#CBR7 Review #128: Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber

When I read Rachel Held Evans’ most excellent Searching for Sunday, I noticed a few names that came up in the conversation regarding church, spirituality, and grace. One was Nadia Bolz-Weber’s. My friend A mentioned a curiosity to read Pastrix after a recommendation from one of her friends in her systematic theology MA program. I like un-orthodox Christians, and Bolz-Weber sounded like one of those.

Pastrix is subtitled The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint, and with her enormous tattoos, Bolz-Weber seems like the most unlikely Lutheran priest in the world. She describes her varied and intricate past as an addict, her return to Christianity, and her determination to find God in the unlikeliest of places. Her church, House for All Sinners and Saints, welcomes a ragtag bunch of people in love with Jesus and wanting to find fellowship. Bolz-Weber’s no-nonsense and apologetically profane tone underlies a serious consideration of what it means to find grace and what it means to accept a child of God for the person he or she really is. Her discussion of loving your fellow believer is particularly poignant, because it means loving someone with whom you sometimes violently disagree, or even a person you dislike.

This book challenged me in all the best of ways. It’s easy to fellowship or worship with friends and people whom I trust, but really difficult to share that experience with someone whom I don’t particularly like. But Bolz-Weber reminded me that all are invited to partake of God’s table. All of us.

I really feel that everyone needs to read this book. Especially non-affirming of LGBT Conservative Christians (was that PC enough? I’m trying not to be negative). Bolz-Weber’s unabashed love for God’s gay and lesbian children was refreshing to read about. But she’s fair and talks about both sides. Her experience with Conservative Christians challenged me and made me realize that I’ve got some work in accepting to do, too. That’s the power of a great book.


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