April 2, 2020

Help the Monk Write His Book

The Internet Monk asks for a favor from long-time readers.

If you have been a regular reader of the Internet Monk web site for a while, I have an important favor to ask of you.

I am considering gathering and editing a selection of my essays for submission to a publisher. I would like your help in selecting what are my best and most publishable essays.

I would like to ask for fifteen minutes of your time to look through the Internet Monk Archives. My work is in the first two sections labeled “Old Internet Monk essays” and “MichaelSpencer.us/New Internet Monk essays.” You can also see a short selection of IM essays here, but the list is very incomplete and doesn’t have any of the newer pieces.

Could you write down what you believe are the essays most likely to impress a publisher (and I will edit and revise them further, I promise.) Post your list here or send it to me at my email on the sidebar list. I would really appreciate even a few responses. I have my own ideas, but I need your suggestions to supplement my own.

Comments

  1. be sure to include some of my comments. 🙂

  2. Fair warning – my list may not help get you published. ;-}

    I don’t remember how I first stumbled onto Internet Monk, but what kept me coming back and reading was the fact that you pull no punches on the hard matters – depression, faith, suicide, sexual temptation, sola fide – where doctrine and life collide head-on at 75 mph. The sort of things that don’t get talked on (or preached on) nearly enough anymore.

    So my top 10 (and there would be many, many more) would be…

    Sex in Dangerous Places
    The Boat in the Backyard
    I Hate Theology (A MUST HAVE)
    On Christless Preaching
    When I am Weak
    I Have My Doubts
    Wretched Urgency I/II
    Yo Ho A Papist’s Life for Me?
    Running Wounded
    Throw Luther From the Train
    (OK there’s more)
    A Prayer for Alex

    I pray the Lord stirs up a publisher to accept this challenge. I won’t hold my breath to see it next to LaHaye and Jenkins at the front rack of the Family Jesus Junk stores, but it will be comforting to know that someone, somewhere, will still publish the good stuff.

  3. I haven’t read everything in the archives yet, but I’ll throw together a list of stuff I remember thinking was totally awesome:

    The Last Gasps of Literate Christianity
    My Final Visit To A Christian Bookstore
    Why The Show Must Not Go On
    Leave Your Seat, Leave Your Sin
    Christianity: Silly or Serious?
    Why Do They Hate Us?
    In Love With Jesus?
    A Slow Drive Over The Edge
    Sex in Dangerous Places

    I really like the stuff you write about the Christian market, especially the music, as well as the stuff about crazy Pentecostals. I love the Purpose-Driven stuff, but I’m not sure that is book material at this point. Somehow I think if the general consumer-mindset issue were dealt with, the seeker-sensitive problem will just work itself out.

    I say that as if a hundred million people will want to buy a book that tells them something other than what they want to hear. Maybe if you put a crossword puzzle in there, it will get some preorders. You could even have some sort of clever wordplay going on with “crossword” (I demand royalties if that idea is used).

  4. I only started reading a few weeks ago. Based on what I’ve read so far, I will certainly buy the book when published. Keep up the good work!

  5. I too, like Eric, have only been reading for a few weeks but I am definitely your fan and will definitely buy the book when it comes out! From what I’ve read so far, I liked “Why Do They Hate Us?”, “A Prayer for Alex” and, to quote Matt, “the Purpose-Driven stuff” – except I think that maybe it does belong in the book – after all, there are at least 20 million people out there, myself included, that have read the PDL, and most of these people don’t even know that they are allowed to question what the book says. Your articles could give them something to think about.

    I would definitely include the articles on today’s issues – such as the one I have just read, “Losing the Moral ABCs”. Keep up the good work, we need you!

  6. Here’s my list (in no particular order):

    1. Dr. Strange Liturgy (a truly wonderful work)
    2. The Public Invitation series
    3. Why Calvinism is Cool.
    4. Perseverance: That Most Neglected Doctrine
    5. When I Am Weak (excellent)
    6. On Christless Preaching
    7. A Path Through Those Thorny TULIPS
    8. (here’s a controversial one) Yo Ho Ho A Papist’s Life for Me?
    9. Those Know-Nothing Evangelicals.
    10. I Am Not a Conservative Christian.
    11. Politics East of Eden.
    12. Sex in Dangerous Places (A truly fine article about this issue)
    13. How We Sound to Those Who Don’t Believe

    If I come up with some more, I’ll let you know. I truly look forward to an iMonk book, and I’d recommend it to all of my Christian friends.

