The End Is in Sight

Path from Murren down to Gimmelwald (2019)

The End Is in Sight

Today, I announce that Internet Monk will cease publishing as a daily blog after New Year’s Day, 2021. Our last active post will be on Jan. 1, 2021, and then the blog will be online as an archive site with access to all available IM posts.

I’ve been considering this for some time. In fact, the original plan was to end IM on the tenth anniversary of Michael Spencer’s death back in April. However, at that time we were just beginning to realize that 2020 might be a year like few others, and I felt that the blog could serve a useful purpose during the pandemic and the other craziness we’ve been experiencing.

Not that I think IM has ceased being useful, but it’s time to move on. In my opinion, twenty years is a remarkable run. We survived the death of our founder and adapted to a number of other changes. Many of us have come to terms with our post-evangelical journeys and, while  we still find ourselves wandering in the wilderness at times, we have learned a few tricks to help us survive.

One aspect of growing older (and hopefully, wiser) is learning to discern when the time is ripe for change. And my life is at one of those impending “change” places. I am just a couple of years away from making decisions about retirement and life after full-time work. It feels to me now like I’m starting to round the bend of a curve. I’m about to see a new landscape in front of me.

While I may be on the curve, I have an idea we will have plenty to talk about between now and January 2, 2020. So let’s just carry on until then.

Near the end of Pilgrim’s Progress, the travelers meet some shepherds and find that they are in Immanuel’s land, within view of the city. There they find some rest, encouragement, a few warnings, and some new friends to send them off on the next leg of their journey.

I hope we will all think of this final season of Internet Monk like that. A time of good food and conversation until we say goodbye and hike down the mountain to the paths God has for each of us.

93 thoughts on “The End Is in Sight

  1. Rick, i just sent in a “join” request, although mainly in order to contact you.

    My username (1st name there) begins with K . I have a kind of odd-looking vignette from a Japanese woodcut as my profile pic.


  2. I’d think we could collectively come up with subjects for discussion- there are a lot of thoughtful readers here who are good writers as well, and i honestly don’t know that long posts are necessary to kick off – or continue, for that matter.

    Brevity can be a great thing

    As for content, again, I’m sure there’s a wide range of interests here. I’m all for finding out whsat folks are reading, listening to, watching, etc. (Being big on all 3 things myself, plus having many other interests.)

    One reason the comments (and posts!) have been a lifeline for me is that I’m on disabilty and have been for over 20 years. A lot of folks who can’t work or who can only work from home have found the internet to be a godsend – when we stumble across sites like this one. And I’ll be the first to say that this site hss long attracted interesting commenrs and commenters – who are remarkably kind, civil, and highly articulate.

    You have all been a kind of parish church for me, not least since i began lockdown in March. (I do go out, but only for necessary things, b/c I’m in my 60s and have an autoimmune disorder, which is controlled by medication and very mild as these things go – but it still makes me more vulnerable than some folks and i *really* don’t want to take foolish chances where COVID is concerned.)


  3. I’m not a member, but i could be. I am very uncomfortable with anyone figuring out the actual name behind my alias here, because trolls. (For real it’s happened, although I’ve had to be super-careful on FB ibecause of it.)

    If i could contact you on FB somehow or other, that’d be good. And CM does have my email address, but i hate to bother him about sending it on to you.


  4. That’s good to know, CM. Agreed on knocking off here, though – i really can’t imagine how IM has been cranking out 7 posts a week for *so* long.

    Maybe you could also feature your photos if you decide to start some other blog or site?

    Robert + all haiku writing/reading fans: is there any possibility of creating something (a blog, etc.) where we could have an open thread for haiku? I can see writing/subject prompts being part of that, with threads staying open for a week or two, then a new one starting up, and so on.

    In fact, I’d be very open to collaborating on something like that…


  5. I know exactly how I ended up here: signed up to Twitter, found one of my geeky friends on there, who had posted a link to “The Coming Evangelical Collapse”. And the rest is history.

