Of course, as a Catholic reading a book by a Lutheran pastor, there are some differences that come up. You might question my orthodoxy for even picking such a book up. I hope after you read it, you get over it.
Nadia is a refreshing voice in a sea of more scholarly and pompous voices. I hope cuss words don’t offend you, because this book is a really good read (and honestly, she uses them sparingly and usually only when it makes sense in context). If the tattooed woman on the cover doesn’t give it away, this book is all about finding God in the most unexpected of places, in people and events where you wouldn’t think God would hang out.
I gave you a good sample of what to expect last Friday. Maybe it was because mercy is on my mind as we near the end of the Year of Mercy, but this book seemed to touch on the subject frequently. And her take on it isn’t the flowery, sentimental stuff we often hear. She sees the radical-ness of God’s mercy.
It’s like my favorite vision of purgatory (one of the religious things Nadia and I would surely disagree about). Purgatory has been described to me as a big fiery hug to cleanse us of all remaining impurities and sin. Nadia sees God’s mercy in similar terms. God loves us. He forgives us. But He loves us too much to just leave us where we are. His mercy isn’t all warm and fuzzy. It’s a brush fire to get rid of all the bad and make room for the good to grow.
God can be found “in all the wrong people” because God’s mercy doesn’t discriminate. I think in some ways this book would be even better for people in ministry as her examples sometimes include dealing with difficult church members. She finds God in: annoying people, people who did great things but had many personal flaws, complete strangers, long-time friends, and situations in which evil seems to rule the day, just to allude to a few examples in the book. Regardless of your state in life or in the Church, you are bound to relate to one or more of these stories and be inspired to seek out God in your own experience.
For the Catholics reading this, she does actually have a lot more in common with us on a more fundamental level than you might think. She is a very liturgically-centered Protestant. All of her religious thought seems to be based on what happens on her altar on Sundays. Each section of the book starts with a quote, usually taken from the Mass which my Catholic friends would likely recognize. I remember being struck by this when I read Pastrix a couple years ago. She has a very Eucharistic and liturgical spirituality for a non-Catholic.
I got the opportunity to read Accidental Saints in exchange for an honest review through my membership in Blogging for Books. Thank God for services like them. It is fairly newly available in paperback, so pick one of from your favorite bookseller today. Thank you Convergent Books for the opportunity.