Archive for April, 2010

Last night brought word while I was at work that cancer had finally claimed the earthly life of Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk.  Words fail to describe the sorrow that I know his family and friends are experiencing as well as many of us in the rest of the blogosphere.  I think one of the BHT Jareds once said Michael was the only necessary voice on the Internet.  I would agree.

Michael’s words through the Internet Monk or Boar’s Head Tavern have been a great encouragement to me for years.  His writing was honest, sometimes painfully honest, but almost always captured in words what I was thinking and feeling in my heart of hearts.  His encouraging word to someone he may not have even known was reading his stuff was often priceless.

He and I never met, but he helped me through many ministry joys and successes but even more so, the crises and failures.  I owe him my deepest thanks for introducing me to Thomas Merton as a real human being and follower of Christ and not the quasi-gnostic syncretist that I had always thought him to be.   Michael also introduced me to Robert Farrar Capon, Francis Chan, the later writings of Robert Webber, and re-introduced me to Shakespeare after the Bard and I had a serious falling out in high school.

Michael introduced me to the concept of post-evangelicalism, just as I was getting ready to chuck the whole church scene into the bin.  I could not fathom the lack of spiritual depth of the materials from other churches that would come across my desk as a pastor.  It always looked great, tasted great, but left me with the crash of reality when the sugar high wore off.  Michael told me there was a world beyond that place where Christ was all and in all and led me there.

He helped shape my life’s ministry by pointing out that many of us evangelical pastors were chasing our tails on the hamster wheel every week.  He pointed me back to the Creeds, spoke of liturgy (both high church and low-church) with respect and not the disdain that had been beaten into my head over the years, reminded me the Good News was, is, and always will be Good News that changes everything, not merely a means to a happy, safe life.

In short, Michael was a spiritual father, director, friend, counselor, and goad when needed to someone he had never met.  His wit and humor made life more palatable on hard days.  His own struggles through the hardships of life, depression, loss of dear family members to death, or friends to the theological wars, encouraged me that I was not walking alone through this life.  He will be missed.

But yet we have hope…

For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  –1 Corinthians 15:53-56

Jesus is risen!


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