Nadia Bolz-Weber’s book, Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People, is an engaging, funny, and inspiring read. It’s just what many of us need right now when the temptation to separate ourselves from people we don’t agree with or don’t like is so strong.
“What if that person you’ve been trying to avoid is your best shot at grace today? And what if that’s the point?”
Bolz-Weber is a Lutheran pastor of a church she founded, the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver. She also is a tattooed former stand-up comic who swears a lot. She is open about her own struggles and foibles and finds healing when she is known and loved anyway. She has to force herself to reach out to people she doesn’t like or who make her angry or who she just doesn’t understand, but finds grace when she does. She believes that Jesus loves us for who we are, including our “uncool parts,” and reminds us that Jesus was a radical who hung out with people scorned by the society of his day.
Bolz-Weber writes of the need for church to be a place where we can face the realities of our world together, not escape them. Church, and religion in general, give us “rootedness.” She writes, “When I say I’m religious, it has to do less with belief than with what I’m exposed to on a regular basis, what my symbol system is, what my practice is in terms of being a Christian in a community . . . (and these) help us to know how to hold the tragedy, violence and suffering we experience in the world and in our lives.”