Monday, September 9, 2013

Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Nadia Bolz-Weber
224 pgs, Jericho Books 2013


Summary from Goodreads
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 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.
My Thoughts/Summary
Full disclosure, I would have been shocked not to love this book.  I started reading Nadia’s blog shortly after stumbling across a video of her speaking at the 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering that I mentioned in this post.  When I got the email that I was approved to read Pastrix on Netgalley I literally jumped up and down on the sidewalk in my work uniform.
Pastrix did not disappoint  It’s the story of Nadia’s spiritual life, but instead of telling it chronologically it’s told in chapters that show how moments early in life can fold into what happens later and what she learned from the whole experience.   Nadia doesn’t try to fit into our expectations of what a pastor should be: the picture on the cover shows off her tattoos and the first word of the book is “shit”.  But she really illustrates that God is everywhere – not just a church. 

“We want to go to God for answers, but sometimes what we get is God’s presence.”
But I think the strength of this book is that Nadia admits she doesn’t know all the answers.  That God is meant to be unknowable and instead of faking anything she’s just very honest about her experiences and feelings.  Nadia voices hard questions that believers and non-believers ask of God and of the church, addressing the disappointments and abuse many people have suffered at the hands of the church.  Some chapters end with very clear messages of what she believes about God, while others like “Hurricanes and Humiliations” aren’t quite as clear cut. 

“Jesus calls us to welcome the stranger and serve our neighbor.  And the images on our television during the Katrina event begged the question:  Who is that neighbor?  Being Christian is much harder that I wish it was.  We’re called to take care of the poor.  But should we open our homes to those in need if it entails danger to our children?  We’re called to love our enemies and forgive those who trespass against us.  Does that mean we should allow people who have hurt and betrayed us back into our lives?  Or does it mean that simply don’t wish them ill?”
Every single chapter elicited genuine emotion from me.  I cried a lot – happy and sad tears.  I laughed out loud.  But mostly I felt hope at the message of a loving God that I’ve always felt, but have had a hard time expressing to other people. 
I believe that this is my most highlighted book ever.  I thought about adding more quotes, but they work so much better in context so please READ THIS BOOK!

My Rating
Enjoyability (5 out of 5 stars)
Relationships (4 out of 5 stars)
Writing (5 out of 5 stars)
This book will stay with me forever.  I’ll buy a physical copy as soon as it comes out on Tuesday. 

No comments:

Post a Comment