    So strange, this virtual community where so many names mean so much, and yet I’ve never met any of you.

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve forwarded posts to friends or family, or translated into French to share with others. So much rich content and the quality of the comments is a step above all the rest.


  6. They used to say 1968 was the year “when Sauron finally got The Ring” because so much seemed to go south all at once.

    1968 is nothing compared to 2020.


  7. I think I’ve been here for around 15 years. First under my own name, but there got to be too many Kens so I went with my present unique handle.


  8. Wondering Eagle (remember him?) has invited IMonkers over to his blog (which gets very little comment traffic since he had to put his regular trolls on Time Out):

    And I remember him once asking about guest posters to take some of the load off him. (Working full-time high-stress job plus going to 2-3 Ayem near every night getting the next day’s blogging done/edited/posted). A lot of what he does is investigative journalism of church corruption/abuse, which these days spills over into Politics. (He works in that nest of vipers called DC, near the Iron Throne itself.)

    If say Klassie or Mike the Geologist or Damaris (or even Chaplain Mike or other regular writers) want to keep up their guest posting, they might want to contact Eagle.


  9. Let me also say that I don’t know what the future holds for me with regard to writing. It may very well be that I will get an idea for some kind of online presence with opportunities for participation. After a break and time for discernment…


  10. You might consider Discourse: there are various hosting options. It’s a good platform for ‘civilised discourse’, which is what we do here (most of the time).

    I do wonder though, how much discussion would happen if it weren’t for the thought-provoking content provided by the Mikes and others.


  11. It’s couple of days since I saw this announcement & went both ‘oh no! ‘ & ‘I understand’.

    This blog has been a huge blessing to me over the last 10 years, I can’t remember how I washed up here, but wash up here I did after my evangelical faith failed to survive the death of my Mother, instead getting horribly mangled in the exhausted mind of a grief related breakdown. I’m now older & saner, & Anglican. This blog really helped me to see that I’m not the only person to unexpectedly find evangelical faith not come through for them, even when they firmly expected it to, & to find life outside it, even in places that would once have been off limits. Once one crack happened, lots of cracks happened…& you were all there to show there was still safety & still Jesus.

    I have too many thanks to even begin, Chaplain Mike & others, just thanks.


  12. I would be willing to post a devotional or study kinda thing twice a week, just to keep the community together. For example, I have a study about the spiritual elements of the movie Gran Torino…. that kinda thing.


  13. DebD – wow, thanks!

    I mentioned a few things just upthread, in my reply to Rick Ro.

    Totally agreed on FB’s algorithms!


  14. Rick, are you in the iMonk Facebook group or is there some other way i can reach you?

    We need to figure out if other folks are interested- and we need a couple of people who know what they’re doing to be admins/mods.

    I don’t share my contact info. publicly, with the exception of (past) work-related stuff, though i could certainly get another Gmail address specifically for use with iMonk regulars.

    At any rate, let’s talk!


  15. I have moderated Google groups on other topics. I’d be willing to give it a try if someone will co-host with me.
    The other groups I have participated in have dwindled as social media has advanced, but maybe people’s eyes will be opening to the downsides of algorithms and would like predictable discussions.


  16. Maybe something involving many more open forums, or forums surrounding one or two themes, with a responsible moderator to keep things civil and on track. Maybe also reopening comments on earlier posts, from the beginning of iMonk, to see how what Spencer and CM and the other contributors said then may apply today. Once again, someone, or someones, would need to moderate.


  17. I do wonder if, somehow, there might be a way to keep the conversations going, elsewhere?

    CM, you and the regular commenters here are part of my spuritual and psychological safety net. I suspect this might be true for others as well.

    Perhaps there’s a way for at least some of us to move some of that to another safe haven? I’m not skilled enough to run such a thing, and my onetime gig as a forum mod made clear to me that i am not someone suited to that kind of task.

    In a very real way, this blog + comments section are an oasis. I fear going back into the dry lands alone.


