Adult Confirmation

Tuesday morning as we walked out of a meeting at Augustana Lutheran Church, I turned to Pastor Justin Nickel (who is basically the little brother I never had) and said “Hey Justin, your girlfriend is in my confirmation class that starts tonight” Looking over his shoulder he said loudly “ADULT confirmation for anyone who might be listening.  ADULT confirmation”

Sometime people ask me questions I have absolutely no authority to answer, which, of course, doesn’t keep me from doing it anyway. Here’s an example: “What should the Lutheran Church be doing so we don’t die?”  Answer “I don’t know…re-catechise the adults? Most of the people in the pews have NO IDEA how beautiful and dangerous their own Lutheran theological and liturgical tradition is”  That, and get rid of the pews. :)

I say all of this with the fervor of an adult convert.  See, in 1996 after almost 10 years of not entering a church, I unexplainably found myself spending Wednesday nights in the basement of St Paul Lutheran Church in Oakland, California.

See, I was raised in a sectarian and somewhat fundamentalist tradition called the Church of Christ. Not the gay-friendly liberal United Church of Christ. Nope. The Church of Christ; which can only be described as “Baptist-Plus.” When I left at age sixteen I did so with a vengeance and a pesky little drug and alcohol problem. Ten years later, on those church basement Wednesday nights of catechism and confusion, I had been clean and sober for about four years. So when Pastor Merkel said that God brings life out of death, that we are all simultaneously sinner and saint; when he said that no one is climbing the spiritual ladder up to God but that God always comes down to us; when he said that God’s grace is a gift freely given which we don’t earn but merely attempt to live in response to…well, when he said all of this, I already knew it was true. God had completely interrupted my life. I was perfectly happy destroying myself until God said “That’s cute, but I have something else in mind.” God picked me up from one path and put me on another. I knew everything Pastor Merkel said was true not because I was choosing to adopt some foreign ideology as my own, but rather because I had actually experienced it all to be true. I had undeniably experienced God’s grace and now I was hearing a historically-rooted beautiful articulation of what I had experienced in my life, all in the form of Lutheran theology.

It changed everything. At the same time I was in the Adult Confirmation class at St. Paul I was also attending liturgy every week, which was equally as unexplainable. I had never in my life experienced liturgy and it felt like a mysterious and ancient gift handed down from generations of the faithful. It washed over me. I kept thinking, “I want to go back and do those things and say those things again,” but I had no idea why.

That’s how I fell in love with Lutheranism.

This past Tuesday, 16 years later, I led the first Adult Confirmation Class at House for All Sinners and Saints.  There are 12 people, some who had only entered a church maybe 5 or 6 times in their whole lives before coming to HFASS, some who, like me, had left their conservative upbringings for a decade or so before returning to church and some who never left at all.  We sat in my living room eating Chinese take-out and telling our faith stories. It was all so Holy and so Hilarious that I just can’t stop thinking about it.

I just feel like the luckiest person.

And just to be clear: Justin Nickel is NOT dating a Middle Schooler.

About Nadia Bolz Weber

I am the founding Pastor at House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. We are an urban liturgical community with a progressive yet deeply rooted theological imagination. Learn more at

  • Anita T. Nuetzman

    As someone who also “fell in love with Lutheranism” as an adult, I have also often suspected that “Most of the people in the pews have NO IDEA how beautiful and dangerous their own Lutheran theological and liturgical tradition is.” If they did, we wouldn’t be worried about worship attendance because no one would be able to stay away.
    Thank you for renewing my enthusiasm after what’s been a rather humdrum week for me.

