“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?

Comments

I was very impressed with many of the speakers at the last convention who spoke so much about service to our fellow man - especially the Amish woman, now a wealthy entrepreneur who stressed the importance of using money for service and quoted from Psalm 49: "Do not be overawed when a man grows rich...for he will take nothing with him when he dies". Then there was the speaker who made reference to God's son who came down to earth and served man as an example for us to serve. The many beautiful prayers and scripture references, including 2 Chronicles 7:14: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land", in my opinion, gave glory to God. I found much of the rhetoric very uplifting and for the first time in a long time have hope for our country.

I agree that much of what is said by politicians in an election cycle tend to reach deep into the psychic of voters -- whether true on untrue. This makes it sometimes challenging to hold a conversation with people who have opposing views. The more I witnessed the well choreographed images at the conventions, the more I realized how hungry we are - “As sheep without a Sheppard.” We’d give anything to believe, to hope. Unfortunately, putting our trust in mere men (and women) in the end will leave us frustrated and disappointed. The problems of this world are far too great for any one person however well intentioned. There is only one fully human and fully divine who can rescue us from ourselves and our enemy. He is the Rose of Sharon. Thank you Pastor for your gentle reminder of whom our highest allegiance belongs!

Amen!

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