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Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint [Kindle Edition]

Nadia Bolz-Weber
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (633 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Now a New York Times bestseller, Nadia Bolz-Weber takes no prisoners as she reclaims the term "pastrix"(pronounced "pas-triks," a term used by some Christians who refuse to recognize female pastors) in her messy, beautiful, prayer-and-profanity laden narrative about an unconventional life of faith.

Heavily tattooed and loud-mouthed, Nadia, a former stand-up comic, sure as hell didn't consider herself to be religious leader material-until the day she ended up leading a friend's funeral in a smoky downtown comedy club. Surrounded by fellow alcoholics, depressives, and cynics, she realized: These were her people. Maybe she was meant to be their pastor.

Using life stories-from living in a hopeful-but-haggard commune of slackers to surviving the wobbly chairs and war stories of a group for recovering alcoholics, from her unusual but undeniable spiritual calling to pastoring a notorious con artist-Nadia uses stunning narrative and poignant honesty to portray a woman who is both deeply faithful and deeply flawed, giving hope to the rest of us along the way.

Wildly entertaining and deeply resonant, this is the book for people who hunger for a bit of hope that doesn't come from vapid consumerism or navel-gazing; for women who talk too loud, and guys who love chick flicks; for the gay man who loves Jesus, and won't allow himself to be shunned by the church. In short, this book is for every thinking misfit suspicious of institutionalized religion, but who is still seeking transcendence and mystery.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Bolz-Weber, the Lutheran pastor of Denver’s House for All Sinners and Saints, takes readers on the engaging and accessible journey with those she meets in bars, church conferences, at her local diner, and through breaking news of such events as Hurricane Katrina. As a recovered alcoholic and heavily tattooed with the story of her own foibles and faith, Bolz-Weber is clear-eyed about the personal travails faced by the marginalized and those without faith. Each chapter combines her own painful insights as well as celebratory descriptions of how she learns to overcome spiritual roadblocks. Consequently, the collection offers an excellent opportunity for readers who doubt in themselves, in God, and in their fellow humans to reconsider how their own closed minds may be the one thing they need to change for a better, more stable outlook. A fine and useful meditation on the constant need to doubt, accept, and grow spiritually. --Francisca Goldsmith


"Engaging and accessible...Bolz-Weber is clear-eyed about the personal travails faced by the marginalized and those without faith...A fine and useful meditation on the constant need to doubt, accept, and grow spiritually." (Booklist)

"Bolz-Weber has such a distinctive voice and outlook, it's amazing she hasn't written more books. Perhaps it's because she's been too busy living the checkered and fascinating life that is the subject of her theological memoir.... Here's hoping her authentic voice continues to preach in more books." (—Publishers Weekly)

"This is an astonishing book...contagious, honest, captivating...a rare gift...I realize that I'm gushing, but that's what you do when a book inspires and moves and touches you like this one does." (Rob Bell, author of What We Talk About When We Talk About God and Love Wins)

"For anyone who is Christian, interested in Christianity, anti-Christian (or anti-Religion), I recommend this book." (Gordon Gano, lead singer, Violent Femmes)

"Nadia Bolz-Weber is what you'd get if you mixed the DNA of Louis C.K., Joey Ramone and St. Paul. She is by far my favorite tatted-up, cranky pastor ever. Follow her. Not just on Twitter, but wherever her unique mind takes you. What I'm trying to say is: Buy this book." (A. J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically)

"Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber speaks the truth of our humanity that we too often want to deny. She declares the radical power of God's grace for Jesus' sake that we so often water down rather than daily be drowned in it. Yes, read at your own risk." (Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, ELCA)

"Funny, raw, and packed with truth, this book is offensive in all the right ways...This book reminded me of why I am a Christian, and I wept with gratitude when I finished it." (Rachel Held Evans, blogger, author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood)

"A wonderful, rule-breaking, stereotype-smashing book that succeeds as a memoir, as a sermon on love, and as a welcome home 'letter' to the rejected. With this book, Nadia will become America's pastor to those alienated from religion but who still crave transcendent purpose and meaning in their lives." (Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy for God)

"Brilliant and hilarious...With this powerful book, Nadia claims the prophetic voice of the apostle to the apostles. And, like Mary Madgdalene, she carries the good news of resurrection to the world." (Sara Miles, author of Take This Bread, Jesus Freak, and the forthcoming City of God)

"This book is Mere Christianity for an altogether new kind of Christianity that's also blessedly ancient. I couldn't turn pages fast enough and yet regretted the book's hastening end." (Jason Byassee, senior pastor of Boone United Methodist Church and Fellow in Theology & Leadership at Duke Divinity School)

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
104 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fall In Love With Her Defiant Personality September 10, 2013
I secretly took a peek at an advanced copy of Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber's forthcoming memoir Pastrix: the Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint. The illicit peek (I'm not cool enough to have actually received a copy of my own for review) turned into a complete sleep-robbing read-through, so I figured I might as well write a review since, as anti-piracy awareness ads have informed me, I basically stole money straight out of Bolz-Weber's pocket.

I don't love memoir. Everyone thinks their own lives are super-interesting just like everyone thinks they're a better than average driver - at least half of us are wrong. There is also a tendency in Christian memoir especially to extract forced lessons from every story as if life was just a series of Aesop's fables and we were all gurus draining experience of the last drop of wisdom. I call bull.

