Michael was born in 1956 in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, where he was voted the cutest baby in town. By the time he was four, his parents moved to Kentucky, where he’s lived ever since.
Michael attended public schools in Owensboro, Kentucky. At age 15, he made a profession of faith in Christ at the Hall Street Baptist Church where his uncle, W.O. Spencer, pastored for many years. Later that same year, he started preaching in churches, and has been preaching ever since. This is his thirty-sixth year of preaching the Gospel.
In 1974 he graduated from Owensboro High School. He attended Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Kentucky for one year, then moved back home to Owensboro, worked in retail and in churches, then returned to school and graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College, where he was greatly influenced by Old Testament scholar Edward Beavin. He graduated with a degree in Philosophy, Religion and English in 1978. The same year he married Denise Day, and they celebrated 30 years together this year. Denise is soon to be received as a member of St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Mission, and Michael is member of a Southern Baptist Church in the neighborhood.
Michael started working with students in 1976, and worked as a youth ministry specialist in four different churches over a period of thirteen years. In the same time, he graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1984 with a Master’s degree in Theology. He took every philosophy course available and is much indebted to his time with Drs. Richard Cunningham and Timothy George. He returned for post-graduate study in 1987.
Michael and Denise have two wonderful, talented and funny children. Noel Spencer Cordle, 23, and Clay, 20. Noel recently married Ryan Cordle and they live in Oneida, Ky where they both teach English and attend a Mennonite church.
Clay is a junior at the University of Kentucky where he writes poetry, works at Starbucks, loves RUF and belongs to Tate’s Creek Presbyterian (PCA). He hopes to be an RUF intern and then pursue graduate studies.
In 1988, Michael left youth ministry and became a pastor. In 1992 the Spencers moved to Southeastern Kentucky, where they live and work today. Michael teaches, preaches and leads camus ministry for hundreds of students from all over the world. He still complains that there is no decent baseball nearby.
Michael started Internet Monk right after the November 2000 elections, and has been blogging ever since. He began Jesus Shaped Spirituality in 2008 and now does most of his writing there. His work has been noted on blogs around the world and published in newspapers and magazines, such as Modern Reformation. He was featured in the September 21, 2006 edition of Time Magazine for his blogging on Joel Osteen and was chosen as a featured blogger by the Dallas Morning News. He recently received a generous sabbatical from the Louisville Institute to pursue his interest in “Contemplation and Balance in Life and Ministry.” He is one of the seminar presenters at Cornerstone ’08 and is a regular guest blogger at Steve Brown, Etc. He also writes and moderates at The Boars Head Tavern and podcasts Internet Monk Radio and Coffee Cup Apologetics. He’s more opinionated on paper than in person. Michael is a free range, New Covenant, Reformation-loving, post-evangelical Christian with an appreciation for the ancient church, missions, Christian community and theological underdogs.
Michael could be described as a libertarian-leaning conservative politically and an adventurous pilgrim theologically. He owes a lot to Baptists, the Apostles’ Creed, Raymond Brown, Ed Beavins, Eugene Peterson, Robert Capon, C.S. Lewis, the Gospel of Mark, Michael Horton, Greg Boyd, N.T. Wright, Shakespeare, his Dad, several pastors and always Martin Luther. Now that his kids are out of the house, he would love to move to a little church near a good uh….coffeeshop and a minor league ball park, work with university students and cook Italian food for the mob.
If you want him to talk about Jesus or Post-Evangelicalism in person, he’d love to do it.