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November 3rd, 2012
09:00 PM ET

My Take: On Election Day, proclaiming my loyalty to Jesus

Editor's Note: Mark Schloneger is pastor of North Goshen Mennonite Church in Goshen, Indiana.

By Mark Schloneger, Special to CNN

It seems frivolous, even foolish.

On Tuesday, as the world turns its attention to who will occupy the most powerful office of the world’s most powerful nation, hundreds of churches will gather across the United States to worship a servant.

As votes are counted to elect a president, thousands of Christians will take the bread and the cup to remember their crucified Lord.

As winners are projected and the electoral map is updated, Christians of many denominations will sing their praises and proclaim their loyalty to Jesus.

It seems ridiculous, even silly.

After all, America is at a crossroads, and we are in the midst of one of the most critical presidential elections of our lifetimes. We know this because people have recited this same tired mantra before every presidential election.

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Our fears, our hopes, our worries and our struggles are the currency that buys our votes. And how do politicians and their supporters acquire this precious currency? They invest billions of dollars to foment fear, inspire hope, create worry and exploit our struggles.

It’s a power play. Some of us are pawns, and some of us are participants. But some of us are choosing a different part.

I initiated the Election Day Communion Campaign out of a concern that Christians in the United States are being shaped more by the tactics and ideologies of political parties than by our identity and unity in Christ. Out of this concern, a simple vision sparked the imaginations of congregations nationwide: the church being the church on Election Day, gathering at the Lord’s Table to remember, to give thanks for, and to proclaim its loyalty to Jesus.

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Gathering for Communion on Election Day seems fitting, for the practice of Communion is an inherently political act. It is both a pledge of allegiance to Jesus and a declaration of independence from all other powers making claims on our bodies, minds and souls.

Far too often, the church has abandoned its first love for the siren song of political parties promising protection, prosperity and peace. Far too many times, the church has ceded the practice of its faith to the spiritual and the private while leaving others to address matters of justice. And far too frequently, the church has attempted to speak truth to power while seeking and relying on that same power for protection.

The bread and the cup are God’s antidotes to our fickle memories. As we eat and drink together, we remember that all things fall under the lordship of Christ. We remember our sin and need to repent.

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We remember that God has lifted up the humble, filled the hungry with good things, and chosen to reveal God’s strength through our weakness.

We remember that the only Christian nation in this world is the church, the holy nation that transcends all human-made walls, boundaries and borders.

As we gather at the table, we remember that the power to redeem, to save, and to transform comes not from atop the seat of power but from within the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

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We will gather for Election Day Communion not because we think that the issues at stake in this election are unimportant or that our votes don’t really matter. No, we will gather for Communion because we think that the issues at stake in all elections are far too important to be relegated to our votes alone.

The Lord’s Supper reminds followers of Jesus to practice the politics of Jesus. To me, practicing the politics of Jesus means working to protect the sanctity of all human life, whether it is found in the womb, in prison, or in countries at war against us.

It means choosing the way of forgiveness and reconciliation rather than vengeance and violence. It means practicing an economy based on generosity and mutual aid.

It means offering care and compassion to suffering people regardless of their immigration status, economic class or religious practice.

It means being good stewards of God’s good creation. And, most of all, it means allowing God’s kingdom to break into the entirety of our lives, from the privacy of our homes to the politics we practice in public.

The bread and the cup keep calling me back to the table inscribed with memory. There, I remember God’s choice for the transfer of power. There, I remember where to go with my fears, my hopes, my worries and my struggles. At the table, with my sisters and brothers, I am in the presence of the Holy.

Though I’m interested in the outcome of the presidential election, I won’t be watching the projected results as they are announced. I’ve made a prior commitment. I intend to honor it.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Schloneger.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Belief • Christianity • Politics

soundoff (3,435 Responses)
  1. Atheist Steve

    My name is Steve and I like dem dudes...when I was young I was pretty prude. I tried da chicks but they rejected me...so I soon found out that I was plain fruity! I started schlobin da knob and waxin the tool....I clean up all dat spooo and wipe up all my drool. So now u know I'm gaaay and like it in da rear...you gotta know its tough when u be livin in fear!!

    November 5, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • Nii

      I AM ASHAMED THAT YOU CALL YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN LIKE ME. ATHEISTS ALSO DESERVE RESPECT. NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY.

      November 5, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Oh look...my very own impersonating troll. Thank you Nii...we may disagree but you get my respect for debating with decorum.

      November 5, 2012 at 8:05 am |
  2. Nate Higgers

    Yo!! What up boyeeee?? They call me Nate and I be down with God.....I am partying with my bros and rockin this blog!! We all found Jesus and we just gotta pray...that I lynched all dem cooons and they stay away! I don't want my family surrounded by dreggs, they can find another hood to steal and beg! My story be told and now you know my name, once these jigggs be gone we can stop livin in shame!!!

    November 5, 2012 at 7:21 am |
  3. artgecko20

    What does Jesus, God or religion have to do with Election Day? Nada!!!!

    November 5, 2012 at 7:21 am |
  4. MamaKas

    If Jesus were a political candidate I bet he would be a liberal independent or green, not republican or democrat.

    November 5, 2012 at 6:52 am |
  5. Reality

    Pledging my loyality to rational thinking:

    Only for the new members of this blog-

    Putting the kibosh on all religions:

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    November 5, 2012 at 6:51 am |
  6. Italy2007

    It's so funny to reawd these anti-Christian comments – to those practicing Christians just remember we are in good company – Jesus said long before the world hate you they hated me.

    November 5, 2012 at 6:42 am |
    • Reality

      Not so fast !!!

