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. tucsand

    If what ever you decide to worship makes you a better person, that's all that should matter.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • snowboarder

      tuc – unfortunately, that is rarely the case.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  2. BU

    Some of these religious people are so stupid it is unbelievable-a joke really. I proclaim loyalty to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but I guess that doesn't really make much difference in the world, now, does it? Why not focus on improving your community, and leaving matters of the imaginary to the imaginary beings you think you believe in....

    November 4, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  3. MagicPanties

    My invisible pink unicorn is praying that ya'all get a clue.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  4. Timber72

    Why is a picture of the pagan sun gud, including the rising sun behind him, on the homepage as a representation of "Jesus"...? Isn't it amazing how much the modern "church" has been corrupted by paganism, and the vast majority of people who claim to be believers don't even know it?

    November 4, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Hitch

      Did Jesus the magician even exist? Jesus is PAGAN MYTH MORON. Study other middle eastern religions moron. Jesus myth is a copy cat of Dionysus, and blend of Horus, both sons of god. One from greece and Horus from egypt. Moron christians don't do any research and believe in any fairytale written in their disgusting bible.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Timber72

      Huh. Interesting. Jesus was a "pagan myth moron"...I'm not even quite sure what a "pagan myth moron" is, but it sounds a little insulting. As for the rest...you seem angry. You should take something for that.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • MagicPanties

      Hitch, you don't help the agnostic/atheist/humanist cause with your comments.

      Yes, point out inconsistencies. Yes, use humor. No, do not resort to juvenile name-calling.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  5. JS

    For the non-christians, this article isn't for you. This article is for christians who have used their political allegiance to color their faith. It's for those self-proclaimed christians that believe that Christ opposed helping the poor because the GOP has implied that the poor are just lazy, or that businesses are inherently sinful because the DNC has been critical of financiers.
    It is a revealing of the fact that when you mix faith and politics, your faith doesn't purify your politics, the politics pollute your faith.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Timber72

      Um...aren't ALL christians, by requirement, self-proclaimed...?

      November 4, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  6. mike

    America is at crossroads because men like this delusion guy exists.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  7. Choncha R. Marshall

    Great take!

    November 4, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  8. Hitch

    Jesus the terrorist. quotes from gospels.

    Luke 12:49

    "I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!

    Luke 12:51

    Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Sane Person

      Oh come now, you know they pick the parts of the bible they like and leave out those unflattering bits. Those versus dont count!

      November 4, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • freeman

      In order to understand the quote one has to look into the contest of the verse. You are bringing a very good verses of Jesus sayings:
      The first one describe that Jesus came to bring to people the true teaching of GOD and therefore his teachings will bring division between people. Some will follow him and some will oppose him. So people will be divided into believers and disbelievers. That's exactly what happened. When Jesus reminded people of the teaching of Moses he was opposed by the corrupt Rabis who accused him of blosomy and tried to kill him. So Jesus the messenger of GOD came with the truth and he was opposed and challenged. The fault was in the people who were corrupt not in Jesus the messenger.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Timber72

      Context. It means something.

      Sane Person: lots of people leave out the parts they don't like, true. There's intellectual dishonesty on all sides, for sure.

      November 4, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  9. Brian

    Forgive them father, for they know not what they do.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  10. Searles O'Dubhain

    Poor Jesus! His acts, words, teachings and legacy are now fodder for politicos, whackos and do-gooders everywhere. There are hundreds of different versions of Jesus being held up as the one true Jesus by a variety of religious cults and subcults nowadays. One wonders if the Morman cult Jesus is anything like the Catholic, Baptist,Prebysterians, Methodists, Amish, Mennonite, Brethren, etc,, (you get the drift) cults? Jesus was a Jew and a teacher to begin with and then some folks turned him into their version of the source of religion. Let's give the man a break!

    November 4, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Hitch

      Thats if jesus the magician even existed. Jesus myth is a copy cat of Dionysus, and blend of Horus, both sons of god. One from greece and Horus from egypt. Moron christians don't do any research and believe in any fairytale written in their disgusting bible.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • freeman

      Jesus was not a Jew. If he was a Jew why did the scholars of the Jews fight against him. He was following the teaching of his father Abraham who worshiped the one GOD.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  11. Immaannoid

    Christians are basically ignorant and are reason the Republican party is sooo distasteful to intelligent Americans.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  12. E Munster

    Looks like Eddie Munster with that widows peak thing...he and Ryan should get along just FINE there in la la land.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  13. BYRON

    youtu.be/v_2s4tob5U8 – THE TRUTH

    November 4, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  14. Jeffy B

    Why is this a top headline article? CNN, give me news. Put editorials and opinion pieces where they belong and just give me updates on what's really happening.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  15. Uriah

    Yes, please everyone in America base your vote on a fictional space wizard. This will certainly help move the world forward

    November 4, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  16. tucsand

    Also Good Morning Everyone.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  17. Dan

    Bottom line: instead of voting, you should be practicing cannibalism and vampirism instead.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • tucsand

      That's where corruption I think is the worst, when religion and politics meet.

      November 4, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  18. pacoder

    This is newsworthy because? How about keeping it to the religion section where I can ignore it more easily...thanks.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  19. Evil1



    November 4, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  20. mlblogscbgoldsmith

    We are shaped by politics because they are real and Jesus while a fine idea is now more relevant than the Easter Bunny.

    November 4, 2012 at 10:30 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.