This Lutheran rock-star from Denver completely avoids the boredom trap, and mostly avoids the sappy life-lessons trap and turns out a memoir that is really fun to read. It helps that she has led a genuinely unusual life and she spills her guts ruthlessly throughout. Lots of reviewers will caution that she indulges adult language, but I commend it to your for that reason. Here is raw and beautiful humanity. You don't fall in love with Bolz-Weber in spite of her volatile personality, you fall in love with her because of it.

The abiding theme of the book is defiance. Her defiance matures over the course of the story, wisely told in thematic rather than chronological order. At the beginning she is all tooth and nail. At the end she is folded arms and a "bring it on" stare. Her journey is about accepting that she does indeed have the right to inhabit her calling, not (again) in spite of who she is, but because of who she is.
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is crazy awesome wonderful September 11, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Disclaimer: I'm writing from the perspective of a much-less-cool Lutheran pastor. The things Nadia does wouldn't work in my context, and I'm not into tattoos.

But see, this book isn't telling me I should be just like her. Pastrix has no magic bullets. No Superhero who thinks they're going to "save" the church. No "Hey I'm Pastor Perfect of Awesomesauce Church and if you only do what I do you can be like me." I hate those books. They're less useful than toilet paper. But this is not that book! This is a book about the joyful and heartbreaking work of being God's bitch. It's honest. It's real. It's amazing.

We may not all be able to write like Nadia does, or start our own congregations. But we can all learn from her honesty, her vulnerability, her willingness to speak the truth, her willingness to admit she doesn't have all the answers, and most of all her fiercely Lutheran theology. No glory, all cross. It's the most inspiring book I've read in a long time, maybe ever. I just can't say enough about it. BUY THIS BOOK!
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag January 14, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I recall a student in a graduate English class in Contemporary American Poetry, after a reading by William Matthews, saying the poet's clothes showed his authenticity as a poet, that if he had worn a coat and tie no one would have taken him seriously. I rejected that position arguing the only test of the "seriousness" of a poet is that poet's poetry. Well, tats and a foul mouth don't make for a more authentic Christian than do the clothes a poet may wear. That said, this is an interesting book that follows a pattern: She recognizes a limitation or bias in her viewpoint, then comes to a Biblical understanding that gives her a new perspective allowing for a more adequate understanding allowing her to overcome her limitation. I liked that part. But then again, either she or her editor (or both) understood her likely audience and sunk to rather intolerant digs at Evangelicals and Conservatives in general. By catering to her audience's own limitations and bias she weakened what could have been a better book. Her plea for tolerance for sinners with tats and potty-mouths and other cultural bruises becomes lost in her own intolerance for those Republican-like types she believes are truly benighted. Glad I read it, but it's a mixed bag.
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars La Femme Nadia September 12, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wednesday September 11th I walked in to church for our evening youth event, and one of the adult leaders already had a copy of Pastrix in her hand. She had pre-ordered it via Amazon so she could start reading it right away.

I had a copy of it myself in my saddle bag. I had already read the first chapter, and knew it was going to be even better than I had anticipated.

Here's what Nadia excels at, and why our church (the ELCA) simply adores her: She breaks down law-gospel proclamation, a fancy title for the kind of preaching Lutherans of the ELCA variety hope to excel at, and turns it into language that makes sense to pretty much everybody. And she does so with the timing of a comedian. She's gratingly funny.

She does law-gospel preaching through a memoir. She lets her life speak.

That sounds more saccharine than I intend it. But Nadia is never saccharine. If she ever is, she smells it right away, and drops another expletive and deprecates herself. Even when she gets in the way she doesn't get in the way, because her whole story in here is about the grace extended to her in Christ in spite of the failings of the church, in spite of her own failings as a person and pastor.

There's a lot in this book that is deeply emotional. I broke into sobs on page 18, reading how her father very humbly pulled out scripture and spoke words of grace that confirmed her call to become a "pastor to her people."

I have to admit: I wish this were a book I had written. People like to say: I could have written a book like that. Usually that's not true. You don't have a book in you just waiting to be written down. To write a book, you have to write a book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An eye opener on the many aspects of religion, ...
An eye opener on the many aspects of religion, The author is very honest about what she feels and shares.
Published 2 days ago by Diane Norten
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Well written and honest!
Published 2 days ago by Bonnie Schmidt
5.0 out of 5 stars moving
Came from same CofC background. Book caused me to look up youtube videos of her preaching. I saw broken people experiencing Gods love, Bingo
Published 3 days ago by Cary D Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I found this author to be real and express what so many of us in our walk of faith experience if we are truthful. Very helpful to me in my spiritual journey
Published 3 days ago by Judy Barefield
5.0 out of 5 stars Love her
I absolutely loved this book , if I was in Denver i would definently attend her church , she makes you feel important too
Published 5 days ago by sue lynn atkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
wonderfully honest
Published 6 days ago by Colleen2274
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read! Nadia made me laugh and cry with ...
Fantastic read! Nadia made me laugh and cry with her wit and storytelling skills. Loved it!!!
Published 8 days ago by Bax
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and Real! Thank you
My on traditions and thoughts were put to the fire, and I was seared many time but never burned up. Patrix is a wonderful journey of finding God and learning to be as He has... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Lisa H
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to read multiple times
I highlighted so many passages. And I need to read again and to discuss. This book will stay with me.
Published 11 days ago by Suzy Mann
5.0 out of 5 stars Nadia is worth meeting!
I loved this as an introduction to Nadia. I like her a lot (better in print than in audio, in my opinion). Her attitude is refreshing to me. I enjoy her website now.
Published 12 days ago by smace
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