The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor's Journey into Christian Faith
An excellent read
Rosaria jumps right into the story, and really makes one think - about how we view others, about the things some Christians say, and about our personal relationship with God. I really think the Christian community needs to be aware of how things look from the other side of the fence and highly recommend that everyone read this book. Buy it, borrow it, share it!
December 5, 2013
A Unique Calling
Ms. Butterfield's book is the story of how she came to believe in Christ and the story of her reformed faith. Her story begins when she was a tenured English professor at Syracuse University in New York. She was a lesbian women's studies professor. This book is her story--her testimony. I began reading the book knowing these basic facts about her. I was curious to see how she would address homosexuality and Christianity.
In her interview with Family Life Today, she explains that she doesn't see her homosexuality as the crux of her conversion. But, I understand why many people are reading it simply because she addresses this issue. She addresses many more issues of faith than homosexuality, though. She tells the story of how it was the relationships she had with people that God used to bring her to Him. She shares her thoughts about faith, life, and church. I don't want to share too many details about what she writes, because it was how her book unfolded for me that drew me in.
She tells her story well. She was an English professor. Her book is very well organized, thought out, and clearly conveyed. There are lots of big, descriptive words--in all the right places. What I mean is that the reading level of this book is appropriate for a high school or college student, rather than a middle school student. In reading so many books over the past few years, I've noticed that many authors use simple sentence structures and common descriptive words to convey their ideas. Ms. Butterfield stays true to her literature professor roots and writes as one would expect of her.
Before I finish this review, I want to address some negative reviews on the web of this book. The ones I read were all written by individuals that had been given this book by well meaning Christians. The intention and hope behind these gifts (I presume) was that this book would open the eyes of the receivers to Christ's love for them. But, the giving of this book to someone who is homosexual is the opposite of the example that this author's story is for believers. Ms. Butterfield's testimony is about the relationships in her life and how they shaped her and her faith. It is about how God used people in her life--not to preach at her, but to first listen to her with respect, and then discuss faith with her when she was ready. No one handed her a gospel tract or the four spiritual laws. A local pastor asked her a question and invited her over to dinner at his home. He built relationships with her and the people in her life.
One of the questions that students consider when analyzing literature is who the intended audience of a book is and what is the author's purpose. I believe the author's intended audience is other Christians and that her purpose is to inform. I don't believe the author's purpose is to persuade. She is very strong in her opinions and states clearly why she believes what she does. But, these are her convictions. For example, I can imagine that some readers may feel put off by her exposition about why she feels only psalms should be sung in church. This is a worship practice specific to the RPCNA, the denomination of which she is a member. I see this book as Rosaria Butterfield's memoir, testimony, and philosophy about life all rolled into one. We each could give one. We all have our own convictions, too. We are not identical to one another. It's even scriptural. I am okay knowing that she feels strong convictions about foster care and adoption. I am okay that she feels strongly about psalm singing. I am okay that she has certain convictions about the way the world works that I don't share with her. When I read this book, I felt like I was getting to know someone--learning who she is, what has shaped her, and how God is working in her life. This book isn't meant to be a Christian "How to" about anything. It's a testimony, a collection of thoughts, written with the desire to give the reader something to chew on.
Would I recommend this book? Yes. Unequivocally yes. I hope you will enjoy it.
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher Crown and Covenant Publications.
October 19, 2013
Encouraging and challenging read
This book has challenged me to reach out to unlikely people to build relationships with them and live out the gospel for them. I started it thinking it would be an interesting story, but now as I finish the book I find it is a modern call to the saints to step up their game and love on those who are hurting. The gospel is what will change them, not our disdain.
October 16, 2013