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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. Rainer Braendlein

    Jesus, the Bread of Life

    Once Jesus was persecuted by the Scribes and Pharisees (leaders of the ancient Jews). Hence, Jesus escaped to Galilee which was somewhat more pagan (secular) than Judea, and there Jesus faced less danger than in Galilee.

    At Lake Galilee there was a certain mountain which Jesus always used as a kind of church (every place where God Jesus is, is a church). Actually Jesus had prefered the House of his Father, the Temple of Jerusalem for preaching but the Jews persecuted him.

    Many people from all Palestine came to Jesus, and he welcomed them in his church (the mountain). Jesus expressed his hospitality by making bread and fishes for more than 5000 thousand people.

    Regretably they misunderstood him and thought he would be something like a supernatural baker.

    Yet, Jesus did not become angry but told them of a special bread which is at least as important like our daily bread, even more important.

    He told them that he himself is the Bread of Life, not a magical bread, of course, but a bread which can change us. He told them that they need to eat his flesh and to drink his blood (somewhat strange). He meant that they needed to get baptized because at sacramental baptism we get metaphysically connected with Jesus, with his death and resurrection. People knew also the sermons of John the Baptist who had told them that they should share there daily bread with people in need. When we get united with Jesus we lose our egoism, and become able to love our fellow human beings.

    Hence, when we believe ín Jesus, we start to share our daily bread with people in need in the power of Jesus' love which we received at baptism. That is the mystery of baptism.

    Don't always seek normal bread, but also the Bread of Life, Jesus.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    November 4, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      *yawn*

      November 4, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. That's all your post is. Don't you feel silly posting such ignorant nonsense?

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

      Amusing how SOME Christians figure they're telling you this BS for the first time and that they've found a fail proof way to convince you of their fairy tales.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • My Name is Legion

      Rainman
      Glad to see you found something different to post. Serious question, I read up on some of Bonhoeffers' writings (very boring but I tried) but did not come accross any reference to the communion ritual. Does your lot subscribe to the ritualistic cannablism of communion or not? 666

      November 4, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  2. Lou

    EPHESIANS 1:4-5 Despite all of Jesus’ instructions to accept him as savior, Jesus also says God "predestined" those will be saved according to His pleasure.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Blah blah blah blah blah blah to you too. Ignorant rantings from an old book of ancient mythology means nothing.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • really

      Was the God of Abraham created by another God getting it on with 1 of his 50 celestial wives and giving birth to him on the planet KOBOL ? " Mormons was !!! Did the God of Abraham get it on with 1 of his 50 celestial wives and give birth to Jesus Christ on the planet KOBOL ? Mormons was !!! When you die and go to Planet KOBOL will you have to stand before God , Jesus Christ and Joesph Smith to be judged ? Mormons do !!!! If you are shown worthy will they turn you into a God and give you your own Planet with 50 wives to populate that planet with your own Baby Gods ? Mormons think so !!!

      So are you a Christian or a Mormon ? But before you answer remember " The God of Abraham said have no other gods before your Lord our God " !!! A vote for Romney is a Vote for a New God !!!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • sam stone

      so, how does freewill jibe with the concept of a omniscient creator?

      November 4, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  3. Lou

    1 PETER 1:20 Despite God’s failed experiment in the Garden of Eden, the mass execution of Noah’s flood and the final solution of Christ’s sacrifice, Jesus was predestined to be crucified all along. "He was chosen before the creation of the world,"

    November 4, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • snowboarder

      lou – chrstianity is so full of contradictions, but honestly the entire premise is simply absurd.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  4. Michael

    You'll never convince the right, they are brainwashed and want to believe in the "invisible man living in the sky". They think "HE' will cure them of them being big fat pigs or smokers. Many religious people are the sickest bunch of sorry assed Morons and Mormons. They are the last bunch of people you want to trust. If you can't trust your children with them, then there is your answer.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • j

      devil has you blinded buddy

      November 4, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • elephantix

      @Michael, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to write something so thoughtful and thought-provoking. Your words have added to this dialogue in a way that even books and books of well-researched, insightful commentary could not do. And to think, it took only 15 seconds of your time. Thank you!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • snowboarder

      j – the devil is imaginary.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • j

      Micheal and all the other athiets are blinded by the devil, you too elepantix

      November 4, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • j

      the devil is on this earth, why do you think there is so much evil on earth?

      November 4, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Drake

      I agree. You should vote for America and not for an invisible made up deity.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • elephantix

      @j I think you misundertand me. Michael has it figured out. Absolute truth is impossible to know, unless you are Michael. Such wisdom in that one.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      j, there isn't any "devil." People do both good and bad things. No deity is to blame or to credit for either.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  5. Luis Wu

    Christianity, like all religions, is nothing more than ancient mythology, written thousands of years ago by members of a primitive society in an effort to explain existence and comfort people in the face of their mortality. I've read both the old and new testaments cover to cover. I've read many other religious texts as well. They're all just ancient mythology from primitive cultures, nothing more. Period.

