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About Ron Clark
Ron has his Doctor of Ministry from Harding School of Theology in Memphis. He is a member of local domestic violence and houseless initiative councils and has served on the Oregon Attorney General's Sexual Assault Task Force. He is also a faculty instructor and adviser for doctoral students at Portland Seminary and co-chairs the Greek Scriptures sessions in the Society of Biblical Literature. He also is a contributor for Huffington Post.
For more on Ron's author page, publications, and upcoming speaking events visit:
You can follow his blogs at:
Ron and Lori Clark have been married since 1987. They have 3 sons Nathan (and wife Nyla), Hunter, and Caleb. They have also recently released their book The Marriage Table: Our Experiences of Love in Marriage, Family, and Ministry.
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Statistics suggest that in America one in four women has experienced physical violence in an intimate relationship. Dating violence, intimate-partner violence, and child abuse rank as some of our nation's largest problems. Men are also being abused by intimate partners, parents, or care providers at increasing rates. The statistic is even more alarming worldwide. Unfortunately, these statistics represent only reported incidents. The rates of verbal, emotional, and spiritual abuse are even higher. In addition, countless women are encouraged by clergy to return to their abusive spouses. The faith community, while called by God to free the oppressed, has been slow to respond to this sin against humanity. Few seminaries offer quality domestic-violence-prevention training for clergy. However, clergy still continue to be sought for help from the community and as advocates for victims of domestic violence. A partnership between the church and community (locally and abroad) is necessary if we wish to transform humans caught in this form of oppression.
In Setting the Captives Free Ron Clark proposed a theology of addressing domestic violence and its application for clergy. Freeing the Oppressed is a book that seeks to condense Clark's previous work into a readable form for those seeking spiritual answers concerning abuse and batterer intervention, and for helpers of those caught in the cycle of family violence. It is also designed as an outreach for those seeking help from the faith community.
“Thank you Dr. Clark for writing such a thoroughly readable work. Your book sounds the clarion call that many of us working in the field of domestic violence have hoped and prayed the church would hear. It clearly states the problem and the need facing our country, our communities, and our churches. More importantly, it provides a message of hope and a way for the church to touch and be touched by their communities . . . This is a rare gem of a Christian work that I can feel comfortable giving to clergy, victims, perpetrators, or anyone wanting to know how to address family violence.”
—Patricia Warford, PsyD
“Ron Clark has provided a clear, concise, spiritually-informed, well-researched argument calling Christians to speak out against domestic abuse and to respond compassionately to women, men, and children impacted by its devastating consequences. Every pastor and every seminary student should read Freeing the Oppressed. Clark interweaves his pastoral experience with biblical insights and knowledge of the growing literature in domestic violence. The result: a prophetic call to social action.”
Professor of Sociology
University of New Brunswick
"Freeing the Oppressed is a wonderful resource for any reader who wishes to learn more about domestic abuse and Christian communities. Beginning with a chapter outlining the dynamics of domestic abuse, Ron Clark provides a chapter-by-chapter journey toward hope and healing for victim/survivors and perpetrators alike and toward greater understanding for those who seek to assist them. Interspersing his personal experiences as pastor, counselor, and educator within each chapter helps to frame the plethora of interrelated issues in a manner that makes them clear and accessible—and interesting—to all readers.
The author suggests that the prophets live on today through the church as those who engage their community, fight for people’s hearts, and remind others that God gives second chances. Clark shares stories from his personal ministry to the marginalized in Portland, Oregon, who seek relief from shame, suffering, and hopelessness. In this hope our community receives new vision through a loving God and persistent prophets.
“Clark’s probe of prophets is itself prophetic: this book has the potential to move the church from despair to hope, from somnolence to divine presence, from wake-up to dream again.”
—Leonard Sweet, Drew University
“Readers [can] expect to find in this book a deep, pastoral sensibility, a compelling narrative art, and an awareness of systemic arrangements that continue to produce hopelessness and displacement among us. Clark provides ready access to the issues that concern us most now.”
—Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary
“Today’s church often seems disconnected from both the suffering world and from its own sacred texts . . . With clarity, passion, pastoral sensibility, and an accurate, though not technical, understanding of Scripture, Clark invites readers into a world, not as it is, but as it should—and could—be. Read this book. More importantly, live prophetically and with imaginative joy.”
—Mark W. Hamilton, Abilene Christian University
“No doubt you will be changed by Clark’s powerful stories of personal ministry with the marginalized and his vision of hope through our loving God.”
