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November 3rd, 2012
09:00 PM ET

My Take: On Election Day, proclaiming my loyalty to Jesus

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.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Belief • Christianity • My Take • Politics

soundoff (3,435 Responses)
  1. Scoto

    Complete nonsense

    November 4, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  2. TrayvonObama

    TrayvonObama.com

    November 4, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  3. Rainer Braendlein

    Dear Mennonite fellow, I don't hate you but Iove you, yet, I have to tell you that your doctrine is wrong, and that the Mennonites don't belong to the worldwide Christian Church which keeps the one holy sacramental baptism which is not allowed to be repeated. The Christian Church also teaches that baptism is a call for discipleship. Everybody who is baptized should follow Jesus in daily life in the power of Jesus death and resurrection. Through baptism we get metaphysically connected with the releasing power of Jesus death and resurrection. Through our reason we can only regard the gospel as true, but when we want receive divine power, we need to be baptized (someone who has been baptized as an infant can simply remember his infant baptism; no rebaptism).

    Infant baptism: Infant baptism is valid because yet infants can believe (John the baptist converted in the womb of his mother Elisabeth; once Jesus cured a blind man, and people implied that the blind man had yet sinned in the womb of his mother). Hence, when yet embryos can believe or sin why shouldn't it be possible that an infant believes or sins.

    The Christian Church baptizes infants believing that they are yet able to believe. That is the mystery of infant baptism.

    Of course, today many infants get baptized although they don't believe in Jesus. This is very sad. However, the baptism is valid, and becomes effective as soon as the certain person becomes a believer, and remembers his or her infant baptism.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • My Name is Legion

      Rainman
      Go to church they need you there. I find it so amusing that you can love everyone then proceed to tell them how wrong they are because they do not believe your version of the myth.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      You can't read, you ritual pusher.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Rainer, what possible interest do you have in the elections here? You don't live here, you're not a citizen, and our laws don't affect you. Go blow, you pompous azz.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  4. Realist

    http://www.GodIsImaginary.com ... Visit the website and open your eyes and you will open your heart to all ...

    November 4, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  5. Anne S.

    Regardless of your beliefs or not, let's us all get out and vote on election day. And hope that the man who gets voted in will lead our country in the right direction, and back on it's feet.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • This is true

      In reality
      It comes down to this: if you are a Marxist/Collectivist/Communist vote for Obama and watch the decline of America continue.

      If you are a Feedom-loving Patriot vote for Romney/Ryan 2012 for a chance to restore America.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  6. 2tor

    Why are you atheist even posting in this article? Is it hate, or insecurity?

    November 4, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • UncleBenny

      No, it's fun.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • sam stone

      entertainment

      we are amused by religious folk

      November 4, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Sane Person

      To gawk in amazement that people who believe in the unbelievable are allowed to vote. You idiots dont believe Obama's birth certificate and its been pasted all over the internet, but you'll believe it when some nut in a bathrobe tells you that an invisible sky man died, but came back to life, and now lives watching over you waiting for you to run afoul of his rules so he can then kill you. Not just kill you, torture you for all eternity. Cause, this god gets really angry, he just doesnt want to hurt you, he wants to hurt you...forever.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  7. IanR

    I am a science voter: we need to do something about climate change, we need a rational energy policy, and we need politicians than can make decisions based on evidence. Which makes me wonder, why is this on the front of CNN?

    November 4, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • Sane Person

      Its Sunday. You know, the holy day. At least, since Saturday was. But that got in the way of bowling night, so we rang up god and had it changed. Sorta like divorce and stoning. We only keep "gods rules" around until they dont work for us, then we come up with some new ones.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Because

      God is in charge of climate change. You see, some of us believe God knows all about science, too. BTW, do you know what the definition of "miracle" is?

      November 4, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • snowboarder

      because – "miracle" is the religious rationalization of natural events.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      I'm not as needy as you think I am. Are you projecting with all that 'we' talk?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  8. Anybody know how to read?

    Mark Schloneger sayz, '..........After all, America is at a crossroads, and we are in the midst of one of the most critical presidential elections of our lifetimes...........' Somebody ought to tell this gubmint licensed ritual pusher what time it is. The 'crossroad' deals were made a long time ago. Now you get to choose your reward, NOT.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:41 am |
  9. D. Farrell

    To every heart, this speaks differently. Read this good read. Then, listen to your heart.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:41 am |
  10. Realist

    http://www.GodIsImaginary.com

    November 4, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Ed

      Repent SINNER! God will smite thee if thou doest not believe. Do NOT think for yourself. Reason and logic are Satan's tools to steal your soul. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  11. Rainer Braendlein

    Dear Mennonite fellow, I don't hate you but Iove you, yet, I have to tell you that your doctrine is wrong, and that the Mennonites don't belong to the worldwide Christian Church which keeps the one holy sacramental baptism which is not allowed to be repeated. The Christian Church also teaches that baptism is a call for discipleship. Everybody who is baptized should follow Jesus in daily life in the power of Jesus death and resurrection. Through baptism we get metaphysically connected with the releasing power of Jesus death and resurrection. Though our reason we can only regard the gospel as true, but when we want receive divine power, we need to be baptized (someone who has been baptized as an infant can simply remember his infant baptism; no rebaptism).

    Infant baptism: Infant baptism is valid because yet infants can believe (John the baptist converted in the womb of his mother Elisabeth; once Jesus cured a blind man, and people implied that the blind man had yet sinned in the womb of his mother). Hence, when yet embryos can believe or sin why shouldn't it be possible that an infant believes or sins.