      Many contemporary NT scholars have thoroughly analyzed the NT for historic reliability. And many of these experts have concluded that Mark 13: 13 (" and you will be hated by all because of my name") is historically nil. See for example http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb064.html and also Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 89 " The historical yield is nil, as these sayings (Mark 13: 9-13) of Jesus derive from problems in the community and have been put on his lips."

      November 5, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • sam stone

      Gee, Italy....you are soooo persecuted.....

      November 5, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    November 5, 2012 at 6:27 am |
    • TrollAlert

      TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian.

      November 5, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

      November 5, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  8. BamaDaniel

    To the author, move to the middle east and you can have religon in all aspects of your life. P.s. Do you live by the whole book or just parts of it

    November 5, 2012 at 6:01 am |
  9. saggyroy

    Just look at the guy's picture. Would you trust him with your kids?

    November 5, 2012 at 6:00 am |
  10. Noel

    Heal the sick, feed the poor. All else is vanity. No need to state your faith... just demonstrate it... oh yeah... we're just hypocrites.

    November 5, 2012 at 5:53 am |
    • BamaDaniel

      Actions speak louder than words,that's why so many churchies talk loud so you wont see their actions

      November 5, 2012 at 5:57 am |
  11. Patty S.

    Yes I do Beleive in God, An his Son Jesus Christ!! An with out them we are Truely Lost with no Hope?? An you have to have the
    spirit of them to go forward at any time, an seek the Holy Ghost so you can seek out the truth in all that you do? Yes Politics
    have to make so much money to even run for office? Millons!!! An they don't tell the truth all the time??An if they do, the good ol
    concress takes it away from them?? An I can't spell to good? but oh well??? Patty S.

    November 5, 2012 at 5:24 am |
    • BamaDaniel

      What about his other sons

      November 5, 2012 at 5:49 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Lost? Hope of what? You really don't have any self worth if you can't see the inherent value of life for its own sake. You diminsh what it actually means to be a whole person with a meaningful life if it's just a test for a supposed afterlife and your efforts to better yourself are instead credited to a higher power. Jesus is like the ultimate absent babysitter where if your mommy isn't watching out for you then He is. So weak...grow a backbone and take responsibility for your actions.

      November 5, 2012 at 6:45 am |
  12. Nii

    Looking on these boards with infantile, immature one line comments posted by intellectual Atheists, it just goes to show that intellect is not wisdom.

    November 5, 2012 at 5:11 am |
    • saggyroy

      ...wisdom doesn't come out of the bible either...

      November 5, 2012 at 5:49 am |
    • BamaDaniel

      Neither does listening to a man who says God said it 5000 years ago ,but now he doesn't speak except through me

      November 5, 2012 at 5:52 am |
    • sam stone

      Intellect may not be wisdom, but neither is snivelling sycophantry

      November 5, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  13. Dr poopenstien

    Christians are mostly weirdos and perverts anyway...they just go to church to hide

    November 5, 2012 at 5:06 am |
  14. Dr poopenstien

    Jesus is dead. God does not exist. My poop is more significant than Jesus.

    November 5, 2012 at 5:04 am |
  15. God

    I bet you 'proclaim your loyalty' to the Jeez by beating off to picts of little kids.

    November 5, 2012 at 5:02 am |
  16. Tx4urexkarlene

    I thought Hank Williams , Jr. Was running for office !!!!

    November 5, 2012 at 5:02 am |
  17. AtheistSteve

    "You see yourself as godly"

    No....we see ourselves as human....the god concept is meaningless and that's why we reject it. God is imaginary and people are just intelligent apes.....well at least some of us are.

    November 5, 2012 at 4:39 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Hmmm....reply button didn't work. Must be the work of Satan...can't be any other reasonable explanation.

      November 5, 2012 at 4:41 am |
    • captain america

      Other reason = no one here needs to hear from an ass hole canadian.There's your sign.

      November 5, 2012 at 6:26 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Oh look...it's Satan's favorite minion captian america come to spread its usual pointless diatribe of stupidity.

      November 5, 2012 at 6:36 am |
    • stupid followed to its logical conclusion

      becomes atheism

      November 5, 2012 at 6:38 am |
  18. Alfie

    You know, you can't "vote Jesus on Tuesday. You can vote Moroni, and you can vote pragmatic, but Jesus lost in he primaries.

    November 5, 2012 at 4:19 am |
    • Solution

      They can write in "Jesus". You know, I wish they all would do that - have him win and be a no-show at the inauguration!

      November 5, 2012 at 4:24 am |
  19. MiamiJax

    Why CNN published this is beyond me.

    November 5, 2012 at 4:17 am |
    • Viami Mice

      Quite simple. There are no religious stories, because there are no gods. There really isn't much you can call news in the ole fantasy imagination world, unless that happy imagination leads to war or torture or oppression again.

      But on the average day, there's nothing . . . because there's nothing. So they have to run articles on media whores like this guy, or the labyrinth lady, or the girl who tried 192 religions in 14 days, or whoever has a book to pimp. And when they don't even have that, they can always go for politics, ar Joel Osteen's recipe for extra shiny hair to match his extra shiny suit.

      November 5, 2012 at 4:23 am |
  20. Daddyeaux

    Amerikhastan ... In greed we trust.

    November 5, 2012 at 3:03 am |
    • Jesustan: A Christian Nation

      In Zombie Gods We Trust!

      November 5, 2012 at 4:13 am |
    • Carter

      Yeah. Zombies are fake except for Jesus. And whomever else he raised from.the dead. Humans are rationale people except when it.comes to this stuff. Eternal life for the flock to hang and do what exactly I have no idea. I doubt that football will be on.

      November 5, 2012 at 6:05 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.