January 16, 2021

iMonk Update—3/23/10

Update from Denise Spencer, posted by Chaplain Mike.

There has been another change in Michael’s situation, and I would like readers to know so you can better pray for us.

At the encouragement of our oncologist, we have opted to discontinue treatment. He said the chemotherapy was not working, and it would actually be doing a disservice to Michael to continue. We are now receiving help from our local hospice. We know we are in good hands with them, and we are at peace that we have made the best decision under the circumstances.

Several people have already suggested various alternative treatments. While we appreciate their concern and helpfulness, we have discussed this possibility and Michael does not want to try anything else. Please pray for strength and acceptance, for trust in God, for minimal pain and for a peaceful passing.

“Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

Thank you, one and all, for your continued prayers.



  1. I can honestly say that I would not be as mature in my faith as I am had I never discovered this blog. Michael, you have provided me wisdom and the resources that have led me to make much better decisions as a member of the board of my church. You also helped me realize that we are all sick and in need of Christ whether we feel needy or not. I thank you and I pray for peace for you.

  2. Chris Trevino says

    Hey Mike,
    I’ve only been reading your blog for the last year or so; but your posts have been thoughtful, relevant, and inspiring. You’ve reminded me a few times that our faith in Christ is still relevant, vibrant, and has real hope for our world.


  3. So saddened to read this. I have been incredibly blessed by Michael Spencer, whether or not I always agreed with him. Be strong in Christ, my friend, my prayers are with you.

  4. Michael,

    You are in my thoughts and prayers. Since we don’t know each other, I feel like I’m intruding in a sacred place, but I just wanted to share some lyrics I wrote recently to new song (last verse and chorus actually). I can think of no one else that better exemplifies the “follower” of Jesus I wanted to express than you. Grace and peace as you follow him home. Thank you for your faithfulness.

    I don’t know what lies ahead
    May be joy, may be dread
    I just know that where you are
    Is where I want to be
    Until this journey’s end
    That’s where it all begins
    You’ll open wide the door and
    I will follow you home

    I will follow where you go
    Mountain high, valley low
    I don’t care what others say
    I know you know the way
    To the sound of a distant call
    To a place beyond the fall
    Whatever road you lead me on
    I will follow you home

    Clay Clarkson

  5. Chuck Miller says

    My prayers are with Michael and his family.

    I found Michael from his posts on Parchment & Pen (TTP). He was one of the first theological blogs I discovered. iMonk always made my head hurt by forcing me to explore, study and think beyond the misconceptions that I grew up with or developed over the decades. Denise, thanks for sharing Michael with us for these years, as I am sure he spent a great deal of time at his keyboard. Thank the Good Lord for Micheal’s courage and faithfulness in these trying days as he continues to serve as an example of Christlikeness for those who have come to know him either in person or via these web pages.

  6. Some of these posts are so beautifully written and say so well what I feel that I won’t add anything further, other than May God bless you both with His amazing and awesome love, grace, mercy, peace and comfort during this time.

  7. Thank You Michael Spencer!

  8. Prayers and love to Michael and Denise. Words fail me, but you are loved.

  9. Thank you, Michael, for all of your moments of truth, clarity, humor, sanity, sarcasm, and your overall unwavering faith. God has used you in so many people’s lives, mine included. I’m looking forward to the upcoming book. My prayers have been poured out for you and your family. I pray God’s mercy on all of you. God bless you for everything you’ve done. I know He’s pleased with your work.

  10. textjunkie says

    Thank you Michael.

    Thank you Denise.

    Peace and respite to you now.

  11. Love you Michael and Denise. I believe that you have been one of God’s chosen instruments in my life. May He grant you both peace. Our prayers are with you.


  12. Like all previous commenters, I’m deeply sad for the grim news, but full of Hope (with a capital H, since it’s Christian Hope!) for the future.

    Ann Voskamp’s story closely resembles mine, so I co-subscribe to her post. I’d like to add that I often go back to previous blog posts to check what Michael had to say about this or that subject, and I’m always refreshed and enlightened by his honest perspective on things.

    This is one of the wonders of the Internet: to give someone from a little-known, rural town in Kentucky a platform from where he can be heard and influence lives all over the world, all the way to Southern Brazil.

    Thanks, Michael, for always pointing us to Jesus. Thanks, Denise, for giving Michael’s virtual and anonymous friends a glimpse of his final battles so we can be alongside him in prayer. Thanks, Chaplain Mike, for deftly keeping the blog alive during these difficult times. May the peace of Christ be with you all (and now I’m crying, so I’ll submit this now.)

