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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 • My Take • Politics

soundoff (3,435 Responses)
  1. Jonas

    Hahaha, and people call Gary Johnson a spoiler.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  2. Belseth

    So you are voting for a dead Jew that said we should do more to help the poor and love each other. I take it you aren't a Republican because that's the opposite of their platform! All I hear from the Republicans is hate and fear and how the poor are a drain on the economy. Republicans are rabid "Christians", they just think Christ himself was a Commie. Here's a Biblical platform, tax the rich more, more bank regulation and an end to excessive fees, increase welfare, increase medicare and medicaid, increase programs for feeding the hungry. Notice not a single one of these is part of the Republican platform but elements are in the Democratic platform they are just downplayed to not annoy conservatives. Notice also there's nothing in there about hating gays or poor people and blacks or Mexicans? Christ only spoke out against the moneylenders, you know the ones Bush's TARP bank bailout gave 700 billion to! Christ did also speak out against the rich, Romney's kind of people. I just find it disturbing when people are pounding on the Bible and apparently they never opened the cover. FYI Christianity is supposed to be based on the New Testament not the old one which was the original Jewish part. It's ironic that Jewish people tend to be more liberal than Christians when Jewish laws are more radical and Christ preached a liberal approach to life. If Christ does come back he's likely to be strung up fro being a Socialist!

    November 4, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • kateulrich

      What a rant

      November 4, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Hello

      the jesus character is a fake... Read Caesar's Messiah by Joseph Atwill....

      November 4, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • keltic1

      He would be strung up for NOT preaching "Redistributive Marxism", Jesus never asked Caesar to feed the needy, that is your job. Charity is a PERSONAL responsibility not a theiving collective mandate.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  3. Smoothshocker

    We should worship

    Xipe Totec – Our Lord of the Flayed One
    God of suffering and diseases and goldsmiths. His worship required the flaying of a slave and the wearing of his skin.

    This guy would kicks Jesus' a$$

    November 4, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  4. Dave

    If more people (and politicians) were concerned with voting, and less concerned with the rituals and blood rites of ancient middle eastern death cults, a lot of our problems would go away.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • JD

      Funny how they just keep popping up. It's like they're on to something ya kno?? Well what do 2.18 billion people know anyway ;)

      November 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  5. Smoothshocker

    Xipe Totec – Our Lord of the Flayed One
    God of suffering and diseases and goldsmiths. His worship required the flaying of a slave and the wearing of his skin.

    Worship him!!

    November 4, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  6. Derrick Scott

    1 Samuel 8:6 – if more Christians understood what it means to be a Christian the election of a President/ruler would've been done away with long ago

    November 4, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Seyedibar

      "Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity."
      -Thomas Jefferson

      November 4, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  7. Rainer Braendlein

    Prayers of Benjamin Franklin:

    "Father of light and life, thou Good Supreme!
    O teach me what is good; teach me Thyself!
    Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,
    From every low pursuit; and fill my soul
    With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure;
    Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss!"

    "O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest. strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my kind offices to thy other children as the only return in my power for thy continual favors to me."

    November 4, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      "My parents had early given me religious impressions, and brought me through my childhood piously in the dissenting [puritan]way. But I was scarce fifteen, when, after doubting by turns of several points, as I found them disputed in the different books I read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself. Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's lectures. [Robert Boyle (1627-1691) was a British physicist who endowed the Boyle Lectures for defense of Christianity.]It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough deist"

      [Benjamin Franklin, "Autobiography,"p.66 as published in *The American Tradition in Literature,* seventh edition (short), McGraw-Hill,p.180]

      November 4, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Moby Schtick

      Yes, the Presbyterian Church (Franklin's home church) of Franklin's time was weak, very weak, but nevertheless Franklin was a lover of genuine Christianity.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Bullsh!t, dipsh!t. You're ignoring Franklin's own words about becoming a "THOROUGH DEIST." Quit your lying; it's making baby jesus cry.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  8. JM

    God is love.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • DUMP hINDU FABRICATION MITHRA ISM, SAVIOR ISM, CHRISTIANITY, VOTE FOR TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD

      RELIGIONS ARE hINDUISM, racism.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Smoothshocker

      Maybe the New Testament version, but certainly not the Old Testament version.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Hello

      all gods are fake...

      November 4, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      STOP MURDER, ELIMINATE, OPEN CHALLENGE, DUMP, ......HA HA HA KEEP GOING SUCKER, NO ONE CARES FOR YOUR STUPID MEANINGLESS RANTS. YOUR POSTS ON BRIEF BLOG IS NO MORE THAN A DOG FOULING IN PARKS. WISE UP LOOSER, IT WASN'T IN YOUR HAND YOU BORNED MUSLIM, BUT IT IS IN YOUR HAND TO ACT LIKE A DECENT HUMAN BEING. GOON.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  9. j

    Vote for Santa and the Easter Bunny...

