I can't remember how I first heard of the Reverend Nadia Bolz-Weber but like a hipster in Brooklyn saying they liked a band before it got famous, I will often say I liked Nadia before she got famous. I was immediately drawn to her stature that is painted with tattoos of the liturgical calendar all over her arms. This is my kind of preacher! Progressive and inclusive, yes. Soaked in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and lavish in grace, oh my, yes! I took Nadia out to breakfast in NYC and I remember her saying to me "Remember your role. Your role is to never stop preaching the message of the grace of Jesus. You, as a minister, are on the front lines of grace." I believe the Holy Spirit was in the sound vibrations that came from her lips to my ears and now in my soul.
Her new book Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint has been a source of encouragement for me in the last couple weeks. She is not your mamma's preacher. Her language is colorful, her stories are gritty, and the message is drenched in the Gospel. The church she planted (House for All Sinners and Saints, ELCA) is home to drag queens, soccer moms, alcoholics, "good" Christian kids, babies, and elders. Each week the people gather to hear how Jesus showed up in the Scripture and how Jesus continues to show up in their lives today. As Rachel Held Evans tweeted:
If you live in the New York City area, West End Collegiate Church is hosting her NYC book tour. You are invited to be there on November 6th at 7-9 PM. Please RSVP on the facebook invite. If you haven't seen her interview with the grace-filled Krista Tippett then check out her interview for On Being. For people like me who are called to the pastorate but might not look like or talk like preconceived notions of what a minister is, Nadia is grace to my kind. God calls all sorts of people; straight-laced with polo shirts and tattoo with a sailor's mouth and everything in-between. The diversity of the body of Christ is beautiful.