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Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER What if that person you've been trying to avoid is your best shot at grace today? And what if that's the point? In Accidental Saints, New York Times best-selling au­thor Nadia Bolz-Weber invites readers into a surprising encounter with what she calls “a religious but not-so-spiritual life.” Tattooed, angry and profane, this former standup comic turne NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER What if that person you've been trying to avoid is your best shot at grace today? And what if that's the point? In Accidental Saints, New York Times best-selling au­thor Nadia Bolz-Weber invites readers into a surprising encounter with what she calls “a religious but not-so-spiritual life.” Tattooed, angry and profane, this former standup comic turned pastor stubbornly, sometimes hilariously, resists the God she feels called to serve. But God keeps showing up in the least likely of people—a church-loving agnostic, a drag queen, a felonious Bishop and a gun-toting member of the NRA. As she lives and worships alongside these “ac­cidental saints,” Nadia is swept into first-hand en­counters with grace—a gift that feels to her less like being wrapped in a warm blanket and more like being hit with a blunt instrument. But by this grace, people are trans­formed in ways they couldn’t have been on their own. In a time when many have rightly become dis­illusioned with Christianity, Accidental Saints dem­onstrates what happens when ordinary people share bread and wine, struggle with scripture together, and tell each other the truth about their real lives. This unforgettable account of their faltering steps toward wholeness will ring true for believer and skeptic alike. Told in Nadia’s trademark confessional style, Accidental Saints is the stunning next work from one of today’s most important religious voices. From the Hardcover edition.


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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER What if that person you've been trying to avoid is your best shot at grace today? And what if that's the point? In Accidental Saints, New York Times best-selling au­thor Nadia Bolz-Weber invites readers into a surprising encounter with what she calls “a religious but not-so-spiritual life.” Tattooed, angry and profane, this former standup comic turne NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER What if that person you've been trying to avoid is your best shot at grace today? And what if that's the point? In Accidental Saints, New York Times best-selling au­thor Nadia Bolz-Weber invites readers into a surprising encounter with what she calls “a religious but not-so-spiritual life.” Tattooed, angry and profane, this former standup comic turned pastor stubbornly, sometimes hilariously, resists the God she feels called to serve. But God keeps showing up in the least likely of people—a church-loving agnostic, a drag queen, a felonious Bishop and a gun-toting member of the NRA. As she lives and worships alongside these “ac­cidental saints,” Nadia is swept into first-hand en­counters with grace—a gift that feels to her less like being wrapped in a warm blanket and more like being hit with a blunt instrument. But by this grace, people are trans­formed in ways they couldn’t have been on their own. In a time when many have rightly become dis­illusioned with Christianity, Accidental Saints dem­onstrates what happens when ordinary people share bread and wine, struggle with scripture together, and tell each other the truth about their real lives. This unforgettable account of their faltering steps toward wholeness will ring true for believer and skeptic alike. Told in Nadia’s trademark confessional style, Accidental Saints is the stunning next work from one of today’s most important religious voices. From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People

  1. 4 out of 5

    lp

    This book was recommended to me by someone at work who I THINK believes I am "edgy," and is also aware that I love reading about religion. I think SHE thought I'd embrace this "cool" approach to Christianity. But this book was not for me. Nadia Bolz-Weber comes from an extremely conservative background. So her fresh ideas were stale to me. "Catholics are NOT THAT WEIRD!"(I'm a Catholic.) "I hang out with REAL GAY PEOPLE!" I mean, that is great, and perhaps conservative people reading this will f This book was recommended to me by someone at work who I THINK believes I am "edgy," and is also aware that I love reading about religion. I think SHE thought I'd embrace this "cool" approach to Christianity. But this book was not for me. Nadia Bolz-Weber comes from an extremely conservative background. So her fresh ideas were stale to me. "Catholics are NOT THAT WEIRD!"(I'm a Catholic.) "I hang out with REAL GAY PEOPLE!" I mean, that is great, and perhaps conservative people reading this will find it refreshing and innovative and maybe it will change their opinions and that is cool. But I am looking for someone to stretch Christianity much farther. Bolz-Weber keeps bragging about hanging with sinners. Jesus loved sinners! But when you're hanging out with sinners, at the same time saying "I'M HANGING OUT WITH FILTHY ASS SINNERS!!" doesn't it defeat the purpose? Jesus led by example and hung out with everyone, but he didn't brag about it. He just did. When Bolz-Weber spoke at the funeral of a gay man who committed suicide, she called him a sinner, reassuring people that they should not be ashamed that he was gay and killed himself. If you really want to embrace the sinners, treat them as people with as much respect as you'd treat anyone else. Maybe I'm being too critical. But if I were at that funeral and that gay, deceased man was my family member. I would be offended. I was almost sort of offended that this book was recommended to me in the first place. Has that ever happened to you? I felt the EXACT same way when someone recommended Blue Like Jazz. The person who handed it to me thought it was hip because the author doesn't speak like he was born in the 12th century and doesn't have extremely conservative religious views and speaks to me on my "level." I think some would call Nadia Bolz-Weber's sense of humor self-deprecating, but you can tell with each self-put down she is boosting herself up. "I'm awful, I drink beer and have tattoos! I do evil things sometimes JUST LIKE YOU but I'm still a good person!" But does a cool/good person have to say it so much? It's also very clear she wants to come off as badass and cool. I believe she is a good person but I don't think she's cool. Cool to me would be someone who makes me think of Christianity anew. Who really and truly lives the message of Jesus every single day without bragging about it. Because they want to, and not because they are image conscience. When that book comes around, will someone please let me know?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fergus

