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Shameless: A Sexual Reformation

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  5,487 ratings  ·  847 reviews
"Nothing gives church folk anxiety quite like the subject of sex. And that's why in Shameless, Pastor Nadia sets out to reclaim the conversation for a new generation. In the spirit of Martin Luther, Bolz-Weber calls for a reformation of the way believers understand and express their sexuality. To make her case, Bolz-Weber draws on experiences from her own life a
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by Convergent Books
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  5,487 ratings  ·  847 reviews

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F.E. Jr.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received my pre-ordered copy of Shameless yesterday in the mail and finished it this afternoon.
This isn't a book.

This is a kindness.

With a gentle yet authoritative voice, Nadia deconstructs the 'sex is dirty but necessary' theology that has been the cornerstone of control in Christianity lo these many years.
As someone who grew up in 'fundiland' where this type of control was like iron bars around the psyche (and often times the advocates were little hedonists caught up in their inability t
Carl Jenkins
There are some things I like about this book. Nadia Bolz-Weber is a fantastic story teller. The book and it's contents are written in such a way that I couldn't put it down. It wasn't a matter of whether or not I agreed with it, it wast just very compelling story telling.

I also agree with NBW whole heartedly that the church has some very messed up ways of approaching sex that create a lot of problems. I would consider myself from a more conservative church tradition and have already had numerous
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
No review this time, only: this book is first-aid.
Feb 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
Has the church done a poor job teaching about sex, sexuality, and sexual ethics* in the past? Yes, yes it has.

Do I believe that Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber’s recently-published book Shameless presents the antidote to this poor teaching? No, no I do not.

Underlying Shameless is a premise with which I agree: that is, many people have indeed been hurt or shamed by the church’s teaching on and attitudes toward sex and sexuality. Even well-intentioned individuals have promulgated a sexual ethic t
Brittany | Healing Happy Lee
"If the teachings of the church are harming the bodies and spirits of people, we should rethink those teachings." Amen!

Faith + Restoration + Sexual Reformation + and a whole lot of swearing!

Who This Book Is For:

If you've had someone tell you (pastor, counselor, parents, or otherwise) that God doesn't love you because x, y, z, and it was harmful to you, if it affected you negatively in life, then this book is for you.

Your sexuality is a gift. If it has been shamed, or if that part of you feels st
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I may not agree with everything Pastor Bolz-Weber states in her book, but I liked her unusual style.

I vaguely recall hearing about her in the last few years, with the U.S. media of course playing up her unconventional flair and appearance as a Lutheran-based minister in Colorado. Her (now former) church's name? The House For All Sinners and Saints - how wonderfully inclusive! From what I've read / watched on the Web I'd say Bolz-Weber's take on Christianity is sort of like the Hard Rock Cafe mot
The first words that come to my mind to describe “Shameless” by Nadia Bolz-Weber are "pastoral, healing, water for a dry and weary soul."

The money quote for me came in the introduction:

"We should not be more loyal to an idea, a doctrine, or an interpretation of a Bible verse than we are to people. If the teachings of the church are harming the bodies and spirits of people, we should rethink those teachings." (5)

