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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. organically

    Religion is the biggest scam in the history of humanity and based on hypocrisy. Embryonic stem cell research has the potential to save millions of lives, but this is being prevented by religious radicals and therefore religion is detrimental to the preservation of life. Religion has been the greatest cause of war and conflict throughout human history and has resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people throughout history, therefore religion is detrimental to the preservation of life.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  2. NoTheism

    Now, the only thing the pastor has to do is ask himself, is anything of what I believe true? And, if I think it is true, what is the basis for thinking as much?
    Here's a question, is an implication of what the pastor is saying to not vote or to vote for whoever will forward Christian theocracy in the US?

    November 4, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • John Q Public

      To a point you're right, but to your own discredit.

      “Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear” – Thomas Jefferson.

      He wasn't saying that because he didn't believe. But even God Himself many times says "Try Him". Meaning test him, let him prove himself to his own glory. By that and only that will any truth be revealed. That's what Jefferson was saying.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • NoTheism

      John, how does that discredit me? Jefferson what a deist anyway and it seems to me that you don't mind your confirmation bias.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  3. jimmy

    You can take your Jesus and all the other fake gods and demi-gods and shove them up your ass.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • John Q Public

      Please try releasing your hate. This division does nobody any good.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  4. Rainer Braendlein

    Dear Mennonites, once the Pharisee Nikodemus wanted to talk with Jesus but Jesus told him how to enter God's Kingdom, and this is what really matters.

    Dear Mennonites, before you talk about the Lord's Supper, you have to enter the Kingdom of God. How to enter? Where to enter? The gate is the rebirth. What is the rebirth? It is the sacramental baptism, insti-tuted by Christ himself. You need to be born out of Water (this is the Water of baptism) and Spirit (not born again). Of course, the baptism must be received in a state of faith. Yet, one who has been baptized without having faith in Jesus should simply remember that divine act, and receive the releasing power of Jesus death and resurrection which helps us to love God and our fellow human beings.

    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.

    What is the object of baptism?

    It is God's Gospel of his Son Jesus Christ: God, the Father, delieverd God, the Son, Jesus, for our sins, and raised him from the dead for our justification.

    Everybody who believes that and gets baptized becomes righteous. Righteousness means that we overcome the lust of our body, and love God and our fellow human beings through the releasing power of Jesus, which we received through baptism. Through baptism we have died and resurrected with Jesus. This means that we do not only regard the gospel as true but have experienced it physically through baptism.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • My Name is Legion

      Rainman
      You have posted the same drivel a half dozen times already, either go to church or find something else to cut and paste.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Rainer is incredibly proud of himself; he cuts and pastes his posts repeatedly because he really thinks they're insightful and that everyone is hanging on his every burp.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  5. John

    Render unto Caesar, that which is Caesar's – Jesus. The government is asking for you to make a choice and vote for who ever you want to help run the government... so... go vote. It's that simple.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  6. HenryMiller

    "It seems ridiculous, even silly."

    Uh, yeah. Invisible beings running the universe giving people excuses to murder each other.

    "Ridiculous" and "silly" are just the beginning of the list of apt descriptions

    November 4, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  7. promisekeeper

    Why can't atheist stay quiet, if you don't believe in God, don't comment. Let them believe, it's there right.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • snowboarder

      odd. isn't it every believers duty to spread their nonsense? someone has to stand on the side of reason.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Chris

      Believers don't want to be quiet, and they want us to play by their stupid rules. Why should we be quiet?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • NoTheism

      Because this is a blog and there are no such restrictions. The purpose of a blog is to put forth ideas, so I think that you're wrong in saying that if you do present your ideas, you have a special right to not have them confronted. That's crazy.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Guess what? This is a free country in which freedom to express an opinion is a right under law. I'll say what I wish when I wish and where I wish. You have the right to scroll, scram, ignore, or respond. You don't have any right to tell me that this is your sandbox and that I should leave if I don't like it.

