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. Jun Lee

    Preach it.

    November 7, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  2. Ann

    God is in control always This article is what everybody needs to read. People need to more focus on that.

    November 7, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Wraith

      My God(s) or yours?

      November 7, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  3. matt

    Oh look, you're old. Surprise!

    November 7, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  4. Mitch

    I'm not incredibly religious, but dude I gotta say this was one awesome article. I think you do Christianity justice with it, unlike so many others who abuse it. I have always found solace in my beliefs, but it has always seemed that the self-professed "religious" corrupt the purity of the message.

    November 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  5. Keesha

    My faith is also on the creator! That's it– His Will BE DONE!

    November 7, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • JPX

      Hey Mark, how did proclaiming your loyalty for Jesus work out for you? It seems to me that Jesus must hate you given that Obama won in a landslide. Don't you feel a little silly now? You have wasted your life on nonsense.

      November 7, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  6. pastmorm

    Oh good, proclaiming your loyalty to Jesus on election day...how sweet. Didn't work! He obviously doesn't like mennonites anymore than mormons.....LOL!!!!! LOSERS!!!!!

    November 7, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  7. Julia

    I'm irreligious but I'll pledge loyalty to freedom of speach and diversity.

    November 7, 2012 at 7:00 am |
  8. avatar 198|tai avatar 198|avatar 198 auto farm

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    November 7, 2012 at 4:10 am |
  9. Abdirahman

    my fellow Americans........I am calling you to take the salvation of ISLAM because it is the only truth in this world.....
    I know many people who read my message don't like it......please don't be emotional.....just make a research about
    Islamic Religion............and compare to Christianity and Judaism.....then you will know which one is the truth.......

    November 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Keesha

      the cool thing is we all have a right to choose who and what we believe. Thank you for sharing your faith with us. All of the religions you've mention all have the same foundation- The 1st five books. I am studying the Muslim faith, not to convert, just to obtain a better understanding. I am learning a lot. The difference I am finding is some Muslims are peaceful people, just like some Christians and Jews are. The thing that separates us is Yeshua Hamashia many call (Jesus- which means "Hail Zeus") Christ. The name Jesus was never written in the 1600's bible.- which to you would prove a point that the bible has been re written so many times, that we "Believers" have no clue what the truth is. The Quran has never been duplicated – Sorry Abdirahman..that has been rewritten too..the Quran was established after the Bible was written, maybe that is the reason for the 1st five books to be the same.
      My point, in the Quran and the Torah, people have no hope to be protected from the evils of the world and healing does not exists. When you die there is no chance for you to be risen again to maintain life, you must be buried within 24 hours, your life is over. What separates believers (Christians) from all other religion is HOPE. Yeshua is our beacon for victory over evil things, without the use of charms, and other ritualistic things. He is our example that you can be healed from sicknesses and diseases. You can overcome death and live again. If you believe God gave Him the power to do it, You have the same power to do it too. We pray to God (Actually means Supreme Court Judge not Supreme Judge) =(Allah)= Yahweh, Christ was Jewish- Jewish names should be used. When we pray to Our Heavenly Father, we close it out with in "Christ Name" Amen. The reason we do that is we are saying, Father, you provided us with your beloved son to be our example to show us have dominion over the earth, if it is your will, give us strength to have Victory over the situation like your Beloved Son. The power King Solomon (سليمان had in the Quran, is the same power Yeshua has in the bible..and We -the people after His has the same right to use, just because we choose to believe and have faith. Abdirahman, I apologize for the misunderstanding you may have received prior. We are supposed to be a people of love, faith and truth. I just wanted you to see what makes us different and the same..

      November 7, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Steve

      I researched all three, and chose "none of the above."

      November 7, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Rando

      John 14:6–Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." Jesus is the ONLY way, the ONLY truth, and the ONLY life. John 4:13-14–Jesus answered and said to her(the woman of Samaria at the well), "Everyone who drinks of this water (the world) will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." Choose Jesus, choose life.

