In The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, former tenured English professor at a prestigious University, relates what happened when her life turned into what she describes as "a train wreck at the hand of the supernatural," just when she thought she had it made.
She was a gay and lesbian activist with PhD's in English Literature and Cultural Studies. As a "tenured radical" she'd been "recruited" to advance the universities "radical leftist ideologies." At age 36, she enjoyed teaching and the administrative responsibilities she was given, yet still had time for volunteer work. Since she and her lesbian partner owned two homes they "provided hospitality to students and activists looking to make a difference in the world." What more could she want?
She was at the pinnacle of success. Then she received a letter from Pastor Kenneth G. Smith of the Syracuse Reformed Presbyterian Church in response to "a critique" she'd written about "Promise Keepers gender politics." Normally mail was handled quickly, but the pastor's letter had sat on her desk for a week and she'd read it many times puzzled over how to respond. In the letter he asked her to "explore and defend the presuppositions that undergirded" her assumptions in the Promise Keepers critique.
Rosaria, on research leave, called Pastor Ken. He didn't share the gospel with her about "Christ's irresistible grace." Instead, "questions emerged that exceeded Rosaria's secular feminist worldview." Especially when he asked, "What do you believe about the Bible?"
That's a book Rosaria hadn't spent much time in and she began to read—five hours a day for months. Pastor Ken made Rosaria feel "safe" and their challenging conversations continued for two years. Her transgender friend Jay said, "Rosaria, this Bible reading is changing you, what's going on?"
Rosaria asked, "What if it's true? What if Jesus is real and risen?" She had begun to question if the "Bible were inspired by a holy God and if it were inherently true and trustworthy." If true, "the Bible had the right to interrogate her life and culture, not the other way around."
Rosaria's Christian memoir of an "English professor's journey into Christian faith" is compelling, gritty and real. Reading the Bible and discussions with Pastor Ray raised questions that challenged her feminist viewpoint, her academic position and her gay and lesbian worldviews.
It's also the story of a pastor who made the effort to befriend, instead of condemn. Within that atmosphere of safety Rosaria felt free to consider questions that challenged her worldview, her activities and her position in the academic world.
Today, Rosaria is a loving wife, mother and foster parent who asks with a smile, "How did a smart cookie like me end up in a place like this?" She tells her story to encourage others, a story that bears witness to change and God's healing on the "highway of grace" through the efforts of a loving pastor. Fascinating and challenging, her true story can be read in one sitting, yet her words linger long in the mind of the reader.
Rosaria's book is a must read for friend, family or loved one with questions about the gay and lesbian lifestyle.
"The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert," by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, Crown and Covenant Publishers, 2012, 154 Pages, 978-1884527388, $12.00
***For more on the topic see the slide show or list at the end of the review***
Midwest Book Reviews—"Gail's Bookshelf:" August 2014
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"The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert," by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
Rosaria, by the standards of many, was living a very good life. She had a tenured position at a large university in a field for which she cared deeply. She owned two homes with her partner, in which they provided hospitality to students and activists that were looking to make a difference in the world. In the community, Rosaria was involved in volunteer work. At the university, she was a respected advisor of students and her department's curriculum.
Then, in her late 30's, Rosaria encountered something that turned her world upside down--the idea that Christianity, a religion she had regarded as problematic and sometimes downright damaging, might be right about who God was. That idea seemed to fly in the face of the people and causes that she most loved. What follows is a story of what she describes as a train wreck at the hand of the supernatural. These are her secret thoughts about those events, written as only a reflective English professor could.
Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son's Journey to God. A Broken Mother's Search for Hope, by Christopher Yuan and Angela Yuan
Coming Out, Then Coming Home
Christopher Yuan, the son of Chinese immigrants, discovered at an early age that he was different. He was attracted to other boys. As he grew into adulthood, his mother, Angela, hoped to control the situation. Instead, she found that her son and her life were spiraling out of control—and her own personal demons were determined to defeat her.
Years of heartbreak, confusion, and prayer followed before the Yuans found a place of complete surrender, which is God’s desire for all families. Their amazing story, told from the perspectives of both mother and son, offers hope for anyone affected by homosexuality.
God calls all who are lost to come home to him. Casting a compelling vision for holy sexuality, Out of a Far Country speaks to prodigals, parents of prodigals, and those wanting to minister to the gay community.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” - Luke 15:20
Includes a discussion guide for personal reflection and group use.
Love Into Light: The Gospel, The Homosexual and The Church, by Peter Hubbard
Homosexuality is one of most controversial moral issues of our day. Headlines teem with stories of athletes "coming out," politicians changing positions and courts handing down same-sex marriage rulings. Sadly the church has often been afraid to talk about homosexuality.
Many Christians feel confused and divided between the call to love and the call for truth. And many who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction feel alone and alienated by the church.
The time is ripe for God's people to think and speak about same-sex attraction in a way that is both biblical and beneficial. We must reject our fears and misunderstandings and see ourselves together in need of the grace of Jesus.
