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.
In a liberated society, freedom of conscience facilitates the progression of civilization. A purport of the notion of freedom of mind, Science provides an analytical method for our mere human minds to come to grasp with that which is the beauty of the infinitesimal universe around us. That is, until ignorant folks attempt to squash, main, and silence the voice of reason.
Take the South and Midwest, where ignorance is the fashion of the day and any droplet of intellectual curiosity is squandered by the religious right. Free thinkers are herded by the sheep of the masses into conforming to the norm. From a young age children are taught not to question authority, not to question morality, not to question the essence of life. Scientific methods are obfuscated in favor of Creationist dribble.
It is not unusual for a “teacher” in the South and Midwest to be incessant that evolution is wrong and to try to prove to students that the geological record supports the theory of a great flood while abridging the great 4,600,000,000 year span of geological time into a mere 6000. Religion seeps into the classroom to perverse the minds of the student body. Christianity is a moral puppet and anyone who had a different world view was ostracized. Furthermore, many children can't grasp the basic fundamentals of modern science that allow us to live in such a technologically progressive society. How are they to be imparted upon lessons of logic and analytical reasoning when they believe in the fairy tale of god?
Science is nothing more than a medium to figure out truth absolute, constant of a matter, nothing more, dependent on human, constant search of beauty, perfection is in search of truth absolute GOD, not in hinduism, denial of truth absolute GOD, in following of hindu, filthy reasons and hindu Judaism, filthy self center ism, secular ism.
MITTENS WEARS MAGIC UNDERWEAR AND BELIEVES DRINKING COFFEE IS A SIN – that my friends is a cult
Christians worship human sacrifice, drink blood and eat flesh. THAT for sure is a cult.
This reminds me of Romney
It's true, I support Obama fully. I was just trying to test the waters by posting negative things about Obama that weren't true. I wanted to see if people were educating themselves and realizing that Obama has had a HUGE mess to clean up after Bush.
I do! I support the Black half of Obama. But his white half is fricked up....
*sighs in relief*
Thing is, your remarks can't easily be taken as satire...there are too many people who think that way in reality. It's shameful, it really is.
Lovely. What's this supposed to prove? That weddings are held in churches? That hymns are sung?
The problem is: Which Jesus? The Jerry Falwell one? The Mormon one? The Mark Schloneger one? The Tea Party one? There is no unity in Jesus, only unity within each group's perception and they contradict one another.
Take out the words "no unity in" and you would be on to something.
Ed, perhaps my point was too subtle for you.
Vote for Jesus and get the heathen Muslim Barack out of office. We can't put a mormon in there either, so let's get George Bush back! Or maybe his son, is there a George Bush the Third?
10) "Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream." —LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000
9) "I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family." —Greater Nashua, N.H., Jan. 27, 2000
8) "I hear there's rumors on the Internets that we're going to have a draft." —second presidential debate, St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 8, 2004
7) "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." —Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000
6) "You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that." —to a divorced mother of three, Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005
5) "Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." —Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004
4) "They misunderestimated me." —Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 6, 2000
3) "Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?" —Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000
2) "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." —Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004
1) "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." —Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002
You should take a break from your delusions, it seems they're affecting your understanding of reality.
"I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction"
The gangster thug Treyvonne "Looks like my son"
"I can't speak, where is my Teleprompter?"
Don't forget the Beers in the White House event because Obama judged a Police officer of Racism, and it was O. who was the racist...
Only a complete fool would ask for Bush back.
