By Chaplain Mike
UPDATE: The FAQ page has now been fully updated. It may be found in the menu at the top of the page, and is now called FAQS/RULES.
We are in the process of updating the Internet Monk FAQ page, in order that our readers may understand who we are now and how we intend to operate to carry on Mike Spencer’s legacy.
In part one, I gave some basic information about who I am and what my theological perspectives are. In addition, I reinforced the guidelines for participating as a commenter on IM.
By the way, the picture on the right that I’ve chosen to illustrate the FAQs here portrays one aspect of monastic life. To show that they were monks, the men had the back of their heads shaved bald. They called this being “tonsured.” That’s what the standing monk is doing with that scary looking knife.
Contrary to some suggestions, this picture does not signify:
- Chaplain Mike taking the knife to obstreperous commenters, or
- Obstreperous commenters taking the knife to Chaplain Mike, or
- Chaplain Mike taking the knife to Jeff Dunn, or
- Jeff Dunn taking the knife to Chaplain Mike, or
- An unnamed monk who is a Cubs fan taking the knife to another who is an unnamed Reds fan because he is jealous today that they are in first place, while the Cubs have sunk all the way to fifth place because they can’t even beat the stinkin’ Pittsburgh Pirates while the Reds go out and take two of three from the Cardinals who have again somehow found a way to be the best team in the NL Central, in my view primarily because they have Albert Pujols and a great pitching staff, which they have in part because they have a good pitching coach, which the Cubs absolutely do not have (and I’ve been complaining about this for years) and the evidence is that Cubs pitchers can’t throw strikes!â€”they throw way too many pitches and walk too many batters, and anyway even if they only give up a few runs, the Cubs hitters are so inconsistent that you never know if they are going to score 20 runs or get shut out, but they usually get shut out, and even when they score a few runs, they make critical errors or the bullpen can’t hold the other team because, once again, they can’t throw strikes! and everyone knows that walks are what kills you and I don’t understand why big league pitchers can’t throw strikes! and get ahead of hitters, but anyway, good for the Reds, I’m actually kind of rooting for them this year because they were Michael Spencer’s favorite team, and besides, Dusty Baker, the Reds manager, got hosed in Chicago by the Cubs fans and media when the problem all along has been pitchers who can’t throw strikes! and hitters who can’t hit when it counts, and for heaven’s sake it’s been since 1945 since the Cubs even made it to the World Series and the last one they won was in 1908, and I’m starting to doubt if I’ll ever see a Cubs championship in my lifetime, and I’ve kind of resented Reds fans over the years because they used to have the Big Red Machine, who always beat the tar out of the Cubs, and for heaven’s sake the Reds went to the World Series in 1961 and then four times in the 1970’s, and then they went back in 1990, and I mean, is that right?â€”that’s 6 times in my lifetime, and the Cubs haven’t even been there once. But anyway, I’m not upset about it enough to take a knife to a Reds fan, for heaven’s sake, although sometimes I’d like to take one to the Cubs pitching coach and some of their pitchers. Throw strikes!
Ahem…back to the FAQs.
7. Where do you work?
MS: At a Christian ministry for students in Southeastern Kentucky.
CM: I work as a hospice chaplain in a non-profit health network in Indianapolis. Every day I have the privilege of going from house to house, and room to room in healthcare facilities visiting with patients and families who confronting issues related to the end of life, being a friend to those who are dying. This is the most “Jesus-shaped” ministry I’ve ever done. Before this, I spent many years serving as a pastor in small churches in Maryland, Vermont, Chicago, and the Indianapolis area. These were non-denominational churches in the evangelical and/or fundamentalist tradition.
8. Where did you go to school and get your theological training?
MS: I graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1984. I returned for post-graduate work in 1987.
CM: I graduated from Lancaster (PA) Bible College in 1978. After getting my feet wet in pastoral ministry, I went to seminary at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL), where I received my MDiv. degree.
9. How did you know Michael Spencer and become involved in Internet Monk?
I was a regular reader of IM, and began commenting more a couple of years ago. I corresponded with Michael on occasion, and last fall invited Mike and Denise to dinner with my wife and me while we were on vacation in that part of the country. A short time later, when he was dealing with some issues related to death and how Christians handle the subject, he asked me to do an interview for the blog. When he became sick, our correspondence, phone and personal contacts increased, and I offered to serve asÂ “chaplain at a distance” for him and Denise to help them with what they were facing. He asked me to keep the blog going, and eventually requested that I carry it on after his death. We value and enjoy a continuing friendship with the family.
10. How did you get to know Jeff Dunn?
Jeff was the agent who helped Michael get his book contract. During the final season of Mike’s life, I talked to Denise and asked if she had taken steps to protect his writings. She contacted Jeff, and in his reply, he not only gave her counsel about that, but presented an idea for continuing the Internet Monk blog. We are still in the early stages of doing that together. Jeff is wonderfully gifted, enthusiastic, and compassionate, and it is his company that is administrating things here now. It’s a pleasure knowing and working with him. Oh yeah, he’s a Reds fan, but Jesus prayed that we’d be one, and it’s happening.
11. Will you continue to run the features that Internet Monk is known for?
In a word, yes. That is our plan. We ask your patience as we find our bearings and learn how to do this. Michael Spencer was a prodigious and prolific figure and writer, and trying to fill his shoes is an intimidating challenge. First of all, we want his words to keep speaking and reaching new readers, so regular “iMonk Classic” posts will be re-run. Second, Michael was always gracious about letting other voices be heard, so in addition to looking for new writers that will complement his voice, we will also have folks Mike appreciated, like Michael Bell, as regular contributors. We’ll be working soon on restarting the Liturgical Gangstas. Third, Open Mic will continue to be a regular feature, and we’ll try to keep a focus on some of the specific themes that were dear to Michael’s heart because they are key issues in the post-evangelical wilderness where many of us walk.