Imatge de l'autor

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield

Autor/a de The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: Expanded Edition

11+ obres 2,793 Membres 29 Ressenyes

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Crèdit de la imatge: By Warfieldian - Own work,

Obres de Rosaria Champagne Butterfield

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Memories and Visions : Women's Fantasy and Science Fiction (1989) — Col·laborador — 60 exemplars


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3.75 stars

This was a hard book to rate and review, because it was a little misleading, in my opinion. Supposedly, it’s about hospitality. However, the first half or so of the book is more about God’s design for sexuality and the way churches are to function. There’s a lot about church discipline in these pages. These things weren’t bad, but they were indirectly, instead of directly, related to hospitality and so I was frustrated for a good portion of the book.

However, when Butterfield does actually get around to talking about hospitality, specifically, and even when talking about what our relationships with God should look like, more generally, there are so many good points and quotes. I wrote down a couple pages’ worth, they were so good!

There were a few things here and there that rubbed me the wrong way, or that maybe I have a slightly different belief about than the author has, but the only things I feel worth mentioning are the cursing and the potential bragging.

When quoting others who used curse words, she included them in the book, which I found completely unnecessary. It would have been enough to state that someone cursed. No one needs to know the exact words these people used - they were irrelevant to the stories - and because we’re reading them, they’re entering our minds. It’s one thing to hear these words from real people we’re interacting with in our own personal lives, and it’s another thing to read them in a book, by a Christian, that could have been edited more thoughtfully but wasn’t.

And because she drew from her own life exclusively for the stories in this book, the tone frequently sounds a bit arrogant, like she’s doing nearly everything "best," or at least better than 99% of other, more sinful, Christians. Parts of it left a bad taste in my mouth, and I would have liked to hear more about hospitality she received, instead of primarily about all the good things she and her family do.

Actually, one more thing: She repeated the phrase "radically ordinary hospitality" so many times that if they were put into one place, would probably add up to a few pages. The repetition drove me nuts, but the phrasing did, too. "True hospitality" is more accurate and a lot less wordy!

Overall, though, there was a lot of good here.
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RachelRachelRachel | Hi ha 6 ressenyes més | Nov 21, 2023 |
This was a frustrating book to try to rate. I found myself agreeing with her in one sentence, and disagreeing in the very next one - and then repeated that throughout the whole book.

Due to the title, I expected the bulk of this book to focus on her wrestling with the Christian faith pre-conversion (similar to how Nabeel Qureshi wrote his memoir [b:Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity|18289396|Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity|Nabeel Qureshi||25818274]), but she spends just a couple chapters quickly wrapping up this part of her life.

She then jumps into defending her fringy, very Reformed (Calvinistic) denomination, and attacking other Christians who don't believe what she believes, then complains that these Christians are not humble and kind enough to embrace others who disagree with them on issues.

Her writing was drenched in pride masking as humility.

Even though I felt like getting into the adoptions of her children didn't fit with the supposed theme of the book, I'm interested in foster care and adoption, so thought this part would still be worth reading. I was very turned off to hear her not-so-secret thoughts of teenage birth parents:

"[My husband and I] were surprised and horrified to learn that even Christian crisis pregnancy centers encourage teenagers to try to parent their children rather than consider the adoption alternative." (p 119) Butterfield then goes on to essentially say that all these children will end up in foster care because their parents are sinners.

Some of her "Christian" jargon also turned me off a bit. I'm a Christian, but I don't use (and have never before heard used) terms like "covenant homes" when referring to a nuclear family comprised of Christian parents. Other parts of her language were very "intellectual" for lack of a better term. I get that she's a super-smart English professor, but it came across as pretentious.

Having said all that, there was some good here!

Certainly, her call to Christians to treat those in the LGBTQ community with more love is needed! Even her desire to show hospitality to others is something that should be present in the Christian church, but is all too often lacking.

I appreciated her thoughts on sexual sin, and how homosexuality is not "worse" than other sexual sins:

"To a good Christian, sex is God's recreation for you as long as you play in God's playground (marriage). No way, Jose. Not on God's terms. What good Christians don't realize is that sexual sin is not recreational sex gone overboard. Sexual sin is predatory. It won't be "healed" by redeeming the context or the genders. Sexual sin must simply be killed. What is left of your sexuality after this annihilation is up to God. But healing, to the sexual sinner, is death: nothing more and nothing less.... too many Christian fornicators plan that marriage will redeem their sin.... Christian masturbators plan that marriage will redeem their patterns.... Christian internet pornographers think that having legitimate sex will take away the desire to have illicit sex. They're wrong.... Christians act as though marriage redeems sin. Marriage does not redeem sin. Only Jesus himself can do that." p 83 (emphasis mine)

Another thought on marriage:

"I've come to note that normally moderate non-pretentious Christians tend towards extreme emotional excess in the areas of weddings and baby showers. This particular weakness had not been mine to witness until I became the subject of this attention. I found this kind of attention uncomfortable and annoying. It seemed as though people that I thought were my friends saw me as suddenly more legitimate now that I was going to join the club of the married." p 53

