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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. WHO NEEDS AN ENEMY, WITH A hINDU, INFIDEL FRIEND CHRISTIAN.

    Hell with hinduism, fabrication called Jesus to promote hinduism, racism, denial of truth absolute GOD, foundation of American consti tution, BE A GOOD HUMAN AND AN AMERICAN, VOTE FOR TRUTH ABSOLUTE, ROCK OF AMERICA. visit limitistheturth.com to make up your mind.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  2. Tim

    People like this are why Romney even has a chance to win and, as an atheist and believer that people should believe and act in peace without Bible-imposed rules, why I can't vote for him. Give me a Republican with sound fiscal policy (based on real math) and who understands social freedom that doesn't impose their version of religion on the rest of the US (and desire to do so on the rest of the world), and then maybe I'd consider a Republican. I'm in the 1% and will still vote for Obama.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • WHO NEEDS AN ENEMY, WITH A hINDU, INFIDEL FRIEND CHRISTIAN.

      Their can be no peace, Islam, without following of truth absolute GOD, hindu filthy atheism, self center ism is, nothing else but the way to hind, hell in life and hear after.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  3. felix el gato

    The Bible makes it clear what to do with the 47% that Romney and the Republican Party disdain. Ignoring them was never the answer.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  4. Why are you so

    damn $tupid?

    November 4, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  5. Patti

    Very reasurring, people voting based on make believe.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  6. OregonTom

    The J man can't run, he was not born in the United states.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  7. Name*Allen smiley

    Choose you this day whom you shall serve America. If it were possible to bring back George Washington to be president he could not prevent the events prophesied in the holy Bible from happening. Both presidential are against Jesus Christ by supporting Satanic doctrines. His Holy Majesty demands total obedience. Long ago America signed a contract with God to help them build a nation where they could worship and serve Him. He helped them win the revolutionary war so the nation of America was created. The contract was signed 'In the year of OUR LORD'. God blessed America with the best but through the years America has forsaken that contract and rebeled against Him. Therefore His hand has turned against America until America honors this contract once again. There is no such thing as 'mother nature'. America' rebellion has caused these disasters and they will get worse as long as this contract is violated. No one man or president can stop this.America must repent as a nation and until it does disasters will get worse just like giving birth. We are now according to prophecy as told by Daniel chapter 2. Looking at the statute of empires according to the king of Babylon's dream the feet and toes of iron and potter's clay are countries in the European Union. The potter's clay are those countries needing bailout. Those countries with financial aid are the iron as symbolized in the king's dream. The books of Daniel are now opened. Pay attention world , prepare yourselves to meet theKING OF GLORY.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • terre haute

      ...backing away slowly...

      November 4, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • snowboarder

      allen – you are just nutty.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • My Name is Legion

      Allen
      Now that is a rant that could only have been written by a Born Again. How many times has it been by now Allen, a few dozen? 666

      November 4, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • terre haute

      Fred Phelps believes as you do. You know, the guy who's followers protest at soldiers' funerals?

      Google him, and be proud of yourself...

      November 4, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • gullible americans

      amen brother

      November 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  8. JC

    I hardly ever read post trying to convert people to Christianity but i sure read a lot of posts trying to convert people to Atheism.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • My Name is Legion

      JC you see through a glass darkly, no matter what was written you would interpert the neaning from your bias. 666

      November 4, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Damocles

      Oh, see, I was ok with you until you said this. 'Find him or you are going to hell', 'your life is meaningless without a deity', 'repent before it's too late', 'on that day every head shall bow', 'I feel bad that you are going to hell because of your non-belief', the absolutely horrific claim of 'your child is in heaven, don't you want to see your child?'. If you are going to lie, lie about things that can't easily be researched by looking through all these posts.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Tim

      Nice selective reading JC. How about Allen a few posts above.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, you don't, JC. More lies?

      November 4, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • terre haute

      "I believe in God."

      "I don't."

      Neither is an attempt to convert. If atheists seem more vocal, I'd say it's the common case of the minority having more to say on a topic than the majority. Christians can rightly feel that their views will be accepted without question by the majority of people in this country. For atheists, it's exactly the opposite. Their views will be attacked by the majority merely for being expressed. Respectfully, I'd argue that your "convert people to atheism" comment is an example of this.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  9. Jimjones11111

    Hypocrisy: While Christians are all for saving the unborn fetus, they have no problm with killing through war or the death penalty.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • JC

      It works both way you protest war but celebrate the killing of the innocent.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      @JC

      Yeah, but god has both sides beat. He kills the innocent (a quarter of all pregnancies end in miscarriage–most before the mother is ever aware that she is pregnant) and he commands the Israelites to war and delights in an eternal torture pit.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      JC, what bullish!t. Nobody "celebrates the killing of the innocent." What nonsense.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • terre haute

      I'll second Tom's reply to JC. I dare you to find one person who's actually "pro-abortion" before you make that claim again. The argument that pro-choice advocates "celebrate" abortion can't be defended. It's nonsensical propaganda that only most simple, brain-washed mind would accept for even a moment.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • gullible americans

      repub. nor dem. care about the unborn babys,except for the people that cast a vote.you see they have used you to take away the human rights that so many have died for the agenda has been to lead us all down the road to were we are at now.that is in the hands of one world order. So it doesnt matter who is elected the out come will stil be the same.The lies we all have belived and will continue to believe, because its only how to make the rich richer.So bend over working class and continue to take it up the ass.You get what you vote for.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  10. terre haute

    Change the name of this article to "On Election Day, proclaiming my loyalty to Allah", and watch the conversation flip 180 degrees.

