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Foul-mouthed and heavily tattooed, former standup comic-turned-Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber weaves hilarious rants and stunning theological insight into her personal narrative of a flawed, beautiful, and unlikely life of faith.Bizarre, rich, and remarkable, PASTRIX turns spiritual memoir on its ear in a sardonically irreverent and beautifully honest page-turner that reFoul-mouthed and heavily tattooed, former standup comic-turned-Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber weaves hilarious rants and stunning theological insight into her personal narrative of a flawed, beautiful, and unlikely life of faith.Bizarre, rich, and remarkable, PASTRIX turns spiritual memoir on its ear in a sardonically irreverent and beautifully honest page-turner that readers will never forget. Nadia Bolz-Weber takes no prisoners as she reclaims the term pastrix (a negative term used by some Christians who refuse to recognize women as pastors) in this wildly entertaining and deeply resonant memoir about an outrageous, unlikely life of faith. From a commune of haggard-but-hopeful slackers to the wobbly chairs and war stories of Alcoholic Anonymous, from a funeral in a smoky downtown comedy club to an unexpected revelation during the Haitian stations of the cross, PASTRIX is a journey of cranky spirituality that intersects religion with real life, weaving incredible narrative, hilarious rants, and poignant honesty to portray a life deeply flawed and deeply faithful-giving hope to the rest of us....

Title : Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint
Author :
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ISBN : 9781455527083
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 204 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint Reviews

  • Todd Buegler
    2019-06-11 09:26

    I will select very carefully who I recommend reads this book. I’ll do so for two reasons:The language Nadia uses in her book is going to cause problems for some people. She is raw, she is honest, she is herself. And she can express herself with colorful metaphors better than any other pastor I’ve met. For those who are sensitive to expletives, well…you’d better go read something by somebody else.Nadia is telling her story. And Nadia’s story is one that moves, sometimes in a single paragraph, from pain to beauty. That can be a little rugged to read. It’s the real-deal…This book is to be read cautiously. It is not for everybody, but I wish it was.So here’s the thing. When I picked up “Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint,” I had very mixed feelings. I’d heard Nadia Bolz-Weber speak, (including her gig at the ELCA Youth Gathering last summer, where she pretty much hit it out of the park…er…stadium…) and had heard parts of her story. And I wasn’t really in the mood to read another autobiographical story of human fall and resurrection.Let me be clear: That is not what this book is about.Pastrix is a book that chronicles an incomplete journey. There is no simple or easy resolution. Like all of us, Nadia lives in a condition of fall and redemption simultaneously. She writes about the journey that to one level or another we all experience. She writes about the Jesus who (though she didn’t see it and denied it) climbed into the crap with her. That’s why even though her experiences are so foreign to me (puking through my nose?) her understanding of the faith, her questions, her doubts, her wonderings all resonate with me, and with those who listen or read.Nadia’s writing style is compelling. It mirrors her preaching.And there is some amazing wisdom. She writes that when she meets with new members at House for All Sinners and Saints, one of the things she tells them (and this is a paraphrase) is: “It is not a matter of if, but when we are going to disappoint you. We will. I will say something…the church will make a decision…something will happen that will cause you hurt. So think now about how you will respond when that happens…because it will happen. And you don’t want to be deciding in the heat of the moment how you’ll respond.” I read that and went straight to my senior pastor and said “we need to say this to our people.” Because it’s true. It makes me wonder…if we’d had those conversations with people, if the fallout from 2009 would have been different.This book is a story of grace and law, as two sides of the same coin. This is a book that tells Nadia’s story, but more importantly the story of God’s love working in someone’s life. This book is one I loved reading, and was sad when it was over.I’m glad Nadia is a pastor within our church. I’m glad she’s shared her story. This is a book for the church, and the world.

