VIDEO Uncovering the Roots of Violence Webinar

Uncovering the Roots of Violence – Watch the webinar

Uncovering the Roots of Violence: New Perspectives on Domestic Violence, Social Justice, and Faith
In this moment of #MeToo, #EnoughisEnough, and #BlackLivesMatter, our essential task is to uncover the roots of violence including its roots in our religious traditions and faith communities. The extraordinary May 22, 2018 webinar event brought together three anti-violence pioneers to share fresh perspectives on the stories we have lived by and explore what it really takes to end the pandemic of violence against women, children, and other vulnerable peoples

Millions around the world strive to break free from traditions of violence in our intimate relationships and in our broader culture. But, even as we speak out for an ethic of human relationships grounded in mutuality and caring, we find ourselves confronting beliefs and traditions that justify and normalize violence, including traditions embedded in religious doctrine and practice. How can we re-shape the stories we live by and re-claim the power of faith communities as leaders in today’s intersecting movements to end violence and promote healthy, ethical human relationships?


Speakers include Riane Eisler, internationally known for her work to reveal the deep historical and cultural foundations of misogyny and violence in books such as The Chalice and the Blade and Sacred PleasureJulie Owens, a ground-breaking trainer in the field of domestic violence prevention and victim advocacy, and Ron Clark, Church-Planter and Minister of Portland, Oregon’s Agape Church of Christ, who has authored Freeing the Oppressed and developed innovative approaches to enrolling clergy-people as effective advocates for those who are victimized or oppressed. Moderated by Renita Robinson, CEO, Green Bay YWCA.

“Very informative training.” – Alicia Fuller, CW3 USARMY HRC

How can we re-shape the stories we live by and re-claim the power of faith communities as leaders in today’s intersecting movements to end violence and promote healthy, ethical human relationships?

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Eisler, Owens, and Clark will candidly share the events in their own lives that sparked their passion for disrupting the roots of violence and will dialogue about how we can move away from traditions of domination and forge healthier and more equitable relationships – without leaving behind the faith traditions that can inspire and sustain our journey.

This dialogue explores:

  • How should we respond when sacred texts are used to justify violence?
  • How do we make sense of the ways in which religious texts seem to hold conflicting messages about how we are supposed to treat one another?
  • How can we help our faith communities stop ignoring or normalizing women’s experiences of intimate violence, while cultivating ears to hear and hearts to believe the experiences of women and other survivors of violence?
  • What roles can faith communities play?
  • Why is gender inequality the lynchpin of oppression and violence across different eras and cultures?
  • How does an intersectional understanding of oppression help us connect the dots between seemingly unrelated forms of violence?
  • What possibilities for action open when we understand domestic violence as a human rights and social justice issue?
  • Why are local interventions in violent behavior not enough to prevent violence in our families and communities?
  • What does it really take to move away from cultures of domination, driven by control and fear?
  • How can we build cultures of partnership which celebrate relationships of mutual benefit and mutual responsibility?

Download the Roots of Violence Webinar Resource list


Riane Eisler is President of the Center for Partnership Studies and internationally known as a systems scientist, attorney working for the human rights of women and children, and author of groundbreaking books such as The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future, now in 26 foreign editions, and The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics. Dr. Eisler has received many honors, including honorary PhDs and peace and human rights awards. She lectures worldwide, including the United Nations General Assembly, the U.S. Department of State, Congressional briefings, universities, corporations, conference keynotes, and events hosted by heads of State. Dr. Eisler is also co-founder of the Caring Economy Campaign, the Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence (SAIV), and is Editor in Chief of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies, an online peer-reviewed journal housed at the University of Minnesota that was inspired by Eisler’s work.

In 1988 Julie Owens survived domestic violence (DV) attempted murder along with her pastor father. After healing, she attended a victim support group before herself co-facilitating groups and lobbying for improved laws. She left her field of special education to train counselors, develop training for physicians, and found an on-call ER crisis team and transitional shelter. She later directed related trauma research projects at the National Center for PTSD, coordinated DV efforts in an urban mental health system and oversaw victim service agencies in twenty counties of N.C. Julie has trained nationally and internationally for many years and in 2011 was sent to the Republic of Kosovo for the Department of State to provide nationwide training. She works as an independent Expert Consultant for the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime, the DHHS National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center, Bank of America and other organizations. In 2017, she co-developed the national toolkit and screening tool for adult victims of human trafficking. Her primary focus is best practices in victim advocacy in both secular and faith-based settings.

