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Think. Discuss. Act. Family

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Review: Mixed Marriages

F.A. Prinzing. (1991). Mixed Marriages-Responding to Interracial Marriage.  Chicago, IL: Moody Press.

Summary

The Biblical response to racial struggles; historical, social, and psychological variables contributing to the increase in interracial marriage; popular stereotypes of interracial marriage; parental responses to children who date or marry interracially; signals and warning signs of healthy and unhealthy interracial dating relationships; children of interracial marriage; how to support interracial couples once they marry; and the church’s responsibility facilitating racial unity. They also include a glossary and a listing of interracial organizations throughout the U.S.

The authors suggest that whether or not one personally approves of interracial marriage, it is an issue that must be addressed by the church, and it needs to be faced as any other issue-in light of Scripture. The Prinzings candidly share their initial response to and struggle with the interracial marriages of two of their children. Next, they reveal their search into the Scriptures for answers. Through their investigation, they came to believe that Scripture teaches oneness and equality in God’s creation. They show that while Scripture clearly opposes marriage between a believer and an unbeliever, it does not mention opposition to cross-cultural or interracial marriage. They clarify and refute some theories and biblical passages that are commonly used by opponents of interracial marriage, and they offer examples of interracial marriages in the Bible that were blessed by God. 

In addition to this clear presentation of the biblical view of interracial marriage, the authors provide helpful information and insight for those interacting with persons in interracial relationships. This is a vital, valuable resource for today’s church.

Quotations

We didn’t question our son’s love for a woman of another race; however, acceptance on our part was certainly not immediate. We went about our daily responsibilities pretending all was well, only to return at the end of the day to face our anguish and confusion. Home was the only place where we felt completely free to talk about our anger and our pain. Anita remembers emotions fluctuating from disappointment, to embarrassment, to anger with God. (p. 30) 

When color is used to describe a house, it reflects individual taste and preference. When color is used symbolically to describe groups of people, it has a completely different meaning. Color symbolism is one of the seeds of racism in our society. (p. 80)

Perhaps our discussion of racism would benefit from a comparative illustration. There are many similiarities between racism and onions. Onions have little odor as long as they remain fresh and in the pantry. Similarly, as long as we have no contact with racism, we are not affected by it. But when the skin of the onion is peeled away, its pungent odor permeates the air. Whether we simply handle an onion or actually eat it, we cannot ignore the smell. Once we slice an onion, we discover that the round, edible bulb consists of several concentric, easily separable layers. As with racism, it’s not possible to get to the core without cutting through each layer. It is conceivable to handle the subject of racism by not touching it, treating it like an onion on the pantry shelf. But unless we cut into its layers, we will never discover how complex and personal the problem is. As we cut into racism, we begin to realize that we can’t excape its reek. (p. 92)

Regardless of our initial hesitancy, once our children married we stood by them 100 percent. Mark and Martha’s promise to God took precedence over any personal feelings we had. The same commitment to the sanctity of marriage that sealed our own wedding vows would sustain Mark and Martha through the years ahead…By the time our children recited their marriage vows, race no longer took center stage. Through God’s patient teaching we learned to respect their choices of marriage partners and to accept Martha and Bruce as part of God’s perfect plan. (p. 123)

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. How can a youth worker counsel youth (and their families) who are involved in an interractial relationship?
  2. How can interracial children be nurtured with a sense of pride in their identities?
  3. What roles should youth workers, schools, and churches play in that?
  4. How does your youth group respond to interracial adolescents?
  5. How does your church or school respond to interracial families?
  6. What potential impact can interracial couples have racism within the school or church?

Implications

  1. Scripture does not oppose interracial marriage.
  2. People may still have trouble accepting interracial marriage because of society’s influence.
  3. Youth groups and organizations, churches, and schools can actively facilitate racial reconciliation.
  4. It is essential to love and encourage interracially married couples.
  5. Support interracially married couples as they strive to raise Godly, confident children.
  6. Youth workers, schools, and churches should be prepared to counsel people on this issue.

Paua Rieck
© 2017 CYS

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