  • Carolyn Francis
    2019-06-05 06:21

    I am not one of those who thinks that Nadia Bolz-Weber chose to swear in the first sentence of her memoir to prove some kind of edginess or coolness. The woman swears. She likes tattoos. And Jesus. There's no pretence here. Personally, I think "shit, I'm going to be late for New Testament class" is a fabulous opening sentence for a theological memoir (I mean, who hasn't said that?) If it happens to scare off those who think such a project ought to be some kind of ode to middle class table manners, then all the better.From the moment she was 'called' (via telephone) to conduct the funeral of a friend who had died by suicide (because she was the only religious person any of their group knew), through her own battles with addiction, to her offerings of grace to those like her (fellow addicts) and those unlike her (conservatives, reactionaries, people who remind her of her parents), this is a profoundly spiritual story. She talks Jesus like a Pentecostal preacher, swears like a truckie, and cracks jokes like a standup comic (she was one once), and somehow they all seem authentic. If that seems surprising and unusual perhaps it is an indication of how accustomed we have become to pretence.That her history of drug abuse, alcoholism, promiscuity and general lost-ness is told honestly is nothing new in a spiritual memoir. What is refreshing is that her story of recovery, conversion and ministry is also devoid of romantic rewriting. Perfection (and pretence) does not fall from the heavens, nor does conversion equal a personality transplant. She sometimes admires atheists. She is ripped off, conned and taken advantage of. She confesses that her attempts at charity are often fuelled by her own need to be the superhero. She can be cranky, sarcastic, judgmental and ego-driven. She can also be self-aware, honest, humble, and open to change. She can speak of both success and failure. She neither sentimentalises nor demonises her humanity. Or mine. Amidst the juicy biographical details and funny anecdotes there are profound observations, and times when you know you are standing on holy ground. The re-naming rite, at which the community acknowledges a young transgendered person transitioning from being Mary to being Asher offers a reworking of the baptismal ritual, and a reflection on identity that was deeply satisfying to me. In that moment, and so many others, grace is allowed to be deep and wide and boundary-less. Grace is finding common ground with the right wing radio shock jock who has spent hours condemning you on air. Grace is allowing that person to offer you care when your own people turn on you. Grace is clearing out the pornography from a dead man's home before his small town parents arrive with a grief that doesn't need to be magnified. Grace is telling your conservative evangelical parents that you're going to be ordained, and having them open their bible to read from Esther, "you were born for such a time as this" when you're expecting something about women keeping silent in the church. Nadia's turn of phrase is clever, precise, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. The gay Lutheran pastor who made it possible for her to see herself as Christian (and Lutheran) is 'The Vampire Who Turned Me', Marcus Borg is her 'gateway drug' to liberal theology (before she started experimenting with the harder stuff).There is a naive, wide eyed little part of me that thinks "I want to be Nadia Bolz-Weber when I grow up" (see me pretending to be young there?) but, of course, she is magnetic because she is the authentic culmination of her own experiences and calling and strength and struggle. So instead, reading her actually makes me want to have more integrity, more faith, more grace. To be more of myself.No-one should expect to read this without it causing some serious and confronting self-reflection. As Nadia quotes of the late David Foster Wallace, "the truth will set you free... But not before it's done with you."

  • Carol
    2019-06-12 04:33

    I first heard about Nadia Bolz-Weber (NBW) from Krista Tippet's On Being podcast. I was entranced by NBW's open, honest, no-holds-barred look at her life and response to God's grace. I pre-ordered the Kindle version of Pastrix The Cranky Beautiful Faith ofa Sinner Saint that afternoon.It arrived on a Tuesday - I devoured it in less than 2 days. I highlighted/bookmarked portions (I never do that!) that I wanted to go back to or talk over with friends. Then I bought a dead-tree version because I wanted to loan it to friends. Yes - I bought 2 copies - the book is THAT good.NBW came to my town that Wednesday (the day I finished the book) and I debated about going down to see her speak. But then it hit me. I didn't need to go hear her speak because NBW isn't necessary, if you get what I mean (no insult intended at all). If I don't have Nadia (or her twin) in my life or in my church, then that's OK - because none of this is about HER. If this book were about her, then NBW is a celebrity and I'm a fangirl. If it's not about her - but rather about God's grace - then she and I are both simply people, doing our best to not screw up too much, but knowing that screw ups happen all the time.This book is most definitely about God, and grace, and death-and-resurrection, and confronting your own demons, and finding God in the night-soil of your life. This book, this memoir, is not about NBW. Yes, her life stories are told in the pages of the book - but the book is about God and God's grace and how God comes to us in the craptasticness of our lives and makes us new again. And again. I can't recommend this book highly enough.

