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Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint Hardcover – 10 Sep 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Jericho Books; 1 edition (10 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455527084
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455527083
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 176,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Pastrix 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 lif... Full description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K Douglas on 24 Sept. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have found a kindred spirit in Nadia Bolz-Webber, who is fabulously sweary, earthy and honest. If you want a book that will speak the truth to you (but not necessarily in love!) reassure you that you are not the only one who doubts, is confused by and angered at what Christians have changed Jesus into, then this is the book for you. It has made me feel reconnected again. It's good to know that I am not the only sweary one out there who loves Jesus...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stallion on 11 Mar. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Read the first five chapters of this book, then stopped. Did not find inspiration in this autobiography of someone who revels in living in a world outside the bounds of normal society.
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By Gerry Burke on 31 July 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful book. Has had a huge impact on my understanding of the Christian message.
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By David J. Carpenter on 21 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 652 reviews
107 of 110 people found the following review helpful
Fall In Love With Her Defiant Personality 10 Sept. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I secretly took a peek at an advanced copy of Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber's forthcoming memoir Pastrix: the Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint. The illicit peek (I'm not cool enough to have actually received a copy of my own for review) turned into a complete sleep-robbing read-through, so I figured I might as well write a review since, as anti-piracy awareness ads have informed me, I basically stole money straight out of Bolz-Weber's pocket.

I don't love memoir. Everyone thinks their own lives are super-interesting just like everyone thinks they're a better than average driver - at least half of us are wrong. There is also a tendency in Christian memoir especially to extract forced lessons from every story as if life was just a series of Aesop's fables and we were all gurus draining experience of the last drop of wisdom. I call bull.

This Lutheran rock-star from Denver completely avoids the boredom trap, and mostly avoids the sappy life-lessons trap and turns out a memoir that is really fun to read. It helps that she has led a genuinely unusual life and she spills her guts ruthlessly throughout. Lots of reviewers will caution that she indulges adult language, but I commend it to your for that reason. Here is raw and beautiful humanity. You don't fall in love with Bolz-Weber in spite of her volatile personality, you fall in love with her because of it.

The abiding theme of the book is defiance. Her defiance matures over the course of the story, wisely told in thematic rather than chronological order. At the beginning she is all tooth and nail. At the end she is folded arms and a "bring it on" stare. Her journey is about accepting that she does indeed have the right to inhabit her calling, not (again) in spite of who she is, but because of who she is.

Another strength of Pastrix is that she accomplishes her story of self-affirmation without denigrating people on different paths. This is no conventional "I was a sinner - now I am saved" plotline. She experiments with Wicca and never repents for it. She freely admits the fun she had with alcohol and sex, and while she is now sober and married with kids, she doesn't waste your time with self-recrimination and moralizing.

Not every chapter is equally strong and there are times where I felt she tied her stories up just a little too neatly for my tastes. She has a preacher's instinct for trying to draw the gospel out of any text, including the text of her own life. The better chapters, such as the one where she tells the story of trying to help a family after Hurricane Katrina, end messy. She can see what the gospel might be in the circumstances, but she owns her internal conflict and leaves the reader feeling that the end of the story simply hasn't been written yet.

That anyone would doubt Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber's calling is astonishing to me, but if you have been made to doubt your own calling hopefully you will read this book and receive a double portion of her defiant spirit. At the very least you will be entertained.
66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
This book is crazy awesome wonderful 11 Sept. 2013
By Samantha Drennan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Disclaimer: I'm writing from the perspective of a much-less-cool Lutheran pastor. The things Nadia does wouldn't work in my context, and I'm not into tattoos.

But see, this book isn't telling me I should be just like her. Pastrix has no magic bullets. No Superhero who thinks they're going to "save" the church. No "Hey I'm Pastor Perfect of Awesomesauce Church and if you only do what I do you can be like me." I hate those books. They're less useful than toilet paper. But this is not that book! This is a book about the joyful and heartbreaking work of being God's bitch. It's honest. It's real. It's amazing.

