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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. Aezel

    Well the reason people pay more attention to politics than Jesus is because politics have a real effect on their lives. Jesus on the other hand, being utterly pretend, has none other than your self created delusions.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  2. Name*Greg H

    Thank you pastor and thank you CNN for bringing this information to the nation.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  3. Realist

    ___ http://www.GodIsImaginary.com. ___

    November 4, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  4. Quagmire

    He didn't tell them to get out of the way of the storm and flood. Did he mention to a soul to build an ark? Is he there now emptying out the subway system and rebuilding? Will he replace the washed out land and homes? I think not. What a useless god type thing you made up.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • MalcomR

      God works in mysterious f***ing ways, dude. Verrrryyy mysterious. Yeah.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  5. Elbert

    Who is this moron and why does CNN put this crap on its front page? Oh wait, I just answered my own question

    November 4, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  6. Kerry

    AMEN...

    November 4, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  7. JPoet

    THIS IS POLITICS!!!! Haha!!

    November 4, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  8. Dave

    When I read fiction I prefer Clive Cussler or Lee Child over the bible.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  9. JC

    So the Atheist says I can have my religion, I just can't talk about, display it, vote with it or live my life by it because it is offensive to them...gee thanks for clearing that up.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • MalcomR

      Liar.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Damocles

      @JC

      You can do all those things if you want, what you can't do is insist that everyone else do the same. Again, your belief is not what bothers me, it's what you do with it.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • JC

      Many atheist have posted that my they shouldn't have to see or hear anything about religion. I an referring to that.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Isn't lying a sin, JC? Why are you doing it repeatedly? And why aren't you providing an answer to the questions I asked you regarding your previous statements?

      Never mind. I know why. Because you're just a kid with nothing but time on his hands, trolling here. I doubt you're even old enough to vote. Thank goodness for small mercies.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • My Name is Legion

      JC
      Sure knock yourself out, just stop telling everyone else what to do. 666

      November 4, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • MalcomR

      As it applies to public life. Show me an atheist that says that your own personal expression of your "beliefs" is anything they give a crap about. Sure, we'd like it if society was rational (I for one think religious thinking is divisive and dangerous). But I don't want to hear a f***ing WORD from my elected officials about their particular pandering delusion.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • ChrisVC

      Thanks for reminding me why I left the Repbublicans and the "Christian church", and why I'll be voting for Dems in the coming election.

      "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 Republachristians pressed for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and have suggested more of the same in Iran. They also have tried to consistently tear down the social programs that work to keep our population from falling into poverty. They have no emphathic concern to what the Bible calls "the least of us". The Republachristians have stood against healthcare reform. The Republachristians have stood against environmental reforms and protections, and have worked the hardest to insert themselves into peoples private lives.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • FSM_Minister

      Absolutely, hold tight to your religion! However, do not condemn or complain that I am an Atheist!
      You talk about it all you want! However, when I tell you I do not want to hear it, SHUT UP!
      Display it, in your yard, in your home, in your church yard; however, keep it OUT of the public square and OFF PUBLIC LAND!
      You can live however you wish, however DO NOT tell me how to live!
      DO NOT tell my my life is offensive! (Whether I live alone, with a woman, a man, or that I can only marry a woman!) Because you are OFFENDED by how I live and/or who I sleep with!
      Vote how you wish however, do not attempt to tell me how to vote!
      If you do not wish to be told by Atheists or ANY other group what they think then do not tell us how to live, what to believe, how to believe and/or worship or think.

      It REALLY is that simple!
      I DO hope that cleared that up!

      November 4, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  10. Chuck

    Wow its come to this now........

    November 4, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  11. ForGoodOfAll

    My vote is for Barack Obama. Jesus has nothing to do with it.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  12. Name*Rocky

    Exactly thats why I can't nor should any "Christian" vote for anyone with a "D" by there name thx.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  13. myway

    I'm sure this is well intended, but all I see the good pastor is using election day to put another twist into voters minds. That's not too far away of what he accuses politicians of doing in the run up to an election.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  14. tucsand

    Well I meant his name but you get the idea :) gigglel

    November 4, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  15. Rob McDonald

    Let us not forget, Jesus was a Jew. He'd have a hard time running for the Presidency in America.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  16. AMERICA1ST

    The hatred I see spewing from the church over politics does get in the way of the real message. Jesus is a loving, caring, take care of the poor, the sick, the infirmed. Share. What happened.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • ForGoodOfAll

      I agree with your post, America1st. If Jesus was an American voter, He would definitely be much more aligned with the policies of the Democratic Party, which truly cares & provides support to the 47% (the ones that Romney said 'don't matter').

      November 4, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  17. Michael

    Many of those those in foxholes were guided there by others stuffing religion into tho them; like all the overstuffed people in the country who are fat on food. That's how many of these men end up in foxholes, religion. Atheists don't fair well in the military because its counter-culture to them. Not afraid to die approach. because they are told they are doing "gods work". Its nice to see many enlightened comments on here. Perhaps there is hope out there and not pie-in-the-sky.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Hitch

      There are plenty of atheists in the army. Just this year there was a Rock beyond belief concert by American Atheist. Do some research moron. Chinese army is full of atheists. People fight for their country, unless you are infected with this disease called christianity or islam.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  18. TheTraveler

    I really don't understand why any news service runs articles at all concerning faith issues. Faith and belief is a personal choice. It doesn't rely on who's in the Oval Office, which party controls Congress or any other "worldly" issue.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  19. Hitch

    Religion is organized schizophrenia. Christianity is a disease. Christians believe in a resurrecting zombie that saves with blood. Christian right wingers are messed up in the head. Look at Westboro baptist church. These schizophrenics believe in sin, suffering, demons, hell, god, imaginary friends, mary, angels and crap like that.

    This is the 21st century, not the 12th. We don't need christianity or islam in today's society.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • truth

      Amen.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  20. tucsand

    For a country that was founded from escaping religious monarchy of England, we sure do have a lot of hate in our country for other religious groups. We're Americans haven't we learned anything throughout the years here? How someone practices there spirituality or religion is entirely up to them in this country and I strongly believe our government should stay out of religion.

    The same for the reverse of that also religion should stay out of our government. Its not that hard to comprehend that either we have freedom of religion in the United States or we don't? We may have different ways of what is right for religion and how to reach our God(s) but the goals are all the same.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:26 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.