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I am Joe. Born to Texans in Mississippi, I've spent the majority of my life on the Gulf Coast, somewhere between New Orleans and Mobile.

I started blogging in 2004 as a way to document my seminary experience in New Orleans. Now I write about faith, education, politics, and their convergence in our lives. My wife and I are walking through the adoption process, so that’s bound to come up, too.

Citizens of the Kingdom

Citizens of the Kingdom

President Trump was in Alabama this week to campaign for a man he contends he nicknamed "Big Luther" Strange. During that speech, Trump took shots at Colin Kaepernick and other professional athletes who choose to kneel during the national anthem. He recently called for the termination of ESPN's Jemele Hill, and today uninvited the Golden State Warriors from the White House because Steph Curry wouldn't come with them. His complaint? These, and many others, exercised free speech.

Attacks by the sitting President of the United States on private citizens are contemptible, not because of Trump's exercise of free speech, but because of his blatant disregard of the office in which he sits. Trump has brought more embarrassment to America through his hateful and offensive tweets, vitriolic and divisive speeches, and overall ignorance of the Constitution, than any athlete ever could. His track record speaks for itself. That so many despise the Clintons because of Bill's White House indiscretions while supporting Trump is hypocritical at best.

The issue here isn't Trump - his behavior was, is, and appears that it will remain, indicative of the buffoonery he professes publicly. This is not the issue. Neither is the decision to kneel during the national anthem. No, the concern here is that too many Christians, specifically evangelicals, continue to defend him. Consider this: here in Trumpland, the two Republican primary candidates for US Senate have beaten each other up over who is most willing to enact the Trump agenda. I've received nearly a dozen pieces of direct mail to prove it.

Candidate Roy Moore was removed from his position as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court twice, once in regard to his Ten Commandments monument, and once over his refusal to accept a federal court decision on same-sex marriage. He's been accused of taking over a million dollars from his charity. Based on his comments about immigrants, Moore seems to care little of the Bible outside the Ten Commandments.

Meanwhile, Candidate Luther Strange was appointed to now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions' empty seat by the very governor he was investigating for an extra-marital affair. Surely that's on the up-and-up. Big Luther's campaign ads have promoted him as the only candidate who will vote with Trump 100% of the time, regardless of what that might be. It's difficult to know for sure whether Moore or Strange is more deeply in love with the president. It's a fascinating and disgusting clinic in pandering.

Here's the thing. Biblical values matter. Moore espouses them, but recently proclaimed "There's no such thing as a Dreamer." Blatant carelessness toward those who committed no crime other than being children does not demonstrate biblical values.

Even if we (wrongly) chose to only assist professing Christians (show me that test), we must certainly agree that many immigrants, refugees, and dreamers are followers of Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Galatia,

"For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:27-28, ESV).

Instead of taking care of one another, we openly deport Christian immigrants - those who have sought refuge from violence, and those who have only known life here.

Too many evangelicals persist in their devotion - not to Christ, but to these dubious men. We've forsaken the Bible for Fox News, the Church for the GOP, and the Kingdom of God for the United States of America. A Christian's allegiance is first and foremost to Christ, far outweighing any national identity that may follow. Far too many evangelicals are upset about guys kneeling during the national anthem when they, themselves, aren't kneeling before Christ.

We have spent too much time building an Earthly Kingdom instead of the Kingdom of God. May we all repent of our unbelief, and find ourselves wholly devoted to following the principles Christ set before us once again.



An Unending Struggle of the Spirit

An Unending Struggle of the Spirit