    When I look around, I don't see a god flying around in a cloud or pillar of fire, I don't see sticks turning into snakes, I don't see rivers turning to blood or wine, seas parting, etc. etc. If that stuff was real and happened then, it would be happening now. I don't see miracles happening, all I see is a lot of ignorant people blindly accepting ancient mythology as fact, while rejecting modern scientific knowledge. If people would use their brains for a change, THINK about it using logic, reason and objectivity, then they would understand that it's just old myths. It's just so utterly obvious.

    What religion you are is mostly determined by where you were born and which mythology you’ve been indoctrinated with since birth. That right there should tell you it’s not real.

    All the gods that have been worshiped throughout history would fill 10 football stadiums, but of course everyone believes that THEIRS is the only one that’s real. It’s just all so utterly stupid.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • rico

      very well said...

      November 4, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Michael

      So very true. Most people are children who still believe in fairy stories. Products of their environment, pick-a-god mentality.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • elephantix

      @Luis It's annoying when people think their view is correct, and that they have other people's views totally figured out and that the other people are "obviously" wrong. The people that do this are so arrogant. You are courageous for putting such an honest critique of yourself online for everyone (who reads this one article) to see.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Nick

      I used to believe what you believe. And when I believed it, nothing could convince me otherwise. However, when God reveals HImself to you, as He did to me, you will have no choice but to acknowledge Him.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • good one

      You speak total reason,my friend.However,to religious folks,it boils down to wishful thinking-otherwise know as BLIND faith.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  6. ShawnDH

    I think it's pretty obvious to anybody with a brain that today's Republican party is the exact opposite of Jesus, who was a radical liberal socialist community organizer.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  7. Fsjunkie

    Stick your head in the sand...sure, whatever floats your boat. But, don't pretend that you're doing something special or courageous. Don't weigh in on the issues that you won't even take a stand for...just shut up and go to church and we'll all get the message.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  8. Lou

    EXODUS 2:12 Moses saw an Egyptian beating up a Hebrew. He looked around, saw no witnesses, killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • hannah1

      And the Mafia was born! LMaO

      November 4, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  9. Bob

    Wish more religious extremists e.g. teabaggers and other right wing nutcases would stay home and not vote. They should leave the outcome to god and smarter people.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • hannah1

      You are spot on with that! All you nut-jobs and bible-thumpers: please go to church Tuesday and not to the polls!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • elephantix

      @Bob @Hannah1 Good call! We'll leave it to all the smart people- the ones who MUST be smart because they type on comment boards, bashing religion. Yep, that's the standard for smarts, alright. Princeton, Harvard, Yale? Nope. The experts are on CNN's religion blogs, at the bottom signed up under free account status!

      November 4, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  10. Kevin Quail

    We all know that any emotional bias - irrespective of truth or falsity - can be implanted by suggestion in the emotions of the young, hence the inherited traditions of an orthodox community are absolutely without evidential value.... If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences. With such an honest and inflexible openness to evidence, they could not fail to receive any real truth which might be manifesting itself around them. The fact that religionists do not follow this honourable course, but cheat at their game by invoking juvenile quasi-hypnosis, is enough to destroy their pretensions in my eyes even if their absurdity were not manifest in every other direction.
    - H P Lovecraft, letter to Maurice W Moe, 3 August 1931, in August Derleth and Donald Wandrei, ed., Selected Letters 1929-1931 (1971), pp. 390-91, quoted from S T Joshi, ed., "Introduction," Atheism: A Reader, p. 17

    November 4, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • snowboarder

      very astute.

      it is no coincidence why 85% of americans identify as christians and 99% of iranians as muslims.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  11. NotHere

    jesusisaliberal[DOT]org

    November 4, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  12. JoeRussian

    God is interested in this election. He voted Mitt Romney already.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Patricia A Schenk

      You must have misunderstood. I talked to Jesus this morning and he was certainly leaning democratic

      November 4, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  13. KTS

    Im intrigued that the Christian Right have the conviction that they dont want Government in our lives, except of course to ram down our throats their narrow pompous view of the world, and tell the rest of us how to live. "all other Gods, beliefs are false" . Give me a break. Your Christianity is your business, go for it, but dont tell me and the rest of the non-Christian ( Buddist, Hindu, Shinto, Jew, Islam, Mormon, Agnostic, Atheist etc etc etc etc) Citizens how to live. I am so sick of the rightousness of born again Christians. There is a reason Church and State are separated. We dont all believe the same thing, and Religious Freedom doesnt just apply to Christians, it also applies to the rest of us to live our lives as we choose.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  14. hannah1

    JESUS has no place at the polls or anywhere else in the election process.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • j

      Jesus is the very reason why you are even breathing today, He paid for your sins and died on the cross for you

      November 4, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • NoTheism

      @j, because your scripture says so?
      Give me a break...

