On August 26, 2008, at twenty four minutes past midnight, I left my first comment on a fascinating blog I had started reading called, “Internet Monk.” An article with the intriguing title “Wretched Urgency” had been re-posted, and I found it compelling. Here was my response to the post’s author, Michael Spencer:
You tell the truth.
The main problem with the evangelical church (Baptist and otherwise) is that it has taken believers out of real life where they might follow Christ in truly renewed human lives and relationships. Instead, it has substituted its own manufactured programs and methods, covering them with a pseudo-Biblical veneer to justify them. And we’ve been doing it for so long, that most of us actually think it’s the real thing.
I’m with you. It’s not.
When I hit “enter” on that early morning five years ago and left my comment for the Internet Monk, a wind blew across the sands of the wilderness in which I was wandering, and I began to spy the vague markings of a path toward home. In other words this blogger, Michael Spencer, emerged as an important person who was to play an integral part in the saving of my life.
This post is not about me, but about Michael, so I won’t bore you with the details of my journey, except to express my gratitude for God’s providential guidance in allowing me to know Michael and benefit from his friendship and ministry. His bio describes him like this:
Michael was a libertarian-leaning conservative politically and an adventurous pilgrim theologically. He owed much to Baptists, the Apostles’ Creed, Raymond Brown, Ed Beavins, Eugene Peterson, Paul Zahl, Robert Capon, C.S. Lewis, the Gospel of Mark, Michael Horton, N.T. Wright, Shakespeare, his dad, several pastors and always Martin Luther.
Sadly, Michael died three years ago today in his home surrounded by his family, on Easter Monday, the opening day of baseball season, and far too soon for all who knew and loved him. On that day, having been asked by Michael to continue the work of the blog, I wrote the following on Internet Monk:
With them, we mourn his passing.
With them, our tears fall.
With them, we express gratitude that Michael is at peace and no longer suffering.
With them, we cry out to God in pain because our suffering has just increased.
With them and with all creation, we groan, awaiting the day when this sad world will be put to rights.
With them and with all the saints, we put our trust in Christ alone, crucified, buried, risen, ascended, and coming again.
We continue to mourn. We continue to pray for comfort and strength for his dearest, Denise, and his children Noel (with her husband Ryan) and Clay, and his grandson Silas.
* * *
I encourage you to read Noel’s thoughts about her dad’s passing: “Reflections on April 4 Evening.”
I also encourage you to take some time today, as you have it, to peruse the Archives and read some of Michael’s extraordinary writing.
There will only ever be one Internet Monk.