‘Pastrix’ – Book review


The book Pastrix is not for you if:

  • Messed-up pastors bother you
  • A church with transgender people seems contradictory
  • Bad language makes you see red

But this book is for you if:

  • You believe God uses people however they come
  • Looking beyond words to see hearts in action is exciting
  • You’re okay with everybody in church looking different

I’m guessing Nadia Bolz-Weber doesn’t look like your pastor. She doesn’t look like mine.

But no matter; her heart for Jesus beats just as strongly.

She grew up in the Church of Christ, the conservative Protestant denomination that I also grew up in. So stories of her youth resonate strongly with me. For example (and I’ll moderate the language for you here):

In the church of my childhood it was taught me that the “age of accountability” was somewhere around twelve. To hit the age of accountability was to spiritually go off of your parents’ insurance. At age twelve the clock starts ticking, spiritually speaking; you know right from wrong now and because of this you are accountable for every time you f*** up. If you sin knowing right from wrong and then die before you chose to be baptized, you burn in hell for eternity. This is when kids start choosing to be baptized.

But by her teens, her life took a left turn. Sex, drugs, alcohol. Only in adulthood did she start hearing God eventually calling her to ministry after being asked to perform a funeral for one of her friends because, as she puts it, her friends considered her “the religious one.”

She’s now all about Jesus and his beautiful grace. She pastors a Lutheran church called House for All Sinners and Saints. It’s as atypical as she is, both in people and in function, but God is atypical too, right?

I can’t imagine that the God of the universe is limited to our ideas of God. I can’t imagine that God doesn’t reveal God’s self in countless ways outside of the symbol system of Christianity. In a way, I need a God who is bigger and more nimble and mysterious than what I could understand and contrive. Otherwise, it can feel like I am worshipping nothing more than my own ability to understand the divine.

In her book she walks you through her story and explains as best as she understands, how she got from there to here. She’s humble and honest, with enough edge to remind you she’s keeping it real, whether you’re comfortable with it or not.

So I loved reading her story. Decide for yourself whether or not it’s for you.

Here are some quotes:

I’m a lousy Christian, and I hope that’s good enough since our call to be compassionate has to include ourselves, too.


Maybe the Good Friday story is about how God would rather die than be in our sin-accounting business anymore.


The disciples’ mistake was also my mistake: They forgot that they have a God who created the universe out of “nothing,” that can put flesh on dry bones “nothing,” that can put life in a dusty womb “nothing.” I mean, let’s face it, “nothing” is God’s favorite material to work with. Perhaps God looks upon that which we dismiss as nothing, insignificant, and worthless, and says “Ha! Now that I can do something with.”


Growing up, I thought it was a way of guilting us into forgiving others, like Jesus was saying, Hey, I died for you and you can’t even be nice to your little brother? As though God can get us to do the right thing if God can just make us feel bad about how much we owe God. But that is not the God I see in Jesus Christ. That is a manipulative mother.


To defiantly say, once again, that a light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot, will not, shall not overcome it. And so, evil be damned, because even as go to the grave, still we make our song alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.

* * *

Thanks to Great Book Reviewers Group
for the review copy of this book

15 thoughts on “‘Pastrix’ – Book review

  1. floyd

    Wow… I certainly wouldn’t ever question where and how God can work. I do question that language though… not sure where the fine line in being humanly contrary and the power of our Father cross. Thanks for the honest review.

    1. Lisa notes...

      It’s not my preferred word choices either, for the record. 😉 But I was able to get past it for the book. She explains it somewhat, either in the book or somewhere else that I’ve read about her–can’t remember the source now….

  2. PL

    “… transgender people …” ^^

    This weekend, I’m going to choose and order one of your October books (I’ve got it down to a shortlist of five). I might order this one instead (but I would only be able to read it when I am in both of my closets at the same time!).

      1. PL

        I’ve ordered it on Amazon! Will probably take a couple of weeks to arrive though 🙁 and now of course I’m going to get lots of weird recommendations, …

        I like the quotes above. I can’t stand that kind of street language in a film script or a novel, but I’m quite comfortable with it IRL.

  3. Faith

    Wow…sounds ….interesting….never heard of her and her story sounds like it could resonate with many people,both saved and unsaved..however, a heart change typically reflects outward thus the language….um….not sure why a pastor would be writing with such gutter talk…a living testimony of a changed heart speaks volumes….meaning, yeah, swearing isn’t a SIN but is offensive…..and we know people by their fruit. But I’m guessing her story must be riveting!!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I can’t explain all her choices so I won’t try. 🙂 But yes, she definitely has a riveting story and is helping a lot of people find Jesus that wouldn’t ordinarily know him.

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