“As I sat in that folding chair and listened to Bruce preach, I knew that I had never heard anything like this. It corresponded to scripture, and to what I had been reading in the Bible. But I had never heard anyone talk like this from the pulpit…. There was no question in my mind, as the tears started to run down my face: I had just barely started on the journey of my repentance. And here I had thought that I had repented in full and that my pain was the result of R’s sin. Ha! This sermon hit me hard across the face: I was suffering from my own sin, from the pride that was still rising high in my heart, and from my false sense of entitlement and deserved goods…. I was scribbling notes as fast and as furiously as I could. I felt like someone parched gulping water in panic and frenzy…. I walked the two blocks to my apartment slowly and gingerly, as if injured. Never in my life had I had a spiritual experience like this. I felt like I had just come as close as I ever had to understanding the living Jesus.” (p. 75–76)

Reading: Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore. —Ezra 10:1

Selections from The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield (Pittsburgh: Crown & Covenant, 2012). Used with permission.