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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. ObamaJoe

    Great !!!!!!!!!

    November 4, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • ObamaJoe

      For Latter Day Jesus !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  2. Chiniquy

    The major cause of Atheism in Christian countries:

    The main reason why many Christians are turning away from their faith is because of 'the story 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.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Only a superst!tious dimwit would be afraid to write the word "God". Just another example of the low mentality of people like you.

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

      Luis Wu, god spelt backwards is dog. G-D is a much more honourable spelling for our Guardian-Lord. But, you may do as you wish.

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

      I am also curious Luis Wu, why an atheist like yourself would be concerned about how I spell G-D. Are you one of Satan's imps?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • MalcomR

      No, he's one of satans pimps.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Chiniquy

      No MalcolmR, Luis doesn't have the intelligence to be Satan's pimp. He is just one of the ignorant imps.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  3. Michael

    No wonder you have so many problems in America. You still live in the dark ages and let it guide you as far as your country's policy's go. You elect GOP based on their stupid outdated ideas and they run the country into the ground. But that is ok, they are doing Gods work, even if they kill people, as long as its in Gods name. Better to be on your hands and knees planting food for your neighbour than praying to a stone God that some MAN made up in Rome. Or in a CAVE for that matter. Believe in yourself is a far more noble way to live in this world and care for others...

    November 4, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Chiniquy

      We are nothing without G-D. We would not exist if G-D had not created us. How can we believe in ourselves when G-D is the Only Reality? Don't let the false teachings about religion and G-D taught in Christianity turn you away from G-D.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  4. MightyMoo

    I'd rather respect the mother's wishes at this point. Especially if the pregnancy can be life threatening to her. I'd rather have choice available to people instead of imposed beliefs from someone's religion at a government level. Especially when said religion can neither be proven or disproved as fact as well as imposes limits on other peoples freedom to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  5. noGod

    I'm voting for Thor!

    November 4, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  6. ObamaJoe

    What's different between Latter day Jesus and Jesus ????????????????????

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

      Latter Day Jesus is always late for parties.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  7. broncobama

    It's embarrassing that CNN would publish this nonsense

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

      Agreed. this Jesus nonsense has no place in CNN. Ask yourself 'who would Jesus bomb?' That takes care of almost all the candidates in the elections. Case closed.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  8. kek

    CNN you are turning into the christian news network. Remember there are millions of us that are not
    christian and have other views of deity or no view at all. Your continued proselytizing is offensive.
    Religion is like a penis.
    It's fine to have one and it's fine to be proud of it,
    but please don't whip it out in public and start waving it around...
    and PLEASE don't try to shove it down my child's throat.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Where is the "LIKE" button when you need it? 🙂

      November 4, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • yanked

      wow. it's astounding what a moron you are.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  9. Eric

    GOOD! Jesus has no place in politics.

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

      Wrong,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,he has !!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Yes. An imaginary, invisible ghost in the sky has no business in politics at all.

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

      The only way to keep Jesus out of politics is to kill all the Christians. That's the next thing on your 'to do' list.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  10. mklsgl

    If you're a believer, a devout follower of the teaching of Jesus, then isn't it imperative, essential, that you must first and foremost learn the teachings of Judaism? That would mean knowing that the "politics" of a likely fundamentalist Jew named Jesus which would include 'life begins at birth,' 'justice for all by all means necessary,' and 611 other commandments.

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

      wrong. jesus came to offer grace in place of religious law. too bad so many christians, jews, atheists etc don't understand that.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Paul is the lens given to Christians on how to view the OT.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  11. shaPeters. Name*

    WoW ! !

    November 4, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  12. ObamaJoe

    Should we vote Latter day Jesus ?????????????????????

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

      Get a life, joe!
      Many ways to worship, yours is not the only one.
      Just because the bible is older...

      November 4, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  13. Luis Wu

    When will people realize that Christianity, like all religions, is nothing but a collection of ancient mythology and primitive superst!tions, written thousands of years ago by members of primitive desert tribes in an effort to explain existence and comfort people in the face of their mortality? All ancient people had creation myths and afterlife myths etc. It's just so utterly obvious that it boggles my mind why a lot of people don't understand it. It's just ancient myths. Period. Get over it.

