About 650 people braved double digit below zero wind chills (even Nadia tweeted “It is irrationally cold here”) and blowing snow to come out to hear Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints last night at St. John Lutheran in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Pastor Bolz-Weber has gotten a lot of press lately, most of it focusing on her tattoos and salty language, but she defies being boxed in, labeled or shunted off to a “type”.
She also would be the first to agree that her way of delivering the Gospel is not for everyone. But she also points out that if she and her community are not what you look for in a church, there are plenty of other options out there, throughout most of Christendom, in fact.
But her style and her community provide a welcome and safe place for people who long for the message of God’s grace, and find solace in the rituals and liturgy of the Lutheran church, but who encounter roadblocks and obstacles in more mainstream Lutheran congregations.
Although few of us may find ourselves in a community like Pastor Bolz-Weber’s, her message about millennials and the “nones” (those who, when asked about religious affiliation, will mark “none”) is relevant to anyone concerned about how the church can adjust to the changing world around us.
Her contention is that most nones have not rejected God or the Gospel at all. She is convinced Lutherans, in particular, have a message people long to hear but we need to change the delivery system
She’s not for everyone but even in Northeastern Iowa Synod, you could tell from the people who were there, from the conversations around me, questions and comments to her during the book signing, (and the #Nadiastjohn tweeting) that Nadia taps into something in a lot of folks that we still aren’t reaching in most of our churches. In that way, she is a prophet and a gift to our church.