  18. CM, while I’m sorry – but not surprised- to hear your news, i understand. Nobody can continue any project forever. You deserve a good rest from it.

    At the same time, I’ve read and posted (more the former than the latter) here from 2006-now. Michael’s posts paralleled my own thinking and changes in my life and were *so* helpful to me during my own “wilderness” journey.

    I will miss being able to come here and just hang out with all the other commenters. This place has been a refiuge for me (and so many others) for a long time now, and i don’t know how I’ll manage without it. Especially given everything that’s going on in the wider world, very much including current events that might have a devastating effect on so many people – like the upcoming SCOTUS decision on the exemption of preexisting conditions in the ACA, plus white supremacism being at full flood and openly endorsed by the current occupant of the WH (whom i view as a squatter, living there illegally and claiming a title that has never belonged to him and an office for which he’s entirely unfit).

    Being fairly isolated due to COVID is getting harder for me – and for many others who read or comment (or both) here.


  19. I will miss this place, having been here so long, I think since around 2002 or 2003.
    Michael Spencer’s writings, his emphasis on Jesus-shaped spirituality, helped me so much when I was very active in church and served as a worship leader, and they were a sole source of comfort when I moved to a new location and everything church-wise crashed and burned around me…I experienced the worst of the “evangelical circus” he spoke about, and was cast into the post-evangelical wilderness. At this point I’m not sure where I am now, don’t feel like I’m in a wilderness, but in a strange land where God seems so far away, and places like this one have been a bright spot in the grayness. Heartfelt thanks to Chaplain Mike and all of the other authors and contributors over the decades for keeping this place going for such a long time.


  20. Wow. Thanks so much for filling my ear with your musings. You will be missed.

    For me one of the pivotal moments was the series that Mike Bell did, examining what it means to be queer and a Christian, which is a lifelong struggle for me. It’s useful to have somebody else turn over a few rocks and see what crawls out.


  21. I saw the announcement only late yesterday. It is very sad. But we have many reasons to be thankful. Imonk has offered me the opportunity to write about my own journey, something for which I am exceptionally thankful. Expressing one’s thoughts on these pages has been therapeutic, to say the least.

    I hope to have one or 2 more posts before the end though.


  22. I’m sorry I missed this announcement yesterday, but I don’t make it here everyday. To Chaplain Mike and the other contributors, thank you for the work you’ve put in over the years. You’ve made me think even when I disagreed with what you said. And, of course, I have to thank the late Michael Spencer as well.

    I’m trying to remember how I first discovered Spencer and IM. It was either through a Christian forum which has long since gone defunct or perhaps it was through Dan Edelen’s Cerulean Sanctum blog, which remains online even though it’s been inactive for several years.

    I’m still trying to decide whether I consider myself evangelical or post-evangelical, although my Christian faith has also been influenced by the liturgical, charismatic and contemplative streams of thought as well. I read Michael Spencer’s book, Mere Churchianity, at a time when I was reconsidering a lot of things about my faith. That process is still ongoing.


  23. I firmly ditto Chris’s comment. IM has been such a regular practice of my daily reading, I will miss you.
    Grace, peace and smiles to you and your family.


  24. I firmly ditto Chris’s comment. IM has been such a regular practice of my daily reading, I will miss you.
    Grace, peace and smiles to you and your family.


  25. Thank you for everything you’ve done on this site. I read the posts every day and, although I hardly ever comment, have found great wisdom and truth here – both in the content of the posts and in the quality of the community and conversation. Bless you as you move on to new things.


  26. When Michael Spencer passed away, a couple of readers asked me privately if I would be taking up the mantle.

    Let me just say that Michael made absolutely the right choice when choosing Chaplain Mike to succeed him.

    Running this site is an absolutely herculean task.

    Michael Spencer contributed over 2000 posts to Internet Monk

    Chaplain Mike contributed over 3000 posts.

    Mike the Geologist and I were the next highest contributors in terms of quantity and have contributed close to 200 each.

