By John Corrales

Consider the state of American public discourse. What some consider “American,” others interpret as supremely “un-American.” What some accept as “public” are really digital antipathies flung from one faceless Twitter trench to the next. What some believe to be “discourse” is not the measured persuasion of a skeptic toward the truth, but rather the foisting of one side’s “facts” over the other side’s “lies.”

In the meantime, in and among the discord, are a handful of people tuning out the noise, seeking silence, and prayerfully asking God for a path toward civility and peace.

One such man is Reverend Joe Watkins. Despite an impressive pedigree comprising elite boarding schools, Ivy League degrees, and a stint as an aide for President George H. W. Bush, Rev. Watkins chooses to serve as pastor of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in a tough neighborhood in Philadelphia. What does it mean to be a “tough neighborhood” in Philadelphia?

“It means there’s a drug market not far away from the church. People get shot in and around the community all the time,” Rev. Watkins said. “New Year’s Eve every night when we have prayer service… We know the New Year has begun when we hear gunshots.”

“When I got that assignment, when I went to the church, I said, ‘Lord, not this. I mean, I want to be used by You, but give me a nice big church somewhere with a budget and with a choir, and people, hundreds of people maybe,’ ” Rev. Watkins said. “And God said, ‘You know what, you’re supposed to love the people that I have sent you to share with and minister to.’ ”

Watkins recently sat down for a pair of preview interviews for LighthouseTV, the station airing the program in Pennsylvania. Photo: John Coralles

Rev. Watkins, also a media and political analyst with frequent appearances on Bloomberg, Al Jazeera, MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News, is now coming to LighthouseTV to host “Joe Watkins: State of Independence.”

“God has been so good to me. I’ve been really blessed, phenomenally blessed with having the chance to share how good He’s been to me,” Rev. Watkins said. “And that’s not to say that my life’s been easy, that it’s been just one straight line of success. I’ve had failure mixed in with the success, but God is so good, and has been so kind to me, and I have an obligation to share His love and kindness with other people. So, this is a chance to share that through this show.”

Rev. Watkins intends to host writers, pundits, activists, and politicians on his show while addressing issues on a spiritual, cultural, and ethical level. He won’t shout and accuse, but will instead inquire and persuade. We hope you’ll join him. For more info visit or check out LighthouseTV.