Reaching Out: What We Can Learn from the Unconventional
Feminist Lutheran Kara Johnston recently posted on Face Book about ELCA Lutheran Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, who serves in my former Synod (Rocky Mountain Synod):
“Singing in the midst of evil is what it means to be disciples.
Like Mary Magdalene, the reason we can stand and weep and listen for Jesus is because we, like Mary, are bearers of resurrection, we are made new. On the third day, Jesus rose again, and we do not need to be afraid. To sing to God amidst sorrow is to defiantly proclaim, like Mary Magdalene did to the apostles….that death is not the final word. 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 we go to the grave, still we make our song alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.” Nadia Bolz-Weber from her book, Pastrix; the Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint
Pastor Nadia’s ministry in Denver has been ground breaking and unorthodox. She’s reached the 20 – 40 somethings, the over 60’s, poor and rich in the tradition of the emerging church. She’s spoken to 10’s of thousands of Lutheran youth in the ELCA. Nadia doesn’t look and sound like most pastors (my Lutheran tattoos are temporary), but through her “course” language she speaks the Good News, an unlikely pastor to an unlikely people (outsiders and insiders).
We say we want to and will reach out to the outsiders and strangers. Nadia has done just that. I recommend we consider some of the lessons learned by Pastor Nadia and think how we might apply ourselves to welcome and invite those who are different, those who are not in most of our congregations, the 20’s to 40’s somethings, the outsiders, the least of these,the sinners and saints, etc. Check out one of her New York Times Bestselling Books – from 2013 “Pastrix: the Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint” (Warning – Explicit Language Content) or her 2015 “Accidental Saints, Finding God in All the Wrong People.” You can also check out her website: http://www.nadiabolzweber.com/