  13. Dear Michael,

    We ran the race together for awhile there at OBI, you being the coach/mentor and I being the milk drinker. Thank you for introducing me to the meat of the Bible. You are finishing the race well, an inspiration for those of us still running. Enjoy the peace and comfort of our Lord, delight in His presence.

    Praying for all of you.

  14. Michael K. Rose says

    Speechless. No, not quite. I love you both.


  15. Michael,

    You must know that have been used by Our Lord to reach so many people. Your gift of writing and teaching have been used beautifully, and only in Heaven will you be able to see how your faithfulness, your honesty, and your struggles were used to impact the lives of thousands that you never met. You have been instrumental in helping this Catholic grow spiritually, and I just want you to know that you are in my daily prayers.

    God’s grace, mercy, and peace to you both, and to your children.

  16. Dear Spencer Family,

    I am who and what I am now, in part, because of Michael’s extraordinary words. I know this may be of small comfort to you, but I want you to know that he’s made a difference in my life, spiritually and theologically. If I am one day called to preach and pastor a congregation, my sermons and my care will bear his mark.

    Thank you, Michael, and thank you Spencer family, for sharing your lives with us. God bless all of you.

  17. Michael and Denise-

    In the midst of this trial you are an encouragement to the rest of us.

    Praying for you.

  18. I just recently found this site – my deepest condolences.

  19. It has all been said already but I just had to add my own thanks to you. I can’t even express how much your writing has meant to me in my spiritual journey. I am sad right now and part of that sadness is for myself and how much I will miss the honesty and encouragement of your writing. Blessings to you and your family on this journey together.

  20. I’m a guy. It’s not easy for me to cry. But I’m crying after reading Denise’s post. I don’t feel I have any words right now but I want to try a few more. I pray that God makes Michael’s last days as peaceful and painless as possible. I’ve pre-ordered his book and it will be a bittersweet read. All else that comes to mind right now is from Revelation, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes”, and “Behold, I make all things new.”

  21. It’s always been about Jesus for the iMonk. It’s still all about Jesus. Thanks for the incredible witness, iMonk. We’ll never forget it, and we’ll never forget you.

  22. My prayers are with you, Spencer family. Michael’s writings have been amazing and challenging and a blessing to many.
    Peace of the Lord.

  23. Michael,

    I have been reading your writings since 2003. More than any other individual, you have shown me how to focus on Jesus and His grace–not the circus that is contemporary evangelicalism. Thank you for introducing me to Merton, Capon and others. Thank you for being a “voice of sanity in search of a Jesus-shaped Christianity, sending dispatches from a post-evangelical wilderness” to those of us on the same journey. I thank God upon my every remembrance of you and continue to pray for you and Denise and your family.

    “Almighty God, look on Michael your servant, lying in great
    weakness, and comfort him with the promise of life
    everlasting, given in the resurrection of your Son Jesus
    Christ our Lord. Amen.”

  24. Hospice rocks. You are in good hands. They’re there for Michael, and for the family.

    I am sad that it appears we will lose Michael. He has been a huge encouragement in my spiritual journey, but I am excited for what lies ahead for him. You have my utmost sympathy as you walk through these days. My mom went Home this week after living with Alzheimer Disease for many years, so I understand to a degree what you’re going through.

  25. I rejoice in the communion of Michael with his Lord, finally, and I am also personally heartbroken for the loss of his intellectually honest writing in this cluttered space. In many ways, his was a “lone voice in the wilderness” and we were so tremendously blessed that he made the most of this medium to share and dialogue with so many–and of so many different convictions. That is how it is with truth. We are drawn to it. That is how it is with grace. We are humbled by it, and find we cannot live and love without it. Thank you, Michael.

    • Another Mary says

      This pretty much echos my thoughts. I have been reading this wonderful site for sometime now. I feel this is a place where our mutual journey is heard.
      I am happy that Michael will finally get the answers to his many intriguing and thought provoking questions.
      I will continue in prayer for Denise and the children.

      Mary from Washington state

  26. I am numb right now. Almost as depressed as when my dad died. Maybe even more so as this is so sudden. I mean the guy has an apparent gaul bladder problem in December and faces death now. So unfair. Michael and his blog have inspired me beyond measure. I think I shall be mad a God for quite a little while.

    my sorros and tears for your entire family.

    shock a. All I can say.

