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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. Menno

    Thanks for making this happen Mark, I will be there!

    November 4, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • J.M.

      me too, Mark. I'll bring the kool-aid!

      November 4, 2012 at 6:48 am |
  2. ObamaJoe

    Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a super rich greedy business man to enter the white house of great America.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • Rena

      Wow, how did Kennedy get in office, he was rich. Oh, I guess that explains why Kerry didn't win against Bush!

      November 4, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  3. My Name is Legion

    Sounds like just another reason to get the sheepies together and pass the plate around, every chance the hustlers get, ka-ching!

    November 4, 2012 at 6:46 am |
  4. Modern Man

    I vote for the Christian News Network (CNN) to join the 21st century and leave bronze age mythologies behind.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:45 am |
  5. mike

    Jesus Christ is a freaking human being, he is not GOD. Its a myth, akin to Greek Mythology. - Science FIRST!

    November 4, 2012 at 6:45 am |
    • Christian

      The earliest books of the New Testament were written within a generation of Jesus' death, i.e., within 30 years. There were many people (other than the disciples) who witnessed the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-9). If these eyewitnesses to the Resurrection (and therefore proof of Jesus' divinity) did not exist, then people would have known and Paul's ministry and Christianity would not have survived very long let alone 2000 years.

      Two other pieces of historical evidence for the Resurrection:

      1) Women are listed as the first witnesses to the Resurrection. In the ancient world, women's testimony was worthless. If the author of the Gospels, in particular Luke, were fabricating a story on Jesus rising from the dead, he would not mention women as the first witnesses. Also, many secular scholars have examined the Gospel of Luke and have determined that his two New Testament books (Acts being the other) hold up to standards of historical biography and are not a work of fiction.

      2) If there was no Resurrection, where was the body? The Jews, who would have wanted nothing more than to stop the spread of Christianity, would have had to do nothing else than produce the body of Jesus to stop everything before it started. They couldn't do that because there was no body.

      It is a popular misconception, but science and religion are not at odds. Many, many leading secular scientists have come to the conclusion that there was "intelligent design" present in the creation of our planet. I won't get into the evidence for creation here, but if you do some research into Einstein's theory of relativity and the cosmological constant, you would realize that there is much more historical and scientific evidence for the existence of God and the divinity of Christ than you think.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • Guest

      @Mike-WRONG! NO mere human man, would have been able to withstand the horrible torture that JESUS withstood for us, BEFORE the crucifixtion and lived! A normal man would have died LONG before he ever made it to the cross! If it had been you, you would have died at the scourging! Jesus was NOT just a 'freaking' man, He IS God!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Jeff

      Christian, you are delusional. There are not many "leading scientists" that believe in intelligent design. And if they did, they are not talking about your god, the white haired dude in flowing robes, or his "son". I can understand why people like you want to believe in a "god". Many people cannot rationalize how we got here, and cannot accept the finality of our existence. So they want to believe in some higher power. But it is amazing that these same people start to identify with this higher power, and use ancient fiction to ascribe what this god is like, and his "rules". (the bible)

      It is absolutely preposterous, because there is no evidence whatsoever that these fictional rules have any speck of truth in them. None. And there is all kinds of evil in the bible. You say you believe in the bible, that it is the "Truth". Then why does it not only say that it is OK to keep slaves? And tells you how to beat them? This is your fountain of morality, your guiding principles flow from this well?

      Please grow up and gain some good, rational thinking skills, and put them to practice. Then maybe you will realize that your god doesn't exist, and you have your own morality to develop and pass down to your children.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • tf

      the reason why ppl do not believe in God is because of all the lies they have been told. the creative days could have taken millions of billions of years, the hebrew word for day is not a literal 24 hour day like in english, day in hebrew can mean a long span of time.

      secondly, there is no hellfire, why would god make a deal with satan ? makes no sense.
      our parents Adam and eve were perfect and choose to rebel against their creator. hence is why people naturally rebel against authority. the God of the jews was yahweh(in hebrew) Jehovah( in english)

      i mean their is a creator. earth is the only Known planet to have laws of Gravity,it is the perfect distance away from the sun ... Scientist are good are what they havent proven macro evolution. they've only manage to prove adaptation or micro evolution. the chances of an ape becoming a humanoid are highly unlikely.

