If I met somebody who had no time for pretense, who knew how to use strong language, who'd seen more garbage than they should have, and who was trying to make a difference in the crazy world, I'd hand them "Accidental Saints."
Why would I choose this book for them? Because Nadia Bolz-Weber is a straight-talker who could never be accused of hiding in organized religion. Indeed, she has some words for those who use Christianity as an invitation to unreality: "We've lost the plot if we use religion as the place where we escape from difficult realities instead of the place where those difficult realities are given meaning."
In this book, she stretches her eyes wide (to her own discomfort) and looks hard at everything around her. She recounts some of the ways her life has collided with other lives, in births and deaths and sin and forgiveness.
It's ugly reading at times, because that's how it is when you're capable of hurting people and being hurt.
It's beautiful writing sometimes, because she finds Gospel-beauty alive and growing in this world.
We often talk, in Evangelical circles, about helping our children to "find a faith that will survive" in this wicked, pernicious, tempting world. (Insert ironic eye roll.) After reading this book, I wonder if maybe it's more that we need to learn to survive our faith. After all, our faith is hung upon a Man who went down to the lowest and the darkest and the most ragged places, and so following him means we have to go there too.
I'll close this book recommendation with one of my favorite quotes. Half-way through the book, Nadia ends a chapter by saying "... the holy things we need for healing and sustenance are almost always the same as the ordinary things right in front of us."
I thank Convergent Books for giving me a review copy. "Accidental Saints" indeed.