  • Mary Kaye Ashley

    Thanks, Nadia, for reminding us of the treasure we hold, and how many haven’t heard. Living in response to God’s love is worth the work, and gives joy! So glad you’re where you are – (and that I am where I am!)
    Mary Kaye

  • Hugh

    Last night I attended my first confirmation class – at the age of 57! My story is rather different as I was born and raised in a Baptist church that delighted in encompassing a wide range of theology so I was dedicated there, baptised there, married there, seen my children dedicatedc and baptised there and my daughter married there. Then the church changed, the deacons forced out the ministers, my daughter was dismissed as assistant director of music and my wife and I suspended from the music team. Despite attempts to resolve issues it is hard to do so with people who can never admit they are wrong and so we left. (For information my son works at a different church)
    My son-in-law was orginally Anglican and, as he and my daughter met in their college chaple choir, the move to a middle of the road Anglican church was easy for them. My wife and I followed a bit later but feel God has led us to this wonderful welcoming community. When it was announced that there is going to be a confirmation service this year to me it seemed the obvious thing to do; to confirm that my faith has survived and to mark my move into this new community. My son-in-law is already confirmed and my wife (who has been baptised as a child and an adult) and daughter aren’t interested but for me this is a wonderful chance to discuss and re-open everything that has built my faith up to this time.

  • Steven Neal

    Pretty much, you rock.

  • Franny

    What Steven Neal said, except, put a “very” in front of it. Also, this: “no one is climbing the spiritual ladder up to God but that God always comes down to us;” is so wonderful. Thank you for making Lutheranism so much fun.

  • John W. Matthews

    Excellent idea(s)! Although we all do some Adult Education, this is revolutionary and ought to be done everywhere. Thanks so much!

  • The Charismanglican

    Oh wow…turns out we have something in common. I came to faith in the non-denominational Christian Church/Church of Christ and nearly lost my faith until “falling” into the Episcopal tradition.

    Being an outsider to the tradition gives me a passion for it. I sometimes think the Episcopalians/Lutherans/Catholics have a clue what it is they really have.

  • The Charismanglican

    *don’t have a clue…

  • Kate

    How do you do something like this in a wildly mixed setting? My church runs includes many people from a variety of non-Lutheran backgrounds to people who were very well catechised in the Lutheran tradition, people who are homeless and formerly homeless, people who dropped out of high school and people who have multiple graduate degrees. Any classes on Lutheran traditions we do frustrate me because they don’t go much beyond my middle school confirmation. No one wants to do higher level classes because they are afraid being over the head of some people.

  • Jeremy Myers

    Lovely, just lovely. Blessings to you and the class.

  • Atlanta Water Damage

    Howdy, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam remarks? If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any help is very much appreciated.

  • factory jailbreak iphone 4s

    My coder is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on a number of websites for about a year and am nervous about switching to another platform. I have heard fantastic things about Is there a way I can import all my wordpress content into it? Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!

  • pac astral

    Thanks for expressing your ideas. I’d personally also like to mention that video games have been at any time evolving. Modern tools and inventions have served create realistic and active games. All these entertainment games were not really sensible when the real concept was first of all being tried out. Just like other designs of electronics, video games way too have had to evolve through many generations. This itself is testimony for the fast growth and development of video games.

  • machine a affranchir

    The other day, while I was at work, my sister stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a 30 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  • sim unlock for iphone

    Hi I am so thrilled I found your weblog, I really found you by accident, while I was searching on Google for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a tremendous post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the superb job.

  • Verda Rozar

    Actually it’s referred to as Search engine optimization that when i search for this post I found this website at the top of all web sites in search engine.

  • iphone 4 imei unlock

    Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. However think about if you added some great photos or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and video clips, this site could definitely be one of the best in its field. Good blog!

  • jailbreak and unlock iphone 4

    Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest authoring a blog post or vice-versa? My blog covers a lot of the same topics as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you are interested feel free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Awesome blog by the way!