We may not all be able to write like Nadia does, or start our own congregations. But we can all learn from her honesty, her vulnerability, her willingness to speak the truth, her willingness to admit she doesn't have all the answers, and most of all her fiercely Lutheran theology. No glory, all cross. It's the most inspiring book I've read in a long time, maybe ever. I just can't say enough about it. BUY THIS BOOK!
49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Mixed bag 15 Jan. 2014
By Ron Nutter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I recall a student in a graduate English class in Contemporary American Poetry, after a reading by William Matthews, saying the poet's clothes showed his authenticity as a poet, that if he had worn a coat and tie no one would have taken him seriously. I rejected that position arguing the only test of the "seriousness" of a poet is that poet's poetry. Well, tats and a foul mouth don't make for a more authentic Christian than do the clothes a poet may wear. That said, this is an interesting book that follows a pattern: She recognizes a limitation or bias in her viewpoint, then comes to a Biblical understanding that gives her a new perspective allowing for a more adequate understanding allowing her to overcome her limitation. I liked that part. But then again, either she or her editor (or both) understood her likely audience and sunk to rather intolerant digs at Evangelicals and Conservatives in general. By catering to her audience's own limitations and bias she weakened what could have been a better book. Her plea for tolerance for sinners with tats and potty-mouths and other cultural bruises becomes lost in her own intolerance for those Republican-like types she believes are truly benighted. Glad I read it, but it's a mixed bag.
49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
La Femme Nadia 13 Sept. 2013
By Clint Schnekloth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wednesday September 11th I walked in to church for our evening youth event, and one of the adult leaders already had a copy of Pastrix in her hand. She had pre-ordered it via Amazon so she could start reading it right away.

I had a copy of it myself in my saddle bag. I had already read the first chapter, and knew it was going to be even better than I had anticipated.

Here's what Nadia excels at, and why our church (the ELCA) simply adores her: She breaks down law-gospel proclamation, a fancy title for the kind of preaching Lutherans of the ELCA variety hope to excel at, and turns it into language that makes sense to pretty much everybody. And she does so with the timing of a comedian. She's gratingly funny.

She does law-gospel preaching through a memoir. She lets her life speak.

That sounds more saccharine than I intend it. But Nadia is never saccharine. If she ever is, she smells it right away, and drops another expletive and deprecates herself. Even when she gets in the way she doesn't get in the way, because her whole story in here is about the grace extended to her in Christ in spite of the failings of the church, in spite of her own failings as a person and pastor.

There's a lot in this book that is deeply emotional. I broke into sobs on page 18, reading how her father very humbly pulled out scripture and spoke words of grace that confirmed her call to become a "pastor to her people."

I have to admit: I wish this were a book I had written. People like to say: I could have written a book like that. Usually that's not true. You don't have a book in you just waiting to be written down. To write a book, you have to write a book.

I can only imagine that Nadia has bled in the writing of this book, because it is so deeply personal, and yet so profoundly theological. Again and again, she illustrates how pastoral ministry is life in the trenches--wrestling with a biblical text until you get a blessing, blogging and being open to abuse by those who disagree with you, welcoming all kinds of people, even the people you never thought would join you, into your church.

It's one woman's testimony of how God made her life a catechism, often in spite of her, and graciously enlivening her. It's the story of a church working out what it means to be church among people who have often been hurt by the church.

Nadia also pulls off what very few authors are allowed. She swears like a sailor while proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a farm boy from Iowa, this is so refreshing. Farmers swear less than sailors, but we do swear. We tend to have less tattoos. But it's good for readers to know that pastors swear also.

It's also good to know that pastors are real, that church is real, that church will let you down. And that's part of what church IS, if it is made up of people who are always simultaneously saint and sinner.

Seriously, you want to read this book, and you want to read it soon. If you are a pastor, your people will already be clamoring to read it with you. Mine already are. I've never had a book (well, maybe The Shack) where so many of my own people wanted to read the book with me. Usually I'm trying to hand books to people and convince them to read it.

This book wants to be read, and people want to talk about it.

Nadia, you rock, you really rock. Thanks, Nadia, for reminding us that ultimately, it's not about us, it's not even about Nadia. It's about a gracious God. A God who prefers to hang out on the underside, on the other side of whatever line we like to draw between ourselves and others. Thank you for a life story that tells it that way. Because it's true.
40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Daring and Full of Grace 10 Sept. 2013
By LDChaney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Pastrix is a beautiful, and wittingly obscene memoir of a shepherd who has found her flock. Nadia shakes up the champagne bottle and blows the cork off of the erroneous belief that only saintly people find God. She exposes the sinner in herself as she inks her tranagressions into every page and reveals how she could not drink herself nor run away from God's redeeming love. Nadia shares her metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly. Though, I am sure she would say she is a mere moth still evolving. Martin Luther says: "Faith is living, daring confidence in God's grace...". Nadia daringly exposes herself to show how God's grace continues to work through and in her. This book is a must read for anyone who feels they are not worthy of God's love, for every outcast and for everyone continuing to metamorphosis into a child of God. We all have a mirror to hold up to ourselves and Nadia holds hers up to share with the world. I cannot thank her enough for standing as Joan of Arc did and not being dissuaded by the naysayers who tried to give the term Pastrix a bad connotation. Nadia can be my Pastrix any day!
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