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From Lesbian Professor to Pastor's Wife

From Lesbian Professor to Pastor's Wife

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield on holy sexuality and how to love our (lesbian) neighbors as ourselves
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Rosaria Champagne Butterfield spent more than a decade of her life as a leftist lesbian English professor specializing in queer theory at Syracuse University. She was in a committed homosexual relationship, served as the faculty advisor for a number of gay and lesbian student groups on campus, and co-authored the first successful domestic partnership policy at the university. In 1999, everything changed. Rosaria had what she refers to as a "train-wreck conversion": she came to Christ and committed to pursuing a life of "holy sexuality"—a commitment to either heterosexual marriage or celibacy. She is now married to a Presbyterian pastor in Durham, North Carolina, where she is actively "living out the means of grace," raising four children, and sharing the testimony of God's redeeming love at churches, colleges, and universities around the world in the midst of one of the most controversial topics in church and culture today.

In July 2012, Rosaria published her testimony, Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, thinking she'd sell about 20 copies to her local church congregation. Since publication, her story has reached hundreds of thousands of readers across the world. Here's what she had to say about the difference between same-sex attraction and homosexuality, and how we as Christians can best love our (lesbian) neighbors as ourselves.

You lived a lesbian lifestyle for years, and now you're a pastor's wife—How? Why?

I absolutely had what I believed was a heterosexual adolescence. I really liked having boyfriends around because they got me out of the house and I enjoyed the attention, but I realized in my 20s that deep down it was my relationships with women that were really resonating with me. That particular reality grew until I developed what I considered a homo-sociality—a preference for being in the presence of women—that morphed into homosexuality. It wasn't a big event, like here on this date I became a lesbian. It was in some ways a normal extension of the growing feelings I had. I also grew up an unbeliever, so when I came to Christ, everything in my life had to change.

Initially, after my conversion, the thought of being a sexual person at all was terrifying. I had been in a homosexual relationship for years, and I didn't trust myself at all. But after a season of the Lord working on my life, I realized I desired to have a normative, biblical sexuality. But I was a little scared of that too. So things unfolded, and I had a failed engagement before I met my husband, Kent. It was easy to be with Kent because he also is a very strong believer, and when we looked at our potential marriage and the sexuality that would be a part of that, we put it before the Lord, saying we trusted he'd brought us this far, and would complete the journey. We had extensive biblical premarital counseling, and I was committed. I felt it was something I really wanted to do. I was 39 when we got married, and I'm 51 now.

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From Issue:
Today's Christian Woman, 2014, February Week 1
Posted February 5, 2014

also in this issue

February Week 1
A Gay Son's Tribute to His Mom

A Gay Son's Tribute to His Mom

For years I ran toward drugs and gay relationships while my mother persisted in prayer and trusted in God's faithfulness.
My Child Just "Came Out"—Now What?

My Child Just "Came Out"—Now What?

Telling my parents I was gay wasn't easy—here are five guidelines to follow if it happens to you.
A Life-Changing Revelation: God Loves My Gay Son

A Life-Changing Revelation: God Loves My Gay Son

How the realization that God loves all people—even homosexuals—because of who they are, not what they do—saved my life and changed my heart forever
Homosexuality Versus Same-Sex Attraction: Is There a Difference?

Homosexuality Versus Same-Sex Attraction: Is There a Difference?

Temptation toward my own gender is not going to separate me from God.

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Displaying 1–3 of 13 comments

Maryann Wiltshire

April 25, 2014  7:12pm

This has helped me overcome my lesbianism. Now I may be saved and born again

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Mike Groves

February 12, 2014  5:30pm

"in Christ, we have victory over all sin....but another example of Christian victory is to have humility over what a powerful enemy sin is." Are you serious? How can we have victory over sin and still be humble before its power? Sin no longer has dominion over us. We should instead fear God and His judgment of what we do with what He gives us. (Rom6:12-14; 2Cor 5:1-11) Is it enough to be a gay-minded Christian who is celebate but lusting after same-sex sheep and goats, or will Christ "renew minds"? Do not (1Cor 7:8&9) apply no matter what the "sexual orientation"? With gay marriage now legal, which is clearly an abomination, do not (Mat 5:27&28) apply no matter what the "sexual orientation"? The world is adding to the sin list and the "church" is "loving" it. God is far more than just LOVE. Read The Revelation at the end of your Bible. Read verses like Psa 11:4-7. God can be Righteous and Hate the sinner who is not under the Blood of Christ. Sinners burn, not sin. In Christ MJG

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Mike Groves

February 12, 2014  5:24pm

"What I say to people in all of my talks is if you're struggling with same-sex attraction as a believer, you're a hero of the faith, not someone who should be condemned." Hebrews 11 points out Heroes of the Faith. I didn't see "struggling homosexuals" there. You might want to rethink spreading this opinion to Christian audiences. "God is able, but not obligated, to change our deepest sexual feelings." Are you saying that God is not committed to His Children when He says: (Rom 12:1&2;Phi 2:12&13;1Jhn 1:5-10) and more? It seems the "church' would like to allow homosexuals to keep their cake and not have it too. Will God not change SINFUL sexual feelings because they are deep?( Heb 4:12&13) God doesn't leave us to our dirt. Whether deep or shallow a pit is still a pit. In Christ MJG

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