Saturday, July 23, 2011

Thoughts on the John Next Door and Am I Sleeping With the Enemy

I have had people ask me if I have read the Newsweek article The John Next Door. I have the article at home and really enjoyed what it had to say. I thought about my book Am I Sleeping With the Enemy and some of the thoughts both writings had for me as a Christian man, father, husband, and Christian leader.

First, the article sadly suggests that the researchers had a difficult time finding men who have not solicited prostitutes, viewed pornography, and/or been violent toward women. From my experience as a Christian leader--this would be true and it would be true in the faith community. Men have statistically been a problem when it comes to violence against women. This is especially true in churches. The research on pornography, abuse, clergy/leadership misconduct, and sexual abuse in the church is staggaring. Of course, most of us are told it doesn't exist.

Second, the article worked with two groups. One group had solicited prostitutes. The other group had not done any of the issues mentioned in the previous paragraph. The group of men who were "nonusers" seemed to feel concerned about how the women were treated. They had more empathy and compassion toward women, as well as those in prostution and pornography. The "users" group did not respect women. In my last book I suggest that misogyny (disrespect for females) is a driving force behind pornography, prostitution, abuse, and other forms of female oppression. What impressed me about the Newsweek article was that it gave clear evidence that men who respect women tend to avoid the crimes/sins listed above.

Third, the fact that one John is arrested for every 50 women in prostitution suggests that we still blame the women rather than the men (Johns and Pimps). I continue to hear this in our language by using "Pimp" as a positive term and "ho" as a term for a female person without morals who engages in sex. The prostitute is a victim and needs love and respect. I am thankful that God has led Lori and I to start a church where we now have males and females who admit to being expolited for sex and are changing their lives. Jesus has answered our prayers and show us in the Gospels (Luke 7) that these women need compassion and empathy.

Fourth, over the years I have been amazed at the number of men who claim we are bashing males by what we do. I have never understood how admitting we are at fault and rising up to call men to change is "male bashing." Daniel took responsibility for his nation (Daniel 9) and publically confessed the sin of his nation. Because of this he was called "highly favored" by God he ascended to the ranks of one of the greatest leaders among the Jews. Real men accept responsibility and rise up to lead their people to change--whether we are guilty or not. Real men choose to act. Boys play the role of bystanders. Boys whine and complain that their feelings are hurt because others present compelling research that males are responsible for the majority of violence in our world. If boys will be boys then we will continue as we have for thousands of years. I have three sons and Lori and I both expect them to rise up and be the ones who make a difference, not the ones who hang their heads and make excuses.

Finally, the article has encouraged me to continue the work we are doing. Women have done this work for so many years and have fought bravely to call men to accountability. I am thankful for their courage and have been blessed by them, as well as Lori who has done this for years. We have been supported by so many Portland based agencies (as well as agencies throughout the country) and given opportunities to talk about what God is doing at Agape. 95% of those who ask us to talk are not faith based and have confessed that they are disappointed at the lack of response of the Christian faith to the violence against women movement. Too many male ministers preach week after week on financial peace, avoiding our world, not engaging our communities, how to feel better about ourselves, or doctrinal errors of other churches. Yet the Bible is full of stories that call men to respect women, challenge men to be compassionate and loving, and push us to be friends of sinners and tax collectors like Jesus. We even have a story where Jesus allowed a prostitute to kiss and cry on his feet--and wasn't sexually aroused. Instead he gave her grace.

I would say Jesus was a real man. I would say that when he presented compelling evidence that people needed to change those who were mature did not whine and complain or say he was "people bashing." They repented and preached the Good News. Can we do the same today? Are we doing the same today?

Dr. Ron Clark
Agape Church of Christ

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Cry Instead of Justice

"Within a book widely touted as the path to peace, violence has incongruously been central to the Bible and how it is used. This collection book examines the manifestations of violence in Scripture, and the ways that Scripture itself – whether violent in content or not – can be used to justify violence and aggression in specific social circumstances."

