My Favorite Christian….

My photography friends and I were having a healthy debate the other day about religion. In particular about religion in your business and what it looks like. I’ve come in contact recently with business owners who proclaim their love of Christ and all things Christian on their websites and even in their marketing materials, but I fail to see that carried over into their daily lives. From that conversation I started to think about the numerous times I have been “questioned” about my religion and that of my husband. Most people who know me know that I am Catholic, and my husband is Jewish. Most people who know us well know that religion is important to both of us, however; it is not something that we feel compelled to shout from the rooftops. My religion is just that. My religion. It is my personal relationship with my Lord and Savior and I don’t feel the need to explain the relationship. Yet on numerous occasions I have been asked if I fear for my husband and his life to come…..because he is a Jew and he awaits the Second Coming.  Do I fear for him? No. Never.

A few years ago I  went to confession and was talking to my priest about a few things that bothered me. The topic of my husband and his place in Heaven came up and my priest directed me to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.”

Quite frankly, reading that section of my Catechism was a turning point for me. It not only gave me peace and contentment about my husband and his salvation, but also those who may not follow the same path but I knew to be “good” people. Religion, after all, is faith based. Who am I to say that you are wrong? Who am I to say that what you believe is incorrect? One day we will all know, but until then, it’s all FAITH. Here’s what I believe: The best Christian I know is a Jew.

Perspective is a beautiful thing. Perspective allows us at times to step outside of ourselves and see things differently. Here’s what I have seen from my perspective over the last few years. I have watched families break apart. I have watched mothers and fathers walk  away from their families because “working” on their marriage was just too difficult. I have watched women and men alike attend church on Sunday and then speak ill of someone on Monday. I have watched as political leaders, athletes and movie stars fall from grace not long after proclaiming how important their Christian faith is to them. Do people truly believe that by proclaiming you are a Christian actually makes you one? I don’t.

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For the past 30 years that I have known my husband he has been the rock in our family. This man that I married 26 years ago has been beside me nearly everyday as my partner in crime. He is my best friend, my true confidante and my favorite snuggling partner. This man of mine is the most engaged father, who has given an extraordinary amount of time to his children and their activities. He has coached hundreds of kids in baseball, soccer, and basketball. And even now that we are empty-nesters, he continues to coach the boy’s middle school tennis team for the pure joy of it. He is the most unselfish person I know and he would do anything to help a friend. Sounds very Christian to me. When my mom tells the same story for the 943rd time, it is my husband who sits and listens and reacts with the same joy to a story he has heard over and over again. He always makes others feel as though they are the most important person in the room. He genuinely cares about who he is speaking with and it is that gift that has made him successful in his law career these past 30years. Integrity and honesty are the cornerstone of his business. Sounds very Christian to me. I’ll put my husband up against any other, on any given day.

One of my favorite songs that we use to sing after Youth Group on Sunday evenings at Holy Spirit Church was “They’ll Know We are Christians by Our Love”. If people truly listened to the words of this very simple song,  and also LIVED them, then it would be very easy to identify a Christian….by their LOVE.

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand,
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand,
And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land.

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

We will work with each other, we will work side by side,
We will work with each other, we will work side by side,
And we’ll guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride.

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

 

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February 6, 2014 - 4:50 pm

Giovanna Matarazzo Mandel - And it takes me a bit of time to find replies!! I agree about them getting along, Caroline…although we did have dinner once all together at the Schiferls…your momma was in RARE form that night!!

December 19, 2013 - 5:09 pm

Caroline Williams - I don’t know how I stumbled upon this right now, but I love it. Your husband is the sweetest man in the world! I always thought he and my dad would’ve gotten along, since they are both teddy bears.

December 19, 2013 - 5:09 pm

Caroline Williams - I don't know how I stumbled upon this right now, but I love it. Your husband is the sweetest man in the world! I always thought he and my dad would've gotten along, since they are both teddy bears.

October 21, 2013 - 2:31 am

Amici Photography - Thank you Linda. We think he's pretty special:-)

October 11, 2013 - 2:46 pm

Dorothy Sisti - Beautiful! Very well said!

October 11, 2013 - 2:41 pm

Linda Arnold May - We love Derek Mandel and the entire Mandel clan! Your description of him is spot on (although I’m not sure about the cuddling) and many, many kids in Zionsville have been blessed with having him in their lives. Beautiful tribute, Joanne.

October 11, 2013 - 2:46 pm

Dorothy Sisti - Beautiful! Very well said!

October 11, 2013 - 2:41 pm

Linda Arnold May - We love Derek Mandel and the entire Mandel clan! Your description of him is spot on (although I'm not sure about the cuddling) and many, many kids in Zionsville have been blessed with having him in their lives. Beautiful tribute, Joanne.

October 10, 2013 - 1:30 am

Anita Cvetinovich Metzger - What a lovely tribute, not only to your husband but to your faith in your church and God.

October 10, 2013 - 2:41 am

Barb Griffin - The best people I ever knew in my life, the most giving, kind and honest…were atheists. My mom and dad. Religion doesn't make a person what they are.

October 10, 2013 - 1:30 am

Anita Cvetinovich Metzger - What a lovely tribute, not only to your husband but to your faith in your church and God.

October 9, 2013 - 11:55 pm

Giovanna Matarazzo Mandel - Sharon Rhodes Thank you:-)

October 9, 2013 - 7:22 pm

Jill Kwitny Burkhard - I hung on every word! That is how I feel about my Jewish family. They are great people with a huge caring loving heart that I know are in heaven and those still here will go there just as any “good Christian”! Your husband is a great person and your faith in him and in God are inspiring. Well written Joanne!

October 9, 2013 - 6:28 pm

Author Kelly Abercrombie Springer - Beautifully written…

October 9, 2013 - 10:18 pm

Sharon Rhodes - Your grandchildren will share this with their grandchildren……this is a family treasure!

October 9, 2013 - 7:58 pm

Giovanna Matarazzo Mandel - Thank you Jill:-) I think all of our kids are so blessed to have blended families and to have been exposed to different cultures. It's what makes us all unique and valuable. And I couldn't agree more about those who await us in Heaven…they've started the party without us!!

October 9, 2013 - 7:22 pm

Jill Kwitny Burkhard - I hung on every word! That is how I feel about my Jewish family. They are great people with a huge caring loving heart that I know are in heaven and those still here will go there just as any "good Christian"! Your husband is a great person and your faith in him and in God are inspiring. Well written Joanne!

October 9, 2013 - 7:08 pm

Giovanna Matarazzo Mandel - Thank you Kelly:-)

October 9, 2013 - 6:28 pm

Kelly Abercrombie Springer - Beautifully written…