    People get sucked into a fantasy world and can't get out of it. It's not healthy, it's not good for the country and it's not good for society. It's a cancer that's festering and poisoning our culture. When will people wake up and embrace logic and reason instead of ancient myths and superst!tions? It's not real, it's just ancient mythology! End of story.

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

      I hope you change your erroneous thinking before the Day of Judgement. It will be too late then.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  14. JC

    Just remember that it is the Atheist that have no issue with terminating the life of an innocent unborn child. Wether you believe in god or not you should look deep into your thought process when you protect the taking of the same breath you were so fortunate to have received.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • sam stone

      JC: You have no authority to speak of what atheists have issues with or don't have issues with.

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

      Says the person not a victim of god's condoned genocides

      November 4, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Damocles

      I'm not a fan of abortion, I would love for every child to be born into a loving family. Sadly I don't life in a fantasy world where that would be possible. I do, however, respect the right of a woman to make that choice. If I can decide for her, then I can decide what you do, JC and I don't think you want me to make choices for you.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Bostontola

      JC,
      There are a number of studies that show that atheists are no more highly represented in the criminal ranks than people of belief. There is no evidence that atheism makes a person less moral or ethical than a believer. There is also studies showing atheists contribute to charities as much as believers. There is no evidence that believers are more compassionate than atheists. If you do some research, you may be surprised to find that atheists are people just like believers.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      JC, there are atheists (and if you're going to write about a multiple, then please learn how to add an "s" to the word. When you can't do that or spell simple two-syllable words like "whether," you look too stupid to take seriously) that are anti-choice.

      Really, if you don't want to be ridiculed, then don't be ridiculous.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  15. lindaluttrell

    More and more the lines are blurring between SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. Scary...

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

      I see atheism dominating our country today. Wether you want to call it a religion or not. The principles of no faith and low morals are guiding our nation into trouble.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Sane Person

      Atheists are probably the group with the highest morals and strictest self governing code. We arrive at our beliefs from life's experiences. Through education. We arent told what to believe by the generation that came before us. We question. Of my friends, I can tell you they are some of the nicest, most caring, giving and rational people I've met. They dont picket funerals, they don't try to legislate against others, they dont try to ban your ability to go to your church of choice. Race or interacial marriage doesnt bother them. They dont celebrate war, or push to use violence against countries of different faiths. They dont mind paying thier fair share to provide services, infrastructure, and a helping hand to those in need. Now, religion on the other hand....One only need to look around to see thier for bannings, segretation and war. Its easy to to when you can simply blame god cause "he said so" and not blame yourself, because YOU decided to.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Sane Person

      They're*. Dumb typos.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Well, you progressives put the state in charge of the churches. What did you expect? You should use a hyphen like the progressive 'one fleshers' do these days.(Mary Smith-Jones-Black-Berkowiizc) church-state or Judeo-Christian

      November 4, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  16. Nate

    I love this article. Thank you so much for this powerful prophetic word. Jesus for President (of the church!). Blessings.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Are there any other candidates?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  17. RL

    God is real!!! Believe it or not!!! I choice to believe in our lord and saviour Jesus the Christ!!! In his resurrection and our lord seated in rest next to our father, in God whom I trusted!!! Not OBAMA or ROMNEY!!!

    November 4, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Luis Wu

      You're delusional.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Romney Hates G A Y S not so Christian

      Well folks Jeasus is not a big as republicans as they are better than even jes us.

      FOlks Mittons is Mormon and has the option for two wives. One must vote for Romney as he is a yellow belly war avoiding and loves to lie and hide taxes. He offshores jobs and money and that is the Christian way folks.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Sane Person

      What is god's tax policy? Does he believe in education spending? If so, I might just vote for this candidate of yours. Where can I see him speaking?

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

      lol

      November 4, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  18. Greydriver

    Calling welfare and taxation "charity" are the words of a moron.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Calling taxation a sin is idiotic.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  19. TrayvonObama.com

    http://www.TrayvonObama.com

    November 4, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  20. Rainer Braendlein

    Piper frog, I do what I want:

    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 9:30 am |
    • Kath

      The Christian Church does NOT as a whole endorse infant baptism. The Catholic and Lutheran churches do.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Rainman, I don't care if you do what you want. You have that right. And I have every right to call you a pompous, sanctimonious, holier-than-thou twit.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:39 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.