San Francisco Church to Hold "Beyoncé Mass"

Beyonce performs at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2008, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Have you ever been sitting in some boring old church service on a Sunday morning and said to yourself, “You know, Jesus dying on the cross for my sins would be a lot sexier if they’d pump some hip-hop up in this joint!” ?


Well, your prayers have been answered!

A San Francisco church will holding a special “Beyoncé Mass” – a service set around the music of hip-hop legend and Queen of Booty-Shakin’, Beyoncé.

What kind of church would make a secular pop artist the center of their (supposedly) Christian worship service? Many may not be surprised to learn it’s an Episcopal church.

The San Francisco Gate reports that Grace Cathedral will hold it’s mass on April 25th.

Hosted by the Vine, a weekly contemporary worship service espousing progressive theology set to a pop beat, the Beyoncé Mass will give parishioners a chance to sing along with their favorite songs and discover how the 36-year-old star’s art “opens a window into the lives of the marginalized and forgotten — particularly black females.”

One can only imagine what the difference between “progressive theology” and plain old theology might be, but apparently the key in differentiating the two lies with one of the best-selling female pop music artists of all time. Why let your worship be the same dry, dull songs of praise to the Lord Jesus Christ when you can sing along to Beyoncé as she tells the world to suck on her balls? 

“In this year where there’s been so much conversation about the role of women and communities of color, we felt a need to lift up the voices that the church has traditionally suppressed,” said [Rev.Jude Harmon].

The Beyoncé Mass is part of three-part series the Vine is hosting at the Nob Hill church that started with a program on Mary Magdalene called “The Original Nasty Woman.”

“The beauty of Beyoncé’s music is she explores those themes in an idiom that is accessible to everyone,” Harmon said. “We can use it as a conversation starter. That’s what it’s designed to be.”


There’s no indication of what the actual conversation hoping to be started may be, but dollars to donuts it has very little to do with the message of the Gospel that tells us we are all sinners, have all fallen short of the Glory of God, and yet Christ came to us while we were still unworthy to take our sin upon his sinless self and spare us from our just rewards.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. –Romans 5:8

 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.- 2 Corinthians 5:21

He popped all my buttons, and he ripped my blouse
He Monica Lewinsky-ed all on my gown. –Beyoncé, Partition

Surely the poor and marginalized will be so relieved to know there’s a church out there brave enough to let one of the richest women in America speak for them.

I guess for the “progressive” set the whole “Jesus was a socialist who hated the rich” thing only applies to people who aren’t Beyoncé.

But if you thought Jesus wasn’t going to be in the mix at all in this service, you’d be wrong.

“I know there are people who will say using Beyoncé is just a cheap way of trying to get people in the church,” Harmon said. “But Jesus used very provocative images in the stories he would tell to incite people to ask hard questions about their own religious assumptions. He regularly provoked. We’re following in the way of Jesus.”

I thought the “provocative images” Jesus used in scripture were things like challenging the assumptions of the rich and elite class and suggesting that the “unclean” poor and diseased were just as valued (if not more) in the kingdom of God as any privileged person. Perhaps my translation deleted the parts where he used crotch-thrusting to illustrate God’s eternal love. I’ll check into it.


The evening will feature music, readings from scripture by women of color and a sermon by Rev. Yolanda Norton, who serves as the assistant professor of the Old Testament at the San Francisco Theological Seminary, where she also teaches a course called “Beyoncé and the Bible.”

If you’re looking for a “church” that is more concerned with gender and race than eternal salvation, Grace Cathedral just may be your jam! Don’t forget your booty shorts and your Bible – Beyoncé Edition™.

Look, I love Beyoncé as much as the next person. You may not care for her presentation, but she is an extremely talented artist and there’s something to be said for the fact that most of her raunchiest performances are in celebration of her love for her husband. She’s worked hard her entire life to be as successful as she is and that shouldn’t be scoffed at.

But this isn’t about Beyoncé, and that’s the real problem here. The Episcopal Church in America has been drastically separating itself from the Christian gospel for decades, to the point where many don’t even classify it as a “Christian” church any longer. Those Episcopalian churches who have remained faithful to scripture have increasingly found themselves in the position of either breaking completely with mainline Episcopal oversight or requesting to be reassigned to parochial leadership in more “traditional” regions like Africa or Latin America.

It may not be shocking that a “Christian” church in San Francisco is letting Beyoncé headline their message, but it should be of concern to every faithful Christian that those who avail themselves of the umbrella of “the Christian church” are so brazenly casting aside the very difficult but true message of the Cross…


 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. – John 3:16


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