  7. (a partial list)

    Wretched Urgency (1 & 2)
    Why Do They Hate Us?
    Talk Hard
    A Conversation in God’s Kitchen
    Running Wounded
    The Boat in the Backyard
    I Have My Doubts
    Dr. Strangeliturgy

  8. (Goldie) “after all, there are at least 20 million people out there, myself included, that have read the PDL, and most of these people don’t even know that they are allowed to question what the book says.”

    I think I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve never read PDL all the way, I just skimmed through to get an idea of how it read, and by then the iMonk had already turned me against it 😉 When I said I didn’t think the PD stuff didn’t need to be in his book, I really wasn’t taking other people’s perspectives into account. When you said most people don’t know they can question the book, that really struck a nerve with me. I always looked at people as though they were just ignorant, but in retrospect, there is definitely a stigma that goes with not being PD. Maybe the iMonk does need to address it in his book.

  9. If this happens, I am sure someone will tell me what goes in, but….at present, it appears that my best shots are the “personal” pieces and the general critiques of evangelicalism

  10. Hey, if Donald Miller can get away with a random bunch of pomo/emergent church memoirs strung together loosely by the common thread of frustration with and hatred of the Republican Party and Conservative Christianity then you can definitely do it! Now that that is off my chest, here is my list:

    On Christless Preaching
    A Prayer for Alex
    Wretched Urgency I & II (not just cause I’m lazy)
    School’s Out for Baptists
    Dr. Strangeliturgy
    Sex in Dangerous Places
    When I am weak
    To Know we’re not Alone (broke my heart)
    Subcultural Spirituality
    Talk Hard
    My final visit to a Christian Bookstore

    So i have 11 if you combine the Wretched Urgencies. The list was 16 but I did my best.

  11. Sorry, I didn’t realize I deleted one of my favorites: Why Do They Hate Us?

  12. What people have said really. Of those my all time favourite top five would be:
    I Hate Theology
    On Christless Preaching
    In Love With Jesus
    Perseverance: That Most Neglected Doctrine
    The Last Gasps of Literate Christianity

  13. J. K. Terberg says

    The first essay that I read was:
    ‘In Love With Jesus’
    It struck a chord with me and I directed it to the attention of worship leaders I know.
    At that time I also read Bill MacKinnon’s article:
    ‘No Voices in my Head’
    Any chance you could include that? That article hits the nail on the ‘head’. (Maybe include a chapter on articles by friends.)
    ‘When I am Weak’ definitely should be included.
    ‘Is School Out for Baptists’ is a case study – an object lesson – that relates to a root problem that can be applied to other areas of Christian life, so I think it would be useful to include.
    No one so far has mentioned:
    ‘Are We Wrong About Marijuana’
    Hardly any material has been published on this subject. That’s why I’d like to see this one included.

    …I’m a Canadian and was in the USA for a bit last month. I couldn’t help notice the numerous churches of so many varieties. Then I became somewhat dissallusioned by watching Christian television. I got the impression that Christianity was very immature in the USA. Hopefully my impressions were wrong. The thought came to me that we need to hear more of the kind of material that is on this website. While in the U.S., I was wondering where the ‘Michael S’s’ were hiding. I wasn’t finding them in the purpose driven churches I was visiting. Michael, the Christians of The USA, (and Canada too) need the message you are bringing. May God help you to present this message with humble boldness.

  14. Well, I don’t know how it would go over in the book but the article that made me a regular IM visitor was “A Contrarian Manifesto for the Church Growth Debate”.

    I still reference it from time to time.

  15. Shannon Richey says

    Why do They Hate Us?
    I Hate Theology
    Dancing at the Fundamentalist Ball
    A Slow Drive Over the Edge
    A Growing and Awkward Silence
    The Little Brothers of Saint Archie Bunker (a MUST!)
    A Letter to my friends about TBN
    Signs
    Looney Tunes
    When I Am Weak (also a Must)
    I Have My Doubts
    The Boat in the Backyard

  16. Shannon Richey says

    And please please please let us know when it gets published and what the name of the book is! I have recommended you to many of my ‘thinking’ Christian friends, and also others to show that we are not all like the (insert negative stereotype here)!

