This evening Fourth Church hosted Nadia Bolz-Weber for the kickoff of the promotional tour for her new memoir Pastrix: the Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint. Based on the selections she read tonight, this is a book that you need to read. I can’t wait to dive into it myself.
I think that a lot of people might write Nadia off as a pastor just trying to be relevant with her tattoos and cussing. I realized upon meeting her that she is genuine, authentic, and not at all a persona.
Any further suspicions were dispelled when she read the beginning of her book. I was completely engaged with the way she claimed the “fucking fairy tale” of the gospel as the story that grounds her life and gives her meaning. Sure, she dropped a lot of f-bombs—something that doesn’t happen often from the pulpit of Fourth Church and something that caused my 4 year old son to repeatedly say, “that’s a bad word”—but she also proclaimed the gospel in a moving and compelling way.
Some other highlights for me:
- Her reflection on the divine feminine (“God’s aunt”) and her call to ministry was moving.
- I almost cried when she shared the story of her fundamentalist father offering support when she expected the opposite.
- Her description of Clinical Pastoral Education and the role of chaplains (which I happened to discuss yesterday) was spot on.
- Her description of Marcus Borg and liberal Christianity’s version of Jesus as a “gateway drug” that eventually proved to be not enough for her rings true for me.
- Her insistence that an awareness of God’s presence is more important than answers nailed it.
Like I said, I can’t wait to read this book and I hope you will too.