      November 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Smarter than U

      All religions foment hate. All religions brainwash. All religions are hypocritical. But at the top of this pile of crap is Islam. The worst of the worst. The inventors of suicide bombers, these folks eat their own. Sunnis blow up Shia funerals and vice versa. Name a country that has more than 30% muslims where they get along with their coreligionists. Jihad, fatwas. No thanks.

      November 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  10. Randy Dela Cruz

    I don't believe that an absence of evidence is evidence of absence. The thing is, I don't know everything and therefore cannot know if there is or isn't a God. I have no problem if people want to believe in a God or multiple Gods. But as for me, I just don't know.

    November 6, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Athy

      Let me help you out here, Randy. I'll type it slow for you. There is no fucking god. Just live with it.

      November 7, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • MCR

      @Athy, wow, supernatural powers to understand the nature of the universe; who's delusional now. Randy's right, you can't know and claimingyou canjust makes you sound silly. If you want people to give up their belief in gods you can calmly and rationally dissect internal inconsistencies in their views and, when available address historical errors. But you best bet is to offer possitive alternative, both conceptually and socially. Claiming to know things youcannotknow just makes you sound likea fool.

      November 7, 2012 at 5:26 am |
    • JPX

      Randy, you can't see the Easter Bunny or Santa Clause either, does that mean you think they might exist? Stupid reasoning. Use your brain. Obviously a magical man in the sky doesn't exist! Get your G.E.D.

      November 7, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Smarter than U

      That which cannot be proven does not have to be disproven. The evidence of the existence of God is nil, other than some 6000 year old fairy tales from the same people who believed the earth was flat. Sorry. I don't know everything but until proven otherwise there is no god or santa claus.

      November 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  11. SNoob

    I think a few people need to fix their tin foil hats.

    November 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • End Religion

      That's the problem. They adjust the hat and aliens appear. They adjust it and 9/11 was an inside job. Adjust again and suddenly Romney seems like a great idea. I'm afraid of the adjustments. I want them to go back to the adjustment where bigfoot and Nessie existed, because that was mostly harmless.

      November 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  12. WillieLove


    November 6, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  13. Rick Lee James

    Really looking forward to leading music at the communion service in our community tonight. Thank you for this great article.

    November 6, 2012 at 5:30 am |
  14. WillieLove


    November 6, 2012 at 5:00 am |
  15. WillieLove


    November 6, 2012 at 4:58 am |
  16. WillieLove


    November 6, 2012 at 4:57 am |
  17. WillieLove


    November 6, 2012 at 4:54 am |
  18. Reality

    Pledging my loyalty to pillow-bitin theories --

    there are no straight people in my posse

    all must pack fudge daily

    schlobin dat mushroom head is a workout

    bend over at all times for a jig-a-booo

    stretch that an@l gland daily

    dont be offended when called a bu t pirate

    gerbils be our friend!!

    the lifestyle of a fairy is a proud one

    See ya!! Out

    November 6, 2012 at 2:58 am |
    • Reality

      Not from the original Reality.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • great intellect my ass

      Everyone can tell
      it's readable and makes sense.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:17 am |
  19. Brampt

    Rock dat chute! Make em toot! Hoot hoot hoot! I be a fruit! Let's all get craaazy!!

    November 6, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  20. 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 6, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • ....


      November 6, 2012 at 7:18 am |
    • Reality

      As requested:

      The Apostles' Creed 2012 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      (References used are available upon request.)

      November 6, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Anthony Bourne

      There is also no observed evolution.

      the definition of science is-he intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment

      Do you so quickly abandon evolution until it has been observed?

      November 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • TheSchmaltz

      "There is also no observed evolution."

      Sure there is. Bacteria colonies breed fast enough that the changes have been observed when conditions have changed around them.

      On a grander scale, there is supporting evidence and no contradicting evidence. It's not 100% proven, but it's far and away the most likely scenario.

      November 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
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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.