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Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  9,397 ratings  ·  1,147 reviews

What if that person you've been trying to avoid is your best shot at grace today?

And what if that's the point?

In Accidental Saints, New York Times best-selling au­thor Nadia Bolz-Weber invites readers into a surprising encounter with what she calls “a religious but not-so-spiritual life.” Tattooed, angry and profane, this former standup comic turne
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 27th 2016 by Convergent Books (first published September 8th 2015)
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Chris If you can embrace an outside of the box portrayal of Christianity, I think you'll like it. I definitely did. It really hit home the reality of the wo…moreIf you can embrace an outside of the box portrayal of Christianity, I think you'll like it. I definitely did. It really hit home the reality of the work Jesus did, hanging out with the 'lesser people' society finds it easy to ignore. I think Bolz hits that nail on the head. (less)
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Sep 25, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me by someone at work who I THINK believes I am "edgy," and is also aware that I love reading about religion. I think SHE thought I'd embrace this "cool" approach to Christianity. But this book was not for me. Nadia Bolz-Weber comes from an extremely conservative background. So her fresh ideas were stale to me. "Catholics are NOT THAT WEIRD!"(I'm a Catholic.) "I hang out with REAL GAY PEOPLE!" I mean, that is great, and perhaps conservative people reading this will f ...more
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work-related
I recommend the audiobook as well because NBW reads it herself.
(3.5) I knew of Nadia Bolz-Weber through Greenbelt Festival. She’s a foul-mouthed, tattooed, fairly orthodox Lutheran pastor. This brief, enjoyable memoir is about how she keeps believing despite her own past issues and the many messed-up and outwardly unlovable people who show up at her church, House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver. I especially love her new set of Beatitudes.

In my favorite section, she zeroes in on one Holy Week and shows the whole range of emotions and trauma that religi
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
Here we have a continuation, a collection of stories from one Saint Cookies day to another five year later (when the cookies are accidentally forgotten). The author is a Lutheran pastor in Denver with her church of and for people who don't really fit in the usual churches. There is a set of discussion questions at the end and a short interview with her.

We get to read of various events, both in Denver and on author's travels within US and elsewhere. You get to see her in all her goods and flaws
K. Lincoln
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So here's the thing: I grew up in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, was baptized, confirmed, and then went to high school and found nothing in the liturgy or the service to make me stay in the church.

And then I went to live in Japan and had to wrestle with a WHOLE COUNTRY of folks with a 1000 year old history that has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus.

So I stopped believing the church or Christianity had anything to do with me. I'm a flaming liberal, and a religion that makes outsid
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
"There is something about dropping F-bombs and making fun of worship music with a bishop that makes me feel warm and fuzzy." -- Pastor Nadia, 'minister behaving badly' on page 43

After discovering Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber via her latest release Shameless just a few weeks ago I decided to check out her previous books. (Her biographic debut Pastrix is on deck for me later this month.) I imagine that the edgy chapters in Accidental Saints are indicative of her style of sermons.

Accidental Saints is a
Very readable and extremely relatable. If you've 'been around the block' a few times, or are a woman 'with a past ' you will find peace and a judgment free place to land. While her liberal use of cursing was very unusual, it did not bother me, as I can be a bit of a potty mouth myself when having a hissy fit over something unfair or cruel.

I was going to give it 4.5 stars but I bumped it up to 5 when I read her last chapter on her new Beatitudes.

Blessed are those are not over it yet
Blessed are th
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
On a 0-100 scale, what I know about Christianity comes MUCH closer to 0 than to 100. Believe me. (Note: I'm not repeating "believe me," as does The Donald; so you can trust that I'm neither lying nor using "truthful hyperbole.") Born Jewish -- and still Jewish -- I, unfortunately, don't know what I ought to know about my own religion -- much less anyone else's. And before I discuss Nadia Bolz-Weber's book, I should also confess that my desire to increase my familiarity with Christian theology ha ...more
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I freakin' love Nadia Bolz-Weber. She released the incredible Pastrix just two years ago, and she's gathered enough stories since then to have a brand-new inspiring, challenging, funny book about God and people that made me cry on at least three occasions. This book is structured over the course of a liturgical year, beginning and ending at All Saints' Day, though she draws on stories from multiple years. My takeaway from this book is that I don't need to try harder to "be a good Christian/perso ...more
Amy Neftzger
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the spirit on honesty, I'd like to state that I typically avoid books by Christian authors. I have an uncontrollable phobia of platitudes and easy answers. This book was different and Bolt-Weber doesn't claim to have all the answers, which immediately got my attention and respect.

