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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) because he dared to cure a man at Sabbath (the religious leaders implied that Jesus wanted to earn money like they themselves but they made a mistake). 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 10:07 am |
    • NotHere

      Communion? Drink his blood, eat his body – sounds like cannibalism to me.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • teh

      I hope you enjoyed your time in fairy tale make-believe land. As soon as you return to reality you might be able to contribute usefully. Wake up! Religion had a role to play centuries ago but has clearly found its rightful place in the history books.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  2. mcskadittle

    Jesus is the Original Liberal

    November 4, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • JPoet

      Really? Well you better have been in church Saturday?

      November 4, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Milli

      How come not one liberal being saved is written about in the bible?

      November 4, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Cedar rapids

      "Milli

      How come not one liberal being saved is written about in the bible?"

      maybe it was assumed they all already were, it was the rich that needed help and guidance.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  3. Jay

    I don't understand the point of this article.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • JPoet

      The point is how Chritianity brought peace and love understanding to the world. all the things men want.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • The point of the article

      The purpose of this article is to yet again bring up Romney's unusual faith, to get more voters to side with "mainstream" Obama. Of course, let's completely forget about Obama's extremist past, sitting in Rev. Wright's racist church, apparently unknowingly, for 20 years.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Cedar rapids

      "The point is how Chritianity brought peace and love understanding to the world"
      nice, i love a good piece of subtle sarcasm

      November 4, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  4. Buddy

    Be gone satan

    You sound like one sad lonely dude

    November 4, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If satan is talking to you, honey, you need to get to a mental hospital right away.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Milli

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son, You voted for Obama huh?

      November 4, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Buddy

      How funny you should bring something like that up.....it that supposed to be some kind of defense? I really do believe you are one person that really needs help.....in the meantime.....instead of upsetting people that believe in God.....why don't you try to find something good and happy in your sad sorry life to believe in....don't think your capable....

      you, my friend are pathetic

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

      Tom TPS
      Ok I admit I have a high piched squeeky voice more like a squeel a pig makes that some people might not recognize, But as in the King's Speech, I have a voice. 666

      November 4, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  5. Milli

    Saying you want to tax the rich is not compassion. It is class warfare and it divides the country. It is not healthy. If you want something, be an American and go earn the money yourself. Don't ask Obama to buy your vote with stolen money from the rich.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You aren't capable of figuring out the fact that the wealthy are not paying the same percentage as those with less. Go read a book.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • visitor

      The tax breaks on top brackets were TEMPORARY. Do you understand that? TEMPORARY. NOT PERMANENT. Not letting them run out as promised backs out on the entire deal. You call keeping a deal class warfare? Don't you think that is rather hysterical? Don't you think that disrespects those that actually FIGHT in REAL WARS? Why do you hate the military and America?

      November 4, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Milli

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son, The top 20% pay more than the other 80% combined in taxes. You are the one that does not get it.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Milli

      visitor, You are so gullible. The tax rates are changed all the time. The tax cuts were really just and adjustment to the taxes as they are all the time but just called tax cuts. Clinton changed the tax rates. The Bush tax rates have been in place loner than the Clinton tax rates.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • visitor

      Milli, the wealth collected on the top over the past 30 years. Proportionally, nationally, the top 1% are paying MUCH LESS in taxes than before and that has been the case for years. Do you see all the job creation? That was the entire point.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • visitor

      Milli, your are math and history challenged.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Cedar rapids

      "Milli – Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son, The top 20% pay more than the other 80% combined in taxes. You are the one that does not get it."

      ah, apparently you need this explained to you milli. Tax comparison is not based on monetary value but on the PERCENTAGE paid, so to claim that 20% pay more in value than 80% is really totally irrelevant. I hope that made it clearer for you.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  6. Quagmire

    Ask all those in NJ and NY if Jeebus stopped the rain and floods. I didn't see Moses part the Atlantic to spare those who were faithful.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • David

      Unfortunately, your logic and thought processes are in the same state as your username.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  7. Jimmy B.

