Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Segregated Church

So, for all of you who are a bit ‘slow’ (It’s alright, I don’t discriminate…) and haven’t gathered yet that my husband and I are a mixed couple based upon my profile picture, I will now spell it out for you: I am White. My husband is Black.

“SO??” You might be thinking…

Or, “UGH” some others might be thinking…

Or possibly you had no reaction.

But I will tell you, being a mixed couple comes with its own set of challenges.

I think there are some individuals with the belief that being mixed in America today isn’t very difficult. After all, aren’t we a ‘progressive’ nation? There are SO many people preaching tolerance, acceptance, etc.

However, although I will agree that being a mixed couple in America today is much easier than say, in the early to mid 90’s, It. Is. Still. Difficult.

And what is frustrating is that many people don’t seem to be aware of that fact.

Do I expect that everyone walk around on their tip-toes around me? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

I CHOSE to marry interracially, I get that. And LOVE it. And I don’t expect people to feel bad for me about it. In fact, that would simply irritate me more if they did because I find it to be a blessing!

However, marrying interracially carries some unique hardships. And sadly, one of the most prominent places that it is a problem for us is in the Church.

The issue? Often, we will find a church that is solid in teaching of the Word, however, it is homogeneous in its racial composition. AND, since there is a lot of sin and racism in the church (Why? Because we are sinful and fallen people!) it’s not all roses and butterflies.

Too often, even if it is a place where the Word is being taught, it is difficult to concentrate on that, when your spouse (a.k.a. the other half of your ‘two-become-one’, a.k.a. your best friend, a.k.a. the person you love so much you would give your life for them) is being A. Stared at constantly as if they were some type of disease, B. Treated like crap, or C. Not spoken to. At all.

OR, we might find a church that is racially mixed where we both feel comfortable enough to relax, but then we don’t feel like the messages are very deep and we aren’t spiritually fed.

Therefore, even though we’ve lived in this city for 3 years now, we have not settled down for long periods of time in a church.

Although we both desire deeply to find a church to get plugged in to, it is difficult when it takes So. Much. Work.

Making relationships is hard. Making relationships is harder with people who are not friendly, afraid of your spouse, or outright racist.

When I look at Brandon, I don’t think to myself: “Oh, there goes my Black husband.” The only thing I see when I look at him? An AMAZING man who follows after Christ with his whole heart.

When he looks at me, it is the same. He doesn’t focus on my race, but the person I am.

When we discuss race? It is to appreciate our uniqueness. Not to criticize.

Therefore, here is my charge to you:

If you belong to a church that is predominately one ethnicity, ask yourself: “Why is that? Do others not feel comfortable here?” And then? See what you can do to make people who come in who don’t look like you feel more comfortable so that others will come.

If the Church is to look like Christ and be the example of PURE love, then I think we still have some work to do.

I think the Church as a whole would be a much more beautiful place if it looked more like Heaven: Every tribe, tongue, and nation coming together to worship the Lord.

All as one.

Seeing one another as uniquely created and bearing special talents and gifts.

Regardless of their skin color.


  1. Amen sistah! I wish we lived closer...

  2. I know!!! Too bad you guys just moved allll the way across the nation! How is it going, by the way?

  3. I LOVE this post! For many reasons:

    (A). Because I completely agree. I really love my church and I think we do a lot of things well, but I get so frustrated with the fact that there's very little diversity. I know that this frustrates a lot of people in our church and we are trying to make sure everyone feels welcome, but it's not where our church needs to be yet. I look forward to a day when I can look around and see a very diverse crowd, praising God together.
    (B). I got teary-eyed when I read the line: "The only thing I see when I look at him? An AMAZING man who follows after Christ with his whole heart."
    C. Then I read the following line: "When he looks at me, it is the same," and started laughing because it sounded like he was calling you an amazing man who follows after Christ.

    Thanks for posting!

  4. Hmm when I said "It's not where our church needs to be yet" I meant our church hasn't gotten to where it should be in regards to diversity, but I'm hoping it gets there soon. I think the way I put it the first time could be taken the wrong way!

    and that silly C needs some parentheses!

  5. Thanks Natalie! I love that you read my blog, and that you and Josh think about diversity! What a blessing to have friends like you.

    I truly believe it just takes one person to spark a change, so I know that you guys can be that in your church!:)

    Also, when I was writing 'When he looks at me, it is the same', I also thought that people might think exactly what you thought. And, I too chuckled. So then, I added more info after that statement, in hopes that it would get rid of that image of me being a man.

    However, alas, it did not.

    OH well, I find it hilarious and I'm glad you did too...

    Thanks for the comments...I LOVE comments!


  6. Hi, I am Debra. My husband, Kyle, and I went to high school with Brandon... his last post made me read your blog so thank him for sending readers your way. And I absolutely encourage you to beat him badly at the blogging thing ;)

    So I loved this post. I think you are completely right about the church. There still is very much racism in this country and it makes me sad that you are experiencing such difficulties in finding a place to worship and grow spiritually. I hope that you find a church "home" soon.

    I find that people just can not wrap their heads around things that are different even if they can not justify their views. I pray the church becomes a place for everyone and that diversity grows. I value teaching my children about diversity because Christ charges us to love everyone and bring the gospel to the nations. If you spend time polarizing yourself, that is incredibly hard to do. And even calling it "diversity" is interesting because I hardly think skin color separates people. Just keep shining your beautiful relationship and maybe you two can be a part of opening some eyes on the issue... that should be a non-issue.

    I really enjoy your blog. Keep up the writing!

  7. Thanks for following me Debra! I love it! And, I am so glad you and your husband are making a concerted effort to allow your children to learn about other cultures!

    I hope you keep reading:):)