Some of you guys are saying some very awful things abou God, religion and Jesus. I will pray for you all. I am born again Christian. I am against abortion due to my christian principles, but I also am against any occultism. I believe Mormonism is as a cult and I church leaders are refusing to tall us because of hate of the President. I believe we as Christians ca pray and work hard to refuse abortion. But what we cant do is be ruled be someone who doesn't believe in our values, who doesn't believe that Jesus is our savoir and God, he may say he does because of Politics but he religion doesn't. The Bible says " you good works are like filthy rugs before me" I will not and never vote for Romney the same way I will nt vote for a Muslim. Is true that we should separate Religion from Politics but I believes and set but our religion and a man who is an elder in his cult is even worse.That is my choice, you may insult me as being cynical, but remember that a lot of air religious leaders especially in the south are being hypocrites. They will vote for a Mormon due to hate, they're against abortion but will not help fend for the child when he/she is born, they will rather have you die after you are born.I can't vote for a man or woman with no conviction, who will say whatever he has to say to win. The question you should all ask yourself when you get to the booth is" Is this person I am voting real, do i really know where he stands, maybe he is throwing dust into all our eye, and change when is Politically expedient? can we have that in America?
Christians, Mormons, Islam, etc., cling to religion and continue to endorse it as reality and insist that it somehow should govern morality and law-making. One can lay out all the evidence and build (and have built) an airtight case against every single religion on Earth past and present, but still believers will not budge from their point of view, even when presented with the lies and contradictions in the very scriptures they base their beliefs on.
Understand, I am not talking about a belief in God. I do understand that. I am talking about religion. Every one of which has been empirically proven false but yet clings like moss to ancient rocks.
I believe the single most important factor in this inability to see through the foolishness of religion is fear. Children’s stories of heaven and hell. The initial indoctrination for many, simply cannot be undone.
Secondly, there is a feeling of community that comes with any “club” Naturally this is not relegated to religion so it does not qualify as an excuse.
Lastly some minds are unable to think creatively enough to imagine the more plausible alternatives. What are those alternatives? Well we have to turn to science, but also we have to accept what we don’t know and keep looking. And in truth, we don’t really know anything about how the universe came to be, what came before and where it is going. If there are multiple universes and time lines through which we move, these would be marvelous discoveries. There was a wonderful article in Scientific American a few months ago regarding a new spin on the Quantum theory. That being the quantum universe could have foamlike fluctuations that rule spacetime, not unlike the 0’s and 1’s that are the foundation of computing and storing information.
If we wish to believe in the supernatural, we have to make things up. Hence religion. It doesn’t mean there is no god, or gods, or aliens, but it does mean that we don’t have the answers and most likely never will.
Now we arrive back at fear. What will happen to me when I die? For me, I look forward to an eternity of nothing. Others fear this prospect and prefer to believe in fairies and fantasies and are not even ashamed that their mental description of an after life is akin to that of a 5-year-old’s picture book.
I believe the Universe and the “everything” are FAR more bizarre than we could ever imagine with the faculties we have thus far obtained via evolution on this planet. And I wonder how many millions of civilizations across the vastness of space and time have pondered likewise.
Finally, the entire planet is affected by the irrational belief systems of the various mainstream religions. It affects the global economy, it affects world peace, it affects our secular life style in the United States. These ancient belief systems are based on superst.ition and mythology. One would think humans would have moved forward by now but instead we as a species behave in the same self-destructive manner now as we did thousands of years ago with more at stake then at any other time in history.
The only difference between a religion and a cult is political power.
The "occult" and "a cult" are two totally different things.
So who will you vote for? The poser Muslim Christian that doesn't support any Christian values or the Mormon who follows a cult? Write in vote maybe?
Mormonism is a cult. This is coming from a born again Christian?!? Bwaaaahahahahahahaaaaa! You believe in talking snakes and worship human sacrifice. You also drink blood and and eat flesh in you meetings. Christianity may be older and have more members than Mormonism but it is certainly no less of a cult.
All I read in this statement is "I am a born again and as such I am better then you and will pray for you out of pity because you will burn for your opinions."
My Christians (and most religions in general) are so snotty in their supremacy
excuse my typos typing from a phone apparently I'm not good at it. It still believe Mormonism is a cult I have the book of Mormon right in front of me. It is not the bible I am sorry. To answer your question, I am torn, but I am leaning toward the President, because at least he has conviction , and we know where he stands so we can pray for him. We don't know where Romney stands so how do we start?
