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November 3rd, 2012
09:00 PM ET

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

Editor's Note: Mark Schloneger is pastor of North Goshen Mennonite Church in Goshen, Indiana.

By Mark Schloneger, Special to CNN

It seems frivolous, even foolish.

On Tuesday, as the world turns its attention to who will occupy the most powerful office of the world’s most powerful nation, hundreds of churches will gather across the United States to worship a servant.

As votes are counted to elect a president, thousands of Christians will take the bread and the cup to remember their crucified Lord.

As winners are projected and the electoral map is updated, Christians of many denominations will sing their praises and proclaim their loyalty to Jesus.

It seems ridiculous, even silly.

After all, America is at a crossroads, and we are in the midst of one of the most critical presidential elections of our lifetimes. We know this because people have recited this same tired mantra before every presidential election.

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Our fears, our hopes, our worries and our struggles are the currency that buys our votes. And how do politicians and their supporters acquire this precious currency? They invest billions of dollars to foment fear, inspire hope, create worry and exploit our struggles.

It’s a power play. Some of us are pawns, and some of us are participants. But some of us are choosing a different part.

I initiated the Election Day Communion Campaign out of a concern that Christians in the United States are being shaped more by the tactics and ideologies of political parties than by our identity and unity in Christ. Out of this concern, a simple vision sparked the imaginations of congregations nationwide: the church being the church on Election Day, gathering at the Lord’s Table to remember, to give thanks for, and to proclaim its loyalty to Jesus.

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Gathering for Communion on Election Day seems fitting, for the practice of Communion is an inherently political act. It is both a pledge of allegiance to Jesus and a declaration of independence from all other powers making claims on our bodies, minds and souls.

Far too often, the church has abandoned its first love for the siren song of political parties promising protection, prosperity and peace. Far too many times, the church has ceded the practice of its faith to the spiritual and the private while leaving others to address matters of justice. And far too frequently, the church has attempted to speak truth to power while seeking and relying on that same power for protection.

The bread and the cup are God’s antidotes to our fickle memories. As we eat and drink together, we remember that all things fall under the lordship of Christ. We remember our sin and need to repent.

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We remember that God has lifted up the humble, filled the hungry with good things, and chosen to reveal God’s strength through our weakness.

We remember that the only Christian nation in this world is the church, the holy nation that transcends all human-made walls, boundaries and borders.

As we gather at the table, we remember that the power to redeem, to save, and to transform comes not from atop the seat of power but from within the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

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We will gather for Election Day Communion not because we think that the issues at stake in this election are unimportant or that our votes don’t really matter. No, we will gather for Communion because we think that the issues at stake in all elections are far too important to be relegated to our votes alone.

The Lord’s Supper reminds followers of Jesus to practice the politics of Jesus. To me, practicing the politics of Jesus means working to protect the sanctity of all human life, whether it is found in the womb, in prison, or in countries at war against us.

It means choosing the way of forgiveness and reconciliation rather than vengeance and violence. It means practicing an economy based on generosity and mutual aid.

It means offering care and compassion to suffering people regardless of their immigration status, economic class or religious practice.

It means being good stewards of God’s good creation. And, most of all, it means allowing God’s kingdom to break into the entirety of our lives, from the privacy of our homes to the politics we practice in public.

The bread and the cup keep calling me back to the table inscribed with memory. There, I remember God’s choice for the transfer of power. There, I remember where to go with my fears, my hopes, my worries and my struggles. At the table, with my sisters and brothers, I am in the presence of the Holy.

Though I’m interested in the outcome of the presidential election, I won’t be watching the projected results as they are announced. I’ve made a prior commitment. I intend to honor it.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Schloneger.

- CNN Belief Blog

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

soundoff (3,435 Responses)
  1. Xander

    Me: God, this is stupid.

    God: (shaking his head) I know.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  2. J-rad

    This is the worst article ever written. It meant nothing. Mike Schlongnegger suck ass!

    November 4, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  3. JC

    Clearly Obama needs christians to vote for him in large numbers in order to win the election. Also clear that any article that references god brings in Atheist like moths to a fire to spew their hate.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Christians are the haters. They hate gays, Muslims, atheists and people who think for themselves instead of blindly accepting ancient mythology as fact. I don't hate anyone. I hate concepts, not people. I hate the concept of religion, it's a cancer on society.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • JC

      Luis you hate even if you are blind to it. You hate God.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      JC, you seem incapable of viewing your own posts clearly. You apparently hate atheists, free speech and democracy.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  4. Vidyashanti

    God /Jesus is the ultimate goal of human life not an instrument (means) to satisfy our needs, greed & ego. Most use God and Scriptures to score or advance their points of view. We have separation of church and politics, however, church tries to over reach and try to influence politics resulting in discord even between people of same faith as seen by exodus of people form church. Live it to people to decide what is good and what is not, what is moral and what is not. Express but do not insist what is right and what is not.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  5. Lou

    The Order of Creation

    Genesis 1:11-12 and 1:26-27 Trees came before Adam.

    Genesis 2:4-9 Trees came after Adam.

    Genesis 1:20-21 and 26-27 Birds were created before Adam.

    Genesis 2:7 and 2:19 Birds were created after Adam.

    Genesis 1:24-27 Animals were created before Adam.

    Genesis 2:7 and 2:19 Animals were created after Adam.

    Genesis 1:26-27 Adam and Eve were created at the same time.

    Genesis 2:7 and 2:21-22 Adam was created first, woman sometime later.

