August 14, 2020

Dear Internet Monk Readers…

UPDATE: Thanks for all the kind comments. I promise to use whatever gifts I have in this medium to continue encouraging all of you on the same journey, even if not the same way.

Dear Internet Monk Readers,

Over the next few weeks, while I am on sabbatical, I will be deciding the future of this web site.

As of today, it is quite likely (though not certain) that this site will come to the end of its almost 8 year run this summer. I am not resolved to this at this point, but I am considerably persuaded that the time may have come to bring Internet Monk.com to a close.

Should that actually be the decision, this site would go inactive in early July, and a new blog would begin, with an eventual redirect of all IM traffic to the new blog.

That blog would be a much more focused exploration of Jesus-Shaped Spirituality, i.e. the intersection of Jesus studies and spiritual growth and formation. This subject is animating and working in me right now, and I can see much good fruit and practical help available if I pursue that direction.

Several things are in the soup of this decision. Spooned up separately, they are…

1. I won’t write a book unless I can focus my blogging much more specifically to a potential topic than I have here at IM.

2. I believe I’ve said about all there is to say about the situation of evangelicals. It’s time to leave a more positive trail for others to follow into the post-evangelical future. Jesus Shaped Spirituality is that trail, I believe.

3. The success of this site is extremely satisfying to me, but that success is a two-edged sword. For some readers, unfortunately, IM has been too much about me and has become a source of hearing all the wrong things. When I find myself having to defend and explain statements like “I am rethinking my ideas about God in the light of Jesus” or “My children will never be Baptists” (an observation, not a command!) as if something were wrong with these ideas or as if I were renouncing the faith, then I know the focus has been obscured. When metaphors, ordinary preaching rhetoric and simple provocative observations become occasions for major misunderstandings of my whole stance toward God and the Kingdom, then I have to ask myself what this blog is going to be about in the future. Explaining and defending myself over and over? Sorry. No blog is so important that a person should have to sell his soul for the imprimatur of the comfortable.

When I actually have to start worrying what people are thinking when I say “Jesus has left the building…” then it’s time for a reconsideration of why I do this. I’m a writer, not a pacifier.

Correcting this problem would, again, put the focus on me and solve nothing. Blogs are wonderful tools, but they are a terrible place to be a celebrity 🙂

4. I have something worth saying about Jesus and what it means to know God through Jesus. I want this aspect of my faith and writing to come to the forefront, and a change of blog venues would be the best way to promote that change.

5. New blog = new banner from Michael Buckley, I hope 🙂

As I said, this isn’t in concrete. I want to consider the pros and cons of achieving my goals right here under a known “brand name” as compared to starting over with a new project. I will make up my mind over my sabbatical break and will let you all know whatever I decide.

My sabbatical will be a great time to think through these things, and I hope all of you will pray with and for me, and of course keep reading me no matter what the URL happens to be.

Papa’s shalom on us all,

Michael

Comments

  1. Bob Sacamento says

    When metaphors, ordinary preaching rhetoric and simple provocative observations become occasions for major misunderstandings of my whole stance toward God and the Kingdom, then I have to ask myself what this blog is going to be about in the future.

    Just one little point, Michael: The problem you mention here is not just a problem with IM. I have seen it on every single blog that tries to discuss issues of spiritual substance that I have ever read. I am just about convinced that this is a problem endemic to all serious blogs with spritual content. I can guarantee you that this problem with follow you to your new blog, if you start one. I know you have a lot of other considerations in your decision, but for what it’s worth, that’s my take on this particular one.

    For what it’s worth, I’m pretty disaffected with Evangelicalism myself, but I just don’t know of any other viable game in town. So I would not like to see the end of another voice calling for its reform. If you do decide to end IM, please don’t go before you tell us exactly what a post-evangelical is. I suspect I am one myself. 🙂 That’s just my two cents. Pray and do what you have to do. Thanks for IM, either way.

  2. Bob:

    My problem isn’t happening on the blog, but off the blog.

    But yes, I think those of us who value blog discussion are probably fooling ourselves.

  3. A post evangelical is someone sorting through the evangelical circus with the resources of the larger, deeper, older church as his/her guide.

