Are you a “summer reading list” kinda gal? If so, I’ve got a couple of recommendations for you, written by the same author, my “friend”, Rosaria Butterfield. (Is it just me, or do you feel like friends after reading a memoir?)
Reviewing Books by Rosario Butterfield
I fell in love with Rosaria’s story in her first book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, which chronicles her transformational journey to faith, which she admits was 100% Jesus coming after her, definitely not the other way around. After many months, much conversation, deep questioning and major life-changing decision-making, Rosaria gave her life to Christ.
Although I believe we all have a “God-shaped” need in our hearts, I love this story because she was truly oblivious to it. Rosaria was busy living the very life she had worked hard to curate for herself, settled and not looking for a change. She thought she had achieved all that life had to offer: a professor at a prestigious university, well-respected among her staunch feminist colleagues and in a committed lesbian relationship. She read Christian articles for the sake of picking them apart and writing her own piece in response, regaling the ridiculous ways of Christianity—and that is exactly where God entered her story.
A local pastor read and wrote her a response to one of these articles, written to make fun of the Christian movement to uphold biblical manhood and traditional marriage. The letter unnerved Rosaria and she was unsure of how to respond. She had received plenty of hate mail and plenty of fan mail, but never a letter clearly disagreeing with her stance, yet doing so with love and respect. The pastor included his phone number and an open invitation for Rosaria to join him and his wife for dinner in their home. The letter sat on her desk for weeks, taunting her.
Rosaria describes being overcome with intrigue, having never been invited into the home of a Christian, nor ever been responded to so lovingly. She finally called and accepted his invitation, which began an on-going friendship and ultimately her transformative conversion to a life with Jesus. In her first book, Rosaria retales the months and years she spent wrestling with her current lifestyle and belief system against the God who was so clearly making Himself known to her.
For me, this book was both a beautiful and deeply convicting reminder that we are called to show love and share the gospel, while only God has the authority to weigh a person’s heart and motives. It feels like our culture finds it easier to choose sides, make judgements and draw lines in the sand, resulting in division and confusion over what Christian love looks like. Yes, we should never compromise the Truth, yet hypocrisy and harsh judgements do a whole lot more to keep people out of our churches than to welcome them in.
Which brings me to Rosaria’s second book, The Gospel Comes With A House Key. As you can imagine, someone who was literally loved to Christ by hospitality and openness knows the power of reaching beyond their inner circle, having hard conversations and choosing to walk with someone, even if it takes years or she never gets to experience their conversion. In this book, she offers a dozen practical, real-life examples of how to reach out in love, just like Jesus did. (Another fantastic book on the same topic is Everybody, Always by Bob Goff.)
In these powerful pages, you will be reminded of the hope and power of the gospel because, as Rosaria says, “Biblical orthodoxy can offer real compassion… in our struggle against sin, we cannot undermine God's power to change lives.” It is God who does the convicting and changing, His call for us is to love Him and love others. Rosaria Butterfield's books will give you a beautiful picture of what this looks like.
What books have encouraged you to be a better neighbor, friend and follower of Jesus? What’s on your summer reading list?
Meet the Author!
Heather McAnear is a wife, mom, author and speaker with a passion for sharing God's truth to help women understand their uniquely beautiful design and how to use it for God's glory! In fact, Heather hosts the Uniquely Beautiful Stories podcast on iTunes in hopes do just that! She loves teaching young married couples with her husband, homeschooling their three children, traveling the world, enjoying good chocolate and long conversations in coffee shops. CRBC has been her church home for two decades and she is thrilled to be part of the Women's Ministry team, helping women connect with each other and grow in their walk with Jesus!