Liturgical Fouls

Have you ever fantasized about throwing a bright yellow penalty flag into the aisle when the priest wears the wrong liturgical color or the organist plays the opening hymn at the speed of a sick tortoise? Probably not. But with the convergence of the start of football season, the church “program year,” and the labor dispute between the NFL and their referees, I saw an opportunity to bring this all together in a blog post. (Bear with me — it’s how my mind works).

To assist you in exercising your God-given (literally) right to good liturgy, I’m offering my guide to liturgical fouls. I urge you to use this empowerment of the laity (and cranky visiting clergy) wisely and with discretion. I’ll soon make the penalty flags available on my website for a mere $49.99.

Illegal Procession (out of order)

Heretical Trinitarian Theology

Deacon on Wrong Side of Celebrant

Unseemly use of Liturgical Dance (resembling Chicken Dance)

Happy Clappy Worship

Sermon Over 15 Minutes

Overly Enthusiastic Peace

Illegal Use of the Orans Position


13 Comments on “Liturgical Fouls”

  1. aleathia (Dolores) nicholson says:

    Your mind just works in a way most PE’s could never begin to fathom.. You’re almost certifiable….not two bricks shy of a full load! I
    mean you are blessed with a highly original way of thinking that draws in other creative spirits who can readily identify….but, on the other hand, I imagine it’s not too wise in your having too long vacations where your brain might veer towards boredom and opportunities for getting into real mischief!

  2. Nina Leek says:

    I would love to see the response of your Verger to the “illegal procession”!

  3. Beth Wyndham says:

    I could have used this in seminary – the things they don’t teach you… Thanks for the giggle and new found fear of anyone wearing black and white stripes in church.

  4. Marguerite says:

    How about one for lectors who gesture when they’re reading?

  5. Stephanie says:

    I don’t know—my formerly extremely active funny bone is just tired of constant blogs and articles about how the clergy and “church” are always getting it wrong. Normally this would have made me laugh–it is very clever, but I am just over-cooked on the constant flood of criticism, even with humor…

  6. Reverend Ref says:

    As a football official myself . . . no, really . . . I find a lot of theology in the sport. And I could probably come up with several infractions and enforcements that I would like to call myself.

    Enjoyed the post, and tbtg that football season is here.

  7. Father Tim says:

    Best to avoid this blog, Stephanie. My approach/humor isn’t for everyone.

  8. Stephanie says:

    Actually I think your humor is wonderful, i have read posts from your blog before and as I said, usually I have a ready and willing funny bone. I do not think your humor was off the mark, yours was just one (and the least fatiguing) of several things I had just seen posted that were telling us (clergy/church) what we are doing wrong and how we are responsible for the decreasing number of people in our pews, I know I was responding more to those posts, Your article was just a tiny little straw that fell on an overloaded camel. Good luck with your blog—we need to keep laughing.

  9. Jay Croft says:

    You’re famous now! Hot Dogma picked this up.

    http://hot-dogma.com/2012/09/04/just-in-time-for-football-season/

  10. RevFthr says:

    I agree with Stephanie, frankly I am tired of the clergy & laity who are caught up in how things are done no matter how lame the attempt at humor. Rather I find that it really speaks of an attempt to define who is radically welcomed and included into the “country club” church and can come and not get too comfortable. Those who focus on what someone has dictated as the correct form are most likely the same who exclude the one who may struggle to read, or carry a processional cross or a candle, or hold a cup of wine as their action may not fit the prescribed form thought to be the “best.” . Jesus did a lot of saying no and shaking his head in dismay at folks like that. Wherever these types of churches are, you know it has those big unseen barrier signs – or in some cases held by the verger at the door – only the “supposed perfect” may enter and takae part in the liturgy of this place – the rest sit and watch how the pros do the work of the people for you..

  11. Father Tim says:

    Let he/she who is without sin cast the first penalty flag.

  12. @RevFthr, I think liturgy worth doing is worth doing well, else why do it at all? I think this is funny. I do think that some people get caught up in the minutia of things and worry about mistakes that really don’t make any difference. Yet, this is something aimed at those who [should] know what we’re doing–and so I think it’s funny because I have committed these “fouls” myself.

  13. Except that football season is just ending (101st Grey Cup on Sunday) and penalty flags are orange (the yellow flags are the coaches’ challenge flags). Otherwise very good.


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