All Sinners, All Saints, All Welcome

By Nadia Bolz-Weber 07-30-2012
Nadia Bolz-Weber

Nadia Bolz-Weber

Editor's Note: God's Politics contributor, Nadia Bolz-Weber, recently delivered an address to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) Youth Gathering in New Orleans, where she told the story of her spiritual journey from tattooed, alcoholic ne'erdowell to tattooed, 20-years-sober, Lutheran minister. Nadia's is a powerful tale of redemption, God's unconditional love, and staggeringly real grace.

"Some of your parents and some of your pastors were really upset that I was your speaker tonite. They felt like I was someone who should not be allowed to talk to tens of thousands of teenagers. And you know what I have to say to that? They are absolutely right.

"Somebody with my past of alcoholism and drug abuse and promiscuity and lying and stealing should not be allowed to talk to you. You know what? Somebody with my present — who I am now — shouldn't be allowed to talk to you because I am sarcastic, heavily tattooed, I swear like a truck driver — they're having a heart attack back there, going, 'Please help her not swear.'

"I am a flawed person. I should not be allowed to be here talking to you. But you know what? That's the God we're dealing with, people."

Nadia Bolz-Weber is a Lutheran pastor living in Denver, Colorado, where she serves the emerging church, House for all Sinners and Saints. She blogs at and is the author of Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television.

Don't Miss a Story!

Get Sojourners delivered straight to your inbox.

Have Something to Say?

Add or Read Comments on
"All Sinners, All Saints, All Welcome"
Launch Comments
By commenting here, I agree to abide by the Sojourners Comment Community Covenant guidelines

Must Reads