Michael Spencer, 1956-2010

In November 2000, a pastor in Southeastern Kentucky began writing his thoughts down in a “web-log” (a concept still foreign to most internet visitors at that time).  Over the next 9 years, Michael Spencer, aka The Internet Monk, tackled questions about faith that most of don’t want to deal with.  Michael’s blog became a place for people who longed for more of Jesus, but felt disillusioned by the Church.  He described it as “Dispatches from the post evangelical wilderness”.   In the truest sense of the word, for many Christians throughout the world internetmonk.com became a community.  People found themselves daily visiting the site to hear from Michael and a diverse group of guest writers, to express their hopes and fears (and confusion about God), and yes- even sometimes just to plain’ ol argue.

A colleague of mine in mission told me to check out Michael’s blog in early 2006, and I was immediately drawn by the bold, uncomprimising pursuit of Jesus from not only Michael and his guests, but the readers and commenters as well.  I’ve never once participated in the conversation- I felt priveledged just to be a witness.  Besides the Bible, Michael Spencer and his blog has challenged me and my walk like nothing else.  For that I give thanks to God.

Last night Michael went to be with our Lord after a 6-month battle with cancer.  I’m surprised at how much my heart can hurt for someone I’ve never even met.  I look forward to the time (hopefully in a very distant future) where I’ll get to shake his hand and thank him for the encouragement, love and grace he showed me and thousands of others through his website.

I’ve posed the announcement from internetmonk.com below.  If you get a chance, visit the site and have a look around.

I received word tonight that Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk, our friend, passed away in his home in Oneida, KY, in the presence of his family.

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.

Words are hard to come by at this moment. At a more appropriate time tomorrow, I will say more.

Thank you for praying.

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