In the faith community of my boyhood, our defining hymn could have been "This world is not my home, I'm just a-passing through." We were relatively disinterested in any public issues except those that had something to do with family or matters of private morality. Everything else was "of the world." Result? I was quite naïve about how to sort out the kind of public issues with which a pastor should identify.

Figuring all of that out began during my seminary days. On weekends I pastored a tiny, rural church in northwestern Kansas. As I was preaching my first sermons Lyndon Johnson was running against Barry Goldwater for the Presidency. I determined to break from my Republican roots and associate with the Democrats. I pasted a Johnson sticker on the back of my Volkswagen. I did this in a Kansas county that would eventually vote overwhelmingly for Goldwater! Was I brave or stupid?

My father (full disclosure: he was a Goldwater man), always candid, saw my Johnson sticker and said, "Are ...

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