In this episode of Bulletproof Radio, Lutheran Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber shares her relationship with religion that’s refreshingly frank.
Nadia, a former addict and stand-up comedian, founded the House for All Sinners & Saints church in Denver, Colorado, in 2008. She led the congregation for a decade, then retired from church leadership to continue her work as a public theologian. She’s also the author of three New York Times bestselling books in which she considers the nature of sex, pleasure, spirituality–and even shame.
She explores and embraces a pretty expansive worldview. I find her fascinating–from her “Sarcastic Lutheran” social handles to "The Confessional" podcast she hosts–and wanted to get her unique perspective on fasting, lack and going without.
On Fasting: “My own profound experience of fasting actually isn’t part of the Christian tradition,” Nadia explains. “It's just 48 hours of prayer and fasting, and I'm outside on the ridge of this mountain, not a mountain, but the hills. With just a bedroll. For two days. I stay in one spot. Being a New York Times bestselling author does jack shit for you.”
On the Body: “It's baffling to me that Christianity became such a body hating, pleasure-hating religion, when the whole story behind Christianity is, God decided to have a human body,” she says. “And then we say they're evil if we actually believe God decided out of all things to slip into skin and walk among us. It's just crazy to me.”
On Sex: “I was walking down the street in London, all this stuff is swirling in my head, and I was just like so amazed by how good it was for me to be having sex again,” she says. “And then I thought, “Why did the church make me sign a paper saying I wouldn't do this. How is it better for my church if I'm not getting laid?” That makes no sense whatsoever.”
In her most recent book, “Shameless: A Sexual Reformation: A Case for Not Feeling Bad About Feeling Good (About Sex)“ she writes about the complicated relationship people have with sex and pleasure, and Christianity’s often distorted reality of that.
Listen on to our conversation and to learn how to sift through life’s mixed messages about faith and pleasure to find what brings you personal meaning.
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