Book Review: Pastrix The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint

I was introduced to this book by a segment on Colorado Public Radio in which author Nadia Bolz-Weber was interviewed.  To say I was intrigued is an understatement.  It was one of those radio interviews where I continued to sit in my car long after I had pulled into my garage.  Naturally, I rushed out to read her book for myself.

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It literally changed my life.

I’m not overstating things either.

A quick summary: Nadia Bolz-Weber is a Lutheran pastor in Denver, CO.  In the book she describes the evolution of her life and faith into what it is now (still growing and imperfect).  She leads a new and sort of renegade church in Denver which opens its doors to everyone – the homeless, the mentally ill, folks of all genders and ideas – they even open their doors to suburban-living, cardigan-wearing soccer moms (eek! that’s me!).  It is this last group who she describes as the hardest of all to accept (oh boy).

The book is funny and super honest.  She isn’t what you’d expect from a Lutheran pastor – or a pastor of any kind actually – and that’s what makes her remarkable.  She’s open about the life she lived before becoming a pastor (hint: lots of drugs and sex) and she’s open about the things with which she struggles now (being nice, keeping sarcasm at bay, understanding her relationship with God) – and does all of this while using plenty of foul language.  It’s pretty f**ing fascinating.  Oops! She must be rubbing off on this soccer mom.

Ms. Bolz-Weber makes lots of interesting points in the book, and grapples with many theological issues, but my favorite is this

We are constantly trying to divide the world into us vs. them.  When we do that, it can make life easier for us to understand, but it does nothing but drive the world further apart (and us further from God, if you believe in that sort of thing). 

(my quotes, not hers)

I would recommend this book to the following people:

  • Christians
  • Non-Christians
  • Women
  • Men
  • People who struggle with their identity in any way, shape or form
  • People searching for meaning
  • People searching for connection
  • Folks who find “liturgical dancing” creepy (…you’ll have to read the book to figure out what that means)

In short – READ THIS BOOK.