Thursday, April 08, 2010

Kyrie eleison

Shortly after I began blogging, I came across a blog titled The Internet Monk. I can't remember the how or why, but I quickly became a regular reader. I was quickly drawn to the discussions there about "post-evangelicalism," the notion of identifying with a particular Christian system, but also critiquing or rejecting much of its unnecessary elements. He greatly resisted the "herd mentality" that tends to plague every Christian movement to some degree, his being evangelicalism.

As I continued to read, I was struck by discussions of spiritual disciplines and the liturgical calendar, of an appreciation of a wide breadth of Christian practices and ideas. The author, Michael Spencer, self-identified as a Southern Baptist, but rejected his tradition's rejection of those practices, along with lifting up many other Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and mainline practices as enriching rather than hindering a life of faith and discipleship.

Along with this post-evangelical emphasis was commentary on Joel Osteen, struggles with depression and the reality of mental illness, and the Cincinnati Reds. He shared thoughts about his job as a chaplain and teacher at a private Christian school. He'd share moments of pain and joy in his family's life. He'd review books and music. Thanks to his writing, I discovered Thomas Merton, Shane Claiborne, and the emerging church. I truly must call his blog influential in my own life and ministry.

On Monday, April 5th, Michael passed away after a few months of battling brain cancer. I never met him personally, but I lift prayers for his family and give thanks for his life and writing.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.