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TIPTOEING INTO POLITICS: How one church tired to walk calmly into the treacherous world of political involvement.

How one church tried to walk calmly into the treacherous world of political involvement.

During my college days I went hiking in a wilderness area. I was the only rookie in this group of experienced hikers, but the adventure of following a primitive trail drew us together. Then we came to a bridge-a swinging bridge over a rushing river. The rest of the group laughed and swayed their way across. Was I the only one afraid of heights? I had a choice: I could swallow my fear and cross, or return to the car to wait.

As a pastor I face another rickety bridge-the one between church matters and outside political issues. There are plenty of reasons not to cross over-to stay inside the church. There are also good reasons to face the danger and go ahead. I've done some swaying and trembling in recent years in the ministry, and I'd like to pass on some of what I've learned about crossing into political territory.

The caution

When I entered the pastorate, a crusty veteran of the cloth gave me this unsolicited counsel: "Hunter, I'll give you two pieces of advice that will keep you out of lots ...

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