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.
Our dear brother (author) has it half-correct. We should run to our Savior, but partaking of Communion is never equal to making a pledge to Jesus or something equitable for voting in temporal matters. The bread and the wine are for a remembrance and for a time to examine ourselves. In going to the voting booth, we are making a selection for temporary masters as it were. Two totally different things; let's not use the spiritual and noble with the temporal and oftentimes irritating choices we have to make.
You must be a protestant since you have no understanding of communion
Masters are the Taxpayers and you're payin' too much for the PUblic Servants considering the job they do.
I can drink wine ya'll. I'm 37 years old now.
Tender the needs and weights yet leave alone the desired and wanton. We cannot live upon the bread and wine alone but are found needed the new works and better trials and sobering tribulations to live here with.
It's time to let some Servants go and live in the real world under Vegas.
You just don't get it do you? You couldn't possibly understand the true ramifications of Vegas: Las or Suzanne.
I have decided to convert from atheism to Solipsism. The ceremony is going to be a blast, I will be having all my friends and family over and un-validating their existence. Then it will just be a free-for-all. I will also be getting a tattoo of my own face on my a.s.s.
Religion is a mental illness characterized by infantile delusions and naivete.
Atheism is an egocentric view of the world with zero effort into searching the universe for answers.
Excellent retort TC!
No, that would be atheism.
"searching the universe for answers."
You're stating a "search".. and yet you i-d-i-o-t-s have already stated that you've found all the answers. That's a r-e-t-a-r-d for ya.
@ answer – an educated Christian will tell you that life is a mystery and we must pursue to understand it.
Atheism is egocentric? We're not the ones who believe that this enormous universe was created just for us, that we telepathically communicate with the creator of it, that this creator constantly interferes in our life and that we'll be rewarded in the afterlife for somehow choosing the right god out of the thousands of possibilities. There is nothing more narcissistic than a believer.
Tell me in what fields that a religious nut has pursuit in?
What have you found? I love to read on your kinds proofs and theories.
Many argue that, if science has not found an answer to a phenomenon, then God did it.
Therefore before we understood lightning, God did it. Likewise for rain, tides, earthquakes, etc.
Using this logic, every time we explain something we did not previously understand, a piece of God is eliminated.
Therefore, God will necessarily be disproven over time.
Therefore, there is no God.
The law of a diminishing God.
@fifthgrader – atheists are concerned about 1 thing – their righteousness in their personal views. A real Christian seeks to exercise love and in humilty know there is little we understand
Bottom line is an atheist cannot prove their position any more than a christian can prove thiers; however, the christian will cite spiritual experience while the atheist cannot and the answer to every mystery for a atheist is science did it while the christian states God did it.
Who cares what those who are already dead say anyway?!
"exercises" love and h-u-m-i-l-i-t-y" < Do you mean a true christian? Or a fancy version of what you say "is" a christian. Define your label for yourself as a christian. Is it one that condones abortion or not? Or perhaps one that is a hollow emotional apologist? Define yours..
No, the atheist freely admits where there is mystery (we don't know). The believer replaces mystery with a "invisible sky daddy wizard." It's childish.
Whether its a mystical God or a mystical atom that created itself – its all a mystery and you as an atheist lack the capabiltiy to speak to spiritual experience that is very personal to each human being. You cannot prove your belief nor speak for others so quit attacking others beliefs.
@ answer – love is the answer to everyone of the commandments – love cannot hurt your neighbor. Christians try to understadnd true love with our diminished capacities.
-–quote from below–
@christian for obama – sounds like you are not a chrisitian since you tend to judge summarily and not specifcally cite poor behavior by specific individuals.
Here in that quote of your own words.. you judged someone else as 'not a christian'. How f-a-s-c-i-n-a-t-i-n-g!
I like to know why you are the a-u-t-h-o-r-i-t-y to judge another person on the basis of being a christian.
I love the expression "how very christian of you".. it suits you!
The word for you 'TC' is "h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e".
I'm nut putting forth any belief at all. Nobody is saying that the atom "created itself." You don't seem to understand much about your position or mine.