  • Click Here

    Hi there! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog. Is it very difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any points or suggestions? Thanks

  • This link

    Have you ever considered writing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites? I have a blog centered on the same subjects you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my audience would appreciate your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

  • John

    Enjoyed your testimony….I did wince a bit at the bit about taking flight from the Churches of Christ, my spiritual home. I took flight in the exact opposite direction! I was raised Lutheran….rejected some things about it (infant baptism….and my congregation’s charismatic inclinations). But the years mellow one. I’m very grateful for my Lutheran heritage and its solid theology of grace. And I miss its elegant hymns (do they stills sing them? Or have they gone trendy?) and liturgy. Anyway, God bless you in your walk with Him!

  • Teresa Miller

    I blog often and I genuinely appreciate your information. The article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your Feed as well.

  • web hosting

    There are some interesting deadlines on this article however I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There’s some validity however I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we would like more! Added to FeedBurner as properly

  • tuy azaltici

    É igual futebol… até a década de 1980, o que diferenciava os jogadores era a técnica, o dom pra ser jogador.
    Hoje, com tamanho preparo físico, qualquer um pode ser jogador. Estão todos num mesmo nível.
    Na F1 antigamente era o jogo de cintura do piloto e a pouca burocracia (chatice) da FIA. Melhorou a segurança? Sem dúvida. Mas com segurança ainda se pode fazer show na F1. O nível dos carros são praticamente idênticos, não existe mais identidade nas equipes.

  • krakow tourism

    It really is a brilliant collection of facts you listed in this article, I really feel we could be expecting a great deal more shortly.

  • Angel Grustas

    I was glad to participate in this WOD, my body was fighting me especially hard during the run and box jumps, but I’m still glad to get it done. Round four just ate me up.

  • Glinda Gardon

    Good day! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Cheers

  • Pingback: Guard Your Eyes With Suitable Use of Contact Lenses

  • Pingback: What to Count on When Applying for your Mining Business Career

  • Pingback: Wrought Iron Fence Plus The Magnificence And Security Of Your Property

  • Pingback: Inexpensive Plane Tickets – The Truth on How To acquire Insider Pricing Through the Airlines

  • Pingback: The way to Find out Spoken English

  • Pingback: Opt For The Right Fabric To Generate Your Home Countertop

  • Pingback: Obtaining a Physician Assistant For your Business office

  • Pingback: The Need for Person’s Trafficking Training in America’s Schools

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback: modern gas fireplaces

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback: Central City Hotels Develop Into The Best Venue For Enterprise Meetings

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback: Vogue Jewelry for Guys

  • Pingback: Method to Meditation

  • Pingback: Introduction to Crystals

  • Pingback: Utilized Vehicles – Machines for Function or Components for Fine art?

  • Pingback: 5 Methods to Distinguish a Spider Chunk

  • Pingback: Resources of Iron for Vegetarians

  • Pingback: Is Tension On The Improve? Anxiety Management Management Is It Operating These Days?

  • Pingback: ISO Certification Solutions In Gujarat

  • Pingback: Trek inside the Substantial Atlas Mountains

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback: konica printer

  • Pingback: Guidelines for Restoring Antique Furniture

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback: The Unique Sorts of Low credit score Loans

  • Pingback: six Strengths of Setting up an Above Ground Pool

  • Pingback: Safeguard To Your Apple Mac Pcs

  • Pingback: Obtain The Correct Sales And Advertising Company To Globalize Your Company

  • Pingback: The Top 6 Work Opportunities

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback: Online Business

  • Pingback: Choosing Dell Precision M6300 17.3″ Laptop (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2Ghz, 160GB Hard Drive, 4096Mb RAM, DVD/CDRW Drive)

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback: The Rewards of Starting a Plumbing Business enterprise

  • Pingback: Puppy Guinea Pigs: The Traits That Make Them So Special

  • Pingback: Four Vital Points To Be Aware Of About HVAC Programs

  • Pingback: Kinds Of Coin-Operated Sport Devices

  • Pingback: Wallpaper Site Niche House

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback: kitchen covery

  • Pingback: Google

  • Pingback: Beauty and Health of Women

  • Pingback: Home Cleaning and Home Appliances

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback: