By Phillip Holmes, Desiring God.
Rosaria Butterfield is a wife and mother, a lover of God and of people, and a former lesbian activist. In the 1990s she was a tenured post-modern professor at a prominent university. She was deeply immersed in the homosexual community. She even authored an academic article on the morality of gay and lesbian lives.
In 1999, God changed everything. After a series of events and the consistent love of faithful Christians, she got out of the bed she shared with her lesbian lover and went to church. Two months later, God called her to himself. She believed the gospel. In 2012, she became widely known for her autobiography The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.
Rosaria and I spoke for nearly two hours recently, touching on all kinds of topics and questions close to her mind and heart. One of them was the Christian’s voice in America today.
Since the advent of the Internet, everyone has a platform. Long gone are the days when large platforms were earned and reserved for scholars and experts. Whether the platform is a blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or all of the above, people who would have historically been silenced or ignored are able to spread their ideas and opinions to a larger audience. Rosaria is not on social media, but she has a national audience and she’s had to learn how to steward it well.
Celebrities, artists, and athletes who are believers have long wrestled with this question. How open should I be about my faith? Should I reveal my values and convictions or reserve them for private conversations in order to build relationships?
Rosaria recalled co-writing an article in response to the Supreme Court decision titled“Something Greater Than Marriage.” In response, she received a very angry email.
“It was a really interesting email because it was the kind of email that [someone] would only write after years and years and years of social media. It was the kind of email that [assumed], ‘You are never going to show up in my life in real time.’”
She’s not one to shy away from controversy or disagreement. Instead of arguing with strangers over social media, she prefers to have them in her home. To the angry reader’s surprise, Butterfield asked, “Can you come over for dinner on Monday? You know, because this is not how human beings are supposed to relate on these issues.”
Her actions teach us that consistency is key. Christians don’t have to water down our message in order to be effective in the culture. Our private speech should be consistent with how we communicate in public. And Scripture should ultimately dictate the content of our conversations everywhere we live and speak.