Anti-Racism and Healthy Boundaries Online Course

Cultivating Wellness: Anti-Racism and Healthy Boundaries for Clergy & Congregations

Online Two-Week Course from Lexington Theological Seminary

March 16-29, 2020

Work at your own pace in your home or office

Professors: Dr. Yvonne Martinez Thomas and Rev. April Johnson

Tuition: $60 (50% scholarship for LTS alumni)
Registration Fee: $65
Technology Support Fee: $30

Contact Admissions with Questions: Erin Cash (859) 280-1249

Course Description

This half-credit, two week online course will help to further equip clergy for pastoral leadership across ministry settings by addressing issues pertaining to boundaries and racism in the Church. The goal of the course is to facilitate authentic fellowship and communication with God’s people in congregational and denominational life. It is also intended to help students and clergy meet standing requirements regarding healthy boundaries and anti-racism.

The call to ordained ministry continues to be recognized by many persons to be a blessed and consecrated call. People of all ages, educational backgrounds, employment histories, and socio-cultural and linguistic backgrounds continue to hear and respond to the call to ordained ministry and to para-church and faith-based organizations, social /community agencies, heath care institutions, among others. Yet, many clergy feel unprepared for meeting the myriad of challenges they face as they lead congregations during times heightened by social, cultural, and religious change Therefore, the establishment and maintenance of healthy boundaries within diverse ministry contexts become an integral part of cultivating clergy wellness and congregational heath.

Moreover, racism, considered to be America’s original sin[1], has left an indelible mark on the soul of America, its people, and the Church. The importance of clergy, pastoral leadership, and congregations to grasp the gravity and severity of racism in one’s personal life, relationship with others, and with God is paramount to co-creatinghealthy anti-racist congregations that seek to heal the people of God and dismantle the racist structures that exist in society and in the Church.

[1] Jim Wallis, America’s Original Sin: Racism. White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, (Michigan, Brazos Press, 2016), xix-xxv.

2020-02-17T10:06:12-06:00Feb 17, 2020|Clergy News, PRAR|Comments Off on Anti-Racism and Healthy Boundaries Online Course

Laity Training for Pro-Reconciliation and Anti-Racism

The Region’s Faith in Action Commission is pleased to offer training for congregational leadership, laity and clergy on Pro-Reconciliation and Anti-Racism (PRAR). One-day PRAR workshops are being offered statewide during the year and we encourage you take advantage of this excellent opportunity.

Please download the poster and place in your congregations’ gathering area, and include the information in your newsletter.  The cost is $35 per person and training dates and registration is available online at this link.

If you have questions about the training, please contact Marilynn Knott, chair of the Faith in Action Commission, for more information at 405-524-5074 or email her at

Download the PRAR Training Flyer

2019-03-18T10:26:00-05:00Mar 14, 2019|PRAR|Comments Off on Laity Training for Pro-Reconciliation and Anti-Racism

Modeling Jesus – Season of Prayer on Racism

Modeling Jesus

By Ms. Marilynn Knott (Retired Commissioned Minister)
Chair, Commission on Faith in Action
Member, Crown Heights Christian Church, OKC

Race as a descriptor of human types is a relatively recent addition to history, first appearing around the 17th century CE. Tribalism was the predominant difference during the centuries covered in the Bible. Both provided fodder for discrimination. We deal with both racism and tribalism today. While our indigenous tribes have felt the sting of bigotry since the arrival of others to what was described at the time as the New World, we now seem as a people to be developing groupings based on privilege.

An elderly white female being interviewed after voting recently said she voted for a certain candidate because she represented the woman’s culture. She apparently did not take into consideration the candidate’s positions on the issues. Fear of losing our identity to diversity is a very real challenge in our world today as it was in Jesus’ time.