  27. I have never met Michael, but he has impacted my life immeasurably. I’m so grateful for his thoughts, his challenges, his openness, and I forever will be. Thank you, Michael Spencer.

    I’m so terribly sorry. More than I can say.

  28. Words cannot express my emotions. Overload had almost made me numb. Michael and his blog were an inspiration and encouragement to so many. To have this “all over by the age of 53” is just un-imaginable.

    And shock and depression. Such a voice should not be silenced. And without any warning. I mean the man has a “gaul bladder problem” in December and ends up in hospice in March. It makes me depressed again at the fragility of life.

    And just when Michael had his hand on the brass ring of all blogger: a book published. It gets me angry at God’s timing. It borders on evil and malicious.

    Sorry, but \I don’t have the grace of the Spencer family. I am probably going to be angry with God over this for quite some time. Too few good men in the world already.

  29. My prayers are with you.

  30. May your reception be sweet! Love, from a fellow traveler.

  31. I pray that your generous spirit will be caught and passed on. A steadying presence in the ether of the Internet, I envy those who were fortunate enough to interact with you face-to-face. I also envy you as you will soon meet with the One who gave you that generous spirit- face-to-face.

    My sincere regrets to your family and friends.

  32. May your hospice team serve Michael and your family as God in Christ serves us. Our prayers are that you may know the assurance of God-with-us every step, every moment, of this journey.

    Thank you for your ministry and faithfulness to our Lord in this valley shadowed with death – the Lord is with you.

    Grace & peace to you through Jesus Christ,
    Ann (a hospice chaplain)

  33. Adrian Zanetti says

    To say that Michael’s blog (actually his life, his opennes, his insights, his honesty) has been instrumental in keeping me on the straight and narrow seems almost trite. I cannot express sufficiently how his (and Denise’s) journey have been a liferaft to me. I try and explain this to others who have not spent time at internetmonk and they often just don’t understand. I suppose thats OK because I do know and thank God for Michael.

    I don’t know how Michael’s journey will unfold. Times like these remind me just how thin is the veil between this reality and true reality. Still Jesus speaks to me through Michael’s life even during this crazy painful time.

    Still feeling numb but experiencing the life of Christ that has flown out of internetmonk continuing to flow.

    All my love and prayers


  34. I feel like every other reader sad and shocked. I have been reading Michael’s writing for so many years, I have been reading his struggles and feel close to him. It’s so painful to think of what he and his family are going through. God love you Michael, He knows what He is doing and He is Good. We will miss you..

  35. I have been reading Michael’s writings for most of the time I have had internet access. From about 1997, I think.

    I have appreciated Michael’s love for Christ, distaste for humbug, his honesty and his great writing skill.

    Thank you so much Michael for your contribution to the lives of so many.

    May God continue to bless you in this difficult season in your life. May you continue to know God’s presence and peace and the love of your family and many friends.

  36. Brian Bates says

    Michael, my friend. We have never met although I feel as if we are old friends. Your heart and humor has encouraged and challenged my walk with the King. The past year or two has been an amazing journey that I have walked with your voice and words by my side. I was a huge and dedicated fan of your podcast and will miss it sorely. My heart aches for your family. See you at His feet, my good friend.

  37. Christina D says

    I am fairly new to michael’s blog. I found it just a few months before he first announced his cancer. But this blog has ministered to many over and over. I came here as I began to feel the need for a move from my evanglical, charasmatic, seeker church. I have not always agreed with everything posted, but it has definitely challenged me, and made me grow in new ways. I am currently attending a Confessinal Lutheran church, and am eating more meat than ever before. Imonk is such a blessing, and I am deeply saddened by Michael and Debi’s news. In my prayers,

  38. Denise,
    I’m quite heartbroken to hear the news, and will continue to pray. I know a bajillion people have already commented, but I hope you just how large of an impact Michael had on my life. He was truly a light shining in the evangelical wilderness for me, and gave me much hope for the church. I will pray for your family, and just wanted to let you know that he’s been such a blessing for so many. With much love,

  39. Thank you Denise, for this update. It’s almost Resurrection morning here, and I want to thank your husband for keeping my eyes on Jesus, when they were too discouraged to look on their own.

    May our Lord and Savior wrap you in his arms and give you peace and strength for this road you must travel, and may you travel it knowing how well you are loved.

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