At the ELCA Youth Gathering in New Orleans last summer, something unusual happened. First, understand that the main stage program is always good. Speakers…music…video…production…it’s all done really really well. But in the years that I have been at the event, the ideas are what people walk away with. A year later, I’ll hear our young people say “remember that one speaker…the one who talked about…?” That was the case until 2012. They remember the “what,” but the don’t necessarily remember the “who.”
Enter Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber.
Young people in my congregation connected with her in a way that I hadn’t really seen before. A year later, they are still talking about Nadia, and what Nadia had to say. They remember the “what” and the “who.”
It’s not about any kind of celebrity. As a matter of fact, while Nadia is “out there” doing stuff publicly , she’s more of an ‘anti-celebrity.’ She is quick to point out that it’s about what the Spirit is doing. She said that wherever she goes, young people who saw her in New Orleans come up to talk to her. She wrote in an e-mail “It’s crazy. And really kind of awesome. Whatever happened that night at the Superdome had a broader and deeper impact than I ever could have predicted, which makes me suspect that the Spirit was involved – she’s kind of mischievous like that.”
I suspect that Nadia is right. The Holy Spirit does all sorts of things we don’t expect.
This fall, Nadia is doing a small “book tour.” Just 6 stops around the country, to speak and promote the book she recently published. I’m going to go, and I’m going to see if any of the young people who were with us in New Orleans last summer want to go. I suspect they will.
You can get more information on the book tour on its web site. You can also get the dates and basic info on the Network’s CYF master calendar. A year later, it’ll be fun to see what the Spirit continues to be up to!