Wednesday with Michael Spencer: Michael’s Final Post

Wednesday with Michael Spencer
Michael’s Final Post (2/10/10)

Friday will mark nine years since we said “’til we meet again” to our friend and mentor Michael Spencer. Here is the final post he was able to write before he succumbed to colon cancer in 2010.

• • •

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.

17 thoughts on “Wednesday with Michael Spencer: Michael’s Final Post

  1. We Christians like to make the scriptures about a lot of different things, but Bingo… isn’t that the bottom line?

    At age 63 with one colonoscopy and three prostate cancer scares in my past, I am a LOT more interested in Christus Victor (victory over death) than I am in Penal Subsitutionary Atonement, Pin-the-Tail-on-The-Antichrist, Brownie Points at the Bema, or any of the other HAWT HAWT HAWT Theological Issues.


  2. I’m getting my second at the end of the month.
    No fun. Prep is brutal.

    It’s been 12 years since my last one — no polyps, nothing except diverticuli — which was followed two weeks later by diverticulitis that put me in emergency surgery getting semicoloned. That’s why my doc and I held off for two years on this one, in case the two were connected. But now the benefits outweigh the risks.


  3. –> But the news that ‘Christ is risen!’ really is Good News for one kind of person: The person who is dying.”

    One of my all-time favorite Michael Spencer posts was his profound and sobering “There is always a day before” article about “the day before bad news. But this line has me thinking, too, that there’s always a day before GOOD NEWS! I’ve always marveled at the healing encounters people had with Jesus, the aspect of “little did they know as they walked into the village that they were about to meet God-in-the-flesh and never be the same.”

    There was “the day before” for the blind man who met Jesus, little knowing that a day later he would see.
    There was “the day before” for the woman at the well, little knowing that a day later she would receive living water.
    There was “the day before” for the centurion, little knowing that a day later Jesus would cure his servant.
    There was a day before for the woman who’d been hemorrhaging for years, a day before for the man with Legion inside him, a day before for the man at the pool in Bethesda, a day before for the paralytic dropped through a roof, a day before for Lazarus.

    All these people had a “day before” the Good News came to them in flesh.


  4. good to know we will see our departed loved ones again . . . . that is what drew so many to the faith in early days, that hope that those they loved were not lost to them forever

    a favorite image of Christ on catacomb walls was as The Good Shepherd carrying a lamb on His shoulders


  5. –> But the news that ‘Christ is risen!’ really is Good News for one kind of person: The person who is dying.”

    We Christians like to make the scriptures about a lot of different things, but Bingo… isn’t that the bottom line?


  6. “Tell me, where is the road I can call my own,
    That I left, that I lost So long ago?
    All these years I have wandered, Oh when will I know
    There’s a way, there’s a road
    That will lead me home?

    After wind, after rain, When the dark is done,
    As I wake from a dream In the gold of day,
    Through the air there’s a calling
    From far away,
    There’s a Voice I can hear
    That will lead me home.

    Rise up, follow Me, Come away, is the call,
    With the love in your heart
    As the only song;
    There is no such beauty As where you belong;
    Rise up, follow Me,
    I will lead you home.”


  7. “Mama, take al of these tears away from my face
    I can’t see through them anymore
    Its just a féeling, a féeling I can trace
    Its like I’m knockin’ on heavens door.”

    so much pain in these old songs, so much pain .


  8. There’s something about the words and deeds of a person about to die. You have to take them seriously, or, if you’re not aware that they’re dying, at least look back later at what’s been said or done and think about the context.

    This video of Jerry Garcia does it for me. In concert about three weeks before he died in a rehab facility.

    “So many roads. All I need is one to take me home.” 1995.


  9. I found Michael’s series on the “Evangelical Liturgy” to be one of best written posts.

    Michael found beauty and meaning in the historic Christian liturgy that is messing from many “evangelical” worship services today.


  10. “But the news that “Christ is risen!” really is Good News for one kind of person: The person who is dying.”

    In a timely way, there is a great article at the NYT today about the monks at Mt Athos in Greece. In the article, the writer says this:
    “The cassock that the monks wear under their robes has a skull and crossbones at the bottom to remind them of mortality. As the monk Evagrius of Pontus said, the monk should always act as if he were going to die tomorrow.”

    The writer was greatly impacted by the mindset of the monks. We should remind ourselves that we too will die, and our love, joy, and hope should be evident as we encounter those whose death is more immediate.


  11. The word of resurrection is very hard to believe. All around us we see and hear of people dying, but none of them are resurrected — I’m not counting metaphorical resurrection from addiction, disease, evil, personal dysfunction, etc., because that’s not what Michael Spencer is talking about in this post. We live and work with those bound for death, who have no personal word of resurrection from literal death to relate. Believing in Christ’s resurrection, and as a result our own, is counter-intuitive and counter-evidential, if we rely on personal experience. The ability to trust in Christ’s resurrection is itself a miracle, or a delusion, and none of us can be certain which it is.


  12. Seconded. My grandfather died of undiagnosed colorectal cancer. My dad and I were both tested early, and both of us had pre-cancerous polyps removed. Go. Get. A colonoscopy. It’s not pleasant, but it can most definitely save your life.


  13. Yes, I echo your thanks to CM, and Jeff before him, as well as the other Mikes, for their faithful stewardship over the years. Much appreciated.

    Nine years already, that is scary.


  14. Wow, this covers the spectrum of emotions for me when I read it, hope, joy, sadness, courage, acceptance , honesty , love , certainly faith and other thoughts . . It is touching and moving with eloquent simplicity and to Mr. Spencer I would say life well lived and God well served.

    I would also add , as a public service announcement , if you are over 50 , or have any health issues with your stomach get a colonoscopy. I know several friends who literally saved their lives by getting one and taking care of the issue, early detection is so critical. No one wants to do, the jokes are many but it can be a life saver.

    Also to CM, my guess is Mr. Spencer would be well pleased with how you have maintained his site. The world is better for the life of Mike Spencer.


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