Nadia Bolz-Weber is not your typical pastor. She’s plastered in colorful tattoos, says she wishes she weren’t a Christian, and cusses with impunity. But her ability to wield words with perspicacity is giving Bolz-Weber a growing platform among Christians. Her new memoir, Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, released this week in Amazon’s top 100, and she has been featured in The Denver Post, Christian Century, Huffington Post, Sojourners and on NPR. She is also the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints, an Evangelical Lutheran (ELCA) church in Denver, Colorado. Here, we discuss her calling, church, and struggle to believe that the gospel is true and redeeming.
JM: In your pre-pastoral life, you were a stand-up comic. What sort of similarities and differences have you found in these “communicator” roles?
NBW: I think that both comics and preachers view reality from a very particular perspective. And I think that as comics, we see everything from the underside of the psyche. In some ways, to be a good preacher, you have to be able to do the same. It doesn’t mean you have to be funny, but it does mean that you have to have the capacity to tell the truth, but tell it slant.
JM: You’re something of a misfit pastor, and you seem to embrace this identity. In your book, you talk about your unusual call to ministry. Can you tell us about that?