Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Michael Spencer 1956 - 2010

Michael Spencer (the Internet Monk) has died, at age 53, of colon cancer. That he didn't even come close to living to see his book's release date (September 7, 2010) makes it suck even worse (if that's possible).

One of the sanest Christian voices in America, he will be sorely missed. If you've ever read any of Michael's writings, then you know what I mean. If not, then make the effort to do so from the archives at

Please pray for Michael's family & friends, as they deal with the tragedy and unfairness of his illness and death. Michael now knows that it was all more than worth it. Pray that those close to him may receive a measure of that same assurance.

If you'd like to pre-order a copy of Michael's book, Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality, there is a link on the sidebar. Or, if you'd like to make a donation to help with the family's medical expenses, then click on the Donate button at

Meanwhile, Fred Phelps (of the God Hates Fags Church of Demonic Theology) is alive-and-kicking, at....what?....150 years old??....and is still drawing enough breath to spew his sulfurous bile of Christ dishonoring blasphemies at a nation that's already so dead it thinks he represents what the average Christian believes. God help us.

The good news is that Michael Spencer will do more good, even in death (via InternetMonk.com archives, The Boar's Head Tavern, his upcoming book, and those whose lives he's had such a positive impact on), than Fred Phelps could do if he lived to be a thousand. Grace will always win out over vitriol, as surely as it has defeated sin, death, and Satan. Michael knew that the gospel is all about Grace. "For by grace you have been saved through faith -- and that not of yourself -- it is the gift of God." It is what he strove to show others in his daily life. Through struggle and failure, God's loving grace is the one constant that should never be in doubt to even the weakest Christian. It's all about what Jesus has done to save us, not what we have to do to earn salvation.

We need all the Christians like him we can get. He wasn't perfect, but he strove to be honest -- about his own struggles, and especially about the transforming grace that sustained him in all things. He will be missed. God bless and comfort his family & friends at this most difficult of times.

[Addendum: Michael Spencer's book, Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality, is now available for purchase. Christianity Today printed an excerpt online, which can be read here. Amazon.com also lets you read some of the book here.]

Sunday, April 4, 2010

On Easter...

About a month or so after finishing the book that so many of his blog readers were hoping he'd write, Michael Spenser (aka, the Internet Monk) found out he had colon cancer. Recently he and his wife were told that he has 6 months to a year to live. It's looking like he may very well not live to see his book published this Fall. But out of such devastating circumstances, came the following post. I thought it appropriate for Easter.

A brief word from Michael:

The ultimate apologetic is to a dying man.

That is what all those “Where is God?” statements in the Psalms are all about. They are, at least partially, invitations to Christians to speak up for the dying.

All the affirmations to God as creator and designer are fine, but it is as the God of the dying that the Christian has a testimony to give that absolutely no one else can give.

We need to remember that each day dying people are waiting for the word of death and RESURRECTION.

The are a lot of different kinds of Good News, but there is little good news in “My argument scored more points than you argument.” But the news that “Christ is risen!” really is Good News for one kind of person: The person who is dying.

If Christianity is not a dying word to dying men, it is not the message of the Bible that gives hope now.

What is your apologetic? Make it the full and complete announcement of the Life Giving news about Jesus.

Powerful and sobering words, especially when one considers that we are all dying. You will never meet a person on this planet who isn't -- it's just more obvious about some of us than others (and even that can be deceiving).

Jesus isn't our boyfriend. He's not our drinking buddy. He's not the poster boy for a Love-Is-Blind theology that thinks that every sin we commit is just the harmless whoopsie daisy of a precocious child's innocent first steps. No, Jesus is the love that sees into the darkest corners of our souls without flinching, and then has the nerve to die for the things in us that are so ugly that even we can't bear to face them. And then he had the audacity to not stay dead! And to top it all off, he promises eternal life to anyone who simply gives their self to him in faith (and even that faith is a gift from him).

For those who think they don't need him, he has nothing to offer. For those who know that they need him, then Happy Easter. He Is Risen. He is the light on the horizon that the hopeless think is the final sunset, but that the faithful know is the first glow of that coming Easter morn when the Son will break forth like the dawning of the perfect day that will never end.

The word, I think, is "Hallelujah!"