December 1, 2015

About Chaplain Mike

Chaplain Mike works with a hospice organization in central Indiana. He has been in pastoral ministry since 1978, serving in churches in Maryland, Vermont, Illinois, and Indiana before moving into chaplaincy work. He is married to a wonderful gifted wife, Gail, and they have four children and three grandchildren. He thinks baseball is the greatest game ever invented, suffers annually as a Chicago Cubs fan, and is looking forward to putting on a cap again this spring to coach his grandson's Little League team. He loves a wide variety of music, spends way too much money on books, is happy to live in a place where there are four seasons, and is a "true believer" in Apple computers, having used them since 1988. Luther is his favorite theologian, Bach his favorite composer, James Taylor his favorite singer-songwriter, Chicago his favorite city, and hiking his favorite form of exercise. He would love to do more with photography and dreams of having a place in the mountains of Arizona some day. His heart has been captured by the grace of God in Jesus Christ and considers himself a post-evangelical disciple seeking a Jesus-shaped life and hoping to help the church do the same. He is forever grateful to his friend, Michael Spencer, for giving him an opportunity to write for Internet Monk.

Advent I: A Holy Year of Mercy

Advent I A Holy Year of Mercy We will be moving “Sundays with Michael Spencer” to Mondays this year so that we may follow the liturgical calendar with our Sunday posts. On Sundays we will also emphasize “mercy,” following the lead of Pope Francis, who on December 8 will open the Holy Door at St. […]

Saturday Ramblings: November 28, 2015

In honor of my brother-in-law with whom we just spent Thanksgiving, who once drove a bright orange version of this ’73 beauty, we feature today’s two-door Matador, which he lovingly remembers as “a piece of junk.” Of course, he only paid 300 bucks for it, but it is true that AMC/Rambler made some dreadful cars in […]

Another Look: Preparing for a New Church Year

Note from CM: In 2010, we did a series on “Church Year Spirituality.” November is the month when we complete the annual liturgical cycle and prepare for a new Church Year, which begins the first Sunday in Advent (Nov. 29 this year). Here is the first post from that series. We present it in order […]

A Thanksgiving Sonnet

A Thanksgiving Sonnet 2015 When in these dark’ning days the world goes bare And gray the sky above and brown beneath When I awake to frosty silver morns Break out my woolen coat and cross the heath All life seems to have fled and left behind A scene bereft of color’s warm embrace Through breath’s […]

The two sides of wonder

Yesterday, we highlighted William P. Brown’s point that “the experience of wonder comes unbidden, as a disruption and, ultimately, as a gift.” But this must be balanced by what he goes on to say. For wonder is more than a gift to be received. When we meet it, wonder enlivens us, awakens us, inspires us, and […]

Let’s go marveling

You are the God who works wonders. • Psalm 77:14 • • • Let’s go marveling. “This felicitous phrase is taken from the great Methodist preacher Fred Craddock, who tells of the ancestral practice of taking walks every Sunday afternoon and finding things to marvel at and to share with others” (Wm. P. Brown). I’ve […]

Saturday Ramblings: November 21, 2015

I’m in Nashville and feeling a little sporty today. How do you like this hot little number from 1966? Sweet, huh? We’ll have to take turns riding together, but I’ll be glad to have anyone who wants a wild ride to join me for a ramble this Saturday. I’ll take anyone, but my wife gets the […]

Another Look: Peter the Pastor

I have written several posts on the subject of pastoral visitation and the importance of church communities taking seriously the responsibility for the personal care and tending of their members. In a comment I received to one of those posts, a church leader wrote that some pastors should not be considered responsible for pastoral care […]

Church Growth: Pastoral Care

One thing I have noticed about people who promote church growth ideology, and the pastors who who “lead” churches by its principles: They really don’t like pastoral care. And yet, they still want to be called pastors. Take the eight-point list on why churches don’t grow by Carey Nieuwhof that we referenced yesterday. The first and […]

Church Growth: the Organization

Church growth thinking is alive and well, and in the eyes of many, successful. And I suppose it is from a certain perspective. Here is Outreach Magazine’s list of the ten largest churches in the U.S. in 2014: If my calculator is right, these ten churches claim that nearly 244,000 people are affiliated with them. That’s […]