Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How a Repentant Racist Became the Father of a Multi-Ethnic Family

I love the above video for several reasons.  Though I grew up two decades after "separate but equal," insipid racism was still very present in my childhood hometown of Greer, South Carolina.

Which meant that for me, racism was normal.  My attitudes toward African Americans as a child growing up in the south didn't seem wrong to me, because I never knew any other way to relate to those whose skin tone was different from my own.  Thankfully, I grew up in a Christian home where I was taught that all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God, and are therefore equal, and this teaching, like a thorn in my side for years, continued to convict me when these issues would arise.  Unfortunately, my culture of origin was still struggling with the idea of actually applying said Biblical teaching to race relations.

One of the last vestiges of this mentality was my belief that interracial relationships were sinful.  In fact, South Carolina law until around 1990 made it illegal in the state for two people of different races to wed, and I believed this was justified on the basis of some horrible exegesis of very select Scriptural texts.  It was only in college while studying for the ministry that a godly Professor challenged my thinking and did so on the basis of the inerrancy of the Bible.  "If you really believe the Bible is completely authoritative," he said, "then you had better re-examine your opposition to interracial relationships based on what Scripture alone teaches!"

Funny thing about Biblical inerrancy: it often challenges some very entrenched, very traditional, very conservative beliefs!  By God's grace, I was a changed man.

Two years ago, with the adoption of our daughter into our family, we became a multi-ethnic family.  Just recently I was asked by someone from my hometown how I would handle the "dating years," given that our little girl is Asian and we are white.  "What are your expectations on who she goes out with?"  My answer was quick and clear.  "If she honors her father, then my expectations will be met when she dates and/or marries a Christian man who loves Jesus with all his heart.  The color of his skin does not matter to me.  The condition of his soul means everything."

How can someone who just two decades ago rejected interracial relationships as sin say something like that?  The simple answer is, the Gospel!

The video above is about a year old now, and the outstanding book it promotes can be purchased here. I love and appreciate men like John Piper who came before me, and who challenged the cultural thinking of 1960s south.  Likewise, this story in many ways echoes my own journey.   I encourage you to watch, and worship God for how He has used, and continues to use the Gospel to bring together every nation, tribe and tongue.

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