Book review: Pastrix

by Nadia Bolz-Weber

★★★★★

Fantastic! So funny, so moving, with tears rolling either way. This is a raw version of Take This Bread (by Sara Miles), where the misfit lesbian atheist churchgoer is swapped out for an even funnier tattooed alcoholic-in-recovery who “swears like a truck driver” … and who this time went so far as to become a Lutheran pastor, founding her own church. When Nadia decided to become God’s bitch and embrace the whole “Jesus thing,” she changed … well, probably only her drinking. “Nothing about me says ‘Lutheran pastor,'” she admits, and I believe it. Pastoring just doesn’t come easy for her. “If something like liturgical dance or cheesy praise singing is happening on my stage and thousands of people can see me, I can manage my own body language and facial expressions for a half hour or so. But then, like when I’ve had to be nice to more than three people in a row, I need a nap.”

The book’s language may be offensive to delicate ears, but yes, this really is nonfiction. Nadia’s scathingly honest self-portrayal of her struggles, her focus, her successes and failures (and there seems to have been many of both) leave you wondering … is there really a place in the clergy for this kind of pastor?

One time Nadia’s Denver-based church organized a little Thanksgiving outreach program, where church members bagged up meals and took them around to share with those who had to work on the holiday. When they entered the adult bookstore on Colfax and handed the clerk a bag, he teared up: “Wait. Your church brought me Thanksgiving lunch … here?

Yep, Nadia’s Christianity has its niche.

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