Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Last week on the night before the snow came, parishioner Adam Nygren and I made the trip to Winston-Salem to hear Nadia Bolz-Weber speak at Wake Forest University. The talk was sponsored by the Divinity School at Wake Forest. With Wake Forest University being a Baptist institution I believed it was probably a stretch for them to host a female Lutheran pastor as a speaker, especially Nadia. However, Adam and I soon realized that the face of the Church, she is a changing. Not only did they host The Rev. Bolz-Weber, they were gracious and seemed to be genuinely excited to be able to hear this modern women theologian share her life experiences and her understanding of the Church, Jesus, and God.
Nadia read from her latest book, Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint. You can probably tell by the title of the book that Nadia does not put on any airs about her life, her faith, and what she believes. One cannot be uncomfortable with colorful language and in your face truth if you read or listen Nadia. Her blog reveals this as well, she writes as the "Sarcastic Lutheran."
Bolz-Weber has many tattoos, swears in her sermons, and looks more like a body builder or the singer for a punk rock band, yet she is able to touch the lives of many. The church she started in Denver reflects her realness, even with its name, House for All Sinners and Saints, Although unorthodox in her style she is quite orthodox and traditional in her theology. She also knows who she is and does not shy away from living and proclaiming it.
Faith is not an easy road but we also make it much more difficult than we have to. This happens because so often we can't just be who we are, we believe we have to be something we are not. At her recent talk, Bolz-Webber read from a section of her book that addresses this point.
She simply stated what we all can say, "I have a lot of struggles in my life, but being me is not one of them," during a Q-and-A session that followed her talk. "I think evangelism is being legitimately who you are, where you are. That's it."
"People often say one of two things to me after they hear me speak: Thanks for your honesty and thank you for your authenticity - it's really refreshing. Here's how high the bar is. People will wait in line to say thanks for not lying to me or pretending to be someone else. Uh, you're welcome?"
As she said this, people in the lobby erupted in laughter.
A few weeks ago I shared with you about how the church is a "comfortable place to be uncomfortable." Taking this to the next step means that here at All Saints we are each honored for who we are and who we are not. We are loved by our community and treasured as the Child of God we are. I hope you know how special that is and how special this place is. I am reminded of this every day.
Thank you Nadia and thank you All Saints!
See ya Sunday!
Blessings & Peace
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