For our prayer experience this week we invite you to spend some time meditating on how Jesus dealt with peoples of different cultures and backgrounds. One way to do this is to read the story shared in scripture and then re-enact it in your mind, putting yourself in the various roles of the participants ending each time in the role of Jesus. Will you be modeling Jesus?

For example, read the story of Jesus and the Syrophoenician Woman found in Mark 7:24-30. Sit back and relax in a quiet place, close your eyes and image yourself in the story as the Syrophoenician Woman.

  • What does that feel like?
  • What do you think of this man you have challenged?
  • Why did you have enough nerve to talk to him in the first place?

Now replay the scene and see yourself as one of the disciples.

  • What are you thinking?
  • What are you learning about Jesus?
  • About people from other tribes?

Finally, try to take on the persona of Jesus. See the woman as he sees her. What do you think he sees that his disciples do not see? That we do not see?

Now try some others. How about Jesus meeting with the Roman Centurion in Matthew 8:5-16 or Simon of Cyrene carrying Jesus’ cross in Mark 15 or Jesus’ interaction with the Gerasene demoniac in Mark 5:1-20 and Luke 8:26-39.

What common themes occurred in each situation? What surprised you? What are some of the things from Jesus’ behavior can you adopt to help you love your diverse neighbors more successfully?

2019-02-28T11:46:55-06:00Mar 11, 2019|PRAR|Comments Off on Modeling Jesus – Season of Prayer on Racism

Good Samaritan – Season of Prayer on Racism

The Good Samaritan

By Ms. Marilynn Knott (Retired Commissioned Minister)
Chair, Commission on Faith in Action
Member, Crown Heights Christian Church, OKC

Luke 10:25-37 tells the story of a lawyer asking Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life and Jesus asks him back “What is written in the law?” The lawyer’s answer was one must love God and to love our neighbor’s as ourselves. Jesus concurred with the lawyer, but the lawyer was not satisfied. He wanted to know the limitations regarding who was considered a neighbor and who was not. I fear our society invests much time in parsing the definition of our neighbors.

Jesus answered him by telling a well-known story, The Good Samaritan. We even have laws that use those terms to limit liability when a person in good faith tries to help someone in distress. We must make decisions regarding who our neighbors are and whether they are someone we can love all the time. If not, why not? You are invited this week to delve deeper into the story of the Good Samaritan, an outcast himself as far as the Jews were concerned.

Every type of prayer form may not be meaningful to everyone. Trying something different though can sometimes help us move out of our comfort zones and into a richer relationship with God.

Lectio Divina which is Latin for “divine reading” is an ancient prayer type based on scripture readings. It is intended to generate communion with God and to increase knowledge of scripture calling participants to study, ponder, listen and pray from scripture. You are encouraged to read all of Luke 10:25-37 perhaps more than once and perhaps from more than one translation to understand the context of the scripture.

The Lectio Divina process seems most helpful when using briefer segments of scripture. After reading the full scripture select a verse or two on which to center. You might want to start with Luke 10:30b-31: A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Using this scripture or another of your choosing follow these prayer steps:

  • Sit comfortably, take a few deep breaths, relax, and clear your mind of anything distracting you.
  • If possible so that it does not disturb others, read the scripture segment aloud slow enough for comprehension of each word while retaining the continuity of the scripture. Watch for a key phrase or word that jumps out to you or has a special meaning.
  • Read the scripture again to yourself again watching for key words or phrases. Read from a personal perspective as well as the perspective as one who is a part of the Body of Christ.
  • Now reflect on the word or key phrase that you identified. Open you mind, heart, will, and senses as you ponder the word or phrase. Allow five minutes for this contemplation.
  • Silently tell God about what you experienced in the contemplation.
  • If you wish you may want to journal about your experience.