    Grace happens. But it doesn’t happen only to the observantly devout! For Grace forgives us ALL. And can shower us all with its warmly human well-being. Though I never knew what to expect next as the movie reels of these stories unwound - what CAN you predict in stories about Grace among Bay Area Rainbow Outsiders, some fairly comfortable, others down for the count? Here, Up is Down and all middle class markers of straight behaviour are out the window. She is one BRAVE pastor, this no-holds barred r Grace happens. But it doesn’t happen only to the observantly devout! For Grace forgives us ALL. And can shower us all with its warmly human well-being. Though I never knew what to expect next as the movie reels of these stories unwound - what CAN you predict in stories about Grace among Bay Area Rainbow Outsiders, some fairly comfortable, others down for the count? Here, Up is Down and all middle class markers of straight behaviour are out the window. She is one BRAVE pastor, this no-holds barred ringmaster in her Circus. Yet who else is going to call these poor pariahs to the Feast? What a trip. Yet grace always manages to peek out from under disaster, wearing as always its patient, happy-sad heavenly face of comfort. Did you know that many of the folks in YOUR life are Accidental Saints too? That happy neighbour whom we always characterize by his (really rather minor) shortcomings, for example - What about the fact that he puts you on a pedestal? Is that not a miracle - considering the insider’s view you have of your OWN faults? Or take that other, purposefully Forgotten Friend... Wasn’t that maybe partly YOUR fault? Isn’t it a miracle that ANYONE can love ANYONE else for most of this lifetime on this sinners’ planet? How do you figure that? Consider the gospel. Only sinners get into heaven - not by being perfect by comparison with sinners - but by shining out with love in the midst of their sin! And if you read my excerpts on Kindle Notes, you will readily agree that this is a book that can challenge your beliefs - just like it did mine - to the core. With understanding, we can elevate our truisms into a much more widely expansive stratosphere of insight. So prepare to be challenged! It will rock you, it will sock you - And it might just make you more compassionate towards your friends and neighbours.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    I recommend the audiobook as well because NBW reads it herself.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    (3.5) I knew of Nadia Bolz-Weber through Greenbelt Festival. She’s a foul-mouthed, tattooed, fairly orthodox Lutheran pastor. This brief, enjoyable memoir is about how she keeps believing despite her own past issues and the many messed-up and outwardly unlovable people who show up at her church, House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver. I especially love her new set of Beatitudes. In my favorite section, she zeroes in on one Holy Week and shows the whole range of emotions and trauma that religi (3.5) I knew of Nadia Bolz-Weber through Greenbelt Festival. She’s a foul-mouthed, tattooed, fairly orthodox Lutheran pastor. This brief, enjoyable memoir is about how she keeps believing despite her own past issues and the many messed-up and outwardly unlovable people who show up at her church, House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver. I especially love her new set of Beatitudes. In my favorite section, she zeroes in on one Holy Week and shows the whole range of emotions and trauma that religion can address. The Ash Wednesday chapter is the overall highlight, contrasting the funeral of a suicide with the birth of a new baby. People often think that ritual and liturgy are lifeless and empty, but Bolz-Weber shows how they can be full of meaning and foster connections between the unlikely folks encountered in the Body of Christ. Here’s a few tastes of her writing: “I’m not running after Jesus. Jesus is running my ass down.” “we’ve lost the plot if we use religion as the place where we escape from difficult realities instead of as the place where those difficult realities are given meaning.” “the really inconvenient thing about being Christian is the fact that God is revealed in other people, and other people are annoying. I understand the impulse of not wanting to be in community. I can’t argue with that. But I think the experience of bumping up against other people has changed me in ways that I never could have been changed if I was just reading books and practicing meditation. We don’t get to be Christians on our own.”

  5. 5 out of 5

    K. Lincoln

    So here's the thing: I grew up in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, was baptized, confirmed, and then went to high school and found nothing in the liturgy or the service to make me stay in the church. And then I went to live in Japan and had to wrestle with a WHOLE COUNTRY of folks with a 1000 year old history that has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus. So I stopped believing the church or Christianity had anything to do with me. I'm a flaming liberal, and a religion that makes outsid So here's the thing: I grew up in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, was baptized, confirmed, and then went to high school and found nothing in the liturgy or the service to make me stay in the church. And then I went to live in Japan and had to wrestle with a WHOLE COUNTRY of folks with a 1000 year old history that has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus. So I stopped believing the church or Christianity had anything to do with me. I'm a flaming liberal, and a religion that makes outsiders of people is not for me. I wanted religion that was inclusive, and active...and so I left. But somewhere along the lines, I wanted to sing in a choir again. So I started coming back to church. And somewhere along the lines I realized I could say the words of the Apostles Creed, sing the hymns, and say the Lord's Prayer and it didn't matter one bit whether I believed it or not. It was about doing things that helped me be a better person. And then I got breast cancer and had to go through chemo and yadda yadda yadda, I couldn't be a strong, independent person anymore, and had to accept help. And somewhere along the lines of accepting help, of being weak, and needing others-- I found friendship. I found a church community. But my terrible secret remained: I'm not sure the God in the ELCA liturgy is the god I believe. I mean, I certainly don't think 1000s of years of Japanese people are condemned to a fiery pits of hell because Jesus happened to live in the Middle East. A God of love would not work that way. And that's the long way of saying Nadia Bolz-Weber's book speaks strongly to me. She writes about her failures as a person, and as a PASTOR to love the people around her, the very people who show here the most grace when she commits to speaking in Australia instead of officiating at good friends' weddings, or avoids a parishioner with halitosis and boring stories. And she verbalizes the twin sides of the "blessing" and "neediness" issue that have been a thorn in my mental side since the first time I did volunteer work in high school. If you go out to do mission and give service, it's so very easy to fall into a mental trap. Here, she explains it better than me: "While we as people of God are called to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, the whole "we're blessed to be a blessing" thing can still be kind of dangerous. It can be dangerous when we self-importantly place ourselves above the world, waiting to descend on those below so we can be a "blessing" they've been waiting for, like it or not. Plus, seeing myself as the blessing can pretty easily obscure the way in which I am actually part of the problem and can hide the ways in which I, too, am poor and needing care." How do we go about doing service without making a distinction between those who are receiving and those giving? I think part of the answer lies in stop giving into the sin of pride about being strong, or independent or being a go-getter or organizational maven or the one who knows where all the spoons go in the church kitchen. It's about being open to the help we all need. We are all broken in our own ways. And about this other side of the service coin, Nadia writes: "And receiving grace is basically the best shitty feeling in the world. I don't want to need it. Preferably I could just do it all and be it all and never mess up. That may be what I would prefer, but it is never what I need. I need to be broken apart and put back into a different shape by the merging of things human and divine, which is really screwing up and receiving grace and love and forgiveness rather than receiving what I really deserve. I need the very thing that I will do everything I can to avoid needing." So this is a super-easy book of anecdotes and stories and vignettes about her parishioners and people she's encountered who forced her to confront grace. And I much appreciated the down-to-earth tone.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    "There is something about dropping F-bombs and making fun of worship music with a bishop that makes me feel warm and fuzzy." -- Pastor Nadia, 'minister behaving badly' on page 43 After discovering Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber via her latest release Shameless just a few weeks ago I decided to check out her previous books. (Her biographic debut Pastrix is on deck for me later this month.) I imagine that the edgy chapters in Accidental Saints are indicative of her style of sermons. Accidental Saints is a "There is something about dropping F-bombs and making fun of worship music with a bishop that makes me feel warm and fuzzy." -- Pastor Nadia, 'minister behaving badly' on page 43 After discovering Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber via her latest release Shameless just a few weeks ago I decided to check out her previous books. (Her biographic debut Pastrix is on deck for me later this month.) I imagine that the edgy chapters in Accidental Saints are indicative of her style of sermons. Accidental Saints is a collection of nearly twenty anecdotes and observations. Pastor Nadia is very effective - like the best clergy, who are gifted in penning thought-provoking sermons that are not overbearing in preachiness - in effortlessly shifting her tone between humorous, serious, and simply inducing 'the feels.' (Maybe that's just too slang of a descriptive term for a nearly middle-aged man to use, but there were at least two instances - the consecutive chapters 'Frances' and 'Panic Attack in Jericho' - where she induced an emotional response in me with her raw but honest experiences.) I think a common refrain in her work is that she and her congregation members - and, by extension, the readers - are damaged or imperfect people, but that's okay because Christ loves us anyway. She conveys this message in a direct but reassuring manner that I did not find treacly or pandering.

