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Pastrix: Book Review

Pastrix

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, is an autobiographical look at Nadia Bolz-Weber’s journey of faith. Nadia is a paradoxically tattoo-decorated, swearing Lutheran pastor of Denver’s House for All Sinners and Saints Church.

What I like most about Pastrix is Nadia’s authenticity and transparency. She talks about her own struggles growing up in a fundamentally conservative church, and then losing her faith while battling with addictions for many years. Through her slow journey back to Christianity, Nadia developed a stronger, deeper, more profound faith that oozes from the pages of this book. Along the way, she shares some spiritual truths she has learned. For example, when writing about our relationship to God, Nadia says, “We can’t, through our piety or goodness, move closer to God. God is always coming near to us. Most especially in the Eucharist and in the stranger.”

Nadia also wrestles with the age-old question of suffering. Why do people suffer? And how can they find relief? Nadia shares from her experiences:

“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.”

Nadia writes a lot about grace, because an understanding of grace is what changed her life. She writes, “God’s grace is not defined as God being forgiving to us even though we sin. Grace is when God is a source of wholeness, which makes up for my failings.”

Nadia started her church to minister to people who are struggling with many of the things she experienced firsthand. She writes that she wanted a place “where no one had to check at the door their personalities or the parts of our stories that seemed ‘unchristian’”. She adds, “I was called to be a pastor to my people.”

Pastrix will challenge your thinking. Because of Nadia’s liberal use of language, it is also not for the faint of heart. But it is a refreshing look at God’s redemptive grace that gives hope to all.

★★★★★

Take a look at Nadia Bolz-Weber preaching in New Orleans.

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