Note from CM: This will be the last discussion post on Internet Monk. I will post one more administrative post tomorrow, with information and links about the new archive site and other sites of interest that I will encourage Internet Monk readers to check out. I will also have information about an email list so that readers of the blog can keep in touch with one another in days to come.
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This was Michael’s final post on Internet Monk: Feb. 10, 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.
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This is adapted from one of my earliest posts on IM: November 2009.
My precious Internet Monk friends,
In the classic work, The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan pictures his travelers arriving at the “Delectable Mountains,” where shepherds tend their sheep. These mountains have gardens, orchards, vineyards, and fountains of water from which the pilgrims drink and wash themselves. While not the final destination, the Delectable Mountains are described as Immanuel’s Land, standing within sight of his City, a place of relief for pilgrims who are weary and faint on the way.
Joy must not be reserved for the end of the journey. We must also find vistas “within sight of the City,” where we can get some respite from our toilsome trek, where we can anticipate the celebration to come and rest for the journey’s final leg.
Internet Monk has been such an inn on the journey for me, and I’m thankful so many others have joined me here over the years. Here at IM, many have found an oasis in the wilderness, a place of respite and recovery from bad religion and other stresses of life on a long and winding road.
I have learned something of my own propensity for wanting to give up when the journey gets long and hard. My energy wanes. I get discouraged and angry, feeling defeated and hopeless. I withdraw into a cocoon of self-pity. At times I self-medicate with food, naps, alcohol, or time-wasting mindless diversions. The simplest task sometimes appears as if it will require a gargantuan feat of strength. The darkness can get deep, the road long, prospects for arriving at the destination dim.
At such times I need a glimpse of the City. An inn at the side the road. A warm welcome, a hot meal, a pleasant conversation, a friend’s embrace. A few moments of “gaudete.” A song to lift the heart. An encouraging word. A scenic overlook that puts this small patch of difficult trail in perspective.
Thank God for this community that Michael Spencer started and handed off to me in 2010. Thank God for each of you, my fellow pilgrims, who have stayed, who have left and returned, who have popped in occasionally, and who have contributed to the ongoing conversation about what it means to live a fully human life shaped by Jesus.
Inevitably, however, it is time to move on, to embark on the next leg of the journey, to move ever closer to the Celestial City. It is not easy to arise, to say farewell to this hospitable place, to open the door and step onto the path once more. But this we must do.
The Apostle Paul packed a few words to help us on the next stage of our pilgrimage:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
In the midst of all the imperatives in this text, you’ll find a sweet center of promise — “The Lord is near.” There is a word to keep us going to the end.
So, on this bittersweet day, join me in taking a few moments to rejoice. Be gentle with yourself and others. Cast your worries on the Lord. Say a word of thanks when you pray. Receive his gift of peace. Above all, recognize that no journey is taken alone. Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.
Breathe. Take a quick look back and give thanks. And then, let us move forward in the peace of God that guards our lives in Christ.
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
• J.R.R. Tolkien