I haven’t read The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield yet, but after reading a few interviews with her, there’s one aspect of her conversion from lesbian feminist professor to Christian that I can’t stop thinking about: the role the Bible played in her conversion. It’s awe-inspiring seeing that book through her eyes. Here are some examples from various articles:
- “‘I tried to toss the Bible and all of its teachings in the trash—I really tried,’ she says. ‘But I kept reading it, reading it not just for pleasure, but reading it because I was engaged in a research program trying to refute the religious right from a lesbian feminist perspective.... After my second or third, maybe fourth, pass through the entire Bible something started to happen. The Bible got to be bigger inside me than I. And it absolutely overflowed into my world.’”
- “I started reading the Bible. I read the way a glutton devours. I read it many times that first year in multiple translations. At a dinner gathering my partner and I were hosting, my transgendered friend J cornered me in the kitchen. She put her large hand over mine. ‘This Bible reading is changing you, Rosaria,’ she warned.”
- “I went from being someone who felt that I was responsible and entitled to interrogate the Bible to someone who believed that the Bible had authority over my life and therefore had the responsibility and entitlement to interrogate me. That truth—that the Bible interrogates me—does not stop with conversion. Therefore, the post-conversion issues raised in Secret Thoughts are in some ways proof of the fruit of Christian living, insofar as they reveal a heart searching to have the Bible interrogate it.”
- “And after two years of meeting with my Christian neighbors, getting to know some of their church members, and reading the Bible multiple times through in a year, I noticed something about this text.
It was different from all the rest.
It had an integrated revelation, a vast and capacious philosophy about sin and redemption, and a God-man who was no effeminate runway model or martyr.... The Bible promised understanding after obedience, not the other way around (John 7:17). That stopped me in my tracks: Did I want to understand why homosexuality was a sin from God’s point of view, or did I just want to argue with Him? After two years of this, the Bible got to be bigger than me. It overflowed into my world. I realized that the Bible was my holy highway to a living God; that through it I could learn what God wanted of me and why, and through it I could send my pleas to His throne of grace. The Bible transmitted the language and lexicon of a Holy God, transforming me to grow in His likeness. It truly was the only way.”
The fact that we have access to a book powerful enough to change us so completely is astonishing to me. The Holy Spirit moving through the inspired words of God creates new people who know and love Him. We say we know it’s the word of God, but do we really see it as Butterfield sees it? If not, here’s her recommendation:
[S]ome powerful things happen when you read the Bible many, many times in a year, from Genesis to Revelation, and in multiple translations. I really encourage Christians to do that, and not to read the Bible as though you’re reading your horoscope. I don’t think it’s really meant to be read like that.