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: please. Enough. Nonsense like this has no place on a site devoted to news. Would you post an opinion article proclaiming devotion to Allah? Or Zeus? Or Poseidon?
Couldn't have said it better.
The answer is NO.
Jesus said: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." 50 million aborted babies makes me vote Republican.
What would have happened if 50 million unwanted children were here now, Ben?
By the way, how many children have you adopted?
Mary should have had an abortion.
When you vote Mormon be advised you are voting for an anti- Christ
ben – considering the vast majority of people in this country identify as christians, who do you think are having the abortions?
I agree everyone of us are survivors of Abortion given that our mother had the "RIGHT'" to abort us!
Ignore them Benjamin...
They are either trolls.....or really really ugly, little, lonely people....so very hungry for attention.....
They are pathetic and not capable of any type of reason
JC, why would you think that having or supporting the right to choose necessarily means one would choose to end a pregnancy? My mother was pro-choice. So am I. Neither of us ever had or sought to end a pregnancy. We both believed that the crux of the matter is that others are not in a position to know what is best for anyone else. You want to force women to give birth. How do you plan to do that?
Buddy, why don't you answer the question I posed to Ben, then? It's reasonable. It was asked in a civil manner. Answer it.
Thats right, save the unborn! After they are born, they are free to starve to death. They can live in squalor. Let them go to the worst over crowded schools and live on the streets. After-all, we are sick of supporting those lazy 47%.
Ahh, the love of caring christians is astounding.
Tom Tom ......
Here is my answer ADOPTION
I have adopted THE UNWANTED.....which have brought to be the greatest joy imagined.
I am Pro life ... but I am also pro choice.....which means, I believe, I have no right to force my belief on another....
So you've adopted how many children, then, Buddy? Funny that your pal Benny is silent on the matter. How many did he adopt?
It is time for a National punch a loud mouth, hate spewing Atheist in the mouth day! :)
How very typically fundamentalist of you, troll.
Right it is only ok to denounce god not hate spewing Atheists.
jc – there is a significant difference between voicing an opinion and a call to violence.
You can't love people with your fists, JC.
Hitting people in the mouth is moral? Christian? Sane? Threatening it is bullying, right? Why is this acceptable?
Of course there is a difference. Atheists actually exist. Denouncing god is no worse than making fun of Snoopy or mocking the abominable snowman.
@elephantix. Thank you for your comment. It was very kind of you. Michael
Is this a joke? I mean really! Vote on political issues based on your belief in jesus. FFS, no wonder this country is so divided. have you ever heard of separation of church and state?! Unbelievable
Lots of US religious zealots keep pushing for state and federal legislations to extend control over the whole population, based on their religious beliefs.. Concept "Convince, do not legislate!" is alien to them..Just like the Taliban or Al Shabab, these should be branded and treated like true terrorists.
Such a poorly written article. CNN should be ashamed.
There is no atheist in a foxhole under siege. This was the reality during the world wars. There is no other god except themselves.
While they are generally pro-choice, if they have their way, they would have banned beliefs contrary to their own. Just read their blogs. Plain hateful.
I was in fox holes, I'm still atheist. So, I guess that isnt true. Shucks.
So Mark Schloneger like to live in a nation where religion rules, I encourage him to move to Saudi Arabia or other middle Easter country where their subject are subjected to religious laws…
What article did you read?
Christians: They think Romney is going to hell, but at least they can get a tax break out of him before they go!
Thanks Bill Maher.
There are no other bronze aged books that I read. There are no bronze aged myths that I follow. Why is it, that otherwise intelligent people, believe that a collection of stone age and bronze aged stories, that frequently contradict each other, are factual, god inspired stories? Why is it that otherwise intelligent people are unable to see that these are just stories, that the book is one of the most immoral books of all time. If you read it for what it is, a book, you realize it is horribly deficient in the area of morals.
