I had seen my share of Bible verses on placards at Gay Pride marches. That Christians who mocked me on Gay Pride Day were happy that I and everyone I loved were going to hell was clear as blue sky.
Rosaria Butterfield wrote these words to describe her experience of Christianity before becoming a Christian herself. At that time, she was not, in any way, interested in the God of the Bible.
I used my post to advance the understandable allegiances of a leftist lesbian professor. My life was happy, meaningful, and full. My partner and I shared many vital interests…
But as part of Rosaria’s desire to create a better world, she worked to find out more about those who were preventing it from happening. “I began researching the Religious Right and their politics of hatred against queers like me.” At one point in time, her investigation led her to meet with a local pastor named Ken Smith. Ken was not like other Christians she had known. He didn't quote Bible verses condemning her.
He did not mock. He engaged… Something else happened. Ken and his wife, Floy, and I became friends. They entered my world. They met my friends. We did book exchanges. We talked openly about sexuality and politics. They did not act as if such conversations were polluting them. They did not treat me like a blank slate. When we ate together, Ken prayed in a way I had never heard before. His prayers were intimate. Vulnerable. He repented of his sin in front of me. He thanked God for all things. Ken's God was holy and firm, yet full of mercy.
These conversations got her interested in reading the book that formed so much of Ken’s life.
I continued reading the Bible, all the while fighting the idea that it was inspired. But the Bible got to be bigger inside me than I. It overflowed into my world.
As Rosaria read the Bible and learned about Jesus, two competing worldviews battled inside her for supremacy over her life. Eventually, the Christian worldview won out and she decided to give her life to Christ.
Then, one ordinary day, I came to Jesus, openhanded and naked. In this war of worldviews, Ken was there. Floy was there. The church that had been praying for me for years was there. Jesus triumphed. And I was a broken mess. Conversion was a train wreck. I did not want to lose everything that I loved. But the voice of God sang a sanguine love song in the rubble of my world. I weakly believed that if Jesus could conquer death, he could make right my world.
Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, “My Train Wreck Conversion,” ChristianityToday.com, February 7, 2013, https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/january-february/my-train-wreck-conversion.html.