Nadia Bolz-Weber delivered a thought-provoking and hilarious take on the gospel to more than 200 people gathered at Lake Junaluska Oct. 7-8. Standing at six-foot-one in a sleeveless tank that showed off her sleeve tattoos, Bolz-Weber isn’t what you typically think of when you picture a Lutheran minister. She is the founding pastor of All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado and author of two New York Times bestselling books.
During the weekend conference, Bolz-Weber addressed the church, why we need the gospel and forgiveness of sins. She did so in her signature comedic style.
“God came to stroke our hearts as only a baby can do,” she said. “And also, after a tough resurrection, grilled fish makes an awesome breakfast.”
Despite the jokes and laughter throughout the event, Bolz-Weber’s message was serious. Attendees said they walked away with amazing insights.
“She’s truthful, and she connects everyday experiences to the gospel in ways that are easy to understand,” said Paige Wolfe, from Spartanburg, S.C. “Hearing about her church—that seems like what church should look like.”
Susan Anderson, who attended the event from Hickory, said she recognized some of Bolz-Weber’s messages from Alcoholics Anonymous. Bolz-Weber is a recovering alcoholic, and she referred to her former abuse of alcohol throughout the event.
“I could relate to a lot of what she said,” Anderson said. “I’ve been in AA and sober for 29 years, and many of the AA principles were in there.”
Bolz-Weber spoke at length about the future of the church.
“We believe in the redeeming work of a boundary-breaking God who brings live things out of dead things,” Bolz-Weber said. “But we’re afraid for things to die, even though that’s where live things come from… we are not the first group of Christians to worry about the decline of Christianity.”
Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center is a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through the renewal of soul, mind and body. To find out more about programs, conferences and other activities at Lake Junaluska, visit www.lakejunaluska.com or call 800-222-4930.