From the Introduction

Finally released--A Cry Instead of Justice: The Bible and Cultures of Violence in Psychological Perspective. A book just published from four years of papers presented at the national Society of Biblical Lit. conference. I remember many of our sessions and the discussions we had with each other afterward. I contribute...d two of the chapters--however its a book I can't even afford to buy! $105!!! One chapter discusses Bible verses abusers use to oppress their partners, the other is a critique of the "Left Behind" series. Dereck and Andrew have been working on this for two years. Even though the cost is high glad they finished the project. Great topics.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Two Down One To Go

The Better Way: The Church of Agape in Emerging Corinth

When Paul came to Corinth he found a culture emerging from the ashes of Roman power. As Julius Cesar rebuilt the fallen city he brought Roman culture to this Greek community. Likewise, Paul's message of salvation in Jesus rebuilt the fallen lives of people dominated by a culture of power. This power was displayed in violence, discrimination, sexuality, and spirituality. As this city emerged from the ashes of humiliation the church emerged, by God's hand, from the humiliation of Jesus and the cross.

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."

From the Introduction
In Ron Clark’s experienced hands, the problematic Corinthian church becomes a laboratory where the 21st 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 21st century US.
Dr. Kent Yinger, George Fox Evangelical Seminary

I signed a contract in January to author 3 books. Freeing the Oppressed was published in September. The Better Way will be available next week. The final book in the series Am I Sleeping With the Enemy is now being edited and proofed for publishing. All three are available from

I am taking a break! A long break from writing!
Thanks for everyone's support in this.


Sunday, December 20, 2009


In April 2007, the Saturday before we launched I met Maria. She was spanging at Pioneer square. Caleb and I bought her some juice. Over time and meetings with her she eventually showed up at Agape. She got a place to live, had two babies, and was in treatment center for heroin. She came to Agape for 1 1/2 years--more regular than people we saw who were "brought up in church." 8 weeks ago she brought Crystal, her friend in the treatment center. Crystal also hasn't missed a Sunday. She has visitation of her kids now, is doing well, and was baptized by Lori today. Crystal is bringing her kids and a friend with her.

What if I would have chosen to ignore Maria?
I met Louie at Dignity Village. He came to tell us Thank You for our work. He said he may not be back. That was 2 yrs ago--he hasn't missed a Sunday. He brought Randy and Cindy from the village. Cindy brought her daughter Elsie. Elsie had a baby named Christopher, about a year ago. We all loved Christopher. Elsie also hardly missed a Sunday--more regular than people we see who were "brought up in church." Elsie met Chris and brought him to church at Easter. The three were regular at church. Christopher passed away due to SIDS in August. We were all in mourning. Elsie and Chris showed up that Sunday. She held the babies, and we all wept.

Chris was also baptized today. Elsie will follow soon and is studying now.

What if I would have chosen not to go to Dignity Village?

Evangelism is about networking.
Its also about obedience.

That's why its a choice we make.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Am I Sleeping With the Enemy Section 1

The next few posts are for those reading the manuscript Am I Sleeping With the Enemy? This spot will be open for you to comment, offer criticisms, or suggest changes to section 1 of the work.

Ron Clark

Monday, September 28, 2009


I always thougth diversity just happened.
I always thought that diversity was easy.
I always thought that diversity was someone else's job.
I knew that diversity is beautiful.
I knew that diversity is a sign of Christ.
I knew that diveristy fires us up.
I didn't know that diversity is intentional.
I didn't know that diversity is easiest when we start over.
I didn't know that diveristy means we change who we are.
Then I watched our praise team Sunday morning.
I realized that diversity is a gift of God.
How wonderful it is to preach for a church that is reflecting the diversity of our city.
How wonderful it is to be in a church that is more like our children's culture than mine.
How wonderful it is to have the chance to start over.