Nadia Boltz-Weber's writing is raw and honest. She asks a lot of questions, and sometimes those questions don't have answers. There's no formula on how to live a perfect life or list of rules to follow in order to ga
Not quite as raw or edgy as I'd been expecting, based on what I'd heard about this book. Given the book's subtitle, I was surprised that I didn't find the book's primary focus to be about "finding God in all the wrong people." Bolz-Weber tends to gloss over what is objectionable about the people whose stories she's telling -- in a way, I felt like there was a bit of defiance toward the reader in this sense, as though she were expecting us to be the ones to call the people in her examples "wrong" ...more
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like Nadia Bolz-Weber. She’s cool and can be funny sometimes. She’s also very Lutheran, for what it’s worth; all about the sola fide. But I’m not the audience for this book, probably because it’s not so much about Finding God in All the Wrong People as it is how the Pastrix is herself the Accidental Saint. The scenes are ostensibly about other misfits coming around to the faith, but always conclude with passages about how she loves Christ but (gasp!) has tattoos, hangs out with drag queens and ...more
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
A wonderful, whole-hearted, no-holds-barred book.
Kat Heckenbach
Jun 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oddly enough, I had discovered Nadia Bolz-Weber exactly one day before seeing this book show up in the Amazon Vine newsletter. A friend had posted something about her on Facebook, essentially musing over whether Mrs. Bolz-Weber is genuine or not. Let's face it--a female pastor, covered in tats, spewing expletives at's gonna make people wonder, in this world of fame-hungry attention-seekers.

So I looked up Nadia (whom I'll refer to as such not out of disrespect, but out of ease I typing
Bonnie G.
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, religion
I am a nice Jewish girl who works at an ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) college. As a non-Christian deeply invested in the ELCA my viewpoint is perhaps a unique one. I started reading this book over a year ago. I read the first few essays, and was interested, intended to return (I often read books of essays in pieces) but somehow never did. In the meantime I picked up my life, stopped working in a Jewish nonprofit in Atlanta and moved to Fargo and began working at a tiny college th ...more
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I’m sure a lot of people will get a lot out of Nadia Bolz-Weber’s memoir Accidental Saints, but I’m not one of them.

Reverand Nadia Bolz-Weber doesn’t look like your typical Lutheran Pastor. Rocking tattoo sleeves and a foul mouth, she’s a new type of preacher, the type to welcome those who have normally been turned away by the religious establishment. Her church is founded on the principle that humans are going to fuck up (so edgy with the swearing!) but that a good heart is what matters to God
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
I was a little tentative about this one, thinking that the tattooed-swearing-pastor thing might be all Bolz-Weber had to offer, but I needn't have worried. Her theology is actually pretty orthodox (from an Episcopalian perspective, at least), and her stories are well told and touching. Nothing new, really, but a refreshing reminder of God's boundless love and grace and His call to us to care for even the least lovable people.
Matthew Price
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If her book Pastrix convinced me that she's a great pastor, this new book by Nadia Bolz-Weber convinced me she's also a brilliant Lutheran theologian. The stories in this book are at times funny, at times tragic, but always vulnerable and true, as well as brimming with insights into the Bible and the offensive nature of God's grace in our world. I know I'll never read stories like the death of Judas or Jesus' encounter with the Gerasene demoniac in the same way again. Highly recommended.
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good, storied account of how the grace of God meets us in our messy lives.
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly, I found this book hard to read, for all the best reasons. Yes, it was funny and the right amount of uncomfortable, but it was also painfully real and honest and full of actual love and grace-the kind of love and grace every one of us wants to believe we give and receive, but maybe aren't sure of. I had to take this in small chunks and absorb it slowly, but am so very glad that I did.
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of Nadia Bolz-Weber's forthcoming book. Unlike Pastrix, it tells stories primarily from her life as a pastor, with little emphasis on her earlier life. Her writing is, as always, engaging, and in this book rather self-deprecating, as she tells stories of people who became (accidental) saints in her life. It's a wonderful book. Bolz-Weber offers a forthright word about grace and mercy, tempering the charming confidence exhibited in earlier writing wit ...more
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism, churchy
Recommended for: People questioning their faith; Christians; women, especially strong women; people who are dealing with guilt, people who are stretched too thin.