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

      because God that created this earth you live on says so, not me

      November 4, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      There's no evidence that's true, j. You might believe it, but you have no evidence to support that belief.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  15. j

    Jesus is Savior and Lord, whoever Believes in Him has everlasting life

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

      everlasting life is the invention of primitive men and their fear of death and the unknown.

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

      @Snowboarder knows because he died once.

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

    It so funny the Atheist posters flock to any religious article why?

    November 4, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      To refute the lies people like you spew there.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • j

      they believe in Jesus that is why, they just don't want to admit it

      November 4, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Because ignorance and stupidity must be opposed at every opportunity.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • NoTheism

      JC, this is CNN's "Belief Blog". It is set up so that people can share their opinions about their beliefs. Do you think there is something wrong with atheists sharing their beliefs?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      It's obvious .. because it's the best place to find so many of you who need to hear some common sense.

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

      @j, and do you believe there is no god just don't want to admit it?

      November 4, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Damocles

      Damn you are right, JC! How dare other people express their opinion! The nerve of some people to say 'hey, here's another way of looking at things'! I mean, where the hell do they get off?! The unmitigated gall that some people have to voice something other than what you want to hear is astounding! Round 'em all up and shoot them in their pinky toe!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Joseph L.

      First of all I'm not an atheist but I know Christianity and the other major religions are to put it bluntly...complete BS. We are here to hopefully educate and in doing so protect our children and the next generation from this brain washing.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Damocles, you made me laugh. But you might want to ask truth be told about that word "gall." TBT insists that it's "gaul." Oh, wait, no, after that TBT said it was just a "pun."

      On second thought, don't bother-after all, it's just TBT.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Damocles

      @tom

      I can't ask tbt anything because he broke my heart and told me that he won't respond to me anymore. Somehow I manage to struggle through each day, but it's tough I tell ya. I thought we were friends, pals, amigos through thick and thin, but alas, it was not meant to be.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Woe is you, Damocles. How will you go on? You are bereft, dude.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  17. Ronald Raygun

    god hates facts

    November 4, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  18. Steve

    Well, we all know that no candidate is ever going to just up and denounce religion and hold Friday night goat sacrifices on the white house laws. He'd never get elected.

    While I consider myself a Christian is beside the point right now. Remember the country that we live in, to be able to have an opinion and have someone else having another is great. Having the ability to voice our opinions is a priceless right that a lot of people don't have. Remember what country we live in and what we think we need for the country.

    We need jobs. Pure and simple. We are going broke at the state and federal levels because we sold our souls to China. We have low levels of taxes being paid in. People are having to choose between gas to get to work and groceries. Now we have another winter coming on with people just like you and I struggling to heat their homes.

    But when we get these jobs back we need to curb spending and downsize the government. We cannot afford to give away trillions of dollars a year when our own infrastructure is falling down around our ears, not only in New York but all across the country.

    One of the choices that I have made is this. I refuse to buy a product from an American company that has it's products made in China. These companies put people out of work in the name of greed. Why should I buy from them. IF we do continue to by their products then those jobs will never come back.

    We had better get our country figured out and fast. Folks it all depends on who we elect to the white house. And other positions. But they only have the power that we give them.

    We the people better wise up while there is still time. If we put as much time into thinking quality for our country as we do bickering back and forth we could get things done. And still be far behind the Europeans.

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

      Agreed.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  19. Joseph L.

    When will CNN stop publishing this childish nonsense? How in the world is " Jesus " relevent in the world in the year 2012? Who freakin cares?.....I am not an atheist but the ' Jesus story " is a ridiculous mythological fairy tale created by men not God. Please people study history. Study the making of the Bible. We as parents have to protect our kids from this damaging nonsense.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • good one

      ..and you are not an atheist-HOW?Go on,say it out loud.You walk and talk like a duck,so just step up and be a duck.Peace!

      November 4, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Joseph L.

      good one: HUH? Your reply didn't make sense. Do you think you have to be a Christian and believe the ridiculous " Jesus story" to believe there may be some type of Creator or intelligence in the Universe?

      November 4, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  20. John

    Religion and its fundamentalist nimrods are the biggest problem we have in the world today. Actually, it has been since religion was invented to control people. Their way is the RIGHT way and the rest of the people can, and literally will, go to hell.

    November 4, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Joseph L.

      You are exactly right. How is Jesus relevent today? Jesus is not even a proven historical figure. Christianity and the other major religions are man created mythologies. People are completely ignorant of the origins of their belief systems.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • NotHere

      During Kings James's day, their were two languages, one for the peasants and one for the nobles. The word Heaven was translated from a Hebrew word that means sky. The bible is a historical account of UFO's (Think artificial insemination 🙂

      November 4, 2012 at 9:58 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.