The One That Got Away

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The title of this post is misleading. She didn’t get away. Not really. Sure, she left Churches of Christ and went Lutheran, a move that back in the day would have surely disqualified her from playing the real game. But thanks be to God, some of us who stayed and kept on trudging in the CoC look upon people like Nadia Bolz-Weber and hear a voice that has plenty to say from a tradition that might actually have something to contribute back to us.

But in some ways, she did get away. She does not preach in a Church of Christ, and there are only a handful that would even think about letting her guest preach. Not a special speaker at a retreat, either. I’m talking the big times, Sunday morning, during the worship hour, doing the thing called “the sermon.” (I can think of three off the top of my head.)

So a few of us from the Bering Drive Church of Christ went today to hear this woman who has a powerful voice in American Christianity, mainly because her voice continues to turn the conversation back to God, and how God is available to everyone. Bolz-Weber talks about God in a way that makes God accessible, as though God were actually interested in communion with all people. Sounds almost like something Jesus said.

I sat next to my daughter during the last session. It was wonderful to sit next to her and listen together to a woman who spoke the Gospel with such beautiful sincerity. I wondered what my 14-year-old girl was thinking as she heard Nadia speak–(notice that in the course of a paragraph we are now on a first-name basis)–and as my daughter has watched her own youth minister at our church–(a woman, mind you)–preach a few times herself on Sunday morning. Would my daughter ever get up and speak this good news? Who knows? But I’m hopeful that we are entering a future where more than three places would listen.