I don't get some people. I really don't. But please. Keep your religion out of my life. Don't go pressing your 3,000 year old book into my bedroom, into schools, doctors offices, or the government. If you wish to read the book and teach the stories to your children, that certainly is your right. But your rights end there. Stop trying to make this a christian nation, it is not, and certainly has never been.
steve – chalk it all up to indoctrination, community compulsion and the use of fear of the unknown.
There's only one presidential choice this year for anyone being a Christian. Pulling the lever for Romney would be akin to a sin, certainly an act of hypocrisy. Obama is the ONLY choice for anyone with a conscience and an understanding of Christianity.
If you believe that – you must not live on the planet Earth. You must be visiting here – so welcome. I suggest you research things further though – because you have obviously been fed garbage and told it was steak.
are you kidding me? obama mmm mmm mmm flips between religions like he changes his underwear. they may be clean, but he doesn't really commit to any of them. The whole premise here is that the democrats want the religious right to stay home on election day, so their vote isn't counted. This article and "news" organization is a joke.
You sir are lost! You vote for a leader because of the content of his character and not the color of his skin. If Obama is such a strong Christian, why does he shun the people of God? The Jews? Why does he support partial birth abortion? A great gift of God? Have you ever seen a partial birth abortion performed? Maybe you should watch one and see if you think that abortion is more human than the death penalty. How can you support for a President who fully supports gay marriage? Have you read the book or Romans? Maybe you should...because you are fully lost and you need to read the Bible to understand God's grace and love and holiness. How can a man profess to be a Christian and embrace a humanistic, secularistic worldview? If he loves God so much, why doesn't he follow his commandments and fear Him?
Jesus Christ is the Divine Son of the God who rules the Universe ... you don't need to vote for him - he is already our Master.
robert – yours is just another of the myriad of deities, religions and doctrines invented by man.
On Tuesday, I will be proclaiming my loyalty to Halo 4.
"And He came with shotgun and rifle and smote his enemies in multiplayer before humiliating them by teabagging their lifeless forms." (John 117)
While I was born and raised as a Christian, over time, and as I met many different people of many varying faiths, I began to realize that all religions, including Christianty, are very divisive.
It scares me not only that so many people on the right steadfastly believe that Mr. Obama is a Muslim... But that so many Americans think their fellow Americans can't run for the Presidency if they aren't Christian. Imagine being born to a Muslim family in Dallas,
Texas and knowing that you could never run
for the highest office.
It's time all of America rethought the notion of this "Christian Nation". It is an extremely
polarizing, divisive and dangerous way to move forward. When you chant, "USA! USA! USA!" ... in your mind, are you only including
Furthermore, and somewhat unrelated, when Mr. Romney speaks of the 47% that he "doesn't care about", does he realize that they are his fellow citizens and that he can't just do away with them like he does when he ships jobs overseas?
Presidents, regardless of their faith, have to serve all their citizens, regardless of their faith, regardless of their standing.
The American dream still exists if you believe in one another.
Why do intelligent people everywhere disobey Jesus?
Only 99% of what your video said was good!
Stop this nonsense CNN. It's so embarassing to see this drivel plastered at the very top of your website over and over again. Give us news. Give us information. Articles about how many angels can dance on the head of the pin doesn't help your readers.
I just threw up in my mouth. Lots. Yuck.
I like Obama, but given the situation, do any other moderates/liberals out there share my unfortunate feeling that the best I can say for all of this is that if it's going in the crapper, I'd rather be wrong my way than yours (conservatives)?
Your party is becoming the party of radicals and atheists not moderates.
Really? And the repubs are...?
I vote for Satan. That is why I will vote for Romney. He reminds me of Martin Sheens Character in the move "The DeadZone"
Yes, yes he does!
Keeping church and state separate is huge. Obama's religion is his own thing. Judge him by what he has done and not done. Essentially, the president's most important job is controlling the security of the nation by controlling the Dept of State and Dept of Defense. He is getting us out of Afghan in 2014, which is needed. The Dept of State is a "trainwreck". Needs some major work. Romney is a hostile takeover charlatan. Keep Obama in power. Congress is hopeless.
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.