I also liked this quote:

"We develop a taste for God's standards only by disciplining our minds, hands, money, and time. In God's economy, what we love we will discipline." p 30

So, there was good and bad here. It is a memoir, and at the end of the day, I have to remind myself that memoirs are by definition one person's thoughts about their own experiences and beliefs, so naturally they are highly subjective.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend this to others, but I also wouldn't attempt to dissuade anyone from reading it.
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RachelRachelRachel | Hi ha 16 ressenyes més | Nov 21, 2023 |
First sentence: The devil is a liar. And not just any old liar, a very good one. He normally avoid direct assaults. He prefers deceit, and misdirection.

I'm going to review in a slightly different format that I hope is at least as helpful if not more.

Who is the book for? Who is the intended audience? Butterfield's intended audience is Christian women. Christian women from all walks--backgrounds, experiences, viewpoints. She is writing to a) Christian women who are [very] likely going to agree with her on most if not all of these five lies, b) Christian women who MAY agree with her on some--though perhaps not all--of these five lies, c) Christian women who are likely to disagree with her more often than not. The book is written for those who profess to be Christian. It is not primarily written for the "world at large." She is not particularly seeking to change the minds of the whole, wide world--culture and society at large.

Why did she write the book? Why should YOU read it? (Should you read it?) Butterfield is, I believe, writing because she sees that these FIVE LIES are becoming more and more prevalent and embedded within the evangelical church. Not just the liberal, progressive, on the fringe churches. But becoming more and more common within "big eva" or the mainstream evangelical churches. Hardly any denomination exists that isn't facing at least the threat if not the actualization of these lies. Perhaps even coming from the top down--from the higher ups, the powers that be, the structural organization, the seminaries and schools of higher learning. Because this issue is embedded within the evangelical culture, within the mainstream churches, because even if you fence yourself off from the world at large and seek to live a bubbled-life, it's now becoming more common even within the church. There is no hiding from the lies addressed in the book. That is why you should read the book.

Is the book persuasive? I believe the book is well-written. I believe that the flow and layout of this one is logical, reasonable, biblical even. Butterfield uses Scripture AND testimony--her own--to write of these five issues, five lies. She writes clearly, in my opinion. She holds a VERY high view of Scripture. Because the evangelical church is losing that "high view" of Scripture, letting go of the notion that it is a) God-breathed, inspired, the VERY word of God, b) inerrant and infallible, always true, always faithful, always relevant, always authoritative, they are welcoming with open arms these lies from the world, from the devil. So is it persuasive? I think if you fall into the first two audiences (see above) those who likely already agree to a certain extent on a few of these lies, then the book will help affirm, reaffirm, establish, re-establish your position. Your confusion and doubts may clear up. If you fall into the third audience and are coming into the book with an I-don't-agree-with-this-this-is-nonsense attitude, the Holy Spirit might, can, may still use the book to enlighten. But if you are strongly opposed to everything Butterfield stands for, if you see her as "the enemy," then this one might not be persuasive enough. (But again, the Holy Spirit can work mighty wonders with hardened hearts, with the chiefest of sinners.)

So what are the five lies?

1) Homosexuality is normal
2) Being a spiritual person is kinder than being a biblical christian
3) Feminism is good for the world and the church
4) Transgenderism is normal
5) Modesty is an outdated burden that serves male dominance and holds women back.

Final thoughts...

Just as there are supposedly "four point Calvinists" or "three point Calvinists" I believe it is possible at least to approach this one believing several of these to be lies and yet not fully convinced that all five are equally lies or equally dangerous.

The book delivers on what it promises. It is about those five lies. If you hold those five lies to be true, to be your truth, chances are you will not particularly enjoy or find this one comfortable. If you recognize these five lies to be lies--to be false--then you will find this one (in my opinion) an absorbing, enlightening, engaging read. I particularly found the testimony bits to be incredibly moving and inspiring.
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blbooks | Sep 7, 2023 |
I especially enjoyed the first three chapters of this book, and bits and pieces of the final two chapters. Her writing is excellent, skillful, honest, and inspiring.

For me some of the focus in the final two chapters was too much on her denomination’s beliefs and some other things related to adopting, fostering, and homeschooling children. I would’ve loved to hear a bit more of the personal things with her family rather than more informational things in these chapters.

Aside from some nuggets I underlined here and there in those latter chapters, I wasn’t a fan of this because—though it was informative and would be helpful if I wanted to study these subjects—I wanted to read a memoir, not information about her denomination, marriage theology, etc.

TL,DR; I really enjoyed the first three chapters and was even moved to tears a few times and I’m glad to have finally gotten to read this book, but the final two chapters were disappointing.
… (més)
aebooksandwords | Hi ha 16 ressenyes més | Jul 29, 2023 |



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