Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber is widely considered to be a leading voice of progressive Christianity. I read her book Pastrix five years ago, and liked her voice, even though I disagree strongly with her theology. But in this interview with Out In Jersey, a gay newspaper in New Jersey, she inadvertently indicates why progressive Christianity has no future. Excerpts:
OIJ: It’s that whole, “well the Bible’s very clear about ‘blank.”
NBW: The Bible’s not clear about shit! The Bible is a library. Let’s say you have this huge library in your house and ask, “What’s the clear message my library has to say about ‘gender” The poetry is going to say one thing, history says another, prose says something, science fiction says something else. It’s like saying, “Oh no, the library is clear.”
Let’s talk about sex! A big part of our “coming out” as a community has been a label of sexual deviancy given to us by Evangelicals. Tell us about pleasure.
NBW: Pleasure is a complicated thing for human beings because it’s easy to fall off one or the other side of the spectrum. Either we’re over indulging to obesity, or we’re eating elimination diets where four foods are pure enough to consume. We restrict or indulge in ways that are equally harmful.
A chapter I rewrote many times in my new book was about pleasure and pornography. I refused to pick the low-hanging “Moral Outrage Fruit” of Liberals and Conservatives about porn. Now, there are issues of justice and exploitation within the porn industry, no question, but it doesn’t mean consumption of pornography should be shamed. There is ethically sourced porn. There are people who say it’s sexual immorality, but if you take Liberals and Conservatives who show outrage and made a Venn diagram of those who consume pornography, you’d see a huge overlap.
There are people who consume pornography in a shame based way, it would be horrible if people know because they are those who are morally outraged as Liberals or Conservatives. That’s a lonely place to exist, let’s take that part out of it. I’m not going to shame people when they already feel ashamed. People have viewed erotic imagery since we could scratch it on the inside of caves. To see erotic images or hear someone in the cave next to you, your body reacts as an empathic response. We respond empathetically when we hear a baby crying! Our bodies are wired to have empathic responses to others, and it includes erotic ones. To say you should have shame for that is problematic.
What’s next for Nadia Bolz-Weber?
NBW: My book comes out in January, Shameless: the Sexual Reformation, calling out harm that’s been done to people as a result of what the church has taught them about sex, body, and gender. You can draw a straight fucking line from what people were told in church and the harm in their lives. The book explores that. I’m also instigating an art project where women mail me their purity rings. They’ll be melted into a sculpture of a vagina.
Wow, she’s going to make a fertility idol!
Read the whole thing. If there is a more cartoonish example of progressive Christianity than a foul-mouthed lady pastor praising consumption of “ethically-sourced porn,” I can’t think of it.
The Pastrix is a minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, which has been in steep decline for some time. I wrote about an incident earlier this year that highlighted how radical ELCA has become. Sometimes, you just have to isolate the contagion, and let the patient expire naturally.
Here’s a short video promoting the Pornstrix’s upcoming book. In it, she says that the Church has been wrong about sex for 2,000 years, but finally, she’s got it right, and that her teachings will lead Christians to “freedom.” Hmm…
UPDATE: Screenshot from the book promo page of her website. You can’t parody this crap:
Wow. Impurity rings. She’s the Billy Graham of Booga-Wooga, that’s for sure.