This thread may have worn itself out by now since I'm late getting into the conversation. But here's my two cents worth.
I agree that the router is a tool to be used at the semi-advanced skills level. It can be intimidating and down right frightening when you consider the damage it can do. However the advantages it opens up to the woodworker are amazing once you get past that early stage of intimidation.
What is scary to the newby is that routers are, at first glance, a "hands on" tool, like a circular saw or electric planer. Best thing to do is get it out of your hands....mount it in a table top. Then you can use it and abuse all day long in relative safety. Get to know the machine, observe it capabilities and limitations by running wood thru it, over it, and around it. All the while you are handling the wood piece rather then a potential wood and finger eating monster.
Soon you will discover that that rascal isn't as fearsome as you thought. It's like teasing a tiger in a cage. You know he can't get at you while he is in a confined state.
The caveat: Although you've caged the tiger. still you wouldn't stick your hand between the bars. Respect the laws of common sence. Goggles, gloves, and mufflers are the order of the day when working around this equipment.