Thursday, February 14, 2013

Every once in a while I read a book that stirs in me the thought ... "I wish I could make everyone read this book!"
Such a book is "The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert"  by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield.

I read an article about her in Christianity Today and it tweaked my curiosity and interest.  I found her book on Amazon and 'accidentally' downloaded it on my Kindle.   I'm SURE I clicked on the "download a sample" button, not the 'buy' ... but didn't realize my error until I was reading the book.  I believe God moved my finger, knowing how the book would stir me.

It is a good book on so many levels.
It is an amazing conversion story, to use her own words, of an "unlikely convert".    Rosaria hated anything to do with Christianity. She said the name of Jesus stuck in her throat like a hair ball not allowing the name to cross her lips.   She was a tenured (can't lose her job) university professor,  a leader in the homosexual movement and especially the woman's causes and an open lesbian.  She was often a key note speaker at conventions promoting the gay community.  A brilliant woman committed to her cause and career and lifestyle.

Unbeknownst  to her,  an article she wrote against Promise Keepers would be the beginning of a life changing journey.   She received an outpouring of responses to her article.... some critical, some approving.  She had a basket on either side of her desk. As she read each letter it would go into one box or the other -- for or against her.
Until she got one letter ...  that didn't fit either box.
I won't spoil the story -- you'll have to get the book!  smile..

As well as being a great 'testimony', the book offers  more.   Rosaria shares with unusually keen insight  in   how she views the church, evangelism and also scriptural interpretation.   She has a very interesting view of worship in a church setting.  I may not totally agree with her on that one, but I can identify with  the 'spirit' of what she says.

I also enjoyed her views on what children need to grow up to be healthy, thinking , mature adults. Especially valuable is her insight gleaned from her experience with college kids coming from Christian homes.

I hate being a 'book spoiler'  so I won't say more but I'll leave you  with you one of the three life lessons   that Rosaria says she relies on.

When you don't know what to do, go back to the basics

When I used to run marathons, I had a training partner who would say to me, at the most horrific moments, usually at about mile 20, "Rosaria, this could be the best moment of your life!"
I thought this man was certifiably nuts, a DSM-IV special.  I tried to ignore him.

But later I started to understand his meaning.
This expression teaches me now that while I am motivated by the Big Question, I do not have the Big Picture. I do not know how student resistance, classroom explosions, my own general screwing up, or mean spirited colleagues will really affect my success or failure as an intellectual and a teacher.
So I find myself, in life's most unbearable moments, in and out of the classroom, saying, "this may be the best moment of my life."
At first, this makes me feel, perhaps too viscerally, that I am on mile 20 of the marathon and I'm about to throw up. And then it reminds me that even if I do throw up, I still have a marathon to finish, and something extraordinary will happen in the process of focusing on the rigor and simplicity of putting one foot in front of the next.

1 comment:

ellen b. said...

I really was intrigued with the article. I like the title of her book, too.