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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. lance corporal

    smug tripe

    November 4, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  2. joey

    Mark Schloneger. a Jew, cnn a jew run station posting jesus on its front page. Lets talk nazi

    November 4, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Rolph

      you make me sick

      November 4, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • GAW

      A Troll no doubt.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  3. Willyboy

    This is just idiotic. Please keep your Jeebus out of my government, m'kay? It has no place there. Never has, never will. Our Founding Fathers were very wise to make certain that religion – including your Jeebus – is to have absolutely no role whatsoever in our nation's government or governance. So take your sky daddy and go away. Thanks.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • GAW

      Calm down nobody is going to drag us off to church.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Keep on keeping on, eh bro?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  4. Shirley Mathis

    I strongly agree with this write up and believe God has the ultimate power of control.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • MalcomR

      Clearly Thor has the ultimate power of control.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • In Reason I Trust

      So stay home and don't vote.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  5. joshua

    see dr owour a real and truth prophet from God. see Kakamega revival sept 1 and you will see blind eyes opened and many sicknesses healed even HIV. wake up Jesus is the only reality of true life. mathew 24 going on now.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • snowboarder

      josh – i call BS.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  6. Hipster Slayer

    Liberals and conservatives have more in common with each other than with libertarians and moderates because they both worship a higher power:
    1) Conservatives worship Jeebus and will push laws that limit my civil liberties because Jeebus says so.
    2) Liberals worship government and will push laws that limit my civil AND economic liberties because government said so.

    Now, both of these group are dumb; however, it makes more sense to worship an invisible man in the clouds than to worship an inept, corrupt government that you can actually see screwing up on a daily basis.

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

      Libertarians can be safely dismissed.

      Next?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • NoTheism

      I think you're just confused about the meaning of the word "worship"...

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

      'Zec 13:8 And it shall come to pass, [that] in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off [and] die; but the third shall be left therein.'.............Jesus is the TRUE Libertarian.....'2Cr 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.'

      November 4, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Hipster Slayer

      "Libertarians can be safely dismissed" = "I have no argument that could possible counter what you wrote because I am intellectually bankrupt."

      Wouldn't have been much easier to just call me a "racist" you simpleton?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Hipster Slayer

      Notheism –

      How about defining using the Muslims definition of "submit"? I'd say both tribes fit that definition.

      Pledging unconditional support would be another definition. How's about "willing to act out in violence against those who do not accept my views"? I think that nails it down pretty well. You guys are all the same; own it, statist.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • MalcomR

      You are either a teenager, or an unfortunate adult with no grasp of human nature. I have studied libertarianism and understand it's ramifications. I have had the discussion a thousand times. Libertarianism CAN be safely dismissed as the childish, uninformed philosophy that it is.

      Next?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Hipster Slayer

      Malcolm – yet you cannot make one argument countering the tenets of libertarianism; you merely hurl ad hominem attacks at me.
      You're a very useful statist and shall be rewarded with the gubmint benefits. Continue the hard work, comrade.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • MalcomR

      I've made hundreds of counters to this silly philosophy in my lifetime. There's a reason libertarians make rational people chuckle. You have an internet connection. Use it. Painful as it may be, I recommend you read some of the many counters to libertarianism out there.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  7. MalcomR

    The founding fathers lived in a time when it was thought that people aspired to a greater education and understanding of the world. They thought that an educated population would make informed voting decisions. They were sadly mistaken. Voting today is a popularity contest, based on who can afford more ads to influence the gullible. There really should be a test for a minimum grasp of reality in order to vote.

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

      malcom – that grasp of "reality" is highly subjective.

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

      Unfortunately, that's the problem – It shouldn't be. There are definite facts with well supported theories to explain them, that should inform our decisions. But if a population is unable to assess the most basic assertions of an issue (because they are too uninformed to do so), then what hope is there?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Mal, you keep taking the same turn at the 'crossroads' long enough and you end up where you started. So don't be sad, be happy!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • MalcomR

      Circle of life? 🙂

      November 4, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  8. Rainer Braendlein

    @My Name is Legion

    You are right when you mean the pope or Muhammad but Jesus was really concerned about our soul's health.

    Genuine Christianity is good!