If this was a meaningful experience, you may want to try it with some other scriptures from the story like Luke 10: 33-34 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

2019-02-28T11:22:49-06:00Mar 4, 2019|PRAR|Comments Off on Good Samaritan – Season of Prayer on Racism

A Dog and His Meat – Season of Prayer on Racism

A Dog and His Meat

By Ms. Marilynn Knott (Retired Commissioned Minister)
Chair, Commission on Faith in Action
Member, Crown Heights Christian Church, OKC

This year we are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Christian Reformation. Martin Luther brought to a head the corruption that was choking the church from being the force God intended it to be. It seems we do not heed well the lessons of history. Although the issues differ, the strangling behavior continues as we ignore what is right in front of our eyes and take no action to correct it.

I must say as we considered calling Oklahoma Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) to a season of prayer regarding racism, we were seeing social media posts saying, “thoughts and prayers are not enough.” When this phrase is stated hollowly as a means of withdrawing from action, I agree with those who are offended by it. However, a quote from Martin Luther provides a different perspective:

Ah, if I could only pray the way that dog looks at meat. –Martin Luther

Prayer is an active verb and one should never pray unless he or she is willing to respond to God’s answers. I once had a tiny eight-pound dog who loved everybody and was mild mannered. Yet, one should never come between a dog and meat. I had just fixed my dinner plate and sat down at the table to eat when the telephone rang. As I rose to answer the phone, my dog apparently jumped onto my chair and snatched my pork chop. When I returned to the dining room, he was chomping down on it. I do not know why I did it, but I attempted to take it away from him. It is amazing how feisty and illusive an eight pounder can be.

Anytime we pray we are charting a path to personal action. God is not in the business of waving a magic wand to solve our woes. God will show us the paths we might take to solve issues both as individuals and as communities of faith as we strive, in partnership with God, to fulfill God’s vision of a world ruled by love. As Luther worked with dogged determination to end corruption in the church, we must work to end racism and other forms of bigotry in this world.

2019-02-21T16:20:37-06:00Feb 25, 2019|PRAR|Comments Off on A Dog and His Meat – Season of Prayer on Racism

Discrimination in Education – Season of Prayer on Racism

Thoughts on Economic and Racial Discrimination in Education

By Rev. Don Johnson (retired)
Member, Central Christian Church, Enid

Economic and racial discrimination exists in education. There are often specific schools for children of the rich and other schools for children from poor families. Schools for children from poor families often provide substandard education.

Our Sunday school class became aware of a problem in such a school in a poor village of indigenous people on the shore of Lake Titicaca, in Peru. Here, 15 children, ages 3 to 6, went to a one room school with meager school supplies. As an example, they shared one box of crayons and one pair of scissors. It was no surprise that children from this village were not allowed an opportunity to take the admission test that determined who could attend the very good schools for children ages 7 to 12.  As a result, these children didn’t get to go to the schools for “rich children.”  And these parents, particularly fathers in this patriarchal society, saw little value of education for their children that led nowhere.

Our Sunday school class began to donate $50 per month to provide this school with adequate school supplies. After a year, a father from this village felt empowered to insist that his six-year old daughter take the admission test. She came in fourth of the 2000 children tested.  She was admitted to the rich children’s school. And she did well. Through our providing school supplies for her school, Maria has a better future than her parents had ever hoped for.

Because of Maria’s success, parents from this village have changed their attitude towards school.  They have hope for a better life for their children through education.  And they tell their children, “Follow Maria’s example. Pay attention to your teacher and do your homework. Now, children from this village routinely test well and are admitted to the schools for rich children. And they succeed.

The Oklahoma Region changes lives with education through your contributions to the Region’s Annual Fund, the Disciples Mission Fund and our ministry to Caminante. Call the Region for opportunities to make a difference.

2019-02-14T15:46:12-06:00Feb 18, 2019|PRAR|Comments Off on Discrimination in Education – Season of Prayer on Racism

Meditation – Season of Prayer on Racism

Meditation on Racism

By Rev. Bill Inglish (retired)
Member, Disciples Christian Church, Bartlesville

Other than Mickey Mantle, my first childhood sports hero was basketball player Bob Cousy. A guard for the Boston Celtics in the 50s and early 60s, Cousy was known as “the Houdini of the Hardwood” for his sleight-of-hand passing, ability to look one way while throwing another, perplexing his opponents and setting up easy baskets for his teammates.