  • Mike Young
    2019-06-25 09:23 LOVED this book. And that’s odd because I probably can’t recommend it to all my friends. Many would be strongly offended by it. They would quickly react to Nadia Bolz-Weber‘s application of sailor language to godly topics. Many would take offense at her welcoming and affirming stance on LGBTQ issues. And I’ve come to a place that it’s ok if they are offended. I can’t control that. Don’t read the book if you fear you’ll fall in that category. I honestly don’t want to be the one that riles you up and disturbs your peace. (I would like to point out that LGBTQ is about people long before it ever became an “issue”. Like every “issue” out there, when it’s your starting point, you often end up somewhere Jesus isn’t and you walk on a lot of people whom Jesus loves on your way to the smug destination you’ll find at the end of such a path.)Because of my reading of Pastrix, I recognize the smugness of that last sentence. It comes across as if I’m the one enlightened and all who disagree with me are intolerant and bigots. Now, don’t get me wrong…I absolutely stand by the sentence I wrote above. However, there is a heavily underlined paragraph on page 57 of my copy of Pastrix that says:Matthew once said to me, after one of my more finely worded rants about stupid people who have the wrong opinions, “Nadia, the thing that sucks is that every time we draw a line between us and others, Jesus is always on the other side of it.” — Nadia Bolz-WeberTo further quote Nadia, “Damn!” Pastix shined a light on all the lines I’ve drawn between me and people with whom I disagree. And in so doing, it shined a light on Jesus that I’ve needed turned on for a while now. What I continually discovered in Pastrix was resurrection. It was a continual stream of stories of death and resurrection. Persons and lives dying deaths large and small only to encounter the risen Christ and be raised to new life again in profound and graceful and loving ways. It’s a resurrection that one can and should experience daily. (That’s what Jesus meant!)Reading Pastrix was something of a cathartic experience for me. It was hard to put my finger on what continually resonated with me as I turned page after page. But as I reluctantly put the book down this morning I recognized a long lost itch (p. 204) that I had continually and unconsciously been scratching all these years but had slipped from my awareness. I realized that I had rediscovered a distant call to ministry that animates my life. It’s a call we all share and it manifests itself in all sorts of different jobs and vocations and roles. But it’s absolutely a call. It’s a call to discover who we were created to be. And its a call to death and resurrection. Thanks Nadia.

  • Benjamin Dueholm
    2019-06-19 02:24

    I went hot and cold on this one. There's a lot in here that's lovely and insightful. There are also passages that wax a little breezy and shallow. The stories behind the sermons appealed to me, as did the cast of characters. But I found myself wanting a little more context. What's the world surrounding HFASS like? What's the theological and liturgical conviction that animates the community and ties these fascinating people and their stories together with the saints and sinners of the ages? I'm grateful for the stories and the insights, many of which I identified with or learned from because I didn't. But it left me wanting to hear more from this charismatic voice.

  • Kari
    2019-06-24 05:45

    I had mixed feelings as I was reading the first half of Pastrix but the strong second half won me over. I loved the parts in which she talks about how her faith and her understanding of scripture inform specific ways that she acts. Those were thoughtful stories well-told, and I was moved by them. Additionally, it is incredibly important to me that we have books like this that show a liberal feminist pastor who has a less conservative view of scripture but who still takes it seriously. I felt that the beginning of the book, where she was talking about her own faith journey, was less settled in itself, restless as if she was trying to prove something. The book starts with the word “shit” and while I don’t object to the word itself, there were times that it felt to me like she was trying too hard to be edgy. (Sidenote: I wondered if the beginning of the book wouldn’t work better as a speech at a conference or a convention, which might be why it seemed a little bit off to me. It would certainly be an attention-grabber in that kind of situation.) In the end, I liked it but I wish the tough-girl posture at the beginning had been taken down a notch or two. Recommended for: people who like tattoos, swearing, and Jesus.(Copy provided by NetGalley.)

  • Lee Harmon
    2019-06-16 03:41

    Fantastic! So funny, so moving, with tears rolling either way. This is a raw version of Take This Bread (by Sara Miles), where the misfit lesbian atheist churchgoer is swapped out for an even funnier tattooed alcoholic-in-recovery who “swears like a truck driver” … and who this time went so far as to become a Lutheran pastor, founding her own church. When Nadia decided to become God’s bitch and embrace the whole “Jesus thing,” she changed … well, probably only her drinking. “Nothing about me says ‘Lutheran pastor,’” she admits, and I believe it. Pastoring just doesn’t come easy for her. “If something like liturgical dance or cheesy praise singing is happening on my stage and thousands of people can see me, I can manage my own body language and facial expressions for a half hour or so. But then, like when I’ve had to be nice to more than three people in a row, I need a nap.”The book’s language may be offensive to delicate ears, but yes, this really is nonfiction. Nadia’s scathingly honest self-portrayal of her struggles, her focus, her successes and failures (and there seems to have been many of both) leave you wondering … is there really a place in the clergy for this kind of pastor?One time Nadia’s Denver-based church organized a little Thanksgiving outreach program, where church members bagged up meals and took them around to share with those who had to work on the holiday. When they entered the adult bookstore on Colfax and handed the clerk a bag, he teared up: “Wait. Your church brought me Thanksgiving lunch … here?”Yep, Nadia’s Christianity has its niche.

