I kept my lips closed, although I was screaming in my mind to say something to change the thinking of the people in the room. But I am new to this church, and is it really my job to “educate” them to my way of thinking?
It is a dilemma, mainly because there are no perfect churches. You can’t have bring together people with different experiences of the world, and expect that everyone agrees with everything you say or do.
My fear of speaking derives from the fact that Douglas really likes this church, and, in some ways, so do I. Being an interracial couple impacts where we choose to worship. The reality is that still not all people agree with whites marrying people of color, be they black, Asian, Latino, or even mixed race.
For those people, interracial marriage violates 2 Corinthians 6:14, in which Paul admonishes the new Christians not to be unequally yoked. The verse reads, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
Of course, the fact that we are both believers seems irrelevant, what appears to matter is that whites are associated in their minds as light and blacks are associated with darkness. I am very sensitive to not wanting to make people uncomfortable, particularly in their places of worship.
And, truth be told, we are warmly greeted each Sunday and made to feel welcome, one of the reasons we joined. The caring and prayers of the ladies in my Sunday School class when I have had health issues over the last few weeks have been second to none.
Most of our 15 years of marriage have been as members of all-black churches, in which Douglas was one of maybe three or four white members, mainly because of interracial couples. It seems that many interracial couples feel more accepted and less judged in black churches. I don’t have read any research to confirm that, though.
So, as a minority female in a predominantly white church that is a Southern Baptist church, I wrestle with when to speak and what to say, trying not to rile anyone. This is especially true because Douglas is more comfortable in this church than I have seen him in a long time.
I think it is because he is part of the majority. Now, I understand better the dilemma he has experienced since we first got married. The shoe is truly on the other foot.
As a black woman and an ordained minister, a title that has no value in this church where women aren’t allowed to be preachers, I have very strong opinions on the place of women in the church. But, I love my husband, and his comfort is paramount to me.
I will tell you that I disagree with the black pastor who put up a sign in front of his church in Alabama that read: Black folks need to stay out of white churches. I don’t believe that there will be different white and black sections in heaven. I think that if you believe as the majority of people do in your reading of God’s words, then it don’t matter the color of the congregants.
I think that it’s okay for Douglas and me to belong to different churches, as long as we are serving the Lord and being obedient to His words. For now, I will remain silent, because sometimes it the best thing to do, and you don’t always need to tell people what you think, especially if it might create chaos and misunderstandings.