    You have to appreciate the scale of that. I contributed as much as I could with the other stuff going on in my life, and Chaplain Mike contributed over 15 times as many posts as I did.

    I support him completely in his decision. If there had been an obvious successor then that might have been an option, but I don’t think there is.


  27. Chaplain Mike, thank you and the other contributors for keeping Michael Spencer’s blog going for so long (I hadn’t realized it’s been ten years!)

    You did good. So grateful.

    Please know you will be much missed.


  28. Mike, I am happy for you. You’re wise not to kick against the goads and force the thing out of a misplaced sense of duty. This was a great gift giving endeavor on your part and now the gift is fully given. I hope you will fully enjoy your free, or free-er time when you set it down. God bless and keep you my friend.


  29. You were the first person I thought of when I read this. This is substantive in your life. I will grieve it’s loss for me but probably more for you.


  30. Any possibility that a new curator/admin could keep the site going? It made it through one transition, it might make it through a second… Just sayin’…


  31. IM has been an early morning blessing for me for the last dozen years. Thank you Chaplain Mike for you careful stewardship, consistent thoughtfulness, and down to earth journey making for this wonderful ragtag group of wilderness travellers.


  32. It’s not my place to suggest content, but based on the comments today, might CM et alia consider giving some space over the next couple of months for people to more fully flesh out how IM has impacted them on their journey? Perhaps dedicating distinct days to the different directions people have chosen (I.e., still evangelical, still in the wilderness, swam the Tiber/Bosporus, became secular, etc.)? Again, not my place, really, and the times may demand something else, but it seems like something that might be good.

    It might also be good if general web presence info such as that provided by The Finn could be compiled somewhere – with permission of those so posting, of course – for those who wish to stay abreast of IM alumni.


  33. I came to the site in 2005, randomly googling for help in addressing specific problems in our church’s youth ministry, and google sent me here because Michael Spencer was teaching at a Christian school. But is was obvious on my first visit that he was something of a prophet, cutting through the noise with a succinct clarity. I soon realized that I had been asking all the wrong questions regarding evangelical youth ministry, and I had to sort out how the praxis of church was splitting from the gospel. I’ve never seen anything like Michael’s writing before or since.

    Chaplain Mike, you too have been an encouragement, especially dealing with loss of parents and relatives. Your books have been particularly helpful, and I hope that even when this site is in archive, you will update us if you publish again.


  34. I’m so sorry to see this end….what about that new book? Will it still get published and will we still be notified of its progress? Good luck to all and blessings also…


  35. The Monk has been an important part of my life since I discovered it ages ago, and I will miss it greatly. However, age teaches us that a time comes when it’s time to let go. Let’s enjoy together the time we have left here. God bless and be with us all!


  36. When I commented above, I was a bit speechless grappling with the news. I am so grateful for the authors and everyone else here. You all have helped me, and I pray for Christ’s blessing on everyone. There has truly been community here, and that is a complete gift from God and from all of you. Of course, I’m especially grateful to Michael Spencer, who had the courage to say publicly what so many of us were thinking but for various reasons were unable to express. May God reward him for his faithfulness and honesty and compassion.



  37. Very sad to hear this. I’ve been reading and occasionally commenting since Michael Spencer’s days. This blog has been a light in dark places many times, and a great encouragement as I wander in the wilderness. I know also that for CM and all the other contributors it has been a labor of love, and I thank you for keeping it going this long. ‘

    My hope is that it will be not just an ending but something that also creates new beginnings.

    Peace, blessings, and gratitude.


  38. +1.

    I was going to say this is like hearing of a loved one’s cancer diagnosis. There will be a huge void in my heart and soul on January 2, 2021, and to know it’s coming won’t make that reality any easier. Not only will the articles be missed, but also the community of commenters.

    Blessings to all the contributors over the years.


  39. Also wanted to say Chaplain Mike, I found this blog long after the Michael Spencer regime/era, but it is one of only two blogs I know where there is a sense of community. This blog and you and all here will be missed, but there’ll be another time and place.


