4 Reasons You Should Read “Pastrix”

I just finished a book you should read. It will offend you and challenge you. It will inspire and humble you. It will make you think differently about your church.

Get it on your Kindle or your iPad. Order it from Amazon or go to a bookstore. Just read it soon.

The book is Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Pastrix: The Cranky Beautiful Faith of a Sinner Saint.

She is a six foot tall, tattooed, church planter in Denver, Colorado. Five years ago she planted the House for All Sinners and Saints as an ELCA church (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). She describes why she founded her church:

“It was important to me that the House for All Sinners and Saints be a place where no one had to check at the door their personalities or the parts of our stories that seemed “unchristian.” I wanted a place where something other than how we responded to rules was at the center of our life together.”

If you are a relatively conservative Christian, then you’ll find plenty in this book to make you uneasy, at best, or offend you, at worse.

You may be offended because she is a female pastor–she titles her book after a term of insult for female pastors. She’s unconventional, sporting arms covered with tattoos.

She liberally uses the “f-word” and other words you might find offensive in the text. Her church is an open and affirming church welcoming people of all sexual identities.

If all of those things sound offensive to you, or if you’re cheering for her and her perspective, then either way here are four reasons you should read this book.

1. You will be introduced to real, broken people.

We are all broken, but she will introduce you to people you may try to avoid. The work of the gospel gets very messy at times, especially when you are working with people pushed to the outside edges of society. Chapter after chapter recounts the stories of people trying to rebuild their lives in the shadow of grace.

2. You will be challenged to rethink your church.

A friend of mine told me she makes us think about what offends us and what should offend us. When you read this, if you are brave enough to read it, then look closely at the changed lives and ask yourself what offends you and what should offend you.

3. You will discover people who hold very different beliefs about Christianity still lead people to Jesus.

This book portrays a kind of Christianity that many conservative Christians might find objectionable. The pastor is a woman. The church is open and affirming. There is no praise band. Yet, people find Jesus through her ministry.

4. You will have your faith in the resurrection confirmed.

Nadia Bolz-Weber’s most powerful message in the book is that she was an addict, a rebel from God, living a death wish, who found God again. From the beginning of the book to the end, she proclaims the Christian faith is about death and resurrection.

Here’s a great quote from the foreword:

“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” (xvii).

Have you read this book? I am interested in your response to it. If you haven’t read it, go find a copy today.