Michael Spencer, 1956-2010

On the first episode of the podcast, I made a joke about Nathan Gilmour sounding like the Internet Monk, Michael Spencer. That joke turned out to be in bad taste–just a few weeks after it aired, Spencer’s podcast was shut down due to its host’s getting very ill with cancer. The disease came on quickly, and it took Spencer’s life yesterday.

I didn’t know Michael Spencer, and I didn’t listen to his show or read his blog for as long as a lot of people, but I know enough to know that his passing is a major loss for the Christian blogosphere. His podcast claimed to be “a voice of sanity in search of a Jesus-shaped Christianity”–and if the first claim sounds a lot like political talk radio and the second reeks of the most aggravating parts of the Emergent Church, Spencer’s work from free from both partisanship and pretense. It was a thoughtful, intelligent, prophetic, and–above all–moderate voice, and those of us who write and record about Christianity could do a lot worse than to follow his example.

Thoughts and prayers be with Spencer’s widow Denise and his family. Our loss is, of course, Michael Spencer’s gain–but that doesn’t make things much easier for those of us who will miss what he did.

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