—Kevin Palau, Luis Palau Association
“Clark combines expertise in biblical literature with page-turning accounts of life amidst the marginalized, creating a rare and exquisite meshing of two worlds where hope is promised to a crushed people. Essential reading for those who dare to minister.”
—David Fleer, Lipscomb University
Ron Clark is the minister for the Agape Church of Christ in Portland, Oregon. He is an adjunct instructor at George Fox Evangelical Seminary and serves in local abuse- and trafficking-prevention agencies in Portland. He is the author of Am I Sleeping with the Enemy? (2009) and Freeing the Oppressed (2009), both from Cascade Books.
"Are men to be strong, tough, and raging? Or compassionate, empathetic, and caring? Ron Clark takes you through biblical and cultural history, providing a thought provoking case for what real manhood is. This book will definitely challenge you to think through whatever paradigms you may have instead of simply accepting the status quo."
--Eric and Jennifer Garcia
Co-founders of the Association of Marriage and Family Ministries
"Ron Clark makes a strong, religious case for the strength in gentleness and humility, and adds an urgently needed voice to the call for compassion in a world that too often feels cold and distant."
--Patrick J. Lemmon
Co-founder and former Executive Director of Men Can Stop Rape
"Ron Clark is one of the leading voices among male clergy in the struggle to end men's violence against women and children. This book contains all of the qualities of courageous honesty, wisdom, and humility that make him such an effective educator and leader. Women and men---nside and outside of Christian communities--will find great insight and compassionate teaching in these pages."
author of The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help
Ron Clark is the lead church planter for the Agape Church of Christ in Portland, Oregon where he is active in community organizations in domestic and sexual abuse, homelessness, and human trafficking. He is an adjunct faculty member at George Fox Evangelical Seminary and author of Setting the Captives Free, Freeing the Oppressed and The Better Way.
"It may very well be that the future of the church rests in our ability to look back as we move forward. In the book of Acts, we see the birthday of the church--and it is dazzling. The fire of Pentecost leads to sharing possessions with open hands, and worship happens out of dinner tables and living rooms. But it is also a subversive movement, preaching a different emperor than Caesar and a different empire from Rome. These renegade Jews, convinced that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, are turning the world upside down. Ron Clark invites you into this ancient text of Acts, and he challenges you to join the revolution of Jesus that is happening today. Ron dares you to write the next chapter of the book of Acts...with your life."
--Shane Claiborne, Author and Activist
"This is a book that leads the reader into the open, fresh air of a faith that forms around relationships and Spirit, not rules and Law. In our world, where the ghostly empire of self is empty--empty of empathy for others, and empty of treasures for oneself--Ron Clark masterfully maps for us God's Holy Spirit Empire of love, beauty, truth, and goodness."
--Leonard Sweet, best-selling author of From Tablet to Table, professor (George Fox University, Drew University, Tabor College), and creator of preachthestory.com
"The book of Acts tells the story of the church's birth and growth as a community imitating Jesus in the ministry of announcing freedom to captives and the renewal of all broken people. In this eminently readable, thoroughly researched, and compassionate book, Ron Clark reminds us that the same story continues today whenever believers and searchers engage each other in the pursuit of human dignity and intimacy with God. Like his previous work, this book brings biblical theology to life in practical ways for church leaders and all interested in hearing good news in a new age."
--Mark W. Hamilton, Onstead Professor of Biblical Studies, Graduate School of Theology, Abilene Christian University
"With equal parts exegesis and experience, I've watched Ron Clark and Agape dive deep into the core mission of Jesus--to reach people on the margins of society. Spirit Unleashed masterfully unfolds the book of Acts as the epic expansion of the Empire of Jesus and challenges every believer to boldly follow the Spirit into their communities through service, relationship, and sharing the good news."
--Kevin Palau, President of the Luis Palau Association
Ron Clark is a minister for the Agape Church of Christ in Portland. He is an adjunct faculty member at George Fox Evangelical Seminary and the author of The God of Second Chances and Jesus Unleashed.
Today the church emerges in a culture of power, humiliation, and fear. Paul's challenge for the church is to be mature and practice unconditional love. This love is permanent. This love develops and empowers others. This love causes us to be in relationship with God and others. Through this love God's people see face to face. The church can emerge to radiate love, peace, and empowerment.
"In Ron Clark's experienced hands, the problematic Corinthian church becomes a laboratory where the twenty-first century church learns again how to be a kingdom of love. The Apostle Paul and Ron Clark join hands to help us find our way to church in the twenty-first century USA."
