Two 2012 Election Season Initiatives

#JesusIsMyCandidate: This meme started as a sermon series at Burke United Methodist Church in Burke, Virginia, last month.

The rules: Every evening at 9 p.m. until Election Day, share a personal testimony or prophetic statement about Jesus with the hashtag #JesusIsMyCandidate. Don’t be sarcastic or hateful, and don’t be concerned with winning arguments—just take a half hour to reflect on who you are and who Jesus is and what his vision is for this earth, what his values and his promises are, and affirm your allegiance to him, your commitment to his platform, which unifies rather than divides. Consider how what he gives is better and truer than what our government ever could. And consider the degree and the nature of your involvement in that gift, that vision.

Morgan Guyton, associate pastor of Burke United Methodist, wrote regarding the meme,

It’s not slacktivism. It’s a 21st century act of prayer and resistance against the designs of Satan to use this presidential election to pummel American Christianity. . . . This is not about refusing to vote for either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. Neither is this about finding all the Bible verses that support Republican talking points and all the verses that support Democratic ones and stacking them against each other to see whose stack is taller. This is about forcing ourselves to see the evidence of what a strange, beautifully big tent the body of Christ is.

Here are some of the tweets so far:

#JesusIsMyCandidate because He never tried to take Caesar’s throne; He ruled over Caesar from the cross. 

#JesusIsMyCandidate because He never asked for insurance before He healed.

#JesusIsMyCandidate because His family values were to make all nations into one family.

#JesusIsMyCandidate because He didn’t go around the West Bank; He went right into the middle and asked a Palestinian woman for a drink.

#JesusIsMyCandidate because He never intended for His disciples to become a special interest group.

#JesusIsMyCandidate because I was an illegal alien in His kingdom till His blood gave me amnesty.

#JesusIsMyCandidate even though His surrogates commit a thousand gaffes every day.

#JesusIsMyCandidate because He’s the only judge that paid the price of His own judgment.

#JesusIsMyCandidate because He didn’t just preach good news to the middle class.

#JesusIsMyCandidate because He told us to store our treasures in heaven instead of building bigger barns for our earthly wealth.

#JesusIsMyCandidate because when he’s in charge, foreign policy will be the supper of the lamb.

Election Day Communion: Here’s another neat initiative, which first took place during the 2008 election season and is continuing this year: calling all churches to hold a Communion service on the night of November 6, so that Christians from various political affiliations can come together and be reminded of their common bond in Christ, and of a commission they share that’s greater than voting.

From their website:

The Election Day Communion Campaign began with a concern that Christians in the United States are being shaped more by the tactics and ideologies of political parties than by their identity in and allegiance to Jesus.

Out of this concern, a simple vision sparked the imaginations of several Mennonite pastors: The Church being the Church on Election Day, gathering at the Lord’s Table to remember, to practice, to give thanks for, and to proclaim its allegiance to Christ.

Pastor Kevin Gasser Staunton of Mennonite Church in Staunton, Virginia, says that repentance of “political idolatry, excessive partisanship, and our divisive nature” will be in order. Mark Schloneger, pastor of North Goshen Mennonite Church in Goshen, Indiana, is quoted in the Huffington Post as saying, “Our participation in the party system, Democrat and Republican, has caused us to be passionate about things that look very different from the passion of Jesus. That’s where I believe we need to repent.”

Again, this is not about refraining from the political process or renouncing our patriotism, but about relegating it to its proper place—lifting up Christ as our ultimate freedom, hope, and power, and celebrating the oneness that he makes possible. It’s about transcending partisan divides and refocusing our commitments as we pray not only for our own country, but for all the countries of the world.

More than 500 churches from 48 states have already signed up to participate.

Here are a few campaign-style posters from the campaign’s Facebook page:

Jesus was political

John Wesley on voting

Stanley Hauerwas on elections

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