Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield

Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield.

“In the pages that follow, I share what happened in my private world through what Christians politely call conversion. This word–conversion–is simply too tame and too refined to capture the train wreck that I experienced incoming face-to-face with the living God.”

This conversion story, written by former lesbian professor Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, contains wisdom on a lot of different subjects. Here are a few quotes that illuminate some things that God taught Mrs. Butterfield.

Fear-based parenting:
“I believe that there is no greater enemy to vital life-breathing faith than insisting on cultural sameness. When fear rules your theology, God is nowhere to be found in your paradigm, no matter how many Bible verses you tack on to it. . . . We in the church tend to be more fearful of the (perceived) sin in the world than of the sin in our own heart. Why is that?”

“I came to believe that my job was not to critique and ‘receive’ a sermon, but to dig into it, to seize its power, to participate with its message, and to steal its fruit.”

“I didn’t choose Christ. Nobody chooses Christ. Christ chooses you or you’re dead. After Christ chooses you, you respond because you must. Period. It’s not a pretty story.”

“Betrayal deepens our love for Jesus (who will never betray us). Betrayal deepens our knowledge of Jesus and his sacrifice, obedience, and love.(Jesus was betrayed by his chosen disciples and by all who call upon him asSavior and Lord by our sin). Finally, betrayal deepens our Christian vision: The Cross is a rugged place, not a place for the squeamish or self-righteous.”

Church community:
“I think that churches would be places of greater intimacy and growth in Christ if people stopped lying about what we need, what we fear, where we fail, and how we sin. I think that many of us have a hard time believing the God we believe in, when the going gets tough. And I suspect that instead of seeking counsel and direction from those stronger in the Lord, we retreat into our isolation and shame and let the sin wash over us, defeating us again. Or maybe we muscle through on our pride.”

Sexual sin:
“Sexual sin is not recreational sex gone overboard. Sexual sin is predatory. It won’t be ‘healed’ by redeeming the context or the genders. Sexual sin must simply be killed. What is left of your sexuality after this annihilation is up to God. . . . Christians act as though marriage redeems sin. Marriage does not redeem sin. Only Jesus himself can do that.”

“Because we are Christ’s, we know that children are not grafted into a family to resolve our fertility problems or to boost our egos or to complete our family pictures or because we match color or race or nation-status. We know, because we are Christ’s, that adoption is a miracle. In a spiritual sense, it is the miracle at the center of the Christian life. We who are adopted by God are those given a new heart, a ‘rebirth.'”

I have been thinking a lot lately about the recent controversy over “missionary adoption” and the idea that adoptive parents must have the “right motives” before they adopt. While I understand the cautions and caveats that Ms. Headmistress of the Common Room and Ms. Butterfield both repeat and the issues involved with foreign adoptions in particular, I hate to see us as a culture discouraging adoption and the ministry of orphan care.

I believe Ms. Butterfield and the Headmistress when they say that adults who adopt out of selfishness tend to reap trouble and disappointment, just as those who have selfish motives when they give birth to children tend to have parenting and family issues. However, our motives in anything we do are difficult to discern and usually mixed at best. Why did I give birth to eight children? Because I enjoy having children and parenting them and homeschooling them (most of the time). Because I believe children are a gift from the Lord. Because it makes me happy to see my children serving the Lord and glorifying Him. Are these selfish motives or unselfish? Am I less likely to deal well with the disappointments of having some children who are not serving the Lord right now because I expected them to all follow Him? Do I love them less (or should I not have had them in the first place, God forbid) when they are not making me happy? These are all good questions to ask yourself in regard to your children, whether they’re adopted or not. The answers can give Christian parents insight into the growth that the Holy Spirit wants to bring about in their lives so that they can better serve Him as parents.

Being a parent is complicated, whether you birth the children or adopt them. Adoption has its own joys and pitfalls. Yes, I am going off on a tangent here. Rosaria Butterfield has written a great story with insight about homosexuality, Christian conversion, the gospel, and adoption. I recommend the book—and I recommend having children, too, however you go about it.

4 thoughts on “Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield

  1. Her book was chock full of things to think about.

    I think anyone who has children by any means wants to pass on their beliefs and values to their children, even atheists. I don’t know why they think it’s so sinister that Christians want to.

  2. Yes! I agree with you. Both in saying that she had a lot of wisdom to share on a variety of topics and that children are a blessing no matter how they come, how often, or how many.

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