But despite Cousy’s exceptional talent, the Celtics didn’t become the NBA’s dominant team until drafting six-foot-ten Bill Russell, who became one of the greatest defensive and team players in the game’s history. Together, Cousy and Russell made the Celtics a force to be reckoned with, a dynasty.

Now Cousy was white and Russell black, but Cousy didn’t have a bigoted bone in his body. At a time when black players were almost a novelty and Jim Crow’s segregation was the law of the land, Cousy was known by blacks as being a good guy—despite never taking a public stand against racism or associating off the court with his African American teammates.

Russell, on the other hand, was a proud, opinionated black man who wore his anger on his sleeve, taking a public position on civil rights, being forcefully outspoken about his support for Dr. Martin Luther King and the struggles of blacks for equality—a stance that in those days did not win him the admiration of white fans in many places, including Boston.

Though Cousy and Russell were teammates and friends of a sort, they were never close, not when they played together, not after their careers ended, seldom seeing each other through the years. But at the age of 87, Cousy felt the need to apologize to Russell, doing so in a hand-written letter, saying that he wished he’d said more or done more to express his sympathy for Russell’s plight and that of other African Americans.

Racism in America is not now what it was when Cousy and Russell were becoming basketball legends—a black man has, after all, been twice-elected president—but racism has hardly been defeated. Prejudice is alive and well, and hate crimes are clearly on the rise, targeting not only African Americans but also Muslims, members of the LGBTQ community and other minorities. And in the midst of it all, I find myself identifying with Cousy.

I am a white, 68-year-old male who has never been the victim of discrimination a day in my life. I have a handful of black, Muslim and LGBTQ acquaintances, but I’ve never stood with them in any meaningful way to witness for equality and justice. And though I’ve thought to myself that I should say more and do more, I’ve appeased myself by saying I will pray for them.

But then I think of the admonition of our denomination’s founder, Alexander Campbell: “To get on your knees and pray for anything that you will not then stand up and work for is an insult to God and a disappointment to yourself.”

2019-01-29T11:27:50-06:00Feb 4, 2019|PRAR|1 Comment

Hiring Discrimination – Season of Prayer on Racism

Hiring Discrimination

By Rev. Don Johnson (Retired)
Member, Central Christian Church Enid

In the late 1980’s, I was working for a steel company in central Nebraska. We were going to hire a metallurgical engineer and the most qualified applicant was a young lady from Ohio. After her interview, the production manager told me that this was man’s work in Nebraska. And we aren’t going to hire a woman for this job regardless of her education and experience.

The next day, I heard the production manager loudly complaining to a co-worker that his daughter wasn’t hired for a job at the county airport. He said, “My daughter has taken computer classes and can operate the airline’s reservation system. She’s 5’10” and is strong enough to handle heavy baggage. And during heavy travel times, my daughter has actually helped people at the airport. I know the young men who got the job. He doesn’t know computers and he’s only 5’6”. He may not be able to handle heavy luggage by himself. My daughter was better qualified. And it’s not fair that she didn’t get that job.”

After hearing his complaints, I asked him, “Does that young lady you interviewed yesterday have a father? And do you think her father hopes people treat his daughter fairly?” After a minute, he said to me, “Hire her and I will see she gets treated fairly.”

Pray that your decisions about an individual are based on individual’s merit and not on the person’s gender, race or class. And as you make decisions, remember what Jesus said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Or, “As you make decisions about a person, make decisions, as you would like to have them made to a member of your family.”

2019-01-28T16:19:15-06:00Jan 28, 2019|PRAR|Comments Off on Hiring Discrimination – Season of Prayer on Racism