People are showing up all over the country to hear Pastor Nadia speak. Her book is wildly popular. Her message is compelling and clear. Her approach is refreshing and a little off-color. The gift she is giving is HOPE to a church that is tired of feeling bad about the changes going on in our world that we cannot control. We are tired of feeling unsuccessful. We are tired of not knowing what to do to stop the apparent inevitable demise of something we love dearly.
Talking with her one-on-one after she spoke for 3 hours (wow!) with 300 leaders from multiple denominations in the Houston area, from venues that required up to a couple of hours drive, she shared a personal reflection of her own popularity. – This was a conversation that was not entirely in her comfort zone. Here’s the thing, Nadia was not raised Lutheran. Her perspective as a Lutheran pastor is a lot like Paul’s passionate, unorthodox ministry to the Gentiles because she IS a convert. She can see the gifts in Lutheran thought and practice that those of us raised in the Lutheran tradition may have trouble seeing because we are so used to them. Thanks be to God that someone can speak our own faith to us in a way we can actually hear, as if we were hearing it for the first time.
We asked Nadia to speak about the Theology of the Cross. Frankly, I think this is a huge gift Lutherans can offer the rest of the Body of Christ, even if most Lutherans don’t have the words to describe what this means. She reminded us in Luther’s own words that this is basically “calling a thing what it is.” (Book of Concord, 1580)
The “thing” is that the church and the world around us are moving into a different operating system. That doesn’t mean that people don’t or won’t have faith. It does mean the church will evolve. I loved Nadia’s example about telephone booths. (If you are under 25, think Superman to get mental picture of a telephone booth!) Imagine that people were grieving the lack of use of telephone booths to the extent that they formed committees to redecorate telephone booths to make them more attractive so people would use them! Obviously the use of telephones has increased exponentially but the now “vintage box” is obsolete.
I’m thinking that our task is to dig deep behind the “vintage box” of the church to rediscover the beauty of our own faith tradition as we love and serve God in the future. I believe we will be in for a big surprise as the mission of God explodes into something even bigger than anything we have experienced. This is the season of discernment. Listen deeply for God and have HOPE.
In addition, a powerful thing occurred Saturday as Nadia Bolz-Weber spoke at Messiah Lutheran Church. Many of you know Nadia was raised Church of Christ. She recalls being silenced for being a woman.
During the Q&A Jeff Christian, the pastor at Bering Drive Church of Christ stood up. What happened next will surprise you. Check out the podcast transcript by clicking here