I have enjoyed listening to this month’s free audiobook download from Christianaudio.com – “Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into the Christian Faith,” the autobiography of Roaria Champagne Butterfield.
Butterfield’s telling of our journey is vulnerable – risking rejection from her former closest friends and rejection from some of those who should be her new family. The author doesn’t add saccharine to her story, letting you feel the anxiety, sorrow, rejection, and joys in her life.
Beyond the amazing story of a tenured feminist lesbian LGBT-activist Syracuse English professor coming to Christ and eventually marrying a Reformed pastor – as if that isn’t captivating enough – is the way Butterfield periodically brings the reader/listener back to the ongoing struggles in her faith. Her transparency helps remind people that the Christian life isn’t, “believe in Jesus and all will get better automatically, or at least painlessly and quickly” but one of lifelong transformation through obedient faith to Jesus and His Word.
Hearing how she acted as a bridge between Christians and her LGBT community was refreshing in that it didn’t come across as condemning to either group, nor as a guidebook. Instead, the pain and joy of the experience is brought to vivid life in the reader’s imagination and emotions.
The book has many more strengths, which is why I highly recommend downloading it free during the month or August and/or buying a copy, though there are a couple areas I would like to critique. First is her divergence to critique a statement by Rick Warren and second is her aside to talk about signing Psalms. Both small sections of the book likely touch on areas close to her heart but neither add to the content or story and both leave lasting distractions from the overall grace-filled and amazing life journey.