Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Book review: "Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People" by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Before we start, this author had a previous book named "Pastrix" which probably would have been a little helpful to have read before this book but is by no means a prerequisite. She kind of recounts enough that you get the idea that she had a really conservative upbringing, took a hard hard hard turn into drugs and alcohol and then found her way out and into the ministry. So she pastors a church in Denver full of "accidental saints". People who society would kind of shun or think are weird or look down on or exclude or who have had a lot of issues with organized religion in the past and are just looking to have a toe dipping in kind of experience to see if there's room for them.

I selected this book from Blogging for Books because I had heard vaguely about it and the selection from which to pick from for Blogging for Books is getting a little bit stale. I was a little weary going into it because being a religious person I'm always side eyeing a lot of the hot, trendy religious books for several reasons but in the spirit of being less of a snob and being open to new things I found myself with this book. While I don't agree with all of her views I really appreciate her dedication to her people and prayer and being a good pastor for her flock.

Ready for some out of context quotes? Becuase that's a-comin your way:

She has a parishoner who says she's having a crisis of faith. She goes and talks to her and help her out. Turns out the parishoner is in a crisis because "she thinks she believes in Jesus". Nadia laughs and says "So sorry, but sometimes Jesus just hunts your ass down and there's nothing you can do about it". Which made me laugh because CS Lewis said something (kinda) similiar when he came to Christianity, saying that he was "the most dejected, reluctant convert in all of England". 

Some of the people in Nadia's flock have substance abuse problems. She talks about one named Candy. And how God loves Candy NOW. Even as she is dirty and sick and confused. He doesn't start loving us once we start making good choices, or a hold a job for 3 months or make sure all the bills get paif on time. He loves us NOW. Even if we are the conducter of the Hot Mess Express.

Here's another quote I thought was intersting: "It's weird, but all of the characters in the Gospels who encounter Jesus, the ones who most reliably know who he is are not the religious authorities or even Jesus' own disciples. They are the demons. The demons always recognize Jesus' authority. And the demons are afraid". Which, when you think about the biblical stories of Jesus interacting with demons this is TOTALLY true. And I just think that's fascinating for some reason.

That's probably enough out of context quotes. But I'll end with saying my favorite thing about this book was her honesty, and I love the very sacred feeling that a lot of her church's rituals had. What I didn't like - why does everyone who does Crossfit have to talk about it SO MUCH ALL THE TIME? Why?

Anyway, 4 stars out of 5.

This book was provided for me in exchange for a fair review from Blogging for Books

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