The Not So Secret Ingredient

by Julie Arduini

A chili dinner without my favorite ingredient got me thinking about Christianity, Anne Rice, love and woundedness.

I made chili, all excited about pleasing my husband through taste buds and the variety of ways we use the chili (chili dogs, bowls of chili, chili fries, chili hamburgers…) It had been awhile since I had chili fries, so that was my plan.

I opened the bowl and noted that the level didn’t look as high as usual.

Something was missing.

Oh…right. The main not so secret ingredient.

My main not so secret ingredient is so special to me that I actually don’t even like chili. I’ll only eat my own recipe.

Uggh…it wasn’t that good, not even with fries. I had the onions and the chili powder and all these other things, but without the main ingredient, I had nothing worth enjoying.

But it reminded me of a Bible verse of all things, from 1 Corinthians 13, the passages you hear at weddings. You can have the nicest smile, the most money, all the time in the world to help someone else and if you don’t have love—-you’re wasting your time. It’s the main ingredient to everything you do and who you are. You can market Jesus and your Christianity any way you want, but if you don’t have love, well…you don’t have much at all.

I recently read that author Anne Rice was quitting Christianity. I thought it was a well written article and although I’m certain she is wounded, I interpreted the article to read that she is quitting being around religious folks.

I’m there too, I’m just not a famous author who generates publicity by making such a statement. My guess is Anne was around people (not everyone at her church or denomination, mind you) who had a Bible, knew the right prayers, maybe donated the most to the needy, etc…but lacked love. And Christians without love…are as enjoyable as my chili without my not so secret main ingredient.

Wounded people…wound people.

I pray if you come across anyone lacking love today you can reverse the wounded cycle by responding in love.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1, NIV

I have my recipe for you and the secret ingredient for me that makes all the difference, the “love” in my chili is mild enchilada sauce!

Julie Arduini’s Tweaked Chili

1 lb ground turkey or beef
2 or 3 cans kidney beans, drained
28 oz. crushed tomatoes
15 oz. tomato sauce can
15 oz. mild enchilada sauce
1 tsp cumin (you can play with the rest of these ingredients as far as measurements)
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup green pepper
1/4 cup onion

Place all in crock pot, turn on low for 8 hours.



Julie Arduini is a long-time FaithWriters member whose main message as she writes and speaks is “surrender.” Julie lives in Ohio with her husband and two children. She loves Beth Moore Bible studies, espresso and Smallville. Visit Julie’s website, The Surrendered Scribe, at

Read more of Julie’s work on her FaithWriters profile.

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