Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Title: Pastrix
Author: Nadia Bolz-Weber
Publisher: Jericho Books
Expected Release: September 10, 2013
Source: publisher (NetGalley)

Synopsis (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.

I’ve followed Nadia Bolz-Weber’s blog (Sarcastic Lutheran) and listened to her sermons online for a few years now. Sarcastic Lutheran fans will feel right at home with this new memoir, but if you aren’t already familiar with Nadia Bolz-Weber…

A heads up: A lot of the ideas in Pastrix are not going to mesh well with socially conservative evangelical Christians (and definitely not with fundamentalists) unless they approach the book with an open mind and desire to really hear another perspective. Also, the language in the book is not for the faint of heart! There is a good bit of swearing. Bolz-Weber doesn’t put on a sanitized, “holy” persona just because this is a spiritual memoir and she is a pastor. She is who she is, and she isn’t afraid to tell it like she sees it.

My mind was ignited while reading Pastrix. I highlighted so much, it could supplement my copy of Luther’s Small Catechism. But my heart was touched, too. There were beautiful moments that brought me to tears (especially when she discussed having to write a sermon after the Aurora movie theater shooting).

I love that Bolz-Weber voices tough questions and works through them even when there may be no answer, and that she can admit it when she simply doesn’t know. She understands what it is about Christianity that so many people find hurtful. She understands the things that cause people to feel wary or mistrustful of the church, or piss them off completely. Bolz-Weber’s insights are frank, often outrageously honest, and most certainly unique. What I found most refreshing was her boldness and transparency.

Each chapter opens with a verse or two from Scripture. By the end of the chapter, the relevance and truth of those verses in Bolz-Weber’s life have unfolded in surprising ways. Pastrix is about finding faith, beauty, and good in the most unlikely circumstances.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

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