About Priestly Goth

blessing XCXChandWhy Priestly Goth? As I began to pastor what would become the Oratory of Jesus Christ, Reconciler a friend who understood the importance of words and names asked me “As a goth, Christian, and pastor would you say you are a goth priest or a priestly goth?” I didn’t have an answer, and my friend was correct they weren’t the same thing.  What would it mean to be a “goth priest?”  What would it mean to be a “priestly goth”? “Goth priest” struck me as too vague. The name also gave precedence to the goth identity and seemed to say that I sought to be priest only for goths simply as a goth (I’m not even sure what that would be, but it wasn’t what I was seeking to be or do). “Priestly goth”, resonated with me, giving precedent to my Christian identity and the sacramental reality of the Church while simultaneously holding my goth identity and aesthetics as integral to the pastoral and priestly role. I became known as the priestly goth.

Photo by Thomas Harris
Photo by Thomas Harris

I, the Rev. Larry E. Kamphausen, am the Priestly goth.  I’m Prior of the new monastic community, the Community of the Holy Trinity, which my wife and I helped found 10 years ago.  As prior of the community of the Holy Trinity I’m pastor of the Oratory of Jesus Christ Reconciler.  I’m also an artist that has since 2009 focused almost exclusively on the art and spiritual practiced of painting icons according the Easter Orthodox tradition.  I also may be seen frequenting the Chicago goth scene.  I identify as a goth. My music of choice is dark wave, goth, industrial, and punk: bands like the Dead Kenedys,Cure, Depeche Mode, NIN, Love and Rockets, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, The Birthday Party the Ramones, and Dead Can Dance.  Also, you will find me about town in the theater and art scenes.  My wife is a fashion designer and costume designer, who designs for Chicago store front theater. By education I am an historian, student of religion in the school of Religious Studies (not Philosophy of Religion),  and pastor.  While I am not a trained philosopher I have read fairly widely in the Western Philosophical tradition and philosophy was a key component to my training in history, religion, and theology.

bluefacepersonaPriestly Goth is a space for working out several overlapping pursuits and an exploration of a posture in the world:  You will find here reflections on urban subcultures and Christian faith, particularly the goth scene, an exploration on the meaning of the church as body of Christ, reflections on pastoral care and spiritual direction and iconography. Priestly Goth is a space holding and bringing together for reflection a variety of threads that make up the warp and woof of my life as a dweller in a urban and “tribal” landscape as a goth, Christian, artist, and pastor

What you will find here:


IMG902IconographyPortfolios and reflections on the spirituality and discipline of icon painting. Priestly Goth icons are painted with egg tempra.  I accept commissions.  If you would like an icon use the form here to contact me.  In the note section leave the subject of the icon and the Approximate dimension of the icon.  I usually have a few icons in stock available for purchase.  Payment for a commission can be made here as well as purchase of an icon in stock.


IMG159Ecclesial longings explores the meaning and nature of the church, from the perspective of a Protestant who has found believer and congregational ecclesiology to be lacking yet at the same time finding Catholic and Orthodox ecclesiology to be saying too much.  Ecclesial Longings is the place to publicly explore and hopefully wrestle with ecclesiology and at least begin to answer what it means to be the Body of Christ.


bluefacepersonaGothic Musings are posts that seek to explore an aesthetic and how the goth subculture link up with various aspects of my life and the larger urban context.  Currently I’m slowly working on a series of posts on sonic identity: what does it mean to identify as goth and have a music and club scene mean something for my sense of self.



ic+xc nika handbwswCure of Souls is a place to explore pastoral theology and the role of the spiritual director in the world I inhabit.