    November 4, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • My Name is Legion

      Rainman
      Are you refering to the jesus from Kolob who was concerned with soles because he was a cobbler or the virgin born, carpenter, jesus from right here on earth. Clarify, both are not real, I might mention.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  9. Anybody know how to read?

    I'll 'believe in' gubmint healthcare when da fadders in washington say, "WAIVERS for ALL and especially to the PAYERS!

    November 4, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  10. Tracy

    Oh my this Pastor is so deceived! It is a Christian's duty, obligation and priviledge to vote. To not vote represents the state of apathy the Church is in today – to sit by and do nothing. To not be willing to stand up and be counted, to not standup for righteousness. We were created to co-partner and co-labor with our Lord Jesus, to call into existing things here on earth that exist in the heavenlies, not sit idly by. The Lord Jesus is not about "politics" and from His perspective our election is not about "politics". It is about government. God is a government. He is about His Kingdom. This election is about establishing His Kingdom in America. It is about wanting a righteous government to re-established in this nation. It is about causing America's government to be re-established back upon the Lord Jesus's shoulders where it rightfully belongs. If the Church is negligent to get out and vote, and I encourage you vote conscience, vote for righteousness, vote for pro-life, vote for marriage is between a man and a woman, we limit what God wants to do in our nation. The Church is first and foremost at fault for the state of our nation, for its decline, for these very reason in this article, our apathy, our apostacy, our complaceny, our compromise, our mixture that we have allowed into the pulpit and into our lifestyles. For saying what is evil is good and what is good is evil. The Church must stand up in this hour and come out of her apathy and stand up for His truth. I beg all Christians, get out and vote, Do NOT heed any Pastor's counsel that tells you not to vote or God will understand, because God will not understand our disobedience, He will not. Our vote matters, our vote counts and we need to be on our knees in prayer and repenting first and foremost for the state of the Church in this nation for failing to lead the way, for failing to be a light in a place of darkness and secondly for the state of our nation. We have much to weep and mourn between the porch and the altar, we as a Church have failed our God, the Lord Jesus miserable. But He is so willing, so willing to move to the sound of our voice, if only we would turn, turn with our whole hearts back to Him. So willing to forgive our sins and heal our land, if only My people who are called by my name, will humble themselves, pray, seek my face, turn from your wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, I will forgive your sins and heal your land. This is His word to all mankind, its time America turns from her sin, starting with the Church so God can forgive our sins and heal our land that desparately needs healed. We have our part to do. I am a non-denominational Christian who is crying out for righteousness to be restored back to our nation. In His amazing limitless, endless, boundless, jealous do I share the above.

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

      Now go back to your James Dobson books.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • snowboarder

      tracy – you wrote some really crazy BS.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • visitor

      Reestablish what righteous government? The one that stole the entire continent by wiping out the native peoples and grew on the backs of slaves and tobacco exports? That one?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  11. tedstrumpet

    "You Can't Vote for Jesus" See http://tedstrumpet.com/?p=146

    You can’t vote for Jesus – he’s not on the ballot and writing His name in would be of no effect. He’s the coming King of Kings and won’t need or accept any votes. He’ll rule with a “rod of iron” and He can never be impeached or assassinated.

    Christians should fully realize and accept this as fact – the only good and peaceful government that will ever exist is an absolute Monarchy ruled by none other than Jesus Himself. All other governments fall short, are corrupt and do evil to varying degrees. And, even America’s government is without exception. A perfect government can only exist under perfect leadership and Jesus alone fits that role.

    Read more at http://tedstrumpet.com/?p=146

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

      ted – that is just plain crazy. what has gone wrong in your head?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  12. GAW

    The responses from the atheists are becoming very predictable as usual. I guess they can shame me for even saying this. ( I say this as a skeptic)

    November 4, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  13. Paul

    Leave unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Ya got some jet lag there, son. You're not in Vegas anymore.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  14. joshua

    system of the beast is illuminati and vatican. the person of the beast is here already so prepare in Holiness. hebrew 12:14. Jesus is King.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  15. dragonfire77

    Mitt Romney's closing argument: "jk, I trrroooolllll!!!"

    November 4, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  16. ReasonableXX

    If all you have is religion, then you haven't got anything.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • brnzartist

      If all you have is this wisp of a life... you have less...

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

      "If you have religion you have nothing." If it is just religion, you are right. But, if you have Jesus, you have life, eternal life.

