From the back cover:
Heavily tattooed and loud-mouthed, Nadia, a former stand-up comic, sure as hell didn't consider herself to be religious leader material - until the day she ended up leading a friend's funeral in a comedy club. Surrounded by fellow alcoholics, depressives, and cynics, she realized: These were her people. Maybe she was meant to be their pastor.
Nadia Bolz-Weber is the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints, a Lutheran mission church in Denver, Colorado.
I've seen this book around for awhile but to be honest, the cover scared me. The portrait of a sitting woman with tats covering her arms, face half in shadow and light wasn't what I thought a "Christian" memoir should be. Once started though I could hardly put it down. So much wisdom and truth. Not gentle epiphanies in the middle of the night, but gut-wrenching realizations that come from looking at the worst within ourselves. Realizing that although there is darkness and despair all around us God is always by our side and we are never alone.
My favorite quotes:
"This is the resurrected Got to whom we sing. A God who didn't say we would never be afraid but that we would never be alone." pg.200
Thoughts on welcoming new parishioners to her church:
"This community will disappoint them. It's a matter of when, not if. We will let them down or I'll say something stupid and hurt their feelings. I then invite them on this side of their inevitable disappointment to decide if they'll stick around after it happens. If they choose to leave when we don't meet their expectations, they won't get to see how the grace of God can come in and fill the holes left by our community's failure, and that's just too beautiful and too real to miss." pg. 54-55
"Join me in picturing evil and darkness not as powerful and unstoppable but as desperate and vulnerable." pg.142
"When what seems to be depression, or compulsive eating or narcissism or despair or discouragement or resentment or isolation takes over, try picturing it as a vulnerable and desperate force seeking to defy God's grace and mercy in your life." pg. 142
"In the end, if we're not careful, we can actually absorb the worst of our enemy and on some level even become them. It would seem that when we are sinned against, when someone else does us harm, we are in some way linked to that sin, connected to that mistreatment like a chain. And our anger, fear, or resentment doesn't free us at all. It just keeps us chained." pg. 150
"...Evil is simply not more powerful then good, and that there really is a light that shines in the darkness and that the darkness can not, will not, shall not overcome it." pg. 150
"Lack of connection is death" " The opposite of it is being able to hug a perfect stranger." On the passing of the peace by a 50 year old man who had try to kill himself, had no friends but found he had friends and more at the House for all Sinners and Saints.