Book Review: Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Being new to attending, and possibly joining, my local ELCA church, I was quick to ask which books would aid me in understanding Lutheran theology. I was pointed toward Accidental Saints by “Rockstar Lutheran” Nadia Bolz-Weber. I wasn’t unfamiliar with her ministry, having seen a few of her “blessed are…” videos online. I’ll admit to having found her appearance a bit… unorthodox, shall we say?  But given that only 10 years ago I was a Southern Baptist lay-minister who believed female pastors in themselves heretical, let alone ones with tattoos and biceps… let’s just say that having absolutely no problem relating to her is proof enough of my spiritual transformation.

I really liked the central premise of the book – God’s here for all of us and we’re all His children, regardless of where we are in life, how we got there, and who we’re living it with, drag queen and Deacon alike.  I’ve always believed that, even as a tie-wearing, lapel-pin bearing Evangelical.  It did almost felt as if there was a Rob Bell Love Wins universalism to the book which I found a bit off-putting, however.

As much as I’d like to believe everyone lives an eternity in paradise, I can’t help but think there’s still a few people who won’t be there. Being and/or doing good does not get you a ticket to the big Cloud Nine Praisefest.  I’m not saying I think it couldn’t be that way, but I don’t believe that it is.  That said, I do believe that the myriad amount of things we call sin probably aren’t as sinful as we think and only serve to divide us.  I’m confident that I’m more likely to meet a loving gay couple in Heaven than a vast percentage of evangelists.

I loved the stories in the book and the way Weber related her life to her ministry.  The screw-ups, the self-doubt, the swearing.  It’s enough to make me consider going back into ministry, just not the uptight, tightrope-walking kind I previously engaged in.  Less of an “I’m an example, follow me” lifestyle that I cannot lead, more “We’re all human, this is how I am, deal with it. God still loves me and I do my best to show his grace in my life.”  Which, coincidentally, is the point of the book.  We’re all sinners.  None of us are perfect.  So rather than get uptight over our spiritual inadequacies that we can never overcome without God’s intervention, let’s just live the best lives we can and serve one another.

 

 

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