I agree- I don't understand atheist positions and their summarily wanton attacks on believers.
Religious idiots love that word .."attack".
So funny when they are "confronted".
"It's an assault I tell ya! I'm under attack..must defend my s-t-u-pi-d-i-t-y."
Then educate yourself and you'll know why many of your azzumptions are stupid. Stop making stupid accusations when it comes to things you can't prove and are mere personal philosophy and things that make no sense from the atheistic perspective. Education.
TC "Atheism … zero effort into searching the universe for answers."
The vast of science academy members are non-believers and of course we know that scientists never do anything like "searching the universe for answers." (eye roll)
I don't understand how there can be anyone in hell, because God forgives all?
Only if you ask and actually try to change your ways – amazing some people are so narcissistic that they don't care.
Only if there is true repentence.
Any god who allows eternal suffering should be the one apologizing and certainly isn't worthy of any worship.
They believe they are the ones who are "exempted" from hell. Everyone who has confronted a religious nut is going to hell – that is their want. That is why they want hell to exist.
Maybe God allows it becasue there are souls that literally do not give a damn about love. Think harder.
Yes.. a "maybe". How definite. You know that god loves you and yet you state a "maybe".
@answer – christians don't have all the answers like the all knowing atheists.
Hell gets tossed into the lake of. It's a baptismal thing. Quit trying to sell lakefront property. The creek might rise. You might even get splashed.
Oh.. now you're stating that the bible does not contain all the knowledge? How f-a-s-c-i-n-a-t-in-g.
Do tell me – the inerrant words from god contain how much knowledge?
Good question. Unfortunately, there are many on this message board who claim to know more about the Bible than Christians and would love to continue the lie that God just forgives everyone and that all you have to do is ask for forgiveness. But you must find out what God says about it since His opinion is the only one that matters. The Bible says you must repent and trust to be saved. You and I have accu.mulated a sin debt in which we deserve to be punished for our transgressions. That's Hell. But God, in His mercy, took the punishment we all deserve when He went to the cross. God says in order to receive that gift of payment, we must repent (not just say you are sorry, but turn from those sins) and trust in Him to be who He said He is. When you do that, you'll be what we call "born again" ... which means you have a new heart and new desires for the things of God. But if you refuse to do that, you continue to shake your fist at Him, you will be given what you deserve — punishment. You have a God-given free will which means you get to choose. If you don't want Him in this life, you won't want Him in the next either, and so He will give you that. God is offering not only something you can't possibly earn yourself and, quite frankly, something you don't deserve. He is showing you so much love. Why would you not want to accept it.
Doesn't matter who you vote for – country is doomed with a corrupt 2 party system. But vote so you can complain.
You keep believing that. The US has been basically a 2-party system since the 1800's. Looks like we've survived and thrived in it just fine since then.
Naive you are – keep voting for your righteous good guy and watch how nothing changes. Repubes and dums are an oligarchy and you believe their rhetoric – you the sheeple.
Your kind of right, doesn't matter too much who wins. The republican senators will filibuster to keep Obama from doing much good and the democratic senators will filibuster to keep Mittens from doing much bad
This is exactly the wrong message at exactly the wrong time. Jesus is not going to balance the budget or fix the economy. We need to focus on the facts and make informed decisions on Election Day. You can go to church any time you want, but you can only vote for the president of the United States once every four years.
I tried to vote last time but they said you had to have fingerprints. And a nose.
"This is exactly the wrong message at exactly the wrong time. Jesus is not going to balance the budget or fix the economy. We need to focus on the facts and make informed decisions on Election Day. You can go to church any time you want, but you can only vote for the president of the United States once every four years."
Exactly. Well said.
I wont vote for a Mormon because I don't want Tom Cruise running the country, forcing us to fight an evil John Travolta look-alike piloting an interstellar destroyer. those things might be real but I refuse to acknowledge them.
Aren't they scientologists? Not that it matters much.
Scientology is actually a more rational cult than Mormonism, absolutely. Now that I think of it, an Astrologer would be better yet.