Right after that, Nadia reminds us that 500 years ago Martin Luther took a close lo
Libby O'Neill
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would give more than 5 stars if possible. Such a great important book for being fully human.
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book definitely has Bolz-Weber's characteristic conversational style that has made all of her earlier works incredibly readable. And just like her earlier works, it also made me cry cathartically at different points. I think "Shameless" fills a much needed gap in Christian nonfiction on sex, sexuality and the body. ...more
Ryan Ebling
There's still a lot in here that I'm trying to figure out why I react to it the way I do. Overall, I think she's on to something. The shame-based view of sex that pervades the church and the instruction of youth is destructive. I don't follow her everywhere she goes, but it's an important conversation to have. ...more
Anna Keating
Feb 14, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think I'm grieving the advocacy of abortion until birth in this book. The maximalist position. I love Nadia, but I find the "life begins with breath in the Bible" arg. intense, and odd, since we have science, and our experience as pregnant women, and other verses like Jer. 1:5, tradition, etc. which contradict that. My son was born not breathing and had to have chest compressions so breath as what indicates personhood also struck a nerve. It caught me off guard as a reader in a book I hoped wa ...more
Donald Powell
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I love everyone after reading this book. It is a transformative essay. Based on common sense (logic), scripture, history, study of serious social scientists and a strong and abiding faith in what Christianity means to the author and her flock, it is a view of the Christian faith making me feel validated, no longer alone. These same thoughts, sometimes exactly and sometimes in a less mature less organized, and less articulate formulation are what I have been preaching to my friends and associates ...more
Alyssa Foll
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've come to expect thought-provoking, pastorally-oriented books from Nadia Bolz-Weber and Shameless did not disappoint. I deeply resonated with one of Nadia's metaphors for sexuality -- she likened it to how crops are planted in squares and grids, but watered in circles. Thus, when one is flying over the Mid-west, you can see square patches of land that contain circles. She likens the church's teachings on sexuality to circle-irrigation -- some of the teachings don't reach those who are "plante ...more
Jennifer Lambert
My marriages were pretty disastrous. Counselors, both Christian and secular, told me to just allow my husband all the sex he wanted, whenever and however he wanted it - and all would be better. Trite tips on how to parrot his requests to improve communication. I was always the aggressor, refusing to back down in my admonition that communication and sex weren't the real problems. My first husband was addicted to pornography. My second was mentally ill. But somehow, they were victims.

I researched
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book on Netgalley and it is utterly incredible. If you’ve ever felt guilt about who you are due to bad experiences with a church, you need this book. It is far from conservative and Bolz-Weber is really reaching out to those folks who feel like they no longer have a relationship with Jesus because of shame. Highly recommend.
Mike Selland
Feb 28, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because a friend of mine had read it and highly recommended it. Unfortunately, I cannot do the same. The author comes to the subject, and to the Bible, with her preconceived bias (yes, we all do); however, her theology and exegesis are faulty. She makes assumptions, and doesn’t seem to know anything about an historical/cultural hermeneutic.

I agree that in many places the church today is shame based. And this is a tragedy. But, the answer is not “do whatever you want.” The answer lie
Kelsey Ebling
I thought this was a worthwhile read. it expanded my worldview and I enjoyed the author's rewriting of "the fall" story from Genesis. I'm not on board with everything she said theologically, but she doesn't claim to be a theologian. actually, there's a lot in the book I don't necessarily agree with or understand but I'm grateful she wrote it because I believe the way the church has dealt with sex has been shameful and shame-based and we need to move on in a healthier way when we approach the sub ...more
Joshua Greer
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a freakin fantastic book. Having grown up in a baptist church as a gay kid, this book means a lot. Bolz-Weber is concise, funny, blunt and loving all a the same time. It was refreshing to read a book concerning spirituality and sexuality that was positive without completely disregarding the pain and difficulties many people have endured at the hands of the church. I'm sure I'll be recommending this book to many people. ...more
Katelyn Beaty
I read "Shameless" to inform my NYT essay on purity culture. ...more
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short Version: Read this book.

Longer Version:
If you have felt shame or betrayal at the hands of the Purity Movement, then this book can provide a lens of healing, a way to approach sex that is uncompromising in from both the perspective of faith and your own personal story.