    November 4, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • mgibsongirl

      yes! because they are about as real as 'jesus' or 'god'. religion has caused more wars and death than any disease could!

      November 4, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Orso

      No way!!!

      Santa is a fat ba$tard, he didn't get me what I wanted last christmas.
      The Eastern Bunny is a cross dresser, I can't trust him.

      I will vote for... The Grinch!!!!

      November 4, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  10. Robert

    It's supposed to be about what is best for the country, not who believes the same mythology as you. Take a good long look at the places where religion dominates. Sharia law, beheadings, the Spanish Inquisition, flying planes into buildings. Yeah religions just great. What happened to the keeping your Theology out of our Democracy? Not a chance. You'll always inflict your religion on us however you can.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  11. Rainer Braendlein

    The Creed of Benjamin Franklin:

    "That there is one God, who made all things.

    "That he governs the world by his providence.

    "That he ought to be worshiped by adoration, prayer, and thanksgiving.

    "But that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man.

    "That the soul is immortal.

    "And that God will certainly reward virtue and punish vi-ce either here or hereafter

    November 4, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      "I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies."

      [Benjamin Franklin, in _Toward The Mystery_]

      November 4, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • good one

      ..and he was rewarded for his personal virtue while flying his kite,as the skies darkened.What colour is the sky in your world?

      November 4, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Moby Schtick

      Yes, you are right, some churches are distorted but Franklin loved the genuine Jesus, and I love him too.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  12. TC

    Bottomline is its a corrupt 2 party system and none of these politicians behaves like a Christian – we are all doomed.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  13. Big Man

    My vote is for Balder.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  14. Arvoasitis

    A wonderful idea. As for the hostile atheists, no one is forcing you to participate. Take a tranquillizer and calm down already.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Dave

      You'd probably have said that to MLK and Rosa Parks, too.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Arvoasitis

      @Dave

      Not at all; they were both standing up (or sitting down in the case of Rosa Parks) for a commendable cause.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Hello

      there is no one my hostile than a mythic brainwashed in dogma.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Hello

      there is no one mmore hostile than a mythic brainwashed in dogma.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Orso

      I guess we have different opinions on what "Hostile" means...

      I define as "Hostile" to what the crusades did to humans, or to what the Taliban is doing now...
      But having a difference of opinions regarding religion between atheists and silly people like you... no, that does not seem hostile to me.

      But, what do I know, I don't follow the fable books you read.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  15. Don

    Are you electing someone to fix the country or to be your faith example? To those of you devout Christians, my self included, would you rather have a brillant athesist brain surgeon, or a below average on of your faith?
    Come on, their religion is not the primary focus, it's if they can do the job right. There are plenty of inept people that are both Christian, Jewish, Athesist, etc. Vote for who can get the job done.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Hello

      many believe that those controlled by mythic dogma are more capable than those who are not. It is part of the religious dogma .

      Read Caesar's Messiah to learn more on why and how the christian myth was created by the Roman Caesar Flavian family.

      Why is it rooted in the Jewish myth.... and how it evolved into the barbaric religions of today.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  16. tucsand

    If people would look past a persons religion and get to know the person as a person they may find they like the person and have many things in common.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • TC

      NOt when they are liars and fail to educate themselves on reality.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      You like socialism, much? I prefer antisocial living. I stay outa yers, you stay outa mine.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • FactoidLover

      In instances of public authority, looking past religious commitments is a dangerous act. I have many religious friends that I share many commonalities with, but I know in advance that were they to hold public office, they would find themselves in many moments of conflict between religious commitments and public commitments. I'm not saying they are bad people, they are truly good folks. But their commitments to beliefs that are often at odds with a government system sworn to non-bias when it comes to religion, race, and creed, place them in many difficult situations. Secular politicians have an advantage in this regard.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  17. Dave

    Traitor.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  18. Anybody know how to read?

    '"conspiracy"
    occurs 10 times in 10 verses in the KJV ' for a reason. Keep your PUblic Servants on a short leash.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  19. Rainer Braendlein

    @dd

    Dear dd, I cannot believe that someone on this blog is serious.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • TC

      No one thinks your serious Rain – just a crazy cult follower

      November 4, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  20. tucsand

    What does it say about a religion where the leaders are abusing and molesting young boys.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • TC

      It says evil enters everything and that you need to educate yourself about the christian religion. If you don't know the history of judaism and christianity how can you hope to understand anyting?

      November 4, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • tucsand

      TC Okay you have a good point. What I am getting at is can you blame the whole faith for the faults of a few people?

      November 4, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • TC

      You can't blame the faith but you have to remove the evil from the organization

      November 4, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • tucsand

      Brilliantly said

      November 4, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Hello

      there is no commandment against pedophilia... google "zex in early Rome" to find out why.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.