Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber
Publisher: Jericho Books
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Categories: Nonfiction, Spiritual Life, Substance Abuse

Outrageous, rich, and remarkable, PASTRIX turns spiritual memoir on its ear in this sardonically irreverent and beautifully honest page-turner. 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 no holds barred, 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 (hope that doesn’t come from vapid consumerism, or gazing at their own navel); for women who talk too loud, and guys who love chick flicks; for the gay man who loves Jesus, but who won’t allow himself to be talked to like that again. In short, for people like Nadia, and for every thinking misfit who is as suspicious of institutionalized religion as they are of themselves, yet are still seeking some transcendence and mystery in their lives.

My Thoughts:

Holy shit. All I really want to say is that you MUST READ THIS BOOK. But that would seriously erode my reviewing cred (ha!) so I’ll try to gather my very enthusiastic thoughts and explain.

Pastrix is an absolute joy. An open-minded, all-encompassing, ass-kicking joy. It’s inspiring, uplifting, and many other adjectives that I could string together to try to make you understand that you MUST READ THIS BOOK.*

Nadia Bolz-Weber

Nadia Bolz-Weber might be the coolest damn woman I’ve ever had the pleasure to learn about. I want to move to her city, attend her church, and beg her to be my best friend. Nadia is the pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, CO. The fact that this place exists make my heart freaking sing.

…a group of folks figuring out how to be liturgical, Christo-centric, social justice oriented, queer inclusive, incarnational, contemplative, irreverent, ancient/future church with a progressive but deeply rooted theological imagination.

Out of the many fantastic passages in Pastrix there is one that will always stick with me:

 …I can only look at the seemingly limited space under the tent and think either it’s my job to change people so they fit or it’s my job to extend the roof so that they fit. Either way, it’s misguided because it’s not my tent. It’s God’s tent.

Do you see the beauty of that statement? It’s God’s tent. Who are we to decide who gets to hang out under it?


18 thoughts on “Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber

  1. I am interested in reading this also. I have read several books in the past year about religion, as I converted to another religion recently that no one else in my family belongs to (just because it felt right for me). I have so far read memoirs about: Buddhism, Catholicism, Episcopalian, Evangelical Christian, Fundamentalist Mormons, and Scientology (my personal opinion is that the last one's not a religion, but some folks do). I just find all of this very intriguing, so thanks for a good review.


  2. Wow, this sounds amazing! The best books I read are always the hardest to review. I don't know if I'm just worse at taking notes when I'm really absorbed or if the best books actually have something intangible that makes them awesome, but I completely understand just wanting to say \”everyone must read this!\” 🙂


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