    Can I go now? 🙂

  4. The Guy From Knoxville says

    May 17, 2008

    Michael,

    I want to be among the many to thank you for the
    IM blog and I don’t have words to express what all
    of your writing, your wisdom, your insight and knowledge
    have ment to me since I found this site about three
    years ago and quite honestly, it has been the one
    thing that has challenged me in every aspect of my
    christian walk – especially as related to evangelicals
    and their churches – I are one – SBC born and raised
    but realizing that there’s so much more than SBC and
    more than evangelicalism out there.

    Thanks for putting the challenge before all of your
    readers to have a closer walk with Christ to move
    towards a Jesus shaped spirituality – Jesus as the center of our lives – of all we do. I hope that, perhaps, you can continue here but I also understand
    the need make a change at this time and I look forward
    to the new blog as well and look forward to more
    excellent writing and insight into a Jesus shaped
    spirituality.

    My best to you on your sabbatical – hope it’s a truly
    wonderful time of rest and renewal and I look forward
    to having you back fresh, rested and focused. Hope
    to meet you sometime – I find myself near the area on
    occasion with the pipe organ work and will send you
    a note sometime when I’m going to be close enough to
    stop in.

    Peace to you – and my thanks again!

    The Guy from Knoxville

  5. thanks for a great site. it has meant a lot to me, my wife, and my community of lost post-evangelicals. we left a church about 5 years ago after a painful and disillusioning experience with a church. particularly the existential moments in your writing have been a balm on some wounds for me.

  6. Now wait just a dog-gone minute!

    If you go, then who the heck are we gonna discuss Law and Gospel issues with!?

    This is one wacky Lutheran who would miss you very much.

    Thank you very muchly!

    – Steve Martin

  7. I literally hold my breath in horror. *sighs* Your blog was the first blog I ever read. The only Christian blog I read daily. At the time my notion of Christianity shaken to the core, your blog gave me balance. I have no spiritual home in my own community – Muslim surrounding- ; your blog is the place to go to find some solace.
    I usually don’t post comments. I posted a comment once a while ago. I feel the need to comment to say thank you for your ministry all these times. A huge humungous Thank You.
    I wish you all the best in your new direction and I will look forward to your new site.

  8. Michael

    My internet life is quite simple these days. I manage through visiting a football site theworldgame.com.au (round ball football!) and internetmonk. While I am a football tragic it is IM that has helped me more than I can say.

    My relationship with the institutionalised church is tenuous at best. I can honestly say that IM has been my lifeline to Jesus. At this point in my life hanging on to Jesus is all I have and even then its just the hem of his garment at best. Your site has kept me close to reality and for that I thank you.

    Its funny but suddenly I realise the extent I have come to rely on your site (yes yes I know I need to be relying on Jesus yadda yadda but God uses all kind of things in our daily work to show us his son). Maybe its time to begin a journey less reliant on a daily dose of your honesty and searching and more on a Jesus shaped spirituality.

    Any ay thanks. Am really going to miss internetmonk. Is there a virtual resting place for dearly departed blogs? 🙂

    Adrian

  9. I also held me breath and my heart sunk when I started to read you were going to discontinue this blog that has meant so much to me. But in reading further I did completely understand your reasons and I am very excited for you to start your new venture.

    God bless you on your sabbatical and may God clearly lead you in the direction he can best use you.

    Looking forward to seeing what comes next for Michael Spencer.

  10. AT Chaffee says

    IM,

    I am a devotee of your blog, am glad it will be archived, and look forward to seeing what you will write now. God bless your ministry and thank you.

    Will there be blogs in Heaven?

  11. I have read, commented, and lurked. I agree with much of what you say, but I must add my voice one last time. The entire evangelical world is not tainted. The entire older church was not pure. Each contains both good and the not so good. I am not accusing you of “painting them all with one broad brush”, but it seems that many of your readers do that very thing. That, in my opinion, is wrong. To anyone who would revile me for that comment, save your vitriol, since I won’t be returning here anymore, it would be a waste of your time.

    Personally, although I will miss reading your posts, I believe with your recent revelations about your life, maybe it would be a good thing for you to “start anew” as it were.

    Peace.

  12. Michael,
    Blessings on your journey. Whatever forum you choose to continue to write we will be encouraged and discontented for good measure.

    Peace.