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.
I know Jesus. Not only is he not running for office, he's not even in this country legally. He couldn't give a rat's a s s about politics. He's just happy mowing my lawn every week.
No, that is Josea your illegal immigrant worker silly..
Another pointless essay about religion and politics...
another chance for religious freaks to point out jesus is the only way to salvation and anything else is the way to living in a fiery hellish pit
Another chance for me to laugh, though!
LinCA – LOL! No, I don't believe there's any way my husband could love those Jesusi in the biblical sense. He likes them, plays golf with them, has a beer with them, but somehow I just don't think he's into worshiping them.
DUMP hINDU FABRICATION MITHRA ISM, SAVIOR ISM, CHRISTIANITY, VOTE FOR TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD
word hindu is based on Latin word, hindered, negative, Hun, Great, Han, to be in greatness, hin, to be negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativity, hinduism, way of negativity.
To learn hinduism, crookedness of hindu's, criminals to hind, fool humanity, please visit limitiisthetruth.com
November 4, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
Wrong. The word "Hindu" actually comes not from Latin, but from Persian: "Hindu," meaning someone from "Hind" (India). The English word "hinder" doesn't come from Latin either: its roots are the Old English word "hindrian," meaning "to hold back" or "to hold behind." (It's related to the German word "hinter," which means "behind.") Back to school for you...
November 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
Nice try, hindu's were called hindu's, for their denial of truth absolute GOD by Muslim's, not as you hind, lie in your post. Persian and German it self are an off shoot of Latin langue, unlike Sanskrit is hinduism, corruption of Latin language.
English people, English!!!
The problem with America is that we have gotten away from our Christian roots. Because of liberal atheistic teachings that have permeated our schools, our educational system has dropped and we get leaders in the form of Obama. Christian leaders are strong and level headed. In this election, we will have to vote for Romney, as he – compared to Obama – has shown the most Christian beliefs when it comes to Abortion, gay rights and other important issues.
What is an exmple of an "atheistic teaching" ?
The words are "only in your dreams"..
Such a fantastic delusion on your opinion of reality. Really.
Pointless essay. Even more pointless – responding to it. Oh, right – oops.
Forget Jesus, the real reason to vote repub is for the cocaine business. Repubs = good for cocaine. Dealers can make a lot of good money in a new repub admin.
your going to hell
Nancy, it's "you're", not "your".
If -> you're ->> going to threaten someone.. do it properly! You're <<– going to hell.
Nancy must be a vangie, she writes like one.
I don't think people should do drugs. I just drink some whisky and get tore up ya'll.
Trust me, from experience politicians on the right will say they're for Jesus, but when the cocaine come out the true colors fly. We also like making fun of the older generation: greatest generation gimme a break! Like Romney, I grew up in the rock n roll years – the 50's, that was much better than the boring war years.
Nancy must be a vangie, she certainly writes like one.
You can never be too sure... so you better love them all. I'm the devil and I approve this message.
I agree, Lucy! Better cover my bets for Salv(itori)ation.
A thoughtful essay. But I'm not sure what the point is.
As a Christian, who has watched with horror, the degradation and political radicalization of Christianity, it seems to me that the church has done this to itself. Politicians haven't defined the church – the church has. I can agree with most of what is written in this essay – the question is – how does it all get realized? How do these fine beliefs get translated into reality for all?
One may revere life – but does that mean one should vote f "pro-life" ? One can be for prosperity and reaching out to the disadvantaged – does that mean we should vote for privatization of government services and laissez-faire economics? Does being good stewards of the Earth mean taking a hard, realistic look at our own heavy riding of it?
I know the author did not intend to address these types of issues, but they remain. God bless him and his for at least trying to step back from the political brink which is destroying Christianity in America and I sincerely hope that his actions in the secular world reflect the gentle generosity that he shows in this article.
Don't you think that if evolution was a fact that someone in ancient history would've wrote about it? Like: "The monkeys were turning into humans before our very eyes." Why is it that no one wrote they saw this impossibility happening? Because it did not happen.
Conversely, there are many records in ancient history telling of the "wars in heavens, of the satanic starships crashing to earth, of certain beings on earth that are from Sirius the Dog Star. "It's hard to believe that someone sat around and carved these stories in clay tablets and baked them just to say they are not true. Today there are no reported sightings of monkeys turning into people. Myself, I don't believe that everything just happened to happen.
We all evolved from George Bush...