      I'll keep right on pointing out the hypocrisy of the right-wing zealots who want to live in a nation where they're free to worship as they choose, but don't want to allow others that same freedom and wish to limit the rights of people based on their religious superst itions.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Damocles

      @promise

      They can believe all day long in whatever they want to believe in, I don't care. I do care about what is done in the name of that belief. Just because they believe does not mean I have to, or that my life is crap because I don't believe, or that I'm going to hell because I can't suspend my thought process long enough to become a believer.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  8. Anybody know how to read?

    21st century leadership: CUT the RED TAPE. All that time, effort, and big bucks you spent to keep the crooks at bay is no longer needed and will be forgotten in history!

    November 4, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  9. michael hardinger

    It is sad to read nonsense like this. To turn your back on your responsability towards solving the problems of a complex world and instead concentrating on the storybooks of the stoneage. Sad indeed. When you hear religious people say that the most important issue in the election is abortion and gay marriage, I fear for the sanity of the parts of the US.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • GAW

      It's an opinion piece...get over it.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • bigjimmie

      Funny the same party that talks about people shouldn't be so focused on abortion and gay marriage are the same ones running constant ads about abortion. And the women's right to chose to terminate her unborn child.

      As a society we have become numb to the fact that their is a living being inside the mother and have stripped them of all of their rights.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • JC

      Funny the same party that talks about people shouldn't be so focused on abortion and gay marriage are the same ones running constant ads about abortion. And the women's right to chose to terminate her unborn child.

      As a society we have become numb to the fact that their is a living being inside the mother and have stripped them of all of their rights.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • MacJew

      Gay Marriage IS an important issue, but there are much more important ones. A big one is the economy. But, then again, if we legalize gay marriage, perhaps Rush Limbaugh will follow through and leave the US.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  10. Jeff

    Shouldn't you folks be at church now or something?

    November 4, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  11. Jane Kennedy

    Well said and Thank You.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  12. Chia

    "It means choosing the way of forgiveness and reconciliation rather than vengeance and violence." I missed that part during the condoned genocide by god in the Old Testament. Explain to me again this cherry picked theory of yours please.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  13. Ken

    Bronze Age rubbish. When will we grow up?

    November 4, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  14. dave

    A good article...no matter what the outcome is on Tuesday the plan that God laid out us is being played out...The message of Jesus can be spoken with the lips but it his transforming power that we gain when we come to Him humbly as sinners and ask him to forgive us and to make us new creatures in Him.....regardless of the outcome each of us need to look at ourselves in light of His holiness and receive Him as Lord and Saviour...this is the only hope for our broken selves and our world..
    God bless all of u and get out and exercise your freedom to vote

    November 4, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • Harrison

      Amen.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • In Reason I Trust

      "The plan that god layer out" so God controls elections now too?

      Do me a favor, pray your vote in and don't bother actually voting. Lets see if Santa Claus can affect the election then, lol.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Jaimie

      I musta read the wrong bible. Cuz almost everything I read in the bible is about killing other people, enslaving them, treating women like crap, or having incestuous relationships.

      Speaking of bibles. Can someone exlpain to me this mormon version. I hear a 3rd book was found in america, detailing Jesus's visit there. And something about golden tablets? What kind of stuff did Jesus teach the natives? Did he teach them how to write, how to make a wheel ?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • kd2010

      And I will also add that those holier than thou christians will see beyond gay marriage. Because BO can go in his own chambers and ask for forgivness from God and whether He accepts it or not is between him and His God. I choose to vote for him because how his policies will affect my bottomline. If we are to vote on religious belief then Mitt will not qualify to be president if you are a true Christian, because Mormonism is not Christianity because they have their ow Latter day saints ( who are those latter day saints BTW). They even have their own Bible. I am a Christian and I cannot be decieved by this Faux Christianity.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  15. meh.....

    meh....

    November 4, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  16. G-D

    YOU SAID IT
    <>

    Yes proclaming loyalty to Jesus is ridicuous and silly, so stop doing it.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • miamimike

      Ditto my friend

      November 4, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • meh.....

      A guy dies and goes to hell. The devil greets him and says, "You weren't such a bad guy so I'm gonna let you choose your punishment."

      The devil takes him to three rooms, the first of which had people burning in a furnace. The guy said, "That's not too good. Let's see what's in the second room.