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

      lou – the bible is merely a collection of occasionally noble myths. it doesn't really matter what it says.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  6. FF

    As expected, now it's time for the all the members of the moron section to respond. Keep your moronic comments coming....

    November 4, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  7. allen

    Obama is as Christian as they come.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  8. Lifetraveller

    There is a reason why the founding fathers required the separation of church and state in our government. Many of these comments show us why.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  9. locutus

    Vote for jesus? What a crock!
    Not voting for the mormon nitwit. kolab? magic underwear? Come on.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • ObamaJoe

      He just swallowed the "Latter Day "

      November 4, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  10. Michael

    I don't have a problem with religio,n but running the country with it, I do.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  11. TCG

    It amazes me the people who get hung up on one issue and don't see the big picture.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • ObamaJoe

      Big picture is : Bain Capital will not make a great America,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      British King can not found the great America,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      November 4, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  12. Rob

    The biggest problem facing the world today: Religion. it's a plague, it's a cancer.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Exactly.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • onecell

      right, and it is getting worse.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • david esmay

      It's the single greatest obstacle to man's evolution.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  13. Michael

    Chiniquy, well said.

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

      What did he say :)

      November 4, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  14. JC

    I don't come to your house and demand you have a tree at christmas so don't come to me and tell my I don't have the right to vote my religion, to speak my religion or display my religion. And better yet CNN has the right to post whatever they want.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • ObamaJoe

      Come on,,,,,,,, it's WWW,,,,,,

      November 4, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Troll police

      Leave us troll

      November 4, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Goodness, JC, did someone tell you you couldn't post? Did they take away your internet access? Doesn't look like it: you're here and flapping your gums just fine.

      You simply want everyone who thinks you're delusional to shut up and go away. Too bad, dear. Freedom of speech goes both ways.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Christians come to my house and tell me what I should believe. They're called Jehovah's Witnesses. Politicians like Huckaby and Bachman and Romney tell me over the TV in my living room what I should believe. And they're trying to force their ignorant nonsense on me through legislation, like forced school prayer, teaching creationism nonsense to my children in public school, taking away a woman's right to choose and her option to use birth control. Etc. etc. etc. So I have some advice for you:

      S
      T
      F
      U

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

      Keep your make believe inconsequential garbage at home... What part of separation of church and state don't you get?
      Such self absorbed a+oles can't show any f****** respect. They must push their religious garbage down everyone else's throats.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • PR

      Do you ever wonder why you have a tree at christmas? or why christmas is celebrated when it is? Those things have nothing to do with Jesus

      November 4, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  15. Jimmy

    I vote for Jesus too! If we're playing make-believe, we might as well go all the way.

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

      Its easy to mack others when you believe in nothing have faith in nothing.

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

      Which Jesus ???????? Latter day Jesus ??????????

      November 4, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • snowboarder

      jc – faith is the absence of rational thought. why would someone consider that a virtue?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Luis Wu

      JC – I believe in logic, reason, objectivity and science. I don't blindly accept ancient mythology and superst!tious nonsense as fact.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  16. Michael Allen

    Why not Zeus?

    November 4, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • ObamaJoe

      Latter Day Mitt :)

      November 4, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  17. Jh NYC

    A waste of time. Sadly written by a brain-washed child who despite all his mis-givings, has but only 1 trait different from myself: of all the world religions (Judaism, Islam, christianity to name a few), and gods of those religions, the scribbler behind this poor excuse for an article knows of all of them to be false; with the exception of Christianity/Jesus. Alas, I agree with him in large part, except I take it 1 religion and 1 god further.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • ObamaJoe

      All religions start from a same source,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      November 4, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Luis Wu

      ALL religions are false. Just ancient mythology written by primitive people.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  18. JC

    This is why we hate atheists because they think they have the right to tell people they can't express religious views. Tune out if you don't like it.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • ObamaJoe

      They are as bad as fake Christians,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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

      Who says that JC? I don't know 1 atheist that holds that position.

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

      You mix religion and secular government. Read history and discover the the 'benefits' of religious based rule, or has god commanded you be ignorant and deny factual truths?

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

      Pillsbury, I am not sure but I think you're being sarcastic. I hope you are.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Say it ain't so

      It's ok everyone, as a chrsitian, JC is just showing everyone his religion really has the wrap on this hate emotion.

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

      I'm an agnostic. I don't hate anybody. I do hate religion because of what it's done to people over the centuries. I hate concepts, not people. YOU are the hater, not atheists and agnostics.

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

      JC tries to make it appear that all religious people are one big happy family that don't push their particular beliefs on each other.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Shuszhu

      This country was founded on the mixture of religion and politics you atheist morons. Pull a dollar bill out of your pocked and see what it says on it.." In GOD we trust". Oh wait a minute...you atheists are trying to get that off, I forgot.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Hans

      I'm an Atheist and I believe people can say whatever they want about religion. But I also believe they can be laughed at and mocked just like any other topic written in an article.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • david esmay

      @shuszhu you are a moron, in god we trust didn't appear on money until the 1950's

      November 4, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Shuszhu

      What a stupid A$$ response that is David, lol. You really make me laugh. It doesn't matter if it was put on there 5 minutes ago with a black crayon. It is there!! The people of of this nation wanted it. So suck it up. YOU LOSE.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  19. outawork

    Is it over yet?

    November 4, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  20. BeerMug

    I can't think of anything more irrelevant to voting than Jesus.

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

      Redistribution of money between Bain and Middle class people,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      November 4, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Shuszhu

      Yeah and that would explain why you have to keep filling that " Beer Mug"...and refilling it, and refilling it...

      November 4, 2012 at 9:54 am |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.