A former professor of women’s studies at Syracuse University recently shared her personal journey from lesbian feminist to Christ follower.
During an episode of The Becket Cook Show, Rosaria Butterfield explained how converting to Christianity drastically changed her life, identity and relationships.
Butterfield noted that her story of coming to faith began while working on her 2013 book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Teacher’s Journey into the Christian Faith. She also met a Presbyterian pastor who was instrumental in opening her eyes and heart to the Lord.
“I talk about what it was like to meet a pastor, who was my neighbor when I was a lesbian, feminist, activist, teacher,” Butterfield said. “I met Ken Smith, the pastor the Lord used in my conversion. I thought that man was really smart. He and his wife Floy welcomed me into their world and they came into my world and they didn’t. didn’t act like I was polluting them. At the start of our friendship, Ken told me ‘there’s a difference between acceptance and approval and if you can live with that difference, I can live with it. this difference.'”
Butterfield began reading the Bible and met regularly with Pastor Ken and Floy, which allowed him to discuss situations from a Christian perspective.
“I met the whole Church community,” she recalls. “I saw how his house worked…it was amazing. We talked about hard and heavy things. We read the Bible, we prayed, we sang songs. I couldn’t help but notice that ‘there was an aesthetic, palpable difference between my house and Ken Smith’s house.
She continued: “My house was filled with anxiety and frantic, constant political activism. At Ken’s house they would talk about hard things, but at a certain point they would open the Bible. They would pray and they would do this thing called ‘ leave him at the cross.’ Then they would go on and laugh and feast and have fun. I was intrigued by that. I came to the Bible with a long list of things I was crazy about and needed to work out.
“In two years, I read the Bible seven times. I wanted to understand why Bible-believing Christians believed what they did. This God-man who was and is compelling beyond description. This is right? And that was really the turning point. That’s when I decided I had to stop working with Ken Smith.
Butterfield explained that she came to a critical point in her spiritual journey where the truth of the gospel was visible and it frightened her.
“At that point, Ken and Floy didn’t become stalkers, but they got closer. They weren’t going to let me go,” she said. “I stopped reading the Bible for research purposes and started reading it for personal questions about truth, life and death. That’s when I was recognized guilty of a number of sins I was found guilty of the sin of somehow thinking that I had been on the side of truth, justice, diversity, reparations, kindness and compassion when it was really Jesus who was being persecuted all the time.”
“I started going to church…I just showed up one day,” Butterfield said. “I found that sermons were this totally different thing and really forced me to think about things that I hadn’t thought of before. I realized that part of the reason why I didn’t understand I didn’t know how to be a godly woman was because I didn’t understand how to be a woman, which was hilarious because I was a women’s studies teacher at the time,” she pointed out. “I was a mess and dedicated my life to Christ because I believed he was true and real and I had no idea what he was going to do with a mess like me.”
Listen to Butterfield’s full interview by clicking here.
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