Remembering Michael Spencer, Internet Monk (1956 – 2010)

The blogosphere feels much emptier today with the sudden passing of Michael Spencer who you probably know as Internet Monk. He told us about his cancer but it was still really quick. Way too quick. I didn’t get to insult him one last time. HT: Christianity Today LiveBlog

I often posted links to the blogged thinkings and inklings of the iMonk and you would have surely read his famous posts last year under the title “The Coming Evangelical Collapse”. In adding clarity to what he was saying in those posts, Michael suggested that the evangelical church would suffer a collapse and enter a new phase, becoming a “smaller, more chastened, more diverse, less influential form.” He didn’t say it was going to die but, the blogosphere being what it is, the prophecy of an imminent church death was sounded near and far, much to the dismay of iMonk.

I can relate. Early this year I said the emerging church had matured and been incorporated into the wider church but the blogosphere pushed it further to say it was dead. It happens to the best of us.

Perhaps a better post to understand Michael’s honest and brave style was a post on The Shack called Shack Attack! and also to see how he handled spammers in that same honest way that was strong but also gracious.

imonk.jpg This image of iMonk is taken from Bill Kinnon, who I believe has taken on the iMonk mantle of brutal but graciously honest book reviews.

My fondest memory of Michael is not our many common posts on the emerging church or spirituality or new media but rather when we discovered a passion for the same chef. In 2006 I blogged on an incredibly helpful book by an Episcopal chef in New York, Robert Farar Capon, who occasionally wrote a food column for the New York Times. The book, published waaaaaaayyyy back in [I think] the late 1960’s, was called The Supper of the Lamb and Michael blogged on it the day before I did. We contacted each other immediately afterwards on email and since that time I have always thought of the iMonk as a brother in Christ AND a brother who understood the spirituality of cooking. I will re-post that tomorrow in memory of Michael.

Because of our common appreciation of that book, I think of Michael sometimes when I use my Chinese cleaver to chop garlic, and when I bring out the meat the next day in a new incarnation – both ideas from Robert Capon.


This image is from iMonk on Flickr and is called “postmodern devil”. HAHAHA – what a STIRRER he was!!!!!!!!!!

As a long-term blogger, and someone who set a new benchmark for honesty, iMonk is deeply embedded in the soundtrack of church history in this crazy new millennium. Michael, DUDE, I was honored to be listed on your blog roll and it was an honor to point people to your wonderfully, refreshingly honest blog posts.

HUGE GINORMOUS KUDOS to you Michael! Thanks for the warning on your illness and including us in your journey to the next life. See you one day and lets conspire again to do something there.

Want to honor and remember iMonk? Then pre-order his book – Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back To Jesus-Shaped Christianity which will be released on my birthday, September 7, 2010. Come on. Dont be cheap.



Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Jason Coker says:

    Thanks for reminding me about the book. It’s not only a great way to honor Michael, but a great way to support his family in the wake of his illness.

  • Matt J. says:

    Love the iMonk’s writing. Been reading your blog Andrew for 3+ years now on his recommendation. 🙂

  • Greg in Mexico says:

    Wow…I knew about his cancer but had no idea he’d go so quickly. Thanks Andrew for this post remembering and honoring iMonk. I, too, have been a regular reader of his blog. My all-time favorite iMonk blogpost has to be his “Five Things That Youth Pastors Need to Hear” from 2005:
    RIP my brother. Your voice will be sorely missed.

  • iggy says:

    Wow, I missed this whole thing. I guess I have not been reading your blog enough. Michael was a special breed and will be missed.

  • Taylor Spencer says:

    Since Michael’s death, posts from his friends and enemies in the blogosphere have help to console me and my husband. Thank you so much for your support. But Michael’s book comes out Tuesday! I feel it’s much closer to his teaching style than his blogging style, so some of you might be suprised.

  • Andrew says:

    really – thanks for the heads up. i was not aware that michael had enemies – it seemed like everyone loved him.

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