March 9, 2021


Johnson pens chapter of ‘I’m Black. I’m Christian. I’m Methodist.’

MTSO Adjunct Professor F. Willis Johnson contributed one of 10 chapters to the recently released book I’m Black. I’m Christian. I’m Methodist, edited by Rudy Rasmus and published by Abingdon Press.

In the chapter “I’m Black. I’m Conscious. I’m Your Conscience,” Johnson writes, “The identity of Black persons, especially in religious life, has always been a binary proposition. Black Methodists are often forced to discern and decide to compromise or suppress important parts of themselves. Being Black in United Methodism requires reconciling one’s Black identity with one’s Wesleyan history.”

Bishop Gregory Palmer of the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church contributed the book’s foreword. Palmer, who also serves as an MTSO trustee, writes, “The confluence of the everyday indignities of being Black in America; the outrageous, egregious, legalized lynching of George Floyd; and the unforgivable disparities exposed once again by COVID-19 have conspired together to create a seminal moment in America and in The Unite Methodist Church – in which we must find the courage to say unambiguously Black Lives Matter. Black Life Matters.”

In remarks recorded for MTSO, Johnson, an ordained United Methodist elder and pastor of Living Tree Church in Columbus, reflected on his journey as a Methodist and his reason for continuing to work within the denomination. “I’m a child of the church,” he said. “If it’s going to get better, who’s going to make it better?”

Methodist Theological School in Ohio provides theological education and leadership in pursuit of a just, sustainable and generative world. In addition to the Master of Divinity degree, the school offers master’s degrees in counseling, practical theology, social justice and theological studies, along with a Doctor of Ministry degree.


Danny Russell, communications director, 740-362-3322