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Becoming Shameless

A Conversation with Nadia Bolz-Weber

Snake Lake

Snake Lake - Rebecca Chaperon

A decade ago, Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber launched the wildly successful House for All Sinners and Saints to have a church where she “didn’t have to ‘nicen’ myself up.” Now, she’s given that church up to make sex safe from religion.

Where does “shameless” come from? Well, partly it’s just a word that people have used to describe me a lot, and I like to reclaim and redefine things, rather than to just reject them. For instance, my first memoir is titled Pastrix, and pastrix is literally a term of insult that conservative Christian bloggers gave me when I first became a public figure, because they didn’t think I deserved the title Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, ’cause I was a girl. And women aren’t supposed to be pastors. Now to be clear, there are a million reasons I shouldn’t be a pastor, but being a girl isn’t one of them. So they gave me a term of insult, pastrix, right? And I titled my first memoir Pastrix, which was on the New York Times best-seller list, so if you’re keeping track, I won that round. …

Stephen Kiesling is a former Olympic rower, cocreator of the Nike Cross Training System, and editor at large of Spirituality & Health. A 35th anniversary edition of The Shell Game: Reflections on Rowing and the Pursuit of Excellence has just been published.

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