    It's so encouraging to see CNN posting this "news" in this day and age. I personally believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But do I get to post it on CNN's website? I don't think so. So then why does Mark Schloneger get to post his opinion? Not sure. Nice going guys. Just what the world needs more religious lunacy.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Quagmire

      FSM....touch his noodly appendage.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  8. Evil1

    More delusional attempts to explain the unexplainable... Your God has forsaken you ...

    November 4, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  9. Bob B

    If you beleive in Jesus that's alright, but what does that have to do with voting?

    November 4, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  10. Shrew2u

    Surely, Pastor Schloneger is not advocating that we ignore the words of Christ:

    Mark 12:17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.

    Romans 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

    As United States citizens, our government is a participatory process, as all levels local to national. Many may feel like cogs in a wheel, or like our one vote has no weight; that may very well be true, for voters in "non-battleground" states where one candidate or another is heavily favored.

    However, on every ballot this Tuesday, there will be issues and legislation and candidates up for vote that will impact each of us on a direct, local level. Forget the noise on the TV – open your ballot book, and read through with a critical eye about what is being proposed. Research and discuss the people and positions what you are being called upon to select. And, YES, pray about your selections if that is a feature of your belief system.

    The Pastor seems to have forgotten that Jesus walked into the temple and threw out the money changers. That was a local act, by one man who could make a difference. That ability for one person to make a difference survives still today.

    So take Communion on Tuesday morning. Spend time in prayerful reflection. Gain peace in your mind. THEN GO VOTE!

    November 4, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  11. JC

    Either way their will be a Christian in the White House and you atheist must understand that the majority in this country are Christians. And that number is growing!

    November 4, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • BRod

      Christianity is not growing, but if it makes you feel more secure to believe that then have at it!

      November 4, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  12. Lisa

    In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin and it will rule to time indefinite. dan 2:44

    Man has dominated man to his injury. Ecclesiastes 8:9

    November 4, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  13. David

    Perhaps the most meaningful and substantive article I've read in this political season.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  14. JPoet

    I'll tell you nothing more loving than a bunch of lunatic LDS that you need to threaten to leave your doorway.

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

    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. They knew that he could cure people, and mainly because of that they seeked him but Jesus forgave their earthiness.

    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 10:04 am |
    • JPoet

      That what the roman church who cherry picked your books tell you, you must be roman catholic, you use their book, I know it was chosen by saints who restored peace to the world. Good work, how's Chritianity working out 2000 years of destruction, great job man!

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

    It is so sad when people see followers of Christ as self righteous. Some of us are, this is true. Please please give Christ a chance, everything is possible through him.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • visitor

      Mr. Romney already enjoys a commanding lead among white evangelical Protestant voters — 76 percent to 17 percent for President Obama, according to a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey released on Monday,

      – White Evangelicals set themselves up as political enemies. Doesn't sound all Jesus-y to me. Sounds rather political.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • JPoet

      I did studied thoroughly many years, but the religion fell short, the best you can say is put aside the mind and believe, not good enough now not good enough then. Like the apostales who doubted I'd like my water tap to turn to beer. Seriously it took miracles to get believers. Why should it be different now? It's just so easy to have a belief isn't it?

      November 4, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  17. Grumpster

    Sorry, but I'm doing everything I can to vote AGAINST jeeebus. No fairy tales and mythology here based on a 2000 year old book written in a tent by people who had no concept that the world was not either flat or at the center of everything. Religion is what's messing with the world. We need less of it.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  18. JPoet

    I didnt see Christ on the campaign trail. His issues are unknow to us except through hearsay which is inadmissable.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  19. jesuzsucksdik

    oh, the belief blog ,,,, carry on religious idiots

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

      I'm totally sick of the "Belief" blog...where's the non-belief blog?

      November 4, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  20. Steve

    HAHAHA grow up and get your head out the ground its 2012. Let the invisible man choose for you

    November 4, 2012 at 10:03 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.