Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Thank You, Nadia...A Heart-Changing Evening


I spent last evening listening to the remarkable Nadia Bolz-Weber
read from and talk about her book- plus field questions from the
audience in a way that was open, genuine, self-effacing, and
thoroughly, totally Lutheran. We are of the same "tribe", she and
I...though we came to it in completely antithetical ways. But I so
resonated with her statement that Lutheran theology resonated
with her own experience...that its hallmark of grace, of its balance
between law and gospel, of its insistence (coming directly from
Martin Luther) that we are each and all both saint and sinner ring
true for her- as they so for me. And I loved her emphasis on
"doing theology in the first person"...speaking of God and speaking
of your life together, with honesty, being just who you are.

I had read her book, Pastrix, had been following her blog, had
even seen several of her talks via YouTube, and I must confess
that I had some reservations about this admittedly-unusual
Lutheran pastor. With all of the celebrity which she has been
achieving in the relatively short time she has actually been in
ministry, would this result in the rise of a "cult of celebrity", with
the "medium" taking precedence over the message? It was for
this reason, more than any other, that I wanted to see her in
person, to hear her, to experience her presence. And I am so
very glad I did. This is someone with whom I would love to be
friends...to hang out...to sit over coffee and have a great
discussion. This is someone with whom I think my grandchildren
would resonate...would admire...would listen to- not just because
of the tattoos and the hairdo and the jeans and boots (an
attraction, to be sure), but because of the genuineness of who
she is and how that comes across.

What I had not expected was the way in which her honest
talk, her obvious depth of faith, convicted ME...made me look
deep inside and ask myself some vitally important questions
about my own faith, about my own ministry. Nadia, I thank
you for the incredible gift that you are...for the honesty of
your reflections...for the way in which you delve to the heart
of whatever question you answered, of whatever issue about
which you write, sharing so deeply and unashamedly of yourself
and your faith. I came away determined to be a better pastor...
to let the reality of who I AM shine through in the way you
demonstrated last night. I have known this...believed this...but
too often, have forgotten it, let it get tamped down. Thank you,
again, my sister in faith, my sister in ministry, for giving so totally
of yourself to those of us who continue daily on the journey.
And God's richest blessings upon your ministry, your life.
I feel certain that you will continue to enjoy the journey.

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