Themes you'll find: Redemption, forgiveness, finding facets of Christ in everyone. Imperfect love, brokenness.

Stuff that was awesome: Her stories and her tone! She's no-nonsense. She swears. She would totally say "shit" if she had a mouthful. But she's also a preacher. She's an ordained minister who understands the importance of finding
Mar 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading Nadia Bolz-Weber is not comfortable reading for those are offended by broken, messy people with messy lives descending on their look-good-from-the-road Christianity. Or, incidentally, have issues with pastors swearing. But for those who have been wounded, rejected, and damaged by the above mentioned Christians, she is, literally, a Godsend. Bolz-Weber comes from fundamentalist roots and a rough road back to faith. She serves as pastor of The House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver. Sh ...more
Paul Mathis
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nadia Bolz-Weber is incredible. Not because of anything she has done, but because of her recognition of what God has done and is doing through her. Her vulnerability, self-reflection, and (often hard to give) graciousness is an example of what Christians should aspire to be. Along with Pastrix, I highly, highly recommend this book. Both to those in the church in order to learn how to become a community that receives broken people and to the unchurched who believe church members have everything f ...more
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"On All Saints' Sunday, I am faced with sticky ambiguities around saints who were bad and sinners who were good.

"Personally, I think knowing the difference between a racist and a saint is kind of important. But when Jesus again and again says things like the last shall be first, and the first shall be last, and the poor are blessed, and the rich are cursed, and that prostitutes make great dinner guests, it makes me wonder if our need for pure black-and-white categories is not true religion but m
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although I follow her on Twitter for several months now, this is my first book by Nadia. I am grateful for this difficult beautiful book. I think thoughtful folks could spend a great deal of time talking their way through this book, story by story, and end up deeply challenged about the way they see the world and the people in it.
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Reading this book was like Nadia was inside my head, thinking the things I think and feeling the way I feel. Her honesty is refreshing, not just for a pastor or a Christian, but a person. She tells everything like it is--swear words and all--and despite her fear of appearing vulnerable or terrible, she lays bare her heart in the pages of this book, and hangs her dirty laundry in the subway for all all to see and smell.

I was born and raised in a conservative Christian home, but it's Nadia who ma
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, religion, nonfiction
Another keeper from the author of Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint. This one is a collection of reflections on a variety of subjects, illustrated by her experiences with her congregation at House for all Sinners and Saints in Denver.
I appreciate the honesty of her writing; her raw, confessional tone has a powerful effect on me.
I highlighted a lot while I was reading; here are a few favorite passages:
Maybe Jesus was simply blessing the ones around him that day who didn't
I grew up Lutheran but consider myself to be fairly agnostic/atheist, so I'm not sure what drew me to this book. I think lately I've started to get more interested in the theological study of religion. Because religion is so intwined with our world, whether we believe or not, I think it's important to expose oneself to it in a variety of ways. Having grown up Lutheran and also having lived in Denver, I had heard of Nadia Bolz-Weber and so I was interested in learning more about her story. Her me ...more
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: practicing and former Christians, especially Lutherans
Recommended to Melle by: NPR / Fresh Air
As a former Lutheran, while I differ with Nadia Bolz-Weber's theology and religion, I appreciate her approach to her faith and to caring for others, her ability to relate and to show compassion, and her ability to make me laugh and cry with recognition of our collective, messy, shared humanity. This is a book that shows the best of what Christianity (like many other faiths and spiritual practices in this world) has to offer, what I learned about loving people where they're at, just as they are, ...more
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Nadia Bolz-Weber is the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints, an ELCA mission church in Denver, Colorado.

She has a BA in Religious Studies from CU Boulder and an MDiv from Iliff School of Theology.

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“Never once did Jesus scan the room for the best example of  holy living and send that person out to tell others about him. He always sent stumblers and sinners. I find that comforting.” 40 likes
“And this is it. This is the life we get here on earth. We get to give away what we receive. We get to believe in each other. We get to forgive and be forgiven. We get to love imperfectly. And we never know what effect it will have for years to come. And all of  it…all of  it is completely worth it.” 21 likes
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