Thursday, March 21, 2013

The secret thoughts of an unlikely convert

by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
2012, 150 pages, Paperback

13 words: Post-modern, lesbian activist, university English professor becomes Reformed Christian homeschooling pastor's wife.

Intrigued yet? There is so much to love and so much to learn from this book. One of the biggest lessons is in how God got the attention of this professor. After she wrote an article in the local paper critiquing Promise Keepers she "received so many letters... I kept empty Xerox paper boxes on both sides of my desk, one for hate mail, and one for fan mail." But one of the letters she received wasn't so easy to categorize. It was from a Reformed pastor, and instead of commending or condemning her, it was "a kind, inquiring letter." The pastor wanted to know "how did you arrive at your interpretation? How do you know you are right? Do you believe in God?" The letter concluded by inviting "me to call its author to discuss these ideas more fully." After a week of repeatedly throwing out the letter and then digging it back out of the recycling that's what she did.

As you might expect from an English professor the writing is delightful. She is also no quiet convert, and her pointed questions uncover wonderful Christian truths but also unmask the shallowness and hypocrisy that is such a prevalent part of the Church.

One caution: In the course of her conversion the author is confronted with, and takes on so many different theological issues (adoption, homeschooling, the Regulative Principle, etc.) it's likely readers will find some point on which they disagree. But for a discerning adult, that is a minor issue. And to them this book is highly recommended.

1 comment:

  1. A friend - Albert Vanderheide - had a couple of additional thoughts worth considering (his comment didn't work, so I'm posting it):

    There's an element reviewers of this book sofar all seem to overlook: Rosaria’s role with her husband Kent as a foster and as an adoptive parent, 'born' from their discovery she could not produce any 'fruit of the womb'. Do look at that part of the book to see more of the 'fruit' of her transformation and better reflect the image of God. Another element in her book, I find, merits attention, her receiving and granting forgiveness. The book merits group discussion by those raised in the Reformed Christian faith who distance themselves from those with the scars of an ungodly past but fail to see how much they themselves need forgiveness in Christ (awareness of weaknesses is only the beginning, think of ‘our’ sins of commission, omission and the hidden ones of the heart and those of which we are blissfully ignorant). We list the book online at