Love Into Light is designed to move the church toward that end. Written from the heart of a pastor with a love for people and a sensitivity to our culture, Love Into Light is your next step toward becoming more faithfully and helpfully engaged with people in your families, in your church and in your neighborhood.
Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality, by Wesley Hill
"Gay," "Christian," and “celibate” don't often appear in the same sentence. Yet many who sit next to us in the pew at church fit that description, says author Wesley Hill. As a celibate gay Christian, Hill gives us a glimpse of what it looks like to wrestle firsthand with God's "No" to same-sex relationships. What does it mean for gay Christians to live faithful to God while struggling with the challenge of their homosexuality? What is God's will for believers who experience same-sex desires?
Those who choose celibacy are often left to deal with loneliness and the hunger for relationships. How can gay Christians experience God's favor and blessing in the midst of a struggle that for many brings a crippling sense of shame and guilt?
Weaving together reflections from his own life and the lives of other Christians, such as Henri Nouwen and Gerard Manley Hopkins, Hill offers a fresh perspective on these questions. He advocates neither unqualified "healing" for those who struggle, nor their accommodation to temptation, but rather faithfulness in the midst of brokenness.
"I hope this book may encourage other homosexual Christians to take the risky step of opening up their lives to others in the body of Christ," Hill writes. "In so doing, they may find, as I have, by grace, that being known is spiritually healthier than remaining behind closed doors, that the light is better than the darkness."
Is God anti-gay? (Questions Christians Ask), by Sam Allberry
It's the hot topic of the moment. Christians, the church and the Bible seem to be out of step with modern attitudes towards homosexuality. And there is growing hostility towards those who hold a different view. So is God homophobic? And what do we say, and how do we relate to to both Christians and non Christians who experience same-sex attraction.
In this short, simple book, Sam Allberry wants to help confused Christians understand what God has said about these questions in the scriptures, and offers a positive and liberating way forward through the debate.
Homosexuality: Speaking the Truth in Love (Resources for Changing Lives), by Edward T. Welch
"Homosexuality is the hot issue of the day," says Edward T. Welch in this booklet. "Even more than abortion, it will confront the church throughout this generation, forcing us to listen, study, and respond wisely."
How can we answer claims that the Bible does not prohibit committed homosexual relationships? Or that science proves that homosexuality is genetic, not a chosen lifestyle? Welch supplies us with timely biblical and biological insight into homosexuality. Just as importantly, he calls us to examine our attitudes in order to minister to homosexuals truthfully, compassionately, humbly, and persuasively.
Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends, by Mark Yarhouse
Mark Yarhouse gives honest and accurate answers to parents and pastors who have questions about homosexuality. Throughout the book, the author uses a new framework for understanding the issue, carefully separating the concept of "same sex attraction" from a "gay identity." In a clear and compassionate style, he explains the research regarding what causes same-sex attraction and whether or not it can be overcome. He also discusses what Christians can do when someone they know opens up to them about their homosexual attractions.
When Homosexuality Hits Home: What to Do When a Loved One Says They're Gay, by Joe Dallas
The heart-wrenching declaration that a loved one is a homosexual is increasingly being heard in Christian households across America. How can this be? What went wrong? Is there a cure?
In this straightforward book, Joe Dallas offers practical counsel, step by step, on how to deal with the many conflicts and emotions parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters or any family member will experience when learning of a loved one's homosexuality.
Drawing from his own experience and from his many years of helping families work through this perplexing and unexpected situation, Joe offers scriptural and compassionate advice to both struggling gays and those who love them.
The Gay Gospel?: How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible, by Joe Dallas
In this updated edition of A Strong Delusion, author and counselor Joe Dallas helps readers understand what pro-gay theology is and how to confront it.
In a biblical manner, Dallas examines believers' personal responses and the need for bold love and commitment as they become familiar with the movement's background and beliefs, study a clear, scriptural response to each belief and extend Christ's love to those living the homosexual lifestyle
This resource is an important one for those who have been unsure how to respond to the growing acceptance of homosexuality in the evangelical community. It offers the balance between conviction and compassion and a practical guide to communicating with those who have embraced the pro-gay Christian movement.
Can You Be Gay and Christian?: Responding With Love and Truth to Questions About Homosexuality, by Michael L. Brown
The question of how the church deals with homosexuality has become the great moral and spiritual issue of this generation.
How do we respond to gay people who tell us how much they love the Lord and experience God’s power? How do we answer them when they say that the greatest law is the law of love, and that love requires us to embrace them as they are? What do we do with the argument that the Old Testament laws (such as the prohibition against homosexuality and the dietary laws) no longer apply?
Gay and Christian? will provide solid biblical answers, clearly written and based on sound scholarship, in a compassionate way that causes the reader to wrestle with the issues and discover the biblical truth. The book also provides practical guidelines for ministry and shows readers how they can resist the gay agenda while reaching out to their gay friends and family.