  40. Wow! Very sad. Like losing a friend. You’ve made an immense contribution to my life. Helped me find solid ground (though some think I’m still aloft in the ether somewhere) in the wilderness journey. Adieu to some great internet friends.


  41. I found this blog in late 2007, in the midst of a deeply painful and traumatizing departure from a church and denomination that would go on to be well known for spiritual abuse (Sovereign Grace Ministries). Michael Spencer was a lifesaver, and I mean that literally: I don’t know what I would’ve done if I hadn’t found kindred spirits like him online. It’s been a few years since I was a regular commenter here, and my spiritual journey has evolved beyond anything I would’ve been open to all those years ago, but I’m forever grateful for what this blog meant to me during one of the darkest times of my life. Many thanks to all who have kept on doing this work and honoring Michael Spencer’s legacy for all of these years.


  42. I don’t know how to say what I’m feeling so I’ll just say thank you for sharing your lives, your humanity and your faith. IM has been a faith-saver and I’m thankful that all of the posts will still be available.

    Sincerely, a doubter who believes.


  43. The best way to act toward evangelicals is the same way you would suggest that we approach those who are outcast and on the margins, with love, patience, kindness, and goodness. It confuses the hell out of them, but it is the way of Jesus.

    I think this is true in respect to all those we feel in opposition to, whether it has to do with religious, political, or merely personal reasons. And I think this is what the text in Paul’s letter to the Romans about heaping burning coals on our enemies’ heads by returning good for ill really means: “It confuses the hell out of them…


  44. I get it, CM, sometimes it’s just time. Thank you so much for your own insights and thoughts, and for the space for other contributors and viewpoints that you have made available here, the conversations you have facilitated and enouraged. I’m guessing too that a good deal of behind the scenes work has gone into just maintaining the technical nuts and bolts of Internet Monk site as well – probably more than we readers realise.

    I’ll miss this place a lot, and I’ll miss the people who come here, It’s been a gift.


  45. Like a death in the family.

    But I understand, Mike, and I don’t know how you did it so well for so long. And as you said, it can be hard to know when to step down, but sooner or later…

    I hope you and the others will keep on writing.


  46. The social and political craziness in America is getting worse each day. That’s not good for one’s psychological or physical health, either.


  47. I’ve met some great characters through this BLOG, although many have moved on – the comments community is certainly smaller than it used to be. The context is so different than 10 or 20 years ago.

    “The world has changed”. -Galadriel

    Thanks so much to all the contributors. The writing and community here has been a blessing.

    If any of those who’ve communicated over the years ever feel the need to reach out outside of IM I am easy to find.


  48. I completely understand why it is ending but I am sad nonetheless. I don’t comment often but I do come often, sometimes just to read great haiku. The posts were thought provoking and often, I found myself thinking “Oh good. I am not the only one seeing this.”

    2020 for me has become the year of loss, and this is another. This is life. There will always be archives but I will miss the community here of people I have never met, but who have nonetheless fed my soul.


  49. I have read this post everyday for about eight years, and I have read all of the archives. I discovered this blog as a depressed evangelical pastor and found great comfort that I was not alone. I have discovered the worth of liturgical worship and the church calendar and have found a home in the Anglican Church. I am no longer YEC, and I have come to understand that Jesus truly is more important than the Bible (or that the Bible is important because it is about Jesus,). I believe that the blog has been at its best when it speaks of the love of God and His willingness to show mercy quickly and graciously. I remain to the right of center on political, social, and sexual views but I endeavor to hold these views with humility and the love of God. May the Lord have mercy!

    For all of us who have left evangelicalism with wounds, it is easy to lash out, show contempt, and the speak condescendingly of the superiority of our newfound position. Lord knows that I am guilty. It took a long time to realize that I was doing these things and that in doing them I was still acting like the thing I was trying to leave. The best way to act toward evangelicals is the same way you would suggest that we approach those who are outcast and on the margins, with love, patience, kindness, and goodness. It confuses the hell out of them, but it is the way of Jesus.