  7. 4 out of 5

    7jane

    Here we have a continuation, a collection of stories from one Saint Cookies day to another five year later (when the cookies are accidentally forgotten). The author is a Lutheran pastor in Denver with her church of and for people who don't really fit in the usual churches. There is a set of discussion questions at the end and a short interview with her. We get to read of various events, both in Denver and on author's travels within US and elsewhere. You get to see her in all her goods and flaws Here we have a continuation, a collection of stories from one Saint Cookies day to another five year later (when the cookies are accidentally forgotten). The author is a Lutheran pastor in Denver with her church of and for people who don't really fit in the usual churches. There is a set of discussion questions at the end and a short interview with her. We get to read of various events, both in Denver and on author's travels within US and elsewhere. You get to see her in all her goods and flaws here, which in the end mirror the goods and flaws of all people. And yet God shows mercy, grace, and humor in catching us all. You get to witness some of the traditions of her church (the cookies, the tulips, etc.), and to meet some interesting people. You end up thinking about your own versions of events featured here, your own weaknesses and fears, and get a feel of God's mercy (and sneakiness in a good way), over and over. It's quite uplifting. I think this book may be a good (or better even) companion to her previous book, "Pastrix", and there's many details that I can see myself pondering on even later. Very enjoyable a read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    SheAintGotNoShoes

    Very readable and extremely relatable. If you've 'been around the block' a few times, or are a woman 'with a past ' you will find peace and a judgment free place to land. While her liberal use of cursing was very unusual, it did not bother me, as I can be a bit of a potty mouth myself when having a hissy fit over something unfair or cruel. I was going to give it 4.5 stars but I bumped it up to 5 when I read her last chapter on her new Beatitudes. Blessed are those are not over it yet Blessed are th Very readable and extremely relatable. If you've 'been around the block' a few times, or are a woman 'with a past ' you will find peace and a judgment free place to land. While her liberal use of cursing was very unusual, it did not bother me, as I can be a bit of a potty mouth myself when having a hissy fit over something unfair or cruel. I was going to give it 4.5 stars but I bumped it up to 5 when I read her last chapter on her new Beatitudes. Blessed are those are not over it yet Blessed are the losers in a world that only loves winner. Spoke to me, spoke to my past. Kudos

  9. 5 out of 5

    Reese

    On a 0-100 scale, what I know about Christianity comes MUCH closer to 0 than to 100. Believe me. (Note: I'm not repeating "believe me," as does The Donald; so you can trust that I'm neither lying nor using "truthful hyperbole.") Born Jewish -- and still Jewish -- I, unfortunately, don't know what I ought to know about my own religion -- much less anyone else's. And before I discuss Nadia Bolz-Weber's book, I should also confess that my desire to increase my familiarity with Christian theology ha On a 0-100 scale, what I know about Christianity comes MUCH closer to 0 than to 100. Believe me. (Note: I'm not repeating "believe me," as does The Donald; so you can trust that I'm neither lying nor using "truthful hyperbole.") Born Jewish -- and still Jewish -- I, unfortunately, don't know what I ought to know about my own religion -- much less anyone else's. And before I discuss Nadia Bolz-Weber's book, I should also confess that my desire to increase my familiarity with Christian theology has never been strong enough to measure. When I bought Accidental Saints, I did not realize that I was, in a sense, registering for "Religion 103: Introduction to Christianity." A few days ago, our Sabbath, I pulled it from my to-read shelf, and SURPRISE --! Page 1 offers an old Christian hymn that begins: "Rejoice, now, all heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels! / Exult, all creation around G-d's throne! Jesus Christ is risen!" Instead of singing, I'm thinkin', "Holy, moly, why did I buy this book; should I read on and attempt to find out why?" Obviously, I did. Yes, Bolz-Weber's Accidental Saints contains plenty of material that a practicing Jew cannot embrace -- or even understand others' acceptance of it as the TRUTH. To my amazement, however, the "foreign" beliefs never became an obstacle to my appreciating a work by this Lutheran pastor. The name of Bolz-Weber's church is House for All Sinners and Saints; and her book has chapters entitled -- to mention a few -- "Absolution for Assholes," "Judas Will Now Take Your Confession," and "The Best Shitty Feeling in the World." The work is a billboard promoting the value of "letting it all hang out" (pardon the dated expression). The unusual experiences and the commentary that Bolz-Weber shares with her readers convey important messages -- none, it seems, more important than the following: "In the kingdom of G-d, we need not cultivate a persona to hide the lame, poor, blind, or crippled parts of us. . . . You can just be. And in just being, you can, in the fierce and loving eyes of G-d, be known, be whole, and maybe even find a little rest. Because keeping it all [i.e., 'pretend(ing) or overcompensat(ing)'] going is just exhausting" (125-26). How many times have I said or written, "You don't have to be Jewish" to "get" a particular play, novel, movie, etc.? On a 0-100 scale -- oh, forget the scale; it doesn't go high enough. My closing comment about Accidental Saints is, however, a first for me. You don't have to be Christian to read this book and be glad that you did.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I freakin' love Nadia Bolz-Weber. She released the incredible Pastrix just two years ago, and she's gathered enough stories since then to have a brand-new inspiring, challenging, funny book about God and people that made me cry on at least three occasions. This book is structured over the course of a liturgical year, beginning and ending at All Saints' Day, though she draws on stories from multiple years. My takeaway from this book is that I don't need to try harder to "be a good Christian/perso I freakin' love Nadia Bolz-Weber. She released the incredible Pastrix just two years ago, and she's gathered enough stories since then to have a brand-new inspiring, challenging, funny book about God and people that made me cry on at least three occasions. This book is structured over the course of a liturgical year, beginning and ending at All Saints' Day, though she draws on stories from multiple years. My takeaway from this book is that I don't need to try harder to "be a good Christian/person" — I need to work harder to internalize grace, mercy, and love, and then God will be able to use me in the lives of others regardless of what I myself try to do. I can practically hear her saying, "I know, that doesn't make sense, but that's how God works." And then she has six stories to illuminate her thoughts. She challenges those who think they can find God and live faith without being in community with other people. Her raw honesty, complete with appropriately placed curse words, is like balm on the soul of a Christian who wants to follow Jesus' example but can't figure out how to apply typical Christian platitudes to real life. I'd recommend it for basically everybody.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amy Neftzger