Ron Clark is the minister for the Agape Church of Christ in downtown Portland, OR. He has been in ministry for over 30 years. He is an adjunct instructor for Portland Seminary and is co-chair of the Pacific Northwest Society of Biblical Literature’s “World of Early Christianity and New Testament Scriptures” section. He has authored books and articles concerning Intimate Partner Violence and Theology, Biblical studies and ministry, and Marriage and Family Ministry. Ron has an MDiv and D.Min from Harding School of Theology in Memphis, TN. He and his wife Lori planted Agape Church of Christ in downtown Portland in 2007 and lead ministries with various state, county, and local government agencies addressing houselessness, prostitution, abuse, trafficking, and developing healthy marriages. Ron and Lori have been married since 1987 and have three sons.


Renita Robinson is currently the CEO of the Green Bay YWCA. In her professional career, Renita has been an advocate, educator and supporter for victims of sexual and domestic violence across the life, gender and race span. Renita has served as Executive Director of the Committee Against Domestic Abuse, Inc. (the largest provider of domestic and sexual violence services in Southern Minnesota); Director of the Duluth Family Visitation Center, a program of the world re-known Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP); and as Adjunct Instructor at three Mid-western universities teaching a range of courses to undergraduate and graduate students in Education and Sociology.Renita designed and directed The Mirror Project, a non-medical recovery program within a 400 bed homeless shelter in the Peoples City Mission of Lincoln, NE.  The emphasis was on female domestic violence survivors with life controlling addictions. Renita was also a trainer with DAIP on Post-Separation Violence bringing to light how institutions designed to help victims often collude with abusers because they fail to recognize their insidious tactics. Her favorite accomplishment is raising two compassionate sons.

Questions? Contact Ann:




Our event co-sponsors include:

Pathways to Safety International
Safe Alliance
Agape Church of Christ
Battering Intervention Services Coalition of Michigan
FaithTrust Institute
The Pixel Project
The North Carolina Council of Churches


Click to access Healthy_Boundaries.pdf


The Bully Pulpit

And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” Zechariah 3:2

Bullying is an epidemic today, including cyberbullying. The goal of a bully is to make the other person feel badly about themselves, ashamed, humiliated, and alone. Bullies take their cues from Satan, the ultimate bully. In Zechariah 3, the devil ridiculed Israel’s high priest, Joshua, and pointed out his filthy sins and ministerial failures. But the Lord rebuked Satan. And God removed Joshua’s filthy garments and gave him rich robes and a clean turban. The Lord treated him as a brand plucked from the fire.

The Bible teaches that our great High Priest, Jesus, always lives to make intercession for us. We all go through periods of guilt, shame, and self-reproach. But the blood of Jesus Christ washes away every stain, forgives every sin, redeems every mistake, and silences the taunts of our diabolical bully.

Jesus reminds us in John 10:9-10 that “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” We are safe in His protective arms.

The Lord Jesus pleads for us in Heaven, and so advocates our cause before the throne of God against him who is “the accuser of the brethren.” Herbert Lockyer, in All the Divine Names and Titles in the Bible

Righteous Anger on Display

Numbers 25:1-18

Think about the times you have felt angry—what were the usual causes? In all honesty, most of us would have to admit that our irritation is often for selfish reasons. The book of James tells us that “the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). However, there is such a thing as righteous indignation, and it can be exercised to promote the work of God.