  • Tim Ervolina
    2019-05-27 03:27

    Nadia Bolz-Weber is inked. Heavily inked. She curses like she gets extra points for it. She is admittedly cynical, misanthropic, politically left, passionate about changing the world and so full of self-doubt and self-criticism that it's a wonder she can get up each morning. Oh, and she loves Jesus. And she's an ordained minister. A Lutheran, for Christ's sake. This book is about resurrection. Nadia's first and foremost: from a drunken, promiscuous stand-up comic to a sober curmudgeon who loves the Velvet Underground and hangs about with drag queens, ex-cons, homeless people, and hookers. But it's also about our resurrection: the way Grace yanks us out of the grave of our despair and self-loathing, rips out our hearts of stone and slams us against the wall of faith, daring us to punch it in the face.You don't have to believe in God or Christianity to dig this book. In fact, you're probably better off if you don't. She doesn't want you to believe because she got resurrected. She wants you to just walk for awhile, down a road with a stranger, your broken heart burning within because the things he tells you are at once terrifying and wondrous.If you are looking for the typical evangelical "I was lost, but now I'm found" memoir, you will probably stop at the opening sentence: "Shit," I thought to myself, "I'm going to be late to New Testament class." If you want truth, passion, honesty and a story of unlikely redemption from a woman with a picture of St. Mary Magdalene on her forearm, read it and weep. And smile.

  • Pam
    2019-05-28 01:26

    I was first introduced to Nadia when she spoke to the ELCA Youth Gathering in New Orleans, during which she began her presentation by telling the youth in attendance that some of their parents weren't happy she'd been chosen as a speaker. Why? Because of how she looks and how she speaks--not because of what she believes. As I watched her speak via streaming video and cried my eyes out, I hoped my daughter (who was there in person) felt as moved by Nadia's testimony as I did. Reading this book was a little like returning to the experience of watching that presentation. At times, I was taken aback by Nadia's language. (At the book event I attended, Nadia said, "Some people tell me they think pastors shouldn't swear. I tell them I don't think pastors should walk around pretending to be someone they're not.") At other times, I was brought to tears--by her stories of failure and triumph, and by her honest examination of her own flawed life. I'm not sure I've ever thought of my pastors as real people, but Nadia insists that readers see her this way. Her brand of faith isn't sanitized--it lives out here in the real world, which is sometimes ugly, sometimes profane, sometimes deeply disappointing. But this book puts the reader in touch with a God who offers compassion and grace to every single one of us, no matter the nature of our stumbling. I don't know what more you could ask from a pastor.

  • Laurie Larson Caesar
    2019-06-12 09:38

    She's a clear-eyed witness to this radical grace we are invited to live - funny, smart, cranky and faithful.

  • Louise
    2019-06-10 05:31

    We were bringing this to a friend to read and I took a glimpse at the first few pages and I was hooked and passing the book on will have to wait for another day. I literally read this straight through and haven't recently given myself permission to do that with a book. The reality of Nadia's story of faith is powerful and the church that she allows God to bring through her is startlingly different from the church I have experienced. Or she experienced. This book reminded me in a powerful way that God is real and s/he is bigger than I can imagine. "I can't imagine that the God of the universe is limited to our ideas of God. ...In a way I need a God who is bigger and more nimble and mysterious than what I could understand and contrive otherwise it can feel like I am worshipping nothing more than my own ability to understand the divine." (p. 15-16)Grace, such a constant in the teachings of the Lutheran church, and yet, so difficult to understand - really grasp. "I hadn't learned about grace from the church. But I did learn about it from sober drunks who managed to stop drinking by giving their will over to the care of God and who then tried like hell to live a life according to spiritual principles....there was a power greater than myself who could be a source of restoration and that higher power, it ends up, is not me."(p. 48)And on living in community, this truth is often overlooked, as we struggle to do it by ourselves. "This community will disappoint them. It's a matter of when, not if... I then invite them on this side of their inevitable disappointment to decide if they'll stick around after it happens. If they choose to leave when we don't meet their expectations, they won't get to see how the grace of God can come in and fill the holes left by our community's failure and that's just too beautiful and too real to miss." (p. 54-55)I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with faith or who is struggling to be a conduit for God's grace in this world.