      In the second room people were nailed to trees and snakes were eating their stomachs.

      "No good. Let's see the third room."

      So the devil took him to the third room.

      People were standing in waist-deep excrement drinking coffee.

      So the guy said, "That's not so bad. I'll choose this room."

      So the devil handed him his cup of coffee and the guy jumped into the pool of poo.

      He wasn't in the room two minutes when the devil opened the door, blew a whistle and yelled, "Coffee break's over! Back on your heads!"

      November 4, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  17. Buddy

    To meh

    Truth hurts sometimes.....big smiles

    November 4, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  18. Rainer Braendlein

    Dear Mennonites, once the Pharisee Nikodemus wanted to talk with Jesus but Jesus told him how to enter God's Kingdom, and this is what really matters.

    Dear Mennonites, before you talk about the Lord's Supper, you have to enter the Kingdom of God. How to enter? Where to enter? The gate is the rebirth. What is the rebirth? It is the sacramental baptism, insti-tuted by Christ himself. You need to be born out of Water (this is the Water of baptism) and Spirit (not born again). Of course, the baptism must be received in a state of faith. Yet, one who has been baptized without having faith in Jesus should simply remember that divine act, and receive the releasing power of Jesus death and resurrection which helps us to love God and our fellow human beings.

    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.

    What is the objective of baptism?

    It is God's Gospel of his Son Jesus Christ: God, the Father, delieverd God, the Son, Jesus, for our sins, and raised him from the dead for our justification.

    Everybody who believes that and gets baptized becomes righteous. Righteousness means that we overcome the lust of our body, and love God and our fellow human beings through the releasing power of Jesus, which we received through baptism. Through baptism we have died and resurrected with Jesus. This means that we do not only regard the gospel as true but have experienced it physically through baptism.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Seyedibar

      the objective of baptism?
      simply to segregate cultmembers symbolically from their society.

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

      Rainer, you're still infantile.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Seyedibar

      You are not able to judge spiritual matters as long as you are outside God's Kingdom.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Better infantile faith than no faith!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Better to shut up and be thought an idiot than write the drivel you do and remove all doubt, gas-bag.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • GAW

      So how many times have you posted this Rainer? It's evolving into spam.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Are you a Baptist, Rainy? Your feet are stuck in the mud and the water be rising!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • My Name is Legion

      Rainman
      The objective o baptism and all other rituals is to gain power over the individual for profit.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Kyle

      Rainer, you are a great example of what is wrong with the Christian Church in America. You claim to speak for the worldwide Church and you strike your Mennonite brothers down for minor differences in doctrine. I assume you are human and not divine and so you must acknowledge that you are not perfect in your theology. A proper amount of humility would prevent any person from claiming to speak on behalf of the worldwide Christian Church.

      Christ is bigger than our differences. But instead of walking with our brothers and sisters in His grace, we fight each other to the bitter end over trivia. It's no wonder that a world in need of a Savior looks elsewhere while His Church burns down from within.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  19. Plumbline

    The mocking of Jesus on this article is but a sign of the times we live in...................

    .......1 John 2:18......... Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Seyedibar

      meh. your apocalypse is about as real and frightening as Y2K.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • In Reason I Trust

      The "antichrist" has come?

      That's like saying The Joker has come. These are fictional characters, your fear of death has made you an idiot willing to believe ANYTHING, even magic babies and magic gardens with magic apples and talking snakes.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • snowboarder

      plumb – if i had a nickel for every time someone erroneously invoked the "end times" over the past 2000 years, i would be an incredibly wealthy man.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Sane Person

      So, by lunchtime then? I'll see ya tomorrow fundie. Why are you guys always going on about the end of times? You do realize, people like you have been babbling about it for a few thousand years now? We're still here. The good news for you is, if you keep on about it, and pass your fantasies on to your kids, then eventually, some millenia down the road, the earth really will die. And you can stand proud and say "we told you so!" Of course, we'll probably be living on another planet by then and laughing at you still, but, ah well, cant win them all.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  20. nonyabidnes2

    Good ole CNN, trying again to stir/incite people.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:12 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.