Book Review: Nadia Bolz-Weber, "Accidental Saints"

“I have come to realize that all the saints I’ve known have been accidental ones — people who inadvertently stumbled into redemption like they were looking for something else at the time, people who have just a wee bit of a drinking problem and manage to get sober and help others to do the same, people who are as kind as they are hostile.”

What do you get when you mix a stand-up comedian, a recovering alcoholic, a burned out Fundamentalist Christian, and send them to a Lutheran Seminary?  Nadia Bolz-Weber.  This is the second book of Nadia’s that I have read.  She is a breath of fresh air to typical “Christian” publishing – speaking in earthy and colloquial tones: “…she said, ‘I think I’m having a crisis of faith.’ To which I thought, What the hell does that look like for a Unitarian? ‘Yeah,’ she continued. ‘I think I believe in Jesus.’ Oh. That’s what it looks like. ‘I’m so sorry,’ I replied. ‘But sometimes Jesus just hunts your ass down and there’s nothing you can do about it.’”

Yes, she is raw, but she is not gratuitous. I quickly picked up on the influence of the unfiltered honesty of a 12 step group.  She writes, “I’ve never fully understood how Christianity became quite so tame and respectable, given its origins among drunkards, prostitutes, and tax collectors.”

She made me laugh, but more importantly, she has some great insights to life and faith.  Here are some other nuggets from the book:


  •  “In the Jesus business, community is always a part of healing. Even though community is never perfect.”

I would recommend her writings to you.  And if you live the Treasure Valley, she is coming to the Northwest Leadership Conference at the Cathedral of the Rockies in February.  

Dana Hicks