I LOVED this book. And that’s odd because I probably can’t recommend it to all my friends. Many would be strongly offended by it. They would quickly react to Nadia Bolz-Weber‘s application of sailor language to godly topics. Many would take offense at her welcoming and affirming stance on LGBTQ issues. And I’ve come to a place that it’s ok if they are offended. I can’t control that. Don’t read the book if you fear you’ll fall in that category. I honestly don’t want to be the one that riles you up and disturbs your peace. (I would like to point out that LGBTQ is about people long before it ever became an “issue”. Like every “issue” out there, when it’s your starting point, you often end up somewhere Jesus isn’t and you walk on a lot of people whom Jesus loves on your way to the smug destination you’ll find at the end of such a path.)
Because of my reading of Pastrix, I recognize the smugness of that last sentence. It comes across as if I’m the one enlightened and all who disagree with me are intolerant and bigots. Now, don’t get me wrong…I absolutely stand by the sentence I wrote above. However, there is a heavily underlined paragraph on page 57 of my copy of Pastrix that says:
Matthew once said to me, after one of my more finely worded rants about stupid people who have the wrong opinions, “Nadia, the thing that sucks is that every time we draw a line between us and others, Jesus is always on the other side of it.” — Nadia Bolz-Weber
To further quote Nadia, “Damn!” Pastix shined a light on all the lines I’ve drawn between me and people with whom I disagree. And in so doing, it shined a light on Jesus that I’ve needed turned on for a while now. What I continually discovered in Pastrix was resurrection. It was a continual stream of stories of death and resurrection. Persons and lives dying deaths large and small only to encounter the risen Christ and be raised to new life again in profound and graceful and loving ways. It’s a resurrection that one can and should experience daily. (That’s what Jesus meant!)
Reading Pastrix was something of a cathartic experience for me. It was hard to put my finger on what continually resonated with me as I turned page after page. But as I reluctantly put the book down this morning I recognized a long lost itch (p. 204) that I had continually and unconsciously been scratching all these years but had slipped from my awareness. I realized that I had rediscovered a distant call to ministry that animates my life. It’s a call we all share and it manifests itself in all sorts of different jobs and vocations and roles. But it’s absolutely a call. It’s a call to discover who we were created to be. And its a call to death and resurrection. Thanks Nadia.