“Birds of a feather flock together.”

“Birds of a feather flock together.” My mother drilled that sage piece of counsel into my pubescent brain when I was a kid growing up. She wanted me to learn the truth that people judge you by the company you keep—so choose your friends carefully. And her words stuck, irrespective of how I as a teenager conformed to her maternal wisdom. “Birds of a feather” has to do with political parties and loyalties, too. For the first time since 1956 our nation has just endured two back-to-back presidential conventions—dominating the news and preoccupying our conversations with their partisan hoopla. Hurricane Gustav wasn’t the only blast of hot air these past two weeks! Hopefully, however, we as Christians (and Adventist Christians, at that) do not succumb to the divisive rhetoric that is characteristic of political seasons like this. I keep hearing the words of our Lord under interrogation by the Roman governor Pilate. “‘My kingdom is not of this world . . . My kingdom is not from here’” (John 18:36). While both political parties have nominated respectable candidates for president, we dilute our public witness and water down our spiritual mission when we allow ourselves to be swept up in partisan rancor and political attacks. Does that mean we won’t have political opinions? Should we not speak out for national concerns? Are we not to participate in the electoral process of selecting government leaders? Of course we should, and we must. But we can do so, can we not, without aligning ourselves with divisive party rhetoric and dividing political alliances? If like Christ our Master, our highest loyalties are firmly attached to God’s eternal kingdom and uncompromisingly aligned with his radical passion to save all humankind (irrespective of creed, gender, race or party), then shall we not be careful to avoid alienating the very people and populace we’ve been called to reach for him? “Birds of a feather flock together.” Then let us daily fly the colors of the Sovereign Leader who claims our highest allegiance and most fervent loyalty. And when the conversation turns political, why not find in that very turning a quiet opportunity to witness to your allegiance to the only One who can solve our planet’s most vexing perplexities and satisfy this civilization’s deepest longing?