35p live chat teens 1 1 - Baptist views on inter racial dating

He attended an all-black high school growing up in Port Arthur, Texas, where he still remembers what it was like to be a minority.

"Everyone understands the rules, the lingo, the mind-set -- except you," he says.

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Slavery and Jim Crow kept blacks and whites apart in the pews in the nation's early history.

Some large contemporary black denominations, like the African Methodist Episcopal church, were formed because blacks couldn't find acceptance in white churches.

"People said that if Jews, Greeks, Africans, slaves, men and women - the huge divides of that time period -- could come together successfully, there must be something to this religion," De Young says.

Biblical precedents, though, may not be enough to make someone attend church with a person of another race.

"It was invaluable, but I didn't know it at the time." When he became pastor of Wilcrest in 1992, he was determined to shield his church members from such an experience.

But an exodus of whites, commonly referred to as "white flight" was already taking place in the neighborhood and the church. At least one church member suggested that Woo could change the church's fortunes by adding a "d" to his last name.

Something else is needed: a tenacious pastor who goads his or her church to reach across racial lines, interracial church scholars say. Rodney Woo, senior pastor of Wilcrest Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, may be such a person.

He leads a congregation of blacks, whites and Latinos.

"There are plenty of skirmishes." Can't we just be Christians? That's one of the first questions interracial churches must address.

De Young says he encountered many blacks who said they wanted a racial timeout on Sunday.

"The fear there was people would think I was Chinese," he says.

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