Rogue Liturgics Vol. 1





Dominus Vobiscum

Dominus Vobiscum



Being a Compendium of Notes and Links

Many of us here at theophiliacs are big fans of Liturgy.  One of the reasons I migrated to the Episcopal church was because I was drawn to Liturgy.  I believe that Liturgy played a similar role in several of my coleagues’ decision to join the TEC as well.  So, from the onset, let it be known that I hold Liturgy very close to my heart, I love it, and find great spiritual efficacy in it.  Remember that, no matter how sacrilegious this post gets. 

The terms “rogue liturgics” or “rogue liturgists” are rather loosely defined in this context as liturgy created without the sanction of a Church authority, and not necessarily for actual Church use.  The term “rogue liturgist” usually describes a Roman Catholic clergy member who refuses/ed to stop chanting the mass in Latin after Vatican II, the term has  also been used to describe the St. Louis Jesuits whose folk-pop musical style redefined Catholic liturgy after that same council.  It is because of them that many songs in today’s most popular Catholic hymnals draw musical inspiration from the likes of Bob “His Royal Bobness” Dylan. 

Excursus on the Liturgical Importance of Bob Dylan

St. Michael atop NW Tower of Nidaros Cathedral in Norway, modelled after Bob Dylan

St. Michael atop NW Tower of Nidaros Cathedral in Norway, modelled after Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan’s influence on the Church does not end there.  He is the only living musician to a) win 11 grammies, AND b) win a Pulitzer prize, AND c) sing for the Pope, AND d) influence modern Catholic liturgy (see St. Louis Jesuits article linked above), AND e) be immortalized on the top of a Cathedral Spire (and see picture above).  On top of that, thanks to Keith Green and the early Vineyard movement, Bob was a Christian for awhile, and recorded 3 Christian albums–“Slow Train Coming” (1979), “Saved” (1980), and “Shot of Love” (1981).  The guy’s practically a saint.   St. Bob ora pro nobis.  I might go to hell for that one. 

Examples of Rogue Liturgics Borrowed from this Site and Elsewhere

Back to Rogue Liturgics.  I, for one, am intrigued by creating Liturgy, but since I have no official sanction from any church body, I guess I am, broadly speaking, a rogue liturgist (and an amateur one).  I have engaged in a little rogue liturgics on this site (My “Toward a Daily of Office which incorporates a Pipe“).  I also included the fantastic “Order for a Solemn Blessing of a New Pipe” by Arthur D. Yunker in my series on Pipes. 

I’d also like to draw attention, without permission, to Tony’s Beer prayers:

First, let us pray:

“Hear, O Theophiliac readership, The Stout, The Stout is One.  You shall love the Stout your King with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and strength.  You shall also love the Barleywine as yourself – Amen”

“Let us bless the Lord     –     Thanks be to God

May the Lord of life bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you.  He is the Creator of all that is, seen and unseen, malted and hopped. The heads of barley are his and the heather of the hills are his also.  Having created man he saw that it was not good that he should lack mirth.  So in the fullness of time he brought forth brewing. amen

Both are fine examples of Rogue Liturgics. 

Then, of course, there are the Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley.  These delightfully silly folks have created a whole Liturgical cycle  for their religion (?), which is filled with wonderful bits of rogue (and satirical) liturgy, they call it The Beaker Common Prayer. One of my favorites is their : “Litany for the 30th Anniversary of Barcode Usage in Britain.”  

Other more serious, and less sacrilegious attempts at rogue liturgy are the various Jazz Masses and Liturgies which have been composed and used in places like San Antonio, Denver, New York, and Minneapolis (Mercy Seat Church in NE Mpls. used to do this, but it appears as though they’ve moved on).  Also,on a more devotional level, a great place to find homemade Liturgy and incarnational spirituality is the blog and journal: Everyday Liturgy.

There you have it; Rogue Liturgics Vol. 1.  Were you expecting something profound?


  1. One of the arguments I have heard for the beauty of liturgy is that it is ancient, unchanging and no susceptible to the whims of a preacher on any given Sunday. But you would have us chant the ramblings of a tipsy amateur? That seems a bit out of sync with the intent of liturgy — you heretic. Smile !


  2. Being in NE Minneapolis, if I want a Vespers I just head down to the Orthodox cathedral. I don’t recall when Mercy Seat ‘disbanded’ but there is an ELCA congregation who has a sort of “luthramergent” feel and have done experimental arrangements of the liturgy before.

    The problem is that I’ve never felt welcomed at a Lutheran church! I wish I was kidding. Obviously that’s not a universal truth but it’s a bit weird.


  3. Maybe I was looking at the wrong website, but I got the impression they were still meeting, just that they were no longer doing their Jazz Liturgy all the time.

    I have been met with warmness in one Lutheran church, the place where I felt unwelcome was in the Greek Orthodox church. Have you been to the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Minneapolis its something like St. Vladimir (?) and all North American Saints Russian Orthodox Cathedral. I went with Dr. Davenport one cold winter Sunday, the church is awe-inspiring, the Liturgy moved me to tears, and all I remember of the Priest’s homily is that he recommended good Russian vodka as the cure for all the seasonal ailments going around in the congregation. It was beautiful.


  4. St. Mary’s Cathedral (Orthodox Church of America) is two blocks down the road from me so that’s where I normally go.

    The only other local Orthodox parish I’ve been to is the Antiochian where Dr. Davenport attends. It is bizarre to me how ethno-centric the Eastern churches are especially considering their claim to being the One and Only Church. There seems to be much less racism in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches.

    Not that it is all gone.

    I am anxious for your second post. I wonder if you will be addressing the ancient phrase “lex orandi lex credendi” and how that plays into “Rogue Liturgics.” Because I myself also become divided inside between the “catholic” side of me which sees the unity inherent in essentially “worshipping together” instead of “confessing together”, ie-“semi-uniform worship,” and the charismatic and creative side of me that believes that the free response of worshippers should bring forth manifold forms of worship.

    How does the Bishop fit into all of this? I dunno, now I’m just rambling aloud.


  5. I am happy to see you make fun of “liturgy,” but I think the term is often misunderstood. In my experience, it seems that people want to make a false dichotomy between “liturgical” and “non-liturgical” churches. The fact is, every church has a liturgy. A liturgy is the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions. So, even an informal home prayer meeting has a liturgy after a while. Even the Jews and the Muslims have liturgies. Personally, I don’t think we should get too hung up on the liturgy. In that sense, making fun of the liturgy can loosen us up and help us to avoid being overly protective of it. After all, it is not about the liturgy, it is about the God of the liturgy!


  6. Thanks for including me in your list. I think the power of rogue liturgy is that it multiplies the creation of sacred spaces—we begin to play Christ in ten thousand places.


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