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An Episcopal on Cooking, Parties and Spirituality

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.