Blah blah blah. Self-serving Mennonite pastor sluts around publicity.
Life is a test from God whether you love and follow Jesus' (God in the flesh, Immanuel, God with us) truth or love and follow satan's lies. The hair in my kitchen sink did not come from my head. Did I mention, so far, you've failed His test?
You have failed Allah's test. Off to hell with you.
Looks like Romney is going to win the election. It will be so funny to watch all the atheists and ho.mos.exuals getting hysterical the day after the election. There will be much moaning and gnashing of teeth.
I doubt it. But I'm sure you're drooling in anticipation of some sort of mayhem, being such an exemplary Christian.
Evangelicals who defy the word of God as written in the Holy Bible and elect a Heretic against his will will literally have Hell to pay. Word of advise; pack some light loose clothes cause it might be alittle warm where you're going.
Whoever wins will continue dragging this country down. Enjoy the ride!
Evangelicals are not Christians. They are the anti-Christ. Intolerance, hatred, bigotry, are not what Jesus taught. Evangelicals are the devil's tool to make Christianity look stupid, backward, and arrogant. And it is working.
But you have the right to believe anything you want. Too bad you are playing into the devils hands. Sounds harsh huh?
But remember – how you judge....so shall you be judged. So it is good to get a sense of what you are in for.
@christian for obama – sounds like you are not a chrisitian since you tend to judge summarily and not specifcally cite poor behavior by specific individuals.
ah....you mean besides the person I was replying too?
I too am voting for Jesus – And not for the money changer Romney. Obama more truly reflects my Christain Faith.
Republicans, in particular the neo-cons and plutocrats, make a mockery of the teachings of Christ. Surely they will get their reward.
If you are voting for Romney...you are certainly not voting for Jesus. Maybe the pope. Maybe a Church. But not Jesus. Definitely not Jesus.
Your naive if you think either candidate or party espouses Christian beliefs.
I was being sarcastic. Ssorry. Voting should be a non-religious event.
I've heard this before- about Obama reflecting Christ's teaching, but it is a misunderstanding of the text. True love requires the freedom to choose to love. Legislated social justice is not true Christianity. Jesus never forced anyone to take care of the poor and he did not force people to follow him. His movement of taking care of the poor and widows is a result of a heart change and not of legislation. God is so willing to prove that love requires the ability to choose that he even gives the first humans the opportunity to not choose him by placing a tree in the garden with fruit that would and could sever their relationship. Believers are uncomfortable with this freedom because it requires us to trust in the power of the holy spirit to move and mobilize us into action. It requires work. Voting for a government to take care of people does two things. It enables into a life of dependence because there is no life change, and it creates a lethargic and lazy church. A true believer will love his neighbor by serving his neighbor, not by paying more taxes. Taxes do not communicate the love of Christ, they are a waste of resources.
CB – your so naive if you think that is the Christian doctrine on taxes. an intellect like yours is to inferior to comprehend deep spiritual mysteries.
You know what... Good for you to take that on! As a religious non-Christian, I find it particularly worrisome with the national politicization pushing Christians to extremism. It actually makes me cringe, especially when I think of the potential backlash against religious freedom in general that GOP behaviour could provoke. That could ruin it for everyone, like people that passed bad checks at stores. Good luck, maybe you'll help restore public respect for your faith.
WOW. Christians really need to drink that cool-aid. Basically: Christians are not Americans, do NOT support America, have no love of America and don't care about America.
Ill add these to the long list of why Christianityis a corrupting, evil, plague on America that needs a cure!
Every religious group can be defined by the word "child".
That is the most basic of facts – to come to an understanding – of religious groups. A child wants all the toys. A child screams for attention. Screams at the world that says "NO". Hates reality that doesn't give what he/she wants. A child needs education.
The profound lack of education makes them ignorant.
In all Truth, "Where does Life End and Living Begin"?
For me, living is a dip in Carl's pool. When he'll let me that is.
:-) :-) :-(
I think we are defnitelty going to need Jesus if Romney gets re-elected. We need Jesus if Obama gets re-elected the president can only do so much.