But also, even if you haven’t felt shame or betrayal, even if the Purity Movement was a beneficial approach to sex and sexuality, then this book can provide an alternate story–not one that invalidates your experience, but on
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cbr11
This is an antidote to I Kissed Dating Goodbye and other harmful repressive teachings Evangelicals have been told about sex and sexuality. It is a quasi-memoir with literary interludes. Because so much has emerged about religious institutions and sexual abuse, I hope Bolz-Weber writes a follow-up focusing specifically on that.
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm certain that this book is highly controversial and even offensive in more conservative Christian circles. This book is absolutely not going to be a hit with everyone, and I'm sure has caused discomfort and strong disagreement by critics for the way Nadia openly discusses homosexuality, divorce, abortion, patriarchy within the church, toxic purity culture, scripture interpretation and more.
Nadia is an author, theologian, pastor, and founder of the Denver-area Lutheran Church known as House Fo
Shameless was a challenging read. I had not read anything by Nadia Bolz-Weber before, and wasn't sure what to expect, but I was not disappointed. This book thoughtfully examines human sexuality, in terms of a loving Creator and his creation, all worthy of love and acceptance too. While I no longer adhere to the worldview of the evangelicals I grew up around, I found that many of those views on sexuality I was taught had never really been uprooted from my subconscious. So I would read a chapter o ...more
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely beautiful book. It’s filled with the edgy language that we’re all familiar with when it comes to Nadia Bolz-Weber - so if F-bombs bother you, consider yourself forewarned.

The book reads like a diary in some ways. This isn’t a dry and unemotional textbook. It’s full of big and hard feelings. She shares personal stories and stories from her parishioners on everything from abortion to purity culture to LGBTQ+ issues. She describes how wrongful teachings from the church has led to deep p
Kristine Johnson
Just read it. If you were harmed by morality codes or if you know people who were, or if you long to speak truth to your children about gender and sex and sin and regret and how much we are loved and that we absolutely cannot sin enough to make God hate us. Some people have a gift for putting truth in words and NBW is one of them. I am grateful.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Growing up in evangelical purity culture f’ed me right up. Reading this book made me cry, first in grief for all the time that’s been wasted, then in joy because I got out and found something better than self-hatred. Well, like, sometimes. Healing takes time.
Jeffrey Nelson
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you've had any kind of brush with evangelical Christianity the past few decades, you may be familiar with what has come to be known as the "purity movement." This is a massive campaign within that religious strand that advocates abstinence before marriage. Depending on what books you read, conferences you attend, or speakers you hear, such "purity" messaging always uses sex before marriage as the baseline, but then may add on any number of requirements up to and including not even kissing or ...more
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalleyarc, 2019
I grew up in broadly evangelical churches and it was ingrained in me that as a female, my body was a temptation to men, that I had to be careful how I used it and dressed it so as not to lead others astray. It made me more self conscious of my body and in my body, at times ashamed at how I was made. Only as an adult did I recognize that such expectations puts all the blame and responsibility on women - what about expecting men to develop self-control and holding them accountable for their action ...more
D Dyer
I am not the target audience of this book having left Christianity along time ago and with no intent or desire to return. And when two of the people in my life who I usually trust recommended that I read it I thought that perhaps they’d temporarily lost their minds. But this book is moving, powerful, at times it made me sit breathless with what I had just read and others it made me cry. It has been a very long time since any book has actually made me cry. It is not only the book I want to give t ...more
Nathan Byrd
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bolz-Weber consistently brings fresh insights to our sacred texts and staunch religious traditions. “Shameless” is a conversation Christendom has been avoiding for decades. The commonly accepted answers given to youth and parents regarding sexuality inside of our churches frankly don’t work. Bolz-Weber identifies the reason we continue to give obviously wrong answers to our children - fear. While we know the stats demonstrate that our methods are not working (and never really have worked, as muc ...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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“Holiness is the union we experience with one another and with God. Holiness is when more than one become one, when what is fractured is made whole. Singing in harmony. Breastfeeding a baby. Collective bargaining. Dancing. Admitting our pain to someone, and hearing them say, "Me too." Holiness happens when we are integrated as physical, spiritual, sexual, emotional, and political beings. Holiness is the song that has always been sung, perhaps even the sound that was first spoken when God said, "Let there be light.” 13 likes
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