Church visits from a president are complicated affairs, requiring layers of careful thought and planning for the potent mixture of the temporal and the eternal. President Trump is not known for holding fragile things with care, and his drop-in at McLean Bible Church on Sunday proved that yet again, in a significant departure from the approach of his predecessors.
The break with tradition is not that Trump appeared at a church. Church visits by politicians are common on both sides of the aisle, and many Democratic presidential hopefuls have spoken from pulpits in the past few months.
In my book, "Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America," I describe the significant logistical and atmospheric challenges for a president to attend church. It is inherently disruptive, because he brings the office of the presidency when he attends.