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.
Worshipping hatred, greed, and money ... Voting for pathological liars.
You sheeple are hilarious ... especially the athiests.
Too bad your vapid insults aren't equally as entertaining.
And your spelling is no better. It's "atheists", dummy.
No ... You see yourself as godly, so the I is in the middle intentionally. LMAO
how do atheists see themselves as "god"?
At least the atheists aren't wearing magic underwear. We also don't believe that if Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin accepted Jesus as their personal savior on their deathbed, that they would go to heaven after all the evil they did.
Sheep? You're the fluffiest of all. Following Santa Claus as your personal savior.
So...basically that translates to a vote for Romney
I wish I had the time to read up on Harry Potter so I could reply to some of the comments posted. I am just to foreign to the ideology of witchcraft and wizardry becoming a factor in our election process. Smh, third world problems.
Where is "Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom" when you need him? :D
At the Rodents for Romney meeting of course.
Speak and he shall appear.
I have Romnesia.
Now why did I come here ?
I'm 12 yrs question. "Why would u b loyal to Jesus or to Mohammed and to not God "?
Jesus Christ is God.
Chad/Topher is back. Woohoo
Cantu, mi amigo. There is no god. There may have been a Jesus Christ, but he's long gone. And he's not god. You have to get rid of the idea that there's some special person controlling your life. It just doesn't make any sense. Buen suerte, amigo.
Some people feel that Jesus Christ is god.
Some people feel otherwise.
I am in the latter camp
If Mitt wins, HE will find Bippy, and free him.
We just know he will. Pray to the squirrel god.
Prayer changes things.
Where in the world did Bippy go ? Or Zippy for that matter. Are they captive in the carnal cages in Adelina/HeavenSent's trailer as se'x slaves ?
Like those floating question marks, eh, Zippy?
If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)
Pay no attention to the book written by the dude who was high on mushrooms. You DO know he was high don't you. Go to YouTube, and search for Jesus as a Mushroom. Christianity was a 'shroom cult. So sad. Too bad. You follow a drug head.
Jesus is dead. And he's never coming back. Get used to it.
One of the rodents tossed the book into the lake. Bad squirrel. Now ALL those people will have to go to heaven, and disappoint those who wanted to watch the suffering.
@Rodents for Romney
LOL !!! :D
Get back on your knees, Jesus Is Alive.
Just vote for me.
The Snake Oil Salesman
(Now where DID I put my magic undies ?)
"We deserve the government we have" if not worse
To some extent I agree. Americans have become profoundly stupid. It is time for a revolution. It is time for the people to take back this country from the 1%
Who is the 1%? And why would they be a threat?
It might be a good idea to know what the country would look like afterwards, because revolutions usually replace bad with worse.
There can never be any understanding.
When a human walks by a worm, does the worm "comprehend" the human?
What then can we comprehend about the univererse?
We understand that you have the brains of a worm.
Your childish response notwithstanding,
What can any organism on this tiny planet in this vast universe expect to understand, and why does it matter?
That's what's called a "false analogy." It's a logical fallacy and it loses the argument automatically.
Thomas. Do you think the USA would be better under British rule? France under the monarchy? I doubt it. Revolutions are messy and things don't improve immediately, but they're generally a sign that things aren't good.
The Bible tells us that no one rises to peer except that which God has established. We are commanded to pray for our leaders. I will pray for whoever wins the elections, both local and national, because God's will is going to be done regardless of political party. The article was well stated and Biblical. Well done, good and faithful shepherd. Well done.
But prayer does nothing and religion is based on ancient mythology.
Religion is THE most destructive force on the planet. Extremists are found in in all the powerhouse Pagan dogmas of Christianity, Judaism,& Islam ... and the bodycount goes on...
Darrin, your god is quite impossible. Based on evidence and science, there is no proof to suggest that what you believe in is true. More importantly, human beings do not even have the faculties to comprehend the infinite truths of this or other universes. Why do you insist on pretending to know things which are unknowable?