This effectively summarizes what is wrong with the South and Christianity. I couldn't have made a stronger case myself.
I really hope someone reads this and it plants a seed. Free yourself from the chains of religion. Skepticism and wonder are far more rewarding than mindless belief in dogma that has no proof. The evidence for evolution is overwhelming. I was once a committed christian and can’t begin to tell you how much more rewarding it is to free your mind and think for yourself. Think about it. You are a christian most likely because your parents were christians, or you happened to be born in a christian culture. You are no more emphatic about your delusional beliefs than millions of hindus, muslims, or jews. There is no reason to believe gods, an afterlife, or hell exists. They are all man made. Take a chance. Read a book by Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, or Christopher Hitchens. If your faith is based on sound principles, there is no threat. Otherwise, you just may see the light and become free.
Ye olde seared con-science type of freedom?
Guide Me, Oh Thou Great Redeemer Songtext:
Guide me O Thou great Redeemer
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak but Thou art mighty
Hold me with thy powerful hand.
Bread of heaven
Feed me now and evermore
Open now the crystal fountain
Whence the healing streams do flow,
Let the fiery cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey though,
Be Thou still my strength and shield.
When I tread the verge of Jordan
Bid my fears subside
Death of death,
And hell's destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan's side,
Songs of praises
I will ever give to thee
@ Rainer, are you praying to Satan?
Heaven is a place in Hell.
A place where Angels and Demons dwell.
The bell rings, the Devil Swings and on God’s throne he begins to dwell.
Looking through space and time the duality of the immortals shine.
The singing begins and the song is one of the infinite.
Universes are sung, galaxies too.
Star and planet, me and you.
But we can hear the singing not.
For we are here on this planet caught.
The web we weave to cry and deceive.
Robs us of our own immortal lot.
Throw the christians to the lions!!
Why punish the lions?
This is absolutely ridiculous. There is a reason why we don't let children vote and it's because they are not mature enough to make adult decisions about who will run our country, but here we have over a MILLION adults dictating their vote not by common sense and the best interest in equality for all Americans but by the teachings of a 2000 year old book and a man who never had to deal with the concept of a Democracy and certainly was not an American. Why not just slice open and read the entrails of a chicken to help you cast your vote? It's the same thing in the end.
Really bothers you huh?
The ones most harmed by ignorance are those forced to put up with the ignorant.
Hooligan sayz, '.....a man who never had to deal with the concept of a Democracy .....' He showed you what he thought of mob rule in the Sodom and Gomorrah incident.
HAHA well, so much for "This isnt a Christian nation anymore" LOL Oh I love the irony :D
Yeah, haha..., it's never been a Christian nation, it is just comprised of a lot of people, many of which are Christians...
Ever heard of the establishment clause?
It doesn't matter if Romney is a Christian. Obama himself has made that issue moot. It only matters whether we, the voters, are Christian. If we consider ourselves genuine Christians there is only one way we can vote ... Obama has seen to that. And it goes like this: A vote for Obama is a vote for abortion on demand. A vote for Obama is a vote for gay rights. He has personally publicly said so. Obama has publicly said the United States is NOT a Christian nation.
That's as far as we need to go. We do not need to talk about the Economy ... Mass Unemployment ... the War on Terrorism ... Illegal Immigration ... Romney's taxes ... or any other popular campaign subject. All that matters is that Obama is NOT any kind of Christian. In fact, he is anti-Christian. Those of us who consider ourselves legitimate Christians have no options ... no choices ... and we have Barack Obama to thank for it. Our only recourse is to vote AGAINST Barack Obama, regardless who the Republican candidate is.
Wow. These are some backwards people I share my country with. I don't hate you, I don't even dislike you, I don't even not like you, I don't even not love you, but please, for all of our sakes, don't create your political opinions on religion. It's just fine if you want to have religion for yourself, but when you vote on that basis it has real life consequences on other people... say the woman who made a mistake and wants to have a normal life, or a person born gay.
America should not be a Christian nation. If you truly believe in American exceptionalism, why degrade America by making it quasi-theocratic like so many other nations?
