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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 • Politics

soundoff (3,435 Responses)
  1. Jorge

    What is religion, if you do not have any idea what is religion you will not be able to put it in right pespective, true religion is the care for fatherless, and widows, hurting and suffering and have pure heart with God, now if everyone did that, you will not need government to do so much for the, pure religion will teach people that family is important, since you need to strong nation you need strong families. you cannot get ride of it, its has its place, government grows when Sin grows

    November 4, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  2. oneslydragon

    Making money
    When Jesus spoke to the rich young ruler, he began by reminding him of the commandments.
    According to Mark, these included, ‘Do not defraud’ (Mark 10:19, from Lev. 19:13a).
    This summarizes a number of laws of Moses, e.g. not to withhold a labourer’s wages (Lev.
    19:13b, Deut. 24:14−15), use false weights and measures (Lev. 19:35−36, Deut. 25:13−16),
    or sell land above its value (Lev. 25:14−17). James spoke against withholding wages (Jas.
    5:1−6).
    The commandment ‘Do not defraud’ thus outlaws a variety of business practices:
    underpaying suppliers, overcharging customers, exploiting workers, mislabelling goods, and
    so on. It also outlaws a variety of working practices: demanding excessive pay (cf. Luke
    3:14), wasting time, feigning illness, helping oneself to perks, etc.
    Thus, a Christian is to make money honestly, ‘working with his own hands what is good’
    (Eph. 4:28).

    November 4, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Dana

      It's amusing how people quote the bible as if it were non-fiction.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • mark

      Dana I prayed for you on the off chance that Jesus might be real and not fiction. I have faith you will find him before you die. I love you for being who you are. Amen!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  3. Kate

    If Jesus could vote....he'd probably vote for Obama. He was all about helping the 47%.....those who needed him most.
    It's interesting, to me, that so many so-called Christians say they follow Jesus, yet seem to conveniently forget that part of his teachings.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  4. Realist

    Why do adults still believe in God? They have long given up other childhood fantasies. They no longer believe in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Boogie Man, Unicorns, etc., but still hang onto the mythical fantasy make-believe god? Why???????? ...... Everyone really knows that god is imaginary! ........ http://www.GodIsImaginary.com (visit that website and learn the truth).

    November 4, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Realist

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

      November 4, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • promisekeeper

      Your such an idiot, I feel sorry for you.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Chirag

      Thank You for writing something that makes sense. The greatest work of fiction is The Bible and the greatest myth is God. Its nice to have something to believe in when all else fails but should you not keep your feet grounded or hinder advancement of our race.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Dana

      It's because the church threatens them with eternal damnation. That keeps the weak-minded people coming back.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • mark

      Dana I keep going back because I have to plan how I am going to help the poor and elderly and homeless. That's where my group meets. And I give reference to Jesus there. Damnation is between God and the individual. I won't judge you if you don't judge me. I love you Dana! Amen!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  5. Bob

    Good, you idiots meet on election day so none of you dark age yahoos vote for Romney.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  6. Rob

    For Realist who keeps posting the link to godisimaginary.com: http://www.gotquestions.org/is-God-imaginary.html

    November 4, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  7. Blair

    Religion has no place in politics. Plain and simple!

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

      But since it is , we must make sure that we defeat the worst most bigotted intolerant Fundamentalists are DEFEATED, Always.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  8. JS Nagle

    While the underlying points that bring this man to his thesis are true, that politicians certainly do tug on our straps of fear and induce worry only in their efforts of power-play, his notion that a society should invoke a mythical man as a conveyor of true leadership is laughable at best but dangerous at worst. This post is not a lengthy enough forum – or the best one – to point out that the divine character of Jesus is a syncretization of numerous deities throughout antiquity. I could point to Horus, Mithra, Bel, Attis, and Prometheus to start, but, again, this isn't the forum nor is it my point. What is necessary to understand here, and wherein lies the danger, is the invocation of a god to be your guide, to make things right. This is the same tired mentality used throughout history by those who were truly powerless. The difference between then and now is that it was completely understandable when a man or woman was in shackles and bonds, sold as chattel, or when a fiefdom used god-given rights over the mortal vessels of a man's wife that such a mentality was pervasive. Speaking out or asking for change meant the sharp end of a lash, or even worse: it could mean death. When a people had no recourse to remove from power a despot or a tyrant they turned, naturally, to a higher power. It was their only recourse for feeling somewhat good about their lot in life. Today is different and the author of the article would do best to remember that any political change is our right as a collective, as citizenry; it is our responsibility to gather in order to effect any desired change through the collection of thoughts and ides, through dialectic, and ultimately by casting our vote. It is a slap in the face to those who toiled in the fields of a plantation, or on the lands of lord without any hope of change or personal power to speak against the structure of that society. Gathering at a table is best left to enjoy one's meal. My suggestion, dear author, is to gather the community, debate your points, and then vote.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  9. NYOMD

    That's OK, as long as they find the home planet Lord Xenu (or Tom Cruise) banished us from 75 million years ago.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  10. Jack17

    I am a democrat and a catholic. I will vote for Romney only because of Obamacare and its impact on my faith. You have crossed the line...! You take my money, now my faith. what's next ? my wife ?

    November 4, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Annirich

      You're a smart man! Obo is NOT a Christian and if you remember his Cairo speech "America is not a Christian nation"!

      November 4, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • saggyroy

      As a Catholic can I assume you are a right to lifer? If life is so sacred to you, haw can you be against Obamacare, that has the potential of saving lives for people who otherwise might not have access to life saving medicine?

      November 4, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Bob

      Jack, you rube, why are voting with religious motivations? That is exactly what our founders did not want!