But, unlike religious nonsense, these things could become knowable as science progresses.
That is right Athy, and that is what we can know.
Agreed. And we learn more every day. Unlike religion, science has no limit.
Science may very welll have a limit. But we don't know, and this is fine.
Please tell you god "thank you" for all the death and destruction last week. Ad give him a little extra smootchie for the new storm coming this week. Yes indeed. Thank him/her very very much.
Until we know the limit, there is no limit.
very true we need to pray for our leaders and the election and accept whomever the Lord chooses to lead our nation for His thoughts are not our thoughts is ways are not our ways. in fact He knows whats best for this country even if we dont understand . we must trust the almighty to oead and guide our leaders but we must be the vehichle of prayer to bring about His plan
Vincent; your comment does more to demonstrate the utter stupidity of religion better than anything I could ever come up with. Thank you for promoting atheism so well. Keep up the good work.
Pol Pot was an Atheist and we have not forgotten Stalin and Mao.
Nii, What's your point? They didn't kill in the name of atheism. They killed to gain and retain power. For centuries religion and monarchy were in cahoots and would start wars in the name of religion and persecute and torture people in the name of religion. The first came to this land to escape religious persecution – hence separation of church and state.
If they didn't why did they persecute other religions. Your history and religious studies must be weak indeed. Or you are a New Atheist?
nOTE that Atheism despite what stupid Atheists or dumbeists may say is a full-fledged religion with a philosophy behind it called Empiricism. Most Atheists think Empiricism is the Scientific Method. It is not however as it believes unlike Science that the five Rational Sciences are the only source of knowledge. Atheist Communists like Pol Pot were fulfilling a religious duty of showing that without God society can be well ordered and thriving. They spectacularly failed as their humanity took hold of them. The inherent weakness of Atheism overtook them
Nii is indulging in that favorite Christian lie: the Straw Man Argument. Yes, lot's of wild misrepresentations of what he wants his opponents to believe, instead of dealing with the facts.
As usual, the Christians go for dishonest fallacies instead on honest debate techniques.
That says it all right there.
If “God's will is going to be done regardless of political party” then prayer is useless because nothing can alter god’s plan
Did you know that the Obama supporters chant "four more years" at his rallies, and Romney's supporters chant "four more days?"
Looks like both sides are going to get what they are asking for.
Welcome to the 2 party DICTATORSHIP ...
Tiffany,i hope your right. If willard wins, it will be very bad for most americans
Why Mickey? Why would it be bad if Romney wins?
Because he has already said he doesn't care about the "47%." I would guess he actually meant the 97%, but didn't want to alienate the trailer park conservative base.
Romney is a plutocrat.
He can go back to flip-flopper school.
soundoff (3,081 Responses)
I will be glad when this election is over, and all the dingbat chatter about religion and politics fades into it's well-deserved obscurity.
its, not it's (it's= it is) I guess you were out sick when they taught that in 2d grade.
Oh I just don't bother to proofread my posts. They are so transient it doesn't matter.
I do notice that you have a lot of trouble with capitalization. Not a good thing to blow your grammar when you are trying to insult others on grammar.
Mr. Religion? You do realize that your response is a grammatical mess, don't you?
Religion is THE most destructive force on the planet ...
repent you evil one. or we will crush you
Well, thank you very much.
Far & away, the two bloodiest known tyrants in history were Mao & Stalin – both communists... atheists.
You might want to reconsider your premise.
Evil, we know that, but theists don't believe truth, just jeebus. Russ, communism and atheistism are not the same. And Andrew Jackson was christian, he committed genocide against the native americans, and hitler was christian and he commited genocide (kind of). Oh ya and cortez was christian and he commited genocide against the aztecs. And that is just a few of the psychopathic leaders christianity has spawned.
