Rosaria Butterfield spent several years of her life in a lesbian relationship and what she now recognizes as a state of “unbelief” toward God. In the following video, she explains the things that surprised her most about the church and their acceptance of her when she first became a Christian. Her testimony gives insight into the things the church should do to welcome those who have previously felt marginalized by it.
Butterfield had already built a life that didn’t involve God, and with her conversion to Christianity, she had to suffer the loss of many relationships. As you can imagine, this was an incredibly difficult transition. But her church “gave me the grace to work out my relationships. And they understood that I wasn’t a blank slate and this wasn’t going to get all cleaned up in a day.”
It was sensitivity to “the fact that I had lost something” that surprised Butterfield about the church. She explains, they were even sensitive enough to understand that the people Butterfield left behind were suffering even more than she was because “they didn’t have union with Christ.”
People were not only not standing in the back of her classes on queer theory at Syracuse University to protest her, but they were opening their homes to Butterfield and making her feel welcome. They even went so far as to show her she had a place among them by being willing to learn things from her.
Gradually, through the church’s sensitivity to her situation, Butterfield learned that “the biggest sin in my life was unbelief, not homosexuality.”
Butterfield’s testimony teaches us how to show love and hospitality to those coming into the Kingdom from difficult situations.