      November 4, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • dwl

      Jack17, hate to tell you this but you are not a christian or a democrat, you are a hypocrite.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  11. Jeff

    It is really scary that in this day and age, most Americans believe in nonsense like Jesus, and therefore our political process is being shaped by nonsense to a large degree.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Dana

      It's sad but true. The only real choice is Gary Johnson.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • rodboy

      Jeff, to believe that Christians are silly to believe in God – that is real irony coming from a group that holds to the belief that matter always existed, and it came from the tooth fairy. read a little and find out what you really hold to be true. I take faith on the perfection of creation in spite of the laws of physics – athies believe in fairy tales of matters creation and are still looking for the origin.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  12. UncleBenny

    Flunked science, did we?

    November 4, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • UncleBenny

      Woops, got posted in the wrong spot after my mouse went briefly dead. It's come back – a miracle!

      November 4, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  13. Smoothshocker

    Welcome back to gods 365!
    Tomorrow November 5 we shall worship the Aztec god:

    Xipe Totec – Our Lord of the Flayed One
    God of suffering and diseases and goldsmiths. His worship required the flaying of a slave and the wearing of his skin.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  14. Hawkeye321

    I put my trust in Jesus to unclog my toilet. After three days, the plunger did it better. Praise the Plunger!

    November 4, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • My Name is Legion

      Sounds like something Heaven Sent would do, leave the toilet plugged and crap in the cat litter box.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Dana

      A guy named Jesus put my new carpet in.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  15. God

    Ok people. All of this trivial arguing is giving me a god-ache. Just stop it and try to be civil to each other. First, all of you science folks who think you know better, step away from your microscopes and telescopes long enough to help out a neighbor in need. The bacteria and supernovas aren't going anywhere. Second, all of you ultra religious need to be nice to the people who think they know better and throw an arm around them and maybe hear them out for a while. In a nutshell, be nice or else.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • snowboarder

      god – you are so contradictory.

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

      Dear God,

      Please note that the scientists at their microscopes have created modern society as we know it. No more fear of dying from a simple infection or appendicitis, the ability to feed billions... (add hundreds of examples here that show that science is the only reason your stupid followers aren't living short, miserable lives).

      November 4, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • mark

      You're right Malcolm, thank God believers and and non believers can work together to eradicate disease. What an incredible world it would be if we all worked so well together instead of calling each other names. I love you Malcom.Amen!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  16. MalcomR

    So, all of you super-honest, highly consistent theists out there:

    Instead of just calling atheists elitist, hypocritical, and arrogant, How about you first look up those definitions and then give us a bunch of examples?

    Remember: It's YOU who believe that the entire universe was created just for YOU, by a father-figure that loves YOU personally above all else. All of course based on the ideas of people who thought the earth was flat and that the stars were bits of glitter in giant glass spheres.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • mark

      Actually Malcolm the Universe was created as a gift to all, we individually just happen to be part of the package. I appreciate the gift and you Malcolm. God loves you as much as he loves me. Amen!

      November 4, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • MalcomR

      Drugs make it all better...

      November 4, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • mark

      I will pray you don't abuse them. My hugs go out to you! Amen

      November 4, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • God

      Malcom, remember when you were 8 and you kept wetting the bed a night and you asked me for some help? It's my turn to have you return the favor. Stop being so angry and hateful. I don't mind if you say you don't have faith but your vile behavior must end or the bed wetting will return.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Dana

      Mark, did that all happen 6,000 years ago with the wave of a wand or something?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • mark

      I don't know exactly how it happened Dana. I will someday though. I love you Dana you seem very nice. God Bless you I will pray for you when I finish this post. I try and seek His wisdom, and have found it to what makes me love others as Christ loves others. Amen!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  17. Really?

    Yes indeed. Much more intelligent to believe that without any outside help or information that it rained on rocks for billions of years making soup, the soup decided to erect DNA, ad infinitum ad nauseum. Yep, that makes much more sense than an intelligent designer.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • MalcomR

      "decided to erect DNA". Wow. There is a huge body of research on this. Read a book or two if you can.

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

      Ah, flunked science, did we?

      November 4, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Dana

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHbYJfwFgOU&w=640&h=360]

      November 4, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Dana

      Life is really not that difficult to create. It will thrive anywhere that has the right conditions. I don't know why you can't let go of these primitive myths.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • mark

      Dana look at Bill Nye's reverent hand to God and his respectful stare;) Love you Dana! Amen

      November 4, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • UncleBenny

      Looks more like he's getting ready to give God a good smack up side of the head.

      November 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  18. mark

    Jesus tells me to love Atheist and people who mock me. So, therefore I do. I ponder though do Atheist love me? In the answer you will find God's love!

    November 4, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      The truth shall set you free .. and that truth is believers love others less than others. Look at your history & look around you now, even just in this blog alone. Remember, lying is a sin & that's exactly what you're doing .. even if you're just lying to yourself.

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

      Wait horses suddenly you are all knowing. I love you horses because Jesus loves you and he is actually all knowing.

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

      Jesus doesn't tell you to love. Some dude with a pen wrote a novel that had a character that said that. But its good you love none the less.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Sane Person

      Just so we're clear, I dont love you. But when you come into my clinic, I will treat you. I could leave it up to god, but I choose something that is real and works.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Dana

      In other words, nobody loves you.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • mark

      Thank you Sane Person for utilizing God's gift of wisdom, intelligence, and love to cure people. Dana if nobody loved me I would still love them. As Jesus does based upon the responses here, He loves you all despite your lack of love for Him. What an attribute. Amen

      November 4, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  19. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    Yaweh on the beltway .. no way!!

    November 4, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  20. Dana

    It must be make-believe day again.

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

      I think it is laundry day. Brains are being washed.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:51 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.