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Kelly@GC: Lesbian, academic, feminist, atheist becomes Xtian


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I was slumming it through Kelly Crawford's blog when I came across a link to this article at the Ligonier Ministries website: "An Unlikely Convert: An Interview with Rosaria Butterfield."

Before I get to the meat of this thing, I want to point out it actually makes me happy on some level when people find a reason for living; a peace with the ever-shifting winds of what can sometimes be a frightening world.

But Butterfield's account of her conversation to Christianity seems to hit every stereotypical point fundamentalists we describe here lay at the feet of their ideological opponents:

At first Butterfield was not merely an atheist, but contemptuous of Christians: "I found Christians to be difficult, sour, fearful, and intellectually unengaged people."

She hated the Bible as well: "I approached the Bible with an agenda to tear it down because I firmly believed that it was threatening, dangerous, and irrational."

And then, of course, she had a transformative experience: "At the time of my conversion, my colleagues and students treated me with suspicion and confusion. Understandably, many friends felt betrayed, exposed, and criticized by my conversion and the changes in heart, life, and writing that this produced. When a person comes to Christ and repents of sin, this turning around makes enemies out of former allies."

It is, of course, at this point when I have to call Butterfield's testimony not merely archetypal but also self-serving. Her friends were not merely confused and none were at least nominally happy for her: They felt exposed - I assume for the sins they, despite being non-Christian themselves, assumed Buttefield now saw in them. No longer allies, they weren't merely bemused; they were enemies.

The rest of it is precisely the kind of sanctimonious tripe that really would make enemies of her former friends.

I highly recommend this rabbit-hole; it's a perfect storm of so many elements we see in disparate accounts of this sort - and I say that as someone who has herself had a quasi-mystical experience once. It's not Butterfied's religion I find objectionable; it's her sanctimony:

(1) God set me apart from before the foundations of the world. [Where is the Grace in what sounds to be Calvinism?]

(2) The Holy Spirit removed my heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh, leaving me with justifying faith.

(3) Jesus Christ infuses sanctifying grace through His hard-wrought love and blood.

(4) Repentance and belief go together, as both are gifts of God and fruit of Christian living. Without repentance there is no salvation.

I cannot imagine how else than through bitter tears of betrayal that her monogamous lesbian relationship ended when her partner realized a woman she loved had become, basically, a closed-minded religious zealot.

I'm sure the denizens of this board can pick out all the typical sticking points in a story of this sort.

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