I just finished the audiobook Pastrix, by Nadia Bolz-Weber last night on my way home from meeting my wife for dinner. We had driven to work separately but met for dinner before coming home to feed the dogs.
In her book, Nadia tells me stories in each chapter of different times within her life where she died to herself, and was resurrected new. In other words, times in her life where she was changed, but she’s right. Saying she was changed in these moments, in these stories, just doesn’t seem like enough. And Nadia does a beautiful job of illustrating what it is that is so infectious about Christianity. The pit of it, the source of it, not the institution and the mega churches. There are countless phrases she’s spoken to me through my audio phone app this last month that I only wish I had thought to string together myself as they speak so truthfully to my own experience, my own feelings towards faith.
People like Nadia make me want to explore more, to learn more and more as I used to do about the Bible, and what it does have for us that is good and true. People like Nadia make me want to go back to church. But when I go to church, I have a really hard time staying long enough to find out if there are people like Nadia there. It seems like I’m the only one at first glance and I’m usually not comfortable enough or brave enough to keep going back knowing that at some point, I’ll be coming out. And I don’t mean the sexual orientation coming out; that happens daily; I mean the spiritual coming out. At some point, I’ll be in a sermon and feel like I have to walk out in the middle of it or question the leader later. At some point, I may even make it to Bible study and I’ll have to bring up that I don’t think this passage means that at all, and what are you guys even talking about? And that’s scary, because what if there is no one in the room who agrees with me or who will back me up?
So I’ve found solace in Nadia’s words over the last month. I wish I had more of them to listen to and interact with and think about. But as evidenced by this post, they’ve also made me uncomfortable. Not uncomfortable in a bad way, but in the way that only the truth can do to you. I’m uncomfortable not being in a community of believers.
The trouble is that I have this great idea of what that looks like in my mind and no idea where to find it. But Nadia’s words also make me uncomfortable in settling for this trouble as my reality. She makes me feel like just saying I don’t know where to find it, without continuing to look is a cop out, and it is.