Saturday, November 23, 2013

NADIA BOLZ-WEBER, SINNER AND SAINT

Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber:
I once heard someone say that my belief in Jesus makes them suspect that I intellectually suck my thumb at night. But I cannot pretend, as much as I would sometimes like to, that I have not throughout my life experienced the redeeming, destabilizing love of a surprising God. Even as my mind protests, I still can't deny my experience. This thing is real to me. Sometimes I experience God when someone speaks the truth to me, sometimes in the moments when I admit I am wrong, sometimes in the loving of someone unlovabl, sometimes in the reconciliation that feels like it comes from somewhere outside of myself, but almost always when I experience God it comes in the form of some kind of death and resurrection.

(Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix; The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint)
How often have I said I need saving every day? I've lost count. Maybe not quite what Nadia says, for my deaths and resurrections are daily, sometimes more than once a day. Saying I believe in God is not accurate, because, as best I recall, I never did not believe in God.  Throughout the course of my life I've known the Thereness of God, even when I did not pay attention. There was no leap of faith for me ever, because God was always real to me, though I wondered at times if she had anything to do with me after starting it all. As with Nadia, there would be no point in trying to argue me out of the faith because of the very real happenings and changes in me that happened because of the presence of God in my life. Of course, some might say all is delusion, but I won't be convinced.

Have you guessed that I read Nadia's book? I read quickly for she captured and held my attention from the introduction to the end. Nadia's concept of church seems very right to me. You will hear more from me about her book, which I recommend highly, and I'll probably include further quotes.

6 comments:

Bex said...

I love Nadia. Recommend "Pastrix" to everyone and suggest subscribing to her sermons at her blog, "The Sarcastic Lutheran." I just used the sermon about the mustard seed in a class. It includes her story of having one of those necklaces with a mustard seed in a plastic globe. I'm dating myself because I remember those, but there you go. Anyway, the sermon is about faith of course, and it's a great example of Nadia's ability to get you to find new ways of seeing.

Anonymous said...

What you say about never not believing in God sums me up as well. For me, there's always been That Presence, sometimes I'm more intensely aware of It, and sometimes I've been aware of nothing other than It, and It is more real to me than I am to myself, and sometimes I'm so focused on things that aren't That Presence, I don't notice it with the front of my attention, at least. But it's always there. Once as an intellectual exercise I determined not to believe in God. That lasted, IIRC, about fifteen minutes....I've explained to non religious friends that it's very much like the air--you don't believe in the air around you, you experience it, and God is that tangible to me....

Kishnevi

Grandmère Mimi said...

Bex, I once read Nadia's blog, but I lost the habit. I'll try again. I date myself, too, for I remember the mustard seeds.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Beautifully said, Kishnevi. If I said I did not believe in God, that would be delusion. Though I've read the stories of people who come to faith from no faith, I still can't imagine what that would be like.

Prairie Soul said...

I have a good friend who attends Nadia's church, House for all Sinners and Saints, in Denver. My friend is fairly traditional in form, though progressive in thought, and she has found a home in that congregation. Nadia is a fascinating figure. Did you catch her interview on Krista Tippett's On Being show in early September?

Grandmère Mimi said...

Prairie Soul, I watched the video of the interview. She's the same as in her book. I love that Nadia says she's the kind of clergy who needs a bishop.