Man, you don't have a clue about evolution, do you Mike?
"Because it did not happen."
You are correct, Homo Sapien did not evolve from monkeys.
Mike, how dumb are you?
Ancient people wrote about dragons, sea monsters and volcanoes that had to be appeased by virgin sacrifice so as not to cover their towns in lava. Sounds believable to me.
Let me guess. You are a proud graduate of christian education.
May I suggest you open a science book and educate yourself on the basic principles of evolution? You wouldn't sound like a complete moron if you had the first clue about it.
Nobody wrote about evolution?! Then who is this Charles Darwin guy I keep reading about?
Mike, the problem with "magical thinking" is that you actually believe that monkeys can just "turn" into people, or that water can just magically turn into wine. Evolution doesn't say any such thing and if you ever actually bothered to learn about it you'd know that.
Who is Darwin? He promoted racism and married his cousin to keep it in the family, just like Royalty.
I find it absolutely unbelievable that anyone in America still thinks of evolution in the terms you have formed your question in. Were you looking merely to raise the ire of those who do not accept the literal interpretation of the Holy Bible, or what? If you truley do believe that yours is a reasonable question, then I pray (yes, I pray) for your quick recovery from whatever mental ailment you are suffering from.
What's the probability of a male and a female evolving with identical genetics at the exact same time? I bet now you're gonna tell me the female came first. How antichrist of you.
You need to support our candidate Obama for president, as he has the Muslim faith, welfare and gays at heart. If you vote for Romney you will have to go back to work!
Wouldn't "Mohammy" be more a mix of Muhammad and Romney?
@Religious Brain Trust...
"What I can't believe is how you people don't care about your souls".
– And right here is where you prove you live your life in fear of eternal damnation by some invisible supposely benevolent sky-god that will fry your "soul" if not properly appeased. Its all about control by fear. To believe in a god is to live in fear and surrender your free will. Good luck with that. I'm the devil, and I approve this message.
@Just call me Lucifer
I can tell from your handle that you have been brainwashed by someone in your life and have low self-steem. Jesus understands and Jesus WANTS to save your soul.
We're divided as a nation, because as a nation we have no purpose.
Atheism is pointless, it has no purpose.
Christianity has a real game plan for mankind, something we sorely lack. Consider me too, part of the Christian party.
I agree with you that we don't have a purpose and we sorely need one; however, it would be stupid to look to atheism or christianity for a purpose. Atheism is a lack of a belief and has as much business putting forth a purpose as those who don't collect stamps. If you think atheists should come up with a purpose, then you likely think non-stamp collectors need to come with an agenda-–and that's just plain stupid. Religions run at cross purposes, and even within a religion, or even within one faction of a religion, there are many different purposes claimed as "the right way."
What we need is a simple purpose with achievable goals that has nothing to do with any belief in god or myths or lack of belief in gods or myths. Like going to the moon within ten years time, or saving resources because of a common enemy as in the World War II.
Pretty inane article. I get it, you're christian. If you'd rather pray over the issues than get involved to resolve them, so be it. Good luck with that.
What if the Hokey-Pokey IS what it's all about?
@ Moby Schtick The purpose I find written in Christianity, is the resurrection of the dead and the atonement of sins. What greater goal is there than to defeat our enemy Death and bring an end to the pain we've caused each other?
Those are big goals though, we probably live in a world much closer to the other end of things.
I have been praying on this and I think I have a solution. Atheists don’t believe in Jesus. That is the problem. Therefore, if you start believing in Jesus you will be on the right track.
I have 12 Jesus in my neighborhood. Jesus Rodriguez, Jesus Minosa, Jesus Estavada...which one am I supposed to love? I don't think my husband is going to like that one little bit.
You said, "I don't think my husband is going to like that one little bit."
I think your husband is supposed to join you in loving all those Jesuses (or is the plural of Jesus, Jesi?).
There's no problem believing that some rabbi named Jesus said some of the things in the New Testament. The problem is that there is zero reason to believe that this guy was divine, could actually perform miracles, was against abortion, gays or any other Conservative hot topic, or will "return" some day.
The fact that a religious d.o.u.c.h.e needs a jeebus is the problem. The weak minded gullible fools who can't reason out why they believe in their myth – yet they want others to come to their side – because of what evidence? What have you idiots discovered – what evidence did you idiots did you find to support your myths?
You have a whole world of emotions only! You think that your puny emotional rants about your empty relationship with your imaginary friend is that convincing? Ya .... we'll keep on laughing at you idiots.
