“How do I tell you about my conversion to Christianity without making it sound like an alien abduction or a train wreak? Truth be told, it felt like a little of both. The language normally used to describe this odd miracle does not work for me. I didn’t read one of those tacky self-help books with a thin coating of Christian themes, examine my life against the tenets of the Bible the way one might hold up one car insurance policy against all others and cleanly and logically, “make a decision for Christ.” While I did make choices along the path of this journey, they never felt logical, risk-free, or sane.”
– Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
There are lots of different types of books out there. Haunting, silly, thought-provoking, infuriating, bad, easy reads, and books you have to chew. You feel like a cow who is constantly regurgitating its cud and going over it again. Now, I don’t read much non-fiction. I know. Probably not a good thing. But, I really don’t enjoy it. I would much rather read a well crafted fictional story than a non-fiction any day. Generally my only non-fiction is True Crime and Serial Killer stuff that I read for research. So…when I was given and then peer pressured into reading The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by friends and family I was a bit unhappy. I don’t enjoy non-fiction. Sigh. Maybe a little pout.
Thank goodness for peer pressure. This tiny little book took me almost a month to read. (To make that clear, I usually read a few books a month – thick ones.) I really had to chew this novel. I couldn’t read it in the space of a few hours. I had to read and then chew. Read and then chew. It may have been short, but it was weighty.
This story is a conversion story. Now hear me out. This is not a conversion story with butterflies and flowers. This is hard, painful, painstaking battle. The author had no interest in converting to Christianity. She was a feminist and a lesbian. She hated Christians and for good reason. Here comes the chewing. She was very honest and straight forward about why she did not like Christians. If you read this and are a Christian it will cause you some soul-searching. You will not be comfortable. You will have to look at yourself and see if you treat people like her the way she was treated. Or do you welcome any and all with open arms. At least, I found myself doing this. I chewed this book cause it challenged my perception of the world. It made me look at my perfect box and realize, once again, that that box was a source of pride for me. Like I picked the family and up bringing I enjoyed myself. Gosh. How stupid. To find pride in something I didn’t even do.
The other thing this story made me chew over was something which gave me hope. I hope to have a family someday. I would like to have a fair amount of kids and I might even open my home to adopt a few children. I don’t know if my husband and I will home school or what form of education we will choose. I do know, after playing with nieces and nephews, that having kids is a full-time, life-time commitment. In the back of my mind has been a nagging fear that I would not have time to write when we start our family. This lady wrote a book and published it. During that time, she home schooled her children, fostered, adopted, was very active in her community and in her church, opened her home all the time to visitors, college students, and neighbors. I have to admit I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Just knowing someone else had done what I want to do helped me feel like it could be done.
So, I challenge you readers to read this amazing little book. You will find it to be something to ponder, chew, and wrestle with even when you are done. A little disclaimer…I don’t agree with all of her doctrine…I am, after all, a Reformed Baptist and not a Reformed Presbyterian. 🙂