In the past couple of years, a few Denver pastors have published books. This book, Pastrix, by Nadia Bolz-Weber, is the first of them I’ve felt eager to read. That’s not to say that I won’t read the others, but I asked for this one for Christmas! That’s how excited I was to get my hands on it. For those of you looking to stop reading after the first paragraph I will skip to my conclusion up front. I loved it. OK. You can stop reading now. For the rest of you, I will elaborate a bit.
This is probably the most honest book I’ve ever read. I don’t mean that Nadia was honest about the things she thought would promote her edgy image and keep ‘her people’ flocking to her church. I mean that she dared to be honest about things that didn’t stand to serve her at all. Honest about everything from her struggle with alcoholism all the way to her struggle to accept her growing church for what it is and not what she selfishly wants it to be. This honesty is something that I have rarely seen in church. It is also something I rarely see in myself, so there you go.
I have to admit that I wasn’t entirely objective going into this book. My wife and I moved to Denver from Kansas nearly 5 years ago. During our time here we have church hopped a lot. My bit of honesty here is that we are terrible church goers. We tended to seek out smaller churches and be very regular for a few months. Then we would decide to take a break to go snow shoeing. Next thing we know it’s been 2 months and we feel awkward showing our face again. This is something we are trying to mature out of. House for All Sinner and Saints was our second Denver church that we attended. Our time in this community was only a few months, but transformative in many ways.
During our time at House for All, Nicole and I miscarried with triplets. It was a very difficult time for us as we didn’t quite know how to process everything or how to appropriately grieve our babies we would never get to meet. Nadia was a part of a very small group of people that stood in that uncomfortable space incredibly well. She helped us find the words to access our own grief. She introduced us to All Saints Day, which happened to be the day we discovered our loss. She, as well as House for All Sinners and Saints, provided us with healthy opportunities to grieve in a way that truly transformed both of us.
Nadia is one of the local pastors that I have labeled “The Real Deal”. This is not meant to be a slam to any other pastors in town. I just think that someone who can be so honest about her own mess, and still be one of the most life giving people during an incredibly tender moment in our life, deserves to be given that distinction.
I am past the point of thinking that every book I read and love is a “must read” for everyone else. It might not be a book that you would enjoy, and that’s ok. I guess I would say that if you are looking for a pastor, a book or a church that is refreshingly (and sometimes uncomfortably) honest and invites you to be the same, you would probably really enjoy Nadia, Pastrix and House For All Sinner and Saints.