Nadia Bolz-Weber is a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and is highly revered in the denomination and with ELCA leadership. That, despite the heretical and controversial things she has said and done and keeps saying and doing. (See a list here, here and here)
Recently, Rev. Bolz-Weber appeared on a podcast by Kevin Garcia that was titled "Making Sex Shameless, w/ Nadia Bolz-Weber."
The content that follows shows you what the ELCA is becoming. This is what ELCA seminaries produced and are producing. Nadia Bolz-Weber is not some outlier. She is one of many the ELCA has elevated to a position of power and great influence, speaking throughout the ELCA and even to multiple ELCA Youth Gatherings.
During the interview the host asked Nadia to give a little synopsis of her new book, "Shameless." Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber replied (language warning):
“. . . it came out of my own experience, I was raised, obviously very very fundamentalist Christian, with all the crazy shit about gender roles and sex and extramarital sex and all that, but it was before the purity movement you know, but I was raised with all that, rejected it, led this very different life.
But then I discovered the Lutheran Church, and the ELCA is one of the most progressive denominations in the country and yet, there is a document you have to sign when you’re ordained called “Visions and Expectations” that says you would be faithful in marriage, or I think its 'celibate or chaste in singleness.'
Well, the origin of this document was it was originally sorta' forged through the denomination by a group that was trying to keep the homosexuals out of the pulpit. It was a way, it really was a way, of keeping the homos down. Because you would have to be celibate in your singleness, and gay people couldn’t get married – and that shifted, and they were like, 'oh shit,' right? And everybody had to sign this. And it’s insane because what happens is that there are all these people who get married right out of seminary, because they can’t afford to live separately, you know, they need to live in intern housing, and so they get married sooner than they should. Or they have sexual relationships that they are forced to keep secret or not be honest about. Or they are completely repressed, and we have single, grown-assed adults who don’t have, who are not flourishing in their sexual lives because the church says they shouldn’t.
So none of those things are great, really. And so you know, (Nadia then talks about her ex-husband)...we never connected, like there was no intimacy in our marriage, and for whatever reason, it just didn’t happen for us. And so, you know, people are like, ‘Wow, you don’t do cross-fit any more?’ And I’m like, ‘I was doing cross-fit because I wasn’t having sex!' You know what I mean, it was just a way of like managing. And now I’m like all soft, and I got long hair, and I’m so much happier.
So what happened was, I get divorced, like the most amicable divorce you can imagine. No lawyers, no acrimony. It was great, right, it was like actually really lovely. But I get together with my boyfriend and start having sex and it was like 'holy shit,' I was like, it felt like an exfoliation of my whole spirit. I'm like 'This is so good for my brain chemistry, and my body, and my heart. And I’m like fuck man, why in the world would the Church say ‘Don’t do this?’ Like I could tell it was what I needed, and it was so good. And then 10 days later, after we get together...I have to go to Europe for 3 1/2 weeks on a book tour, because the U.K and the German edition of my book came out...3 ½ weeks after years of sexlessness and 10 days of having sex, right, my mind was like swirling, I was like ‘What the fuck is happening?!’"
"I’m walking down a street in London...we (a friend) just cried and ate, we had both just gotten divorced, and we were like insane. So for 10 days we trampsed around England and Scotland, and eating and crying...I as like ‘Wait a minute, why did the Church make me sign that thing? How is it better for my church if I’m not getting laid?’ Look, the church will entrust me with the care of souls and will not entrust me with my own grown-ass woman sexuality, to make good decisions for myself? Like don’t fuck the flock, clearly, I get that part... I’m like, “what the fuck.” So I messaged, I whatsapped Eric, my boyfriend… and granted, this was with an unwarranted urgency, and I’m going, and he gets on Skype, and he’s not Christian, he’s never a Christian, and I go ‘Why do you think the Church has tried to control sex for so long?’ and without skipping a beat, my beloved said, ‘Umm...I guess I always assumed that the Church saw sex as its competition'…I was like, I’m writing a book."
Nadia continues, "Here’s the harm that these teachings have directly caused myself and these people (who Nadia interviewed), and if the teachings of the Church are harming people, we need to rethink these teachings. We should never be more loyal to an idea or a doctrine or an interpretation of a Bible verse than we are to people. So that’s the premise of the book.”
(Listen here. Starting at 22:20 minute mark.)
Continuing on, “I want people to have better sex too. I want people to feel uninhibited with their lover and to lose themselves in that. And uhm, you know, I think Christianity has led to a lot of really bad sex. And a lot of people shut down and not connected to their bodies. And terrified to talk about sex with their partner, even.” (Listen here. Starting at 41:40)
Let's recap what Rev. Bolz-Weber said (and apparently what she says in her new book):
- She calls the ELCA document that pastors sign, reserving sex to marriage, "insane."
- She calls fundamentalist thought on extramarital sex "crazy shit."
- She says she is having sex with her boyfriend, (hence, sex outside of marriage. This is in violation of "Vision and Expectations," an ELCA document for pastors that she signed.)
- She questions why the Church would not allow sex outside of marriage.
- She calls the Biblical teaching on sex "harmful."
- She says "people" should come before God's Word, if God's Word causes "harm" to some people.
Below is Pastor Swanson's tweets with active links.