into the sky to join himself (this is the ultimate sacrifice????) so that people, if they telepathically say that zombie Jesus is their master, will be cleansed of the sin that was placed on them thousands of years ago when a lady made from a rib was convinced by a talking snake to eat an apple, and if they do that (even if they are the most horrible, evil people in the world) get to live forever in paradise, while people who don't accept zombie Jesus will burn forever? Is that the Jesus you pray to?
Apparently so. I don't understand the whole concept of religion either. It's all just totally preposterous.
I see you've been exposed to the insane ideas of Xtianity. I find it hard to believe...that someone would actually believe such a thing.
Then why are you on this site?
The ritualistic cannabialism of communion is just sickening in a modern world.
ikr, the worst part is knowone can get into the oval office unless you say you believe there is an invisible man in the sky. i wonder how many christians REALLY believe the invisible man is there and how many just say that for other reasons...
just what i need, a guy who believes in fairy tales controlling the keys to the nukes...
@John Q Public: Purely out of scientific curiosity about the folks that take it seriously, and of course – entertainment.
In my opinion, people who cling to the fantasy world they find in organized religion are afraid to entertain the idea that they are being controlled and brainwashed. I think if Jesus did come back, he wouldn't like the Christian church very much....
for us, who are living now, it is absolutely impossible to tell the unborn creature that there is life that exists here. it is also impossible for us to know what's out there when we die. Life existence is bewildering but we are thinking. Put your self back in time when you were not born yet, you would never have believed that there is a universe.
Four years ago, the Catholic church ask those who voted for Obama to confess their sin. I dont see much God in our muslim raised and muslim named president.
Those Priests should be excommunicated for that and now instructing parishioners to vote for a Heretic! That Is ABONIMATION.
You people are ridiculous numbskulls. Medieval England called and they want their 'values' back.
I have never felt closer to "God" than when I realized what BS the Catholic church is, and have led a wonderful life without "Jesus" My upbringing in the Catholic church was a life of control, fear, and hate. I personally choose to believe that there is something greater than myself out there...but it isn't any of the BS shoved down our throats by organized cults of religion. Hooray for separation of Church and State!!!!
That is too funny!!! The Catholic church more concerned how people have voted. I would think they wold be concerned that the leaders of their church are pedophiles.....and that their pope is a Nazi.....
Here's my "Christian" response to this article. I pay my taxes, work and live in this country, give lots of my money to charities and my Church (who helps countless people) and I absolutely have the right to vote on the candidate that I feel best represents my values. I was a Republican before I was a Christian. As an American, I supported Dave Cathy's right to state his own views at the company he built Chick fil a. I firmly believe in Jesus and follow his teachings, I'm not perfect and neither is anyone else. I believe in helping the poor and helpless, but I dont believe that God meant for us to sit passively by and just let things happen cause we cant do anything about it anyway.
I don't quite get your post at all. It makes no sense. Sorry...maybe I need a 2nd cup of coffee. Cathy had a right to his opinion, and the public had a right to respond. What is your point?
Here's my "Gay" response to this article. I pay my taxes, work and live in this country, give lots of my money to charities and to my Spiritual Organization (who helps countless people) and I absolutely have the right to vote on the candidate that I feel best represents my values. As an American, I supported Dave Cathy's right to state his own views at the company he built Chick fil a but I do not support anyone who tries to force their moral agenda on others. I'm not perfect and neither is anyone else. I believe in helping the poor and helpless but I also believe in people helping themselves.
Then may I suggest, on Tuesday, exercise your right by writing in "chicken sandwich" as your vote for POTUS.
Gary we are of the same mind then, just different opinions on the issues. I dislike it when a 'Pastor' wants to tell me as a Christian how I should exercise my vote. I support your right to fight for your values.
Last I checked, Jesus isn't running. Let's deal with reality, not some Bronze Age fantasy.
If you want to play the fool and not believe it, why are you on the religious site if not to stir up hate, discontent, division, and trouble? You serve your master Satan well unfortunately. I pity people like you.
I know, right? Let's leave our imaginary friends at home and vote for the people who want to bring equal rights and then jobs for all.
Yeah, SATAN! Because Satan is just another imaginary friend. Why stir up discontent? "Why is this crap on a 'news' site?" is the question you should be asking.
Religious article? Yes. Religious site? No.
"I pity people like you."
Funny how Christians can't handle being judged, but love to judge others.
Again I ask if you don't believe why are you here if not to spread your hate? That'll get nothing fixed.
@ Not Here
Don't put words in my mouth, feel free to judge me if that's what you believe, for that's how you will be judged. :)
John, not putting words in your mouth that didn't already come out of it – just pointed out the oxymoron to your comments...
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.