Skip to content

Pastrix (A Review)

A few weeks ago a kind friend sent me a copy of Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint (by Nadia Bolz-Weber), and I devoured it. I don’t read as many books as I should, but this was one I couldn’t put down. I found it to be both hilarious and moving.

I wanted to write a proper review of it here on the blog, but then life happened. Fortunately, my sister Kirstin is a professional bookworm and has offered to share her Pastrix review with us here. (For more reviews from her, visit Just Too Many Books.)

The first word in Pastrix is a four-letter one.

If you find that offensive, go ahead and put the book down now. If, however, you find it challenging or intriguing, keep reading.

In Pastrix, Nadia tells the story of how she found her way from a very conservative Christian background (where women were not even allowed to teach Sunday school to teen boys) to being the pastor of a church (with many gay, homeless and otherwise non-traditional congregants).

She spent years as an alcoholic and, after sobering up, felt most at home as a Wiccan. But her husband (then a seminary student) introduced her to the Lutheran liturgy and she began to understand God — and grace — like she never had before. Eventually she felt the call to ministry and attended seminary — with her parents blessing.

I also grew up in churches even more conservative than the ones of Nadia’s childhood. I still haven’t sorted out everything I believe about women in the pulpit, or gays in the church, or lots of other things. But I loved this book!

In Pastrix, Nadia explains grace better than almost anyone I’ve ever heard. It’s easy to look at others and judge them; it’s a lot more challenging when the Holy  Spirit convicts you of being proud, judgemental and not loving your neighbor.

PastrixNadia and I probably disagree on a lot of theology, but we agree on the big points. Being a Christian — or pastor — isnt about having all the right theology. Its about saying with the blind man healed by Jesus, “I do not know; but one thing I do know: that I was blind and now I see.” (John 9) Being a Christian — or pastor — isn’t about being better (or swearing less) than someone else. Its about saying, “I found water in the desert; here it is.”

Pastrix, in the end, isn’t really about Nadia, or how she looks, or the language she uses. Its about Jesus. And it was like a cool drink of water in a hot, dry place.

[ buy Pastrix on Amazon ]

published December 19, 2013

subscribe to updates:

(it's pretty much the only way to stay in touch with me these days)