For most pastors, the question of how the church should relate to the state and to the society and culture around it arises in a very mundane way—in the form of a phone call asking you to deliver an invocation at a meeting of the city council or the PTA, or at a school sports banquet. Whenever this happens, I agonize a bit about it. Should I baptize a secular event with a little piety? What is my appearance saying about prayer or God?
Probably most pastors have, as I do, some memories of awkward, bizarre or (from the safe distance of time) funny moments on these occasions. I recall being asked to deliver the invocation to kick off a Christmas parade—but the parade took off without waiting for my carefully prepared “parade prayer.” I also recall a junior high athletic banquet at which my prayer actually evoked enthusiastic adolescent applause.
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