In today’s passage, we find an excellent example of this in Phinehas, who rose up to execute Zimri and Cozbi for their evil deeds. For this act, he was commended by God with the following words: “Phinehas … has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel in that he was jealous with My jealousy among them” (Num. 25:11). God looked into the heart of Phinehas, saw his passion, and called it “My jealousy.” Of course, we cannot take the law into our own hands and begin executing people, but we can have the same attitude of heart that Phinehas had. This was a man who loved God so ardently that he couldn’t help but hate evil. He displayed the same wrath that drove Jesus to go through the temple with a whip of cords. (See John 2:13-17.) In both of these instances, zeal for God’s interests was demonstrated with anger.

How can we do this? It’s a matter of having God’s perspective and standing up for what is right. We can station ourselves at the door of our heart and put a spear through any unholy thought that tries to enter. Likewise, we can drive out the rivers of filth and immorality all around us, which try to enter our homes. As our love for God grows, so will our hatred of evil.

Nothing But The Whole Law

“Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 18:5)

The absolute holiness of God is emphasized throughout the book of Leviticus, and this is the standard for all those created in His image. This is made clear, beyond question, when today’s verse is quoted in the New Testament: “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, the man that doeth them shall live in them” (Galatians 3:11-12).

It is not enough that a man keep most of God’s laws. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10).

It is obvious, therefore, that while “the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12), no human being (except Jesus Christ) has ever been able to keep God’s perfect law, and all are therefore under God’s condemnation. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).

The widespread delusion that a person can be saved by good works is dangerous, and many are on the road to hell smug in their supposed goodness. To keep the law, however, the Creator Himself had to become man, and He did fulfill the law as our representative before God. Then, when He died, Christ “redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). “Now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested . . . by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (Romans 3:21-22). HMM

Before Abraham was, I am

John 8:31-59

Our Lord pleaded with the Jewish people and set the truth clearly before them, but they cavilled at him and rejected him. Of this we have an instance in—John 8:31-59.

John 8:31, 32

The contentious party among the Jews here interrupted him, boastfully extolling themselves as freemen. They were under the dominion of the Romans, and yet gloried in never having been in bondage.

John 8:48

When they cannot argue, men usually take to railing. A bad case when hard pushed is very apt to employ abuse as its defence.

John 8:57

The sorrows of our Lord made him appear to be nearly fifty, though he was only a little over thirty.

John 8:58

Thus did he declare his Godhead and eternal existence, but they would not believe in him.


Are You Bragging About God?

That God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion. (1 Peter 4:11)

Basic beliefs about the Person and the nature of God have changed so much that there are among us now men and women who find it easy to brag about the benefits they receive from God—without ever a thought or a desire to know the true meaning of worship!

I have immediate reactions to such an extreme misunderstanding of the true nature of a holy and sovereign God, for I believe that the very last thing God desires is to have shallow-minded and worldly Christians bragging about Him.

Beyond that, it does not seem to be very well recognized that God’s highest desire is that every one of His believing children should so love and so adore Him that we are continually in His presence, in spirit and in truth.

Something wonderful and miraculous and life-changing takes place within the human soul when Jesus Christ is invited in to take His rightful place. That is what God anticipated when He wrought the plan of salvation. He intended to make worshipers out of rebels; to restore the place of worship which our first parents knew when they were created!


God’s Treasury

“The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure.” Deut. 28:12

This refers first to the rain. The Lord will give this in its season. Rain is the emblem of all those celestial refreshings which the Lord is ready to bestow upon His people. Oh for a copious shower to refresh the Lord’s heritage!

We seem to think that God’s treasury can only be opened by a great prophet like Elijah, but it is not so, for this promise is to all the faithful in Israel, and, indeed, to each one of them. O believing friend, “the Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure.” Thou, too, mayest see Heaven opened, and thrust in thy hand and take out thy portion, yea, and a portion for all thy brethren round about thee. Ask what thou wilt, and thou shalt not be denied, if thou abidest in Christ, and His words abide in thee.

As yet thou hast not known all thy Lord’s treasures, but He shall open them up to thine understanding. Certainly thou hast not yet enjoyed the fullness of His covenant riches, but He will direct thine heart into His love, and reveal Jesus in thee. Only the Lord himself can do this for thee; but here -is His promise, and if thou wilt hearken diligently unto His voice, and obey His will, His riches in glory by Christ Jesus shall be thine.