Culture > Q&A

Journey of grace

"Journey of grace" Continued...

Issue: "Moneymaker," March 23, 2013

Uncomfortable? Really uncomfortable. A friend of mine from the church said, “You are a bridge, and bridges get walked on.” But I had a suicidal student and was unable to deal with this by myself, so my gay community and my church community would meet in the ICU. We would meet! There’d be prayer, there’d be anti-prayer, and there’d be, “Do you need a cup of coffee?” 

You write, “Conversion put me in a complicated and comprehensive chaos.” What did the church at that point do to be hospitable to a person immersed in chaos? I had some really burning questions for people. I would go up to my homeschool mom friends, and say “Look, I have to give up the girlfriend: What did you have to give up to be here?” I heard amazing things that made me realize I did not have any more to give up than anyone else. I learned there were other people in my church who struggled with sexual sin, with lust, with faithlessness … and they told me that! They took the risk of no longer looking all cleaned up to me.

A good question to ask: “Christian, what did you have to give up to be here?” You never know the journey people take to get to church, even the people who are very cleaned up. Even the people without the butch haircuts and without a T-shirt announcing, “Hi, I’m Rahab the harlot, how can you minister to me?” 

What finally helped you make a public decision both in terms of church, and then in terms of your 1999 lecture opening up the fall semester at Syracuse? When the Lord calls someone to obedience out of a life of sin, that’s going to hurt a lot of people. It just is. A lot of people were hurt by my obedience. I’m grateful that when I had this stirring I was not in a church that minimized it. I never heard anybody say, “God has a perfect plan for your life.” No, they said, “Rosaria, count the costs, this is going to be brutal, this is going to be bloody.” When I said “Look at all these hurting people,” nobody said, “Serves them right, boy, are they a bunch of sinners.” Instead, people in church rolled up their sleeves and said, “OK, how can we help? How can we get to know your friends?”

Comprehensive chaos

In The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (Crown & Covenant, 2012), Rosaria Butterfield writes that conversion “is simply too tame and too refined to capture the train wreck that I experienced in coming face to face with the Living God. … Conversion put me in a complicated and comprehensive chaos. I sometimes wonder, when I hear other Christians pray for the salvation of the ‘lost,’ if they realize that this comprehensive chaos is the desired end of such prayers.”

Butterfield writes about a key question she faced: “Was I willing to be considered stupid by those who didn’t know Jesus?” She adds, “I didn’t choose Christ. Nobody chooses Christ. Christ chooses you or you’re dead. After Christ chooses you, you respond because you must. Period. It’s not a pretty story.” 

Video

Watch Marvin Olasky's complete interview with Rosaria Butterfield:

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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