    In the spirit on honesty, I'd like to state that I typically avoid books by Christian authors. I have an uncontrollable phobia of platitudes and easy answers. This book was different and Bolt-Weber doesn't claim to have all the answers, which immediately got my attention and respect. Nadia Boltz-Weber's writing is raw and honest. She asks a lot of questions, and sometimes those questions don't have answers. There's no formula on how to live a perfect life or list of rules to follow in order to ga In the spirit on honesty, I'd like to state that I typically avoid books by Christian authors. I have an uncontrollable phobia of platitudes and easy answers. This book was different and Bolt-Weber doesn't claim to have all the answers, which immediately got my attention and respect. Nadia Boltz-Weber's writing is raw and honest. She asks a lot of questions, and sometimes those questions don't have answers. There's no formula on how to live a perfect life or list of rules to follow in order to gain sainthood in this book. However, what the author does show us how to do is recognize the beauty in other people, even when it take unconventional forms. The book contains stories about real people, and the author confesses her own mistakes and shortcomings that helped her to see God more clearly through other people. Highly recommended reading. Note: I was given a free ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Not quite as raw or edgy as I'd been expecting, based on what I'd heard about this book. Given the book's subtitle, I was surprised that I didn't find the book's primary focus to be about "finding God in all the wrong people." Bolz-Weber tends to gloss over what is objectionable about the people whose stories she's telling -- in a way, I felt like there was a bit of defiance toward the reader in this sense, as though she were expecting us to be the ones to call the people in her examples "wrong" Not quite as raw or edgy as I'd been expecting, based on what I'd heard about this book. Given the book's subtitle, I was surprised that I didn't find the book's primary focus to be about "finding God in all the wrong people." Bolz-Weber tends to gloss over what is objectionable about the people whose stories she's telling -- in a way, I felt like there was a bit of defiance toward the reader in this sense, as though she were expecting us to be the ones to call the people in her examples "wrong" (a judgement that basically depends on where you fall on the liberal-conservative political spectrum). This stance was, for me, an alienating rather than inviting one. The opening story of her guilt after the passing of a congregant she'd never much liked was actually the one that resonated with me the most because there wasn't a political stance or assumption of audience politics attached to it. It was simply a very human, very understandable, very honest take on something that I think many people in ministry experience. From the early focus on "wrong people," the second half of the book seems to shift toward simply Bolz-Weber's ways of "finding God," and I appreciated the meditations on the liturgical year, House for All's practices, and theology (though more depth on the last would have been great). I particularly appreciated how Bolz-Weber shares her process around working through how to talk about current events from the pulpit. Having watched my own husband wrestle with addressing some of those same events with the right balance of righteous anger and deep compassion, I know it's such a tricky and fraught task. I was glad to see the thoughtfulness that Bolz-Weber displays in those times. Ultimately, it was difficult for me to figure out the narrative thread of this book. Undeserved grace is the resounding theme, but the method by which it arrives -- is it through people we don't like? is it through events where we can't see God? is it through liturgy? -- and is conveyed in this book was scattershot enough that though individual pieces were moving to me, when I finished the book I couldn't make the chapters cohere into one story. The word I keep returning to in order to describe my feelings about the book and Bolz-Weber's writing is "unobjectionable"... which feels paltry and insufficient in comparison to what the book is trying to do. (Also it feels weird to judge a book that is about, at least in part, not judging things/people.)

  13. 5 out of 5

    P

    I like Nadia Bolz-Weber. She’s cool and can be funny sometimes. She’s also very Lutheran, for what it’s worth; all about the sola fide. But I’m not the audience for this book, probably because it’s not so much about Finding God in All the Wrong People as it is how the Pastrix is herself the Accidental Saint. The scenes are ostensibly about other misfits coming around to the faith, but always conclude with passages about how she loves Christ but (gasp!) has tattoos, hangs out with drag queens and I like Nadia Bolz-Weber. She’s cool and can be funny sometimes. She’s also very Lutheran, for what it’s worth; all about the sola fide. But I’m not the audience for this book, probably because it’s not so much about Finding God in All the Wrong People as it is how the Pastrix is herself the Accidental Saint. The scenes are ostensibly about other misfits coming around to the faith, but always conclude with passages about how she loves Christ but (gasp!) has tattoos, hangs out with drag queens and addicts, and says ‘fuck’ a lot. I came away from each chapter largely unaffected, because I don’t find such things scandalous within a Christian context. It’s more like a book I might recommend to my friend’s would-be progressive Methodist mom because we don’t have anything else to talk about.