  • Rebecca Pratt
    2019-06-01 03:27

    This beautiful, badass, compelling book served to reorient me around the concept of resurrection. I grew up in the church, both of my parents were in urban ministry and we lived in intentional missional communities. I have always loved Jesus' teachings and the rich history of this beautiful, sometimes deeply fucked up, faith tradition. Yet I have always struggled with resurrection as a primary component of my faith (insert baffled looks from fellow Christians saying, "isn't that the whole deal?!"). My skeptical mind has just never bought into the idea that there is some shiny contract written in the sky that we are then protected under when we commit to Jesus and that somehow that contract happened through Jesus' death. I've shied away from the Christ part of Jesus Christ not knowing how to hold salvation in a relevant space for me and my communities. Pastrix illuminates how being a Christian is about not so much one experience of being "saved", but rather an intentional life of death and resurrection. Nadia Bolz-weber writes about spiritual physics, the idea that something has to die for something to live, and that that process is deeply painful and absolutely necessary and how ultimately God's grace is defined by the resurrection stories she weaves through each of our lives. This is a resurrection theology I can feel in my body. It's a theology chalked full of personal encounters with God and radical truth telling. When I see my life as a Christian as a life of continual death and resurrection and that whole process as being illustrative of what a loving and transformative God looks like I can finally touch the Christ in Jesus Christ. Pastrix brought me to this. It's hilarious, raw, provocative, and the most creative telling of what it means to be "born again", again and again.

  • Jennifer
    2019-06-14 05:47

    Fantastic book whether you are a believer or not. The author gets extra points for being horrified by both liturgical dance and praise singing. Very recommended.*They have a higher opinion of human beings than I have ever felt comfortable claiming, as someone who both reads the paper and knows the condition of my own heart.**The passion reading ended, and suddenly I was aware that God isn't feeling smug about the whole thing. God is not distant at the cross and God is not distant in the grief of the newly motherless at the hospital; but instead, God is there in the messy mascara-streaked middle of it, feeling as shitty as the rest of us. There simply is no knowable answer to the question of why there is suffering. But there is meaning. And for me that meaning ended up being related to Jesus - Emmanuel - which means "God with us." We want to go to God for answers, but sometimes what we get is God's presence.**God, please help me not be an asshole, is about as common a prayer as I pray in my life.**But inevitably, when I can't harm the people who harmed me, I just end up harming the people who love me. So maybe retaliation or holding onto anger about the harm done to me doesn't actually combat evil. Maybe it feeds it.**With him I could have all the drama, self-loathing and badassness of my previous life (which of course wasn't as badass as I thought it was), without the indignity of throwing up through my nose.**Jesus brings a kingdom ruled by the crucified one and populated by the unclean and always found in the unexpected. I'd expected to look at the past and see only mistakes that I'd moved on from, to see only damage and addiction and tragic self-delusion. But by thinking that way, I'd assumed that God was nowhere to be found back then. But that's kind of an insult to God. It's like saying "You only exist when I recognize you." The kingdom of heaven, which Jesus talked about all the time, is, as he said, here. At hand. It's now. Wherever you are. In ways you'd never expect.**Instead, what I subconsciously knew, even back then, was that God was never about making me spiffy; God was about making me new. New doesn't always look perfect. Like the Easter story itself, new is often messy. New looks like recovering alcoholics. New looks like reconciliation between family members who don't actually deserve it. New looks like every time I manage to admit I was wrong and every time I manage to not mention when I'm right. New looks like every fresh start and every act of forgiveness and every moment of letting go of what we thought we couldn't live without and then somehow living without it anyway. New is the thing we never saw coming - never even hoped for - but ends up being what we needed all along.*

  • 7jane
    2019-06-21 01:41

    Nadia Bolz-Weber is a Lutheran pastor (and pastrix) of a small community of misfit, never-fit-ins in Denver. This is an autobiography of her life, plus other themes that fit easily in. Growing up in Church of Christ, she never really fit in, but slid into the world of addiction - and yet when she started to recover and went dry, she realised that despite all, God wanted her back, kicking and screaming and doubting, yet not able to deny her belief and calling.She comes across very true to herself here, including the language, which is not really *that* harsh (though that depends a bit on the reader). She has moments of humiliation, anger and despair, difficulties in making sermons and so on... yet she also has moments of feeling God's presence and help.All of this truly makes me feel that despite the world's darkness there is always light; darkness is weak and light is winning and WINS. This book gives hope that there will always be Christians there that are truly true to their name. No matter if they curse and have faults sometimes. A great, quick read :)

  • Art
    2019-06-10 06:28

    There is a whole lot here I can relate to, more then I can't honestly. Coming from a Pentecostal and Holiness background and deeply wounded by that side of the church years ago before coming over to the Episcopal church, many of the themes strike home. There is also a lot of honest truth in this book, I work in a support position in a church and a lot of what I read here is in line with what I've seen and heard first hand, no blemishes, no glory and some days lots of tears, others lots of laughter.I love the no BS approach, the honesty and the learning from mistakes. I hope someday to being able to stop by in Denver and see this church family and Pastor in person.Get past the curse words and sink your teeth into this book. There were a few eye opening thoughts here that I'd never thought of before like the Philip story, but mostly just a feeling what I was reading was right on and honest. I hate the term "I couldn't put it down"...but I read it in one afternoon.

  • Abby
    2019-06-22 08:17

    “I hadn’t learned about grace from the church. But I did learn about it from sober drunks who managed to stop drinking by giving their will over to the care of God and who then tried like hell to live a life according to spiritual principles. What the drunks taught me was that there was a power greater than myself who could be a source of restoration, and that higher power, it ends up, is not me.”Powerful, honest, searing memoir from Nadia Bolz-Weber, a Lutheran priest in Denver, who tells the story of how she got sober and was saved by grace. After hearing her speak in New York in April, I was hooked. Her presence and her deeply moving and authentic message are shattering to someone like me, a woman raised in a grace-less Christianity that taught that women were forbidden from preaching the Gospel. I dare anyone to say such a thing after having listened to Bolz-Weber. This is what Christianity is all about: grace upon grace upon grace and the unbelievable freedom therein.

  • Ellayne Shaw
    2019-06-20 02:45

    "Smiley TV preachers might tell you that following Jesus is about being good so that God will bless you with cash and prizes, but really it's much more gruesome and meaningful. It's about spiritual physics. Something has to die for something new to live."And just like that, Nadia Bolz-Weber had my attention. I first heard of Bolz-Weber through a Presbyterian friend of mine, and she intrigued me with her tatted up arms and no-nonsense attitude. Going in to this book, that is pretty much all that I knew about her. I quickly discovered that we had nothing in common--she was a stereotypical black sheep and I was a goody two shoes--but I thought, "Well, I can still glean something from her story." Boy did I ever! I never thought I could relate to another person so well.A lot of Bolz-Weber's cynical view of the church--in general--stems from her background of growing up in a fundamentalist denomination. Although I wouldn't consider my own background fundamentalist, it was pretty darn conservative. As such, I often have a cynical view of the church, and even though I love working with the people in it, I understand why so many people turn away. The church too often lacks grace and humility, and let's face it, we're a bunch of messed up folks trying to live in community. People get hurt.When I started reading this book, I was feeling very discouraged about faith and my own opportunities in church leadership. I felt like I was doing everything wrong. Reading this book was like a breath of fresh air. There were many times where I wiped tears from my eyes, and there was one chapter that left me full on sobbing. Let me tell you, that is a first--and I'm an emotional reader!I wish I could say more in this review without spoiling it, but I doubt that I can. All I can say is that if you can put up with some salty language and if you are looking for another voice in the grander conversation about faith and God, I very strongly recommend this book. I know that I will be rereading it into the future.

  • Chris Hughes
    2019-06-09 06:31

    Cantankerous, snarky and sarcastic, my three go-to forms of communication. What's not to love about her writing style? Her thoughts on faith and the life of her church are beautiful, interesting and fresh. This book is a challenge for anyone who, like me, as settled in to 'mainstream' church life, pushing us ever farther to the boundaries and margins, the places where Jesus was most comfortable. I was a little letdown to learn this book does not hit on what we find most interesting about Nadia - her own personal journey and the journey of her church. She touches on both at first, but only briefly. Instead she has woven together pieces of her work as a minister and the stories of her church. She brings new and dynamic readings to the text she exegetes in this book. But after a certain point, the book hits a monotonous slump - chapters that follow the same pattern over and over again. The content is eloquent and the style is reminiscent of Anne Lammott. Still, there is something lacking to the journey of this book. We lose track of where it started and where its going in the middle. I was challenged by her church and her way of ministering to the people she finds herself with. I was surprised by her encounters with many people quite different from her. Somehow, Nadia still finds Jesus speaking to her through them and finds something to love and appreciate about them. This is a good read for people who are keen to learn more about the church on the margins. For that, I am thankful to have read this.