@ Mickey: Evil's argument was not that all groups have done horrible things – his argument was that religion is the most destructive force on the planet.
yes, communism & atheism are not the same thing. communism presumes atheism. do you contend Mao & Stalin were not atheists?
lastly, the point still holds. the 2 bloodiest known tyrants *in history* were atheists. saying religion is the most destructive force on the planet fails to account for that.
Abdul el-Farheed Al-Sala Bim
say hi to your moon-god for me.
@Russ – Communism doesn't presume atheism. Communism presumes, in its most general sense, a classless society with common ownership of the means of production. A society could be both communist and theist.
Regarding religion v. atheism, the distinction is that in the former, the validity of the acts (benevolent or malevolent) is argued to emanate from a divine and una-ssailable source of edicts with alleged eternal consequences for failing to obey. The latter is based on human rationales, are amenable to direct challenge, direct personal culpability is inherent and there are no claims of eternal reward or punishment for failing to obey. In other words, one can use reason and evidence to argue against a policy based in some erroneous political theory, but reason and evidence have no utility in arguing against alleged supernatural revelations.
1) all currently practiced forms of communism are atheist. technically, yes, one might conceive of a 'communism' that is theist. but you're using a hypothetical to avoid the well attested reality... (point #2)
2) the point still holds. the original assertion was that "religion is the most destructive force on the planet." and yet two atheists were the two worst known tyrants in history. for all that supposed "evidence and reason to argue against a policy", it certainly didn't do much to slow down Stalin & Mao. much to the contrary, all the evidence & reason is stacked heavily against the notion that religion is uniquely the problem.
to advance the discussion, i'd point out (following "the evidence"): what do all these groups actually have in common? our humanity. the problem is inherent to us. ironically for you, it's what virtually every religion attempts to address: something is horribly wrong with us.
Ok so you've noticed that Christians are praying? So what else is new? Why not complain about what the Muslims, Jews, Scientologists are doing during this election? This is really a pointless opinion your pointing out something that you have a problem with but a lot of people really don't care about. If you don't like their praying then you don't have to watch them pray about the election are whatever. How about you go on with life and actually do your job and report some actual news.
you no talk about Muslim. you hear me , you $h!t
It's "shit", not "$h!t". Spelling problem maybe?
Dippy, how do you get by the fascist filters of cnn? And to abdul al fvck head, I may think christianity is twisted, but islam is totally evil.
Filter evasion is a secret only we atheists possess.
Sorry. It's a secret.
Definitely a major fucking secret.
You could pray that your words get past the filter. That might work.
Abdul el-Farheed Al-Sala Bim
Allah is a moon-god. Say hi to Allah, and his 3 daughters for us.
(Why do you think they were so po'd about the Satanic Verses ?) Muhammad originally had verses in the Qur'an, instructing Muslims to worship the 3 moon-god daughters. They he said, "oh the devil made me do it". That's why they're called the Satanic Verses. No wonder they were so mad. It exposed the massive giant gaping fraud that is Islam.
The densities of God damned-up buildings called people are asininely incoherent in their irrationalized discombobulations. Stupid are many yet dumber still are the most! Oh God of my body, I can hardly take the people here who are aimless and without intellectual cunning! They see and do not know what it is they do see! They think and are stuck in their own understandings never willingly wanting to know Life's Truth and Life's Understanding' Ways! Bitter and pewtrid are the masses who cry out for wanting to not understand the very natures of Cosmological Orders! Dumb as-ses all are!
if you cant take it, jump off a bridge
there are hundreds of religions who all believe THEIR religion is the real one. What a crock. somebody is bs-ing somebody else
Misplaced and very strange human pride. We know nothing of the universe. We know nothing of the infinite. Science is fun and is what we are able to comprehend. Beyond that, ignorance.
For those who are religious, no chance of enlightenment.
you are trult sick, you sick things. may a million fleas infest your bed tonight. you are a POS
What would a Mormon White House look like?
If you're not a Mormon then you wouldn't be allowed inside to look.
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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.