Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber is calling for a sexual reformation within Christianity — the likes of which, she says, hasn’t been seen since the namesake of her church, Martin Luther, sparked the Protestant reformation in 1517. Modern Christianity’s aggressive moral policing of sexuality — and women’s sexuality in particular — is spiritually counterproductive and even destructive, Bolz-Weber argues in her new book, Shameless.
“This idea that salvation comes through sexual repression. That shit comes out sideways,” Bolz-Weber told The New Yorker.
“Purity culture equals rape culture,” she continued. “It says to young women that your bodies aren’t your own and you can’t be a sexual being until you are the property of your future husband.”
Bolz-Weber’s path to faith wasn’t always easy. She was raised in a conservative evangelical sect called the Church of Christ, and as a young teenager was forced to attend a Christian charm class due to her loud and “mannish” mannerisms.
At age 25, she had an abortion. “I was making two hundred dollars a week and hadn’t seen a dentist in six years,” she told The New Yorker. “There was no way I could afford a child. I was devastated, but not because I felt I’d done something evil or even wrong. I was destroyed by the sadness of my life situation.”
It wasn’t until 2016, when Bolz-Weber divorced her longtime husband, a Lutheran pastor, that she said she rediscovered good sex and began to understand how living a sexually fulfilled life could lead to greater spiritual satisfaction as well.
“It’s not about being good,” she said. “It’s about grace.”
In November, the progressive Christian pastor made waves with a project in which she asked women to send her their purity rings so she could melt them into a vagina statue. At the Makers Conference earlier this month, Bolz-Weber presented the statue to feminist icon Gloria Steinem in person.
Watch video of the inspiring (and hilarious) moment below:
— MAKERS (@MAKERSwomen) February 7, 2019
Read the full story at The New Yorker.