June 5, 2020

Steve Scott: Thinking Outside the Blog


Thinking Outside the Blog: Connecting With Others in the Wilderness
By Steve Scott

I have an idea.

We know that Michael Spencer wrote much about the problems within evangelicalism. So much so that the subtitle of the Internet Monk blog has long been, “Dispatches from the Post-Evangelical Wilderness.”

Wilderness, you say? Yes. That place of dry wandering – and wondering – where neither the city, nor the suburbs, nor the small country town consider us one of their own. Its citizens long for a home, and the comments section at IM has been filled with wilderness wanderers documenting their journeys. Occasionally we hear of success stories of wanderers finding a home. Maybe within the Lutheran church, or the Catholic Church, or the Orthodox Church. Even so, many of us still wander in the wilderness.

But what if there were a way for those in the wilderness to connect with each other? I have occasionally wanted to post a comment asking if there are others in my metro area of 8 million who would be willing to meet, maybe for coffee or a meal, maybe to share our journeys, maybe to start a church. Surely, with iMonk’s vast readership there has to be somebody out there. But the last thing I wanted the blog to become is a place for personals ads. So I sent an email to Chaplain Mike asking for any input. And…

Chaplain Mike had an idea.

What if we started up an Internet Monk Community page on Facebook? That way people could join and send messages to each other privately and maybe set up get-togethers in various places or communicate in ways other than the usual comment threads.

So, Mike set up a Facebook group called “iMonk Community,” with the following as its purpose: “The iMonk Community Group is designed to help readers of the Internet Monk blog connect and communicate in other ways.”

This group will be a “secret group” on Facebook, meaning that members must be added or invited by another member. This should help keep spammers, posers and trolls away and provide a format with reasonable privacy. If you are a reader of the iMonk blog and wish to be a member of the Facebook group, see the instructions at the bottom of this post.

I am excited about this meeting place for iMonk readers. Keep reading this post and Chaplain Mike will give instructions on joining the group. Peace.

• • •

Instructions for Joining iMonk Community on Facebook

  • The iMonk Community Group on Facebook is a “secret” group, which means only members have access to the site. Membership is by invitation only.
  • If you would like to join, make sure first you have established a Facebook profile.
  • Then email Chaplain Mike at chaplainmike333@gmail.com and request an invitation to join the group. Use the email account you want to be contacted at.
  • Chaplain Mike will send you an invitation by email to which you can respond.


  1. Bravo! Wonderful idea!

  2. Will there be a secret handshake and decoder ring ?

  3. Pastor Mac says

    I’m virtually done w/ FB. I think Ello, w/ the inherent privacy safeguards, would be a far better solution.

    • I wanted to use Ello, but it’s still in Beta and unavailable for this right now.

      • Maybe it’s best to “kick the can” a bit until something like Ello is available…?

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        At least FB [of which I am no fanboy] provides a means for participants to find each other, directly. They can then, between themselves, switch to whatever other medium, form of communication, or coffee shop that they like.

    • If one were worried about the danger of using public space in FB, one could always create a minimal profile, post sparingly to “walls,” and make extensive use of groups or messages. In that scenario, you are merely using FB to locate people you know, and communicate with them through the more secure channels the site offers.

      All the substantial “danger” in social networks comes from other users (or my next prospective employer), who will search my publically-available space. This is only a problem if I’ve misperceived my profile and wall to be private in the way that my living room is private. A better analogy would be to say that Facebook is like a busy café. I can sit there with my friends, but my Aunt Ida is four tables to the right, and my boss might be standing in line buying a latte.

      Posting to a “secret” group means far less exposure. It is like having a small room off the main room of the café, that is hard to find. It’s still a group space, and someone I don’t anticipate could show up. But the space is not readily accessible to the whole network.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > But the space is not readily accessible to the whole network.

        For now. And “readily” is an important qualifier.

  4. Decoder rings?!

    I like the idea. Even though I realize I may not make the cut…

    • Everyone makes the cut, Steve, just like with Jesus. Whosoever will may come.

      • A speaker at a Christian conference this summer, speaking about toxic churches, suggested that a some faith communities say things to the effect of…

        “I know God has accepted you, but here at (insert your church name here) our standards are a little higher.”

        • Or as I’ve heard it, “Our standards here are so high that most people just want their sin and don’t want to measure up.”

          • Hi STUARTB,
            the way I have heard one minister from a right-wing conservative evangelical denomination say it
            was that they would serve as a ‘prophetic witness’, a ‘remnant’ of the ‘truth’ as the rest of Christianity went another way. This particular denomination is in a sort of free-fall decline for some time and admits its membership numbers are probably listed higher than they really are. . . the minister also holds to the denomination being very ‘exclusive’.

          • Christiane,
            And let me guess, one reason they probably point to for the “free-fall” is “we’re being persecuted for speaking TRUTH!”

          • We should have a trigger warning on this thread, given the common incidence of PTSD relating to this problem.

          • ^ agreed, but maybe the trigger warning is inherent in the very nature of the site.

        • As Abraham Lincoln said about his wife’s family, “one d was good enough for God but the Todds had to have two.”

        • But of course their filth doesn’t stink. Just like the pastor who made the news by resigning: everyone was a woose compared to him, but he didn’t have the balls to submit to restoration. Disgrace.

      • Thank you, Mike!

  5. James the Mad says

    Ah, but how will the group know me on FB? After all, I use my real name “out there.” 😉

  6. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

    (Summons best Will Smith voice)
    Oh, hell no!

  7. Ok, this COULD make me interested in re-joining the FB crowd….

  8. Groucho Marx once famously said that he wouldn’t want to be part of any group that would accept him for membership.

    • Ah, a Groucho Marx reference!

      “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

      “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.”

      “The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

  9. Ruh-roh. Facebook has been the ruin of more than one blog. I’ll remain Luddite for a while.

  10. I left facebook two years ago. Is there going to be a group in Toronto?

  11. Really? Do I have to have a FB page to join the party? To be honest I do have one because on occasions I am forced to use the log in but what constitutes a ‘…facebook profile’? Is it enough to have one with only the barest info – can you let me know as I would enjoy connected with those who frequent the Imonastery ‘down under’

    • I’m not actually sure now that you have to have an FB profile. I can invite you by email. When I wrote that I was trying to learn how it would work.

    • For a long time, my husband had a profile that just contained his name, birthdate, gender, and a picture of a scruffy dachshund. He might have added a few fields eventually. But now he’s not even a dog, just a blank picture. (He has no fears of Facebook, he is merely contrarian, and is using Google +.)

      So if anyone is holding back on joining out of the idea that you have to supply the Facebook with an extensive personal profile, there are ways to be coy.

      Also, technically Facebook can’t tell if your name is spelled right, or if you lied about your birthday.

      Just sayin’. 😉