Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, a former tenured professor of English and women’s studies at Syracuse University, converted to Christ in 1999 in what she describes as a train wreck. Her memoir The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert chronicles that difficult journey. Rosaria is married to Kent, a Reformed Presbyterian pastor in North Carolina, and is a homeschool mother, author, and speaker.
Raised and educated in liberal Catholic settings, Rosaria fell in love with the world of words. In her late twenties, allured by feminist philosophy and LGBT advocacy, she adopted a lesbian identity. Rosaria earned her Ph.D. from Ohio State University, then served in the English department and women studies program at Syracuse University from 1992 to 2002. Her primary academic field was critical theory, specializing in queer theory. Her historical focus was 19th century literature, informed by Freud, Marx, and Darwin. She advised the LGBT student group, wrote Syracuse University’s policy for same-sex couples, and actively lobbied for LGBT aims alongside her lesbian partner.
In 1997, while Rosaria was researching the Religious Right “and their politics of hatred against people like me,” she wrote an article against the Promise Keepers. A response to that article triggered a meeting with Ken Smith, who became a resource on the Religious Right and their Bible, a confidant, and a friend. In 1999, after repeatedly reading the Bible in large chunks for her research, Rosaria converted to Christianity. Her first book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, details her conversion and the cataclysmic fallout—in which she lost “everything but the dog,” yet gained eternal life in Christ.
Rosaria’s second book, Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ, addresses questions of sin, identity, and repentance that she often encounters during speaking engagements. She discourages usage of the term “gay Christian,” and she disputes “conversion therapy,” in part because heterosexual sin is no more sanctified than homosexual sin. Her heart’s desire is for people to put the hands of the hurting into the hands of the Savior, who equips us to walk and grow in humility.
Rosaria's third book, The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in our Post Christian World, blends memoir and theology to warmly invite readers into her home, sharing from her life and experience how "radically ordinary hospitality" can allow strangers to become neighbors, and by God's power, those neighbors can be part of God's family.
Rosaria is zealous for hospitality, loves her family, cherishes dogs, and enjoys coffee.
"Dr. Rosaria Butterfield is a profound, incisive thinker whose compassionate heart is evident in all of her work. She sees straight to the soul of complex matters, behind the philosophical smokescreens in which we hide our truest selves, and invites her audience into an unflinching encounter with heart-liberating truth. Her time speaking and listening to young adults at Geneva College in the fall of 2013 proved to be one of the most significant events of the year and has benefitted my ministry here immeasurably."
"Rosaria's heart for college students was evident in her time at USF. She has a unique ability to address the difficult issues facing college students with a winsome and charitable spirit. Students were challenged in their thinking and the hope of the Gospel was clearly proclaimed. I am deeply thankful for Rosaria's ministry."
"Having worked in the church with speakers and guests for many years now, I have to say that working with Rosaria was delightful. Because she truly has a heart for the church and a humble desire to serve, she always comes with a willingness to be used in whatever capacity is needed. In addition to speaking engagements, she spent time with several families in need in the church counseling and praying with them. She truly carries herself with a Christ like disposition that is refreshing and encouraging. I can recommend her without reservations as a servant to the Church of Jesus Christ."