  17. Two of my favorites that I sent around to my friends were…

    1) Your Essay on John Piper
    2) World Christians

  18. I love your stuff. Instead of 10, I’m gonna list the few that have stood out.

    When I am Weak
    I Hate Theology
    The Boat in the Backyard
    Dr. Strange Liturgy
    Why Do They Hate Us?
    Talk Hard

    Pull no punches. Put in your very best, and stand firmly beside them. God bless, I’ll be purchasing the book once it’s out.

  19. one_big_mess says

    I have to admit that I am relatively new to your site and haven’t read everything. However, the three articles that have really been powerful to me are these:
    1). The Boat in the Back Yard
    2). When I am Weak
    because both are so real and candid about who you are and how you got there.
    3). A Tribute to the Rev. W.O. Spencer.
    I was moved by your reverance for a godly man and how he made such a huge impact on you and the people he came in contact with.
    Blessings and good luck,
    Lewis

  20. I appreciate a lot of your articles. I guess you want to appeal to Americans, which is probably a lot of your audience, so all that American politics will probably go down a treat. I was so sorry to read that stuff. Almost as sorry as when I read Don Carsons’ Love in Hard Places, which has some great stuff in it, but also sounds at times like he is writing for Dubya.

    Forgive my opening negativity! Any chance of publishing a sanitised version for Australia? Most of my thinking Aussie Christian friends would be turned off by American political comment, especially the stance taken.

    Now, here are some of my favourites:
    Why I Am a Christian
    My Final Visit to a Christian Bookstore
    Perseverance
    A Career in Foolishness
    A Sex Education Lesson
    Occasional Missionaries, Accidental Tourists
    Rick Warren’s Scary Movement
    On Christless Preaching
    The Boat in the Backyard
    Praise the Lord, he paid off my credit card again
    Outing Joel Osteen
    Bill McKinnon’s No Voices in My Head

  21. Michael, I’ve been a long-time IM reader and lurker at the BHT. I don’t know how publishable my list may be be, but here are the pieces that have meant the most to me…like the choices of others, they seem to be an even mix of personal articles and directly critical works:

    A Conversation in God’s Kitchen
    Magic Books, Grocery Lists, and Silent Messiahs
    The Last Gasps of Literate Christianity
    Out of Business With God
    Dancing at the Fundamentalist Ball
    The Boat in the Backyard
    Wretched Urgency
    Leave Your Seat, Leave Your Sin 1-3
    To Be or Not to Be
    Fighting Words
    Talk Hard
    Those Known-Nothing Evangelicals
    Signs
    An Appetite for Fanaticism
    Christianity: Silly or Serious?
    Moses Wannabes

  22. Michael, this is from memory:

    My Final Visit to a Christian Bookstore
    Perseverance: That Most Neglected Doctrine
    I Hate Theology
    Why Calvinism is Cool (- or something like that!)
    When I Am Weak
    On Christless Preaching
    I Am Not a Conservative Christian.

  23. I will read them all and give you a list. I appreciate what you are doing. I have read several of them, but I want to read them all before I go through the exercise of defining a list.

    Owen

  24. Book of Robert says

    Greetings
    Before investing hours of reading, searching through so many writings…perhaps I will step forward first.
    When doing a search I seek first, key phrases that indicate a train of thought similar to my own.
    This I find as practical…as commencing dialogue without similarity will lead to conflict and discourse immediately.
    Simply put…I seek brotherhood.
    Allow me a moment of your time…please..as I find words of declaration that you don’t hold back…you don’t pull punches. Neither do I.

    That we step together…perspectives should be shared.
    Let’s see if this works for you…

    The Carpenter made no promise any position in the Kingdom.

    Eternal Darkness is a physical reality.

    The Resurrection is of spirit, not of body.

    Miracles do not support spiritual life.

    The existence of God is provable.

    Belief is what you say. Faith is why you said it. Religion is what you do about it.

    I can easily go on.

    Can you follow?

    Book of Robert