    Christians would be going absolutely bat-crap crazy attacking the author on this board. Funny thing is, they'd be using the same arguments: "Christian nation", "freedom of religion", "persecution of Christians", "American values", etc.

    "Christian nation", meet Sharia Law. Pot, meet kettle.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • gullible americans

      lol but my ass still hurts

      November 4, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  11. Rainer Braendlein

    Nobody is forced to join my cult. Here I go again:

    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 "worked" at Sabbath but they made a mistake because Jesus simply loved the sick man, and cured his soul and his body for free which was a divine service). Hence, Jesus escaped to Galilee which was somewhat more pagan (secular) than Judea, and there Jesus could preach the gospel of himself more undisturbed.

    At Lake Galilee there was a certain mountain (maybe the mountain of the Sermon on the Mount) 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 people. People mainly seeked Jesus because they knew that he could cure but Jesus forgave their earthiness. and told them how they could enter God's Kingdom.

    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

    By the way, also the great Benjamin Franklin said that the center of true faith should be charity.

    When Jesus returns, will he find charity in the USA? Will he find faith in the USA when he returns?

    How do we get the power to overcome our egoism or selfishness? It is the faith in Jesus.

    Take the Bread of Life, and you will become able to share the bread which you have earned by your work.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • snowboarder

      rain – i suppose if you repeat the same nonsense over and over someone is bound to fall for it.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • terre haute

      That's because Benjamin Franklin was agnostic at best. As were Jefferson and Washington. At their most religious, you could call them Deists, but most of the founding fathers wouldn't pass contemporary evangelicals' definition of "believer."

      November 4, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @snowboarder

      For the sake of your poor soul you should be the first one.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • TC

      Dude – your heretical sect logic is no good here.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Benjamin Franklin was a Presbyterian.

      I have read his autobiography. It is only that he was somewhat disappointed by his church but he was never disappointed by Jesus Christ himself, and a daresay that Franklin loved Jesus.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • snowboarder

      rain – it is all just superst!t!ious nonsense.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Rainy is an SBNR progressive double agent.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • gullible americans

      It also says not to turn you back on the widows the poor and the sick which if you have any hearing that is also on the agend to continue to do. If you were in the real world and in the trenches with the poor,or you have been brain washed by the repub. party you just might see the truth of what is going on. Or maybe you have the same agenda that money is your god!!

      November 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  12. chedar888

    There are trillions of God out there in the 31 realms of existence. Pick one you would like to be in. They don't last and they are not eternal. IT will cause you to take rebirth in the 6 realms of existence in a cycle of no end. The only one can stop this is to attain eternal bliss.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • gullible americans

      Tis true but one god and i do believe in jesus as my lord and savior ,the antichrist nows the word inside an out and can twist the word to influence the minds of others manly the lost. i wont use the word because you only need common sense to now what is going on so you try to cover up all you want to , i think all you have to do is get your head out of the sand.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  13. Joe citizen abroad

    When Jesus told his disciples to remember his body and blood, didn't He simply say, "Do this as often as you eat and drink"? That sounds more like a personal, several-times-a-day ritual than a communal political statement.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  14. Kathy

    I believe that President Obama has demonstrated Christian values while in office. The other candidate is reallly unknown. That scares me. Running one Olympics and the state of Massachusetts is very different than tuning the most influential office on earth.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  15. TRUTH TELLER

    Everyone really knows that god is imaginary! ... http://www.GodIsImaginary.com (visit that website and learn the truth).

    November 4, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  16. Dr. Enfante

    Remember when CNN used to be a real news organization?

    November 4, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  17. cybercmdr

    If Jesus actually existed and the Bible accurately reflects his teachings, I doubt he would recognize Christianity as practiced in this country. Judge not, that ye be not judged? Love your enemy?

    If he came back, he would be run out of town in middle America for being a communist hippie.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  18. TRUTH TELLER

    Why do adults still believe in God? They have long given up other childhood fantasies. They no longer believe in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Boogie Man, Unicorns, etc., but still hang onto the mythical fantasy make-believe god? Why???????? ...... Everyone really knows that god is imaginary! .............................. http://www.GodIsImaginary.com ............................ (visit that website and learn the truth).

    November 4, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • REPEAT

      Everyone really knows that god is imaginary! ........ http://www.GodIsImaginary.com (visit that website and learn the truth).

      November 4, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • DITTO

      YES! ... god is imaginary! ........ http://www.GodIsImaginary.com ... (visit that website and learn the truth).

      November 4, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  19. Bloghead

    I wish CNN would put opinion articles all together in one "opinion column" on the side instead of sprinkled in with news stories. Regular people with no journalistic training have no business being put on the same level.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  20. chedar888

    God or Gods. There are many of them. Pick one in the 31 planes of realm that they exists. Their are billions or trillions of them and they are part of the 6 realms. They also expire up there to take rebirth as human like Jesus. So there is no such things as eternal, The cycle of death and rebirth continue. The only way you can avoid rebirth is to attain eternal bliss.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:49 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.