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

      If all you have is religion, then you don't need anything. Can't take it with you anyway...

      November 4, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  17. I am God

    Religion needs to stay out of politics indefinitely. If religion takes control, then we are going to have Inquisitions killing anyone who doesn't believe in God or Jesus.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  18. Eddie

    I wonder, out of the mayority of people who represent each party,who Jesus would consider to be the modern Pharisees and Saduccess or the modern tax collectors? Which side would Jesus be reaching out to? And us Christians who should we also be reaching out to instead of placing a divided wall between us and the very same people we are called to reach out to? Just a thought!

    November 4, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  19. Thomas Ledbetter

    People. It is 2012. These days we know that Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, and vampires dont exist. Neither does Jesus. There is not the slightest bit of evidence to support any part of the Christian mythos and no a half eaten toasted cheese sandwich with a slightly Jesus-like mark on one side for sale on ebay doesnt count! 🙂 It is far more important to have a voice in politics, then to stand around in church like a little child with your fingers plugging your ears repeating 'nyah nyah I cant hear' you' over and over again. Let me repeat: Its 2012. We have no problem understanding that Zeus, Ra, and Odin while all genuinely believed in (and even sacrificed to!) and worshipped hundreds of years ago, do not exist. Neither does Jesus or Allah or Yahweh. This nonsense *has* to stop. Believing in this fiction is holding back the progress of humanity. Let me be clear that there is nothing wrong with going to church and practicing rituals, but you have to be grounded in reality and realize that thats *ALL* it is. Time to grow up. Athough if this article keeps the crazies at home instead of voting for that dick Romney, I guess thats a good thing.. 🙂

    November 4, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • In Reason I Trust

      AMEN!

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

      Do you deny that Jesus of Nazareth exists? Even historians do not doubt it, genius...

      November 4, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Dwayne

      Some day when you reach the pearly gates and face Jesus, you are going to say, "OOPS"

      November 4, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • M. Edward

      I am not a Christen, but I do believe in G-d and I respect the Religion of my ancestors, who died for their beliefs. Being an American comes with benefits and responsibilities, one of those responsibilities is to Vote. We have a clear choice, allow the special interest to sway and obviate reality, or stick with an honorable man who, while not perfect, has led us out of two wars and a financial crater. Four years ago, almost no one knew how bad thing really were, but in spite of the obstructionist, the President has lead. He has not lied, misled or change ideology as one changes a suite. Give the man a chance to continue the work he's started.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  20. Aadrianov

    God speaks in many ways. The Bible is one of them; DNA is another. Science is also a path to know God. Humans sometimes misuse their divine knowledge. That applies to pharmaceutical companies that profit from pain and disease and to preachers that pervert the teachings of Jesus.
    I heard the voice of God in Sandy. It was not punishment, but rather a warning. God is unhappy with His name being used in Politics. He is testing America: there has been too much emphasis on profits and material satisfaction, but we have forgotten each other. God used Sandy to remind us what is really important. I am certain Jesus has no color, but I have no doubt God does not like the Republican Party. God Bless.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • In Reason I Trust

      "God used Sandy" so in your mind you believe your god sent a killer hurricane too mess with people. What kind of sick twisted god would that be?

      Religions are fairy tales for adults, grow up please.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • MithraLives!

      #$^% your god. Uh oh, I just caused another earthquake didnt I? LOL. Man, you're an idiot.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Damocles

      @aa

      So instead of interrupting The Biggest Loser with a deific weather warning for all the innocent people to get the hell out of the way, your deity decided to plow through everyone with equal enjoyment. Not the strongest argument for wanting to be a good person if I'm going to get caught in the hurricane crossfire.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • snowboarder

      aadrian – anyone ascribing divine meaning to natural occurrences is either delusional or a charlatan. which are you?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Aadrianov

      Funny, I was just trying to put a “Pat Robertson” twist on this. I really don’t think God had anything to do with Sandy, or the Haiti earthquake. (But I do believe Republicans manipulate Christians.) However, I am surprised by the diversity of nerves I touched. Everyone has its own set of believes and sensibilities I guess. Fanatic Taliban like Democles in particular, but also non-believers. You are free to call me a charlatan or an idiot, but forgive me; your reaction also makes me laugh!

      November 4, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
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About this blog

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.