--Kent L. Yinger
George Fox Evangelical Seminary
"I read and learned from Ron Clark's study of I Corinthians, because he took care to study the original context of this important letter, but also took on the more difficult task of bringing the important discussion of difficult topics into the present context. It will be a useful study for ministers."
Abilene Christian University
"This book clearly reflects Dr. Ron Clark's abiding commitment to contextual theology and an incarnational model for Christian ministry . . . The book is especially designed for those involved with or exploring urban ministry in a Post-Christian world . . . Those wanting to see how this Pauline text of Scripture might inform current Kingdom ministry in an urban landscape will profit from reading The Better Way."
Ron Clark is the lead church planter for the Agape Church of Christ in Portland, Oregon where he is active in community organizations in domestic violence, sexual assault, and homeless issues. He is the author of Setting the Captives Free: A Christian Theology of Domestic Violence.
This reference offers the nuanced understanding and practical guidance needed to address domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking in diverse religious communities. Introductory chapters sort through the complexities, from abusers' distorting of sacred texts to justifying their actions to survivors' conflicting feelings toward their faith. The core of the book surveys findings on gender violence across Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Eastern, and Indigenous traditions--both attitudes that promote abuse and spiritual resources that can be used to promote healing. Best practices are included for appropriate treatment of survivors, their children, and abusers; and for partnering with communities and clergy toward stemming violence against women.
Among the topics featured:
- Ecclesiastical policies vs. lived social relationships: gender parity, attitudes, and ethics.
- Women’s spiritual struggles and resources to cope with intimate partner aggression.
- Christian stereotypes and violence against North America’s native women.
- Addressing intimate partner violence in rural church communities.
- Collaboration between community service agencies and faith-based institutions.
- Providing hope in faith communities: creating a domestic violence policy for families.
Religion and Men's Violence against Women will gain a wide audience among psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and other mental health professionals who treat religious clients or specialize in treating survivors and perpetrators of domestic and intimate partner violence, stalking, sexual assault, rape, or human trafficking.
"Ron and Lori bring joy, insight, depth and wisdom for our hopes for healthy marriage. In sharing their marriage experiences, family stories, and metaphor of table, they revive a splendid tradition of communication and understanding so often missing in today's marriages. I love reading their insights about relationships, life, and love. What a fun, encouraging way to learn about strengthening marriage and family!"
--Ed Gray, Professor of Counseling, Harding School of Theology; Author of Marriage Mentoring: 12 Conversations
"Reflections from the Marriage Table is a beautiful testament to the Holy Spirit in marriage. Through the vulnerable sharing of their story, Ron and Lori invite us to be an active participant in God's purpose to grow and become all God wants us to be by respecting each other's differences, and creating a safe and sacred space. A must-read for couples who want to live out God's design for marriage."
--Harville Hendrix, PhD and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD
"Sit down, pull up a chair, and prepare to feast on authenticity, insight, and years of wisdom. In a world full of chaos and struggle, Reflections from the Marriage Table offers readers a still and sacred space to both stabilize and stimulate couples and families toward the development of relational depth over breadth. Ron and Lori transparently remind us that there is always room at God's table for one more."
--Clint and Penny A. Bragg, Authors of Marriage on the Mend--Healing Your Relationship After Crisis, Separation, or Divorce
Ron and Lori Clark have been married and in ministry since 1987. They planted the Agape Church of Christ in downtown Portland in March 2007 and continue to serve Portland in ministry, domestic violence education, and working with various marginalized communities. They have three sons and love living together in Oregon.
"Those who have loved the Bible all of their lives, and those who are coming to it afresh, will find here the sweet aroma of the Holy Spirit wafting through the broken places of our world and reviving all of God's children, both inside and outside traditional churches. The third evangelist's work of introducing Jesus to all comers continues in this valuable work."
--Mark Hamilton, Author of The Transforming Word
"Ron Clark's new book invites us to abandon the sanitized religion of Christianity that we have practiced for too long. In Jesus Unleashed, he shows how Luke's Gospel presents a Christ who insists that we eschew the static, comfortable, easy forms of religion we have substituted for the cross-shaped, shalom-bringing friendship with sinners that he modeled for us."
--Michael Frost, Author of The Road to Missional
"I deeply admire Ron and Agape, the community he leads, as they embody the principles Ron highlights from his study of Luke. Jesus Unleashed presents not only solid exposition of Scripture but a practical challenge for Christ's followers. I have great hope for the future of the church as we reach out to the marginalized people in our society today."
--Kevin Palau, President of Luis Palau Association
Ron Clark is the minister for the Agape Church of Christ and faculty at George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of Freeing the Oppressed and The God of Second Chances.