Have fun getting Jesus going on anything. If he was a man at all, he's most certainly dead. Can't sign any laws when you're dead.
top ten dumbest comment ever on this forum.
you are a special kind of mor0n George.
Mormonism has some hooks into Christianity but the whole bulk of the thing they added to the Holy Bible is such a completely different outcome, it is no longer Christian in any way, shape or form. Frankly it is preposterous.
Sadly atheism is the function of many chaotic gene mutations over time...
Evolution at work....
"Function"? Odd word choice, George. Maybe you meant "result"? And most atheists are far more intelligent tha religious nitwits. They can see truth where religious folks cannot.
"Chaotic gene mutations" that resulted in our greater intelligence as a species, yes!
If the author REALLY means what he says, he would run away from Romney as fast as he could, because Romney does not believe in the same Jesus! It's a complete other belief!
Actually when you research it, Mormonism has more ties to the Christian faith than Islam. So in this case, Romney would be the better choice over Obama as he is much more confused over his faith. He says he is Christian, but is more Muslim. He says he is christian but supports abortion and gay rights. Sadly, Romney seems to be the better choice this year. And in 4 more years we will get a real leader.
I like Jesus. His hair is soft and his beard smells like Mackeral.
George H. Esq.
Assuming, of course, that Obama actually is a Muslim, which is ridiculous.
Atheism, apart from the Muslim faith, is the most deceptive form of religion. As other religions have an external god – atheists worship their mind, the knowledge that they have obtained. Science is their church and their zealots and evangelists fill our schools and CNN forums.
Atheism is not a religion. It's the complete opposite.
You need to understand what an atheist believes before you make any more comments.
I think you are a troll but I am not sure. You do stupidiy really good!
wow, 24HCC, you have much to say about being a troll. I think your mom wants you to go outside and play now.
Does he really seem smart enough to be a troll?
Atheism isn't a relgion R Tard.
@George H. Esq.
You said, "Atheism, apart from the Muslim faith, is the most deceptive form of religion."
Anyone who call atheism a religion shows he/she is completely clueless. Would you call not collecting stamps a hobby?
You said, "As other religions have an external god – atheists worship their mind, the knowledge that they have obtained."
Atheists tend to do no worshiping at all. Atheism is the lack of belief. I don't believe the Tooth Fairy exists, or Santa Claus, Thor, Yahweh or any other mythical creatures.
You said, "Science is their church and their zealots and evangelists fill our schools and CNN forums."
Science flies us to the moon, religion flies us into buildings.
If you despise science so much, may I suggest you stop using the technology made possible by it? If you feel religion is a better alternative, please use prayer to get your opinion posted on this comment board.
Like I said, there are many Atheist Evangelists here. You should put your show on Sunday morning TV and ask people to send you money.
Your quantified belief in no belief is a belief. Hence it is a religion...
One day you'll convince yourself of that. Keep repeating them to yourself.
Labels and more labels.. try anything and everything to define someone who actively confronts your idiocy and brand them.
Brand them so that a general public agrees with you. It sure worked in the past.. you get your petty delights and a boost to your ego and had your ways.
We're in the 21st century now.. technology and the spread of your "ideologies" – on your foolish religion is readily available to the masses to deflate your crock of bs. Fear it – feel that threat! It'll continue EVERY day.
Anyone nowadays can pull up the research on your sordid past and they'll see the facts in your history.
George, can you prove that any god exists outside of people's imaginations?
You said, "Your quantified belief in no belief is a belief."
Jesus H. fucking Christ! Are you really this moronically dense? Not believing in pink unicorns is a belief? Not believing in the Tooth fairy is a belief?
You said, "Hence it is a religion..."
Like the church of the non existing Unicorns. Get a fucking grip.
I understand that you feel the need to equate what atheists believe with the infantile beliefs of believers, just to show that religious beliefs are somehow on the same level as rational thought, but you are failing miserably at convincing anyone of your point.
Here is where religion and atheism are similar: Believing in gods is no different from believing in the Tooth Fairy, just as not believing in gods is no different from not believing in the Tooth Fairy.
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.