  14. 4 out of 5

    David

    A wonderful, whole-hearted, no-holds-barred book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kat Heckenbach

    Oddly enough, I had discovered Nadia Bolz-Weber exactly one day before seeing this book show up in the Amazon Vine newsletter. A friend had posted something about her on Facebook, essentially musing over whether Mrs. Bolz-Weber is genuine or not. Let's face it--a female pastor, covered in tats, spewing expletives at will....it's gonna make people wonder, in this world of fame-hungry attention-seekers. So I looked up Nadia (whom I'll refer to as such not out of disrespect, but out of ease I typing Oddly enough, I had discovered Nadia Bolz-Weber exactly one day before seeing this book show up in the Amazon Vine newsletter. A friend had posted something about her on Facebook, essentially musing over whether Mrs. Bolz-Weber is genuine or not. Let's face it--a female pastor, covered in tats, spewing expletives at will....it's gonna make people wonder, in this world of fame-hungry attention-seekers. So I looked up Nadia (whom I'll refer to as such not out of disrespect, but out of ease I typing--I would hope she would see my last name and understand as someone with an easy first name and a bear of a surname) and watched some Youtube videos. I found her to be genuine. I found many aspects of her personal story really familiar, too. Eerily so. Then I find this book in the Vine newsletter. Yeah, I have no choice but to snag it. This is a book of stories in which Nadia meets people who make her uncomfortable, or whom she has made assumptions about, or whom she just doesn't quite get. Then things happen--sometimes funny things, sometimes sad, sometimes frustrating, sometimes scary--and she sees God in the situation, and in the person, and even now and then in herself. Her premise, which is the thread that holds this book together, is that God uses broken people to do His work, and uses them to touch and help other broken people. (Yeah, I guess that is redundant, as God's work is primarily fixing us mess-ups.) She is very candid about her own brokenness and her own failures and her own resistance to God working in her life. She does explain what she learned in each situation, but this isn't some theological teaching text on any level. It's entirely personal, its purpose to say, hey, this happened, this is what I saw, maybe the same amazing thing could happen to you someday--so keep your eyes open. Nadia's writing voice is engaging. She's funny and raw and intelligent, and writes as if she's talking directly to you. It's very natural and flows well. It was a quick, easy read. I personally found certain things touching, others not as much, but never got bored. The book also includes some discussion questions--a short set for each chapter, each set focused on a single idea presented in that chapter. Then, there is an interview with Nadia in the very back. I won't get into the theology of the book, other than saying I don't agree 100% with Nadia. She's very devoted to the Lutheran church--I am not Lutheran, so some of the stuff she says, and the rituals and traditions she holds dear and describe in the book don't mean much to me. I am not someone who holds tight to any denomination--I grew up Southern Baptist and am a member of a Methodist church now, but I consider myself only Christian and neither Baptist nor Methodist. But Nadia's genuine love for her faith and particular denomination does come through in her writing and I respect that. I think she really is trying to follow Jesus and love others the way He commands, and that is what matters. Anyway, yes, I recommend this book. I already have a few people in mind to whom I'll be recommending it. I didn't find it something I'll likely read over and over, though, but I am very glad I did read it and enjoyed it quite a lot, and there were places that really got me thinking.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie G.

    I am a nice Jewish girl who works at an ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) college. As a non-Christian deeply invested in the ELCA my viewpoint is perhaps a unique one. I started reading this book over a year ago. I read the first few essays, and was interested, intended to return (I often read books of essays in pieces) but somehow never did. In the meantime I picked up my life, stopped working in a Jewish nonprofit in Atlanta and moved to Fargo and began working at a tiny college th I am a nice Jewish girl who works at an ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) college. As a non-Christian deeply invested in the ELCA my viewpoint is perhaps a unique one. I started reading this book over a year ago. I read the first few essays, and was interested, intended to return (I often read books of essays in pieces) but somehow never did. In the meantime I picked up my life, stopped working in a Jewish nonprofit in Atlanta and moved to Fargo and began working at a tiny college that is part of a denomination for which I have come to have the greatest respect. In my position I have had the privilege to have long and complex conversations with scholars and theologians with both traditional and progressive views of the future of Christianity, Christian education, and of the ELCA. Next week our campus will be hosting Nadia Bolz-Weber, and I will have the pleasure of dining with her before her presentation, so the time was right to return to this book. I am so glad I did, and I am also glad that I did not finish the book the first time because I came at it this time with a deeper understanding of Jesus' teachings, the ELCA, where it has been, and where it might be going. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone, but I do think it is best suited to those who have some New Testament knowledge (not necessarily faith, just understanding.) I am not sure I fully understood "grace" before this, but I do now. And I see it is beautiful even when it is not at all pretty. I love that Bolz-Weber was dragged into faith kicking and screaming, and yet she is a person who sees the divine light within each person with stunning clarity. I do not have the compassion or self-awareness Bolz-Weber brings to life, but I too was brought to faith against my will, and I feel a sense of kinship. And speaking of clarity, this woman is a master of making difficult biblical parables clear, even when they are ugly. She doesn't pretend to know all, she doesn't run from ambiguity, she acknowledges it and wanders around in it, but she is smart and educated and she brings us along on her wanderings and from those journeys the reader is drawn to questions she might not otherwise have asked. We frequently see a very particular brand of Christianity around us now in the US, and this other brand and its liturgy, the one Bolz-Weber espouses, it sounds a whole lot like what Jesus actually had to say. At least to this nice Jewish girl who works in a Christian college.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    I’m sure a lot of people will get a lot out of Nadia Bolz-Weber’s memoir Accidental Saints, but I’m not one of them. Reverand Nadia Bolz-Weber doesn’t look like your typical Lutheran Pastor. Rocking tattoo sleeves and a foul mouth, she’s a new type of preacher, the type to welcome those who have normally been turned away by the religious establishment. Her church is founded on the principle that humans are going to fuck up (so edgy with the swearing!) but that a good heart is what matters to God I’m sure a lot of people will get a lot out of Nadia Bolz-Weber’s memoir Accidental Saints, but I’m not one of them. Reverand Nadia Bolz-Weber doesn’t look like your typical Lutheran Pastor. Rocking tattoo sleeves and a foul mouth, she’s a new type of preacher, the type to welcome those who have normally been turned away by the religious establishment. Her church is founded on the principle that humans are going to fuck up (so edgy with the swearing!) but that a good heart is what matters to God the most. This book gave me flashbacks to the speakers I had to listen to in Catholic school. Every once in a while, the principle would get nervous that Christianity just wasn’t hip enough and hire some 26-year-old with a mushroom haircut and an acoustic guitar who just wanted to talk to us, man, about the best friend a sophomore could ever have…Jesus Christ. He doesn’t care about your SAT grades, man. He cares about your soul. Then he would try to sell us his CDs. Bolz-Weber’s book is about her church and the revolutionary ideals it espouses (some examples: gay people are people! Assholes are tough to deal with, but we have to be nice to them. I’m hanging out with sinners JUST LIKE JESUS HOW COOL AM I). I concede that most churches (including the one I was raised in) do a terrible job of welcoming the people Jesus would probably want them to welcome, but that doesn’t mean her church is original. I picked up the book because I was promised it was funny. A former comedian becomes a pastor? That’s weird enough to pique my interest. But in the immortal words of my man Josh “Lemon” Lyman, she “forgot the funny.” Most of her jokes are weird, not-quite self-deprecating digs at her own originality. These tattoos LOLAMIRIGHT? It sort of turns into humble-bragging. And if I want to listen to people pretend they’re not impressed with themselves, I can close my book and interact with humanity. If you like religious books, or you’re thinking about switching over to Lutheranism, then pick up Accidental Saints. The rest of you should give it a miss. This book is guilty of a mortal sin-being boring.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Melora

    I was a little tentative about this one, thinking that the tattooed-swearing-pastor thing might be all Bolz-Weber had to offer, but I needn't have worried. Her theology is actually pretty orthodox (from an Episcopalian perspective, at least), and her stories are well told and touching. Nothing new, really, but a refreshing reminder of God's boundless love and grace and His call to us to care for even the least lovable people. I was a little tentative about this one, thinking that the tattooed-swearing-pastor thing might be all Bolz-Weber had to offer, but I needn't have worried. Her theology is actually pretty orthodox (from an Episcopalian perspective, at least), and her stories are well told and touching. Nothing new, really, but a refreshing reminder of God's boundless love and grace and His call to us to care for even the least lovable people.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Price

    If her book Pastrix convinced me that she's a great pastor, this new book by Nadia Bolz-Weber convinced me she's also a brilliant Lutheran theologian. The stories in this book are at times funny, at times tragic, but always vulnerable and true, as well as brimming with insights into the Bible and the offensive nature of God's grace in our world. I know I'll never read stories like the death of Judas or Jesus' encounter with the Gerasene demoniac in the same way again. Highly recommended. If her book Pastrix convinced me that she's a great pastor, this new book by Nadia Bolz-Weber convinced me she's also a brilliant Lutheran theologian. The stories in this book are at times funny, at times tragic, but always vulnerable and true, as well as brimming with insights into the Bible and the offensive nature of God's grace in our world. I know I'll never read stories like the death of Judas or Jesus' encounter with the Gerasene demoniac in the same way again. Highly recommended.

  20. 4 out of 5

    James

    This is a good, storied account of how the grace of God meets us in our messy lives.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Surprisingly, I found this book hard to read, for all the best reasons. Yes, it was funny and the right amount of uncomfortable, but it was also painfully real and honest and full of actual love and grace-the kind of love and grace every one of us wants to believe we give and receive, but maybe aren't sure of. I had to take this in small chunks and absorb it slowly, but am so very glad that I did. Surprisingly, I found this book hard to read, for all the best reasons. Yes, it was funny and the right amount of uncomfortable, but it was also painfully real and honest and full of actual love and grace-the kind of love and grace every one of us wants to believe we give and receive, but maybe aren't sure of. I had to take this in small chunks and absorb it slowly, but am so very glad that I did.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    This was a book I really needed to read during these times. And it was great as an audiobook.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of Nadia Bolz-Weber's forthcoming book. Unlike Pastrix, it tells stories primarily from her life as a pastor, with little emphasis on her earlier life. Her writing is, as always, engaging, and in this book rather self-deprecating, as she tells stories of people who became (accidental) saints in her life. It's a wonderful book. Bolz-Weber offers a forthright word about grace and mercy, tempering the charming confidence exhibited in earlier writing wit I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of Nadia Bolz-Weber's forthcoming book. Unlike Pastrix, it tells stories primarily from her life as a pastor, with little emphasis on her earlier life. Her writing is, as always, engaging, and in this book rather self-deprecating, as she tells stories of people who became (accidental) saints in her life. It's a wonderful book. Bolz-Weber offers a forthright word about grace and mercy, tempering the charming confidence exhibited in earlier writing with a winsome humility. As a pastor, I both love the stories of relationships with parishioners and also find them uncomfortable, having made such great efforts to avoid writing about my own for the sake of privacy. Bolz-Weber includes a note acknowledging that she writes about real people and does change their names. I'm fascinated that in an era when we can find information about others so much more easily that boundary would be lowered. It's less that I am critical and more that I am curious. As a non-Lutheran, I love (no qualifications here) reading her descriptions of Lutheran liturgy. House for All makes its own unique adaptations to traditional practices in ways that are creative and appealing, while keeping traditional liturgical language. It's understandable that visitors overran their services. It must have been difficult and at the same time obvious to conclude that being a sort of field trip destination for others was not good for the congregation. As a writer who is also a person of faith, I loved the turns her stories took. Some particular favorites (without spoilers): her trip to the Holy Land, a complication with her calendar, and the chapter about Judas. Many of the high points of the liturgical year appear in the book, from All Saints to Easter Vigil. I confess that I began reading wondering if this book would share a weakness with the second half of "Pastrix." After the strong first portion about her childhood and young adulthood, the chapters about her ministry seemed to have a pattern of 1) this happened and 2) here's what I preached about it. I've read Nadia Bolz-Weber's sermons; they are great on the page, and I can only imagine they are even better in person. In the context of the book, however, the sermon portions created a weak ending for some of the chapters by changing the rhythm of her writing. I'm glad to say that with one exception, I didn't feel that change of rhythm in "Accidental Saints." (I received the advance copy from the publisher with no inducement to offer a positive review. This is a book I will plan to buy in its final form; the review copy had 8 and 9 point type!)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Recommended for: People questioning their faith; Christians; women, especially strong women; people who are dealing with guilt, people who are stretched too thin. Themes you'll find: Redemption, forgiveness, finding facets of Christ in everyone. Imperfect love, brokenness. Stuff that was awesome: Her stories and her tone! She's no-nonsense. She swears. She would totally say "shit" if she had a mouthful. But she's also a preacher. She's an ordained minister who understands the importance of finding Recommended for: People questioning their faith; Christians; women, especially strong women; people who are dealing with guilt, people who are stretched too thin. Themes you'll find: Redemption, forgiveness, finding facets of Christ in everyone. Imperfect love, brokenness. Stuff that was awesome: Her stories and her tone! She's no-nonsense. She swears. She would totally say "shit" if she had a mouthful. But she's also a preacher. She's an ordained minister who understands the importance of finding ways to love your neighbor, yes, even that one. She understands that we're all imperfect, but shows us how that's okay, and that everyone is a saint, yes, even that one, even me, even you. It's a very uplifting message that also manages to not be a Gospel of Prosperity (you know - "I'm blessed because God loves me and you can be blessed, too, you just have to win more of God's love." This whole book is about how that's a crock). Stuff that was annoying: The poetry passages between chapters. I'm just not a fan of poetry in general, and this wasn't particularly moving - to me, anyway.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    Reading Nadia Bolz-Weber is not comfortable reading for those are offended by broken, messy people with messy lives descending on their look-good-from-the-road Christianity. Or, incidentally, have issues with pastors swearing. But for those who have been wounded, rejected, and damaged by the above mentioned Christians, she is, literally, a Godsend. Bolz-Weber comes from fundamentalist roots and a rough road back to faith. She serves as pastor of The House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver. Sh Reading Nadia Bolz-Weber is not comfortable reading for those are offended by broken, messy people with messy lives descending on their look-good-from-the-road Christianity. Or, incidentally, have issues with pastors swearing. But for those who have been wounded, rejected, and damaged by the above mentioned Christians, she is, literally, a Godsend. Bolz-Weber comes from fundamentalist roots and a rough road back to faith. She serves as pastor of The House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver. She is profound, refreshing, and shares Jesus's grace and truth in this capacity and also as a global speaker (she used to be a stand-up comedian and has a funny, mesmerizing style). Pastrix is her first book - an autobiography. I'm ordering it today.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paul Mathis

