December 12, 2019

About Chaplain Mike

Chaplain Mike works with a hospice organization in central Indiana. He has been in pastoral ministry since 1978, serving in churches in Maryland, Vermont, Illinois, and Indiana before moving into chaplaincy work. He is married to a wonderful gifted wife, Gail, and they have four children and three grandchildren. He thinks baseball is the greatest game ever invented, suffers annually as a Chicago Cubs fan, and is looking forward to putting on a cap again this spring to coach his grandson's Little League team. He loves a wide variety of music, spends way too much money on books, is happy to live in a place where there are four seasons, and is a "true believer" in Apple computers, having used them since 1988. Luther is his favorite theologian, Bach his favorite composer, James Taylor his favorite singer-songwriter, Chicago his favorite city, and hiking his favorite form of exercise. He would love to do more with photography and dreams of having a place in the mountains of Arizona some day. His heart has been captured by the grace of God in Jesus Christ and considers himself a post-evangelical disciple seeking a Jesus-shaped life and hoping to help the church do the same. He is forever grateful to his friend, Michael Spencer, for giving him an opportunity to write for Internet Monk.

The “No” and the “Yes” of Jesus

One of the resources I use as a Lutheran to help people understand the tradition is a small book called Baptized, We Live: Lutheranism As a Way of Life, by Daniel Erlander. One of the book’s strengths is its consistent rejection of a “theology of glory” for a “theology of the cross,” and its insistence […]

Another Look: Go forth to meet him?

Another Look: Go forth to meet him? Here we are again, in the early days of December. We are not far away from welcoming the Christ-child at his birth. As we face this season and event, here are some words from Brother Thomas Merton that make me think. For Christmas will come this year, just as […]

“We sanitize what isn’t safe and therefore lose what is nutritious”

From The Weight of Advent by Ian at Mockingbird [T]he prophetic word of Advent authorizes us to tell the truth about the world. As Edgar pronounces in the final scene of King Lear, “The weight of this sad time we must obey/ Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.” John the Baptizer […]

Sermon: Advent II — The Repentant Life

Sermon: Advent II The Repentant Life (Matthew 3:1-12) The Lord be with you. John the Baptist proclaimed, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” One of our most beloved stories at Christmas time is a tale about repentance — Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. It’s about the repentance of a man named Ebenezer […]

When a survey and its interpretation miss the point entirely

In an article at Christianity Today, Ryan Burge reflects upon the results from the General Social Survey about American Christians’ view of the Bible. The GSS has been asking the same question since 1984: Which of these statements comes closest to describing your feelings about the Bible? 1. The Bible is the actual word of […]

“She simply divided herself on behalf of everyone there”

• Sarah Condon at Mockingbird writes an appreciative article about Dolly Parton, her advocacy for the marginalized, and how her music has witnessed to the struggle of women to overcome inequality and mistreatment, while, ironically, she has been criticized for being “non-political.” In it — and here’s a set of words I never thought I’d […]

“Nothing can make us more blind to the Holy Spirit than the ordinary”

Each week during the winter months and until Easter, I preach to a little country congregation. The congregation is over 180 years old, the building 150. Like many small, rural churches, our pews are populated by members in the second half of life. We have a few children, fewer teens, a couple of college students […]

Sermon: Advent I — Living in Hope on the “Day Before”

Sermon: Advent I 2019 The Lord be with you. Happy new year! Today is the first Sunday in the Advent season, the beginning of a new church year. From now until Pentecost, we will be remembering and reflecting upon the story of the good news that came to us in Jesus Christ. And it all […]

Another Look: A Favorite Gospel Word

Note from CM: This is one of the first posts I wrote for Internet Monk, back when Michael asked me to help during his illness nine years ago. I think it a good preparation for the turn of the Christian Year, which happens this Sunday on Advent I. • • • Blessed be the Lord […]

Words about Thanksgiving 2019

Words about Thanksgiving 2019 Thomas Merton To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. […]