Saturday, April 24, 2010

Credo: Intro

Over the past couple of weeks, I have thought deeply about my faith. About what exactly do I believe in this religion called Christianity. The more and more I think, the more and more I realize: I know so much theology, I can give any answer. Thus, in order to help me articulate my thoughts, and hopefully have some discussion about them, I am starting a series on what I believe. I don't know how frequent the updates will be- my life is hectic and while I enjoy blogging, it is not on the top of my priority list at the moment. Despite this, I plan to see this through. Hopefully, somebody out there will actually read this, and comment- the point really is to have some good discussion.

So, to start out, I think I'll kick it old-school:

I believe in one God,
the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth
and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only-begotten Son of God,
begotten of His Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light,
very God of very God,
begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father,
by whom all things were made;
who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven
and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary
and was made man;
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
He suffered and was buried.
And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures
and ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of the Father.
And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead,
whose kingdom will have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord and giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified,
who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church,
I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins,
and I look for the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Okay, so not really. I got this idea from over on, where there was a call out for ideas on how to advertise and get the word out. Someone mentioned having high-ranking and well-known Christians endorse (or ban) the book. And then, someone mentioned the Pope... and well, I got carried away!

In any case, you should go pre-order Michael "the Internet Monk" Spencer's new book, Mere Churchianity. You can find it here:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

R.I.P. Michael Spencer, Internet Monk

Yesterday, Michael Spencer, the "Internet Monk", was received into Paradise. I read the news at about 12:30 A.M. this morning. I am deeply saddened by this. He was truly a man of God. He articulated things in a way that no one else could, and he was crticial not only of the Church, but of himself. He knew that he was a sinner, and that Jesus came to save sinners. His quest to find a Jesus-shaped spirituality has come to end- for he is now with Jesus.

I first encountered Michael's site, Internet Monk, what?- maybe two, three years ago. From the moment I started reading, I was hooked. I even went back and read all the archived essays- some more than once! He asked questions that many would dare not ask. He proposed ideas that were (and are) unpopular. He was open and brutally honest- to the point that it almost became uncomfortable. Yet, throughout it all, he remained humble. He was also noted for bringing in a diverse crowd of people, and managed to have very much civil discussions on these topics. Above all, he really drove home and kept center 3 things:

1) Jesus came to save sinners
2) We are sinners
3) The Gospel is the power to save and transform us

For him, Jesus was the center of everything. Not just Christianity, church, or one's "personal relationship". He was the center of EVERYTHING. Creation vs. Evolution?- Jesus is the center. The Scriptures, and what they teach and mean?- Jesus is the center. How to deal with those openly living in sin, but have been so hurt by Christians that they won't step near a church?- Jesus is right there, smack dab in the center of all the murk.

Michael feared for American Evangelicalism. Not just them- that would be an understatement. He feared for the Church in North America. What it had become, and where it seemed to be going. He looked at the Church, and saw that it had (and was) letting go of it's Anchor. That it had become a club of "decision making", empty moralism, social justice, and all that jazz. What he proposed is something not that new. And yet, whenever it is suggested, people are shocked, and things are usually shook up. He proposed returning to our roots. He proposed that we get over ourselves, and look into history and the wider tradition(s) of Christianity as found in the Creeds, the Fathers, etc. Most all of- and most importantly- he suggested this: Jesus. That we need to regain a Jesus-shaped spirituality. This is what permeated him, and all the work he did. Jesus was everywhere, and was the center of it all.

I will sorely miss Michael. He was someone unique. He was a mentor. He challenged me to look beyond the horizon. He made me realize that the boat we call "Church" is bigger than I could've imagined. He taught me how to hold civil theological discourse with those whom I consider to be in the right, in the wrong, or somewhere in the gray. Most of all- and most importantly- he pointed me to Jesus. To be a Christian is to be a "little Christ" or a "Christ-person". In order for that to happen, we have to be Jesus-centered and Jesus-shaped. That was the most important thing he taught me. That the love of God found in Christ is the greatest (and most frightening) thing this world has ever encountered; that it knows no bounds and no limits.

Michael, though I never met you, I consider you a friend and brother. I cannot wait until we meet someday in our Father's house. God used you to teach me, as well as countless others. May you rest in peace, and may Light perpetual shine upon you! Now, you are truly Jesus-shaped. I pray that we here in the Church Militant may too become Jesus-shaped.
Kyrie, eleison! Christe, eleison! Kyrie, eleison!

God of grace and glory,
we remember before you this day our brother Michael.
We thank you for giving him to us to know and to love
as a companion on our earthly pilgrimage.
In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn.
Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life,
so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth,
until, by your call,
we are reunited with those who have gone before.

Into your hands,
O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Michael.
We humbly ask you to look on him as a sheep of your own fold,
a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming.
Receive him into the arms of your mercy,
into the blessed rest of everlasting peace,
and into the glorious company of the saints in light.

Please continue to pray for Michael's wife, children, and all others in contact with him as they go through this tough time.

Here are a couple of my favorite iMonk (as Michael was fondly referred to) articles (I encourage to read the whole site, really):

Also, I'd encourage everybody who likes his work to pre-order his book. You can find it here:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Oh, what joyous Day! Oh, what happy Day! For the Son of Man is dead no more; my Savior and King lives forev'r ! He hath trampled death by death; He hath conquered sin by grace! He hath harrowed Hell, and opened Paradise; truly, truly He is the Living Christ!

Oh Sin, where art thou power? Oh Death, where art thou sting?

He is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!

And now, some words on the Resurrection from Bishop N.T. Wright-

History matters because human beings matter; human beings matter because creation matters; creation matters because the creator matters. And the creator, according to some of the most ancient Jewish beliefs, grieved so much over creation gone wrong, over humankind in rebellion, over thorns and thistles and dust and death, that he planned from the beginning the way by which he would rescue his world, his creation, his history, from its tragic corruption and decay; the way, therefore, by which he would rescue his image-bearing creatures, the muddled and rebellious human beings, from their doubly tragic fate; the way, therefore, by which he would be most truly himself, would become most truly himself. The story of Jesus of Nazareth offers itself, as Jesus himself had offered his public work and words, his body and blood, as the answer to this multiple problem: the arrival of God’s kingdom precisely in the world of space, time, and matter, the world of injustice and tyranny, of empire and crucifixions. This world is where the kingdom must come, on earth as it is in heaven. What view of creation, what view of justice, would be served by the offer merely of a new spirituality and a one-way ticket out of trouble, an escape from the real world?

No wonder the Herods, the Caesars and the Sadducees of this world, ancient and modern, were and are eager to rule out all possibility of actual resurrection. They are, after all, staking a counter-claim on the real world. It is the real world that the tyrants and bullies (including the intellectual tyrants and bullies) try to rule by force, only to discover that in order to do so they have to quash all rumours of resurrection, rumours that would imply that their greatest weapons, death and deconstruction, are not after all omnipotent. But it is the real world, in Jewish thinking, that the real God made, and still grieves over. It is the real world that, in the earliest stories of Jesus’ death and resurrection, was decisively and forever reclaimed by that event, an event which demanded to be understood, not as a bizarre miracle, but as the beginning of a new creation.

Source: The Resurrection of the Son of God, p. 737

HT: Internet Monk