      November 5, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  6. james pfeiffer

    The two most sinister problems in this country are greed and religion. All over the Arab world governments are struggling with religious extremism. The exact same thing is happening here. True Christianity has been hijacked by clever manipulators of the sheepish followers. Religious posers are using their tox-free bully pulpits to dictate their own perverted view of politics...and rather than think for themselves, the sheep-like congregation baa all the way to the voting booth after being told who to vote for.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • Joderito

      You have an interesting perspective, but I think what this writer is saying is different.

      November 4, 2012 at 6:53 am |
    • whitman30

      It depends on the religion, so not really, it is greed. Look at what many of those politicians tell people. They don't really believe in God; they say that for your vote in order to get to the money.

      November 4, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  7. tokencode

    Religion is a cancer

    November 4, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • ObamaJoe

      Fake religion is a cancer,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,dude,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,not the real one,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      November 4, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • Albrecht von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha

      Obama Jow: And which is the real one?

      November 4, 2012 at 6:49 am |
    • Guest

      CANCER is a horrible disease!! Religion is NOT a cancer, it is a tool to live our lives by. Only to those who are afraid and ignorant of it, would believe something like that! I've lost family members to REAL cancer, and it's horrible pain!

      November 4, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • athos

      its not a cancer its a vires.

      November 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  8. ObamaJoe

    ---–Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. -----

    Mitt Romney saves his money in foreign banks while China lends America money ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,funny,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    November 4, 2012 at 6:44 am |
  9. Jerry

    As I read the snide comments of folks on this article, I am saddened that so many have note a clue of what this fellow was saying.

    Elections are just elections. Politicians separate us. Borders of countries separate us. For thse who believe in therisen Christ, we are united in our faith. So think about it before you judge and say hateful things. I an sure he will forgive you.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:43 am |
    • Bill

      Nothing separates like religion. Don't take my word for it. Study the history of any century.

      November 4, 2012 at 6:48 am |
  10. Casey

    God already knows the outcome of this election and is in control over all leaders in the world.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:41 am |
    • ObamaJoe

      Sure thing :)

      November 4, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • Albrecht von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha

      Please explain the killings and abuses

      November 4, 2012 at 6:50 am |
    • whitman30

      Albrecht- don't blame God when evil men do evil things. It is called free will.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:13 am |
    • Christian

      The fact that you are even outraged by these evil things is evidence of God. If there was no God, then we are all biological sacks of cells, so when people die, it is simply evolution and survival of the fittest. Our absolute morality and the knowledge of right and wrong comes from our being made in the image of a holy and just God.

      November 4, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • athos

      thats a load of s&^t.

      November 4, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  11. buffalo

    "God gave us reason, not Religion."

    November 4, 2012 at 6:41 am |
    • tarura

      God gives us hope, not Obama,

      November 4, 2012 at 6:51 am |
  12. Bill

    The author of that opinion piece is dangerously irresponsible.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:40 am |
  13. ObamaJoe

    “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

    November 4, 2012 at 6:40 am |
  14. ObamaJoe

    If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:39 am |
  15. ObamaJoe

    And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men

    November 4, 2012 at 6:38 am |
  16. Jt_flyer

    Jesus wasn't born on US soil.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • ObamaJoe

      We don't care. Most important is his heart !!!!!!!!!!!!

      November 4, 2012 at 6:41 am |
    • Name*dunracin

      And neither was Obama!

      November 4, 2012 at 6:43 am |
  17. Colin

    Anybody who, in the 21st Century, still believes in the supernatural mumbo-jumbo about Jesus, is either woefully uneducated or a downright simpleton.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:37 am |
    • nope

      @colon
      nope

      November 4, 2012 at 6:39 am |
    • Tim

      Thanks. Now I know what my problem is.

      November 4, 2012 at 6:44 am |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    November 4, 2012 at 6:37 am |
    • Jeff

      Prayer is absolute BS, and has never worked for anyone. Prove it otherwise.

      November 4, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • athos

      if pray chages things why did my friends hart exploid a year later after sergary.

      November 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  19. ObamaJoe

    Should we vote for a super rich Latter Day Jesus ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a super rich greedy business man to enter the white house of great America.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:35 am |
  20. J.M.

    For the past several years the Western world has been fighting a war with a group of extremists that believe we should put their version of religion above everyone elses. Here is a gentleman, who has shaved his beard, taken off his robes, changed his complexion and is looking for the confused and lonely to indoctrinate into HIS way of thinking. Believe what you will, teach your kids your myths and tales, but, do it in private, because it's a short step from that to the Ayatollah's world.

    November 4, 2012 at 6:35 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.