He helped me see Jesus.
I don’t remember what year it was or exactly why I’d opened a search engine to look for Larry Norman, the musical icon of the Jesus Movement, but I found a lot more than an article about Larry Norman. I found the guy who’d written the article: Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk.
The more I browsed Michael’s blog, the more I liked it. He loved Jesus and the church, but he was fed up with what he called the evangelical circus. He loved his fellow believers enough to challenge them on things. Sometimes he lost his temper with his commenters. Sometimes they lost their tempers with him too, but that was part of the attraction for me. The I-monk blog was a place where people could be real.
I rarely commented on the blog because I felt like such a lightweight compared to the brainy people gathering there. But even if I was only eavesdropping on the conversations, they gave me hope that I wasn’t crazy after all. If I felt uncomfortable with certain facets of evangelical culture, I wasn’t the only one.
But Michael didn’t write solely about theology and church life. He wrote about teaching school in Appalachia too, and about baseball and music, but it was obvious that his first love, his best love, was Jesus.
When Larry Norman died in February of 2008, Michael Spencer wrote a tribute to him that ended with this: “He really helped me see Jesus. That’s about as good as it gets.”
Now it has been two years since Michael died. His blog continues as a group project, and I appreciate the people who are trying to continue his legacy. There was only one Internet Monk, though, and he’s greatly missed.
I’d like to end by borrowing his own words: “He really helped me see Jesus. That’s about as good as it gets.”
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