    The Christian Church baptizes infants believing that they are yet able to believe. That is the mystery of infant baptism.

    Of course, today many infants get baptized although they don't believe in Jesus. This is very sad. However, the baptism is valid, and becomes effective as soon as the certain persom becomes a believer, and remembers his or her infant baptism.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Sane Person

      You do realize, you are just pouring water on a infant's head right? There is no metaphysical connections being made, no divine contracts, no cleansing. You are simply making a baby's head, wet.

      It always amazes me that you can tell someone about invisible bearded cloud fairies and they believe you. Tell them the paint is wet and they have to touch it. Thanks G. Carlin.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Mickf

      You are off your rocker. Infants can believe? What are you talking about? The only thing babies know how to do are eat, sleep, and use the bathroom.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      You would be right, if baptism had not been insti-tuted by Christ himself. Baptism is a supernatural act because it is connected with God's promise. We die for the sin and resurrect together with Jesus through baptism. The invisible baptist is God himself.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • sam stone

      Rainy: Still telling others their theology is wrong, are ya? Who are you to make that call? Are you god, you pompous closet queen?

      November 4, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      It ain't water, pal..............'Eph 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,............ All humans received the water baptism during the flood. They like to forget it: ye olde death, burial,and stay dead.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • snowboarder

      read – "the flood" is a myth.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Here's da crossroad for individuals: 'Luk 3:16 John answered, saying unto [them] all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:' ...........Take yer choice, the Holy Ghost, or get the fire.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • sam stone

      "Take yer choice, the Holy Ghost, or get the fire."

      F you, the holy pincushion, and the fire

      November 4, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  12. Tony

    I VOTE *FOR MY WALLET*, as MOST Americans do. I don't care if YOU vote for Jesus, Allah, Jehova, Xenu, L. Ron Hubbard, or even R. Lee Ermey (the Gunnery Sergeant from "Full Metal Jacket").

    November 4, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • chaz8181

      We do not have an established religion in the United States. however if you vote for Romney, you will, It will be Mormonism.
      and i suggest that you find out what Mormons really believe. White MALE supremacy for one. and polygamy for another..The only reason they don't believe or support polygamy is because it is illegal .

      November 4, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  13. Helena Troy

    I heard that in my sister's church, there was only one Democrat--but then he died! And another sister warned a niece who had not seen me in decades that I was DEMOCRAT. Christian Fundamentalists must be the most narrow-minded, parochial, fearful, judgmental people in the U.S.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • visitor

      Sorry for that in your family. My friend's family is like that. All "born again" over 30 years ago, and frankly, the over-the-top "godliness" destroyed that family. The more "saved" the more dysfunctional the person. The most successful of course is my friend, who did not submit to the evangelical craziness.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  14. Realist

    http://www.GodIsImaginary.com - http://www.GodIsImaginary.com

    November 4, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Ed

      Repent. REPENT! God loves you so much he will send you STRAIGHT TO HELL if you don't believe.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • damalatina

      REALIST: with all due respect, you are in your right to not believe...just as we have the right to believe.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Ed

      You have the right to believe and we have the right to ridicule.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  15. So What?

    I may not know much but this I know: God is NOT a conservative republican!

    November 4, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Harrison

      That we know for SURE.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  16. Nowikowwhynoonewatchescnn

    Once again proving the point. Elitist

    November 4, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  17. boodiggly

    I can't believe CNN runs this garbage. OF COURSE politics should drive people's views before religion does. What's next – unicorns in the senate???

    November 4, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • In reality

      It comes down to this: if you are a Marxist/Collectivist/Communist vote for Obama and watch the decline of America continue.

      If you are a Feedom-loving Patriot vote for Romney/Ryan 2012 for a chance to restore America.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • UncleBenny

      I got news for you, pal. America's been in decline for some time, and it's probably irreversible at this point, mostly thanks to Republicans. Vote for Romney/Ryan 2012 and accelerate the process.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Harrison

      This election comes down to either a Christian who is liberal and his Catholic running mate, OR A Non-Christian Cultist and his Athiest Ayn Rand worshipping running mate Paul Ryan. Plain and Simple Folks.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  18. a dose of reality

    Faith that could stand up to any form of reason is long gone. Our knowledge of the world from 2000 years ago to what we now know about the world has irrevocably changed the need for religion. We do not need God to explain things; and religion becomes obsolete as an explanation when it becomes optional or one among many different beliefs. We now see that the leap of faith is not just one leap; it is a leap repeatedly made, and a leap that becomes more difficult to take the more it is taken, reaching its pinnacle in blind allegiance and active denial and rejection of any other possibilities. At that point, the credibility of the faithful is entirely lost.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  19. John Templeton

    My son passed from bone cancer at 17...after the removal of 72 tumors from his lungs he met Jesus in his hospital room...disbelievers, you need to rethink it...Jesus lives my friends...

    November 4, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • a dose of reality

      yea, sure, we all believe you. I farted real hard once and saw Zues, cause thunder came outta my butt

      November 4, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • joe

      Hey dose, what came out was the last of your intelligence.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  20. Charles Johnson

    Please keep your religion OUT OF MY POLITICS. I do not want your religious dogma dictating government policy in America. Hence the SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Pipsmom06

      he isn't putting his religion in your politics. Did you read the article? That was the point. Besides, the headline of the article was pretty clear...if you have an issue with religion, why even click on this article?

      November 4, 2012 at 8:44 am |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.