A close friend of mine is getting married next month. He’s lived out in California for the past few years, so I haven’t seen him much nor do I know his future wife very well—just a couple of rather short conversations. He’s Catholic, she’s not Christian. While she isn’t interesting in becoming Catholic (anytime soon at least), my understanding of her approach to my friend’s Catholicism is great:
If you’re going to claim Catholicism, you need to be Catholic.
In other words, she is supportive of his Catholicism by simply telling him that he can’t slack off on account of her not joining in. She may not understand why we go to church every Sunday, but if your faith tells you that you need to, you better do it. She may eat meat on Fridays of Lent, but that’s no excuse for him to do so.
Of course, there are areas where their differences on religion aren’t as “easy” to process, but she is generally supportive of him and his faith.
I found this refreshing. I have become accustomed to hearing from that small group of atheists (“new atheists”) who vehemently believe that religion is harmful and it is their sacred duty to convince everyone of that. After spending so much time being defensive, it can become an almost default state when discussing religion with someone who falls far from us on the religious spectrum. While they have their place, defensive walls keep us separated from others and inhibit our ability to learn from their experience, while inhibiting our ability to share with them why we love our faith as we do.
She reminds me that, while our faith is counter-cultural, it is still our faith and we have to be who we are. We can’t water down our expression of our faith because we’re trying to fit into this world. I’m not suggesting we should go to the extreme opposite of “showing off”, but we need to true to ourselves, realize that we may be the “oddball” and comes to terms with that.
Please include my friend and his fiance in your prayers as they enter their final weeks of preparation for their new life in marriage.