Note from CM: It occurred to me that some of our newer readers and folks who are passing by might not know that this blog was the brain-child of Michael Spencer, who became known as “The Internet Monk.” As you’ll see below, the site is so named because of his affection for Thomas Merton of Gethsemani Abbey near Bardstown, KY. Michael built something special in this site, and that’s why we determined to carry it on when Michael died after a four-month struggle with cancer, April 5, 2010.
We try to return to the archives and pull out gems from his writings regularly. Today, I thought it might be beneficial for some to learn/recall some of his biography. Michael wrote this in 2009.
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Every so often, it seems like a good idea to get the basic facts about your Internet Monk straight. I do this mainly for the sake of commenters and others who sometimes make factual errors. I’m often stunned at the weird things people believe and say about me, what I do and what is my real-life ministry.
My name is Dennis Michael Spencer. I go by Michael. I prefer not to be called Mike. I have gone by Dennis occasionally, such as in college.
I’m 52, born in 1956.
I’m the campus minister and Bible teacher for a large Christian school in southeastern Kentucky, I’ve been here for almost 17 years. Most of my students are not Christians. Many are internationals.
I preach 9-12x a month to approximately 300+ students and staff, sometimes in daily chapel and sometimes on Sundays. I teach 4 classes of Bible and one section of AP English IV every weekday. I teach English III in the summer.
Speaking publicly is easy for me, but it’s harder as I get older. It’s odd that I make my living talking, because for the first 14 years of my life I was a tremendous stutterer.
Before this job, I was a pastor for 4 years and a full time youth ministry specialist for 13 years. I worked for 5 SBC different churches in various staff positions and for one as a pastor.
I graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College with majors in Philosophy and Psychology, and a minor in English.
I graduated from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with an M.Div. I did 34 hours of a D. Min, but didn’t finish the thesis or get the degree.
Denise and I have been married for 30 years. We have two children- a married daughter and a son who will be married in May ’09.
We have two cats and one dog. The dog is half Cairn terrier/half Scottish terrier. She’s called Maize.
I’m a member of a Southern Baptist Church. I worship each week (morning and evening) at the worship gatherings our school provides for our students. I’ve taught an adult Bible study for 16 years. Once a month I worship with St. Patrick’s Anglican Church in Lexington.
I’ve always lived in Kentucky. I’m originally from Owensboro, Kentucky and I graduated from public school there. I became a Christian at age 15 and was a member of a large fundamentalist SBC church where my uncle was a prominent pastor.
I was ordained into the Gospel ministry by my church in 1980.
I did a lot of youth ministry consulting back in the day. For 12 years, I was the preaching supply minister for a PCUSA church in Manchester, Ky. I really enjoyed that experience and miss it a lot.
I was awarded a pastoral sabbatical in the summer of ’08 by the Louisville Institute.
I’m not a Calvinist. I am a Reformation-appreciating Christian. I’m more about the solas than I am the TULIP. I have a great deal of respect for Calvinists and would be part of a “Founders” church if I had the option. I like the way they do church, worship and missions.
I sing pretty well. I play guitar better than average, but haven’t in a while. I’m passionate about baseball, particularly the Cincinnati Reds and the minor league Louisville Bats and Lexington Legends.
I think I’m a good communicator in words or in person, but I’m also deeply aware of my failures to communicate and all the sins that relate to my use/abuse of words.
I’m something of an amateur Shakespeare scholar. I know a lot about Kentucky monastic writer Thomas Merton.
Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.
I’m always looking for an experience of Christian community that I’ll never find. I call that the “evangelical wilderness,” and call myself a “post-evangelical.” A “post-evangelical” wants to combine the best of evangelicalism with the broader, deeper, more ancient Christian tradition.
I have no idea what the future holds, but I plan to keep teaching, preaching and writing as long as I’m able.