black history, theology, Kids' books

Friday, July 18, 2014

"That's an Interesting Way to Cook Chicken" ... Thoughts on Interracial Marriage

I'm black. My wife is white. 

We usually noticed our cultural differences the most right about 6 p.m. each night. That's dinner time. 

The scenario would usually play out like this:  My wife would bake - not fry - some chicken. Before I would even taste it, I would go back into the kitchen, pull out some salt and some sauces, and try to turn whatever my wife made into soul food.  (I have four friends who all told me they did the exact same thing, but don't worry I won't put y'all on blast here!) 

Needless to say, this did not play well in the Lassiter home. 

As time goes by, the gospel continues to inform both of our views on race. We've learned to compromise more. My wife has learned to make Jamaican jerk chicken and incorporate that into the menu often. I've learned to lay down some of my racial pride and admit that every meal doesn't have to be made "the black people way" in order to be right. 

Oh, how far we have come! 

Thirteen years ago, I would have never imagined myself in this spot. I grew up in a middle-class black family. My parents are still married. And my view of the black family unit was healthy. I tell people all the time our family was sort of like the Cosby Show.  I didn't have anything against interracial marriage. I just never considered it.  I certainly never thought it would be me.

I went into it kind of blindly. I'm realizing to many people, however, issues of race such as interracial marriage are a very big deal. 

And I think I know why. 

A lot of racism has to do with fear. And a lot of that fear has to do with the idea of different races mixing in marriage.

It's a controversial subject. 

Consider, for instance: 

  • the white parents who fear - and possibly rightly so - that their white daughter won't be accepted in either the black community or the white community
  • Black women who understandably feel hurt by the idea of  black men having the "white woman trophy wife" complex
  • Grandparents on both sides who grew up in times when racism was much more overt
And this isn't just a black-white issue. It would be very easy to simply label everyone against the idea of interracial marriage a racist, but that's far too simplistic. 

As you can see from three examples - of which I could easily add 20 more -  this can be a very nuanced and complex issue in which we all have  different factors that have informed our view. 

Of course, very few people would admit it since being politically correct is so important, but many of us would have to wrestle through the idea of our loved ones marrying someone from a different culture. 

 I've never really set out to study much on the topic, but recently I came across two resources on the topic of interracial marriage. 

On our trip to the Bahamas, I read two great books by Dr. John Piper. 

The first was called Risk is Right. 

The second book, which addressed interracial marriage, was called Bloodlines.  Here's a quote:  

"In Christ our Oneness is profound and transforms racial and social differences from barriers to blessings... Ethnic and social differences cease to be obstacles to deep, personal intimate fellowship, including marriage." p. 210. 

Right before I left my Bahamas trip, I heard a sermon from Fellowship Memphis pastor Bryan Loritts - one of my favorite gospel communicators - on the topic of interracial marriage. It is part of a 7-part marriage series. You can listen to that  sermon here.  He actually begins addressing interracial marriage at the 23:31 mark of the sermon. I think everyone should listen!

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with interracial relationships. One word of caution. If you don't agree, please feel free to do so, but please do so thoughtfully! Not one has to agree, but we can all agree to be thoughtful toward one another as we discuss issues of race. 

Chris Lassiter is a Christ-follower, a husband to Emily (read her blog here), a father to five kids and a freelance writer for Young Life Relationships,, and other publications. His first book, You're Grounded, was published by Moody Publications last year. You can order the book here

Monday, July 14, 2014

5 Thoughts on our Mission Trip to the Bahamas

We're just getting back in the swing of things from what may have been the best week our family has ever had together! It was an amazing trip. 

Quick recap: Emily, all five kids and I helped put on a Young Life Camp for kids in Eleuthera, which is an island in the Bahamas!  

A blog that covered every great thing about the trip would be more like a book, so I'll just pick five of my favorite things about the trip. 

1.  We made the right decision by taking our kids.  

On the plane, a woman said, "You're bringing your kids to the Bahamas? What kind of vacation is that?" Technically, we were on a missions trip, but I understand. Sometimes couples need to get away together. However, what made this trip so special to me was seeing my kids in constant amazement. Doing things like this with a big family is hard. Trust me, we know. We're nowhere close to rich!!!!! If you ever get a chance to do something like that as a family, please go! You will never regret it! 

2. It's impossible to miss the artistry of God! 

On our final full day in the Bahamas, once the Young Life camp was over, the island missionary director Keith Doster told us our goal for Saturday was to enjoy God's creation. The beaches all look like swimming pools with sand bottoms. The scenery is breathtaking. The creativity is God is on full display. It reminds of an old school LeCrae song, "I'm not worrying about changing shoes, my God can change the city sky from grey to blue." 

3. Even Paradise needs the gospel. 

During my club talks to the kids at Young Life camp, I told them how in my first-ever trip tot the Bahamas, one of my college basketball teammates was robbed in Nassau. Even in a picture-perfect place like the Bahamas, there is brokenness. No place, no matter how beautiful, can escape it. The blessed hope is God promised to reconcile all the broken things in this world to Himself through Jesus Christ. 

4. This could be your blog next year. 

There are some really cool short-term and mid-term mission trips where you can serve where in the exact same place where we served.  For all of my friends with Young Life connections, please consider serving in the ministry overseas through Young Life Expeditions. Also, The Eleuthera Bible Training Center has a two-month internship program in June and July for any college-age kids seeking a really challenging and amazing discipleship program. 

5. You can help kids in Staunton have a wonderful week of Young Life camp, too.

Lee High kids - along with other area high schools - head to Young Life Camp at Lake Champion on July 19. We are still signing up kids, and every penny helps. One ongoing fundraiser is that for the next 50 books I sell, 100 percent of the proceeds go to help Lee High kids go to Young Life camp! Books are $10 each! 

This was definitely the highlight of my summer. I would love to hear from you, too! What's been the highlight of your summer so far?