I believe there was once a man called Christ Jesus who performed Godly works amid the crowds who persued Him. It is with much appeasement should one believe Him to be Lord and Savior of us mostly humane beings. Truth be the measuring of one's Life while bitterness and mockeries are for those who find it easier to scorn and ridicule be one a believer or a non-believer. Know then God and keep still your mockery and ridiculing lest you seek worldliness ways which condemn the weak in heart and soul. Remember well your life trials and tribulations and keep solid the truths you have found out and do stand upon. Love even the wicked ones for even they have a place in God's Kingdoms.
I am a Christian. You don't know me personally, and because of the anonimity of the internet, you never will. Therefore, I encourage everyone to insult me. Call me stupid, call me trash, whatever. Heep all of your scorn upon me. Its fine. I can handle it because I know its all internet s*** talking and it doesn't mean anything. If its going to make you feel better to get all of your hatred out, then send it my way. If you end up slightly less bitter about Christianity when you're done, then I'll be happy for you.
I don't think anyone wants to be mean. People just have a lot of tension because their T.V.'s are too loud.
Jeff... oh, never mind.
We treat Christians like you the same way people treat adults who still believe in Santa; some will mock them, others will admire their quirkiness, but most would pity their detachment from reality.
I DESPISE Christians/anyone who believes that they're way to God is the only way. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. It's all the same God, people just have different ways of getting there. Jesus is not the end all be all. Get over it.
My dad used to say that god was like a giant diamond. Anyone can look into any one of a thousand facets of that diamond and see something different, but it's all the same diamond. Even though I am not a christian, I always liked that analogy because it seemed to embody the true meaning behind christianity - tolerance, peaceful perspective and imagination! Good one, Dad!
Bob what your saying doesn't even make sense. Do you really think that Jesus would leave Heaven,come here,die on a cross if there were other ways to get to Heaven? Since Jesus made all of creation 6000 years ago,he has the right and obligation to tell you how you can get to Heaven and He will send to hell all those who have rejected Him so that they can live their own selfish lives here on earth. You don't have to believe that, it is your choice but you will suffer eternally for rejecting Him.
CRC – that's exactly the point - no one in his/her right mind would believe all that crap. Thank you for confirming.
For me, it's more like I dislike anyone who judges me. People who judge me based on my choice not to drink alcohol, or smoke. People who judge me for liking to spend my Sundays in the great outdoors and playing sports instead of "resting". People who judge me because I happen to have a great job, and pull in a six figure salary. People who judge me and my wife for choosing not to have kids, and so on.
If you're a Christian who just leaves others be, then I have no problem with you, but if you think that it's your mission to judge me, then you can take your opinion and shove it.
I judge Ken to be a reasonable fellow.
To say that all ways to God are the same simply ignores the claims of the various ways. If one says that Jesus is the way to God and one says that he isn't, they are contradictory and can't both be true. The Christian worldview contradicts all other worldviews. If you claim that contradictory views can both be true, then the entire basis of knowledge is destroyed and you become completely irrational. Jesus is the only way because only the incarnate Son of God can adequately atone for the sins of man against a holy God.
Jesus is not a person. Jesus is an idea. An extremely powerful, engaging idea, but just an idea nonetheless. It's this idea/fantasy that grants unconditional love, but oh yeah, without it you are going to hell.
You're being a c.u.n.t with your hell and won't even acknowledge it. Your hell is just an idea also..
Damning everyone who you've hated and who have wronged you is just bull.s.h.i.t.
Your kind aren't good at being confronted so you always retreat into your threats. It's plain and simple that your idea of hell is just that weak – as a threat – because you're a weak human being.
I'm not a Christian, dude. No Christian would claim that Jesus is only an idea and not a real person.
I'm proclaiming my loyalty to the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy and Santa Claus. Can I vote for all of them??
You people make me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Mainly cry. Jesus Christ has no place in this government. He can live in the hearts of those who choose to follow "him." Otherwise keep your religion to yourself, and let the rest of us live in peace. Romans 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
"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."
Take away the election, and christianity is still "ridiculous, even silly."
People have been divisioned by the opinionated cerebral opiates of their labored gestations toward the wittiness of one's political candor being ever molded and left profusely maleable only thru and for aimless propensities of uncommon quandaries. Where then does politics' meaning end and political understanding begin? Who really knows? Who really cares?
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.