In which Nadia sums up Lutheran theology in one chapter at less than the cost of a Lutheran seminary education.

"At the time I didn't know it would take more to escape black-and-white thinking than just no longer attending your parent's church. The church had provided me a sorting system, which was now ingrained. (Page 43)

Nadia writes about her first date with her future husband. He says, "Well, my heart for social justice is rooted in my Christian faith." Nadia responds, "Um, what? I just stared at him saying nothing." (Page 43)

"I soon learned that there were actually a whole world of Christians who take Matthew 25 seriously." (Page 44)

"I had never experienced liturgy before. But here the congregation said things together during the service. And they did stuff: stood, sat, knelt, crossed themselves, went up to the altar for communion, like choreographed sacredness." (Page 45)

"Something about the liturgy was simultaneously destabilizing and centering: my individualism subverted by being joined to other people through God to find who I was. Somehow it happened through God. One specific, divine force. (Page 46)

"Most of what I had been taught by Christian clergy was that I was created by God, but was bad because of something some chick did in the Garden of Eden, and that I should try really hard to be good so that God, who is an angry bastard, won't punish me. Grace had nothing to do with it. I hadn't learned about grace from the church." (Page 47)

On page 48 she writes what Pastor Ross taught her about grace.

"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." (Page 49)

Nadia then writes about learning how Pastor Ross was removed from the official clergy roster of the ELCA, and how this made her feel: "It feels like the rug of hope that the church might actually be something beautiful and redemptive was pulled out from under me." (Page 51)

Pastor Ross responds: "God is still at work redeeming us and making all things new even in the midst of broken people and broken systems and that, despite any idealism otherwise, it had always been that way." (Page 51)

Her husband Matthew says, "There's not enough wrong with it to leave and there's just enough wrong with it to stay.... Fight to change it." (Page 52)

"Every human community will disappoint us, regardless of how well-intentioned or inclusive. But I am totally idealistic about God's redeeming work in my life and in the world." (Page 54)

"If they choose to leave when we don't meet their expectations, they won't get to see how the grace of God can come in and fill the holes left by our community's failure, and that's just too beautiful and too real to miss." (Page 54)

"What makes Lutherans blessed is not, as I once thought, that they're somehow different from the people in the Church of Christ where I was raised. Rather, what makes us all blessed is that, like the landowner in the parable, God comes and gets us, taps us on the shoulder, and says, 'Pay attention, this is for you.' Dumb was we are, smart and faithful as we are, just as we are." (Page 56)

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By Frank McPherson, Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 3:52 PM. This aggression will not stand.