Theology and Pipe Smoking, Part III: Resources


Part I Part II Part III Appendix

It has been an inexcusably long time since I’ve posted parts I & II of this series, but I hope to make some sort of feeble amends, Gentle Reader, with this, an annotated list of resources for the pipe smoking follower of Jesus together with some further tobacco reviews, and one last theo-liturgical resource.  If you are unwilling to forgive me for my tardiness in posting, I suggest that you go out to your front porch and smoke a pipe, and then if you cannot find forgiveness and goodwill toward your fellow man after a soothing bowl of tobacco, you must be doing something wrong (perhaps, your uncharitable disposition comes from smoking cheap gas station tobacco from a Dr. Grabow pipe?).

Resources – Smoking & Theology

Toward a Theology of Pipe Smoking by Arthur Yunker– This pamphlet is by far my favorite resource on pipe smoking and theology.  It is hilarious, irreverent in the all the right ways, and reverent in all the right ways.  Simply put, it is hands down required reading for any Christian who also smokes a pipe.  It was published in 1970 at the Concordia Seminary Print Shop, as Mr. Yunker was a student at the seminary.  It is very rare in print–one day I hope to find it–but it floats around the web in PDF format:   Part I  and Part II 

The Churchwarden by Perry S. Fuller– A pioneer web zine devoted to pipe smoking, fly fishing, and reformed theology.  This site was there for me back in my college days.  It is no longer being updated, but its archives are extensive and rich in interesting reading: essays, reviews, sermons, poems, etc.  We here at theophiliacs were recently honored to have Mr. Fuller visit our site, and despite the fact that he’s reformed [wink], he’s really a great person.  You need to visit this site and take a look around: The Churchwarden

Christian Pipe Smoker’s Forum– Another excellent resource, full of friendly people always willing to answer your questions about pipes and equally willing to argue theology with you.  It’s a well organized and moderated forum, with quite a few commenters including some expert tobacconists and pipe makers, and several ministers.  There was once a highly contentious and intelligent high church episcopalian with a thing for Dunhill billiards who frequented the site, but alas, I haven’t seen him in quite a while, but I digress; click over and have a look-see: Christian Pipe Smoker’s Forum

 Toward a Theology of Smoking by Andrew Faris– Here’s a blog post from one the guys over at Christians in Context: From Orthodoxy to Orthopraxy, in which he raises some good points about smoking and how it can be used to the glory of God: Toward a Theology of Smoking



Resources – General Pipe Smoking

just for himJust For Him– A tobacconist and “men’s gift shoppe” in Springfield, MO, Just for Him is a NOT a porn shop, but it is staffed by a crack team of bitter former AGers.  They have a serious collection of tin tobaccos for sale, as well as a plethora of in-house custom blended tobaccos including the original and famous Middle Earth Series.  See here for a review of one of the tobaccos in that series and see below for a review of several more.  In short, if you find yourself in Missouri, or Arkansas, or western Kentucky, or southern Illinois, you owe it to yourself to hunt out Just for Him.  On their website, you can buy tobacco including the Middle Earth Series, and under the ‘Information Central’ link you’ll find volumes of very helpful information about pipes: cleaning, packing, lighting, storing, etc., etc.  A fantastic resource both in real space, and in cyberspace: Just for Him– As the clever name implies is a wiki for all things related to pipe smoking.  It is a labyrinthine and manifold resource (like any good wiki should be), and I suggest that you explore it on your own.  Here, however, I am going to include just a few of my favorite articles and pages — ones that are interesting and helpful.  Here’s the main site: ; below are some highlights:

          – Ben Rapaport’s List of Books dealing with Pipe smoking.  This man is serious about collecting books about pipes.  He has over   3,000 volumes devoted to the subject and shares a list of some of his favorites (in English); if you’re a book nerd you will be interested and astonished.

          -Pipedia has an excellent introduction to pipe tobaccos  in all their variety.  So, if you can’t tell your Cavendishes from your Virginias, this article will fix you up.

          -There is also an interesting and detailed article on pipe making, that some of you handy types might find interesting.– The “big” pipe smoking forum on the web.  Although it can be difficult to find, there is some excellent and rare information on this site.  If you have an esoteric question about pipes, this is probably the place to take it:

Pipe Maker’s Logos & Markings– If you are in to buying estate pipes, this site is a necessity.  It is the most comprehensive list of pipe maker’s markings.  Fascinating in its own right, it really comes in handy to know some of these when trying to convince your wife that the $5 pipe in the case at the indoor flea market is really an $85 Kaywoodie: Logos & Markings

Pipe Tampers– There are a lot of really cool pipe tampers in the world; here are a few examples: Jagwal made from exotic hardwood and brass, simple, elegant, classy.  ZapZap; a horrible name, but this man is a real craftsman, he makes truly beautiful pipe tampers that are works of art in and of themselves. 

