I have longed for thy salvation, O L-RD; and thy Torah is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments. Psalm 119:174-176

22 January 2014

Book review: Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber

I've recently read a very interesting book by Nadia Bolz-Weber. For those of you who haven't heard of the book, Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint; it has been getting rave reviews in my circles and I kept being told how much I would absolutely love it.  Being the naturally skeptical person that I am, I kept holding off until I had multiple people telling me that I "absolutely MUST read this book!!"

Now, those of you who know me, I had only few clues to go on when this was recommended. When I saw a hard copy go on sale, my curiosity was completely overwhelmed and I ordered it. Then, I waited for the postman to bring my copy. It took days, instead of ACME time-frame, and it was a rather boring wait. I won't bore you with the details.

When the book arrived, I opened the package knowing I had one of the books I'd ordered, but I was uncertain which one had arrived until I saw the beautiful detailing of Pastrix's cover.  I pretty much acted like a kid who had gotten their long wished for birthday or Christmas present. I just tossed the packaging aside and started reading. I only stopped a couple of times and otherwise read it all in just a couple hours.

I understand why the book hasn't gotten as many good reviews as it has, because Nadia does not hold back when it comes to language, her life experiences or her beliefs about LGBTQ issues and her faith. I don't have a problem with that, but I understand that some people do, and that's OK!

I saw myself in a lot of the ways Nadia explained some of her struggles. Honestly, I think she and I could be great friends.  What I love about this book is that Nadia lays her life bare for her readers. It's beautiful, raw, depressing and happy all rolled into one. There are no great answers to the mystery of life, just an arrow to the cross full of grace.

Some of our life experiences are similar, and many are vastly different. Oh those struggles. Yes. Exactly that.  Seeing the sacred in the secular? Yes. Sometimes having mouthy reactions to something we don't understand or yet see, or just a straight up honest knee-jerk reaction where we don't want to change or do anything right now? yep. That too.

This isn't a book I would readily recommend to most of my fundamentalist family members. Nope. Not up their alley. But people who have become quickly disenchanted with the faith they were raised in due to it's dual messages, punitive parenting and horrible misrepresentations of G-d; yes. I would definitely recommend people who are hurting and trying to crawl back to G-d to read this. It's like a balm to the soul.

So, if you can't get a copy of your own, definitely find one at the library and give it a good read. If you loved it as much as I did, definitely check out her blog: The Sarcastic Lutheran.


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