Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Guest Post: Rev. Fr. Jack Kerouac Answers Your Questions

A little known biographical fact about Jack Kerouac that has only recently come to light is that he was secretly ordained into the ministerium of the LCMS after a colloquy program arranged by his friend and classmate and sometime traveling buddy, the Rev. Dr. Norman Nagel. Gottesdienst Online has come into possession of some correspondence between Fr. Kerouac in which he answers questions from brother clergy.

You may leave other questions for Fr. Kerouac in the comments. But I can't promise he'll answer them. His missives appear in my inbox like the wind - it wends where it wilt.

WARNING: Full Strength Language.


“Hey Jack: I went to this church, St. John’s by the gas station, last week and the guy presiding didn’t even use a hymnal—just some crap he made up. Should I go back?”

Pastor Jack Kerouac replies: “Listen long gone daddy-o, the truly beat soul never goes back. We are not backtracking our way through this Christ haunted death dealing windblown western world. There’s no “back there” we want to get back to--no golden age, no time machine trip for you or me, hep cat... dig me here man, dig me solid and deep in the depths of that old jazzbo soul of yours: the fools for Christ, the mad ones, the sad ones, always yearning to be free are always going forward man, never looking back, but forgetting those things which are behind and pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus... did Neal and I ever go back? no man, when we hit the Road as I have written to you previously in these epistles, we sometimes returned to those places that called to us, spoke to us body and soul, places like Denver, San Fran, New York, St. Aloysius in New York especially in those later days after we’d met Nagel and Genzel and heard the Word, heeded the call, passed through the sad and blank and burned out years, but wereturned forwardgoing to those places like planets orbiting the sun never achieving escape velocity never wanting, never needing to and certainly never going back... I was staying once in those early days ON THE ROAD chasing after Neal with our friend Remy Bonceur a thoroughly beat guy who lived in a shack in Frisco near the Presidio... remember Remy who prepped with us at Horace Mann, got kicked out of Columbia the year before we did? he had a saying, a very wise one something like ‘unless you begged, borrowed, stole it, it is no true treasure, man. The real treasure is never yours never made by you, never forged by your fast clenched fists, but is always begged, borrowed, stolen empty handed, open hearted, from Christ... like President Truman says: ‘we must reduce the cost of living!’ and no better way than to beg, borrow, and steal your way through the windblown world’—so here’s the Word, hear the Word man: the beat way is always the way of the gifts, receiving the gifts, cherishing the gifts, getting the gifts only from the hands given to give them—it is this way with the holy liturgy—whatever is made up by some square in his office on Thursday night to show his “creativity” is no treasure because the gifts can only be handed on, begged on your knees from the Table; they can’t be created by you, made by you, man no, no, no the real Rock in the desert from which the living streams doth flow is made without hands and comes to beggars after all and only to such as they, such as we; if it is not the old Western Mass made up by no one, handed on time out of mind from the first hobo apostles of the Holy One from whom they begged it, then it is not for us—so beg, borrow, steal your way into heaven man, because the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, suffers the breaking in of the hobo hustler saints, crazy for the Word, who counted the cost in Christ and found it zero, free from Him who made them the faith mad forceful ones, the violent ones who bear away the Kingdom as they beg it of Christ, suffer it from Christ, steal it away on their knees at His Table from His priest who gives it not as he makes it up but only as he has received it from holy catholic apostolic hands time out of mind; ‘Oh, whither thou goest, thou lost American, in thy shiny car in the night?’ Alan once asked... and I say we’re not going back; no we never go back... no one likes bongos and *^&% like that more than me daddy-o, but not in the Divine Service, never in the Divine Service man, but only the begged, the borrowed, the stolen from Christ will do for us there, nothing but the ancient, old and apostolic will do for us what we can never do ourselves, so you don’t go back hep cat--if you want to catch up on the latest in American Christendom and get in touch with your feelings and feminine side and grow in self esteem until you’re so square you’re positively geometrical, by all means go back to the ^&% clown who makes it up himself each week and bangs on the bongos like a chimpanzee; but if you want to get you some Jesus, man, a man’s mass, something to hang your hat on, then come with me to St. Aloysius next time you’re in the city--where they do a proper plainsong mass and preach Christ Jesus with no pansy bull^%&$ added and you will see the Kingdom come, the Advent of our King...

Yrs. In Chrst.



  1. Whatever is your brand, I'll have what you're having.

  2. Fr Kerouac - Two Questions.

    1. What are your thoughts on the increasing pressures to use technology in the service, be it sound systems, powerpoint, or whatever?

    2. Being as I read "On the Road" as a Nebraska High School Student (I attended Minden HS - many of the towns you hit were in our High School Conference), I was wondering what your thoughts on Nebraska Churches were like - even those at or around Seward, if not to the West.

  3. Fr Kerouac,

    I had not heard that you have received holy orders, but I am certainly glad of it. Doubly so now, seeing how sharp your wit remains in this missive.


  4. Fr. Kerouac and I share the same home town.


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