The Dunhill Pipe by R.D. Fields– Ah, the Dunhill, the Holy Graal of Pipes.  This is a very helpful sight consisting of several different pages: a comparison of new and old Dunhills, a guide to dating your Dunhill (finding out how old it is, not taking it to a dinner and a movie [though, to be honest, I wish I could take my Dunhill to a dinner and a movie {we have a purely platonic relationship, of course}. Damn, smoking laws!]).  Anyway, very important information for collectors: The Dunhill Pipe 



treebeardTreebeard– Treebeard, the third in the Middle Earth Pipeweed Series from Just for Him, is a masterpiece of allusion.  It smokes slow and cool.  Don’t try and push it; it will not be smoked hot.  This tobacco takes time.  Before it is lit it smells of vanilla beans, but once you put a match to it it carries the flavor of pine nuts and yew bark with a very subtle smidgen of creamy sweetness.  It is an aromatic, but an English-lover’s aromatic, earthy, and woodsy, not fruity or corn-suripy like so many aromatics.  I did not think it possible for a tobacco to so completely channel the zeitgeist of an Ent, slow, ruminous, ancient.


 Gustave_Dore_Ancient_Mariner_IllustrationAncient Mariner-Another custom blend from Just for Him, Ancient Mariner is decidedly an English Blend.  Paradoxically it smells as sweet as perfume while it tastes bitter, and slightly leathery.  It reminds me of the cheap whiskey called Old Tennessee sold in Lee Chong’s store in the John Steinbeck novel, Cannery Row.  All the down-and-out bums who would drink it always called it Old Tennis Shoes.  I have a feeling Ancient Mariner would compliment that drink well.  It also calls to mind the scene from Moby Dick, where Captain Ahab throws his tobacco pipe overboard in utter despair.  Could it be that he was smoking Ancient Mariner, but decided he really prefered an aromatic blend?  There are layers of Herman Melville yet to be explored here, I think.  But, ultimately, I believe that this tobacco is meant to call up imagery from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’sclassic poem,”The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” in which a crusty old sailor accosts some people on their way to a wedding in order to tell them his tale of woe and foreboding.  This poem is the genesis of those classic lines: “Water, water everywhere and all the boards did shrink/ Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.”  You’ll need some water if you smoke this tobacco, and, like I mentioned, maybe a stronger drink as well.  It’s actually not as bad as I’ve made it sound; its pretty good, in fact, but it is potent and once you’re done I guarantee you will smell like an Ancient Mariner–maybe even like one who’s had a dead bird tied around his neck.     


Toward a Daily Office which Incorporates the Pipe


What follows is an outline for Morning Prayer which I’ve pieced together from several resources, but mostly from the Book of Common Prayer.  This particular version, of course, uses the ritual of packing and smoking a tobacco pipe as an additional liturgical focus.  Thomas Cramner might be rolling in his grave over this, but the more I think about it, I doubt he minds.  Though good Episcopalians call it Morning Prayer, I’ve chosen to use the more ancient name, Lauds (the practice can be traced to Apostolic times), not only to pay homage to older customs not in common Episcopal use (the recitation Jesus Prayer), but also because of the reading from the Psalter, which is one of the three Psalms known as “lauds.”


[The pipe is empty, with tobacco, tamp and matches all within hand’s reach]

Psalm 150

Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament!

Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his surpassing greatness!

Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! 

Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! [here, lift your pipe up to God]

Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everthing that breathes praise the LORD; Praise the LORD!

Glory to Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

[In contemplative silence load your pipe with tobacco; and light it as you say the following prayer]

O Lord, whose never failing providence orders all things both in heaven and earth, grant that we, your humble servants, will, in our daily lives, make no distinction between what is sacred and what is secular.  Help us, O God, to dedicate all our actions to your glory and your service, all our thoughts to your praise and adoration, and all our words to be reflections of your lovingkindness and mercy; for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

A Reading

Micah 6:6-8

Jesus Prayer

[Meditatively smoke according to the rhythm estabished by the repetition of the prayer; if pipe goes out, pause, repack and relight]

Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner  x 100 


[Among other things, contemplate the smoke from your pipe; it is an important liturgical metaphor]

The Apostle’s Creed [or an appropriate Canticle]

Lord’s Prayer

The Collect

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[With praise and thanksgiving, clean out your pipe and let it rest at least 1 day before using it again]



  1. I’m a big fan of Coleridge’s work, but didn’t know about his conversion to Anglicanism. Now, I’m going to have to head over to the library and see if I can find a good biography. Wish I could join you on Saturday, I hope you have a wonderful time.


  2. Yeah, sorry to dis on your name, ZapZap, but I do really love your work. When my wife gets super rich, I’ll be throwing some business your way!


  3. Thanks for taking a look at our site. I gather that you have been smoking a pipe for a while. Are you still designing new tampers? I was noticing that you are sold out of many of them.


  4. I have started to make and sell my tampers for 2 years ago. Now I work with dealers and private customers. I smoke and collect pipes since 2002.


  5. I just came across your posts here. Its funny, I live in Springfield and I smoke a pipe with great pleasure (and I SERIOUSLY love “Just For Him,” btw) but I have also been a theology student at Evangel University (the flagship University for the Assemblies of God) and have only been able to really get into enjoying the pleasures of the pipe after I graduated. Its almost entertaining how modern Chrisitianty creates sin where there is none.
    Its an interesting culture for sure. there is even a theology group that meets at a hookah bar in town which is quite controversial.
    …ah, the buckle of the Bible belt. =D


  6. ETS, or even passive cigarette smoking, is basically the breathing associated with light up coming from a lit up cigarette smoking (sometimes water pipe or stogie ). The particular blown out smoke cigarettes by simply folks through the used up cigarette officially has …tobacco


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