  • Ron
    2019-06-07 09:35

    An in your face narrative where theology slams head first into the muck and mud of life. Reading this in parallel with Bonhoeffer's Letters from Prison makes for an even wilder ride.This book is exceedingly non-linear, however, rather than serving to distract, it actually serves to weave much of it together in a very Gospel focused form. The late Rich Mullin's used the term provoked rather than inspired when it came to his song writing... and there is a ton of provoking going on here. Just when you see the light bulbs coming on as to the Gospel being lived out, it circles around time and time again with a bit of 2x4 action intermixed.Well beyond an inspirational, get gung ho text as one might read for rally Sunday, the weaving in and out of authentic theology takes it to a level far beyond a feel good tome. I could see it used not only in Sunday school, but also in the university classroom. There is much that can be distilled from within.Lastly, lest folks leaning toward the puritanical domain start to get offended, I would ask them to carefully ponder the big deal concept of Ephesians 4:29, not the simplified canned answer one. There is much more to edification than overly sanitized family friendly Christian radio...

  • Josh
    2019-06-24 03:30

    I gave this book two stars because Nadia Bolz-Weber is a good writer - I enjoyed reading her story as a story. She also seems to genuinely love people, even those different from her.However, I believe there are significant issues with her understanding of he gospel of Jesus Christ. To boil it down to the most basic problem, Mrs. Bolz-Weber seems to recognize no ultimate authority to which men and women are held accountable. She acknowledges the Bible as the Word of God, but then says that all parts of Scripture which do not "hold up to the Gospel of Jesus Christ" (p.49)simply do not have authority over us. Unfortunately, that definition leaves no standard by which "the gospel of Jesus Christ" can be defined. So Jesus end ups looking and talking like a 21st century post-modern American liberal. As someone committed to the authority of Scripture in its entirety, I respectfully cannot agree with many of the conclusions Mrs. Bolz-Weber draws.

  • Wilhelmina Jenkins
    2019-06-08 03:28

    I love the author of this book, Nadia Bolz-Weber. I love her journey from very lost to very found to her ministry as the Lutheran pastor of a wild and wonderful congregation. Her insights are stunning. The only reason that this is not a 5-star review is that I wanted a bit more depth. It isn't quite a memoir, it's more a subset of her life experiences connected with scriptural passages. Which is fine, but I am greedy and wanted more. Do not read this book if you are offended but, shall we say, colorful language. She curses like a sailor, but she is radiant with grace and the love of Jesus.

  • Amy
    2019-06-18 03:42

    Challenging. I loved it even though I disagree with a lot of Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber's theology. She understands grace. More than that, she lives it. I feel I understand grace even better now because of reading her writing. This book won't be for everyone. There is a lot of language. She is an ELCA pastor and is very upfront with her beliefs on a lot of controversial issues. Politically and theologically, I'm pretty sure we fall on opposite ends of the spectrum. She gets the Gospel, though, and that is a beautiful thing. This book gave me a lot to chew on.

  • Thomas Mcgraw
    2019-06-19 07:33

    This is the kind of book that makes me want to be a Christian. Everyone should read it.

  • Jennifer
    2019-06-20 01:44

    Originally published on my blog at TheRelentlessReader.comHoly shit. All I really want to say is that you MUST READ THIS BOOK. But that would seriously erode my reviewing cred (ha!) so I'll try to gather my very enthusiastic thoughts and explain.Pastrix is an absolute joy. An open-minded, all-encompassing, ass-kicking joy. It's inspiring, uplifting, and many other adjectives that I could string together to try to make you understand that you MUST READ THIS BOOK.*Nadia Bolz-Weber might be the coolest damn woman I've ever had the pleasure to learn about. I want to move to her city, attend her church, and beg her to be my best friend. Nadia is the pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, CO. The fact that this place exists make my heart freaking sing....a group of folks figuring out how to be liturgical, Christo-centric, social justice oriented, queer inclusive, incarnational, contemplative, irreverent, ancient/future church with a progressive but deeply rooted theological imagination.Out of the many fantastic passages in Pastrix there is one that will always stick with me: ...I can only look at the seemingly limited space under the tent and think either it's my job to change people so they fit or it's my job to extend the roof so that they fit. Either way, it's misguided because it's not my tent. It's God's tent.Do you see the beauty of that statement? It's God's tent. Who are we to decide who gets to hang out under it?*Seriously, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK.

  • Emily
    2019-05-27 09:42

    When I first saw this book, it was passing through the library for a patron. Out of curiosity, I ordered it, but I never could have predicted the impact it would have on me, how truly moved I would be by her beautiful insights on what it means to be a Christian. I wasn't even sure I'd like it; in fact, I was positive it would be a love or hate thing. I wondered about this hip-looking pastor with her self-proclaimed crankiness. Would she just be promoting a brand of faith she thought was cooler than everyone else's?Happily for me, it was a love thing, and she had me from the intro.And this is the story of how I have experienced this Jesus thing to be true. How the Christian faith, while wildly misrepresented in so much of American culture, is really about death and resurrection. It's about how God continues to reach into the graves we dig for ourselves and pull us out, giving us new life, in ways both dramatic and small. I appreciated the honesty of this book, how she shared not only her path to where she is today, but what she's still learning. I bought this for my kindle before I finished the library copy I had, because there is so much wisdom and goodness in it that I needed my own copy.Some people might see her views as controversial. They might object to the profanity she uses. But I hope anyone who picks it up will read it all the way through. I loved it.