    Nadia Bolz-Weber is incredible. Not because of anything she has done, but because of her recognition of what God has done and is doing through her. Her vulnerability, self-reflection, and (often hard to give) graciousness is an example of what Christians should aspire to be. Along with Pastrix, I highly, highly recommend this book. Both to those in the church in order to learn how to become a community that receives broken people and to the unchurched who believe church members have everything f Nadia Bolz-Weber is incredible. Not because of anything she has done, but because of her recognition of what God has done and is doing through her. Her vulnerability, self-reflection, and (often hard to give) graciousness is an example of what Christians should aspire to be. Along with Pastrix, I highly, highly recommend this book. Both to those in the church in order to learn how to become a community that receives broken people and to the unchurched who believe church members have everything figured out.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    "On All Saints' Sunday, I am faced with sticky ambiguities around saints who were bad and sinners who were good. "Personally, I think knowing the difference between a racist and a saint is kind of important. But when Jesus again and again says things like the last shall be first, and the first shall be last, and the poor are blessed, and the rich are cursed, and that prostitutes make great dinner guests, it makes me wonder if our need for pure black-and-white categories is not true religion but m "On All Saints' Sunday, I am faced with sticky ambiguities around saints who were bad and sinners who were good. "Personally, I think knowing the difference between a racist and a saint is kind of important. But when Jesus again and again says things like the last shall be first, and the first shall be last, and the poor are blessed, and the rich are cursed, and that prostitutes make great dinner guests, it makes me wonder if our need for pure black-and-white categories is not true religion but maybe actually a sin. Knowing what category to place hemlock in might help us know whether it's safe to drink, but knowing what category to place ourselves and others in does not help us know God in the way that the church so often has tried to convince us it does." (6-7) **** "There are many reasons to steer clear of Christianity. No question. I fully understand why people make that choice. Christianity has survived some unspeakable abominations: the Crusades, clergy sex-scandals, papal corruption, televangelist scams, and clown ministry. But it will survive us, too. It will survive our mistakes and pride and exclusion of others. I believe that the power of Christianity--the thing that made the very first disciples drop their nets and walk away from everything they knew, the thing that caused Mary Magdalene to return to the tomb and then announced the resurrection of Christ, the thing that the early Christians martyred themselves for, and the thing that keeps me in the Jesus business...is something that cannot be killed. The power of unbounded mercy, of what we call The Gospel, cannot be destroyed by corruption and toothy TV preachers. Because in the end, there is still Jesus." (10) **** "It feels like a strange and abstract thing to say. 'Jesus died for your sins.' And I've squandered plenty of ink arguing against the notion that God had to kill Jesus because we were bad. But when Caitlin said that Jesus died for our sins, including that one, I was reminded again that there is nothing we have done that God cannot redeem. Small betrayals, large infractions, minor offenses. All of it. "Some would say that instead of the cross being about Jesus standing in for us to take the really bad spanking from God for our own naughtiness (the fancy theological term for this is substitutionary atonement), what happens at the cross is a 'blessed exchange.' God gathers up all our sin, all our broken-ass junk, into God's own self and transforms all that death into life. Jesus takes our crap and exchanges it for his blessedness." (18) **** "Sometimes the fact that there is nothing about you that makes you the right person to do something is exactly what God is looking for." (39) **** "Without higher-quality material to work with, God resorts to working through us for others and upon us through others. Those are some weirdly restorative, disconcerting shenanigans to be caught up in: God forcing God's people to see themselves as God sees them, to do stuff they know they are incapable of doing, so that God might make use of them, and make them to be both humble recipients and generous givers of grace, so that they may be part of God's big project on earth, so that they themselves might find unexpected joy through surprising situations." (40) **** "No one gets to play Jesus. But we do get to experience Jesus in that holy place where we meet others' needs and have our own needs met. We are all the needy and the ones who meet needs. To place ourselves or anyone else in only one category is to lie to ourselves." (48) **** "We don't know the details of her life, but I like to think that she was a normal girl with all the struggles and inconsistencies that come with being a normal girl. Maybe the really outrageous act of faith on Mary's part was trusting that she had found favor with God. I may feel used to the idea that if I live a certain kind of life, I can make myself worthy of God. But what if God's Word is so much more powerful than our ability to become worthy of God? I mean, not for nothing, but if God can create the universe by speaking it into existence, then I think God can make us into God's beloved by simply saying it is so. This, it seems to me, is a vital and overlooked miracle of the Annunciation story." (69) **** "We may be used to hearing some Christians say 'let's keep Christ in Christmas,' but my friend Joy Carroll Wallis wrote an essay called 'Keeping Herod in Christmas,' and I have to say I'm with her, because the world into which Christ was born was certainly not a Normal Rockwell painting. The world has never been that world. God did not enter the world of our nostalgic, silent-night, snow-blanketed, peace-on-earth, suspended reality of Christmas. God slipped into the vulnerability of skin and entered our violent and disturbing world. This Christmas story, the story of Herod, the story of the Slaughter of the Holy Innocents, is as much a part of Christmas and Epiphany as are shepherds and angels." (77) **** "Because the holy things we need for healing and sustenance are almost always the same as the ordinary things right in front of us." (92) **** "Jesus could have hung out in the high-end religious scene of his day, but instead he scoffed at all that, choosing instead to laugh at the powerful, befriend whores, kiss sinners, and eat with all the wrong people. He spent his time with people for whom life was not easy. And there, amid those who were suffering, he was the embodiment of perfect love." (110) **** "Sure, some still believe that in heaven there is a list of good behaviors and bad behaviors and therefore to know that god forgives your sin is to know that God has erased the red marks against you and therefore is no longer mad, which means he won't punish you. "But honestly, I'm much more tortured by my secrets, which eat away at me, than I am concerned about God being mad at me. I'm more haunted by how what I've said and the things I've done have caused harm to myself and others than I am worried that God will punish me for being bad. Because in the end, we aren't punished for our sins as much as we are punished by our sins. "And sin is just the state of human brokenness in which what we say and do causes these sometimes tiny and sometimes monstrous fractures in our earth, in ourselves, in those we love, and sometimes even in our own bodies. Sin is the self curved in on the self. And it's not something we can avoid entirely." (130-1) **** "It's my practice to welcome new people to the church by making sure they know that House for All Sinners and Saints will, at some point, let them down. That I will say or do something stupid and disappoint them. And then I encourage them to decide before that happens if they will stick around after it happens. If they leave, I tell them, they will miss the way that God's grace comes in and fills in the cracks left behind by our brokenness. And that's too beautiful to miss." (178) **** "And the thing about grace, real grace, is that it stings. It stings because if it's real it means we don't 'deserve' it. No amount of my own movement or strength could have held up those plates I'd stacked way too high. I tried, and I failed, and Jeff and Tracy suffered for it, and then they extended to me kindness, compassion, and forgiveness out of their silo of hurt and grace. "Church is messed up. I know that. People, including me, have been hurt by it. But as my United Church of Christ pastor friend Heather says, 'Church isn't perfect. It's practice.' Among God's people, those who have been knocked on their asses by the grace of God, we practice giving and receiving the undeserved. "And receiving grace is basically the best shitty feeling in the world. I don't want to need it. Preferably I could just do it all and be it all and never mess up. That may be what I would prefer, but it is never what I need. I need to be broken apart and put back into a different shape by that merging of things human and divine, which is really screwing up and receiving grace and love and forgiveness rather than receiving what I really deserve. I need the very thing that I will do everything I can to avoid needing. "...Love and grace and such deceivingly soft words--but they both sting like hell and then go and change the shape of our hearts and make us into something we couldn't create ourselves to be." (179-180)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Arthur

