WaPo: Liberal, Profane Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber A ‘Superhero,’ ‘Rockstar’

Now here’s a Christian the Washington Post can love: profanity-fluent liberal Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber. And she’s coming to Washington, D.C. Nov. 5, as advertised by the Post’s Michelle Boorstein.

From the beginning of her long (1,798 words) Nov. 4 article, Boorstein gushed over Bolz-Weber as a “superhero from Planet Alternative Christian” and enthused that the Lutheran pastor’s “liberal, sometimes profane take on Christianity” is “going mainstream.”

Managing a Denver church with 180 faithful, Bolz-Weber preaches that Christianity “has nothing to do with rules; it is the process of dying and then being made new,” according to Boorstein. She caters to an audience of “outsiders” – or, as she explains in her new memoir, “underside dwellers … cynics, alcoholics and queers” and “young urban smartasses who wanted something more than the categories of late-stage capitalism.”

“In her body and her theology,” Boorstein explained, “Bolz-Weber represents a new, muscular form of liberal Christianity” and appears as a “tatted-up foul-mouthed champion to people sick of being belittled as not Christian enough for the right or too Jesus-y for the left” – a “budding star for the liberal Christian set.”

Boorstein was enthralled by the “dramatic back story, cool appearance, super-entertaining delivery” of the 44-year-old reformed drug and alcohol addict with a promiscuous past turned hip tattooed weightlifter.

Boorstein didn’t bother to talk to any more traditional Christians about Bolz-Weber. Instead, she pumped up the pastor’s “growing popularity” and seemed to think the 180 souls are the start of a  mega-church. (Though Bolz-Weber expressed concern that “normal people” “are [mess]ing up my weird.”)

Of course, Bolz-Webber didn’t say “messing,” she said “fucking.” And that’s what Boorstein admires about her – that and her tattoos, her “precious little indie boutique of a church” (Bolz-Weber’s words), and because she eschews the “hypocrisy, homophobia and sexism in her fundamentalist upbringing.” And that’s how the Post likes its Christians.

Bolz-Weber has a great story, and much of what she preaches is as beautiful and orthodox as any mainstream Christianity. But if she weren’t an avowed liberal – with all the superficial trappings of modern liberalism – would the Post have given her nearly 1,800 words?

Katie Yoder
Katie Yoder
Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center