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 at the Media Research Center