The thing is, Mike, that unless you have some proof otherwise, god did not appoint you to arbitrate who is or is not a christian, so I would suggest you cut the blasphemy and stop arrogating god's power to yourself.
First of all, turning your religion into laws that I and everyone else must live by violates our freedom of religion. Seems that most Christians somehow think that freedom of religion is actually freedom to be Christian. It's not. Second, if you really think that either party's philosophy is anything but economic, you have no real understanding of American politics and government. Social side issues are merely thrown in to hobble together an electoral majority, and usually the result is to get the ignorant to vote against their economic interests because they think abortion is a bigger problem facing America and the world. Third, if you actually think that gay marriage and abortion should be the biggest concerns of the Christian religion, you have no real understanding of your own religion either. You're probably fond of reading your book of fairy tales anyway, so on election day why don't you read the Sermon on the Mount and familiarize yourself with what was actually important to Jesus...then ask yourself which party's economics does is more sound like to you...every man for himself, or we're all in this together?
Right on Mike! Who cares about mass unemployment, rampant inflation, terrorism, or any other political issue if Obama is going to let the gays marry each other. We can't stand for that. We will ignore every other political problem in the world as long as we don't let the gays get married.
Barack Obama needs 4 more years as president. He hasn't gotten Sharia law passed yet.
Oh I see. You must be one of the geniouses who put G. WMD. B in the White House, right?Our First Mentally Handicapped President. Do you think that was a good thing for our country?
Increase debt, we helped the Muslim brotherhood take over Egypt, dead economy, the Libya fiasco. Obama has been a complete and utter failure as a leader.
You should change your screen name to Delusions Delusions.
Delusions would be a much better name for this troll-except it's already got so many sock puppets–Ronnie Regonzo, Captain america, Ameri2012, and a score of others.
Tho' I seldom attended any public worship, I had still an opinion of its propriety, and of its utility when rightly conducted, and I regularly paid my annual subscription for the support of the only Presbyterian minister or meeting we had in Philadelphia. He us'd to visit me sometimes as a friend, and admonish me to attend his administrations, and I was now and then prevail'd on to do so, once for five Sundays successively. Had he been in my opinion a good preacher, perhaps I might have continued, notwithstanding the occasion I had for the Sunday's leisure in my course of study; but his discourses were chiefly either polemic arguments, or explications of the peculiar doctrines of our sect, and were all to me very dry, uninteresting, and unedifying, since not a single moral principle was inculcated or enforc'd, their aim seeming to be rather to make us Presbyterians than good citizens.
At length he took for his text that verse of the fourth chapter of Philippians, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report, if there be any virtue, or any praise, think on these things." And I imagin'd, in a sermon on such a text, we could not miss of having some morality. But he confin'd himself to five points only, as meant by the apostle, viz.: 1. Keeping holy the Sabbath day. 2. Being diligent in reading the holy Scriptures. 3. Attending duly the publick worship. 4. Partaking of the Sacrament. 5. Paying a due respect to God's ministers. These might be all good things; but, as they were not the kind of good things that I expected from that text, I despaired of ever meeting with them from any other, was disgusted, and attended his preaching no more. I had some years before compos'd a little Liturgy, or form of prayer, for my own private use (viz., in 1728), enti-tled,
Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion. I return'd to the use of this, and went no more to the public assemblies. My conduct might be blameable, but I leave it, without attempting further to excuse it; my present purpose being to relate facts, and not to make apologies for them.
It was about this time I conceiv'd the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection. I wish'd to live without committing any fault at any time; I would conquer all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might lead me into. As I knew, or thought I knew, what was right and wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the one and avoid the other. But I soon found I had undertaken a task of more difficulty than I bad imagined. While my care was employ'd in guarding against one fault, I was often surprised by another; habit took the advantage of inattention; inclination was sometimes too strong for reason. I concluded, at length, that the mere speculative conviction that it was our interest to be completely virtuous, was not sufficient to prevent our slipping; and that the contrary habits must be broken, and good ones acquired and established, before we can have any dependence on a steady, uniform recti-tude of conduct. For this purpose I therefore contrived the following method.
