Book Review: Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & SaintPastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“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.

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