    Thank you, Chaplain Mike, for your service to all of us. You are a gifted writer and have helped me so much in my journey. May God bless you in your own journey. Thank you Mike Bell, Jeff Duncan, Mike the Geologist, and many others for your postings and comments. Thank you all for a new perspective on Jesus and the Christian way. I will forever be grateful for the help you have been to me when I was alone in the wilderness.


  50. I have both enjoyed and learned from The Internet monk and those who have given thoughtful comments.

    My favorite series of posts have always been Micheal’s series on “The Evangelical Liturgy”.

    As one who grew up Southern Baptist and now Lutheran (LCMS), I find this to be one the best explanations of what Christian worship should be.


  51. I don’t see the City either, Eeyore. But, despite what our tradition says, maybe we are not supposed to see or find one. I don’t know anymore — actually, I’ve never known.


  52. Buddhism teaches that every living thing is impermanent. iMonk has been a living thing for me, and moving in impermanence the entire decade I’ve known it. I will miss it, and I will grieve the loss of it; the grief will start now in anticipation of the realized loss later, but loss is paradoxically a constant in every instant, every now. I’ve become too attached to this blog, and whether the things I became attached to here were good or bad is immaterial, since attachment is an impediment to traveling on, and traveling on is what we do. I’ll hang in here till the end, but I’ll say fare thee well now. Thanks iMonk, thanks Chaplain Mike and other contributors, thanks iMonk community, and most of all thanks Michael Spencer, though I came here after your death you left your generous, courageous spirit all over this blog. Fare thee forward.


  53. I will miss the writings here. I will miss the community that happened beneath the writings. But I understand.


  54. And the wilderness just got darker, and the woods deeper.

    In sight of the City?

    Now it seems I’ll be more lost than ever.


  55. I will regret activity ceasing on the site, but I understand. I “turned the corner” quite some time ago and know how it feels CM.

    This has been a safe haven, especially so during the current American Evangelical crisis.

    Abba Anthony said, “A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, ‘You are mad, you are not like us.’”

    We need others who will help us be sane.


  56. I found this site 2 decades or so ago by searching for a different Michael Spencer. This was back when 10 comments were a busy day.

    I’ve enjoyed my time here. And learned a lot. And solidified my faith position via some of the things here.

    But nothing we do lasts forever.

    Thank you the other contributors (and MS) for your time and efforts.


  57. Chaplin Mike, while I quit posting, quite a while back, I still check in once in a while to read your fine articles and thoughts as well as the articles from Mike Bell and Mike the Geologist. I have appreciated the thoughts and ideas that are presented in the articles. I understand your position and sometimes it is time to move on. It seems the site has had quite a good run and I know it has many faithful followers. I was housebound for quite a while, recovering from an accident and this site was fun to follow and enjoyable. I was certainly a minority viewpoint on social and political beliefs but it was always fun to be dumped on and most people were polite. I think it had become sort of an echo chamber but that is true of many a good site , I am sure. It is just human nature. So you have made the world a better place with the lives you touch and shared a lot of good thoughts. Mike Bell and Mike the G Man add to the mix. So God Bless you all and like Johnny Carson, sometimes it is better to leave on top. To the regular commenters here, thanks for the time and effort you spend adding spice to the site. Hope you all find new site you are comfortable with. God Bless to all I Monkers and I think M. Spencer would be honored and pleased with the way his site was maintained. I agree with Kenny Rogers, You got to know when to fold them. Again thanks and God Bless.


  58. This place has been like none other on the internet, blessings to CM and all who have helped keep it going and contributed over the years. The depth of wisdom and variety of viewpoints shared here through all the posts and comments has been remarkable. I am so thankful for having been introduced to this site way back when, and while I am sad to see it being retired, I certainly understand. I too pray that this is not the end, but the beginning of a new chapter for everyone else on their journey.


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