    Although I follow her on Twitter for several months now, this is my first book by Nadia. I am grateful for this difficult beautiful book. I think thoughtful folks could spend a great deal of time talking their way through this book, story by story, and end up deeply challenged about the way they see the world and the people in it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Reading this book was like Nadia was inside my head, thinking the things I think and feeling the way I feel. Her honesty is refreshing, not just for a pastor or a Christian, but a person. She tells everything like it is--swear words and all--and despite her fear of appearing vulnerable or terrible, she lays bare her heart in the pages of this book, and hangs her dirty laundry in the subway for all all to see and smell. I was born and raised in a conservative Christian home, but it's Nadia who ma Reading this book was like Nadia was inside my head, thinking the things I think and feeling the way I feel. Her honesty is refreshing, not just for a pastor or a Christian, but a person. She tells everything like it is--swear words and all--and despite her fear of appearing vulnerable or terrible, she lays bare her heart in the pages of this book, and hangs her dirty laundry in the subway for all all to see and smell. I was born and raised in a conservative Christian home, but it's Nadia who makes me feel like I can actually be a Christian. She has gotten to know God so well that she knows just what to tell her readers to help them understand that they can't be perfect or even good without being a Christian because it's Christ who makes us that way. Through stories of her parishioners, her past, her friends, and especially her mistakes, Nadia makes being real look easy and normal, though you learn in the "Conversation with the Author" at the end that it wasn't easy, and you already know from experience it isn't normal. And if you're sensitive at all to what is considered "strong language," you might want to check that touchiness at the cover because Nadia doesn't mince words. And let me be clear: Not once throughout this book is any single use of said "strong language" inappropriate. If you're tired of trite, cliche musings on the Christian's walk with God, read this book. If you're sick of trying to emulate perfection and want some church leader somewhere to stand up and admit they're human, read this book. If you want to feel whole in your brokenness, understand what real Christianity is--whether you identify as such or not--and discover the freedom of your faith, read this book. If you want to understand what grace, mercy, and love look like, feel like, act like; read this book. If you want to be inspired in your faith, read this book. It is all of this and more.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Another keeper from the author of Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint. This one is a collection of reflections on a variety of subjects, illustrated by her experiences with her congregation at House for all Sinners and Saints in Denver. I appreciate the honesty of her writing; her raw, confessional tone has a powerful effect on me. I highlighted a lot while I was reading; here are a few favorite passages: Maybe Jesus was simply blessing the ones around him that day who didn't Another keeper from the author of Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint. This one is a collection of reflections on a variety of subjects, illustrated by her experiences with her congregation at House for all Sinners and Saints in Denver. I appreciate the honesty of her writing; her raw, confessional tone has a powerful effect on me. I highlighted a lot while I was reading; here are a few favorite passages: Maybe Jesus was simply blessing the ones around him that day who didn't otherwise receive blessing, who had come to believe that, for them, blessings would never be in the cards. I mean, come on, doesn't that just sound like something Jesus would do? Extravagantly throwing around blessings as though they grew on trees? And this is it. This is the life we get here on earth. We get to give away what we receive. We get to believe in each other. We get to forgive and be forgiven. We get to love imperfectly. And we never know what effect it will have for years to come. And all of it...all of it is completely worth it Highly recommended.

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