In the various enumerations of the moral virtues I had met with in my reading, I found the catalogue more or less numerous, as different writers included more or fewer ideas under the same name. Temperance, for example, was by some confined to eating and drinking, while by others it was extended to mean the moderating every other pleasure, appeti-te, inclination, or passion, bodily or mental, even to our avarice and ambition. I propos'd to myself, for the sake of clearness, to use rather more names, with fewer ideas annex'd to each, than a few names with more ideas; and I included under thirteen names of virtues all that at that time occurr'd to me as necessary or desirable, and annexed to each a short precept, which fully express'd the extent I gave to its meaning.
These names of virtues, with their precepts, were: ...
I only wanted to add on that the basis of improvement is the releasing power of Jesus Christ which we get through faith and baptism.
Aspire after virtue, yes, but before eat the "Breat of Life".
Sorry, I meant "Bread of Life" (Jesus)
"I only wanted to add on that the basis of improvement is the releasing power of Jesus Christ which we get through faith and baptism." that's an absurd claim because the only true way is for people to submit to Zeus without question. If you're thinking about it, then you're damned already.
belief blog huh...the word lie is in the word beLIEf
Ok, Glenn, thanks for that.
T, believing in yourself is the lie.
Before heading out for communion, be sure to write-in "Jesus Christ" for President when you vote. http://www.voteforjesus.com
It was due to the atheists and their non belief is why we've had humans in office.
Roger, what is wrong with humans? Presumably you are one.
I Will do the same . The Lord designed the brain in such a way that the emotional brain projects the connections to the action planning brain . I don't know if United States can understand the responsibility of the " In God We Trust " statement . More than an emotional statement , it should become an action statement ; to live , behave and elect presidents in accordance to The Trust in God . I know that the USA -Americans will defend on Tuesday , not only their right to vote ( which is absent in several anti- Christian nations ) but also will defend their relation with Christ, Father of democracy and human rights , with an intelligent moral vote and with worship
We as a nation should worship the Aztec god 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.
Which god is that, Juan? Also, do some research and find out when that statement was introduced.
Juan, you are 100% right on. We were given brains to be used and exercised to inquire and ask questions about our world and universe. There is nothing out there that Christians should be afraid of learning. Knowledge is Divine. Unfortunately there are so many " Christians" who seem to think God wants them remain ignorant and to pretend Science is some sort of evil to thier faith.
Juan, your logic is faulty. By definition, a kingdom is immoral. That is one of the most ironic inconsistencies with mono-theistic belief systems. You abhor dictators, but then turn right around and worship one. You have no credibility.
IN GOD WE TRUST was added in the 1950's
24HCC, in americult the Masters (taxpayers) were supposed to be the Kings.Ever heard of PUblic Servants? BTW, their revolution already occurred. They be in charge now from their usurpation. You just didn't notice.
I totally believe that you know the will of your designated god when he created the brain. I also believe that Anything you can justify through god you will do. Just like when god demanded the genocide of people in your holy book. Hey, god is infallible right? Even when he contradicts his own teachings, what a moral compass :-D
You think you're hot cake for voting religiously until when? Islam grabs hold? Atheists grab hold? Then everything is blasphemy and abominations to The Lord. It's ignorant to parade around America as a Christian nation in front of billions of other muslims and Hindus. It's like you desire to incite religious war. Read history and discover the amazing benefits of absolute religious authority. Perfect for ignorant sheep like you. Death and destruction for free thinking reasonable people.
I pray that both President Obama and Governor Romney would bow down before King Jesus and seek God's forgiveness through the life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah; Jesus Christ. Whomever is elected Tuesday it will be God's sovereign plan and Christians should pray that God would grant him wisdom to govern our country.
There is no Jesus, there is only Zuul!
Jesus is not in your world due to you.
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.