Deeper Waters Podcast 2/10/2017: Rosaria Butterfield

(This is the third time we’ve tried to have her on. Looks like it will happen this time so this blog is just a repost of a prior one. No need to reinvent the wheel.)

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many of us know someone like this. It’s the person you know that is hard to reach. No. They’re impossible to reach. Might as well forget about it. This person has every reason in the world to not come to Christianity and nothing you say will ever be able to persuade them.

Sometimes, that Saul does become a Paul.

My guest this week was an unlikely convert. She was a Ph.D. professor and highly educated living with a lesbian partner and actively writing against Christianity. However, after a pastor got in touch with her, things started to change. Today, she is a devout Christian and a pastor’s wife. She will be my guest this week and due to limited time, for only half an hour, but we will make the most of it. Her name is Rosaria Butterfield.

So who is she?

According to her bio:

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, a former tenured professor of English and women’s studies at Syracuse University, converted to Christ in 1999 in what she describes as a train wreck. Her memoir The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert chronicles that difficult journey. Rosaria is married to Kent, a Reformed Presbyterian pastor in North Carolina, and is a homeschool mother, author, and speaker.

 

Raised and educated in liberal Catholic settings, Rosaria fell in love with the world of words. In her late twenties, allured by feminist philosophy and LGBT advocacy, she adopted a lesbian identity. Rosaria earned her Ph.D. from Ohio State University, then served in the English department and women studies program at Syracuse University from 1992 to 2002. Her primary academic field was critical theory, specializing in queer theory. Her historical focus was 19th century literature, informed by Freud, Marx, and Darwin. She advised the LGBT student group, wrote Syracuse University’s policy for same-sex couples, and actively lobbied for LGBT aims alongside her lesbian partner.

 

In 1997, while Rosaria was researching the Religious Right “and their politics of hatred against people like me,” she wrote an article against the Promise Keepers. A response to that article triggered a meeting with Ken Smith, who became a resource on the Religious Right and their Bible, a confidant, and a friend. In 1999, after repeatedly reading the Bible in large chunks for her research, Rosaria converted to Christianity. Her first book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, details her conversion and the cataclysmic fallout—in which she lost “everything but the dog,” yet gained eternal life in Christ.

 

Rosaria’s second book, Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ, addresses questions of sin, identity, and repentance that she often encounters during speaking engagements. She discourages usage of the term “gay Christian,” and she disputes “conversion therapy,” in part because heterosexual sin is no more sanctified than homosexual sin. Her heart’s desire is for people to put the hands of the hurting into the hands of the Savior, who equips us to walk and grow in humility.

 

Rosaria is zealous for hospitality, loves her family, cherishes dogs, and enjoys coffee.

Like I said, we’re only going to have half an hour of Dr. Butterfield’s time. We’ll be discussing her conversion, her life now, and what she has to say to the church. How can we be more effective with what we say? How should we approach the homosexual community? How now shall we live?

I hope you’ll be watching for this interview and please go and leave a positive review of the show on iTunes.

In Christ,
Nick Peters