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 InternetMonk.com.
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 InternetMonk.com.
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.]