From Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, by Nadia Bolz-Weber, here are some thoughts on “grace,” a summary of what she learned in a church basement when she began attending church again.
I won’t comment on her words, simply present them and ask you to consider and discuss.
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- God’s grace is a gift that is freely given to us. We don’t earn a thing when it comes to God’s love, and we only try to live in response to the gift.
- No one is climbing the spiritual ladder. We don’t continually improve until we are so spiritual we no longer need God. We die and are made new, but that’s different from spiritual self-improvement.
- We are simultaneously sinner and saint, 100 percent of both, all the time.
- The Bible is not God. The Bible is simply the cradle that holds Christ. Anything in the Bible that does not hold up to the Gospel of Jesus Christ simply does not have the same authority.
- The movement in our relationship to God is always from God to us. Always. We can’t through our piety or goodness, move closer to God. God is always coming near to us. Most especially in the Eucharist and in the stranger.
…I need to clarify something, however. God’s grace is not defined as God being forgiving to us even though we sin. Grace is when God is a source of wholeness, which makes up for my failings. My failings hurt me and others and even the planet, and God’s grace to me is that my brokenness is not the final word. My selfishness is not the end-all… instead it’s that God makes beautiful things out of even my own shit. Grace isn’t about God creating humans as flawed human beings and then acting all hurt when we inevitably fail and then stepping in like the hero to grant us grace — like saying, “Oh, it’s OK, I’ll be a good guy and forgive you.” It’s God saying, “I love the world too much to let your sin define you and be the final word. I am a God who makes all things new.”
- Pastrix, pages 49-50