  • Elizabeth Andrew
    2019-06-19 04:38

    I'm not one to be impressed by a tattoo-sporting, cussing, former comedian Lutheran pastor. There's too many real contradictions in the life of faith to think these external ones carry much weight. PATRIX flaunts these and more--Bolz-Weber seems (although never directly claims to be) queer identified, she's a recovering addict, she's hip, and she plays these cards a bit too self-consciously for my taste.Nevertheless, she tells a damn good story, and her theology is excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir because of these solid foundations. It's a quick and enjoyable read, but I also come away with some refreshing perspectives on faith. Take some of these comments on identity:Maybe demons are defined as anything other than God that tries to tell us who we are. And maybe, just moments after Jesus’ baptism, when the devil says to him, “If you are the Son of God…” he does so because he knows that Jesus is vulnerable to temptation precisely to the degree that he is insecure about his identity and mistrusts his relationship with God. So if God’s first move is to give us our identity, then the devil’s first move is to throw that identity into question. --Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix, 139-142Leave it to a member of an identity-conscious generation to unearth this understanding of God's intimacy. I find it refreshing. Thanks, Nadia!

  • Virginia
    2019-06-17 06:37

    I can't remember the last time I dog-eared pages in a book. Nadia Bolz-Weber is grace, personified. I am torn between wanting to share Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint with everyone I know and wanting to make sure it never leaves my possession.

  • LeighKramer
    2019-06-18 08:21

    I want Nadia Bolz-Weber to be my spirit animal. Such a breath of fresh air!

  • Sarah
    2019-06-13 02:21

    Definitely still an atheist, but also definitely still love to hear anyone's stories. It was like reading episodes of The Moth, which I love.

  • Thomas Holbrook
    2019-06-10 05:40

    There are books written so well that it seems the author is setting across from you, sharing a warm beverage while having a wonderful conversation. There is transparency, rebuke, acceptance, with many aside discussions – all the things that make a “chat” into a conversation – are present and the Moment is grand. That is the kind of flow Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber brings to this humorous, lively, theologically (sound but) challenging (to some) autobiography of how a girl, reared in a Fundamentalist Church of Christ, became an alcoholic, got sober and became “a heavily tattooed, swears like a truck driver” founding pastor of House of All Sinners & Saints, an Evangelical Lutheran Church where those who rejected by other churches and most of society are celebrated. Her story may sound like a testimony presented by an Evangelist in a tent revival, but I can assure you it is not. Rev. Bolz-Weber is splendidly open about herself throughout this book. She owns being “cranky,” “if (she) has to be nice to three people in a row, (she) needs a nap,” her default response to ANYONE is such that I cannot quote it here, “it doesn’t stay there as long as it used to, but that is still where I start.” What she shares in this book is the power of walking in who one is, how that is the best (only) way God can use anyone, everyone has worth and gifts needed by those around them. Her openness about herself, her hopeful cynicism about humanity grouped with the commitment to follow her “calling” to lovingly pastor “her people,” make this one of the most formidable books I have read in a long time. I was shocked by the language she uses in this book, but she admits early that this is how she talks. I was awed by her ability to share her heart and reach people where they are. I was almost persuaded to become Lutheran and move to Denver after reading this book. I realized, after reflecting and talking with my best friend, one of the messages of this book is for the readers to stand in the “place” God has placed them, in the strength they have and do what is before them. I laughed frequently as I read this book. Her words are so true, her assessment so accurate and wit so sharp that I could do nothing but giggle. I also cried a lot; her honestly sharing her pain, her struggles in Pastoring a church of hurting people and her compassion felt so close that tears were the only recourse. This is a book easily read in a weekend, a day if one has that much time. It is also a book that will offend a lot of people: Church folk for her language and some of her Theology, non-church folk for challenging every reason ever uttered for not being a part of a Faith Group, Atheists for her being unable “to pull (atheism) off,” pretty much anyone who reads this book will be offended at some point. Thankfully, they will be faced with much to celebrate within its pages: the needs of the sick are attended to, the hungry are fed, the outcast are welcomed, those imprisoned will be shown freedom. Those who read will also glimpse the beauty that rests with all who are Sinners and Saints.